Friday, September 06, 2019

5 survival tips to Walking with Dinosaurs - The Live Experience

Disclaimer: This is a I-paid-for-my-own-tickets post. No monetary compensation was received. All images and opinions are my own, unless otherwise stated.

The talk of the town must be Walking With Dinosaurs: the Live Experience. Ok, at least that’s my opinion when I see all the FB & IG updates. It’s like every other mum or dad I know is posting about WWD. And no wonder. It really is a good show.

Backed by a credible source? Check. Think BBC.
Supported by loads of research and expertise? Check. It’s based on the highly successful Walking With Dinosaurs documentary.
Time travel? Check.
Lesson on evolution for 1 hour 20 min? Check.
18 I-can’t-believe-they-look-so-real live size dinosaurs? Oh yeah.. definitely a check. Plus a wow too!
Comedy? Yup.. that paleontologist Huxley was almost eaten by the T.
Heartwarming parental love? A check for sure.

For those of you who getting up close and personal with these beasts from yonder years over the next few days, here are some tips on how to survive the experience.

Arrive early
Gates open about an hour before showtime. You have to go through security check of your bags, and a second ticket check before you finally step into the area. So arrive early if you want to avoid standing in long queues and don’t want to miss any second of WWD. Arrive earlier if you plan to purchase merchandise and/or buy food. The queues can get terribly. And you don’t want to be stranded in the queues while WWD starts on time. Searching for your seat in the dark with your hands full of snacks & drinks isn’t a fun thing to do.

Choose between the toilet or the snack counter
The intermission is just 20 mins, which isn’t very long at all. So decide whether you want to go to the toilet or snack counter. If you are fast enough, you may be able to visit both, but deciding on one is the safer bet, because the queues for both can get really long really fast. You can do one before the show and one during the intermission. Our suggestion is to visit the snack counter before the show starts, so you can get that cup of beer to relax with while the dinosaurs ‘babysit’ the kids. Another benefit - the kids won’t keep asking for food.

Check before you queue
One of the two snack counters is quite near the merchandise store. Their queues are close to each other and it is easy to be confused between the two as they get longer and longer by the minute. So it’s good to check with the usher to make sure you are in the right queue.

Stay calm
There will be kids chatting, people getting up in the middle of the show because their kids suddenly needs to go to the toilet, or pop corn being accidentally spilled on the floor. Not forgetting the long queues, to the toilet, at the snack counter, at the merchandise store. So be patient and stay calm. Everyone is there for one reason - to see the majestic dinosaurs. So let’s respect and be understanding to each other, so we can all enjoy the show.

Enjoy connecting with the kids
Curious kids will ask you questions endlessly about how the dinosaurs move, why the raptors seem to have two extra legs (they belong to the puppeteers) and so on. This really is a good time to connect with the kids and nurture their inquisitive minds, whether it’s about evolution or puppetry that brings the dinosaurs to life.

If you’ve already bought your WWD  tickets, I really hope these tips help you.

If you are still considering, or never gave WWD a thought because you didn’t think WWD would be so awesome, start thinking. WWD ends on 8 September Sunday, so go grab those tickets NOW. It’s worth it!

If you really want to get up close and personal with the dinosaurs and have them an arm’s length away from you, get the Cat 1 tickets. They aren’t cheap though, and will set you back $148 per ticket.

If just being in the vicinity of dinosaurs is enough, there is a promotion for Cat 2, Cat 3 and Cat 4 tickets.

Cat 2 tickets are now $88 instead of $128.
Cat 3 tickets are now $68 instead of $98.
Cat 4 tickets are now $58 instead of $78.

So what are you waiting for? Go walk with dinosaurs before they stomp away. Last show is on Sunday 8 September.


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Reading Aloud with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory #1

EV and AA are now 9 and 7 years old respectively. They read independently, and it is very obvious that they love it. I love to see them sitting quietly by themselves as they immerse in the wonderful world of whatever book they are reading. And it’s nice to sit or lie next to them doing the same thing. 

Often, EV and AA will still ask me to read aloud to them. I seldom say no, unless it’s really way past their bedtime. I love having them next to me, hearing me try to dramatise the story to them. However, I do wonder: do I still need to read to them since they now can read independently?

Recently, I read an article that told me that my decision to continue reading to EV and AA was right - 'Want your kids’ vocab to improve? Read aloud to them'.

This was the part that caught my attention: “Children may continue to enjoy and benefit from being read to beyond the early years. You should keep reading with your children as long as they let you.

Which echoed my thoughts exactly. If EV and AA still want me to read to them, why would I want to stop this fantastic chance for us to bond and just enjoy stories together?

So I’m sticking to my decision of continuing to read aloud to them, to have this shared reading experience with them every night, for as long as they let me. At the same time, I can also use this shared reading time to have story-based discussions with them. I can also ask questions to nudge their understanding of the story content and also how the author uses language to bring across a point.

So I started with the classic story by Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The version I have is a very old one, which I bought pre-loved. As I read aloud to the kids, I would use different types of voices and intonation to try and bring the characters to life. I would try to use some action too where possible. It’s like putting on a one-person theatre show with only two audiences. Well, that’s not bad. At least, my ‘performance’ will always be flawless. :)

In between my ‘performance’, I might stop and ask questions to see if EV and AA understand the content, or what the writer is trying to convey. I think this is helpful in EV’s and AA’s language development, and I think, in the long run, better prepare them to answer comprehension questions in school.

What I will try to do is to share areas of discussion that I had with EV and AA, here on my blog. Feel free to use them in your shared reading experiences with your kids.

To start, I will begin with Chapters 1 to 5 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Note: As I’m using a different version, the page numbers might be different.)

Chapter 1: Here Comes Charlie
Page 17 - Why was it ‘pure torture’ for Charlie to ‘see other children taking bars of creamy chocolate out of their pockets and munching them greedily’?
In the earlier paragraphs, Roald Dahl elaborated how poor Charlie’s family was, and described how much, or how little, the family had to eat each day because they could not afford to buy food. It was also highlighted that Charlie ‘went about from morning till night with a horrible empty feeling’ in his tummy. Hence, when Charlie saw other children who had easy access to chocolate, one of his favourite foods, and eating it in front of him, it was very distressing to him. Not only could he not eat chocolate as and when he liked, he also had to tolerate a hungry stomach all the time. The discussion could also veer to focus on the real world, and the plight of many different people around the world.

Page 17 - When Charlie receives a small chocolate bar on his birthday, why does he ‘treasure it as though it were a bar of solid gold’?
As Charlie only receives one bar of chocolate a year on his birthday, the chocolate was extremely precious to him, and he wanted it to last as long as possible. There can also be some discussion about the literary technique used here - simile. The way Charlie treated his bar of chocolate was being compared to how people would treat a bar of gold.

Chapter 2: Mr Willy Wonka’s Factory
Page 19 - Charlie’s grandparents are described to be ‘as shrivelled as prunes’ and ‘as bony as skeletons’. What does this tell you about his grandparents’ physical appearance?
His grandparents’ skin are extremely wrinkled and they are also very thin. The literary technique of simile was used to compare his grandparents’ physical appearance with that of shrivelled prunes and skeletons.

Chapter 4: The Secret Workers
Page 29 - What was ‘one of the great mysteries of the chocolate-making world’?
The mystery is who Willy Wonka engaged as employees to run his factory and produce chocolates and sweets. In the earlier part of this dialogue between Charlie and Grandpa Joe, Grandpa Joe mentioned that nobody knows who Mr Wonka is using. So the great mystery that Grandpa Joe is referring to can be referenced to this.

So there.. Some ideas for your discussions as you read aloud Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with your kids. Hope this helps!


Thank you for reading. If you like this post, please do connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Snapchat and Twitter, so I can share our fun adventures, thoughts and exploits with you.