Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday things to do- A day camp with a difference (Review)

We've just passed the first week of the holidays and JED have done their fair share of lolling around. Evan and Packrat have had to recover from camp and Jordan, from her gym competition (which I shall blog about soon.) I'm loving all the random stuff that they have been able to do, sleep overs at grandma's, play dates with friends and they even had some new experiences in the week.

The Giving Treehouse Student Care Centre wrote to invite the twins to their holiday programme. I'm sticking to my guns about not having the kids swamped by holiday classes but this one was different. This one had a heart and it was something I could totally get behind.

The twins, together with their friend Kate, did only 3 out of the 5 day programme but it was enough for them to have a lot of fun and to come home a little bit more thoughtful. Each day was markedly different from the next.

I was very taken by the colours and vibrance of the place. There was a lot of green, inspired by Shel Silvertein's The Giving Tree (already a win in my book!) and an entire wall that was a chalk board for the kids to scrawl on. Obviously, that was what the twins descended on first.

What I liked about the programme was that it was obviously non-academic and these were things that I would have done with JED if I had the time, space and didn't have to worry about anything else. And in my book, that's what holidays are meant for. 

So the highlights for us were 
1. The Trampoline Park (Jordan and Evan)
An entire hour of non-stop bouncing and challenging each other to see who could jump the highest, twirl the most number of times or somersault into a pool of foam had the kids drenched in sweat. Evan's frustration was that he couldn't get up to the top of the mattress no matter how high he jumped. But his efforts did make him look like a basketballer ready to dunk a shot. 

2. Making stuff (Evan)
Some time ago, we made lava lamps at home out of recycled bottles, cooking oil, colouring and Alka Seltzer. We've since thrown those away and he's been bugging us to do it again. I've been hedging because it's a lot of oil to use. So, the fact that The Giving Treehouse's programme included the making of lava lamps, sold the progamme to him in a heart beat. He didn't even ask about what else we were going to do. Lava lamping was good enough for him.

Their weird humour surfaced with the Alka Seltzer bubbling in the oil and colour mixtures. Small eruptions were  and large eruptions were obviously, 包. I didn't get it but they seemed to think it was hilarious.

Making the lava lamps

Making kites. 

3. Helping Others. (My favourite)
Evan wanted to do the camp because of the lava lamps, Jordan wanted to do the camp because of the day at the Trampoline Park and I wanted them to do the camp because their last day there had them going to Willing Hearts to help prepare meals for delivery. After Evan's whole 'poor people are Muslim' thing, I really needed for them to see more of this part of Singapore that features so little in their psyche and helping at Willing Hearts was a good start to it. They had to slice food for cooking and then label the boxes. It wasn't very hard work but it was hot, tedious and repetitive. They stuck to it though and Jordan announced that she had helped prepare meals for people who needed food. 

So by Friday, the twins felt very accomplished. In Evan's words, they had had an exercise day, a 'make things' day and a helping day. I couldn't have summed it up better.

My only reservation about going to The Giving Treehouse was that it was in the East and we lived on the other side of the island. But it turned out to be well worth the commute.

The Giving Treehouse is essentially an after school care centre and if I were a working mom and my kids were in school in the East, this would really be the place I would send them to. The coaches were great; they hung out with the kids, talked to them at their level and played with them. The centre was filled with books and games and everything was welcoming. I had a look at their regular after school schedule and there was conscious effort to always include time to do things that were beyond just the books. All good things.

Having grown up in the East, I've always believed that the best things are in the East and this pretty much reinforces it for me.

Now, if only I could convince Packrat that moving to the East was viable.

The Giving Tree House is at Laguna Park. (
5000F Marine Parade Road, 
#01-24 Laguna Park
Singapore 449289

T: 6448 5700
M: 9150 5756
It is a Before/ After School Student Centre and there is the option of doing ad-hoc drop-offs too.

The twins were offered a week at The Giving Tree House's holiday programme. There are four more weeks of it and I'd do it too if we didn't live so far away. Anyway, that's pretty much testament of our opinions of the programme.


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