Celebrate Christmas with SpongeBob SquarePants at City Square Mall

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Are your kids a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants?

I happened to have a fan at home. Xi En enjoyed the jokes from the cartoon (though, honestly I am not a huge fan)>:P. Well, at least he has his Daddy for company.

We went down for the all-new live show at City Square Mall which features SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick Star preparing to celebrate the Krabby Patty burger. Everyone is invited to the party!

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My favorite character has to be Patrick. He is just too cute with his starry shape. 😀

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Look out too, for grouchy Plankton who stuck around trying to steal the secret recipe for Krabby Patty.

Xi En enjoyed the live show and couldn’t wait to take a photo with some of his favourite cartoon characters. He was too shy to hug SpongeBob though. 😛

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This year, City Square Mall also set up an outdoor SpongeBob Playland at the City Green gate. With a minimum spend of $30, shoppers get to redeem a SpongeBob Playland activity pass at Level 2 Customer Service Counter. There are various activities which are suitable for age 3 and above. We only managed to try 2 of the activities as there was a heavy downpour in the afternoon. So, do check out the weather forecast to plan your activities.

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If you plan to catch SpongeBob SquarePants Krabby Patty Celebration “Live” on Stage, it’s ending soon on 20th December 2015 (Sun)!

There are shows everyday except Monday. 2pm & 7pm (Tues – Fri); 1pm, 4pm & 7pm (Sat & Sun). The outdoor PlayLand ends on 3rd Jan 2016.

Do check out City Square Mall website for more details on other related promotions – https://citysquaremall.com.sg/promotions.php

Well, there is always the wet weather plan even if it is rainy season. We ducked indoors for ZooMoov! The animal rides are great fun for my kids any. time. any. where. 😀

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On a side note, we found a relatively new eatery at Level 2 – Face to Face Noodles (面对面). I ate at their outlet in Johor Bahru many times when I was working in JB. Happy to find it here now. It’s a slightly different concept but the quality is quite similar and their famous Chilli Pan Mee is yummilicous! Here, they provided pre-packed chilli whereas in JB we heaped on the special chilli freely at the table. 😀 Prices are of course more expensive here (about S$8.90 for a bowl of noodles before GST and service charge). Wished I can pay Ringgit but it’s good enough to have them import the noodles and chilli here. 🙂

If you are a chilli fan, enjoy chewy noodles with Hong Kong style char siew, don’t forget to try it out and let me know if you liked it too? 🙂

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StickerKid (& a Giveaway!)

Are your children heading to childcare or starting primary school soon? When Xi En started childcare 2 years back, one of the important things I did was to buy personalised stickers to differentiate his belongings. Some of them lasted well while some of the cheaper ones didn’t made it after a few washes. When I ran out of stickers, I used permanent marker pens to mark his towels and socks! Those didn’t work too well either as they smudged after repeated washes.

Recently, we received a Discovery Stickerkid pack (94 stickers) from StickerKid and these are personalized with choices of fonts, icons and languages.

Here are Top 3 reasons why we loved them:

1) Different sizes & shapes available

From heart, big, middle, small and round shapes, you get a variety to fit almost everything you own!

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2) Personalised and customised

From the Discovery Stickerkid pack, I personalised one set for myself! I used them for my water bottle, laser pointer and sunglasses cover (because it’s the same as my husband!). As I used these items at work frequently, it is high time I put some stickers on them to prevent them from getting lost.

Also, you can use different languages – I put in Mandarin names and it worked well. The preview page gives you a good idea how the fonts will turn out. Some stickers even offer name labels with your own photo.

There is an option for up to 3 lines of words/numbers for the bigger stickers such as the shoe sticker. These are useful if you want to add a contact number for lost and found purposes.

I liked it that I can personalised every set of stickers on a single order/value pack. This way, different names can share an order. Everyone is happy. 😀

3) Good Quality

These are Swiss-made. Period. Almost all things I know Swiss-made are of good quality. Swiss knives anyone? 😛

These stickers are water resistant, dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, freezer and fridge SAFE!

Though we haven’t actually put it through all the above tests, the stickers are still in good condition after daily washes of our drinking bottles.

Also, the iron-on clothes stickers are easily removable if you intend to pass on the clothes to others or the younger brother. 🙂

With school commencing in just 4 weeks, it’s time to personalise and get those labelling done! Do check our StickerKid’s website on how to order.

Here’s a GIVEAWAY to start you off:

StickerKid had kindly sponsored a set of Discover StickerKid (60 small stickers, 20 clothing stickers, 14 shoe stickers) for one lucky winner.

All you need to do it:

1) Visit StickerKid on their Facebook page. “Like” them if you like them. 🙂

2) Visit Evespiration on our Facebook page and answer a simple question to take part in this giveaway.

Giveaway starts from now till 14th December 2015; 2349hrs. A winner will be chosen randomly. All the best!

N.B: We received a complimentary pack of Discover StickerKid stickers for the purpose of this review. No further compensation had been received.

KidStartNow Holiday Camp

Whenever the school holiday looms draws nearer, I am always on the look out for places, programmes and activities to occupy the boys – especially Xi En.

Full of energy and no afternoon naps needed, Xi En needs some structured activities to occupy his mind and time. In June this year, I decided to pick 1 holiday camp for him to attend. My criteria is simple:

1) Location is not too far to commute and preferably near public transport

2) At least 4 to 5 days of programme so that he is occupied for almost a week

3) Something educational (physically or mentally)

4) Affordable in price

Since I felt that he is still lacking in his Mandarin language, I decided to scout for a Mandarin-focused holiday camp. In the end, I decided on KidStartNow as it met most of my checklist. Some of my blogger friends have reviewed it positively as well. From their website I learn that KidStartNow uses animated stories as the main medium for engaging children to learn Chinese. Initially I was skeptical if children should be further exposed to animation since my kids are already “over-exposed” to television programs at home!

But as I read through some of the FREE learning resources on KidStartNow website, I realised with the changing of times, digital resources are inevitable and in fact very useful to draw the attention of young children and indirectly create a love for a language they might otherwise dislike.

The June camp turned out very well.

By the end of the 4 days camp, Xi En asked for more lessons! He wanted to watch more “episodes” of the story of on The Panda Superheros. Previously he used English or refused to complete sentences in Mandarin.  But after the camp, he was more enthusiastic in trying to complete a sentence in Mandarin or at least asked for the Mandarin vocabulary if he doesn’t know the words. Although I didn’t sit in the lessons, I could hear the teacher’s lively voice encouraging class participation and the children warming up to each other and the language each day.  It was a fruitful 4 day camp!

We are excited that KidStartNow’s December camp is back and they have kindly invited Xi En to be part of it as well! As we are planning a trip to Taiwan (more Mandarin exposure!) before this, it is timely that we come back to a Mandarin camp.  Certainly hope that he will be inspired and not shun away from learning Mandarin.

Here, Dan Tang, one of the directors at KidStartNow had also answered some of my questions and provided tips which might be useful to many parents. I found his practical tips useful!

Who is the team behind KidStartNow and what is the motivation behind setting up KidStartNow?

“KidStartNow is founded by a team of educators, designers, and engineers that aim to help English-speaking kids love to learn and excel in Chinese. I created KidStartNow because I was raised in an English-speaking family and found learning Chinese a big struggle growing up until I lived and worked in Taiwan. I decided to give up a high-flying finance career in Taiwan to start KidStartNow because I wanted to help the next generation love and excel in Chinese.”

What qualification/experience do the teachers at KidStartNow come with? Do they come up with the programmes?

“We only hire A+ teachers who genuinely care about and love teaching kids and are extremely patient. This is because kids raised in English-speaking families typically find Chinese more foreign and it is easy for them to feel demoralised initially if they fall behind. All our teachers also have teaching diplomas, are native speakers and have several years of teaching experience. Our curriculum is created by our teachers in accordance with the latest MOE syllabus.”

Why do parents need to consider sending their children to a Chinese enrichment class and in particular what does KidStartNow have to offer which makes it a unique choice?

“Many parents lack the confidence or time to teach their kids Chinese, and thus send their kids to enrichment centres to build their kids’ interest in Chinese and prepare them for primary school. Unlike other centres, we are solely focused on English-speaking kids.

KidStartNow is different from other centres in three ways:

  • We hire only A+ teachers that genuinely love teaching kids and are incredibly patient
  • We focus on encouragement and growth mindset – kids are told they are good at Chinese and are rewarded with digital coins and stickers for trying
  • We are the only Chinese centre to create our own animated storybooks, which are incredibly effective at helping kids build interest and vocabulary (www.boshipanda.com)”

What advice do you have to offer to parents regarding encouraging their children to learn and enjoy Mandarin?

  • Be patient as getting comfortable with Chinese takes time. When your child refuses to speak or read Chinese, do not worry or express displeasure and instead praise your child for baby steps and encourage your child to keep on trying.
  • Reading is critical as it helps children develop a love for languages. If your child does not want to read Chinese books or if you are less confident in reading Chinese, consider using either KidStartNow’s animated storybooks or other apps that have audio read-aloud.
  • Start weaving Chinese into daily life – such as a set hour or day where the family communicates only in Chinese. Or when out, consciously point out street names and places of interest, etc in Chinese.

What can we expect from the upcoming school holidays camp program?

Our upcoming holiday camp aims to help kids develop interest in Chinese and build up their oral confidence through storytelling and role-playing (older kids will also have a chance to do a show and tell presentation). The camp will be a modern retelling of the Boy Who Cried Wolf story, except with a cast of superhero pandas, and teach the importance of honesty!

We have helped hundreds of children with our previous camps, many of whom attend multiple times. We are also highly recommended by 17 parent bloggers and have also been featured by Young Parents’ as “Enrichment class that best nurtures your child’s interest in Chinese” (Jan 2014).

Cheers,

Dan

I do find KidStartNow especially useful to those who come from English-speaking family background or non-Chinese ethnic groups and those who dislike or is “scared” of Mandarin. If you might be interested to know more about the Superhero Camp or weekly lessons, do check out their website for more details: http://www.kidstartnow.com/

See you there! 🙂

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Details of KidStartNow

  • Address: 209 New Upper Changi Road, #03-649, S(460209)
  • Phone: (+65) 6481-1932 / 9820-7272
  • Email: enquiry@kidstartnow.com

Credit: All photos and pictures are courtesy of KidStartNow.