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Childhood is a fleeting memory, and it is often gone all too soon. It really is up to us, as parents, to make it as beautiful as we can for our kids.
These are some essential things every kid should try and cross off on their bucket list before turning 12 - with Dad and Mum's help of course. These experiences are precious in and of themselves, and also teaches invaluable lessons.
Swimming is a life skill, and it's a great, low-cost way to keep active as well.
Which kid doesn't love splashing around in the water anyway?
My kid loves to do this, and I admit I have to control the urge to stop her all the time.
It's messy and dirty. It can also be a nuiscance to whoever is near her
But, if you dress her in the right clothes and give her comfortable rubber boots, there really isn't any harm. There is a simple joy in enjoying the small things that is exclusive to childhood in splashing puddles which we really shouldn't take away from them.
Just make sure the coast is all clear and you stay far away from the mess!
It's one thing to know, and another to actually do. Few things nurture a compassionate and kind heart more than actually caring for animals.
Your child might not be the most competent or perform the task in exactly the way you want her to, but it's really the heart and intentions that counts in this.
We are not suggesting you buy a pet for her. Visiting an animal shelter or caring for a bird that has fallen from its nest are just some of the ways.
What could make a happier childhood than running with the wind in your hair and watching your kite soar high up in the sky?
Do it together with a family picnic for double the fun!
That doesn't mean you have to make the trip to Africa - we have plenty of wildlife here in Singapore.
Places like Sungei Buloh, Chek Jawa or Sisters' Island are teeming with creatures of all sizes, and fully accessible.
Don't limit your kids' experience with animals to the zoo or the pet store, let her explore the great outdoors in all its natural wonder. This nurtures a genuine sense of curiosity and respect for the flora and fauna of Mother Nature.
These camps are super exciting for the kids. They also build up social skills, life skill and a great sense of independence.
As worrying as it can be for you, overnight camps with their friends and roughing it out in the great outdoors can do your child a world of good.
The simple pleasures in life makes childhood an exciting journey of discovery.
Getting your child to nurture a plant builds up a healthy respect and love for our environment while giving him an important science lesson, hands-on.
If you have the space and right pot of soil to grow edible herbs, or other plants you can use in your cooking, this will make the experience that much more meaningful for him!
In the age of iPads and the WWW, puppets might seem like a relic from a past age.
I beg to differ, however. Puppet shows require skill and artistry. Simple puppet shows take imagination and creativity to put up, but yet can be relatively easy to put up with some help from adults.
Puppet shows are also invariably live shows, allowing the child to soak in the atmosphere and excitement of a live show, rather than the usual television stuff that invades our home.
Imagination and creativity are at its most fertile when they are young, so go crazy with the costumes!
At any age below 12, the kids can get away with any kind of over the top, outlandish costume, without being judged (or getting worried about being judged)
It's so much fun for her too!
Kids are such little monsters when it comes to their favourite snacks - most of which are invariably unhealthy.
For just one day in a year, institute a no holds barred snacks day - a day on which they can eat anything they want in whatever amounts they want!
Make sure your child is in good health beforehand and keep the tummyache medicines on standby!
We guarantee you will be the bestest ever ever ever mum in the whole world for that day
Baking is fun and it allows kids to explore texture and taste.
Baking is also a process that provides the child some insight into how her favourite snacks are made, and a greater appreciation for the effort that goes into them!
I think it's also something the child can take pride in when she makes stuff the whole family likes to eat - the kids will be pleased to have been able to provide for the family in their own small way too.
This is not something I consciously encourage my child to do, but something I have seen her do spontaneously, without any prompting for me, on many occasions. It's pure joy to watch.
Children are wonderfully expressive with their bodies. Don't laugh or judge when they break out in dance, simply enjoy the moment, as she whips her hair around or gyrates his hips a la Michael Jackson. Give them space.
When she's is not having inane girly chats with her 4 year old daughter, Leigh is a Gulliver(ess) wannabe who dreams of exploring our little blue planet.
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