Saturday, May 28, 2016

Holiday Wish List of Fun

Today is the last day of school and I couldn't be happier. I look forward to the coming month of minimal work and lots and lots of play.

I was asked why I looked forward to the holidays since it would mean having 3 kids underfoot and fighting. True that but I revel not having to worry about homework for a while. During one of the exam nights where we were fantasising about what we could do post exams, the twins came up with a list. I did promise that we would try to do some of the things on their list.

So here were some of their requests.

1. Go to Playeum.
Some months back, we were invited to Playeum and their Art of Speed installation. They loved it and have been clamouring to go back. Fortuitously, right about the same time, Playeum invites us to their new theme, Hideways- Creating with Nature. So the day Jordan was done with her exams, we high-tailed out of school like a bat out of hell and we spent the afternoon there .

I need to state categorically that I love Playeum and revel every chance we get to go there. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

a. This installation had a science geeky bit with microscopes and specimens that Evan gravitated to. On top of that, there was a live stream of a hornet somewhere outside, building a nest. Near enough to see, not near enough to get into trouble.

b. It had a buffet of raw materials for JED to create things. 
They don't tell the kids how to play, explicitly or implicitly. They just leave out trays of raw recycled material and art supplies and set the kids free onto them. Of course, for those who need a bit more structure and order, there are helpers around to help guide them to make stuff. This installation's theme was to make Sounds of the Earth, which was cool on its on. 

JED however, deep into their Harry Potter obsession chose to use the raw materials to fashion themselves some pretty awesome wands. And rafts. Very Lord of the Flies.

c. The Possibilities
There was the Dark Space area as well as the Creative Cave. Personally, I love the Dark Space. The whole of Playeum including the Dark Space is a play of play but the kids naturally slow in it and they take time to look around and revel in the dark. The dark triggers and heightens other senses and children play differently there. 

JED however, used it as a juxtaposition to the bright outside; when their play required them to be in the day light, they were outside and when it was night, they would come in here and they used the strips of fabric and everything they could get their hands on to build a night time web.

Everything was up to them. They got to create their own worlds and after weeks of doing what they needed to do for the exams, it was such a relief for them to just unwind and create. So we got that checked off our list fast and furious!

2. Read.

They wanted to read uninterrupted and that was one of the first things they did post exams. During the exams, they could only read in spurts. At meal times, at break, at bed time. They really just wanted to be able to read and lose themselves in it.

And they've been reveling in it. The house is occasionally quiet with the kids fully immersed in what they are reading and both twins have finished the huge tome of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Even Evan, who is more reluctant to read, has asked for more books to read during the holidays having polished off 4 in the time between his exams ending and today. 

I've hit the library for them and have been trawling both Book Depository and Amazon to pick out stuff for them. Their birthday is the end of the month. I've declared a moratorium on toys as gifts but books, I'm very happy to indulge. 

3. Write.

This is more Jordan than Evan but she wants to spend time writing. She's discovered that writing and compositions aren't synonymous and now that she has a month away from compositions, she just wants to write. She's got books and coloured pens to write with and she's ready to attack writing with a vengeance. We've also signed both of them up for a writing workshop at Writing Sprouts where they get to do a week of writing and gets to publish their own book at the end of it. 

4. Help. (This was more mine!) 

We're also going to use this holidays to help. Life isn't just about spending all your time trying to cheat the system and do well in exams; that's something we're very clear in wanting JED to learn. JED need to learn that there is a bigger world outside of school and homework and that there are people out there with bigger problems than not having enough time to play. So, we're going to be spending some time this holiday trying to help out at Willing Hearts. The twins are becoming aware of how there are people out there with more needs than they have and are empathetic enough to want to help so there's no better time to start. 

5. Swim

They want to swim and they want to play in the sun. Sunstroke and sunburn notwithstanding, they can spend all the time they want in the pool and different pools at that. They have a list and they want to slowly make their list down that. Who cares if their skin shrivels and their hair is wrecked by the chlorine? I do but when I was 9, my hair was green from chlorine so why deprive them of that? 

6. Crocodile Hunting.

Muffin has an obsession for big creatures. Dinosaurs, big cats, reptiles. He keeps asking if they exist in Singapore. Some, like dinosaurs don't but others do. He wants to watch Jurassic Park/ World, look for big cats and big reptiles. Thankfully, we have Sungei Buloh and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and there's a possibility of finding some of those creatures there. JED recall snakes at Bukit Timah and we recall otters at Sungei Buloh. We just need to be outfitted in military strength insect repellant. 

7. Celebrate their birthday

I'm turning 40 this year and I hate the thought of it. But for the twins, birthdays are exciting and fun. It's not an elaborate party but there's open space for the kids to run around screaming. Since they've become old enough to be involved in it, it's more fun for them and less work for me. They want decorations? They organise playdates with their friends and create the decorations. This birthday, we need to create a Platform 9 3/4 wall since it's a Potter Party and some broomstick goodie bags. 

8. Night Walks

One of their all time favourite activities is to go on night walks, with friends and or neighbours. They love carrying torch lights, shining it at random things and scream "SUSPICIOUS!". They love scaring each other and talking loudly enough to wake the dead. We've done Botanics and places nearby our place. With more time during the holidays, maybe we'll venture further from home and perhaps be able to see chickens roosting in trees.

9.  TV

The rule in our house is no TV on the weekdays. It's religiously adhered to even during the holidays. The only way the rule is broken is when what they watch is in Chinese. We kill two birds with one stone. They get their TV hit and they get some Chinese input. Everyone is happy and sometimes, it's just the breather we all need from the noise, the mess and the fighting. 

10. Being with each other

While we do spend a great amount of time with JED, during term time, much of that time is spent with us in the driver's seat sending them around or as the teacher, helping them with their work. During the holidays, they want us to play with them and we want to as well. Basketball, frisbee, going to breakfast and going to the movies. They also want to be with each other, play uninterrupted without having to be hauled away to do work. They have plans to build Minecraft and Lego worlds. We want to gladly indulge them. 

So there, our very simple plans for the holidays. Minimal structured activities (except for the writing workshop) and hopefully enough down time for everyone to re-group, refuel and recharge. 


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