The holidays are here again. For us, it means lots of things to do and not enough time to do it! Here are 8 fun activities to boost children’s 8 multiple intelligences that I have done or am planning to do with B (some of them, we do it a few times – why? coz it’s great fun!), none of which involves going to the mall!
Multiple Intelligence 1 : Linguistic
Introduce the love of book browsing
Holidays are times when you don’t have to rush from school to Chinese class or ballet, etc. Just last week, we spent 1 hour browsing in the library and it was because B wanted to borrow a particular book again.
That girl has the memory of an elephant (must be all the fish), there was this particular book that she read more than 10 times when we borrowed it 2 months ago. Last week, we were at the library and she said, “Mama, I want to look for How Plants Defend Themselves”. So I found the call number for her but got her to look for the book herself and while doing that, we came across many other books – I ask you, how can one resist not picking up a book entitled “Bubble Homes and Fish Farts”???
A few days after that, we spent 1 hour at Popular Book Store picking up a book for her for a coming holiday trip. Now that she is older and can read chapter books, I figured it would be nice to include her in our habit of taking along a book on a holiday for a read. So first she spent time browsing all the easy peasy books ( I think probably because it’s fun to be able to flip through them in 5 minutes with all the lovely pictures) and when you finally settled on the series and title (usually, she goes for the Thea Stilton series, but I encouraged her to try something new), she couldn’t decide between 4 titles – 3 unicorns and 1 otter fairy story – and her allowance was only for 1 book. So after ALOT of flip flopping, she decided on the Secret Kingdom series.
I am pleased to report that she read half the book on our flight to Krabi – just about 63 pages for a two hour flight. Reading on the plane and in the car while waiting is a habit we cultivated since she was a wee baby, starting with those wonderfully convenient cloth books like My Busy Books, quiet books, counting books. I used to slip one or two of her favourite small toys into these books with come all zippered up so that she would have a surprise when she opened it.
Multiple Intelligence 2 : Logical-mathematical
Plant a vegetable, make a bouquet
My daughter loves planting. So I wanted to incorporate some mathematical concepts with her interest. We started off easy – a carrot top but apparently, it is pretty easy to grow a plant from a vegetable top.
B has been pretty determine to grow a carrot top because when the school tried during term time, it didn’t work. So I noticed that she was logically trying to deduce why it didn’t grow and we decided to give it a go by changing one of the variables – longer stems. Everyday, it was her job to change the water. We started with 2 tops, but they didn’t grow. So we changed another variable, we planted them in soil. They didn’t grow either. Then while she was grocery shopping with me, she said, “Maybe I need better carrot tops.” … So this time we choose bigger carrots with more of the leftover stem/top. Wonders of wonders, they grew. I should have take some photos of them, because B harvested the first few leaves for Speedy, our rabbit (who voraciously chewed up those 2 1.5 inches of carrot leaf like B had offered her some truffle. Sadly, the snails had a party the night we planted the rest in the patio and now the tops are back to statue quo.
There is also another favourite activity of B’s – we buy some flowers from the market florist – each stalk costs about 70 cents, so for $2.10, it’s a worthwhile activity that also brightens up your table. I keep chicken essence bottles as her little vases as they don’t topple easily and the glass is not as delicate as those thin glass vases. We make a game of it. I write a few “orders” like a customer eg Order from Ms Sunshine : A bouquet of 2 yellow, 6 purple and 3 red flowers. Sometimes, we go a step further… she tells me how much it is, I pay and she has to figure out the change to give me.
Multiple Intelligence 3 : Musical
We just visited Gramercy to restring her violin but I chanced upon some beginners piano book of Christmas songs. They were having a sale, so it was a good deal that I got a book for slightly less than $5. I think it should be easy enough for her to master 1 or 2 songs before Christmas. We are thinking of putting up a Christmas concert for an old folks home that my sister manages in Penang… so hopefully, we can have 1 or 2 piano pieces in her repertoire besides some violin pieces. As I write this, she is singing an Abba song (we just watched Mamma Mia).. “Don’t go wasting your emotions… ” – not too sure if this will go well with the old folks.. 🙂
Multiple Intelligence 4 : Spatial
FOC Art sessions
On every last Sunday of the month, artist Mr Tham Pui San, holds art sessions at Sungai Buloh Nature Reserve for people of all ages. It is more a study in nature observation and Mr Tham guides those who are there. It’s not so much about painting a masterpiece but about nature appreciation. For the children, there are also step by step drawing guides provided by Mr Tham. Since Sg Buloh Nature Reserved completed their renovation of the visitor’s centre, the drawing room is even air conditioned now. How cool is that!
Multiple Intelligence 5 : Bodily-kinesthetic
Kids nowadays are stuck too much indoors, my own kid included. I try to take her more often to parks just to have a good run around, explore and we usually spy a few squirrels and birds too. I think being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable is an important skill to have. We can’t always have air condition comfort or think that a few scrapes on the knee is a catastrophic event. I like a girl who can take some rough and tumble. My own logical reasoning is that, having mental and physical fortitude is important for a child’s well being. So when we go off trail, I have been training her to hold her own balance except for some steep parts where there is some danger involved, I thoroughly encourage her to be aware of her surroundings and give her some responsibility for her own safety.
Multiple Intelligence 6 : Naturalist
Watch a butterfly emerge
We were excited when my good friend, R, passed us a butterfly cocoon her boy had found on a blade of grass. She had cut the blade of grass at the base, put it into a plastic jar and covered it with cling film poked with holes. For the first 2 days, we would check the cocoon for changes a few times a day. On the 4th day, the cocoon started changing colour to a bright orange. We were so excited! 3 more days, we saw the cocoon split and a butterfly with its wings still tucked emerge. Then me, hubby and B started behaving like kan cheong spiders (anxious spiders) because, unlike those National Geographic documentaries, after a day, its wings were still tucked in and we were worried that maybe it needed some freshly polluted Jurong air to help unfold its wings – as unscientific as this sounds, we were thinking maybe the air in the bottle was not circulating enough. So after 24 hours of no action on the part of the butterfly, we delicately perched the bottle on our pot of Jasmine plant. In the morning, all that was left was a tiny drop of red liquid – and I thought – oh dear, the lizard ate it up. I rang up R and told her, “We killed the butterfly and told her about the drop of “blood”. She laughed and said that they all leave a drop of red liquid when they finally unfold their wings and that it takes more than a day for the wings to unfold. So now we know better and if you do try it, at least you will know better than us town bumpkins!
Multiple Intelligence 7 : Interpersonal
We have had a couple of playdates and it’s win-win for everyone. Leave them together in a safe environment and the kids will know how to have fun. There might be some squabbles and some children might not find their own footing with the group dynamics as fast as the rest but that to me is the beauty of playdates -they let you guide children (because they are still at an age where they don’t regard your suggestions as a social intrusion) on how to behave graciously and get along in a group. On the last playdate, one of the girls had just recovered from a cold . Originally, it was suppose to be a swim play date and the other two girls were disappointed that there was no water play, we explained that a group play date meant doing things together as a group so that no one would feel left out.The other 2 girls were disappointed but graciously accepted it and went on do painting together. On the same playdate, there was a little brother of one of the girls was painting as well as a 3 year old could paint. Instead of banishing him to a corner, the girls took to our suggestion that they incorporated his part of the painting into their picture – so that part became the swampland on which a monster resided. That being said, this sort of dynamics only work well if the caregivers (mothers in this case) share core values on what sort of manners and behaviors are expected.
Multiple Intelligence 8 : Intrapersonal
Home movie session
Spread out the mattress in front of the television, draw the curtains, on the air conditioner, pop some popcorn and you are all set for a great time at the movies. We have done this a couple of times with friends and the kids always have a great time. The ease of munching, talking, lying on your belly makes up for the lack of the big screen. There is always chance to talk about how she felt about a certain character or turning the situation around and asking B what she would have done if it had been her. We caught Billy Elliot last week when it showed on cable and we got to reflecting on ballet is seen as something that girls do, there are actually boys who are ballet dancers too. When Billy had to leave home to attend a dance school, she was asked why he was upset and yet he was going. It was a rather emotional issue to grasp for a 6 year old but the movie was a good way to start a discussion on concept of sacrifice and perseverance.