Sunday, July 23, 2017

Japan Travel with Children - Kyushu - Fukuoka - Uminonakamichi Seaside Park 海の中道海浜公園

The only direct flight from Singapore to Kyushu (Japan) is operated by Singapore Airlines. And there is one and only one flight every day, which departs Singapore at 1.20 a.m.! Yes, 1.20 a.m.! I was quite worried whether the children could survive the red-eye flight. Oh well, actually I was more worried for myself, as I knew that I couldn't sleep well on a plane. So even though we arrived Fukuoka Airport at 8+ a.m., we only planned one activity for the day. We visited Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (海の中道海浜公園), because I was attracted by the playground!

If you have been reading our blog, you would know that I am obsessed with looking for slides when we plan our family overseas trips, you can read about slides in child-friendly accommodations in Taiwan, and super long slides in Okinawa (Japan). I chanced upon some Taiwanese blogs and found the long slides at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, and put this into our itinerary without any hesitation.

What a gigantic octopus!

On the top of the slides, there was an area that was great for playing catching!

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a very big park. Take a look at the park map, there are a few play areas scattered over the park. These were some play areas that we visited.

There was water play area too. A much bigger water play area called Sunshine Pool would be opened during summer time (July to August).

Other than playgrounds, another attraction at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is flower. When we visited there in mid-June, we saw hydrangea. The hydrangea in Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, unlike those at Yohena Ajisai Hydrangea Garden in Okinawa, were scattered along the walking paths.

At Rose Garden, most of the roses at Rose Garden were withering in mid-June, what a pity!

But there were many other different types of plants.

By the time we walked to Animal Forest, which is a mini zoo, the children were very tired. It was a pity that we just missed the timing for petting the small animals.

We dragged ourselves to walk about 1.4 km from Animal Forest back to the train station. In fact, we had explored only about half of the park, but due to lack of sleep from the red-eye flight, we could not continue the exploration.

Some tips for you:
  • Please take note that the frequency of the trains is about 2-3 trains per hour. Check Hyperdia for the train schedule.
  • A food court is located at Wonder Shuttle, but we didn't notice any other eateries in other parts of the park. So bring along snacks in case the children get hungry.
  • We visited the park in mid-June, the temperature was 26 degree Celsius that day, but it was quite cold as it was very windy. Remember to bring along outer wear. 

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park 海の中道海浜公園
How to get there: From Hakata (博多), take JR Kagoshima Line to Kashii (香椎), then take JR Kashii Line to Uminonakamichi (海ノ中道)

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Using Picture Books for Primary School Readers

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When the children were younger, we read picture books with them. The children were engaged by the beautiful and vivid illustrations, and the pictures helped them to visualise what was going on in the story. 

Our children are now in primary school, but we did not put away our old picture books, because we see the values of the picture books to our children. While the language in the picture books is now too simple for them, the pictures empower and inspire their creativity.

Recently, we received two award-winning picture books from Scholastic for review purpose - The First Journey and Wandering Off . The former was the winner of The Scholastic Picture Book Award 2015, while the later one was a finalist.

Let's share with you how we used these two picture books to educate our children:

The First Journey

Author: Phung Nguyen Quang & Huynh Kim Kien
ISBN: 9789810992736
About this book:
During the Mekong Delta's "floating season", when the great river overflows, An and others like him must brave the floods to attend school. When An sets out on his own for the first time, he faces heavy rain and the mysteries of the dark Melaleuca swamp. Although strange dangers lurk in the water, An takes comfort in knowing that his friends are waiting for him at the end of his first journey alone.

How to use this book for primary school readers:
  • Discuss the different way of life of children in Vietnam and Singapore
  • Discuss the qualities of An, and why these qualities are important
  • Create a boat using recycled materials e.g. straws, cardboard

Wandering Off

Author: Wendy Aw 
ISBN: 9789810992743
About this book:
Lucas faces a long, boring wait when his Mum goes shopping at the wet market, but a new friend helps him turn a dull afternoon into an exciting, fun-filled one. This energetic and colourful story celebrates the power of the imagination and how it can transform the world into anything at all.

How to use this book for primary school readers:
  • Discuss examples of daydreams that the children had
  • Discuss what the children would like to do with no one stopping him, and why

Disclaimer: We received the books from Scholastic Asia for review purpose. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are mine. 

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Using Fidget Spinner to Teach Children Art, Science and Mathematics

To be honest, I did not like the idea of getting fidget spinners for my children. They requested for the fidget spinners when many of their friends had those. However, I did not see the purpose of fidget spinners at all - what was the great deal of balancing the fidget spinners on the fingers? Does it really help the children to relieve stress or to stay focused? 

Eventually, we brought the fidget spinners for our children. It was because we thought that they had put in effort in studying for the semestral assessment, so we wanted to reward them for their effort. While the children were happily spinning the spinners, I saw the opportunity to teach them art, science and mathematics!

Using Fidget Spinner to Teach Children Mathematics

The children learnt about the meaning of diameter and radius of a circle. They measured the diameter of the outer circle, and marked out the diameter on a white cardboard. I helped to cut the circles using a circle cutter. 

The children then used blu tack to mount the circular cardboard on to the fidget spinner.

Using Fidget Spinner to Teach Children Art

By placing a felt tip marker at the same spot of the cardboard, a beautiful pattern can be created.

The children also did an experiment by drawing a straight line from the centre to the edge of the circle, and they were thrilled to see a spiral pattern!

Using Fidget Spinner to Teach Children Art

We made spinner colour wheel a few years ago using marker pen. The effect was beautiful, however, the marker would stop spinning shortly. The children have learnt the colours of a rainbow, and they were excited the effect of blending the colours!

Do you have any ideas on how fidget spinners can be used to educate the children?

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