I’ve always like the idea of book-based activities, but never had the time, patience, or discipline to actually create proper lesson plans and materials for N. We read a wide variety of books, and often, I find myself thinking, “Hey, this book has similar themes as some of the other books that we’ve read!” or “Maybe I can do something with N as a follow-up activity, after we finish reading this book!” However, I can never seem to follow up properly on all these ideas, which is a pity because there are usually quite a few learning points in the books we read.
When Little Genie Box contacted me, I jumped at the chance to do a review, as it was exactly what I wanted to do with N, without actually having to prepare the materials myself. We received a box from the Everyday Chinese Program, which I’m reviewing in this post, as well as a box from the Literacy Program, which I’ll review in a separate post later.
Little Genie Box empowers parents to be teachers at home, and helps children love learning. They offer three programs: School Readiness, Literacy, Everyday Chinese, all with the same purpose of bringing learning home and making learning fun. Home learning is now made easy because busy parents don’t have to fret over preparing lessons and materials. The learning activities are suitable for children aged 3 to 6, although Primary One students who struggle with school might also find the programs useful. The lesson plans are designed to scaffold learning and incorporate various learning pedagogies.
Little Genie Box
The Everyday Chinese Program is the only Chinese subscription program available in Singapore, and suitable for parents who aren’t strong in Chinese, as a translated guide is provided. The program has carefully curated a series of award-winning Chinese children books that focus on the Chinese culture, values and the use of the language in authentic settings.
We received the book ‘七彩下雨天’ in our Everyday Chinese Program box, and with it came a small booklet of lesson plans, as well as all the materials needed to carry out the activities.
Everyday Chinese Program
N was very excited (as you can see) when he saw what was in the box, and quickly asked if we could start working on it. Thankfully, the twins were napping, and I was able to spend some quality time with him. I read the book to him, and although I wasn’t sure about how to pronounce some of the words, the hanyu pinyin for the entire book was neatly printed, laminated, and pasted at the end of the book. They’ve clearly put a lot of thought into the kit, and anticipated that some parents (like me) will struggle with just reading the story!
Hanyu Pinyin at the end of the book
N sticking out his tongue to “taste” the orange rain
The book is based on the colours of the rainbow, so the activities revolve around colours, and reiterate the imagery used in the story. N loves painting, so the first activity was right up his alley. The template is laminated, and a plain sheet of paper is attached on top, for the child to paint the colourful raindrops. I think this is a reusable activity, as you can easily attach a fresh sheet of paper on top, if your child want to work on it again. The paint was provided in little disposable containers, and the cotton buds were packed in a small plastic bag. There was more than enough paint, and initially, I thought the paint was homemade, as the texture was really nice and smooth. (It’s actually from Art Friend, and suitable for kids.)
I repeated the colours in Chinese to N as he painted, and he enjoyed using the cotton buds to create the colourful raindrops. This activity is good for fine motor skills, and requires a fair bit of focus, as the child has to make an effort to paint in vertical columns.
Ready to paint
N’s painting process
Proud of his rainbow-coloured rain
Originally, I planned to split the activities from this box up, so that it would last us a couple of days, but N had so much fun with the painting activity that he begged me to continue. He was intrigued by the remaining materials in the box, and I regretted showing him everything at one shot. Parents, if you plan to use the activities over a period of time, HIDE whatever you don’t want to do yet!
The next activity required N to recall the sequence of colours, as well as the imagery associated with each colour. These were all printed on little pieces of laminated paper, and attached to the top of the “mobile” via velcro. After N worked on that, he had to match the pictures to the correct colours, and string them together. He still doesn’t know how to tie a knot, so I had to help him with that, but slightly older children should be able to manage that on their own I think.
Attaching the velcro bits
Stringing the pictures up
The third activity was very simple, as all N had to do was look for the pictures that inspired the little girl to think of the different colours of the rain. I read the words to him, and he attached them onto the various pictures quite quickly. The board and words are magnetic, so the words can be easily moved around and removed, if you want to revisit this activity at a later date.
Working on it
The last activity is targeted at older children, as it teaches the parts of the Chinese characters, and there are writing sheets provided for the child to practise writing the words. The writing sheets are laminated, and an erasable marker is provided, so you can get your child to do this activity over and over again. #tigermumalert
I thought N wouldn’t be interested, but he was! The parts of the words are magnetic, so you can even match them wrongly, and get your child to rearrange them to form the correct words. He spent some time looking at the words, but didn’t try writing, so I’ll keep those practice sheets for future use.
Teaching Tiger how to read the Chinese words
This box of learning materials from Little Genie Box was truly a godsend, as I didn’t need to prepare anything on my own, apart from reading through the book and lesson plans beforehand. I can’t remember how much time we spent working on the different activities together, but I do know that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
For more information on Little Genie Box’s Everyday Chinese Program, please visit their website HERE.
SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR READERS OF GROWING WITH THE TANS
Little Genie Box has a special promotion for our readers! For every 6-month enrolment, you will receive a free award-winning book (worth up to $25). All you have to do is key in the promo code ‘icanteachmychild’ on the enrollment form on their website http://www.littlegeniebox.com/sign-up.html This promotion is valid till 31st December 2016.
Disclaimer: We received a box of the Everyday Chinese Program for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own.