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Little Passports

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.)

I came across a link to Little Passports and was so intrigued by the concept. Jon and I used to travel a lot before the kids came along, doing the whole backpacking on a shoestring thing. Such wonderful experiences! We still have the travel bug in us and would love for the kids to see and learn more of the world and its varied cultures. But with kids, travelling can get expensive. So we are saving many many destinations for when the kids are older and better able to appreciate wherever we go, and better retain memories of those holidays. With Alyssa’s arrival our timelines have been pushed back even further!

In the meantime, Little Passports offers us a way to teach the kids about the world and to explore a new country each month. There are many monthly subscription boxes nowadays, but I’ve never subscribed to any of them. This one, however, really appeals to me and I can’t wait to try it out! Especially since the June holidays are almost upon us!

Each World Edition subscription (for kids 6-10 years old) comes with a little suitcase and a passport (how cute!), a map, letters from pen pals Sam & Sofia, stickers, activity sheets, and other things. Each month you receive a kit featuring a new country, with activities and collectibles. There’s also a world edition for younger kids (3-5 years) called the Early Explorers, and it’s a simplified version that’s more appropriate for that age group. And if you are really keen to learn about all 52 states of the USA, there’s a USA edition too.

The little suitcase and the things that come with the World Edition subscription (Photo taken from Little Passports site)

Each World Edition subscription comes with a map (Photo taken from Little Passports site)

If you, like us, love for the kids to learn more about the world, Little Passports could be for you. I think this will be a really fun June holiday activity with the kids! Perhaps you’ll find that one destination the entire family simply must visit in person for the December holidays :)

Some stories attract you by their title alone. You just know it’s going be a good story. You just know you’re going to like it. And it certainly helps when the author is known for writing charming tales with memorable characters. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers is definitely one such story. I knew that my little bibliophile, Ellery, would like it. What a treat then to have the opportunity to bring him to watch it live!

The story is about a boy called Henry who loves books. Except, Henry doesn’t like to read books, he likes to eat them! Big books, picture books, reference books . . . if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows. Red ones are his favourite. And the more he eats, the smarter he gets. He’s on his way to being the smartest boy in the world! However, he eats too many books too quickly. One day he feels sick to his stomach and discovers that the knowledge he has acquired through book eating is all jumbled up inside. He simply can’t digest it! Eventually he learns to enjoy books by reading them, rather than eating them. He also finds that by reading he can still acquire knowledge, and still be on his way to becoming the smartest boy in the world. It will just take a little longer. It’s a unique story that brings home the message that reading is a worthwhile activity, and that there are no shortcuts to success.

Henry about to gobble up a book

Henry about to gobble up a book

Book goes in, brain gets bigger!

Book goes in, brain gets bigger, boy gets smarter!

The stage adaptation of The Incredible Book Eating Boy really brought out the story and allowed you to understand the main character, Henry, and his unique circumstances even more. I liked how they dramatised Henry getting distracted by a cat (doing a massive poo…) and accidentally having his first taste (literally) of books. Through a clever use of angles, lighting, and slight of hand, the actors managed to make it look like Henry was eating up the pages of the book, eating up whole books, and even several books at a go! Of course the adults would know how it’s done, but I think it wow-ed the kids. Ellery whispered to me, “How come he can really eat books, Mummy?”

I thought the actors did very well at switching roles, in particular Teresa Jakovich and Jo Turner who had to take on multiple characters in the show. They really transformed with each character, giving each one a different manner of speech and unique little idiosyncrasies. My favourite had to be Timmy, Henry’s classmate. He was soooo funny. Loved him.

Henry with his Dad and sister

Henry with his Dad and sister

Besides Timmy, my favourite bit in the show was the segment showing ‘Henry’s Kitchen’, a parody that was a cross between sell-a-vision and a cooking show with books as the ingredients. It was so punny! There were lots of humourous references to famous books that parents could appreciate, and several references to familiar childrens books that the kids could recognise. For Ellery, his favourite part of the show was when Henry learned to enjoy reading, rather than eating, books.

After his terrible bout of indigestion, Henry doesn't want to eat book anymore!

Henry cannot stomach the pile of books anymore

I liked how the set and props were inspired by books. The backdrop was of pages of a book, the stage was marked with a boundary of books, the stools were piles of books, and the cleverest part was having props that looked like books which opened into a table complete with pop-up salad bowls and cups! I also liked how the style of the set and props stayed true to Oliver Jeffers’ beautiful and quirky illustrations in the book, right down to Henry’s medal for being the smartest boy on earth.

The smartest boy on earth!

The smartest person on Earth!

It isn’t always true that a good book translates to a good stage adaptation, but CDP theatre producers did a great job. Even though they elaborated on parts of the story, they did not detract from it. I would say their version made the book even more appealing!

On the way home, Ellery told me about how he couldn’t find a particular book and said he was certain Henry must have eaten it up! :)

image

Eating the book eating boy

Presented by ABA Productions, The Incredible Book Eating Boy runs until Sunday 24 May and I think there are still tickets for the 430pm show. If you’ve got no plans, it would definitely be worth your while catching this production! Tickets are available via the SISTIC website and ticketing hotline (63485555).

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We received complementary tickets for this show. All opinions are my own.
This post contains affiliate links.

Bolster

This is what happens when your brother thinks you are cute and cuddly.

Ellery: "Mummy! Why is my bolster moving?"

Ellery: “Mummy! Why is my bolster moving?”

Skating @ JCube

After visiting the LKCNHM, we went to JCube for lunch and ice skating! The boys had been asking to go ice skating over the weekend for some reason, so it was a good opportunity to scratch that itch and bring them for a skating session.

They had so much fun! And it made me happy to see them enjoying themselves so much.

Ellery with a penguin

Ellery with a penguin

Trying to balance on the ice

Trying to balance on the ice

We changed the penguin to a seal so that they could take turns riding on it. It was also more stable for Ellery when using it as a support.

We changed the penguin to a seal so that they could take turns riding on it. It was also more stable for Ellery when using it as a support.

Taking turns

Taking turns

Asher managed to skate on his own :)

Asher managed to skate on his own :)

Skating is fun!

Skating is fun!

And to top of a day filled with fun and activity, the boys got to stay over at my parents place. They love going there for sleepovers. So it was a perfect ending to a fun-filled day :)

I confess I was a blur Mummy, and didn’t realise that Asher had no school on Thursday until a day before when I heard it from other Mummies! So I felt a bit guilty, but then I was so happy too because we’d have a day to spend together! I decided to let Ellery skip school the next day and that we’d head to the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

I’ve been looking forward to it’s opening since it was first mentioned in the news a few years back. And when the announcement came that it was opened to the public, I was a bit wistful that the earliest we could go was in June. Asher’s in the afternoon session, so there really isn’t any opportunity to go on weekdays, and weekends are out cos the hubby isn’t so interested to venture there. So I was so happy and the boys were very excited about being able to head there to see the dinosaur fossils. My mum decided to tag along too since she had not been there either.

The place isn’t very big, but there are so many interesting exhibits to see. They estimate that it would take 1.5hrs to go through the museum. For kids, double that. We easily spent 3 hours there, and even then there were parts that we didn’t look at in such great detail. There are too many interesting things to elaborate upon here, it’s best you go see for yourself!

There’s no denying that the fossils were majestic, but I felt that they looked a little bit cramped in that space. However, knowing the background to the building and the museum, it’s amazing that we even have them in Singapore at all!

The museum is so much more than just the fossils though. The plants, the insects, the mammals, the reptiles…wow! So many specimens! I remember seeing some of the specimens in the old Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, and though it was small it already so interesting. What more this place where more of the collection can be unveiled. And I love looking at the names of the different creatures because sometimes they have such funny names, like the Old Woman Octopus!

We would have stayed longer if our bellies didn’t demand that we left. We had come in the morning at 1030, and our stomachs were calling out for food. I’m sure we’ll come back again.

Welcomed by a kaleidoscope of specimens

Welcomed by a kaleidoscope of specimens

Mmmmuuaaak. We love you dino!

Mmmmuuaaak. I love you dino!

UUUUMMMMM! I'm a T-Rex and I WANT TO EAT YOU!!!

UUUUMMMMM! I’m a T-Rex and I WANT TO EAT YOU!!!

The fossils of the three sauropods

The fossils of the three sauropods. There’s a light display every 30 mins.

Nice views of the fossils from the second floor

Nice views of the fossils from the second floor

The real fossil of the head still buried in the rock. The scientists were afraid that excavating it could compromise the specimen. So the ones on display are casts of the real thing.

The real fossil of the head still buried in the rock. The scientists were afraid that excavating it could compromise the specimen. So the ones on display are casts of the real thing.

Pretending to be the bittern

Pretending to be the Bittern

I never realised how big frigate birds were!

I never realised how big frigate birds were!

This is the most hilarious mating display ever. He puffs up into a flat plate!

This is the most hilarious mating display ever. He puffs up into a flat plate!

Croc looking scary...

Croc looking scary…

...Until you look at this eyes and he seems a bit goofy :)

…Until you look at this eyes and he seems a bit goofy :) “duh…”

Amazed how the size of the triceretops' leg.

Amazed how the size of the triceretops’ leg

 The Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthopod, and can reach 3.8m end to end! 

The Japanese Spider Crab has the largest leg span of any arthopod, and can reach 3.8m end to end!

Compare it with the Coral Spider Crab which is one of the smallest crabs in the world. They seldom exceed 2mm in length!

Compare it with the Coral Spider Crab which is one of the smallest crabs in the world. They seldom exceed 2mm in length!

The most boring specimen in the museum. The Boring Giant Clam.

The most boring specimen in the museum.
The Boring Giant Clam.

Old Woman Octopus

The wrinkly Old Woman Octopus. 

Beautiful colours on the nymph!

Beautiful colours on the nymph!

Pterosaurs!

Pterosaurs! Ellery was sooo excited to see them!

Funny flattened specimens. Probably because people wanted to find an easy way to transport them.

Funny flattened specimens. Probably because people wanted to find an easy way to transport them in the past.

Most of the bird specimens were preserved with their legs and wings tucked in, and it seemed quite normal. But I couldn't help laughing when I saw this Barred Eagle-Owl. The expression on his face made me think of a superhero diving to save some innocent people from baddies! "I'm coming!"

Most of the bird specimens were preserved with their legs and wings tucked in, and it seemed quite normal. But I couldn’t help laughing when I saw this Barred Eagle-Owl. The expression on his face made me think of a superhero diving to save some innocent people from baddies! “Here I come to save the day!”

Do take note that you need to purchase tickets from SISTIC before you go down to the museum. They do not sell tickets at the museum itself. This is done to ensure that the museum doesn’t get over-crowded. There are 6 visitor sessions each day that you can choose from when purchasing your tickets, and entry is strictly by session timings only.

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Faculty of Science
National University of Singapore
2 Conservatory Drive
Singapore 117377

Baby Pilates

I was laughing my head off when I saw Alyssa doing this. I don’t know where she got the idea from, but she kept trying to put her feet on her head. It was so funny!

And I’m amazed again at how flexible she is. Hopefully she retains her flexibility!

2015-05-06 18.07.57 In the car, did this on her own (2) 2015-05-06 18.07.57 In the car, did this on her own (3) 2015-05-06 18.07.57 In the car, did this on her own (4)

I think Alyssa is a shoes kinda girl. Like me haha.

I got her a pair of shoes but they were much too big. However, she refused to let me take them off! I love those shoes though. They look exactly like ballet shoes! I can’t wait for her to learn ballet! I know I’ve said that before, but ahh! I can’t wait!

Then recently I bought her a more fitting pair to wear on the birthday, and she eagerly tried to show my Mum her shoes while sitting at the high chair. Very unlady-like, but she was so determined to show them to Popo!

My new shoes!

My new shoes!

Fiddling with the strings

Fiddling with the strings

Yep, you see it don't you. On the way to being a ballerina!

Yep, you see it don’t you. On the way to being a ballerina!

Prior to pulling the shoe off her foot, she actually had her leg on the table and was happily kicking about to show Popo her shoe!

Prior to pulling the shoe off her foot, she actually had her leg on the table and was happily kicking about to show Popo her shoe!

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