BIRTHDAY PARTY AT TIMEZONE VIVOCITY

Xi En turned 9 years old in July and we had initially decided to go with a simple family dinner with him choosing his own present. There are a few things he is obsessed about. Namely: Ipad/Iphone games (read: digital games); hands-on S.T.E.M activities and ermm.. books. Haha; yes – he is quite the bookworm – which I am glad he is!

And so, when Timezone proposed a birthday party at their flagship outlet with a party room at Vivocity, how can I say no? Giving in to the birthday boy’s wishes, we decided to bend the rules a little to allow UMLIMITED arcade games for 3 WHOLE HOURS!!!

We are often torn between exposing the kids early to arcade/digital games and yet nowadays the digital world is hot on their heels. You just can’t keep the frog in the well forever. And so, unleased they went on the special day!

GAME ON!

IMG_8428

Timezone has a flagship store at Vivocity Level 2 which house a party room; nicely decorated. There is a little corner which you can set up a backdrop complete with a dessert table if you prefer. However I decided there was no further need to add on the colorful party room. Our guests were predominately BOYS from my 2 sons’ schools. I knew the attractions would not be the party room! Winking smile

Nonetheless, the Timezone Party Room is well equipped with a projector, a mini fridge to keep your drinks cool, tables and chairs, drawing materials for the younger ones and also boast of a gorgeous Sentosa Island view.

IMG_8417
Party room at Timezone Vivocity

IMG_8418
Lovely Sentosa Island View from the little balcony which can be accessed through a glass door at the party room.

We were hosted by experienced Timezone staffs, Kenneth, Huda and her team mates. They really know their stuff; from giving proper instructions to the party goers to even watching out for the younger ones in the crowd and gathering them back for dinner and cake cutting. All these I understood are accumulated from experiences. Timezone party room is so popular with parents (and kids of course) that they are fully booked on most weekends! Do note that the turnaround time for each party can be really short. We arrived 15 mins ahead of our time slot and the previous party was still ongoing. We felt bad chasing them out so we could prepare for our guests.

When I first previewed the place, I knew I can keep things simple as the children won’t be confined in the party room. We went for a non-hot warmers catering and got some food and the birthday cake pre-ordered from food stalls located in Vivocity! That’s really helpful as I only need to walk downstairs to pick up the birthday cake without worrying if there is a fridge big enough to keep it chilled.

Now, the highlight of the party.

Is not the birthday.

Nor the birthday boy.

Is the ARCADE GAMES!!

IMG_8419

IMG_8429

PLAY MODE ON!

We had 2 age groups in the invite list; the 9 years olds and the 5 years olds from both boys’ schools. We decided that Eizac get to invite a few friends along as he seldom have fancy birthday parties due to his birthday falling smack within CNY period on most years.

The older group practically ran out of the party room searching for their favourite games and trying out new ones. Initially, I was worried if the 5 years old were too young to enjoy the games but they really do start young these days! Eizac was weaving in and out of the crowd with his friends; launching at any games his card could take him. haha.

P1170485
A group photo before they went loose!

As part of the party package, each child was issued a lanyard with a smart game card which can be used to tap on the various machines. Each card includes unlimited yellow card readers games, any 32 games (other coloured games) and 5 attraction games (rainbow coloured). If you have “surprised guests” such as the sibling who tagged along, they can easily purchase a value fun pass with 1hr or 2 hr playtime packages.



P1170625
Xi En’s first choice for the day is this Mini Rider 2 with VR experience. He loves VR.


P1170491
Eizac was glued to this unlimited yellow card reader game almost throughout the entire time!



P1170578
The birthday boy was very happy to pose for photos on his birthday. Open-mouthed smile



P1170641
Air hockey – Eizac was challenging his friend in this game. This has to be my perennial favourite. I am just old-fashioned.
P1170532
One of the crowd’s favourite – the bumper cars! Eizac proved to be quite the dangerous driver; frustrating his friend by trapping him in corners! What a host! Confused smile

P1170575
There is even a mini bowling alley which was perpetually occupied especially with families! 

The thing I liked about such parties is, there is no need to provide further entertainment! The children was fully engaged in the games that they would skip dinner if they were allowed to! But we reined them back for a quick meal, drinks, sang the birthday song, cut the cake, took some photographs before they dashed back to the game hall to finish up their last bits of the game credits and fully maximise the unlimited yellow readers games! Some of the parents joined their children at the last 30 mins or so and it became unclear who enjoyed arcade games more! haha.

P1170557
Our “extended family” shot with some adorable little ones who joined in the photo. Open-mouthed smile

The party ended with goodie bags for every party child and a final trip to the gift shop to exchange the tickets accumulated through the play time. You do need loads of tickets to exchange for the big items but I found it helpful that there were little trinkets and snacks which were redeemable with smaller quantity of tickets. At least the party goers got a little treat even if they weren’t able to accumulate a lot of tickets.

 P1170609

Both my boys and their friends thoroughly enjoyed themselves for that evening. It was a hold-no-bars and unlimited 3 hours of play time. Eizac declared that he MUST HAVE another Timezone party! If you fancy a party which can engage your little guests fully, Timezone Vivocity Birthday Party Package could be your preferred choice. Open-mouthed smile Do check out Timezone updates on their Facebook, Instagram and Youtube Channel for promotional details.

Thank you Timezone Vivocity for giving us such a memorable and fun birthday party! We will be back as the boys did not have enough! Open-mouthed smile

Party at Timezone
Timezone Birthday Party Package

And to my dearest Xi En, wishing you a Happy 9th Birthday! You are growing up way faster than my heart could take it and we are thankful every single day for your journey. We pray that you will always walk with God and treasure the blessings He has given to you! Red heart We love you!

P1170553 (2)

N.B: The party is made possible with a Timezone collaboration; thank you for all the fun and smiles!

POSB Smart Buddy Watch

Media Invite

Nowadays, I felt that I need to catch up with technology. Everyday there is a new app, a new smart watch, a new PayLah, PayNow, InstantPay?!

These days, children have a head start being born in the Internet Age. It is a walk-in-the-park to play games on the Ipad, watch a video on Youtube or even use a smart watch for payment.

Riding on the smart cashless payment trend, POSB launched the POSB Smart Buddy Watch targeted at the primary school levels. I attended the media invite recently to understand more about this initiative and how the watch works.

With this watch, our primary school kids are able to make payment for their recess food and also “steal” a buy at their favourite school bookshops. This wearable also double up as a watch (of course) and a fitness tracker.

3_POSB Smart Buddy_Paying for meal at canteen
Paying for food at the school canteen. Photo source: POSB

Paired with a mobile app, parents can allocate allowances directly from their personal accounts, track their children’s expenditure and savings. We understood there are also plans in future versions to add additional features such as a location tracker (within the school), biometric feature and a school bus locator where parents can track the real-time location of the bus and be notified when their child boards or alights from the school bus.

1_POSB Smart Buddy_Expenses tracking
Paired with an app on the parents’ phone. Photo source: POSB

Besides using the watch in schools, students can also use it at participating merchants such as Comfort (taxi), KFC, Pizza Hut, POPULAR, Sheng Siong and https://www.ourbeautifulplanet.org/best-cycling-watch/ for other types of watches. There are definitely plans to bring more merchants on-board.

IMG_9817
Xi En paying for items at POPULAR book store.

As Xi En’s school has yet to sign on to the program, we tested the watch at POPULAR and here are what we (or rather I) felt after the trial.

Our take on this program and the POSB SMART BUDDY WATCH:

The size is just nice with sufficient strap holes for small wrists. The strap is of a durable dark plastic material, thus it is dirt and water resistant. It is simple to navigate and comes with clear digital numbers.

IMG_9716
I like the clean-cut and simple design.

The app on my phone shows me exactly how much money I can allocate to him daily and I can also allow him (or not) to sign on using his own ID and password to check his own savings. There are “ savings goals” that he can set and work towards. The fitness tracker is Xi En’s favourite feature as  he was intrigued by the steps and distance covered. If the watch is lost, parents can quickly disable the functions remotely as well.

POSB Smart Buddy

Currently more than 24 schools are on-board and the general feedback had been positive. Parents with kids on the program liked how they can increase (or decrease) allowances with just an app, monitor what their kids purchase in school and encourage them to save. I can imagine that it would have been useful if my son suddenly need a dollar to buy a marker refill. he can just ring me from the general office and I can “send” the money to him almost immediately. It would be interesting to know his food selection in the school canteen as well and if he is telling me the truth! Smile with tongue out

Going digital also means that the school canteen vendors do not need to touch coins/bills while preparing food for the students – now that is a big plus.

On the flip side:

The first thought which came to my mind when the watch was introduced in the news: Hey! Will this prevent my child from learning how to count money? Not being able to touch and feel the coins/bills, will he understand the true value of money or will he think that money grows from watches?! *gasp*!

But one incident changed my viewpoint. I was having coffee with some clients from Beijing. They wanted to foot the bill but dug so deeply into their wallets for some loose change that I was almost embarrassed. They explained that they seldom need to bring their wallets out in China as almost all payments are done via the phone (QR codes mainly). And this was after our PM Lee’s National Day message on wanting Singapore to be a “Smart Nation”. My clients felt that Singapore is backwards in this aspect!

The folks at POSB emphasized that this initiative isn’t meant to be the ONLY mode of payment, but to be one of the available resources for payment. Indeed so. Though there isn’t an absolute need to digitalise everything, we cannot stand sit forever. Teaching the concept of counting money, instilling the value of hard-earned money, educating the younger generation on money sense – all these are still very important morals and lessons. I don’t think the schools intend to fully digitalised teachers! And we parents continue to play a big part of teaching our children about the dollars and coins. Having said that, when it’s Eizac’s turn to enter Primary One, I will still prefer him to learn how to carry a wallet with his pocket money and to be able to count the right change after buying a bowl of noodles during recess. The basics should still precede while the digital enhances the learning in my opinion.

IMG_9799
When it’s your turn, baby. Smile

As for my 8 years old, Xi En continues to track his savings in an exercise book and at the same time, enjoys tapping the POSB Smart Buddy Watch when we do visit one of the participating merchants. A marry of old-and-new I call it. We embrace technology as it comes along, but not forgetting to stay rooted with the basics. Smile

As POSB Smart Buddy Watch is still in the introductory stage, we hope to see more enhanced features such as the GPS tracking locator function which will help busy parents. Schools or parents who wish to find out more about the POSB Smart Buddy programme can visit www.posb.com.sg/smartbuddy or email posbsmartbuddy@dbs.com.

BASF Kids’ Lab 2106

Media Invite

BASF is a chemical company headquartered in Germany with a global presence. They have a saying: “We create chemistry”.

And one of their social responsibility is to make science/chemistry fun and enjoyable to kids at a young age.

I wished we had all these when we were young! My recollection of chemistry in school was the memorisation of the periodic table!

With presence in more than 30 countries, BASF Kids’ Lab was set up to allow kids to have fun in experiment and marvel at how chemistry works in today’s world.

IMG_0854

BASF is back in Singapore again this Nov/Dec school holidays to wow and interest kids in science!

Most importantly – FOR FREE! Yes!

Don’t miss out this immensely popular experiment workshop which will be held for FREE at Ang Mo Kio Library.

Details

Hands-on Interactive Chemistry Education Program

Who: Kids 6 to 12 years old

When: Tues, 15th Nov 2016 to Sun, 20th Nov 2016

Time*: 10:15am, 11:45am, 2:15pm & 3:45pm

Where: Programme Zone, Ang Mo Kio Library

* Each session is limited to 40 participants and is 1 hr 15 mins in duration

To register, please go online to www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary and search for BASF Kids Lab using as the keyword.

** The registration starts on 17th Oct 2016 (TODAY!) and slots are running out fast!

IMG_0853

Here’s a preview of what Ethen experienced during our media event held at Playeum:

Registration

Safety goggles, protective apro, a notebook, pen and gloves (no less) are given to the kids after registration. Safety first is BASF’s priority as the kids will be handling real chemical! Nothing to worry about as long as they don’t decide to put stuff in their mouth. Smile

BASF 1

Introduction

We were introduced to the what BASF is about and why they are engaging kids to learn about chemistry at a young age. BASF doesn’t actually manufacture things but it make things better/easier. E.g. They make the rubber in the rubber soles of a track shoes and etc.

P1130928

The kids were reminded of the safety rules as they are dealing with the real chemical stuff.

P1130930

Investigations and Experiments

There were 2 different experiments that the kids worked on.

A) Where is Vitamin “C”

B) UV Investigation

P1130955

What I liked about this session:

1) Real apparatus

It is real iodine, real beaker, UV torch and even real chemical. Keeping it real make the fun even more fun (and exciting!). I thought it is great to let primary school kids dabble with the real stuff before they even reach secondary school age.

IMG_0819

2) Clear instructions

There was an instructor and an assistant at each table of 8 kids (who were paired up). There were more than sufficient staff around to help out and guide the kids. The instructor gave good instructions to start the kids off and stop them if they are doing something dangerous. Otherwise, the kids were encouraged to observe, draw their own conclusion and write their observations down in the note book.

I liked it that the instructor didn’t just gave the answers too quickly. Rather they paused and allowed the kids to consider the results of the experiments and draw their own conclusion. And conclusions do not need to be the same. E.g. There is vitamin C in lemon juice OR There is less Vitamin in green tea. Both observations are correct.

The kids were paired off; thus they learnt teamwork too. Ethen had a bit of problem with an enthusiastic partner who prefer to conduct all experiments by himself. The protective mummy in me wanted to step in…. but I held out and waited to see how he resolved it. He did! without (much) force nor squabbles. Open-mouthed smile

IMG_0845

P1130932

3) Not 1 but 2 experiments!

That’s a bonus. Smile With 2 different experiments in 1 session, the kids get to “play” more. The second experiment was more of an investigation on UV rays and the kids made real sunblock! Ethen’s observation was that the chemical reaction created yogurt-like substance (sunblock lotion)! Open-mouthed smile

P1140009

Conclusion

It was a 1hr 15 mins session but felt that the kids wanted to do more! The curious mind of a young kid knows no boundaries. Smile

The kids were encouraged to share their answers and observations.

Science were made simpler for the young kids to understand and concepts were broken down to bite-size information. BASF Kids’ Lab is on their way to nurture many new scientists amongst our new generation!

It was a good session not to be missed.

Do hop onto www.nlb.gov.sg/golibrary to book your slot before it all runs out.

If you are keen to know what BASF does, check out their Facebook page and their global website.

P1140016

P1130940

Thank you for BASF Kids’ Lab for giving us an opportunity to experience this and Ethen said he hope science will “become popular”! Open-mouthed smile