5 No Prep Activities For Earth Hour 2015

earth hour 2015

We are turning off our lights, gadgets,and pretty much everything else that consumes electricity at 8:30PM tonight (March 28, 2015). This is in observance of Earth Hour 2015, which the Philippines will celebrate today.

Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007, with millions of homes and businesses turning off their lights for an hour to show their stand against climate change. The year after, more than 30  countries participated in this movement that continues to grow annually.

Here are some activities that you can do with your children to make this event even more significant.

1. Have a slumber party.

Bring out your PJs, some milk and cookies and have a slumber party with your kids. Tell stories about your childhood or make up new fairy tales featuring them as the heroes and heroines. Play a story chain game, where each family member takes a turn in contributing to a made-up story. The sillier, the better!

2.  Time travel to the past

Pretend to live in the olden days and navigate your way using candles and lamps. Bring out your anahaw fans to cool down and beat the summer heat.  The kids will have a kick at experiencing first hand how it was to live without electricity.

3. Read the Creation Story

While you’re at it, why not try reading just as Jose Rizal did? Bring out your favorite children’s Bible and read the amazing story of The Creation. Talk about how God made the earth in 7 days and appointed men to be the caretakers of the world.

4. Sing to learn about the 3Rs

You may be surprised at how even very young children can give wonderful ideas to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Point out also simple ways that they can help save the Earth – throwing trash in recycling bins, bringing water in reusable thermos instead of plastic bottles, upcycling tin cans to make musical instruments. Endless possibilities! To make it fun, teach your kids this song that I found here.

3Rs Song

(Sung to the tune of “The More We Get Together”)

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Recyle, recycle.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

It’s easy to do.

Cause your earth is my earth

And my earth is your earth.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

It’s easy to do.

5. Stargaze

With most of the city lights turned off, tonight would be a perfect time to go stargazing. Talk  about the phases of the moon. Look for Orion’s belt. Identify planets and stars. Science lessons have never been this fun!


Training our children to love and care for Mother Earth at an early age is a valuable legacy that we can impart to these future stewards of our planet. And it starts with a simple step – such as turning off our lights for an hour tonight.


Have fun with your  child!



5 Ways to Make The Most of Traveling with Kids

traveling with kids

China has fascinated my daughter T ever since we studied about it three years ago.  That is probably why when given the chance to go to another country recently, she chose to visit where the Great Wall is.

And just like everything else that comes our way, our trip became our main learning topic for several weeks.

I thought I’d share with you the different ways you can make the most out of traveling with kids, here and abroad.  You can also read my old post about “7 Ways to Travel the World Without Leaving Your Home,” which I also referred to in preparation for our trip to Beijing.

1. Read books about your destination

We have a fair number of books set in China, and we read them all over a period of two weeks. Little Sir enjoyed the Five in a Row book “The Story About Ping” by Marjorie Flack, just like his big sister did before.

For older T, we borrowed “The Great Wall of China” by Leonard Everett Fisher from our friend Tina of Truly Rich Mom. We learned about the fascinating history of the wall, with the gory details (workers buried in the wall, soldiers whipping slow workers) engaging  Little Sir.


We also got acquainted with old China through the “Day of the Dragon King” from the Magic Tree House series (which we have a lot of!) and “Imperial China” from the Magic School Bus offshoot Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures. Both books are rich with details that excite young minds!

2. Delve into one particular landmark… or two

The Great Wall is easily China’s most well known landmark. Apart from reading its history and watching a short video at Brain Pop Jr., we got 3D puzzles of The Great Wall and of Tiananmen, a famous monument in Beijing, from National Bookstore.

Seven-year-old T was surprised that she could already do it by herself and got busy building the Great Wall for about an hour.

traveling with kids

Some more creative mamas actually build The Great Wall with wafers, blocks and other materials.

3. Study about your mode of transportation

This wasn’t my kids’ first plane ride, but we still read up about it especially because Little Sir, like most boys, is into vehicles. It’s a good thing that I wrote about how we prepared for a plane ride before, so I just referred to it for our recent trip!

airport pat down

If I had also known that we would be taking the subway in Beijing, we would have also read up a bit about trains. But then again, experience still trumps books.

4. Do some math with money

My sister gave T some yuan (seven, to be exact, haha!) when she heard about our trip. Since we also exchanged pesos to dollars to yuan, T was full of questions about the value of the peso against the US dollar and against the yuan.

For local trips, this can be as simple as talking about the cost of food, rides, etc.

5. Talk about the weather

One of the things that we looked forward to when preparing for our trip was Beijing’s weather, which was still quite cold when we were there.

winter clothes

Back in January, when we were preparing for a trip to Baguio, we talked about temperatures and appropriate clothing. I added the city to my Accuweather app, and we would check Manila’s, Baguio’s and Beijing’s respective temperatures and had T chart the information.

T can’t forget the time that we saw Beijing’s temperature drop to -2C. It was an easy lesson on reading temperatures, that low means c-c-cold.


We tremendously enjoyed our trip, especially because T was so ready for it. She was full of questions and connections that made us feel that she was really learning from everything that we’ve seen and experienced.

As we always say in “Cultivating a Love of Learning,” our parenting seminar in the preschool setting…

traveling with kids


Make magic!

Mariel Uyquiengco



8 Mom-Daughter Date Ideas

Do you date your kids? We started this tradition late last year, when I missed spending downtime with my daughter after months of craziness in my schedule.

Our first mommy-daughter date was so much fun that I declared that we have one monthly. I know of families who spend one-on-one time with each of their kids, rotating weekly or monthly, and either with just one parent or both at a time. I think it is a wonderful tradition that allows us to get to know our children’s hearts and just BE with them.

Jane Nelsen, the main proponent of positive discipline, recommends spending special time with children as a response to “misbehavior,” as the attention and alone time with a child will “help the child feel encouraged.” (Wondering why “misbehavior” is in quotes? Join our Positive Discipline workshop on March 21!)

The activities do not have to be grand or expensive. The point is to spend quality, agenda-free (this, especially for a homeschooling mom like me who tries to make every breath a “learning experience”) time with these little persons.

Here are some mom-daughter activities that I have for our future dates.



1. Go to the playground and let your inner child play.

It’s free. It’s fun. And it shows your daughter that her mom can still swing as high as when she was a kid.

2. Get ice cream in a nearby ice cream parlor.

Who does not enjoy ice cream?

3. Start a new hobby or learn a new craft.

For January, the Energizer Bunny and I learned Gardening 101 together with other homeschoolers. We are still waiting for our seeds to sprout  but learning something new together was such a fun experience.

Do scrapbooks, study cooking together, learn sewing or knitting, learn how to paint – the possibilities are endless.

4. Have a tea party.

Set a table outdoors and prepare “tea” with small cakes or sandwiches. Don your Sunday’s best and have a blast.

5. Go biking.

My husband’s one request is that we include a sport in our monthly dates. So there.

6. Picnic in a nearby park.

Yes, we do have decent parks in the metro, as I discovered recently. QC Memorial Park, Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife, La Mesa Ecoparks, RAVE Rainforest Park in Pasig, and Rizal Park are actually very well-maintained and are good venues for picnics. Try to go early or on a weekday, though, as it can get pretty crowded during weekends.

7. Hear Mass together.

One tradition that I want to share with my daughter is hearing First Friday Mass every month.  It is never too early to share our faith with our children.

8. Visit a museum.

Museo Pambata is top-of-mind choice, of course, as are Mind Museum for the older kids and Philippine Science Centrum. However, art galleries and places such as Ayala Museum, National Museum, and Metropolitan Museum can be enjoyed by kids as young as 4 years old.

Of course, do not expect over-the-top commentaries on the art. Answers to questions such as, “Which of the paintings did you like most? Why?” will surprise you and will surely open the doors to lively conversations.

Do you date your kids? We’d love to hear other ideas!