These days, with the ever-evolving pandemic situation, you and the brood might decide to camp out more often at home. But, what will you and your little chickadees do, when they start missing their weekend outdoorsy family fun and get more restless as the days go by? Instead of feeling all cooped up in your nest, help them (and yourself) out by sourcing for some kid-friendly entertainment to be had indoors, starting with these colouring mats, squishy playdough and boxes full of funducational surprises. (Do keep an eye out for our toys-filled choices in Part 2!)
Colour Me Mats
Remember the nostalgic days of colouring with crayons, magic markers, colour pencils and what-have-you – or for the not-so-vintage-of-age folk – the hipster-revival of colouring books a few years back? Well, now you can revisit your fave childhood/hipster activity with Colour Me Mats. Created by two mothers who love picture books and want children to live a fuller life away from being stuck to the screens of electronic devices, these colouring mats are not your regular old-school ones. They are all original, educational designs, with each centred on a theme or scene with characters, giving parents not only a chance to join in the colouring fun and bond with their kiddos, but also engage in some good old storytelling by explaining the history or background behind each design. For instance, it has a Bible Stories collection, an Islamic Series, and a Timmy & Tammy X Colour Me Mats collection that sees the preschoolers-beloved characters exploring places in Singapore.
What’s more the mats are BPA-free and made of premium food-grade silicone with a raised edge around the border to help children colour within the mats and prevent accidental messes and spills. And of course, they all have smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces – simply use a wet wipe to remove the marker colours (as long as you and the little artist-in-residence don’t use permanent ones). If nothing else, with these mats, you can prevent petite Picasso from treating your bedroom wall, leather sofa or pet dog as fair game for canvasses and turning them into “living” and “lived in” art.
BONUS: SAFRA members receive 10% off storewide at Colour Me Mats. Click here for more information.
Dough n Me
Why should adults get to be the only ones kneading, rolling and messing up as bakers at home? Kids can, too – just not in the kitchen and not with real dough of course. Have your tyke grab, press and mash with some sensory playdough, courtesy of Dough n Me. Founded by two sisters who know the importance of both home-teaching and playing-to-learn for kids, its colourful handcrafted doughs are food-grade, taste-safe and contain no toxic chemicals or ingredients (they have children of their own, so they are all about keeping them safe from harm – the sisters have spent time experimenting on creating doughs that are “good” enough for children). Better yet, the doughs are made fresh upon order to be delivered.
The best bit about Dough n Me? The many dozens of products available. Our recommendations: the “Play, trace, shape & learn your ABCs!” interactive bundle that comes with a Trace and Lift ABC book, 26 alphabet cutters, a roller and three tubs of dough; and the “Friends in the Woods” Sensory Book Kit, that packs a lift-the-flap Nature book from www.OwlReadersClub.sg containing bite-sized facts about woodland creatures, two tubs of dough, and nine original animal-shaped cutters by Dough n Me that include the likes of Danielle The Deer and Stix The Squirrel that are so adorbs you might be tempted to try them out for yourself. Their curated kits also come with the option of including more accessories like stampers, rollers and sensory rice (you just need to pay for these add-ons) and scents for the doughs. But, take note: Though the scented doughs use essential oils such as lemon and lavender, it’s best to stick to non-scented ones if your tiny tot has allergies, skin or scent sensitivities, or is aged below 3 years of age.
BONUS: SAFRA members receive 12% off storewide at Dough n Me. Click here for more information.
Puzzled over what to do at home with your curious one? Get a Squizzel Box. Puzzled over what’s a Squizzel Box? Is it a box of puzzles, a scurry of squirrels or a box of puzzled, scurrying squirrels, even?? No, it is not all of these; what it is, is a monthly subscription package that puts together a whole bunch of theme-based materials and play-based activities for children aged 3 and above. A collective sigh for busy parents then, since it’s a great and convenient option that takes all the guesswork and time out of coming up with a meaningful playtime for the nipper at home.
How it’s created: Developed in consultation with teachers, activities are designed to be play-based and help children learn the seven developmental skills in preschool education such as language and literacy, motor skills development, and aesthetics and creative expression. These activities are built around a new theme each month, so things are kept fresh, exciting and new for your sapling.
So, what’s in each Squizzel Box then? Here’s the breakdown: Ten hands-on activities/projects that explore five learning aspects of the month’s theme; all the materials needed to carry out these activities/projects; an instruction booklet that contains a learning guide; extension activity ideas so you can help kiddo learn “outside of the box”, so to speak; and a suggested reading list for your curious-minded student to look up and sponge up on more knowledge about the subject/theme.
Now that you know what’s a Squizzel Box, all you need to do is to pick a plan that’s most suited for you and your family. Opt for a monthly subscription, a pre-paid plan (choose from 3-, 6-, or 12-month), a Trial Box, or just a Single Box. So far, the themed boxes that have been offered in the past months include Little Mechanic, Farm House, Dinosaur Land and Soapy Fun. Decide, buy, then wait for the box to arrive at your doorstep. It’s like giving a mystery present to your littlest loved one every month!
BONUS: SAFRA members receive 5% off Single Boxes at Squizzel Box. Click here for more information.