Our series of thematic activities are back! As full lockdown is imposed again this year, we have compiled a week of activities to support families with children that are now stuck at home. With the pandemic going on for more than a year now, what is the one common thing that we all miss? Travelling! This time, we are bringing travel to our kids at home, where they can learn all about a country through these activities! The first stop is none other than our beloved country, Malaysia! Below, we have compiled a series of movement activity, craft, water play, snack activity and games with the theme of traveling to Malaysia. The activities are adapted to different skill levels, and you can carry it out for both younger and older children. 

Jom, Cuti-Cuti Malaysia! Let’s get started!

Music & Movement Monday

Vital to the development of motor skills as well as maintaining health and wellbeing, movement activities help to build attention and imitation skills. It is also a great opportunity for you to engage and have fun with your child!

Musical Chair with a Malaysian Song

Materials:

Introduce Malaysian songs to your child through the classic game of Musical Chairs! Encourage them to sing or dance to the songs as they walk around the chairs. To spice up the game, you can prepare some colour paper (following the colours of the Malaysia flag) and attach a colour to each of the chairs. Shout out a random colour when the song is paused, and players would need to sit on the chair attached with the right colour!

Crafty Tuesday

Arts and Crafts activities help to nurture your child’s creativity and fine motor skills! With these activities, your child could occupy their time meaningfully, and also feel successful and accomplished with a self-made craft piece!

For younger children: Pasta Hibiscus

Materials:

  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Bowtie pasta
  • Penne/Spiral pasta
  • Paper

Steps:

  1. Break the bowtie pasta in half. Only 5 halves are needed.
  2. Paint the bowtie pasta red.
  3. Glue the bowtie pasta halves to the paper, making a circle of petals.
  4. Glue a penne or a spiral pasta in the middle of the circle. This is the filament of the hibiscus flower.
  5. Paint the stem and leaves of the flower with green paint.

For older children: Rice Flag

Materials:

Steps:

  1. Pour some rice into a ziplock bag or a food container.
  2. Add a few drops of red food colouring into the rice then add half teaspoon of water.
  3. Zip the bag or close the lid of the container and shake until the rice is completely red.
  4. Pour the rice onto a tray to dry.
  5. Repeat step (1) to (4) with blue food colouring and yellow food colouring.
  6. Print out the Malaysian flag template.
  7. Apply glue to the flag template and add the coloured rice accordingly.

Wild Wednesday

Water and sensory play has always been one of the favourite play activities for most of our kids here in EAP. Other than building and strengthening motor skills, water and sensory play also provides an opportunity for sensory exploration for your child.

For younger children: Rescue the Flag!

Materials:

  • Malaysia flag (print it from here)
  • Ziplock bag
  • Tray/container
  • Tools to knock and dig/melt the ice (ladle, water spray, water dropper, toy hammer etc.)

Steps:

  1. Place the flag in a ziplock bag and place the bag in a tray filled with water.
  2. Place the container into the freezer for 1-2 hours (until the water is frozen).
  3. Using the tools, get your child to knock and dig on the ice to rescue the flag!

For older children: Throw and Burst

Materials:

  • White cloth/mahjong paper 
  • Water balloons
  • Paint 
  • Pencil
  • Pins

Steps:

  1. Draw hibiscus flower on a big white cloth or mahjong paper (or print it from here!), then pin it on the wall/floor. It is recommended to carry out this activity outdoors.
  2. Fill water balloons with paint of your desired colours. You can also use the colours of the Malaysia flag–blue, yellow, white and red!
  3. Get your child to throw the paint-filled balloons to the hibiscus template and create a unique hibiscus! 

Tasty Thursdays

Other than sharpening attention and motor skills, preparing snacks can also empower your child with independent living skills. Participating in the making of meals may pique your child’s interest and develop a new hobby. For children with autism that have food tolerance issues, this is also a fun way to engage and encourage them to try new foods!

Fried Banana Balls

Ingredients:

  • 300g banana
  • 50g flour 
  • ¼  teaspoon of salt
  • ¼  teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 350 ml oil 

Steps:

  1. Mash bananas until smooth. Mix in all the other ingredients, except sugar.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat.
  3. Add sugar to batter and stir.
  4. Sink a spoonful of batter into the hot oil.
  5. Then, use another spoon to loosen the batter from the spoon. It will float.
  6. Shape the batter into balls quickly using the spoons.
  7. Fry until golden brown.

For older children, get them to try carrying out all the steps under adult supervision. With younger children, they can help with mashing the bananas, stirring the batter and eventually enjoying the delicious fried banana balls!

Funtastic Fridays

Coming to the end of the week, why not take up a notch and go on for some adventures with your child? Here are some activities to make your Fridays extra “Fun”tastic, where you can go on virtual tours, treasure hunts or do fun and interesting science experiments with your child!

For younger children: Scavenger Hunt-Malaysia Flag Colours!

Materials:

  • Crayon/Colour pencils (blue, yellow, white and red)
  • Malaysian flag colouring template (print from here)

Steps:

  1. Hide the crayon/colour pencils.
  2. Get your child to find the crayon/colour pencils. You can provide clues on the location of the materials to ease the finding process.
  3. After collecting the colouring materials, colour the Malaysia flag together with your child!

For older children: Guess the Fruit!

Materials:

  • Local Malaysian fruits (rambutan, mangosteen, langsat, durian etc.)
  • Blindfold

Introduce your child to the Malaysian fruits! Then, do a guessing game where your blindfolded child has to guess the fruit after tasting it. Encourage them to use all their other senses (touch, smell, taste) to explore, describe and guess the fruit!

Through these activities, we hope to support you in occupying your child meaningfully at home. With all the abrupt changes and stuck-at-home situation, it can be overwhelming for both adults and children. We hope these activities could take your mind off for a moment, while spending quality time with your child. If you would like more information on how to help your child with autism at home, please check out Autism At Home, our very own online platform that provides resources as well as simplified tips and strategies to help families of children with autism in teaching and supporting them. For more strategies in coping with the lockdown, feel free to refer to our blog article here!

References

  1. Musical Chair picture: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/musical-chairs
  2. Rasa Sayang (Malaysian Song):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzAJ10aRuBM
  3. Pasta Hibiscus: https://www.123homeschool4me.com/pasta-flower-crafts-for-kids/
  4. Rice Flag:  https://www.forkandbeans.com/2019/02/19/rainbow-rice/
  5. Rice Flag Picture: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/4-july-kids-craft-ideas-color-rice-american-flag-exploring/ 
  6. Printable Malaysia Flag: http://printerprojects.com/flag/malaysia.html  
  7. Water Balloon Painting: https://messyhandslessonplans.com/water-balloon-painting/
  8. Hibiscus Flower Template: https://www.activityshelter.com/flower-template-for-childrens-activities/
  9. Fried banana balls: https://www.nyonyacooking.com/recipes/fried-banana-balls~HyMxuwsDG5-7
  10. Malaysia Flag Template (blank):http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/flag-of-malaysia 
  11. Scavenger Hunt Picture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scavenger_hunt 
  12. Guess the Fruit Picture: https://www.teachworkoutlove.com/easy-picnic-food-ideas-for-kid/ 
  13. Autism At Home: https://www.autismmalaysia.com/autismathome/
  14. Coping with MCO 2.0 blog article: https://autismmalaysia.com/2021/01/coping-with-mco-2-0/