Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview: Christian and Doerthe, from StickerKid

Last week, we did a review about StickerKid personalised name stickers and shared why we like them so much.

Today, I'm happy to introduce Christian and Doerthe Berlovan, the people behind StickerKid. They will share with us the story of how such durable name stickers like StickerKid's was created.


Please tell us more about StickerKid. How did it come about?
That’s actually a longer story as the history of StickerKid dates back to 2004. Originally, StickerKid was founded by Mark, a good friend of Chris, who identified the need for personalized labels when his second son was born and the first started kindergarden. His sons were really little ‘magicians’ early on who managed to lose bottles, toys and even shoes. So Mark and his wife were frustrated by the lost things and the need to re-buy everything (not to mention the drama and stress a lost cuddly toy can create for both kids and parents). Michel, a brilliant engineer and computer expert joined the team and together they developed StickerKid, the technology and processes behind our products making StickerKid the favourite stickers and labels in Switzerland for marking clothes and belongings.

There are many brands of personalisable labels in the market. What makes StickerKid different?
The technology and quality of StickerKid stickers and labels is really unique. The team has spent 7 years to identify the right materials, define and optimize the production process and test the quality of the products over years and in any possible condition (ensuring that we can give a 10 year quality guarantee). Switzerland was a great place for testing the stickers and labels in hard conditions: snow, sun, rain and high temperature differences. All products are made in Switzerland with high quality materials to ensure the products simplify life for parents and kids, withstand any fun activity (be it skiing or spending a week on the beach) and at the same time, be affordable and accessible to all parents.

If you were a parent, why is it important to use labels like StickerKid?
Of course parents could just mark their kids’ clothes with a pen, but this is clearly not as pretty and long lasting as labelling clothes and things (not to mention that the pen, colour could mark off and stain other clothes in your laundry) with our labels. On top of that, kids in kindergarden cannot read yet, so with the colours and little logos, even the smallest kids can identify their things. And most importantly, choosing your stickers and sticking them on is actually lots of fun for you and your kids.

Aren't all labels the same?
The quality varies heavily. There are of course several good products out there, but take the iron-on labels for example. Many other products hold very well too, but you can never remove them. For our StickerKid iron-on labels, we decided that it is not only important they hold and withstand 45 rounds of washing at high temperature (up to 60°), but also be removable without harming the fabric should you wish to give some clothes to another child or friend’s kids.

Do you have any personal anecdotes to share? Perhaps witnessing a family's or friend's experience of using labels?
We receive many nice emails from moms who share their experience with StickerKid. Much more than the cost saving of finding back their children’s belongings, we love to hear the stories of teddybears that find their way back home. Each of those stories makes our day.

Why did StickerKid decide to come to Singapore?
We both visited Singapore recently and fell in love with the beauty of the city and kindness of the people. With Switzerland being the StickerKid home country, we saw several similarities between the two countries and the people, that is, looking for high quality, genuine products that are unique. In addition, we were very fortunate to find the perfect representative living in Singapore. Josephine and I studied together and met each other again after nearly ten years not having seen each other. When I told her about the project, she started smiling, and a few weeks later, we shipped our first stickers to moms and dads living in Singapore.

Who are the people behind StickerKid?
Today StickerKid is managed by us, Chris and Doerthe, a young Swiss-German couple living in Switzerland. We fell in love with StickerKid the moment Mark told us about it - the high quality of the products, something that is 100% swiss made and the positive moments it creates for parents and kids.

Since you have no children, how did you identity the need for labels like StickerKid? What inspired you to launch StickerKid?
Chris and I are freshly married (10 months) and all our friends already have kids and as you can imagine most topics with our friends are about kids. So if you like, our adventure started at a dinner when some friends were talking about the crazy things their kids lose and the creative explanations that follow - a really great evening with friends. Funnily enough, a few weeks later, we met Mark and he mentioned that he might be looking for a successor to continue the StickerKid journey, and suddenly all was clear for us. And lucky us, here we are now.

I understand that you are planning to have children soon. What would you say is your parenting style? What is your belief when it comes to helping a child learn?
Wow - this is tough one. I guess all parents will understand better than us, that what you think before having kids may change completely when you actually are a parent. But here is our theory (before the reality will catch us): I think we will actually have a different style when it comes to a kids’ learning process. While Chris is the tech-savvy amongst us who loves new technology and believes in its benefits to simplify life and offer tremendous learning opportunities that did not exist before, Doerthe actually loves everything that’s homely and hand made. We hope we can combine both in the education of our kids, equipping them with all the tech-savviness they need in today’s world, while also teaching them to see the beauty of life in little things, such as building sandcastles in summer, collecting leaves in autumn and building a snow man in winter (there is a loooot of snow in Switzerland :)).

What three things do you think is most important for kids to learn in today's world?
● Feel safe and loved. This was always true, but in times with both parents working and many of us having a private and business life that is interlinked, it is getting harder and harder to find time to spend as a family. However, we think it’s important for a child to protect these moments, without phone and blackberry, and just be together as a family.
● Be curious. The world offers so many adventures and opportunities, the more a child can try and get to know, to decide if he or she likes something, the better (be it trying a new sport or instrument, traveling and seeing different cultures, meeting new friends or simply eating something different)
● Be tech-savvy. The world is completely digitalized, so there is no way a child can get by today without navigating the digital world, seeing both the good sides while being aware of the risks.

As parents to be, what is the one thing you think parents should know, but don't?
I think real parents know much better than us, so I don’t feel we are in the right place to advice on this. The one thing we learned from our own parents though is that mums are always right (even if as a child, teenager and even adult you may not see it right away). So maybe there is some advice for dads :)


Thank you, Chris and Doerthe.


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

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Box Thursday + Giveaway: An Alphabet Zoo

As some of you may know, phonics plays an extremely important part in our family, as we try and develop the literacy in EV and AA. There are a couple of phonics books that we use, and today, I’d like to share one that’s been a part of our literacy journey.

Julia Alphabet
Photo: Julia Gabriel Education
It’s An Alphabet Zoo, Phonemic Adventure with Rainbow Bear, written by Julia Gabriel (read her interview on visual literacy here). This is a book and CD set that brings us on an alphabet adventure with Rainbow Bear to meet animals with names that follow the alphabet, such as Andy Ant, Freddie Frog, Ollie Octopus and Uncle Ultrasaurus. Each character is briefly introduced with a voice over, followed by a catchy song that also infuses the phonemic sounds of the alphabets.

What worked for us was the music. The tunes have been playing in our home and on our car journeys since EV was 18 months old. And for AA, he’s basically been listening to it since he was in my tummy. One thing I would like to share: music is a wonderful way to teach. And in this case, it was a wonderful aid in teaching EV and AA phonics, and often, EV and AA will sing or hum along with the songs. Of course, they do have their favourite ones, depending on which animal they like at that moment, but generally, the songs were a hit, and continue to be. This possibly is also due to the fact that all the songs follow the tune. This builds consistency and familiarity, and makes it easy for kids to identify the songs. However, this mummy wishes that the tunes have a bit more variety, for more exposure.

The book is equally entertaining, visually, with illustrations done by Kathy Creamer, a published British children’s book author and illustrator. Each quirky animal character has its own dedicated page and illustration, which infuses many things that start with the same letter within the illustration. For example, for letter K for Kara Koala, the illustration also depicts a key, kite and kangaroo. This means that when listening to the CD, it is possible to assimilate their listening with reading, with additional activities such as asking them to point out a particular thing on the page. More than that, I also discuss what is happening in the illustrations and what they think of the illustrations with EV and AA, to help build their visual literacy, important in today’s world when we are bombarded by visuals of every kind all around us.

An Alphabet Zoo brings together reading, listening and viewing, important literacy skills that we all need to develop in our kids. We thoroughly enjoy it, and we hope that you will too.

An Alphabet Zoo, Phonemic Adventure with Rainbow Bear retails at $29.95. And if you want to add a little more fun and drama, there is even a finger puppet set of 26 puppets that is sold separately at $116.60.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of An Alphabet Zoo, Phonemic Adventure with Rainbow Bear. There are five copies to be given away, sponsored by Julia Gabriel Education. Just follow the intructions below to enter. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 28 November and ends on 13 December (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 17 December.

Disclaimer: This review was done with our own copy of An Alphabet Zoo, Phonemic Adventure with Rainbow Bear. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.


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

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

6 Care & Share Family Ideas for Christmas

Care  Share
The season of giving is upon us again. Do a little caring and sharing with your family this holiday, and spread some Christmas cheer.

Here are 6 Care and Share ideas that you can do with your family.

Salvation Army Christmas Kettling 2013
Every year without fail, Salvation Army’s signature red kettle pots and volunteer bell-ringers will add an unmistakable Christmas ringing cheer to various shopping malls. As you go about your Christmas shopping, buying gifts for your loved ones, remember those in need as you walk by these Kettling pots and pass on the joy of kindess by giving generously. From now till 24 December, the Kettling pots will be at various shopping malls such as Raffles City, TANGS Orchard, Far East Plaza, Lucky Plaza, Centrepoint, 313@Somerset, Junction 8, IKEA Alexandra, IKEA Tampines, Tampines Mall and IMM.

For more information, visit Salvation Army Christmas Kettling 2013.

Boys Brigade Share-a-Gift & Wish Tree
Beyond just donating money, why not get the family together and buy tangible food gifts such as rice, milo, instant noodles, biscuits and cooking oil for the less privileged in our very own society. Not only does this bring cheer to them, but the gifts from also go a long way to bringing them relief. This significant event has been held annually since 1988 that mobilises more than 3,500 Boys Brigade officers and Boys, and hundreds of other volunteers to collect gifts from thousands of Singaporeans, for distribution to the needy in Singapore.

Alternatively, fulfil a wish at the Wish Tree. Just pick up a wish tag with the beneficiary’s name and wish, get the gift indicated on the tag, then return the gift to the Tree.

For more information and the locations of collection centres and Wish Trees, visit The Boys Brigade Share-A-Gift.

World Vision Tree of Life and Gift Catalogue
Buy a chicken, a pile of blankets, a health pack, stationery or even clean water for vulnerable children and their families. As you warm the hearts of your loved ones, warm the hearts of those living in impoverished countries like Blangadesh, Vietnam or even Africa at World Vision’s Tree of Life at various shopping malls, such as VivoCity, NEX, Liang Court and White Sands. This special life-giving tree holds photo cards of needy children across the world and meaningful, tangible, practical gifts for them, in the form of food, clean water, clothing, education, medical help and tools for livelihood. Besides these Life-Changing Gifts, you can also make a long term commitment to sponsor a child, and help his or her entire community.

For information on the locations of the Tree of Life, visit World Vision Tree of Life.

Alternatively, you can also refer to the Gift Catalogue, an annual catalogue that lists the real needs of these children and their families.

IKEA Soft Toy for Education campaign 
If a soft toy is one of the gifts on your shopping list, why not get it from IKEA and do good at the same time? From now till 4 January, for every soft toy that is bought, the IKEA Foundation will donate £1 (S$1.70) to fund education programmes worldwide supported by UNICEF and Save the Children to help children in disadvantaged communities.

Spread the love even further by donating the soft toy you’ve just purchased into any of the special bins and IKEA will match your gift one for one. These soft toys will be shared with the beneficiaries of Food From The Heart (FFTH) during their monthly birthday parties.

If you would like to dig deeper into your pockets, take part in IKEA’s Soft Toy Christmas Tree charity auction to bid for a one-of-a-kind Christmas Tree. 16 Trees have been decorated with soft toys by kids from FFTH, radio DJs and media personalities and will be auctioned off on 7 December at IKEA Tampines and December 8 at IKEA Alexandra. Proceeds will go to FFTH.

For more information, visit IKEA Singapore.

Watsons Helping Hands Programme 
Buy boxes of tissues and spread some Christmas love at the same time. For every limited edition box tissues, mini hankies or travel pack purchased, Watsons’ Helping Hands Programme will donate ten percent of the proceeds to the Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home. Nine colourful illustrations done by the children from the Home are featured on these limited edition boxes and packs, and are based on the theme ‘I Believe in Magic’, reflecting their hopes for the future. These tissue sets are available at all Watsons stores from now till Feburary 2014, and Watsons hopes to raise $20,000 from this initiative.

Visit Watsons Singapore for more information. 

Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Relief
Spread a little Christmas cheer to the folks in Philippines, who recently suffered the wrath of super Typhoon Haiyan, even as they are barely recovering from an earlier earthquake. Immediate needs include water, sanitation, food, shelter, health and nutrition, child protection and education, as well as psychosocial support.

Help by contributing funds to the affected communities, through the following organisations:
Mercy Relief

What are you waiting for? Let's care and share with our families this season of giving!


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

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interview: Julia Gabriel, founder of Julia Gabriel Education

Reading, writing, spelling. All these boil down to one word - literacy. When it used to be just literacy of words in print, in today's world, we are constantly challenged by more than just the printed word. We are inundated by visuals, images on the TV and on gadgets, thanks to technology. 

What has become of literacy in the 21st century, and what are the challenges that we face as parents? How do we develop literacy in our children? How important is bilingualism in today's world?

I'm very happy to introduce Julia Gabriel, founder of Julia Gabriel Education. Think literacy, and the name Julia Gabriel is one of the key names that come to mind. An accomplished storyteller, performer, speaker, lecturer with a Masters in early childhood education, Julia has written and recorded television programmes for Singapore's Ministry of Education. She shares with us her insights into 'literacy in the 21st century'.

What is literacy? Is it just about knowing how to read?
Literacy is the ability to make meaning from language. It has five forms – reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing (through technology).

How important is literacy in today's technological world? Why?
Literacy is even more vital today because communication has become global. In this century it is more necessary, and more complex, to communicate and interpret meaning across cultures through technology. Viewing was recognised as an additional and vital form of literacy about 10 years ago.

The term 'literacy in the 21st century' is increasingly used. What does it mean? What kind of challenges does it present to parents? What can parents do about it?
Literacy in the 21st century involves understanding many different forms of literacy (eg the language we use in text, a formal letter, academic writing, spoken formal and informal language are all different) and the appropriate uses of each in different situations. The challenges that parents can rise to involve exposure to different forms of literacy and engaging children in many different areas of language and text.

Is visual literacy part of this? What is it? Why is it important?
Literacy is essentially the ability to speak, listen, read and write. Today, as so much of our communication is through technology, the breadth of literacy has extended to include viewing communications other than words: For example, images. There are so many images in our communication now (in magazines, newspapers, television, advertising on hoardings, buses and cereal packets, and on the internet), that we recognise visual literacy, the ability to read images, as an important skill for our children to learn.

Visual literacy involves the ability to understand, to see and to think graphically, using and interpreting different layouts, fonts, graphics and images (photographs, paintings and drawings) that all form part of communication. The overall look and feel of print, its layout and illustrations, all contribute to the texture and meaning that help us to understand the writer's intention. So, yes, visual literacy today is important para-language or additional means we can choose to add to language, to communicate our meaning. For example, in speech, we also use the face, hands, eyes and body to convey shades of meaning. In text, or written language we can shade what we say using various forms of visual literacy. This makes a HUGE difference... For example the SIZE of words in print lets you know how IMPORTANT they are; different FONTS and COLOURS all add to the meaning.

Literacy is complex and challenging and its growing and developing constantly! When I was in school we had to learn to write. Now children have many additional means of expression available in print. The development of literacy skills takes time to deepen. The first level in reading is the ability to de-code letters into sounds and eventually words, before reading comprehension becomes important and requires critical thinking to understand the depth and shades of meaning behind words. Poetry is a good example of this. Similarly, visual literacy begins with understanding the meaning in illustrations, art and graphic options and develops to include the ability to critically evaluate a chart, map, layout and design for suitability of function.

How does a parent nurture visual literacy in their children? Can you share any tips?
Parents need to stay abreast by reading widely, going to the library with their children, and talking about the print and visuals they see in the environment, because their children’s literacy will leap ahead of their own. A parent’s role is to talk about visual literacy, converse, discuss, challenge and critique what they see with their children so it is alive and valued in the family. Parents can talk about what they see in print adverts, on labels at the supermarket, in logos of companies that bombard us as we walk down the road. Consider the distinctive shape of Apple, the swoosh of Nike, the arches of Macdonalds. All these form the visual literacy we learn to recognise and "read." Ask children what they mean to them. Which do they like? Why? Talk to children about their views on what they read, see and experience.

Enjoy, read and share poetry with them. Poetry is art in words and shows children how they can use the look and feel of writing to add to the meaning. For example Lewis Carroll's "The Mouse's Tail" from "Alice in Wonderland is written in the shape of a tail, a distictive mouse's tail! Shape poems 'show' as well as 'tell' the story, incident or person they describe, much as headlines in a magazine or newspaper advertisement do. I believe that if parents are readers and are interested in the developing world, their children will be too. What's more, their children will still want to share their ideas with them and bring home their findings to discuss, long after their ability has outshone their parents' as it is bound to do, in time.

Is there any way to make the home a conducive environment for promoting visual literacy?
Yes, definitely! Read, discuss, share and fill your home with books, magazines and periodicals that you read together or view on line with your children. Make literacy in all forms a shared activity and interest for the family.

If I let a child watch TV, or play with the iPad, am I not nurturing visual literacy, since they are 'visual mediums'?
Beware! Many Apps and gadgets are addictive. The research is not yet long enough to be conclusive but the evidence is there. Monitor your child’s exposure to TV and limit particularly time spent using Apps on computers, and smart phones; limit time spent and also be sure to be involved with your child during these times.

Looking at literacy in general, can you share tips on how parents can nurture literacy in the home environment?
Read, talk, converse, discuss, share, write together, read together, play together, use language, communicate. Everyday conversation is the foundation of all language and literacy.

Let’s look at bilingualism. How important is bilingualism in today’s world? Why?
The more languages a child learns, the more the intelligence is stretched through new neural connections, so bilingualism (equal fluency and ease in two languages) gives your child an advantage over monolingual children. As our communication and connections become more global in nature, our children need to know how to communicate with other cultures so other languages are clearly advantageous, too.

What can parents do to nurture bilingualism at home?
Try to enable your child to learn languages through associations: one person, one language. So maybe Daddy speaks English, Mummy speaks Mandarin and you decide on one of these as a common code for when you are all together. Alternatively you can tie the associations to times of day. For example meal times and bath-time in Mandarin. I have seen this work successfully in many families. For a child to be truly bilingual he will need equal exposure to both languages, so roughly equal time and importance placed on each. Make sure you have an equal number of books and games and frineds to play with in each language too.

When is the best time to nurture language and bilingualism in children? Would they become confused if parents use too many languages to communicate with them?
Start at birth or before if possible by singing and talking to your child in the womb! Learning languages is child’s play if we start early when children are “programmed’ to learn and at their most senitive to hearing the different patterns in each language. The first three years are the most sensitive time. More than one language doesn’t confuse children if parents keep the associations clear for them, as above. They are too smart for that – it’s parents who worry and limit children’s potential to learn.

Nowadays, there are pre-schools and kindergartens that offer English-focused, Mandarin-focused and Integrated curriculums. In your opinion, which is most beneficial? If parents can only send their children to either English-focused or Mandarin-focused schools, what can they do to nurture appreciation in the other language?
In Singapore, school curriculum is all taught and communicated in English; this is our most important language. Mandarin is only a second language, or Mother Tongue subject, in school. It depends, really, on what parents can support at home. If you can support speaking Standard English at home, then you may choose a Mandarin focused preschool but if you can’t, do make sure your child has exposure and a focus on the Standard English he will need in school, when he’s young enough to learn it easily. To nurture appreciation in the other language find activities with Standard language speaking teachers – drama, art, dance etc – that your child is motivated to do and enjoys, so that he learns the language effortlessly while engaged in the activities.

Please tell us more about yourself. What inspired you to set up Julia Gabriel Education? How many children do you have?
I studied how to teach, and how children learn, when my son was five and I realised that I was ill equipped to help him learn optimally. I studied to be a Speech and Drama teacher because that was the subject that had helped me gain confidence and ability to communicate expressively as a child. I was a very shy child so I know how important confidence is to underpin all learning and communication. Later, I did a Masters degree in early childhood education to broaden my learning and became a researcher. I love my work and have been really lucky to find my passion through my children. Today I research language and learning and train teachers in my philosophy, EduDrama. I have two adult children. Mark, aged 38, and his wife Aggie teach with me at Julia Gabriel Centre. My daughter Emma, aged 32, lives in London. In Julia Gabriel Centres around the world I am fortunate to have many more children and I also support and am actively involved with 64 Shan children in an orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Thank you Julia.


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

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Happy cupcake monsters

Here's an extremely creative result of an 'Invitation to Play' tray.

With just a few beautiful polka-dotted cupcake paper moulds and a few goggly eyes, EV stretched her imagination and created these little faces. She drew what she called 'smileys' on them, and calls them her Happy Cupcake Monsters.

Proud mummy moment.


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

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Review + Worldwide Giveaway: Stickerkid labels that last wash after wash after wash

Kids own so many things, sometimes, even more than an adult. From water bottles and bags to pencil cases and notebooks, it's easy to misplace their belongings. And with two young ones so close in age, that's an even larger number of belongings to deal with. And when they reach schooling age, the chances of their items being taken by mistake becomes higher, especially if they are similar.

Label their belongings, you say? Sure, provided they don't fade over time. This is one gripe I have with the labels that I have tried. Sometimes, the labels lose their stickiness after several washes, and start peeling off. Which means that I have to constantly remember to replace label after label.

Sticker 2a

When I received a set of Stickerkid labels, I admit, I doubted its quality. From the plastic packaging that it came in, it looked just like other labels that I've tried. Nothing that different to the eye. So it seemed.

What surprised was the quality of the labels. Stickerkid labels feel like extremely soft plastic. Because of this, it doesn't tear easily or crease easily either. While some labels end up having air bubbles trapped beneath them when they are being applied, it is easy to squeeze any trapped air bubbles from underneath a Stickerkid label, thanks to its softness. 

And no wonder. Stickerkid stands by its promise to use the highest quality material to produce the best possible, most malleable stickers which can be applied on nearly every surface. All products are manufactured in Switzerland, and the folks at Stickerkid are extremely careful and meticulous in selecting the materials, papers to make the labels. Over the past seven years, they have continually improved the product, and I must say, it is of extremely good quality.

StickerKid 2

I also like how customisable Stickerkid stickers are. The background colour, font colour, font type can be customized; even a cute logo can be added on the bigger stickers. I asked both EV and AA what their favourite colour was, and they both unanimously chose blue. To give them further ownership of the labels, in the hope that they will fall in love with them, I got them to chose their favourite icons themselves. EV chose a bus while AA chose a helicopter.

The stickers come in a variety of types and sizes, such as small, medium, large, extra large stickers, shoe stickers and iron-on clothing labels. And they are highly resistant too, to water, microwaves, washing machines, fridge and even the freezer.

This is what we received:
1. Small 1-line stickers, which are great for pencils or other thin items
2. Medium 2-line stickers, for mugs or small notebooks
3. Shoe stickers, designed to fit snugly into shoes, with an option to include a contact number in case kiddo gets lost
4. Iron-on clothes labels, easily applied with an iron and can be machine washed up to 45 times at 60. The labels can also be removed by reheating.

StickerKid 3

These labels were a hit with EV, of course, given her love for stickers. She had a fun time picking the exact sticker to use and finding belongings to stick them on. She even put AA's name sticker on items that they shared. As you can see, she didn't want to keep to the recommended 'use' of the stickers, and opted to use the shoe stickers for her new journal instead.

Sticker 1

High quality and easy to stick on different surfaces. These personalised stickers are a big help in helping us identifying the kids' personal belongings. Yes, this mummy is super pleased.

Worldwide Giveaway!
Win a My First Pack of 156 personalised Stickerkid stickers (worth SGD49). The pack includes:
- 32 large stickers
- 14 shoe stickers
- 60 small stickers
- 50 clothes stickers

Just follow the instructions below to enter. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is worldwide.
- Giveaway starts on 22 November and ends on 6 December (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 9 December.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Readers of Toddly Mummy will also get to enjoy a 10% discount off all products, excluding shipping cost, on Stickerkid. Just enter the code 'ToddlyMummy2013' (valid until December 2013, excludes shipping cost) when you check out!

Happy shopping and labeling!

Disclaimer: EV and AA received complimentary sticker samples from Stickerkid for mummy to review. Their names were edited for privacy purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are ours.


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

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Play Learning Tuesday: Messy Dough Play

There is something about kids and mess that makes cleaning up after the activity all the more worthwhile.

Messy 1
What was intended to be a Cloud Dough activity turned out to be extremely messy, a case of Messy Dough Play, and all in good fun. I had bought two nice Ikea boxes, and was excited to use them for this activity. They are nicely sized, and deep enough for the kids to reach in.

Messy 2
Here's what I gathered for our Messy Dough Play
Baby oil
Recycled toilet roll
Cookie cutters
Plastic spoons

Notice that I did not include any measurements for the flour, baby oil and water. Because in the end, it didn't matter. It was truly a session of free play, where AA took flour from EV's tray, and snatched her plastic spoons, and tried to style her hair with dough.

Messy 3

Messy 5
What learning was there? 
Some letter recognition, some 'ice cream making', some dough rolling, and lots of squishy, mushy, cheeky play. All in the name of fun. The adults had a great time watching them too. Who cares about cleaning up after?

Messy 4

Messy 6

Messy 7
What messy play are you doing this week?

Messy 8


What is Play Learning Tuesday?

Play Learning Tuesday is a bi-weekly linky hosted by Toddly Mummy where bloggers are invited to share their child-friendly play, learning and craft activities. Taking part for the first time? You might like to read the guidelines here first.

Toddly Mummy

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Giveaway: 4 tickets to Care For My World musical

I'm not a die-hard tree hugger, but I do want to teach EV and AA about being environmentally friendly and the importance of the 3Rs - recycle, reuse and reduce. With the weather turning rather funny, such as the recent super typhoon in the Philippines, the crazy snowstorms during winter in countries like China and America, and the insane downpours that we've been experiencing in Singapore, it is even more crucial to teach them about caring for the world around them.

This is exactly the message that the new children's musical show, Care For My World, hopes parents and children will bring home with them.

Care For My World Flyer

Making its premiere on 7 December 2013 at the SHINE Auditorium at Shaw Tower is Care For My World, an original production suitable for families and children aged three onwards. It is a musical filled with catchy sing-a-long and dance-a-long tunes for the whole family, a lively and energetic recycling adventure that conveys the important message of caring for the environment.

With original songs composed and sung by Australian couple Brendon and Cathie Clancy, such as 'Care For My World', 'I Make A Difference', 'Hug A Tree', and 'iCare', everyone will be reminded that each individual makes a big difference in doing their part for the environment. Brendon and Cathie have more than 30 years of experience in child education, professional entertainment and music publishing, and have composed and produced some 200 songs and 11 albums.

The musical's mascot Pio Pio will also join in the song and dance on stage. Named after an extinct bird in New Zealand due to deforestation, it reminds us of the detrimental effects our actions have on animals, if we do not care for the environment.

Care For My World rainbow
There is also a exhibition for children to learn about going green with their families. They will discover pens that can be reused as toys, or make a personal pledge to care for the world around them.

Join Brendon, Cathie and Pio Pio as they sing, dance, inspire and get our kids moving… and empowering them to make decisions to care and show compassion for our planet and everything living in it, for many sustainable generations to come.

10% of profits from Care For My World will go to the Singapore Children's Society, to help children in need.

For more information, visit Care For My World website or Facebook.

About the show
Care For My World Musical (World Premiere)
Date: Saturday, 7 December 2013
Time: 3pm
Venue: SHINE Auditorium @ Shaw Tower, 100 Beach Road #03-01, Singapore 189702
Duration: 60 minutes (including meet and greet session)
Price: S$45 (Cat A), S$38 (Cat B), S$28 (Cat C), S$19 (Cat D)
Ticketing fee includes 7% GST
Ticket price excludes booking fee

Book your tickets here.

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Kids' Drawing Competition
Want to say something about caring for the world in pictures and colours? Want to show how the world is a special place, where living organisms such as birds, fish, animals, trees and grass live harmoniously with us human beings? 

Calling all children aged three to twelve, use your creativity to draw a picture of your 'Commitment to Making a Better World', and stand to win attractive prizes worth up to SGD$2000!

Closing date is 30 November 2013.

Care For My World Drawing
Tickets Giveaway!!
Win a family package of four Category B tickets (worth SGD152) to watch Care For My World Musical.

You may also do the additional optional actions, to get more chances to win. This giveaway runs from 18 November to 26 November (inclusive). Good luck!!

Terms and Conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widget.
- Winners must confirm by reply email or phone call, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 18 November and ends on 26 November (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 29 November.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The family package of four tickets (worth $152) to the Care For My World musical was provided by Sustainable Green Solutions Pte Ltd for giveaway purposes. No monetary compensation was received. Images were provided by Sustainable Green Solutions Pte Ltd, the joint collaborator of the Care For My World musical.


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

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Sphero robotic ball

When I first got the invite to the launch of Sphero, I was puzzled. What has this got to do with me, with parenting or kids? Still, due to my tech background, plus the fact that the person organizing the event is my good friend, I went for it anyway, curious to find out what exactly is this ball in question.

Held at Lowercase, a café bar located at the LaSelle College of Arts, the launch was a casual, chill event that saw the who's who of the tech media circle attend. Many new faces since I was last part of it, then at last, an old friend. I'm so glad to catch up with them.

Sphero 1
The folks who created the Sphero had flown in all the way from America to launch this innovative product. This word is just so apt to describe it. At first, when the founder shared the video and presentation, and mentioned augmented reality, it was hard to visualize what he really meant. The video may show how it works, but the reality didn't sink in, until I saw it with my own eyes.

Sphero 2
And the cool dudes from Sphero were determined to elicit a WOW from all attendees. On one side of the event space was a demo track. When the founder invited everyone to go over there, all were dragging their feet. Everyone must be wondering, what exactly is he going to show? What can this little ball do?

Sphero 5
The little Sphero ball is the world’s first app-controlled robotic ball and game system. Controlled by a downloaded app on the iPhone or iPad, this intelligent gadget moves on its own, does little tricks, hops and jumps. You can simply drive it using the Sphero's own app, or pre-programme a route using the Draw & Drive app and see the Sphero go zooming. The good thing about this app is that you can draw anything, from shapes to letters to numbers. This means that for kids, it’s learning with heaps of fun.

Sphero 4
The family can also get together and test each other’s memory and reflexes. The Pinwheel app is a memory game using colours that are randomly displayed, while the ColorGrab multiplayer app is a test of quickest hands first. Apps like these make the Sphero really perfect for training the kids’ memory and reflex. If EV and AA were older, they will also be able to get a crash course in programming, with the MacroLab app.

Sphero 3
What's really awesome is its augmented reality function, which is most prominent with the Shakey the Beaver app. Instead of the Sphero ball itself, Shakey is displayed on the screen, and moves wherever the ball goes. Is that cool or what?

I could totally imagine driving EV and AA crazy with this. And it certainly did. Here they are chasing after the Sphero, giggling and screeching after it.

Sphero 7

Sphero 8

Call me a tech geek, but I find even the box that the Sphero comes packaged in brilliant.

Sphero 6
I love the way the folks at Sphero included two ramps neatly in the box. Oh, you know how one usually looks for the charging points in a gadget? I was doing it too. Well, in the Sphero, there also isn't a fixed way. Just put it on to the nifty charger and automatically, the heavier side of the ball (which is so nimuscule) where the logo is, will roll to meet the logo on the charger. That’s because it is powered by induction charging. How cool is that? I suddenly feel so geeky.

You know, this Sphero is as much a kids’ toy and learning tool (EV and AA have affectionately named ours Ball Ball), as a parent’s toy. Why do I say so? DaddySay is out in the living room busy playing with it as I write this. Who’s the geeky one now?

Sphero 2.0
Sphero 2.0 is available for $189 at selected Apple Premium Reseller stores and $169 on the Apple online store.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a set of Sphero by the creator Orbotix for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


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

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