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.

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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.

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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. There are definitely plans to bring more merchants on-board.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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

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Investigations and Experiments

There were 2 different experiments that the kids worked on.

A) Where is Vitamin “C”

B) UV Investigation

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

Janod Wooden Toys Review (with My Miracle Baby)

Product Review

If you are a wooden toys fan, you might have come across this French brand – Janod. It is founded by a French who focused on wooden games and toys.

If you are tired of electronic toys for your children, back-to-basic wooden toys with new creative designs might be good options. In the past, wooden toys are thought to be bland and boring compared to their brightly-colored and music-blaring counterparts. These days, well advised parents came to realised quality wood-feel toys are less jarring and stimulate creativity with a more wholesome approach. Perhaps this is influenced by the growth of Montessori teaching methods too .

My Miracle Baby – an online distribution website – carries Janod products as they pride themselves in selecting high quality goods for their customers. They kindly sent over some Janod toys for my 2 boys for reviews. These are some honest opinions on the 3 toys we received:

1) Janod – Redmaster Magnetic DIY Trolley (S$149)

This is a walking trolley which rolls on wheels and comes equipped with 21 accessories including 3 magnetic tools and a set of gears. Designed in France, it is recommended for 1-4 years old.

This is my sons’ favourite.

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It comes in loose pieces and an adult’s help is needed to assemble them
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All hands on the deck; especially Daddy’s hands. Eizac needs his yellow construction safety hat to work. Xi En is our foreman Open-mouthed smile
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The finished product
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Gears, screws and nuts on top of the push trolley
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Magnetic tools in front and my happy engineers are ready to go! Smile

Verdict: Both my boys enjoyed this toy especially Eizac as he is 3+ years old and at the age where he loves dress-up and pretend-play. Personally, I find the whole trolley a little heavy and takes up space in our limited play area. My 2 reckless boys ramped it through my legs a few times when they got overly excited! Also, watch out for them trying to hammer or screw your walls/TV/windows! Otherwise, the quality is very well made and sturdy to last a few generations. Open-mouthed smile

2) Janod – Magnetic World Puzzle English Version (S$129)

This is a huge magnetic board with many magnetic puzzle pieces that made up the world map. There are continents, countries and animals to identify. It is great for older children to learn some geography and the younger ones to practise their fine motor skills.

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Janod Magnetic World Map from Greenland to Antarctic
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Xi En enjoyed identifying the various countries and continents.

Verdict: This is my favourite as I am attracted by the educational value and the intricate little details of the puzzle pieces. Eizac lost patience after a few minutes of putting the puzzle together. Xi En was more conscientious in learning while playing. This will be a good present for older children who are 4 to 7 years old. Note that the board is really heavy. It is probably more ideal to nail or stick it to the wall but I found some pieces dropping off easily; possibly the magnetic strength weakening over time. The map didn’t stick well to the board either but we solved that easily with superglue. Open-mouthed smile

3) Janod – Body Magnet (S$59.90)

This is a magnetic board with body cards and 76 magnetic body parts for young ones to explore the muscular, skeletal, organs system and the basic body parts. There are cards with 9 different languages and a pointer stick for you to play teacher.

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Janod Body Magnet
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4 English cards (Muscles, Organs, Skeletal and Basic Body Parts) are provided together with 8 other different languages if you understand French, Italian and other European languages.
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Eizac following the pictorial guide to piece the body parts together.
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Xi En preferred mix-and-match.
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This is one intense work.

Verdict: I liked the educational value of this toy. Eizac enjoyed the jigsaw puzzling part of this toy. He could piece together all the 76 pieces without much help. However, I find the other language cards quite useless since we don’t know any other European languages. Clearly, this is a product designed for sale in Europe as there aren’t any Mandarin nor other Asian languages in the other cards. Nonetheless, quality is well made.

Overall review: As a mummy of 2, I came to realise wooden toys are really lasting and can withstand hard knocks from rough handling. Wooden toys are more rustic and give the young ones a more grounded approach to toys. It is a bonus that toy markers made them with educational values these days. But because they are made to last, wooden toys are so heavy too! I find it difficult to store them properly. But if you have space for a few pieces of good quality wooden toys, you might like to try out Janod selections. Prices are not cheap given that the designs originate from France, but I like their vast variety of old-school-new-creativity products. The jigsaw puzzles and train sets look good too!

Good news: If you are keen to buy a Janod wooden toy for your child or as a present, here’s a special 15% discount promo code to share for all Janod products for the month of May. Simply enter “15%-EM” at the check out; this is effective till 31st May 2016. Janod’s selections on My Miracle Child can be found here: http://www.mymiraclebaby.com.sg/janod/

My Miracle Baby distributes and sells products which have been specially curated to cater to new parents and their babies. You will find brands here which are not commonly found in the mainstream shops. Have a look through the brands they carry and support local enterprise if you can. Smile They cater more for pregnant mummies, new borns to toddlers.

Brands Page

BMP brand logoBellyBuds brand logoComfi brand logoErgo Pouch brand logoFedora brand logoGaksimil

Janod brand logoKaloo brand logoSwaddle brand logoScoot n pullSwimava brand logoUpspring brand logoTrumpette brand logo

Giveaway Time

My Miracle Baby is kindly sponsoring 5 pieces of Janod – I Wood Stackable Turtles for 5 winners. These adorable turtles have 3 interlocking pieces each to learn about shapes and colors. They are made of wood and painted using water-based paints. Dimensions: 20.5 cm X 20.5 cm X 5 cm. Suitable for kids from 18 months onwards.

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Here’s how you can win one of the above:

1) Show us some support by “Liking” this blog’s Facebook Page – Evespiration – if you have not already done so. Thank you.

2) Likewise, “Like” our sponsor – My Miracle Baby’s Facebook Page.

3) Leave a comment on Evespiration Facebook page or Instagram account (about this post) sharing with us who are you planning to give this toy to and share with us one tip on how you keep toys tidied at home. (I need some tips so this is a selfish question! please help me. Open-mouthed smile)

All the best!

Terms and Conditions:

1) Winners will be picked randomly. If a winner didn’t response to my private message by 48 hours, another winner will be picked.

2) Colors of turtles will be given randomly.

3) This giveaway is only open to residents with a Singapore address.

4) Giveaway ends on 24th May 2016, 2359hrs. Results will be updated on this blog post.

Updated on 26th May 2016

Winners for this giveaway have been picked randomly from FB and IG comments and they are:

  1. growingwiththetans
  2. takenotakenoko
  3. weeqiweeqi
  4. cayleechan
  5. Jaslyn Chong

Congratulations! You have won for your little one a Janod wooden turtle! I will be sending you a private message or an email. Please kindly response within 48 hours.

Thank you for supporting the giveaway and for reading! 🙂

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