We have come to the end of our themed weekends (I hope- who knows when Singapore will hit our second wave…) although to be honest, it’s a bit bittersweet. I’ve been working on my photo book this week and reliving all of the fun we had, picking out all of the best pictures so the kids remember the good parts of this weird time.
Along with the good memories, it was really fantastic creating opportunities for quality family time. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine, but mostly the kids were really excited and were willing to behave to find out what was next. I admit we got a little ambitious with the decor at some point, but the weekends without it were just as fun.
Honestly, we kept it pretty easy, picking crafts we had ready supplies, and mixed in a little activity, whether dance or yoga. I kept things in 30 minute segments (my kids can’t handle much longer, especially my 3 year old) and popped in videos when neeeded (always before lunch and often before dinner). And when we could, I mixed in water play, which was easy and fun.
Lastly, I tried to be flexible and not a slave to the schedule. If they were enjoying an activity we stuck with it longer. If the kids were tired and grouchy, sometimes we started the movie a bit earlier. One Sunday I wasn’t feeling great, so the kids went outside for a bit and we ended up picking up the craft in the afternoon instead.
Truely, though, I enjoyed researching fun activities on Pinterest, while my husband worked on the menu. He was always more ambitious than me, pushing us to be better. But the planning ahead and prepping the crafts made it more managable over the weekend, and let us live the moment with the kids, not stressing over cutting or finding the glue. Did this always happen? No, of course not. Sometimes the kids were coloring while I was busy with the next step of the craft. But the planning and the prepping in the evening was like a little secret my husband and I had– almost like a pre-Christmas rush.
So I want to share our schedules with you, for you to use in full or pick and choose activities. They aren’t perfect, nor where they perfectly fulfulled. But hopefully they inspire some weekend fun for other families. I printed them out and posted them on the wall for easy reference, but whatever works for you.
It felt a bit complicated to celebrate Independence Day in the midst of both a pandemic and racial injustice happening in the US. And if we lived in the US, I’m not sure I would have participated. But since we live in Singapore, we try to ‘do up’ the American holidays, to give a sense of what is means to be American. And interestingly, focusing on the good parts of the American ideals was heartening; thinking about being the mother of democracy, welcoming all people, and people can have any dream and work hard to achieve it. Unfortunately that’s not really the case for all people, which is not fighting for the fairness the US was built on. But it felt good to be reminded of what we Americans are fighting for, and what we expect have to expect from each other.
I made this cute banner, that’s actually quite easier than it looks! Instead of wrapping the paper around a toilet paper, like she suggests, I just used card stock, painted them, and stapled them into tubes. The whole thing took about an hour– not too bad. (And I did most of it while chatting on the phone to my bestie.)
Our Saturday started with the kids outside, while Mama worked out and showers and Papa worked on a special lunch. The kids came back from the store with thier nanny and brought back watermelon for snack.
Shortly after they started work on thier afternoon snack of popsicles. I wanted to do the striped ones (like in the banner) and we didn’t want it to be too sugary. We blended strawberries for the bottom layer, coconut for the white layer and lemonade died blue for the top, freezing in between layers. We let them freeze over nap and took them out to eat by the pool.
In between freezing layers, we did a craft of q-tip firework art. I still have cut q-tips from the Under the Sea weekend’s sea aeonomes, so I pulled out some black cardstock and paint and we were good to go.
After watching the launch last weekend, I was inspired to put together a space themed weekend for the kids. It was a bit harder than I expected, mostly because many of the activities seemed to be targeted at boys. I did my best to approach it as gender equally as possible, and my daughter had a blast.
I was hoping for an easier plan, decor wise, but my husband was committed. So he cut and paint the planets to scale on Friday night. I added tiny gold stars the next day.
After the kids came back from outside, they had a snack of a rocket made out of fruit!
Then we jumped right into a moon toss! We just bought our first new TV so we had a large box that was perfect for this. For the astroids we wrapped paper in foil. Our kitty also really like the box and the foil balls!
Next we tried out a space shuttle repair activity. The idea was that astronauts worked in space with gloves on, so we simulated that hard work with nuts and bolts (plastic and wooden ones from one of their toys) in a tub of water with yellow gloves on. My little one thought he couldn’t do it, but he managed.
Usually tempers are likely to flare just before lunch so we watch about 30 minutes of videos. We watched this one and this one. Maybe the first time I didn’t find pink fong annoying!
After a week off I realised how much I am enjoying these weekends! The weekend with no theme was so boring. I was so glad when it was decided we were back on!
This theme felt dependant on decorating- or was it just me? But my coffers are running low after so much crafting, so we had to order more craft paper, ink for the printer, streamers and some balloons. Hopefully these items will last us beyond just this weekend though!
I roped my husband into helping me decorate on Friday night, using streamers in front of our diffused white curtains. I had lanterns in my supply closet so we made jellyfish. And the bubbles were a mix of clear and white balloons on twine.
These were ready when the kids woke up the morning and they were mesmerised- as well as our new kitty! We also added some green streamers on the wall for seaweed, with some gold bubbles and free handed star fish and sea horse.
The kids went with dad to the fish market in the morning and had a blast– no pictures of that, sadly. When they got home they had a quick snack of seaweed– grapes on a stick.
And then we jumped right into the first craft of sea urchins. I saw this craft on Pinterest, which was supposed to be a flower. I thought it looked some kind of sea creature! We used foam balls I had around the house – which, if I did this again, I’d invest in some better/bigger foam balls. But we tried it anyway, sticking the balls with q-tips cut in half, then dyed them with colored water.
While lunch was prepared, we moved on to Chomping Sharks. I thought these were so cute. It took a bit to find the templates, but I finally found these, which worked well. They print out tiny, but it worked well for our clothes pins. I printed and cut them out, and the kids colored them. I helped them glue the sharks on the wooden pin. (The fish wasn’t glued on yet when I took this picture, but promise it looked even better.)
They did a bit of coloring before watching about 30 minutes of sea animal related videos (this and this), and then had oysters, clams and shrimp for lunch. My daughter was so happy!
We had a quick nap then it was time for snack. The kids got to make a sea scene on a graham cracker with a bit of blue icing, ground up graham crackers for sand, goldfish crackers and a couple of tiny round sprinkles for bubbles.
Then it was time to make an octopus! I love making paper chains, and we did get staplers in order to do this as easily as possible. I cut the strips in advance and the kids each took 4 legs. They couldn’t quite work the staplers, but I thought it would fit better for a toddler’s patience.
Papa was then in charge of the salt water experiment. It took a bit to get it going, but I think the kids enjoyed seeing if grapes floated in regular water, salt water, baking soda or sugar.
Soon it was time to dance like sea animals, where we ended with baby shark (of course!).
We watched Finding Nemo then played a quick fishing game before having fish tacos for dinner. Yum! Then it was bedtime– thank goodness!
The next day started with the cutest breakfast that their dad made them from frozen waffles.
Then the kids made jello from scratch in preparation for their afternoon snack. They dyed it and flavored it blue, naturally.
Craft time! We used celery to make scales on these fish. The colorful fish made it to our sea wall.
After a quick snack of green apple turtles with grape heads…
…it was time for lots of sea foam bubbles in the blow up pool. Always good for at least an hour of fun.
The kids dried off and we watched a bit about hunchback whales while we waited for the sushi to come.
Once we all had a good nap, it was time for the jello! Papa made a shark fin out of an apple covered in chocolate.
After the kids scarfed down their jello, we make turtles out of egg cartons. I thought the kids would want to paint it– but only Rush did. East used markers. I printed out the fins, then we added a pom pom head and I made little eyes.
The last of the activities was the one I was most excited. The kids dressed up (a mermaid and a shark), then we headed into a dark room for a rotating light up under the sea images.
Then we curled up to watch The Little Mermaid before our pizza dinner.
This may have been one of my favorite weekends yet. Maybe it was the anticipation, maybe it was the decoration but it really worked for me. What about you?
My daughter asked for this theme– 100% so she could have cake. I thought it was a great idea! Since I mentioned this idea I’ve heard so many families hosting half and quarter birthdays, which is also awesome.
I decided to revisit the kids’ birthday parties, East’s 5 and Rush’s 3, along with decorating the condo, making and decorating a cake. I went through our party closet and planned the weekend.
We started with Saturday snack, empanadas with dinosaur napkins and party hats from East’s Dinosaurs in the Supermarket party. We chose empanadas because they look like the backs of dinos!
Then it was time to make the cake! I recently stopped eating gluten, so my husband made me a gluten-free yellow cake, chocolate icing, with the help of the kids, of course!
Then I let the kids help me decorate our place. I picked out a few past party decorations, which added to the rainbow balloon structure that was still inflated from East’s party in March (!) and we blew up a few extra balloons for the floor.
We took a little break with a Sesame Street episode on birthdays, had lunch, then made pinatas! We had some really cute ones at East’s Taco ‘Bout It party that my Mother-in-law made, and I happened to have some small pinata frames on hand. The kids decorated them with a mix of paper and markers and had a good time.
After nap we had a snack with kitty sandwiches with kitty napkins, from East’s Black and White Kitty party when she was 2. We thankfully still had the cat shaped cutter!
Then we made the craft from that party, which was a kitty mask. I still had a lot of black cardstock on hand (I assume from this party?!) so we cut out the faces with the silhouette and I free handed the rest. We taped the spoons to the back.
After this they got to decorate the cake! This may have been the best part of the day for them. After icing and sprinkles, I pulled out some candles I had on hand, as well at some decorations I collected in Japan years ago and never used.
Then we moved on to the next craft, which were ribbon wands from East’s most recent party, the Unicorn Rainbow party. I let the kids pick extra ribbon and we tried hot glue to adhere it this time. It worked better– and I have the burned fingers to show for it! The best part of this craft was because it was so recent, all of the supplies were together. It took literally no work to pull it together.
To burn off some of the sugar, we moved on to a dance party! For Rush’s Woodland Animal party we had a dance teacher lead a dance class, but this time we just had youtube. Still, we donned the animal ears and jumped around.
While dinner came together, we read Dragons Love Tacos 1 and 2- relics from the taco party— then had tacos for dinner! They were delicious! Then we lit the candles, sang happy birthday and cut the cake.
The next morning we started early with the fun! We did a couple of hula dances (youtube again!), while wearing our leis, like at East’s Moana party when she was 3.
Afterwards was water play- another highlight of the weekend! At Rush’s first birthday party (Hot Air Balloons) we had a ball pit for the little ones. We re-created it with water balloons in a kids pool on the balcony. We probably could have used more water balloons to complete the effect, but the kids had fun.
After the kids were dried and dressed, we cuddled on the couch to watch another birthday related Sesame Street, ate lunch (with a bit more cake to follow) and took a nap.
When they woke up, the kids got a snack of “safety cones” and “boulders” from Rush’s ‘Can You Dig it Party?’ complete with the plates, napkins and cups.
Once they had their fill, we moved on to two crafts- both from their first birthdays. These turned out to be the biggest hits, as they didn’t really remember them! We started with maracas from East’s Taco ‘Bout It Party – fairly simple with plastic eggs, beans, disposable spoons and duct tape.
And then we did thumbprint art with ink pads and a thin point sharpie, from Rush’s Hot Air Balloon Party. Since then someone gave me a book with a ton of thumbprint doodles so we had fun trying them out.
After all of this we were supposed to have sensory digger play (from the Can You Dig It? Party) but I didn’t have it in me to make a mess. So we pulled out some glow sticks and had another dance party. The kids had never played with glow sticks before (they are supposed to be in bed before it gets dark) so it was a really fun to break them, and dance in a dark room!
Following dancing our hearts out, we watched Alice in Wonderland and ate pizza, our usual movie + dinner Sundays. The weekend was a lot of fun and did get us talking about which parties were our favorites. The kids loved all of them (awwww) but the adults were pretty clear that Moana and the Woodland Animals were a cut above the rest- even if they all had something special and fun. Let’s just hope the kids remember it this way!