3 Things to do

Stay in and help fight Covid-19. The Straits Times' Stephanie Yeo recommends fun, uplifting things to do today

Ramayana (left) and Journey To The West (right). PHOTOS: WORLD SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING
Professor Angela Duckworth. PHOTO: ZACH TERIS

1 DO: Start a mindfulness practice with your kids

You are never too young to learn mindfulness. It is a life skill everyone needs to thrive in a post-pandemic world.

"Mindfulness is important to cultivate in children as a lifelong habit to combat stress and daily challenges. It isn't about having pain-or stress-free days, but having a tool and coping mechanism to deal with adversity to stand back up again," says Mrs Shireena Shroff Manchharam, a certified image consultant and life coach who has two children aged 11 and seven.

There are tons of resources online if you google "mindfulness for kids", but you may also try her two suggestions here.

Start with just a minute of meditation in silence together every day, with or without soothing music, and invite your kids to breathe in and out slowly. Gradually extend the duration as they get used to it.

Another activity to try - keep distractions away during a snack or meal and share how each dish smells, tastes, looks and makes you feel.

These activities are part of her Getting To Happy Kids Edition, a boxed set of 31 cards that teach kids to be more mindful and resilient. There is also an adults' edition. Both are priced at $50 each.


2 READ: New local children's books

Meet Marky Polo, an adorable pangolin who comes from a family of famous travellers with hilarious names (dad is Masala Polo and mum is Mala Polo, and both are spice collectors).

On his first overseas trip, Marky visits his cousin in Tokyo and gets into all sorts of adventures when his luggage is lost.

Written by Emily Lim-Leh and illustrated by Nicholas Liem, Marky Polo In Tokyo is a fun romp around the city's attractions that is suitable for readers aged five to nine.

But what makes it more exciting is its augmented-reality experience, which is accessible when you download the SnapLearn app. Take a selfie with Marky, see the Tokyo Skytree in a 360-degree photo and watch rainbow cotton candy being made in Harajuku.

The book costs $12.90 (softcover) and $19.90 (hardcover) from major bookstores, or order it from World Scientific Publishing's Lazada store for less during its current promotion (

Also, check out its new series of six books called Pop! Lit For Kids. Asian and Western classics such as Ramayana, Journey To The West and Sherlock Holmes are made more exciting using the colourful visual reading technique, which fans of the wildly popular Geronimo Stilton series will be familiar with.

Suitable for kids aged six to 12, they are available from major bookstores as well as World Scientific Publishing's store on Lazada. Prices start at $12.90 (before GST) for a softcover edition. The authors will be participating in an online panel discussion at the Asian Festival of Children's Content on Saturday (

If you would rather borrow than buy, but do not have time, try The Little Book Box subscription service by National Library Board (

For $32.10, you will get eight children's books delivered to you a month for three months. These are suitable for kids aged four to six and seven to nine.

3 LISTEN: A smart and funny podcast about human behaviour

Podcasts are great for busy mums who are always on the move, even at home. You can fold laundry or do a two-minute plank and learn something at the same time - all without taking your eyes off the little ones. My favourite is No Stupid Questions by Freakonomics Radio (a brand extension of the 2005 best-selling book, Freakonomics), which premiered a year ago in the thick of the pandemic.

As the show notes explain, its weekly episodes explore "all the weird and wonderful ways in which humans behave", but the magic lies in the playful chemistry between co-hosts Stephen Dubner, an award-winning journalist who co-wrote Freakonomics, and Professor Angela Duckworth, a renowned psychologist and author of the bestseller, Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance.

Informative without being pedantic and entertaining without being fluffy, it is the perfect recipe of science-backed answers topped with dollops of humour. I love that the brilliant Prof Duckworth struggles with her teenagers, like I do.

The topics they discuss are diverse and intriguing, from Are You As Observant As You Think? to Is Laziness Real and How Does When You Are Born Affect Who You Are?

Info: Available on major podcast platforms and online. Go to

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2021, with the headline 3 Things to do. Subscribe