Discover Me Multi-Activity Holiday Camp by Smarter Me
If you follow me on Instagram (this may or may not be a plug, but you totally should follow me if you haven’t), you would have seen that Lauren was particularly busy on the third week of the school holiday. Here’s my debrief of her experience at Discover Me Multi-Activity Camp.
First off – what is Discover Me Multi-Activity Camp?
The Multi-Activity Camp is a 5 day camp for children aged 5 to 12 years old. A different theme of the day allows the children the opportunity to discover their interests, strengths, talents and areas to improve on. They learnt photography, yoga & barre, coding, inventions, sports and more!
Honestly, they had me at Yoga & Barre because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to try but this isn’t about me. Really. Nick and I have always believed in letting the kids try everything and decide for themselves which interests they would like to pursue.
So to try 10 activities in 5 days without me having to do any research and coordination in terms of time and logistics? I’m IN!
The children were grouped into two different age groups – Discoverers (5 years old) and Explorers (6-12 years old). Lauren was pretty proud to call herself a discoverer by the end of the first day.
Day 1: Photography and Yoga
Day 1! First activity! It was probably more unnerving it was for me than it was for Lauren. I know my daughter – if she didn’t like the first activity, she will write the who camp off and may even want to leave. Thankfully, it started off with Photography with Ms Angeline Tang of Panoramic Kids. I can tell she is very experienced with kids, she uses words that Lauren’s kindy teachers would use with young children.
After a basic lesson of photography composition – perspective and focus, concepts of light and dark lighting, macro and micro photography, angles and camera orientation, each discoverer was handed their very own point-and-shoot digital camera to apply their new found knowledge. The children headed outdoors and captured beautiful photos of the gardens and flowers for 1.5 hours around Hort Park.
After lunch (and snacks and water) which are prepared by the Smarter Me team, it was time for Kids Yoga with Rainbow Child Yoga. The interactive and musical 1-hour yoga class appeals to the young ones by going on an adventure of earth, land and sea. Mindful yoga encourages self-awareness, group bonding and cooperation.
After yoga, Called to the Barre introduced barre to the children. For those who don’t know (myself included), barre is a workout which combines yoga, pilates, dance and sports principles. The children got to catch and throw balls with their partners while stretching and mimicking various ballet poses.
And of course, the wheel pose. Guess who came home to show me her new found ability and almost gave me a heart attack?
At the end of the day, the kids get certificates for participation and their Best Captured Photos from Ms Tang.
Each camp day ended with the children filling their personalised journals. The kids wrote and doodled about they learnt and proudly decorated their journals with photos and stickers.
About Panoramic Kids – Founded in 2015 by Angeline Tang with the idea of providing children from 4-12 years old an outlet to storytelling, where children are able to tell a story from their perspective and make a connection via the viewfinder. The creation tells a story of beauty, love, emotion in every form. Teaching since 2007, Angeline has run both photography and stop-motion animation courses at various primary and secondary schools. Angeline classes provide each child with a DSLR and it has proven that children learn quicker and enjoy the independence of moving around.
About Rainbow Child Yoga – Founded in 2011, Rainbow Child Yoga is a children yoga programmes and all related activity to honour and develop the child inner creativity and spirit which are inherent there. Inspired by Radiant Child Yoga, Art Therapy and holistic early childhood development towards providing this sanctuary space and connectivity with their body, mind and spirit.
Day 2: Coding and Science Discovery
Ms Candice from Coding Lab started the day with the familiar story of “Five Little Monkeys”. The children knew the story/song immediately and were more than happy to act as monkeys, mummy and doctor. With the memorised and expected actions, Ms Candice explained how they could make the monkey move with Stratch Jr, a coding language.
After that, worksheets were given to the kids to apply the newly learnt coding language and movements. The Discoverers were teamed in groups of 3’s to create their own interactive story and game with Stratch Jr using iPad. In the process, they learn to design and customise a character, express themselves creatively and design their own scenario and situation, and even record themselves as the characters!
Coding develops logical thinking and problem-solving skills and it’s one of Lauren’s favourite activity at the camp.
After lunch, it was an afternoon of inventions with Whizz Kidz. The workshop started with a simple building exercise with ice cream sticks and wooden pegs. Using just two simple household tools, the children were asked to build a structure with minimal adult guidance. Using their logical and spatial intelligence, they successfully build stable, high structures that resemble apartments, houses and a picnic party scenario.
Next, they moved on to building structures and items with more vulnerable items – raw spaghetti and marshmallows. Due to the flexible and soft nature of the items, the kids found it difficult and required more thinking and planning. After several unsuccessful attempts in creating a structure, they decided to work together in 3 teams and build a high and strong structure in the end!
Next was the highlight of the session, rocket launcher! The Discoverers created their personalised rockets with a plastic bottle as the rocket body and cardboards as its flippers. Using scientific logic, Whizz Kidz explained the science behind water and air. By filling ¼ of the bottle with water, jam in the cork to close the bottle opening, quickly pump air into the bottle, the pressure builds up so much (as the action has an equal and opposite reaction), the rocket shoots up in the sky!
About Coding Lab – Founded by MIT Alumnus who worked in Silicon Valley, the MIT-inspired curriculum challenges your child to develop computational thinking and problem-solving skills. Voted as Best Coding Curriculum 2016/16, Coding Lab prides themselves in providing the Coding Lab® Difference to all of their students, with their award-winning curriculum and high-quality teaching, with a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning and the application of key mathematical concepts. Coding Lab® offers programming classes for ages 4-16 in Japan, Perth and Singapore.
About Whizz Kidz – Whizz Kidz takes the learning out of the classroom and into the real world – well, almost – by immersing students in an imaginary environment and story (think awesome online role-playing games crossed with an educational agenda). Whether they are evil minions of a despotic scientist or idealistic creators in an ancient era, students at Whizz Kidz will never feel a moment’s boredom as they pick up one concept after another under the guise of fun and games.
Day 3: Sports Day
Enough of mental stimulation, day three was an active day!
And Lauren was completely out of her comfort zone. She burst into tears during warm-up and complaint that it was too tiring. She sat on the sideline while the other children completed the rest of the bunny hopping, running and mountain climbing across the field. The Smarter Me team was very understanding. They let her do some colouring and sticker making while gently encouraged her to get back into the field.
Before long, Lauren rejoined the children and they learnt how to dribble, kick, pass and shield with the soccer ball. They were also put to test with an obstacle course.
They also learnt a non-contact program which focuses on tackling and safety techniques. Namely, moving sideways, backways, forwards, passing control to their teammates and throwing targets.
After lunch, it was off to a fun start of mini dodgeball! The Dodgeball Elimination Game is a game where the first person to knock out all of its opponents is the winner. The game started with two teams, and the kids lost track of who was in their teams and started knocking everyone off – laughter ensued and in the end, they all teamed up against the coach and eliminated the game (multiple times!).
After that, it was snack time and the Discoverers got ready for a wild wet game of waterbombing! With similar rules as dodgeball, the kids threw water bombs at each other and ones that got hit were eliminated. However, that did not go to plan as more and more waterbomb came flying at every angle. It even got the Smarter Me team all drenched in water. Needless to say, it was plenty of fun and laughter and everyone needed a dry change in the end.
Sport is fun and it trains fundamental skills such as footwork, hands-eye coordination, self-esteem, teamwork and listening skills as it is important for them to understand instructions and work as a team.
Founded by two coaches in Hong Kong before expanding into Singapore, Sport4Kids gives kids the opportunity to learn a range of skills while trying out many different sports in a fun, low-pressure environment, with the main emphasis on skill development and having FUN. Classes are conducted in a fun filled environment structured to build a foundation for the love of sports early on in life. The core philosophy at Sport4Kids is to encourage a sporting spirit, boost confidence and self-esteem irrespective of a child’s level of competence. Sport4Kids has an army of amazing coaches who are not only well trained but go above and beyond by adding a touch of creativity to make learning fun. Sport4Kids coaches are carefully selected and all have a degree or equivalent in a sports related field. Every coach has completed the Sport4Kids coaching course, ensuring a consistency throughout all the classes they provide.
Day 4: Cooking and Pottery
Day 4 found us tracking all the way to The Little Things at Upper Thomson for a day of culinary and pottery lessons.
It’s a day where the children get to explore the world of food, ingredients and getting their hands dirty and of course, to savour the fruit of their labour. They donned on their bright orange chef aprons and excited to get cooking!
The menu of the day was chicken soy sauce noodles and cinnamon buns. The children mixed the batter and kneaded the dough for their cinnamon buns. They also made cinnamon filling from scratch and diligently rolled their buns before putting them into the oven.
While waiting for the buns to bake, Teacher Emily introduced the children to the ingredients that would be in their Chicken Noodles. The curious kids took a whiff of raw onions and garlic and there were so many funny reactions! The kids had to chop garlic and slice chicken for their noodles before heading to their respective stations to cook. The kids returned back to their seats with a Tupperware full of noodles. That’s their lunch for the day.
Lauren didn’t want to finish her noodles because she wanted to share it with us at home. I may be biased but it tasted pretty good. Also, I like that she’s adamant about using only the ingredients she likes, and not follow blindly and adding everything the teacher provided.
After lunch, the Smarter Me team handed out art materials for a surprise Father’s Day art and craft session. All the kids racked their brains for reasons why they loved their dads and Lauren came up answers such as “He loves to kiss me”, “Brings us on the plane”, “He buys me cookies” and “He lets me watch iPad”. (Now you know which parent is the spoiler in our home.)
After crafts, Joan from Center Pottery and her colleagues introduced the kids to clay pottery. The children were given clay and simple tools to construct their own ceramic ware. Under the guidance of the teachers from Center Pottery, our little ones got their hands dirty to create mugs, bowls and plates of various designs.
I was surprised to see these beautifully decorated clay wares the children created.
About The Little Things Cooking Studio – Founded by Emily Yeo (ex-preschool educator and mum) and Valerie Lee (passionate home-cook & foodie), they wanted a new cooking school that intended to develop Self-Savvy™ individuals. Cooking, baking in the kitchen is a lacking skill amongst children and they want children to explore the world of food and ingredients. While whipping up their feasts, children pick up the most crucial of skills – language, numeracy, science, problem-solving, working in teams and much, much more.
About Center Pottery – Founder of Center Pottery, Joan Huang, emphasises the importance of being creative with a purpose. This is echoed through pottery lessons. The process of creating a useful craft on our own is immensely therapeutic and satisfying, and she uses her knowledge to promote the benefits of pottery for mental health in Singapore. Classes are from 2 years old to adults of any age!
Day 5: Painting and Forensic Science
Moses, founder of Little Art Connoisseur and Teacher Yi Fang started the last day with teaching kids drawing, brush and painting techniques. Based on photography activity on the first day of the camp, the children were tasked to create paintings of natures’ bright and vivid colours. They started off drawing flowers, clouds, friends at the excursion and more on canvas. Then, Teacher Yi Fang guided the children closely and taught them different stroke and the mixture of acrylic colours.
Next, the children also get to learn colour painting. I’m must say, I’m pretty impressed by Lauren’s simple lollypop painting. (I can’t paint for nuts and I’m glad she takes after her dad in the creativity department. Ha!)
After lunch, the Discoverers brought out their inner Sherlock with their fun teachers from Whizz Kidz. The class started with a scenario, where Dr Franky needs help. His laboratory is a mess and he can’t keep staff for long. The kids were asked to solve his problems by being his junior scientists – and off they went on a journey of chemistry and forensic science. The activities along with the mock crime scene have pieces of evidence to be solved.
Some of the forensics include: fingerprinting, footwear analysis, and trace evidence analysis, etc. Learning a topic as serious as forensics in a stimulating and enjoyable environment will help enhance the child’s logical thinking, critical reasoning, observation power and problem-solving skills.
Overall, Lauren had an enriching 5 days of fun learning and exposure to a wide variety of activities. At the end of the camp, Lauren was given a form to fill up on which activity she enjoyed the most. She likes coding, yoga and painting.
I appreciate that the Smarter Me team provided teachers’ assessment of individual child along with their strengths and weaknesses. I think their observations are spot-on and would definitely explore the possibility of enrolling Lauren into programmes they suggested based on the assessment.
Thank you, Smarter Me for having Lauren in the holiday camp. She still speaks fondly of your team and is very proud of the things she learnt during the week. She no longer awkwardly throws a soccer ball into the air now, because she can dribble!
About Smarter Me
Smarter Me is a leading Singapore-based online platform founded by 3 parents who want to inspire their children with a variety of learning opportunities. It curates learning experiences for parents and children, uncovering experienced and dedicated educators to enable parents to find the best fit for their children, without needing to do all the research themselves. Smarter Me offers classes across academic, arts & lifestyle, music, dance, sports, language, culinary, science & technology and more. Users can search, book and pay online, while seamlessly communicating with instructors. Smarter Me takes pride in connecting parents with passionate, highly certified and qualified educators who can really make a difference in their child’s learning journey