Category Archives: Parenting

My First Tablet…

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….is actually for my KIDS. Seriously. 😀

With the huge onslaught of tablets in recent times, I’m proud to say that I have been (so far) successful in fending off the lure of such tablets. Of course, the tablet with my dream specs (eg. 7-8 incher, 3G SIM slot, 2160p HDMI, latest Android OS, min Dual Core, dual camera rear 5MP/front 2MP, min 1GB RAM, quality display – min 1280X800, memory expansion slot, good battery ard 6,000 mAh, slim <10mm, etc.) has not been released yet. Heh. There are several that have come close…but not there yet. So I shall wait on…hehe. 😀

Anyway, the pic above is the 7 inch Creative Ziio Shenbi that comes pre-installed with the Play Chinese software. With the tagline “Don’t Learn Chinese, Play It!“, it is exactly what it is – an educational tool for children to master the Chinese language by simply ‘playing’ on the tablet.

The 7 inch Creative tablet itself is nothing much to shout about. Actually with basic specs like Android 2.2 Froyo, Rear camera 0.3MP, Screen res 480 X 800, a hefty 400g, 512GB RAM, Resistive screen, etc., it’s even quite embarrassing to be speaking about it. :-p Of course, I reckon theses specs would have sounded considerably more palatable when it was first released in 2010. 😀

In fact, the tablet only pique my interest after my sister blogged about it a couple of months back, and her initial reviews about it some weeks later. I was still skeptical about it until I experienced it first hand when I visited my sister not too long ago. Seeing her kids having fun with it to the point where it seemed like they were addicted to it swayed my interest to seriously consider buying it for my kids too.

Immediately, I started my research to find out more about this Shenbi software, what it can do, did it work like an app that I could install on any tablet, etc. Well, if it could, my next step would have been to scout for a high end tablet where I could simply install this app and serve both the needs of my kids and mine. ;-D

Unfortunately, I found out that the Shenbi software is somewhat propriety connected with Creative, so it won’t be found on Google Play nor can it be sideloaded as an app. For the next few days, I was casually searching for this item online and I was rather fortunate to find one on sale (and CHEAP too!) on eBay Singapore. Although the package didn’t come with the hardcopy books (which my sister said were not so critical to have) nor the Zii Book account, the seller offered to throw in an original HansVision Express Chinese DVD instead. This DVD is usually given out with the PlayChinese Express pack (their most expensive pack). Since the discount I was getting was around 60% off the RRP Basic pack price, I made the deal happen, with the help of some friends staying in Singapore, of course. :-)

After the exciting ‘unboxing’ of the tablet, my kids, especially Collin has been playing with it for some time. I too have been tinkering about with the tablet as well, so that I can produce a comprehensive review of both the Creative tablet itself and also the PlayChinese software.

Stay tuned for my reviews in the next couple of weeks! 😀

Creative Counter

Since it is quite common to see innovation and re-inventions in the areas of Information Technology, gadgets, toys, etc., I must admit I was rather surprised to see one notable and creative innovation in the healthcare industry, specifically in the gas chamber equipment. This is the gadget used to pump in gasous medications like Salamol, Ventamol, Seretide, etc.

The latest canister of Seritide comes with a manual dosage counter!

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Cool, huh?

Now we’d be able to keep track of how many puffs are left in the canister….instead of puffing empty air into our kids! 😛

Parenting Tip: The Washing Machine Canvas

If you have kids around the house, I’d bet your fridge is completely covered with their photos, paintings, bills, important phone numbers, newspaper clippings, other works of art, etc. :-)

It’s completely understandable. After all, the fridge is one of the biggest household appliances in the house, giving it maximum visibility to put up such family stuff for all to see. In addition, the fridge’s natural magnetic properties on its outside makes it even more perfect to stick those things easily with just a piece of fridge magnet, art magnet, or heck, even a doodle board stamper!

Problem is, no matter how big your fridge is, you would eventually find yourself short of space. So what do you do then?

Unknown to many people, there is another big household appliance that also has these ‘magical’ magnetic properties….the washing machine!

Why many people do not stick stuff on their washing machine still eludes me, but so if you ever find yourself running out of fridge space, you may want to consider using the washing machine too! Works just as well too!

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Parenting Tip: Introducing Left and Right

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Do you encounter any difficulties teaching your child the right from the left? Err..as in the directions, I mean…:-P

If you do, or if you have not started, you may want to try out this self-developed method:

1. Teach your kid the ABCs…especially the letter ‘L’

2. Ask your kid to hold out his palms (face down), like the image above.

3. Ask your kid which hand has produced the letter ‘L’, or shaped like ‘L’?

4. Explain to your kid that L that typically stands for Light, Lamp, Lion, etc…also stands for LEFT!

5. So, the hand (palm) that makes the ‘L’ sign is naturally the LEFT hand!

6. Once the LEFT side has been figured out, it would be easy to figure out that the other hand/side would be the RIGHT side, etc.

Simple and effective, no?

😀

Parenting Tips: The Educational Remote Control

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Sometimes I am amazed by the variety of toys that can be found in toy stores. The innovation of toys must be at a near all-time high because one can easily find just about any toy to perform wonderful  things!

For example, where once wooden blocks would be used to teach kids ABCs, now, they have toys where electronic blocks of alphabets can be slotted into the accompanying electronic toy guitar which would audibly read out the alphabet. Amazing stuff! Or how about those cool electronic pens that can literally ‘read to you’ as the kid swipes it across the words on the pages of the book!

Whilst I applaud these toys, I am still a firm believer that we can still find many things around us that can be used as a toy (like an empty box..yay!) or learning tool. Today I will share of one such learning tool that doesn’t cost a bomb because it can be found in most houses.

Yes, I’m talking about the REMOTE CONTROL!

Whilst this gadget is primarily used to surf channels, increase/decrease volume, etc., I have discovered that it also doubles up as an excellent tool for teaching or introducing numbers to kids!

If the remote control was packaged as a toy, these are some highlights it would carry:

– Promotes excellent hand and eye coordination for the child!

– Outlines early foundation of numerical associations!

– Builds confidence in the child’s numerical skills!

Yeah, just check out some of these promo lines written on toy boxes one of these days…they can be quite hilarious! :-)

Anyway, coming back too the remote control..if you have kids who have more or less mastered the basic 1-10 and you would like them to associate the sound of the number to the actual number (eg. mapping the sound “ONE” to the number “1”), then the remote control is perfect for you!

Here’s how it works:

Turn on the TV and pass the remote control to your kid. Tell your kid that today’s activity is learning more about numbers! First lesson is to press…613 (for example). Then watch/coach/guide him to press those numbers. Repeat for other numbers…till the kid gets it or becomes bored.

Using teh remote control as an educational toy also allows for remote teaching. Simply do your own stuff and holler out for your kid to press a channel (eg. 613). If you can hear from afar that some Disney channel has come on, it would mean your kid has successfully pressed the right numbers! Cool, huh?

After a few more TV-bonding sessions, your kid should be able to recognise the numbers in no time!

Now, who says you need to break the bank to purchase a cool educational toy? 😀

Dingling Professional Hair Clipper (RF-609)

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If you have kids who are just terrified of barbers (like mine!), then this may be just the tool for you!

After checking out some of the models Philips has to offer, we decided to check out other models, preferably one that is wireless for ease of use. My wife spotted this hair care shop called Image Hair Care in Jusco Cheras Selatan and was pleasantly surprised to see that it sells a wide variety of professional hair care stuff! It is located on on the First Floor (Lot no. F29).

The storekeeper recommended this hair clipping wonder by the brand of Dingling. The quirky name aside, the gadget is apparently made in Japan (although the names sounds like it’s made in China) and used by pros! It is fairly light weight and not too complicated to use. Best of all, it is a wireless gadget – just what we were looking for!

Inside the box, we found the main hair clipping tool, it’s charging station, small bottle of oil (for maintenance), and about 8 units of plastic combs of various lengths that can be easily detached and attached onto the clipper head, and the manual, of course.

After the first charge, we tried it out on our son and was glad to see that the gadget works really well. The detachable combs ensures the hair is cut systematically (but I guess this requires some practice too), and the main clipper head is all metal coated so it is EXTREMELY safe. For example, you could run it against your skin without fear of injury as the clippers are well concealed within the head.

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zoom in view of the hair clipper head with a detachable comb

The clipper also comes with customisable speeds of the blade for those who want shorter or longer cuts. Again, I must stress these features are good but need some regular practice before one can perform it properly. Nevertheless, as a basic snipping tool to trim off the hair, it works just fine!

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customisable speeds makes for more fun!

Price? The price tag shows RM239, but you should be able to easily bargain it down below RM 200. May be a little on the expensive side, but considering the hours of fun you can have at home with it, it’s sure a good buy in my books!

Review

ProsCons
Wireless, quick charging, very safe, haircuts at home has never been so fun!Pricey compared to cheaper wired models
Rating
90.0%

Overall Rating:



Aqua Doodle

Last Christmas, I was seriously hunting around for a ‘huge’ doodle set for Collin, but was rather disappointed that biggest sizes they usually came in is still quite small! Of course, I wasn’t looking for one with the size of a wall, but something bigger would be nice, you know…

Anyway, that was before I came across this unique toy called ‘Aqua Doodle’. What immediately caught my eye was the gigiantic 54X54cm drawing board! It is marketed as a doodle that is safe, no weird chemicals, etc. Just what I needed!

Upon unboxing it, I found just two main components – the drawing mat and the drawing pen. What makes Aqua Doodle special is that unlike other conventional doodles, it uses a ‘cloth’ mat as the drawing board! Confused yet? You see, the mat is typically made up of two sheets – the base which is water proof and also smartly coloured, and the front which is a cloth and also where all the drawing action will be. Unlike conventional doodles where the pen is using magentic properties to create the drawing path, Aqua Doodle uses the simple technology of a pen with a sponged tip. Simple add water into the pen casing and you are ready to draw!

Just like when you put water onto cloth, the cloth gets wet, when the ‘water-filled’ pen is drawn on the cloth (with colored-backing), the cloth is turned wet and coloured backing outlines the drawing. Ingenius.

Only downside to this ‘old school’ technology is that I had to wait for a few minutes for the drawings to dry up before the board or drawing cloth is clean again…of course, it’s good to note that it DOES dry up quite fast. Whew. Also, since the ‘pen’ is basically a wet cloth, be prepared when the child decides to wet other stuff around the house (other than the drawing cloth…)

Having a huge piece of cloth to draw also opens up more creativity such as wetting the hands and feet and printing all over the sheet. Kewl. or cutting up patterns and printing them on the sheet. :-) And since it only weighs like 1/10 of a typical doodle set, it can very easily be rolled and carried around. Excellent mobility. In addition, I just found out recently they also have two other variants – a super duper much larger sized drawing sheet! (whoa!) and another one which comes with a ‘dual-screen’ that can be folded nicely to become a travel suitcase. Neat!

For a price of RM40-50, I would certainly recommend this toy to any parent looking for a doodle set.

Aqua Doodle
Safetywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Just add water and draw! Really, really safe!
Playabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Big drawing space for hand and feet printings too! But waiting time for drawing to dry and disappear may require some patience
Technologywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Simple...definitely not rocket science!
Mobilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Just roll up the drawing mat and carry it wherever you want! Light and handy
Pricewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Current retail is Rm49. May be steep for such simiple technology, but that's what makes it innovative!
Innovationwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Superb innovation on simple technology!
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Innovative and safe doodle set that is safe and also offers plenty of creativity for the child