Road Test: Occupy kids at home this Christmas with Sqooll activities

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 9:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 December, 2013, 9:09pm

Parents staying in Hong Kong for the Christmas holiday will be looking for activities to occupy their children. Sqooll's activity packs offer a way to keep the young ones busy while spending time with them.

Founded by an early childhood educator and her businessman husband, Sqooll offers subscribers a starter kit containing basic supplies and then a themed pack containing 20 lessons and instructions and supplies for different activities each month. I received the Christmas-themed pack designed for two- to six-year-olds. The pack contained a planner explaining each of the lessons. The activities are chosen to cover four learning areas: literacy, maths and movement for gross and fine motor skills.

The pack featured various simple craft ideas such as creating a snowman with paper doilies, painting and decorating a little wooden Christmas tree, making a Santa Claus face from a paper plate and cotton balls and a Christmas card idea. Each project was easy to execute. I prepared the material and my three-year-old assisted with sticking and making aesthetic choices. The planner suggested parents get their children to practice identifying colours and counting, which I might not have otherwise done.

The match-the-cards game was a hit and my two-year-old also got involved in the pin the magnet on the reindeer's nose game. The pack included a hairband with antlers and suggested a song and dance routine, which both my kids enjoyed. The only downside was that I had to sing over and over.

The activities in the pack are not elaborate, though I gave the ones that involved baking a miss. Enthusiastic parents could probably plan these projects and source supplies themselves. However, I realised that parents need structure too, which is what the planner provides. It also adds value by suggesting how to use the projects to teach allied skills. Parents who work might not have the time or energy to plan activities and shop for supplies, which is why the packs are a go-to resource when the kids get agitated. Sqooll also offers a baby pack for kids aged one to two.

The theme next month is Year of the Horse, in time for Lunar New Year. Verdict: Well-thought-out activities to help busy parents creatively engage their kids. Memberships are HK$438 a month and the starter kit is HK$338.