Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Ideas for Teaching Letter Recognition

To help young children develop writing and reading skills, it is important that they first learn letter recognition. 

Research shows that children who can recognize letters of the alphabet will help them connect the letters and the sounds they stand for. To help improve letter recognition, constant exposure and practice with writing letters are necessary.

I first introduced the alphabet to my son by exposing him to books and flashcards even before he turned a year old.  I also religiously read to him everyday and supplemented our reading with educational videos and audio CDs. At a year and a half, he was already reciting the alphabet and their respective sounds. All these helped broaden his vocabulary and assisted him in articulating words clearly.  

Now that Caleb just turned three years old, I'm starting to teach him how to read and write. Part of his home school program is letter recognition. Although the program recommends different activities to help him develop this skill, I still think  and research other creative ways on how can learn.  The internet is also a good resource for a lot of fun activities for young children to learn and enjoy. 

Here are some ideas that you can do to help your children develop his letter recognition skills:

1.  Provide different materials for your kids to learn about letters.  Keep flashcards handy and organized by filing them in single ring binders



2.  Download android apps for letter recognition and phonemic awareness.  I personally like the alphabet app http://www.starfall.com. Although this one comes for a minimal fee, there are other apps that you can also download for free.



3. Form letters using clay/ Play dough and plastic straws



4.  Use available toys and materials at home - blocks, shape sorters, marbles, etc to trace and form letters.





5. Incorporate learning letters and playing with your kid's favorite toys

"B" is for Bulldozer


6.  Trace letters with cut-out shapes or by finger painting to help develop motor skills, an important skill for writing





7.  Use different materials with different textures in forming/ tracing letters to improve sensory skills 



8.  Practice connecting capital and small letters



9.  Play alphabet match 

Fill clear plastic jar with rice grains and small magnetic letters. Seal with clear packaging tape to secure contents. Shake the bottle and match letters that appear by placing stones on your alphabet chart



10.  Paint letter using Q-tip to strengthen fingers and develop fine motor skills


I hope you found the ideas useful. If you have other ideas/ activities for pre-schoolers, please feel free to share them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lippies For Mommies

I have a confession to make. I love lipsticks! 

Wait. Let me rephrase that... I am obsessed with lipsticks! 

As a makeup artist, I know that I shouldn't have too much at one time because lipsticks, as any other makeup/ cosmetic product have short shelf life (1 to 2 years). But sometimes, they're just soooo difficult to resist... 

Because I'm now a mom, I've learned to be practical. Gone are the days when I can easily splurge on a lipstick that would easily rip me off at least a thousand bucks. 

Nowadays, price is of utmost consideration. I'm learning that products that are more affordable are not always substandard in quality.  You would be surprised that there are a lot of good finds out there that won't hurt your wallet.  

Aside from price, I also consider products that best suit my lifestyle. When I'm out and about with my tot, heaven knows, I don't have the luxury of time to retouch my makeup. It's always go, go, go!  I also like to shower my little boy with lots of kisses and beauty should not be a reason to compromise. So essentially, a long-staying lippie is must!

For the past few years of being a mom, I've experimented on several drugstore brands in search of the best lippies for mommies.  Allow me to share some of my favorites:

1. L'Oreal Paris Shine Caress  - Watsons, P595

This lippie promises the texture and shine of a gloss with a long wear of a stain. I was buying some toiletries in Watsons when I chanced upon this product. 

I was really looking for a red shade but I have to admit that I was a bit doubtful at first because red lippies can be a bit tricky. It's always a make or break situation. It can either make you look like a streetwalker or a hot bombshell.   

After trying it on, guess what! This red shade proved to be a keeper! The applicator was easy to use and fills my lip creases and lip corners very easily. It has the right amount of sheen and gloss and also did not break up even after I had something to eat/ drink. My only complain about this product is that although the color lasts, it tends to leave a little smudge on my cup/ glass. Overall though, I am very happy with it.


L'Oreal Shine Caress in Juliette, 702



Wearing my latest favorite lippie, L'oreal Shine Caress in Juliette

2.  Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick - Ulta.com, $5.49

If you're looking for a lippie that will stay on all day, this is it!  It is true to color and gives the right amount of shimmer.  I like to wear this lipstick when we're going to a party or a dinner out because the color stays on even after you eat and drink.  

But even though it glides smoothly when applied, it tends to dry up and stick to your lips too quickly. The dryness eventually leads to cracking so I usually top it off with a clear non-sticky lip gloss to seal in moisture.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstik in Premium Pink, 010




3.  Mizon Water Glam Lip Tint - Suesh.com, P375

Mizon is a nifty Korean cosmetic brand. Their widely popular product is the Mizon Snail Recovery Cream. Yes, you read it right. SNAIL. Apparently, one of its key ingredients is snail slime/mucus. Eeww! But don't let the name fool you.

Women around the world are raving about this product for its regenerative properties. It even made it's way to Buzfeed's 22 Cult beauty products from Asia.  Enough said about their Snail Recovery Cream.  

There's not much reviews about Mizon's lip tint, but given the good reviews about their recovery cream,  I thought it might be worth a try. When I saw it on TasteCentral.com, I ordered it right away.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, but to my surprise, the product exceeded my expectation!

The packaging was attractive and unique. It's shaped like a lipstick, only, the stick is a plastic casing that houses the liquid tint. A gentle twist will bring out just the right amount of tint. I did not like the feel of pressing the plastic casing on my lips so I used a lip brush to apply it.  And what do you know! The texture is light and smooth, the color is vibrant, won't kiss-off and most importantly long lasting! I'm very satisfied with it, and I'm actually thinking of trying out other shades.

Mizon Water Glam Lip Stain in Hot Pink Glam, 04

4.  NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain - Amazon.com, $4.50


I first chanced upon this lippie in Walmart in the States. Initially, what caught my attention is the marker type applicator. I chose the Forever Fuchsia shade and I love how vibrant the color is!  It took awhile before I got the hang of using the felt tip applicator. I found that outlining the lips and then working my way inside and unto the corners of the lips is the best way to apply it. It's also important to apply it on clean, dry and oil-free lips, which is usually at the beginning of the day.    

This lip stain is absolutely smooch proof as it claims. The only drawback is that it is just a lip stain. It doesn't have a gloss or sheen so I always top it with a lip gloss/ lip balm and I'm good to go. It's also good base for another lipstick. You can layer it with another shade of lipstick or tinted lip gloss and you're good to go!  

While I'm very satisfied with the Forever Fuchsia shade, I find the Persistent Pink quite pale on my lips. I use this shade when I want the natural, no makeup look.

NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain in Forever Fuchsia, 496 and Persistent Pink, 490

As you can see, each product has its hits and misses. More often, the shade I choose to wear depends on my mood and outfit.  That's just how it is with lippies. They're pretty much like clothes, bags or shoes. You simply can't own only one.  And that's something that our husbands may never comprehend. 

While it may be good to experiment on colors every now and then, it is important to stick to a shade that best compliments your features and skin color. Personally, I like pinks and reds because they give a more youthful glow and are perfect to wear from day to night.  

How about you? What is your go-to lippie? Feel free to share your favorites and let me know what you think of the ones on my stash. Mwah!