Written by Kelly Latimer
(Tech360.tv Community Creator) @kellylatimer

This Mother’s Day, give yourself the gift of TIME TO YOURSELF. It’s easy to get swept up in WFH, HBL and a whole host of other TLAs that have got us going stir crazy during this CCB, so I scoured the inter-webs to find a few resources that I have come to know and love to catch me a bit of a break and a breather when things get overwhelming at home.

Keeping It Clever

Home-based learning is tough. It’s tough on the teachers, the parents and the kids. And now that we’re technically on “school holidays” it means that the pressure to keep up with schedules has eased up a bit, but it still leaves us with the monumentous task of ensuring our kids aren’t on a screen the entire day. We knew something had to change when Sienna started dreaming of Paw Patrol episodes. So I went on a hunt for resources.

The first one I chanced upon was from Vivo Kids Singapore. Normally known for their sports programmes and holiday camps, they have obviously had to pivot. And fast. Cue their Fun @ Home Playbook. Jam packed with activities for you to do with the kids ranging from sports to arts and crafts, stories to recipes that will get your kids involved, this Playbook is a great way to keep your kids engaged. They have a different Playbook every week and if you subscribe, you get a month’s worth of content for just $14.99. A month of fun for less than an hour at a soft play centre. Worth it. Sign up at www.vivokinetics.com.

The second one was from Trehaus School, a branch off from the co-working/creche space Trehaus. They launched their own preschool and decided to bring their learning resources home for everyone. Yeap, that’s right. It’s FREE. In a similar format to Vivo Kids, you get a kit each week with activities and ideas of things to do with your kids. I’ve met with the owner of Trehaus School, Elaine Kim, and the thought that has gone into their class packs are unreal. They approach learning in a holistic manner and I appreciate the values they try to teach. The other day, Sienna was mind-mapping with my husband and it was a great insight as to how she thinks and connects things. Needless to say, Mummy was at the centre of her universe.

Get the download at www.trehaus.co/school

Keeping Them Occupied

If you would like an educational option that involves less parent-hovering so that you can get that Zoom call done in peace, then these two apps are PERFECT. And even better yet, they are completely FREE. My biggest pet peeve about kids apps is that they sound all sorts of awesome, but only give you 5% of the content before you need to purchase the upgrade to the full version. Before you know it, you’re paying S$100/month in subscriptions for apps that the kids use for 5 minutes a day. 

So instead, go and download Moose Math for a great way to teach kids how to count and use logic in an engaging manner. It is simple enough that kids can learn independently and fun enough that Sienna will willingly sit there for 20 minutes without any assistance or interruption. 

Same things applies for Khan Academy Kids, which is hands down one of the BEST apps for kids I have ever seen. From tailoring the content to your child’s age, getting them to interact with stories and learning in a way that I have never seen in any other app, I could sing praises to the high heavens. This app is completely free, and as they mentioned on the Play store, “will always be” so rest assured you’re not going to fall in love with this, only to have your heart broken. Download it. You won’t regret it.

Catching A Break

And for those moments where you REALLY need to get something done, even if it’s just locking yourself in a room for a short while to catch a breather, then turn on your telly and rest assured they’re watching something GOOD.

Sienna first started watching Octonauts when she was about 18 months old and hasn’t looked back since. An unlikely group of creatures form the Octonauts – as they go around the sea in the Octopod researching new animals, helping those in need and protecting all creatures big and small. With a catchy theme song, quirky characters like Kwazii “the Pirate” Cat, Peso “the Medic” Penguin and Captain Barnacles, a polar bear no less, this show is captivating and very educational. I have found myself questioning the reality of some creatures, like a coconut crab that climbs trees, only to discover that it is actually real. You can only watch it on YouTube as Netflix here in Singapore doesn’t carry it. But make sure you search for “Octonauts full episodes” to get the full thing and not just bits and pieces.

Find their channel here.

A show that IS on Netflix though, is Ask the Storybots. Kids submit questions to the storybots and they go off on a hunt around the globe to answer them. It could be anything from “why is the sky blue” to “what are french fries made of” and they answer them in the best ways. They go on a literal hunt – “let’s go to France, because… French Fries, right?” before fully exploring the answers and seeking resolution. They get bonus points for bringing on some pretty epic guests like Snoop Dog/Puppy/Lion – whatever he is these days, and John Legend. Find the Storybots here.

Essentially, if my kid is going to binge watch anything, these two shows get preference in my house. Give them a go and let me know what you think. And for your sanity, I hope you manage to catch a break! Happy Mother’s Day!