2011 Summer Activities At Taipei City Zoo

According to the Taipei City Government site, you can expect lots of fun events at Taipei City Zoo this summer.   
There will be workshops, theater performances, and more, held during special Summer extended hours.  Taipei City Zoo has features such as the nocturnal animals hall and water spray/water play areas that make it a pleasant place to visit during Taipei's hot summer.  Make sure you visit at least once during the summer.

2011 July 9-Aug 11: Ilan Children's and Folklore Festival

Last year, we attended this festival and had the time of our lives.  I'm sad we will miss it this year.  If you are in Taiwan with your chidren at this time, do try to make it out to the DongShan River for this event.

Here are a two images from our day out last year:

And a short documentary about how Ilan's children get involved in the event:

As usual, an English site showcasing this year's event is hard to search for.  Someone needs to talk to the people in charge of these event websites!  If anyone finds a link, please share!

Already Late Notice - Taipei Children's Art Festival 2011 (July/Aug)

My friend told me that the ticketed events are probably already sold out, but you could try to catch some of the free performance.

This year, the English version of the site is pretty complete, so go over and take a look at what's on offer.  Venues are spread all over Taipei City.

Fantasy World of Monsters at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts

Running through to November 2011, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts has an exhibit in the lobby.  From their official site:

Fantasy World of Monsters

Taking on theme of “monsters,” this exhibition ushers children into the fantasy world of monsters. The exhibits are creative, educative and interactive, inviting children to have fun and learn about art at the same time. The exhibition is divided into four sections: “Visit Ancient Monsters in the Mysterious Land,” “Summon Sacred Monsters,” “Make Friends with Monsters in the Magical Forest” and “Unleash Your Inner Monster.” By combining literature, myths, images of folklore cultures, and contemporary artistic creations, this exhibition inspires young viewers to broaden their learning horizons and then create their own fantasy world of monsters.
Address: Address: 80 Meishuguan Road, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Detailed directions and opening hours info here.

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Reviewing for End-of-Terms? Some Review Ideas for Taiwan Public School

I am helping my first-grader review for his end-of-terms.  The teacher said, just let him review.  I looked at his texts, and thought, OK, so how do you just look at math and review?  I did a search on the web and found a few places to get review material and practice tests, in Chinese, for the public school material taught over the different grades.  If you have something else to share, please do. It will help all of us trying to assist our kids with the added struggle of our language incompetence.

Your School's Own Website:  Ask your child's hometeacher to show you how to access their class' page on the web.  Teachers will post useful links like material to review, or recommended texts, on the web.  If it takes too much time to find it yourself, ask them to give you the direct link to the most useful page.  Don't be afraid, there is always a parent who will be pushier than you.

Publisher's Materials: Check the back of your child's book for the website of the publisher.  I just found out that the publisher of my child's texts has a lot of online materials for students.  That includes games and printables.

Independent Materials:  I just started looking but I want to publish this post to help others in my position, so please refer back to this page over coming days.

The Math Test Project - This page is the grade one practice sheets.  Each number at the top of the page refers to the grade you want to access.  Scroll down near the bottom to get sheets that cover the second semester's material.  基礎篇 = basic 實力篇 = a little harder 挑戰篇 = challenging. Choose the level you want.  It prints out a PDF very easily, in color.  (There are many topics covered, and the topic list is on the left, for example for grade one, 四、時間和日期 = number four, time and date.  If you are not sure what they are, either ask your child or just make them do all of them.)


What Will You Do In the Summer Heat?

Summer is well and truly here.  35 degrees Celsius on our deck, 28 in the house.  With two months of summer break ahead of us, what will you do with your kids?

Are you the "Sweat it out in the Sun" or "Hide in the a/c" kind of parent?  Or, maybe a mix of both?  Here are a few options for getting through the summer sanely, and maybe even joyfully, in Taiwan with your kids.

Go swimming!
You can choose to go to the beach (such as Fulong or along the North East Coast), the river (Pingling, Sanxia, or even a small local stream like in Maling Recreational Area), or a swimming pool.

Set a target with your kids, and make a Reading Passport.  For example, for each book they read, they get a stamp, and after say 30 books, they can choose a prize to the value of TWD100.  Get your books from the library, or from Book Depository

Play Games!
Visit your local Good Toys store, or check out this website (in Chinese but with English-language games) and have the games sent to you.

Catch a Movie!
Visit your local theater. 

We recently went to this one in Neihu (right opposite  Neihu MRT station). At $650 for one adult, one school-age child and one preschooler for a 3-D movie and snacks, and free parking in the basement, it's pretty good value.  The theaters are small and during the day there doesn't seem to be many people.  I heard that if you see an English-language viewing, you have a good chance of being the only ones in the theater.

Address: 台北市內湖區康寧路三段72號  (Kang Ning Road Sec 3, No. 72)
Telephone: :(02)2632-2693
Let The Kids Go Online!
Try a child-friendly site like http://www.kidzui.com/ or let them watch some educational movies at http://www.neok12.com/.

Do you have any suggestions to share with parents trying to make it through the summer?  Share them right here!


Wen-Shan Sports Center - Kids' Swimming Pool and Play Area

When I lived in Muzha, I often lamented the lack of good indoor swim facilities for children.  Now, with the builiding of the Wen-Shan Sports Center, there is a very nice child-friendly pool in the area.  Like all government-built sports center, it is well-priced, too.

You can park in the basement of the sports center, or enter from the first floor if you walk or take the bus.  You buy your tickets for the pool on the first floor.  If you have forgotten your goggles or swimcap, you can pick something up at the little store.  Head to the 3rd floor and put your card into the slot to enter the pool.  Right there on your left, there are two family changing rooms.  When we went last week, they were very clean and in good order.  Take your gear to the pool side and put it into the pay lockers ($10 per locker).  This pool has the system set up in a very family-friendly way (no running in and out of changing rooms like older sports centers).

The main pool has a large graduated slope into the pool, which is ideal for children learning to swim.  Just make sure the kids don't climb up onto the rails, or the lifeguards will come to get them!  There are two kids' pools - one 60cm deep and one 80cm deep.   In those pools, children can practice swimming.  Unlike pools I'm used to at home, there is no opportunity for playing or tomfoolery; it's all very serious.  The signs say, "This pool is for practicing swimming.  Do not play around."  So, it was a bit of a serious swim.  A fun, serious swim.  My kids had a great time, and are begging to go back.

*There is no soap or shampoo in the showers. It's best to take your own, as they currently only sell special shampoo at TWD450/bottle.

On the first floor of the facility, there is a nice little ball room and play area, and a coffee shop. There are other facilities and classes, but with the weather as it is, I think the swimming pool is the place to be!

Address: 台北市興隆路3段222號  Shinglong Road Sec 3, No. 222 (Just south of Wanfang Hospital)
Chinese Website: http://wssc.cyc.org.tw/

Here is a list (Chinese) of classes running at the moment.  They have swim classes for children aged 3 and up.