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So it’s the time of year where families usually take time to reflect on the year that has gone and review aspirations for the year to come. Here are some suggestions that families might want to consider.

1. Take Time Out To Be Silly

Take time out to crack jokes, turn up the music and do silly dances, make up funny songs about each other. This temporary break in parent and child role will lighten the mood and show your child a different (fun) side of you.

Show your kids your fun side! Image credit: iStock

2. Exercise

Encourage and support each other to pursue or continue taking on a sport of their choice, and congratulate ourselves for just turning up! If you are trying something new, there are training apps available like couch to 5k that got me pounding the pavements. Or better still,  find a sport or an outdoor hobby that the whole family can enjoy together, and get moving!

Who knows where your new hobby will take you? Image credit: 123RF

3. Walk, scoot, bike, use public transport

We love our cars despite it being bad for the environment and our waistline. Think about walking or cycling to run that small errand; or taking the train for that trip into town. Travelling together will give some time to focus on the children as we are not concentrating on the traffic, especially when we are taking long trips.

 

4. Start a new family tradition

Families are what they are because of what they do together, in their own quirky ways. It is the comfort of routine that provides a sense of security to the children. Simple activities such as Friday movie nights at home, exploring a new place a month, a family book club, or trying out new recipes are rituals that will bond as the family discovers together.

Movie nights at home is more fun when each family member takes turn to choose the movie. Image credit: freebiemom.com

5. Eat Healthy

In our harried life, we rely on tahpaus and eating out. Eating more vegetables, salads and fruits is one way to eat healthier; as is eating less meat or cooking our own food. Again, start small by refusing that second helping and having fruit instead, packing your lunch a couple of days a week, or having a meat-free day.

 

6. Reduce waste

Plastic pollution is a problem that our children will be unfairly burdened with. Taking a container for your tahpaus, using reusable shopping bags, refusing free samples and straws will bring down consumption. There are online groups sharing ideas on how to reduce waste such as tips to pack food for the whole family from the hawker stall without plastics or styrofoam.  Why not take it a bit further by also starting your own compost bin!

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Image credit: iStock

7. Share the work within the family and community

The organising and doing to run a family can be shared in many ways with spouses and children. They could take on roles such as planning holidays, routinely cooking meals, or doing the grocery shopping. The more work gets spread out, the more everyone feels a sense of belonging because of their contribution, especially the children. This sense of collectivity can be extended to volunteering at the children’s school, a non-profit, your neighbourhood’s gotong-royong and becoming a part of something bigger.

 

8. Buy less or buy nothing!

Everyday, we are inundated with seductive messages to consume that is environmentally unsustainable . There is a growing movement in Malaysia to reduce consumption through swapping or selling preloved items through online Facebook forums or freely giving it away. Instead of throwing it away, why not learn new skills to repair your own electronic items? Or make your kemahiran hidup (living skills) teacher proud by mending that dress? Need a baking tin but only bake occasionally? Why not pinjam kejap (borrow for a while) from your friend? If you are feeling convinced, how about trying to buy nothing for a year?

Are we being consumed by our consumption? Image credit: tinycabinbigdreams.com

9. Take care of yourself

This one is the for moms. Pencil in a day without the kids every month. If it is not possible at the moment, try a couple of hours. And please use that time only for yourself. Read, run, journal, catch up with friends, take a bath, watch a movie, eat cake! Sit in silence. Tell your family that it’s “mummy’s me time”.

 

10. Reflect

Reflection provides opportunities to learn from mistakes, make sense of our thoughts and feelings, to accept ourselves, to be grateful and to do better. It need not be done once a year, as we usually do with resolutions, but integrated into our daily lives. Some people do it while driving, praying, exercising, and some journal. The key is to provide the quiet in your mind, go inwards and connect with yourself, and resurface to connect with your family. For example, we try to talk about our day, what our mistakes were, and what we appreciated. We could do it more frequently, and that’s one of my daily resolutions!

Reflection allows us time to be with ourselves, so we can be better with others. Image credit: www.upliftingcontent.com

The past year has been one of great inspiration for us all Malaysians, with renewed hopes and aspirations for our nation. May we all continue to develop ourselves, so we can better our families and our communities. Here’s to another amazing year ahead!

 

Gift-giving season is here! Throughout the years, we have been lucky to receive well-thought-out gifts for the children. Through that, I have also learnt to be a better gift-giver. After all, gifts are expressions of love, care, and connection with the child and their family.

1.Books! Books! Books!

You can never go wrong with books. Books are great presents because you can bulk buy age-appropriate best sellers during book sales for the children you will be gifting throughout the year. My personal favourites are poetry books for children. Books that encourage children to try new things creates opportunities for quality family time – origami books, children’s cookbooks that have great fail-proof recipes, gardening books are also top of our list.
If you are concerned that the child may already have the book, here’s the secret, it can be regifted or donated. A book is never wasted!

2. A day of play

It could present itself in a ‘voucher’ where the holder of the voucher is entitled to a whole day hanging out with [insert best friend’s name].  I used to stress over making it the perfect playdate until I realised that the children were just happy being together. The house, the park, the swimming pool is their ‘happiest place in the world.’  Getting them to pop their own popcorn is an additional memorable treat. For ideas of where to go, you could check out our lists of outdoor spaces or 50 Top Things  to do in Malaysia with Children.

3. Legos

For many hours of creative building and play, Legos make age appropriate gifts that can be bought  online for the time pressed. For the environmentally conscious gift giver, you will be happy to know that these blocks will soon made from plant instead of petrol based materials! If you search early enough, you may get sets on preloved sites on Facebook or Carousel  for a fraction of the price.

4. Board Games

These are great gifts that will help  develop children’s collaboration and communication skills. Apart from mastery and strategy, another life skill children learn through board games is  the art of winning and losing gracefully. Well, most of the time.

There are many games to suit the child’s interest.  Pictionary for drawing,  Mathmagic and congkak for numbers. Scrabble is a fun game for the whole family to learn new words. Just as Uno, Connect Four, and chess  is great for strategy. A mega compendium of 30 games will definitely keep them occupied for ages.

5. Gardening starter kits

Who know where the spark will lead to? Perhaps an edible garden project?

There are many  benefits of gardening for kids, from encouraging them to eat healthily to doing their bit for the environment. Thanks to Daiso and Mr. D.I.Y,  spades, pots and watering cans need not be expensive. Seeds are also easily available in supermarkets and hardware shops. Or you can just save them from your fruits and vegetables. The Free Tree Society  organises plant giveaway days where you can get free saplings. The gift of lessons in  care and appreciation of the environment is one that the child will carry for life.

6. Cooking starter kits/equipment

An apron, a baking tin, a set of cooking utensils will be a surefire way to ignite a sense of curiosity in the ‘adult world’ of cooking. Throw in a cookbook and ingredients to make a meal, the meal they made  will give the gift of pride and confidence. It is also a great way to create some  quality family time.

7. Scooters

Photo credit: Micro Scooters Singapore & Malaysia

Scooters are a good starting point for kids to be comfortable with being on wheels. When shopping for one, ask if the spare parts are easily replaceable. A good scooter can be handed down and be the source of joy for many kids, for many years, in the family.

8. Bicycles

Photo credit: Stryder Malaysia

The children spent many hours zooming around the park and the neighbourhood with bikes bought by their grandmother.  Getting them second hand, and a trip to the bicycle shop will also do the trick as my mom did for those bikes. And please remember to get a helmet!

9. Sports Equipment

Footballs, basketballs, badminton rackets and shuttlecocks are gifts that will get the kids outdoors. With stores like Decathlon and Sports Direct providing good quality equipment at a reasonable price with delivery service, your gift might just create our next Nicole David!

10. A gift of experience

Photo credit: Sunway Lagoon Malaysia

I once mentioned to my son’s godmother that he was interested in tying knots and that a challenging solitary activity would benefit  him. She thoughtfully gifted my son rock climbing classes and also a book about tying knots.

Other gifts of experience could be tickets to a musical, the science centre, zoo, waterpark, a movie outing. There are many free activities in the Klang Valley as well that you can take the kids to. The key is to listen, and appreciate the interest of the child and gift accordingly.

What matters to those receiving your present is not the size of the price tag, but the gift of presence, effort and thought. Happy gifting!

The month of November is here, and there’s plenty to do with the whole family. Bookmark this page as we may be updating with new information and activities. Enjoy planning the month ahead with your little ones!


Cinema: Nutcracker

Young Clara is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice. By the looks of it, this remake of the classic ballet takes the kids on an exciting adventure. Rated P13.

Dates: In the cinema 1st November


Children’s Festival @MAG

This is a festival to foster creative and innovative thinking among children, especially on topics related to finance and economics. There will be ‘Currency Education Programmes’ for children 7 – 17 years old and ‘What is Money?’ talks (7 – 15 years old), among other interesting sessions.

Daily activities, special programmes and art classes. Full programme here.

Dates: From now until 8 December
Venue: Museum and Gallery Bank Negara Malaysia


Musical: Sherlock Holmes in The Show Must Go On

This comedy play is inspired by the London hit show The Play That Goes Wrong. It centres around a murder investigation with the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson taking the lead. More info here.

Date and time: 3 November, 8pm.
Venue: Cempaka International School, Damansara Heights


Family & Friends Night at Kidzania

During these special days, parents and kids can role-play together. This time the theme is the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos! Face painting, Calavera painting, Día de los Muertos maze and more. More info here.

Dates: 3 and 4 November, 6pm.
Venue: Kidzania


Chocolate workshop

During this family-friendly workshop, you will learn about the history of cacao, the process of chocolate-making, and how to make your own chocolate from bean to the bar. Limited spots available. Full details here.

Date and time: 4 November, 10.30am
Venue: Casa Latina and Cacao Lab


Art Discovery Tours for Kids at Ilham Gallery KL

This season’s tours will take families through the work of one of Malaysia’s most important modern artists, Latiff Mohidin. For kids aged 5 to 12 years (accompanied by a parent). More information on the tours can be found here.

03 Nov (Sat) 10:00 am–12:30 pm
10 Nov (Sat) 10:00 am–12:30 pm
10 Nov (Sat) 2:00 pm–04:30 pm
28 Nov (Wed) 10.00 am–12.30 pm

Venue: Ilham Gallery


Kids’ Deepavali at the Muzium Negara

Interesting Deepavali activities for kids at Muzium Negara. More info here.
Dates: 2 – 4, 7 & 10 November 2018 from 10 am – 12.30pm and 2.30pm – 5pm.
Venue: Muzium Negara


Fun play farming at Mari House

A fun way for young kids to learn about farming, with an added bonus of outdoor play. They also get to prepare their ‘farm-to-table’ dessert for the picnic later, all prepared and set up by the Mari House team. More info here.

Dates: 3, 6, 10, and 20 November, 9.30 am
Venue: Mari House, Rawang


Cinema: The Crinch

The yuletide-loathing Grinch finds it unbearable to watch the neighbouring village of Whoville celebrating Christmas and comes up with a plot to ruin their merry season.

Dates: In the cinema 8 November


Puppetry: The Story of Ah Loy

Urbanscapes 2018 brings us Warung Panggung, a street puppet theatre on wheels! Moving in various locations throughout downtown KL with a modular cart, MUKA Space and the Malaysian Puppetry Association bring you the family-friendly, reimagined story of Ah Loy. More info here.

Dates and times: (12 shows)
3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18 Nov – 4.30pm & 6.30pm

Venues:
First Weekend: Pesta Lorong Hang Kasturi
Second Weekend: Medan Pasar
Third Weekend: RIUH River of Life KL


Deepavali celebration

Performances by Colour of Voices and a Bhangra dance troupe. More info here.
Date and time: 11 November, 4pm
Venue: Bandar Rimbayu by IJM Land


Theatre: Aliens Love Underpants

The hilarious tale based on the best-selling children’s book by Claire Freedman comes to life on stage. You can expect effects, madcap action, original music – and lots of aliens of course. More information here.

Dates: Opens 13 November, various shows. Relaxed Performance on Sunday, 25 November.
Venue: PJ Live Arts


Cinema: Ralph breaks the Internet

The new film picks up from the events of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’. Six years on, Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade and end up on a new adventure.

Dates: In the cinema 22nd November


Lottie’s Science Adventure

This year’s celebrations will be themed STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, bringing together science enthusiasts under one roof. More info here.

Date and time: 23-25 November, 10am – 10pm
Venue: Lot 10


Pantomime: Aladdin

The KL Players’ popular pantomime production tells the story of a young, carefree boy, Aladdin, who dreams of riches and marrying the beautiful Princess of China. Aladdin soon finds himself on an epic adventure filled with genies, zombies and Old Auntie Nor. Event details here.

Dates and times: 29 and 30 November at 7.30 PM, 1 December 1pm.
Venue: St Joseph’s Institution International School, PJ.


Jumbo Camp by NEC

A kids’ weekend camp that focuses on studying wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. Kids will join volunteer work at the Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah, and get a chance to learn through other hands-on activities: nature walk, river scientist, nocturnal walk, games and more. For kids aged 8-15. More info here.

Dates: 30 November – 2 December (Friday to Sunday)
Venues: FRIM-MNS Nature Education Centre, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) Kepong, Selangor and Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah.


School holiday camps

The school holidays are getting closer! For a comprehensive list of school holiday camps, head over to Happy Go KL.


 

This post is a collaboration between makchic and Happy Go KL. 
Happy Go KL is the go-to site for fun family activities in KL and kid-friendly travel in Asia. It is written by a bunch of KL parents who want to share what they know and love about their hometown and this beautiful region.