Monthly Archives: January 2007

Youtube Video – Citroen Transforms

I had featured this video in an earlier post, one of the boys’ favourites. Today I showed it to a group of preschoolers and they loved it too. We must have played it at least 4 or 5 times.

While searching for the video, I discovered that the video is actually a spoof of this Citroen TV ad. Fabulous!

Chess – Beaten by a 5-Year-Old!

We gave Athos a chess and checkers set for Christmas. I thought he might take to checkers more readily since the rules were simpler.

As usual, I underestimated the little fellow.

Not only does he remember how all pieces move (assuming we taught him the rules correctly!), now he wants to play chess all the time. I’ve never been very good at the game, so I manage the best I can. It’s been fine all this while – I’ll usually talk him through my moves, and alert him to the risks of his proposed moves.

Then yesterday happened. My little one, my cherubic firstborn, he who issued forth from my loins but 5 years ago, beat me at chess for the first time. My queen was taken 5 moves into the game, and not long after my king perished.

I thought this kind of thing would only happen when they hit primary school….

iFuture, I Like!

Last week, I brought the boys to the iFuture exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre. If you think the present is highly digital, the future looks to be even more so! The exhibition is interactive, educational, and a fascinating glimpse into what is already possible and what is to come. I highly recommend it

Some highlights:

  • The exhibition begins with the Mechanical Cabaret Theatre, a wonderful collection of mechanical sculptures (called ‘automata’) from the UK. At a push of the button, these sculptures come to life, often humorous ways. Athos and Porthos were thoroughly intrigued. And so was I! Personal favourites include the Sheepshearer and Allegory of Love. I couldn’t get enough of these little mechanical wonders. You can see a virtual exhibition online here.
  • Right past the automata section are several mini-arenas, each with a robot. Guides are onhand to teach you how to use the remote controls and Athos and Porthos had a go manoeuvering the robots. Athos, who is really into dinosaurs at the moment, loved the roboraptor (in fact I had to head off an argument over who should go first and for how long….). And there was another robot that can take your photo.
  • Motion art – This is a screen which shows a digital, stylised and psychedelic version of you as you move in front of it. The kids had fun running up and down, doing jumping jacks, and just monkeying about, as you can see below.

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  • Segway – Oh that we were allowed to use these on public roads in Singapore! These electric personal mobility devices are surprisingly easy to use (and the guide told me kids master it much faster than adults), and visitors will get to try them out around a small indoor track.
  • Digital koi pond – Lasers from the ceiling create the image of a koi pond. Touch the pond with your hand and watch the water ripple and fish swim away!

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  • Minority Report‘ interface – In the movie, Tom Cruise and his team manipulate information just by ‘touching the air’. The kids got a chance to try this out. Very cool!
  • Digital art table – We spent quite a lot of time here. It’s a table that functions like a PDA screen – you can write and draw using a pen-sized stylus, changing colours and stroke thickness as you please. When done, click the pushpin, and the picture is magically whisked from the table to the virtual corkboard! Here’s Athos drawing a picture of a car.

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There was a lot more stuff than we had time to explore and the boys have made me promise to bring them back. The exhibition ends on 18 March and I think it’s well worth a second visit! Beyond just tickling their interest, it gave me a sense of what the future might look like – love it or hate it, we’re entering a digital age, and as a parent, the exhibition was a great reminder that our kids need to learn to master the medium, while not letting the medium master them.

Exhibition website here. Admission charges below (with a discount for Science Centre members), and includes admission to Science Centre.

ADULT $9.00
CHILD (3-16yrs) $7.00
FAMILY PACKAGE
(2 Adults, 2 Children)
$28.80

Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken

Today, the current circumstances of my life led me to think about Robert Frost and this wonderful poem, so often quoted that it’s almost a cliche. Happily for a child, cliches are the stuff of many tomorrows. For now, I would submit these wise words of Frost for their reflection. – Pilgrim Mom Continue reading

Cheap Toys, Priceless Fun

Fun doesn’t have to come with a high price tag.

For Christmas, Pilgrim Dad gave the boys a pack of plastic toy soldiers, policemen, and coybows and Indians – $3 a bag! He has fond memories playing with them as a kid, and thought it was time to initiate the boys in classic war games.

Here you see the weapons Continue reading

Chinese New Year Comes To Island Creamery!

In a previous post, I mentioned reading that Island Creamery does a pineapple tart flavour around CNY. Well I am happy to confirm that the flavour has ARRIVED! Pilgrim Dad and I were just there tonight, and we tried it, and it was good. Chunks of pineapple, and unlike actual pineapple tarts it was light enough that I could imagine eating large quanitites without feeling like an overstuffed popiah.

Imagine a serving of that after Reunion Dinner!

Homemade Volcano – The Experiment Continues

After seeing the Big Version, the boys wanted to try it out. We finally did (in the safety of our bathroom), and here is what happened.

As you can hear, Athos was NOT impressed. (Would two Mentos would have worked better?) Anyway, I decided to post it as our little contribution to human knowledge and endeavour. It’s a dreadful waste so we’re unlikely to attempt this again soon. Let us know if you do, and whether two works better than one!