Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Moon Sand Pit in our Living room

My kids love playing with sand. While we live on the sunny island of Singapore, I do not take them to the beach as often as I ought to as my husband and I are not too fond of the sun.

The beauty about playing with sand is there is no wrong way to play with it. In contrast to plastic toys that are ready-made and pre-determined for the child, sand, is well-suited to the explorative and imaginative nature of young children. 

There are many benefits of sand play, the first being the development of the sense of touch through the texture of the sand. Sand play also develops the arm, wrist, and hand muscles, uses grasping and wrist control. It provides for creativity and imagination and is relaxing for the child. While playing with sand, a child also develops eye-hand coordination, experimentation with volume, weight, and measurement.The best sand, I find, are those that are fine enough and slightly damp so you can mould and work with it.
Early this year, I discovered a product made in Sweden called Moon Sand. Moon Sand looks and feels like sand yet it can be to molded into any shape, like dough. 

I am not sure who loves playing with Moon Sand more, my kids or I. There is something soothing, absorbing and extremely therapeutic about playing with this medium. I simply love the fine texture of sand (yes, moon sand is made from real desert sand and a special compound that allows the sand particles to bind together like dough) and the fact that you can compact it to form solid shapes that are limited only by your imagination!

Here is a little video of my girls playing with Moon Sand in our living room.

I decided one day to create a larger "sand pit" in our living room so that the girls can invite their friends to an indoor sand play as often as they like. I filled a baby bath tub that the girls long outgrew with a box of moon sand. 

The baby bath tub I had purchased from Mothercare 6 years ago turned out to be the perfect size and height for containing the moon sand. As the sand doesn't stick or stain surfaces, cleaning up sand that fell out of the tub was an easy job. If there are more rowdy kids, I just place a large blanket under the tub to "collect" the sand that fall out of the tub.

The sand never hardens and never dries out. It is non-toxic and unlike normal sand, Moon Sand can be sterilised (just give it a spray of dettol like you would sterilise any hard surface and allow to air dry). Oh,and if your child happen to create a masterpiece sculpture that you want to keep, all you have to do is put it in the oven to "bake" and it will keep its shape forever. When you feel inspired to do another masterpiece, warm it up again and crumble it back to sand.

Moon Sand is available online as a box of 2kg for SGD $38 at Pupsik Studio and select retail stores islandwide! Larger volumes for pre-school use available upon request. Accessories available and sold separately.

Disclaimer: Playing with Moon Sand can be addictively fun for kids and adults alike so consider yourself warned!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Phlox Terraniums

Just came across this website put up by a pair of super creative Year 3 Horticulture and Landscape students from Ngee Ann Poly - Hidayah and Amilia. They are selling these adorable mini potted plants in beautful glass containers that they put together. Thought they will make a lovely display in the home or a meaningful gift for your child to give to his/her teacher during teacher's day! 

Do check out their website for more beautful creations and support local talent by buying a mini plant from them!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Art Camp at Abrakadoodle

My 5 year old (Vera) has been attending art classes at Abrakadoodle for the past year and a half. I can't recommend Abrakadoodle enough. It is both structured and non-structured at the same time and is truly one of the most creative art classes for kids that I have come across. 

On Friday each week, Vera looks forward to learning about a different artist's work. Most classes begin with a discussion on a master or contemporary artist or an art genre and demonstration of art techniques. The kids are then free to form their own interpretations of the topic of the day, using a medium that is inspired by the artist or genre.
Vera has always been abstract in her thinking and I really appreciate the fact that the classes at Abrakadoodle does not force upon any single rigid definition of what constitutes art. The teachers involve children in what is known as Process Art. They help children to explore, create and develop thier own original ideas by providing the kids with the inspiration, materials, guidance and tools to be creative. 
Example of Process Art. When we think about art instruction, we often think about the outcome - "What a nice painting you created, Molly." But what is really important is what Molly learned as she created her art. What she learned in the "process." That's Process Art - Art that places the emphasis upon the learning taking place
What I also love about the class is the "Show and Tell" session at the end of each class where parents are invited to join the class to watch each young artist present their own work. As a shy girl, this was initially quite a struggle for Vera but she has learnt to speak up and not be afraid to talk about her own artwork.
At the end of the class, each artwork is beautifully placed in a frame for the child to take home. This makes it very easy to display at home or even give away to loved ones.

Super Hero!
Last June, I enrolled Vera in the Kids on Canvas camp which is a fabulous class for kids who want to learn all about painting. During the class, she was taught to use a variety of brushes to mix and layer colors on canvas using acrylic and created 6 beautiful pieces of art work in 3 days.

Showing off her work with her classmates from the art camp

I would definitely recommend you check out Abrakadoodle if you are looking for a fun and creative art class for your child. The classes are reasonably priced and great for children of many ages starting from as young as 2. Their art camps held during school holidays are definitely worth considering if you already take your child to another art school and are looking for a fun activity for your child to be engaged in during the holidays.

For more information about Abrakadoodle and their latest class schedule, do visit their website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our family portrait at Pink Elephant Labs

I always love a simple but well-taken photograph and appreciate that it is not easy to take one. As the owner of Pupsik Studio, I have put together several photo sessions with models by some pretty amazing photographers. However, I never had the chance to organise a professional photo session for the family. Over the years, we have had several good pictures taken of the girls but rarely one taken together as a family.

I have long admired the work of a small home-based studio called Pink Elephant Labs. Known for her simple, fun and candid style, photographer Indriana strives to get portraits that show her clients' personality and their relationship with each other. So it was really a privilege for us to finally engage her to do our long awaited family portraits. 

Prior to the shoot, Indriana was really thoughtful to mentally prepare us and sending us a list of clothing suggestions for the family. We were advised on the colours that will go while with certain backdrops and very importantly, what to avoid such as busy graphic patterns and big logos. 

The shoot took place in Indriana's home in Tampines. It is amazing how she cleverly converted her HDB home into a comfortable photostudio apartment complete with all the necessary props and lighting gear to create the perfect environment for a great photo. Being in a home, the kids definitely felt more at ease and it was not long before they warmed up to Indriana.

Here are some of the pictures we took from the session:

Left: Nadya (3yrs) , Right: Vera (5yrs)

Nadya (who is always up to something)

The entire shoot took less than an hour and we chatted comfortably with Indriana throughout the session. She was sensitive to notice the needs of the children and constantly kept them interested and entertained by whipping out different props and funny antics.
The girls with their favourite stuffed animal friends

 As you can probably tell, the kids had no qualms pulling funny faces at the camera which really reflected their real personalities.
Taking these pictures reminded me somewhat of our wedding portrait taken 7 years ago
And finally, our long awaited family portrait. We will treasure this moment always.

Thank you Indriana for helping us take these precious photographs which we will love and treasure for a long time!

The Zagorodnovs

For the lastest promotions, do check out Pink Elephant Lab's website, blog and Facebook page! The first 5 customers to book a photo session with Pink Elephant Labs will get a $25 gift voucher to spend at Pupsik Studio!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fundraising for Little Nur

A member of the Pupsik team shared with me the story of Little Nur today.  Really sad to hear how this little girl is suffering and how helpless she and her family are in this situation...

Little Nur is 4, has only 'weeks to live' unless she gets a heart transplant. Her heart inflammation has caused her kidneys to deteriorate, which in turn has caused her abdomen to bloat until her tummy is now twice its normal size. The little girl's bloated stomach, pressed against her other organs, also causes her to suffer from breathlessness, severe pain and a regular fever.

To understand more about Nur's plight, please click on the following links below:
  1. Yahoo
  2. AsiaOne
  3. Little Nur's Heart Fund
There’s no cure for Little Nur except for a heart transplant which has to be performed in either the United States or Europe.

The cost of such an operation is something their family cannot afford. The family of 6 depend on her security supervisor husband’s monthly pay of about $2,200 and live in a two-room rental flat in Ang Mo Kio. I can only imagine the emotional and financial strain that is being placed on this family as they care for Little Nur during this difficult time.

To show our support for Little Nur and her family, all net proceeds from the sale of smartmom teething pendants between 1-8th June will go to Nur's family. 

Please purchase a pendant if you would like to show your support for Nur during this short fundraising period. If you would like to help Little Nur by donating directly to her via a fundraising effort organised by a close friend of the family, please click HERE.

Lets do whatever little we can to support someone in need. Please help spread the word.

Thank you so much!

The Pupsik Team

"Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain."
Helen Keller

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Create your own personalised word cloud

I came across this cool site called Tagxedo recently that you can use to turn words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and themes, even your love letters -- into a visually stunning word cloud. You can vary the font, colour palette, outline you want the cloud to take from an easy template and voila!
I created the heart cloud above by entering the url of our store and got this stunning piece of art!

I also had a go at typing in some random words that came to my mind when I thought about the kids and came up with the adorable elephant cloud above. 

If you like what you have created, you can choose to print your customised work of art on a range of products such as T shirts, cups, mousepads in their gift shop. I think this is such a wonderful way to create a meaningful gift for a friend.