Photo of girl using a desktop at our Parkway Parade campus

Today, smartwatches are becoming increasingly popular among children in Singapore, and for good reason! They give us the unparalleled ease and convenience of ensuring our children’s safety. A smartwatch becomes an even more optimal choice since some schools do not allow younger students to have phones.

As we often see such smartwatches on our students’ wrists and witness firsthand the benefits that they provide, we decided to do some research and compiled a list of 5 Best Smartwatches for Kids in Singapore!

1. Fitbit Ace 3

For Kids Aged 6+

Image of Fitbit Ace 3.
Image of Fitbit Ace 3 (Image Credit: Digital Trends)

The Fitbit Ace 3 is a stylish and kid-friendly activity tracker that helps to make fitness and exercise fun for the entire family! With virtual badges and an animated clock-face, it will help to inculcate healthy habits by encouraging your child to participate in fun-filled activities! Children can even bring their Fitbit along to the beach or even into the swimming pool, as the Ace 3 is water resistant to 50m!

At night, you can schedule bedtime reminders using your Fitbit App, and the Ace 3 can also function as a sleep tracking device to let you know if your child is getting adequate sleep. Most importantly, it is designed with children in mind and has an adjustable clasp, providing for a comfortable and secure fit. Your child will have no problems navigating its beautiful touchscreen and clock face displays!

  • All-Day Activity Tracking
  • Swimproof
  • Up to 8 Days of Battery
  • Customisable with Bands and Accessories
  • Touchscreen has a reduced number of features compared to adult’s fitness band
  • Only has monochrome display

Price: S$118.00

Find out more about the Fitbit Ace 3 here.

2. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3

For Kids Aged 4+

Photo showing Norton Family's web and app interfaces.
Image of Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 (Image Credit: Garmin)

The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 is a smart watch designed especially for your children. With its swim-friendly and durable design, the Vivofit Jr. 3 is built to withstand the rough and tumble of both daily activities and adventurous holiday trips. We also love its colourful display and themed designs, with options like Star Wars, Iron Man and Marvel Super Heroes!

Furthermore, it comes with a colourful parent-controlled app that can help inspire your child to stay active through educational discovery and travel! The wide range of features and capabilities are sure to be incredibly useful for parents, from GPS tracking, activity tracking, and chore data tracker to help you manage your little ones!

  • Up to 1 Year Battery Life
  • Swim Friendly
  • Tracks Fitness and Sleep
  • Variety of themed designs
  • Takes some time to learn how to use the watch
  • Smaller Screen Size due to size of the watch

Price: S$129.00

Find out more about Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 here.

3. My First Fone R1S

For Kids Aged 4-12

Image of My First Fone R1S
Image of My First Fone R1S (Image Credit: Kiddy Palace)

Created by a Singapore-based and homegrown technology brand for children, “My First Fone R1S” is a creative blend between a smart watch and a phone! Not only does it include the features of a smartwatch like advanced GPS tracking capabilities, it also incorporates features of a smartphone! For instance, it enables young children to connect seamlessly with their family and friends through voice calls and video calls, all under the safe supervision of their parents!

As parents ourselves, we especially appreciate that myFirst has taken the safety and wellbeing of children into consideration. The R1S Watch can be paired with the myFirstFone App on a parent’s phone, and allows parents to set a designated safety zone for their child through the Geo-Fencing Area Alert technology, which will alert the parent’s phone if the designated area is breached! The smart watch also comes with a one-touch SOS button for children to alert their parents in the event of an emergency. Whether your child might be off playing at the playground in your neighbourhood, or embarking on their very first field trip, the myFirst Fone R1S Smart Watch can give you peace of mind knowing that you can stay in touch with your child at all times.

  • Heart Rate Monitoring
  • Chat with Parents and Friends using Emojis or Preset Texts
  • Interchangeable Straps in 8 Different Colours
  • Comes with pre-installed SIM Card during purchase
  • More Expensive
  • Ringtone may not be loud enough

Price: S$269.00

Find out more about My First Fone R1S here.

4. Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smart Watch

For Kids Aged 4+

Image of Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smart Watch
Image of Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smart Watch (Image Credit: What Katy Said)

Do you have a child that loves Coding Lab’s educational robotics classes, like our Young Computer Scientists Robotics Class, or our Junior Coders Programme with Photon the robot? Then this watch might just be the perfect one for your child! Gift them a thrilling educational toy for robotics with the Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smart Watch, and watch them revel in excitement over its moving robot arms and legs, fun sound effects and over 100 different expressions!

This watch also features a kid-friendly touchscreen, augmented reality games, and 2 built-in cameras for your little techie to film videos, take selfies and edit photographs! What’s more, this watch can be used anytime, anywhere, as it can be easily attached to their clothes using its clip, or even set on a table top with its extra snazzy display stand!

  • Comes to Life before Your Eyes
  • Educational and fun games to keep your child entertained
  • Memory storage of 512MB for photos and videos
  • Splashproof and durable
  • Relatively low battery life
  • Difficult to strap and unstrap

Price: S$53.90

Find out more about the Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smart Watch here.

5. Apple Watch SE (With Family Set Up)

For Kids Aged 10+

Image of Apple Watch SE (With Family Set Up)
Image of Apple Watch SE (With Family Set Up) (Image Credit: EFTM)

With features like FaceTime audio calls, a calendar app for your child to customise their schedule, and Apple music that they can use to play their favourite song, the Apple Watch SE brings you and your child a personalised experience unlike any other smart watch! It even features “Schooltime” and “Downtime” modes that can be automatically set to ensure that your child is not disturbed in school!

It is the perfect wearable technology to introduce to older children that might not yet be ready for a smartphone, or are looking for an accessory to complement their smartphone! With the Family Setup, parents have the freedom to control access to personal data, and for your child to contact you as an emergency contact.

  • Available in 3 colours — Midnight, Starlight and Silver
  • Stay active and motivated with its workout app
  • Mindfulness app to help you reduce everyday stress
  • Discover tens of thousands of apps from the App Store
  • Does not have always-on screen
  • Only compatible with an iPhone
  • Some Singapore MOE schools may not allow Apple Watches

Price: S$379.00

Find out more about the Apple Watch SE here.

Ultimately, the decision on which smartwatch is the best for your child may depend on a variety of factors, like their age, maturity and level of responsibility. Smart watches can be very impactful educational and parenting tools to help get your child acquainted with technology in this digital age. They can be especially beneficial for families that enjoy the convenience of being able to check in with their children easily and regularly.

The Coding Lab Team has chosen these 5 smart watches as they have features that are specifically tailored for parents and children in mind. As a coding school, we care for our students and are always striving to provide them with the best – both inside and outside of our classrooms!

Read Next: Inculcating healthy digital device habits

Read Next: Top 5 Parental Control Software

(Written by Gracia)

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Did you know that 12-year-olds in Singapore spend about 6 hours on their electronic devices each day?

Nurturing Digital Habits Header (900x600px)

We’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution where everything technology is found in every aspect of our lives, and the digital world is now our children’s playground. Everything we see around us is being automated, for instance, that chatbot you’re typing to or the ordering kiosks at your favourite bubble tea shop. Isn’t it exciting that our children get to be part of something like Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?

While technology has many benefits, it also has its pitfalls. So, how do we ensure that our children benefit from the use of technology? How do you, as parents, create a safe and fun environment and prepare your children to learn about the world around them and help them to form healthy digital habits?

Learning and Playing With Technology

A Peek into JCP - Hands-on Robotics
Our Junior Coders play with Photon the Robot during class while learning all about computational thinking.

What better way to get to know technology better than by engaging your little ones through play?

Using tech toys is one way. Since 2015, the Infocomm Media and Development Authority has been developing the PlayMaker programme to introduce tech toys to preschool centres to enrich preschoolers’ learning experiences. Scratch Junior, Bee-Bot and the KIBO Robotics kit were some of the tech toys introduced.

Educational apps have also been making waves as a way for children to be productive and make the most of their time outside of school. The Coding Lab Team previously covered the Top 5 Educational STEM Games for Children that you can check out! Such screen time goes a long way in helping our little ones learn.

Workshops and classes are also available for children to learn about technology through play. For example, art is no longer limited by the physical world. There are digital art courses and various digital platforms that encourage creativity and design these days. We also encourage our students to get drawing in their coding classes to create gorgeous backdrops on Scratch or the coolest characters on App Inventor!

Whether they are physical tech toys, apps or classes and workshops, it’s important to choose the right ones to kickstart your child’s tech journey and nurture their digital habits.

3 Ways to Nurture Your Child’s Digital Habits

While there is a whole trove of resources on the internet, there are also online threats, cyberbullying, fake news, issues of privacy and more. It is important for our children to use the internet with due diligence as anything posted online lasts forever. How should you guide your child through their digital journey so that they become responsible digital citizens? We compiled key tips from the Media Literacy Council here:

1. Educate Yourself

Photo of girl using a desktop at our Parkway Parade campus

  • Know the ratings of movies, games, shows and videos that your children interact with.
  • Play their favourite games with them! It serves as quality time together too.
  • Encourage them to play in common areas like the living room.

2. Set Up Parental Control and Safe Search Settings

Ensure that the online world they interact with is already safe with Parental Controls. Not sure where to start? We’ve got our list of Top 5 Parental Control Software for more advanced settings or you can toggle web browser settings to restrict the websites that your child visits. Additionally, minimise exposure to violent or sexual content that have been flagged as inappropriate for children with Safe Search Settings on Google, Yahoo and YouTube.

  • MacBooks, PCs and web browsers can restrict what kinds of websites your children can visit.
  • Game consoles like Xbox and PlayStation control whether players have chat or video function.
  • Games like Minecraft have private servers so that you know who your children are playing with.

3. Create a screen time contract

Nurturing Our Children's Digital Habits - Screen Contract
An example of a screen time contract (Source: Media Literacy Council)

Sit down, talk to your children and draw up a screen time contract. This becomes an agreement between you and your child, instead of the imposition of rules.

  • Set boundaries and agree on how much time they can spend online for entertainment purposes.
  • Spell out the consequences of not sticking to the rules.
  • Create consistency by having a regular routine on how your children use technology.

So, what can parents do?

For those of us with younger children, you might be wondering how much time should your child be spending online and what you can do. We’ve compiled a set of guidelines below from an expert at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital to help you navigate through this journey in introducing your child to tech.

Nurturing Digital Habits - What Should Parents Do (KKH and CNA)

We hope that you’ve learnt some useful tips about guiding your children’s digital habits! Here at Coding Lab, we strive to nurture future leaders in technology, equip them with digital skills and take steps to become digitally literate through our coding classes for Ages 5 to 18. Kickstart your child’s technological journey the right way with our fun-filled, MIT-inspired and award-winning coding curriculum today!

Curious and hungry for more tips? Head over to the Media Literacy Council’s website! They have more resources on data protection, fake news and much more for everyone, including parents, youths and even seniors.

(Written by Zulaikha and Nicole Loo, Edited by Cheryl Tang)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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We know that you’ve got lots of things to do, so we’ve hunted down and made a list of 5 Educational Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Games for Children – so you don’t have to search for them yourself! Now, screen time can be productive and educational, and the family can relax and wind down together after a long day.

Get your phones and tablets ready to download – and let’s take off into the world of educational games! 🚀

1. Smart Tales

For Ages 1-5

Learn STEM concepts through interactive animated stories and games with this award-winning app!

Smart Tales is a combination of STEM and the arts! Develop reading, logic and counting and learn important life lessons on respect, environment, using technology safely and more. With more than 300 fun lessons, this is the ideal educational app for your tiny tots to enjoy picking up STEM concepts through colorfully illustrated stories of animal friends!

Our Favourite Feature: Experiencing colourful, unique stories with fun characters every episode! 📗

Smart Tales is available for free (with in-app purchases) on App Store & Google Play

2. The Robot Factory

For Ages 6-8

TheRobotFactory Screenshot - Top 5 Educational STEM Games for Children
Choose your parts and build your robot!

Build your very own digital robot and bring them to life! 🤖

Ever wanted to design your personal robot? With The Robot Factory, players can choose the color and type of parts they want to piece their robot together with. Collect robots, test their performance in obstacle courses, and record their unique robot sounds as you develop creative-thinking, problem-solving and storytelling skills.

Our Favourite Feature: The satisfaction of finally equipping your robot with the right parts to successfully complete the obstacle course! 🎉

The Robot Factory is available for SG$5.98 on App Store

3. Lightbot: Code Hour

For Ages 4-12

Lightbot Screenshot - Top 5 Educational STEM Games for Children
Give commands to Lightbot to light up all the tiles!

Learn to solve problems using programming logic!

Want to pick up new skills or continue testing the coding skills you learnt at Coding Lab? Train your little one’s puzzle-solving skills while they apply their knowledge of programming logic in this beginner-friendly game! The goal? To guide Lightbot the robot to light up tiles and solve 20 levels with commands that are common in coding, such as loops and conditionals. Remember to take eye breaks as solving these puzzles can be slightly addictive as they increase in difficulty.

Our Favourite Feature: The whirring sound effects that accompany Lightbot’s every action! 🚁 (Special mention to the sound the rising platform makes at the start of each level!)

Lightbot: Code Hour is available for free on App Store & Google Play

4. STEMWerkz

For Ages 5-12

STEMWerkz Screenshot - Top 5 Educational STEM Games for Children
Interact with a colourful cast of characters and learn STEM concepts!

Learn STEM through play and interactive videos!

Featuring more than 3,200 concepts across three zones: STEMWerkz Quests, STEMWerkz Channel and STEAMvalley, there’s something new to learn during every gaming session! Pique your child’s interest in STEM as they build their own towns and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. If you enjoy the free content, you can also consider getting their subscription plan to unlock more educational and engaging content such as live interactive lessons.

Our Favourite Feature: You get to interact with a wide cast of characters with interesting designs and stories! 👦👧

STEMWerkz is available for free (with in-app purchases) on App Store & Google Play

5. Khan Academy

For Ages 2-8 for Khan Academy Kids
For All Ages for Khan Academy

Interested in Math, logic, reading or just want to inspire a lifetime of learning and discovery?

Khan Academy has educational and fun programmes – not just limited to STEM – with thousands of activities and books for all! For little ones, the Khan Academy Kids app has thousands of colourful books, adorable characters and kinaesthetic activities such as yoga and dancing to accompany your child’s learning. Older ones can embark on their learning journey on Khan Academy (yes, even parents can use it too!), which is an extension of the web version, and teaches a range of topics through interactive exercises and videos.

Our Favourite Feature: The app contains topics for all ages, no matter the different interests, so learning is an exciting and educational time for all! 🌟

Khan Academy Kids is available for free on App Store & Google Play
Khan Academy is available for free on App Store & Google Play

Check out our specially curated Resources page for more on coding!

Interested to learn coding in a way that feels just like gaming? We teach Ages 5 to 18 age-appropriate coding in fun and engaging ways! Find out about our courses here.

(Written by Lixin Foo, Edited by Cheryl Tang)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Today, our Educator and Assistant Curriculum Team Lead, Hovan Tan, will be sharing with us his insights and personal experiences with video games. He’ll also talk about understanding your child’s games, what you should be wary of and how video games are stepping stones to success for your child. Let’s hear from Teacher Hovan! 👇

Video Games. Many of us love and enjoy playing them as a hobby (even as adults), though by default, we try to have our kids spend less time on them despite their pleas to play on. Well, for as long as I can remember, I have always loved and enjoyed playing video games. My father (like all typical dads), felt that video games would distract me and result in poor grades – but this did not deter me from playing and still achieving at school.

Being an avid gamer taught me many skills and lessons. It was the spark that spurred me to take up Computer Engineering at University, and I now get to experience and inspire the joy of coding when I teach my students the code behind some of the games they play, such as Minecraft, Brawl Stars and Zooba.

Indeed, I learned a lot from playing Video Games. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the popular categories of games:

1. Types of Video Games (and what we can learn from them)

  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games: League of Legends, Dota2, Mobile Legends, and Pokemon Unite, are examples of strategy role-playing games where two teams compete against each other.
  • First-Person Shooter (FPS) games: Typically use weapons and feature a first-person perspective. Examples include Call of Duty, Valorant, Counter-Strike, and Fortnite.
  • Strategy games: Include Age of Empires, the Total War series, Civilization, and any simulation games even on mobile.

There are many more types of video games out there, but the skills and benefits of each type will differ. MOBA and FPS games challenge the player’s situational awareness (where positions matter a lot), reaction speed to visual and auditory cues, and requires accuracy and multitasking. It also trains one’s visuomotor control and attention skills, so players of such games are more mindful of their surroundings, adaptable and great problem-solvers. When it comes to academia, students will be better equipped to face tougher problems and figure out solutions in stressful scenarios.

One example of an MOBA game is Pokemon Unite 👉

Image of Pokemon Unite for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success

Image of Civilisation for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success
Civilisation, an example of a Strategy game

Strategy games allow players to work on their critical thinking skills, as they manage teams, units or buildings. This can easily be viewed as a leadership role, where the players delegate and plan for the best outcomes.

Children will be able to improve their decision-making thought processes and learn to become better leaders in the future, with management experience under their belt. They will also be able to multitask effectively, which is a good skill as they juggle different curriculum in school and different challenges in their daily lives.

There are so many other skills and lessons that your children can learn from playing video games. We’ve also picked out the main lessons from gaming in a previous blog here.

Video games also provide you with opportunities to bond and interact with your children. This will help you to identify learning points in their gaming experiences, such as how to interact with other online users or how to win humbly and lose graciously. You could also get ideas for alternative activities that could interest them!

2. What dangers are present in online games?

That being said, we must tread the online domain with great care, especially when it comes to protecting our littles.

With the internet and online games today, one can easily communicate with almost anyone in the world from anywhere and at any time, opening up a world of possibilities and dangers too. For example, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) have large communities and social interactions within the game. Having the ability to find people from around the world and chat with them allows friendships to be born and gives players a sense of belonging.

At the same time, we have to be concerned about safety, cyberbullying, security and privacy threats from online predators. For example, Roblox, one of the most popular children’s games in the world right now, is struggling to moderate content and create parental controls to protect children from being maliciously exposed to inappropriate content. 

Online fraud and scams are rampant in our technological world too, and there is also the allure of freemium and gambling games. These instant gratification games are addictive and younger children may not understand the nature of these purchases.

To keep up with this ever-changing fast-paced online world, we will have to learn how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from online dangers.

3. How can you keep your children safe and protected as they play video games?

Video games can provide you with opportunities to bond and interact with your children. This will help you to identify learning points in their gaming experiences, such as how to interact with other online users or how to win humbly and lose graciously. You could also get ideas for alternative activities that could interest them!

I highly recommend for you to do research into the games, and check on their available parental controls before allowing your child access to them. (There’s a reason we do not teach Roblox coding here at Coding Lab, despite the multitude of requests that come in!) You must be able to identify potential risks involved and work with your child to educate, learn, and mitigate any online threats (Yes, we approve of Minecraft!).

Here’s a good checklist to use to keep our children safe on the Internet 👇 (Source)

Image of checklist for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success

Video Games – A Stepping Stones to Success?

As gamers, we should take the effort to understand how games are crafted. Behind each game lies a developer, a studio, perhaps even a multi-million dollar company leading the development of that successful game. Through blood, sweat, tears, and lots of time, these games were painstakingly created. This is a lesson by itself that I incorporate into my teaching and instill in the younger generation.

Creative learning utilises our vivid imagination and critical thinking skills to come up with ideas and solutions. This is especially evident in our classes when we have Hackathon sessions – based on the games they love to play, students are able to think about different aspects required for the program they want to create. I’ve had students program mini games ranging from themes like Minecraft to Zooba.

Just like our mini coding hackathons, a tremendous amount of thinking and planning has gone into creating the games we love to play, and I am heartened to see my students incorporate such extensive thinking and hard work when creating their own projects!

Image of Game Development for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success
Here I am with my App Inventor students!

In hindsight, being an avid gamer taught me many skills and lessons. It was the spark that spurred me to take up Computer Engineering, and I now get to experience and inspire the joy of gaming when I teach my students to code.

Whether my students decide to do computer science or not in the future, learning to code in itself feels like a game with its own benefits, skills and lessons too. With colourful, drag-and-drop programming blocks like Scratch and MIT App Inventor platforms, the learning experience is now gamified. Each lesson feels like a game for my students and I, and I always think about how my journey with video games has come full circle.

As people’s perceptions of gaming change and our online world grows, playing video games is both a boon and a bane. It is up to us to be there to guide our children and keep them safe when they step into the digital age.

Do your children enjoy playing games? Give our award-winning, MIT-inspired coding classes a shot! Your children will get to dive into the world behind games and technology as they learn computational thinking and more core skills of the 21st century.

(Written by Hovan Tan, Edited by Cheryl Tang)

Read: 6 valuable lessons video games can teach your child

Coding Lab Educator Feature: Interview with Hovan Tan

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We all want our students to grow up to be successful – and as parents and educators ourselves, we understand this too. It’s important to note that there is no one definition of success for everyone. But in a world that’s increasingly becoming technology-driven, how can we help our children on their journey to their own definition of success?

Today, we speak to our Founder and Lead Educator, Yong Ning Foo, and our experienced educators, Salena Arsad and Evan Lim, on the qualities and skills your child will need to navigate this future in technology. Read on to find out more!

Key 1: Cultivating Grit

Photo of Evan guiding his students through their code
Our educators encourage students to persevere as they code and debug their programs, building grit and resilience.

The path to meaningful success is never smooth, so what helps your child to overcome the obstacles that they will face? Grit is the answer, Angela Duckworth, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded after years of research. She found that high achievers have more grit than talent.

What is grit? Grit is the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Having grit is fundamental to your little one’s journey because it encourages your child to push on despite new and unfamiliar things.

Our Founder and Lead Educator, Yong Ning Foo, who has had bountiful work experience in both the public and private sectors, agrees that grit is required to overcome obstacles faced. He recalls a fond memory of one of his students: “When he (the student) first joined us, his response to any bug encountered was to wait for the teacher to give him the answer. But our teachers will only give hints and not direct answers, so he was challenged to think and solve the problem by himself and became highly independent in his learning. He then adopted the same mentality to learning Mathematics, and shared with us that his Mathematics grades had improved tremendously.”

Photo of our Early Childhood Educator Salena guiding our Junior Coders Programme student
Tutor Salena encourages our curious little Junior Coder to explore an activity.

This situation is a common occurrence in our coding classes – whether they are preschoolers aged 5 or an 18-year-old teenager – they will definitely encounter problems with their code and will need to problem-solve it. This process of debugging trains students to become problem solvers and also encourages perseverance and grit.

“Those that continue on would often find that the results are satisfying,” shares Salena, our educator with professional experience in Early Childhood Education and who graduated with a Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) from Nanyang Technological University. “The confidence gained from this experience would push them to new heights of growth, encouraging them to further expand their knowledge no matter how difficult it will be.”

Read: Cultivate Resilience with the Power of Inquiry-Based Learning

How can you nurture your child’s grit at home?

How can you nurture your child’s grit at home?

Encourage a healthy attitude to mistakes to instil a growth mindset. Share about failure being an opportunity to learn and grow. Praise effort, not the outcome!

Key 2: Turning Everyday Experiences into Learning Opportunities

Curious little ones often have lots of questions, and life experiences such as playtime, meal times, and learning a new skill can also become huge learning opportunities! For example, as they learn to communicate with computers via codes in our coding classes, they also learn to communicate with their educators and peers, honing essential life skills such as social and emotional development.

Gif of Salena's P101 Scratch 1 student Dylan presenting
We make it a point to nurture our students’ public speaking skills – even in our Scratch 1 classes when our young coders are just aged 7 to 9!

Did you know that teaching your child to regulate their emotions can also help them communicate more effectively? Better self-regulation means that they’ll be more attuned to and can address others’ needs efficiently, helping them improve their communication.

Encouraging your little one to share about things they like, such as their toys, can also be an excellent springboard to hone their ability in public speaking! At Coding Lab, we also make it a point for our students to have a Hackathon and Project Showcase at the end of each course to present and share what they have coded. Aside from building their communication skills, “We want them to be confident and proud of their creation, and to get others excited about it,” Yong Ning shares.

How can you enrich your child's learning beyond the classroom?

How can you enrich your child’s learning beyond the classroom?

We have some tips from Tutor Salena Arsad, our educator with professional experience in Early Childhood Education and who graduated with a Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) from Nanyang Technological University.

Encourage your child to express their thoughts and feelings. Instead of asking them general questions like “How was your day?”, follow up on specific ones about how they feel every day. I always ask my students, “What happened? Why do you feel that way?” By asking such questions, they will need to break down their thoughts and emotions into logical facts, and part of emotional regulation is to look inside and understand the reason why they feel that certain emotion. Following that, I would provide tips on how to handle such a situation if it ever arises again.

Teach your child to identify their emotions. Examine what triggers these emotions, and how they can manage these emotions themselves. Do not encourage negative rash behavioural responses – even ignoring can mean encouragement. Instead, show them the appropriate responses to that situation.

Spark their curiosity. Your child is naturally curious and this is a good characteristic as it tends to motivate them to find out more about the topic on their own. It’s important to encourage your child to explore and ask them questions to maintain their level of curiosity. In doing so, they also form connections between what they’ve learnt in class and what they experience in life.

Key 3: Picking Up Prized Technical Skills from Young

Music, dance, martial arts, sports, brain training, drama – there are so many enrichment classes to attend and so many technical skills for your child to acquire! Learning skills from a young age is the best opportunity to develop their brain and to give our little ones a competitive edge to stand out. But with so many to choose from, which one should you pick to future-proof your child?

“To be future-ready, our young need to be able to think critically, assess options and make sound decisions. They should have a desire to learn, explore and be prepared to think out of the box.”

– Nurturing Our Young for the Future, Competencies for the 21st Century, Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore

Photo of Yong Ning guiding his students
Our young Scratch students are hard at work to train up their Computational Thinking Skills with Yong Ning’s guidance!

Technology is advancing rapidly and is quickly changing the way we live, work and play. “Whichever path is chosen, it will cross paths with technology,” advises Yong Ning. “As a parent and an educator, I would want all my children and students to be equipped with Computational Thinking skills (problem-solving skills derived from computing and computer science, to solve problems across all other areas), so that they can competently partake in the development and application of technology in whichever field they choose.” As our students learn to code, they are also learning to use technology – another key skill in our future, where they will have to pick up new technology quickly, efficiently and independently.

Indeed, technology is ubiquitous and even MOE is beginning to prepare educators and students for our tech-driven future. Every primary student will learn simple coding in school, and every secondary student will own their own personal learning device by 2028.

“Technology is fast-changing,” agrees Tutor Evan Lim, our educator who mainly works with teenagers, “so I always encourage my students to read up more and share with me what they have learnt. There are a lot of different resources available on the internet that they can utilise to learn more about different things.” For example, Tutor Evan’s passionate student Ng Chen-Yi was just 13 years old when he built on his existing coding knowledge and independently learnt to code his very own 3D shooter game with Ursina in Python.

Read Coding Lab Student Feature: Ng Chen-Yi, 13, Hwa Chong Institution

It’s important that your child learns a range of skills to set them up for success in the future. “There isn’t a single definition of success,” Yong Ning reaffirms. “It is different for each person as it is shaped not just by societal expectations but also the person’s personality, and their own life experiences. Every student will thus have to create their own definition of success.”

Heard of the age-old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”? Cultivating grit, turning everyday experiences into learning opportunities and picking up prized technical skills from young are some key ways that you can equip your children. With lifelong skills such as Computational Thinking, communication and social and emotional development, you can nurture your future leader to become successful – no matter the path they choose.

Why not give your child a headstart with our award-winning, MIT-inspired coding curriculum for ages 5 to 18?

Want more tips on how to sustain this journey to success? Read Next: Health is wealth: Brain food for a healthy mind and body.

(Written by Lakshmi, Nicole, Amanda and Edited by Cheryl)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

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Now that the holidays are here, you might be wondering which are the best shows and movies that you can engage your children with. Fret not! We’ve got the answer: Educational. Tech. Shows. And movies!

The team at Coding Lab has compiled our top recommendations for your child’s fun and enriching holiday, whether they are aged 4 or they are teenagers. Not only can they stay entertained, but they will also be able to learn a thing or two about technology and the world.

Click to jump in to:

Ages 3+

Ages 7+

Ages 12+

Family Time!

Note: Most age ratings are based on Common Sense Media‘s recommendations with information from the streaming platform.

1. Ask the Storybots

For Ages: 3+

Available on: Netflix, select episodes on Netflix Jr on YouTube

What it’s about: How do computers work? How do cell phones work? How do airplanes fly? This Netflix Original animated series answers questions from kids through song and fun, with Storybots characters who live in computer parts. To complete their tasks and find the answers to questions, they travel to the “Outer World”. In their journey, they meet other characters who explain how things work and through animation, it makes it easy for young ones to understand and fun for older kids too!

What we like: This two-time Emmy-winning series has an animation style that combines the real world with bright-coloured main characters. Each episode even includes guest stars that make it even more exciting, such as the rapper Snoop Dogg guest-starring as the Operating System in the CPU who explains all about binary codes. Overall, the show depicts the Storybots’ journeys to finding answers in an enjoyable way for kids, full of humour for older ones and educational for all. With big concepts made simple, amazing animations and catchy songs, it is sure to captivate the tiny tots in an educational time!

Duration: 20-28 minutes per episode

2. Brainchild

For Ages: 7+

Available on: Netflix

What it’s about: This show covers topics such as social media, space, motivation, and more in an exciting way. Through scientific experiments, interactive games and illusions, it explores and answers questions that your children might have on the various topics. Hosted by Sahana Srinivasan, the young girl is relatable as she introduces topics and keeps you intrigued. 

What we like: It’s a refreshing take with a witty and humorous host, and a colourful show that gets your children into science, in touch with their emotions, learn more about technology and filled with life lessons about teamwork and kindness. Produced by the creators of the popular Brain Games series, you can be sure that it is engaging and entertaining for a family of various ages! The only downside of it is that it only has 1 season with 13 episodes and many viewers asking for more. 

Duration: 22-24 minutes per episode

3. Coding Bytes

For Ages: 7+

Available on: YouTube

What it’s about: These small, byte-sized video tutorials by our passionate Coding Lab educators invite your little ones to join in the fun to code their own projects at home with Scratch, MIT App Inventor and text-based Python programming language. Through easy-to-follow videos, your children can choose from an array of projects, ranging from a colourful Augmented Reality game to a maze game, as well as a phone app to catch fishes, and more!

What we like: We love that the videos are short and sparks little ones’ interests to explore the programming world even further. There are also checkpoints in the video to encourage children to pause and code alongside to successfully code a project of their own. With simple explanations, demonstrations and colourful graphics, it is engaging and sure to keep your little ones entertained and occupied!

Duration: 5-11 minutes per episode

4. Big Hero 6 – Movie and The Series

For Ages: 7+

Available on: Disney Plus (movie, series)

What it’s about: You may remember how robotics prodigy Hiro and inflatable healthcare robot Baymax captured many hearts when it took to the silver screens 8 years ago. The animated comedy film and its high-tech superhero stars is worth a watch for the young kids (and nostalgic rewatch for the parents!), and you can now continue following the adventures of Hiro and Baymax in a show series as they go up against scientifically-enhanced villains!

What we love: There are lots of possibilities with coding and technology, and we love that the premise of both the movie and series of Big Hero 6 stretches one’s imagination of the world that could be. With a gorgeous animation style, an Asian lead, lots of laughs and heartwarming scenes, it is an enjoyable film that also imparts life lessons (and a great refresher before Baymax! releases end-June.). It also might just inspire your little one to explore more tech!

Duration: 1h 48mins for movie, 24-26 minutes per episode

Did you know? Our students Ages 10 to 12 learn to develop their very own Baymax, a personal healthcare companion, in our Python Junior 1 course. Find out more here!

5. Ron’s Gone Wrong

For Ages: 8+

Available on: Disney Plus

What it’s about: This film is set in a world with social media and follows awkward teenager Barney and his new “Best Friend out of the Box” robot named Ron, whose algorithm was originally designed to help one make friends. Ron then turns out to be a defective robot who goes against his programming. Catch the action-packed adventure as Barney navigates friendship and life with Ron!

What we like: This animated comedy is perfect for family movie night with younger kids. With endearing characters and a heartwarming story, it touches on how technology can help us while also emphasising on the importance of maintaining human connection. We love that it touches on codes, algorithms and digital security – giving a great insight into what goes on behind the technology that we see – while also entertaining through the many antics of Barney and Ron!

Duration: 1h 52mins

6. Veritasium

For Ages: 12+

Available on: YouTube

What it’s about: Want more technology videos for your children to think about? Veritasium explores science and engineering, featuring experiments, expert interviews, demonstrations, and discussions with the public about science. This Youtube channel was created and narrated by Derek Muller, an Australian-Canadian science communicator, filmmaker, television personality and inventor.

What we like about it: Each video is packed with content that will be eye-opening and intriguing. With the help of Derek’s extensive experience in his field, Veritasium is able to explore a myriad of topics in a comprehensive way, with complementary visuals and graphics. You should definitely give this a go and let your children explore whatever topic they are interested in. Given the nature of these topics, you can also join your children in this learning experience and enjoy some quality family bonding time!

Duration: Around 6-30 minutes per video

7. Steve Jobs

For Ages: 14+ (Coarse Language)

Available on: Netflix

What it’s about: Your teenagers may know of Apple, iPhone and Macs, but do they know the story of the fearless visionary who made it? Inspired by the life of Steve Jobs, this film covers the events of the Macintosh launch in 1984, being forced out of Apple, the NeXT Computer in 1988 and then after returning to Apple, the launch of the iMac in 1998. It showcases the genius behind Apple and his flaws, while also putting human connection at the heart of it all. 

What we like: It’s been 11 years since Steve Jobs passed away, so it’s a good way to introduce one of the greatest innovators in recent years to your teenager. With witty lines, great acting and scenes that will make you hold your breath, this is the better film on his life (compared to the film Jobs). There is much to learn from the story of Steve Jobs as he led in art, design and the man that has revolutionised the very world that we are living in today. 

Duration: 2h 2mins

8. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

For: Family time with children of All Ages

Available on: YouTube

What it’s about: This German-based YouTube channel creates amazing animated videos that explain a broad spectrum of topics, from quantum computers to futurism, medicine and biology, and so much more. Kurzgesagt aims to spark curiosity about these topics, while laying out the facts, and also hopes to inspire others to learn through good humour and engaging storytelling.

What we like: These short, “in a nutshell” videos explain complicated issues in a clear and concise way, with brilliant animations to accompany it. With a narrator explaining concepts clearly and so many video topics to choose from, it is perfect for your child to find out more about the world. It is also no wonder that Kurzgesagt has racked up almost 2 billion views! Its great pacing, narration and colourful animation will have your children hooked from start to finish and interested to find out more!

Duration: Around 6-15 minutes per video

9. The Speed Cubers

For: Family movie time for children of All Ages

Available on: Netflix

What it’s about: For all the competitive spirits out there, this documentary explores the world of competitive Rubik’s Cube speed solving. It follows the unusual friendship of two speedcubing champions, Feliks Zemdegs and Max Park. 17-year-old Max with autism, as they grow and overcome adversities.

What we like: Did you know that a speed cuber can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under seven seconds? It’s a seemingly simple subject that is interesting even if you do not know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. This inspiring and positive documentary imparts values of sportsmanship and friendship. Above all, it teaches one that winning is not everything, and is a good opened for many conversations that you can have with your children.

Duration: 40 minutes

10. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

For: Family time with older children Ages 12+
(This show is rated PG13 – Parental Guidance advised for ages 12 and under)

Available on: Netflix

What it’s about: Based on the impressive real-life story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba in Malawi, Africa, the Netflix Original tells the story of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Against all odds, the determined young boy was inspired by a science book and skills learnt in school to invent an unconventional way to save his village from famine and other environmental disasters. Even though the title gives away the ending, the movie does a wonderful job of telling the story, which is filled with father-son moments as well.

What we like: This heartwarming movie touches on climate change, technological breakthroughs, the importance of education, family and determination, and is a real tearjerker. It’s also a great story to inspire your child to impact the world and to show them that age doesn’t matter when it comes to inventions. 

Duration: 1h 53mins

We hope that these recommendations will help you to make the most of the June holidays as it entertains and educates your children and family! After all, learning can take place everywhere, not just in the classroom.

Did we miss your child’s favourite educational tech show? Let us know at

Read Top 10 shows/cartoons to teach children about STEM

Read Tech Podcasts & TED Talks to get you psyched about tech (we’ve shortlisted the essential 5!)

(Written by Cheryl Tang and Oliver Zhang)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at
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As we usher in the Year of the Rabbit, the Coding Lab team wants to keep our students and children safe on the internet, so we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 Parental Control Software for you to manage their screen time. We first launched this in 2022’s Tiger year for Tiger mums out there. And we’ve just refreshed this list to include the latest features and enhancements in 2023! 💻🤓 (Also look out for some bonus software below! 😉)

Photo of girl using a desktop at our Parkway Parade campus
Our young Scratch 1 coder navigating the online world to create her own project!

We’ve seen many children (yes, even our Scratch 1 kids!) with their own smartphones. In fact, two-thirds of Singaporean children aged 7-9 use their smartphones daily and are active on social media. Despite the age restrictions, children have their own Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Do you know what your children are doing and who they are interacting with on social media?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. Here’s how you can get to the bottom of it all: Parental Control Software.

What are Parental Control Software?

Parental Control Software are applications, features or software that allow you to monitor and limit what someone does online. In the past, features were mainly blacklisting websites and checking your children’s searches. Today, it has evolved into tools that allow parents to monitor what your children are up to, control or schedule screentime, and even track the locations of their children’s smartphones – all simply by logging in to your Parental Control Software account.

That’s why we’ve got a list of our Top 5 Parental Control Software that can be great tools to help you safeguard your kids from the dangers of the web. Read on to find out which one suits your needs best!

1. Net Nanny

Available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Chrome OS and Kindle Fire.

Paid options only.

Photo of Net Nanny's web interface.
Net Nanny’s web interface (Image Credit: Net Nanny)

We kick off the list with one of the Parental Control Software that has been around the longest. With its web-filtering technology (which allows you to control the content that your child accesses online), monitoring features, screentime management, well-designed and easy-to-use apps and web portal, Net Nanny is available on a number of platforms.

Granted, it only has paid options. Furthermore, the geofencing features, which allows you to establish boundaries around ‘safe areas’, is still rather basic. Net Nanny also lacks some features on its iOS version, but it is still considered almost as good as its Android counterpart.


  • Wide platform support
  • Web-filtering
  • Easy to use and well-designed interface
  • Runs as well on iOS and Android


  • Relatively expensive
  • Lacks some features on iOS
  • Basic geofencing features

Price: USD $39.99/year for a single Windows or macOS desktop device, USD $54.99/year for up to 5 devices, USD $89.99/year for up to 20 devices

Find out more about Net Nanny here.

2. Qustodio

Available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Chrome OS and Kindle Fire.

Free with paid options.

Photo of Qustodio's Parental Control interface.
Qustodio Parental Control interface (Image Credit: Qustodio)

Just like Net Nanny, Qustodio is also available on many platforms. But where Qustodio really stands out from the competition are its call and text monitoring features, something that most other Parental Control Software do not offer. You can allow or block calls or specific phone numbers, and view text messages.

It offers a free option that covers one device with basic functionalities such as web-filtering, web and social media monitoring, time limits and an online monitoring dashboard. Keep in mind that features are limited for iOS, which does not include calls and text monitoring, as well as the Panic Button that would enable your child to send an SOS when they need help.


  • Calls and texts monitoring
  • Easy-to-use User Interface
  • Broad platform support
  • Extensive features


  • Relatively expensive
  • Web-filtering is not consistent
  • Limited features on iOS

Price: Free for 1 device with basic features, USD $54.95/year for 5 devices, USD $96.95/year for 10 devices, USD $137.95/year for 15 devices.

Find out more about Qustodio here.

Customers of Singtel, you’re in luck!
Get deals and discounted prices for Qustodio here

3. Kaspersky Safe Kids

Available on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS.

Free with paid options.

Photo showing Kaspersky Safe Kids's web interface.
Web interface of Kaspersky Safe Kids (Image: Kaspersky Safe Kids)

Get the best bang for your buck with Kaspersky Safe Kids, which is loaded with many key free features, such as web-filtering, screentime management, and more. Access to full features is affordable for an unlimited number of accounts and devices. As an antivirus company, the paid version also boasts features such as GPS locator, screentime scheduling and real-time alerts for accessing sites or leaving ‘safe areas’ (geofencing).

That said, its web interface is slow and the app could have been better designed. Features to block or activate web control on iOS devices are also limited. Overall, the free version is definitely worth a try to test it out for yourself before deciding whether you should purchase it.


  • Affordable and great value
  • Broad platform support
  • Extensive features
  • Unlimited devices


  • Limited features on iOS
  • Sluggish web portal
  • Unintuitive mobile apps

Price: Free for basic features including web monitoring, time limits and app management for unlimited devices, SGD$15/year for full features on unlimited devices. You can choose to get the bundle with Kaspersky’s antivirus software from SGD$35/year.

Find out more about Kaspersky Safe Kids here.

Editor’s Note (Jan 2023):
‍‍Several software updates for Kaspersky Safe Kids have since been released in 2022 for both Mac and Windows, improving the application performance and fixing several application issues. Find out more about this here.

4. OurPact

Available on Android and iOS.

Free with paid options.

Photo showing OurPact's app interface.
App interface of OurPact on iPhones (Image Credit: OurPact)

Looking for the best app control for iOS? Look no further than OurPact. This is the only Parental Control Software that offers this level of iOS functionality, with user interface and app management being its strongest features. Schedule screentime for your child and block all apps with a simple button.

It is important to note that installation requires a computer. Some key Parental Control Software functions of OurPact are lacking, such as limited web-filtering and no monitoring of texts. If your family is iOS-first, there are currently no alternatives that offer anything close to this level of control over iOS devices.


  • Best parental control software for iOS
  • Great user interface
  • Excellent app management


  • Limited web-filtering and monitoring
  • Complicated installation requiring a Windows or MacOS

Price: Free for 1 device with basic features, USD $6.99/month for Premium for 20 devices and all but one premium feature, USD $9.99/month for Premium+ for 20 devices with the full premium feature set

Find out more about OurPact here.

Editor’s Note (Jan 2023):
‍‍OurPact has since released new, enhanced family locator features for both iOS and Android devices, enabling parents to get real-time GPS updates on the precise locations of their children. Find out more about this here.

5. Norton Family

Available on Android, Windows, iOS.

Paid options only.

Photo showing Norton Family's web and app interfaces.
Norton Family’s web and app interfaces (Image Credit: Norton Family)

Rounding off our list is a brand known for its antivirus software. Norton Family offers a comprehensive range of features, such as monitoring, scheduling screentime, and geofencing, with the goal of encouraging parents to teach their children healthy online habits. Its web-filtering is one of the widest with 47 content categories to choose from, such as Alcohol, Drugs, and Mature Content.

The app management works well, though only for Android devices. It is also not compatible with macOS. While it is easy to set up, the web portals are not the most well-designed ones, and its mobile apps are not exactly user-friendly. It is relatively affordable if you are considering getting its suite of antivirus programmes bundled together with Norton Family.


  • Excellent web-filtering and monitoring
  • Unlimited devices
  • Easy setup and installation process


  • Relatively expensive
  • Poor mobile apps accessibility and web design
  • Limited iOS features and does not work on Macs

Price: From SGD$69.99/year, bundled with Norton’s antivirus software.

Find out more about Norton Family here.

Editor’s Note (Jan 2023):
‍‍Norton Family’s price has reduced to S$29.99 per year for the first year. Then, S$44.00/ year bundled with Norton’s antivirus software. Find out more about this here.

Generate a Family Agreement on internet and technology use together!
The Smart Talk encourages parents and children to talk about ground rules for internet safety.
Click here to get started!

2023 Update!

To herald this new year, we have updated this blog with more alternatives of highly-rated and effective parental control software that may be suitable for your family! We have found that the following parental control softwares have unique features that make them good additional options for parents to consider. 👇

6. Kidgy

Available on Android, Windows, iOS.

Good for parents with younger children below 13. Free and paid options available.

Photo showing Kidgy's web and app interfaces.
Kidgy app interface (Image Credit: Fanappic)

We love how the Kidgy application is both user-friendly, and an effective parental control software which can help to monitor your kids’ messages, calls and apps’ usage online! It provides comprehensive one-page reports on messaging and app-usage details, and enables you to block dangerous sites through its internet filter.

What’s more, the Kidgy app also includes unique and valuable features like a Panic Button for emergencies, GPS Location Tracking for safety and even a Daily Schedule Planner to help educate your child on organising their daily tasks!


  • 24/7 Customer Support via phone or email
  • Daily Schedule Planner
  • Kidgy Geofencing helps set precise safe areas and alerts you when your child leaves these safe areas


  • No time limits
  • Relatively more expensive

Price: Free with upgrade option of S$13.98 per month

Find out more about Kidgy here.

7. Google Family Link

Available on Android, Windows.

Excellent free option and possible complement to your primary parental control app

Photo showing Google Family Link app interface.
Google Family Link’s app interface (Image Credit: Mezha Media)

For parents that would prefer a more basic and intuitive option, Google Family Link is a free app that comes with most of the functionalities needed in a parental control software. It is hassle-free and easy to set-up, providing clear instructions and descriptions for both parents and children.

This app is perfect for families that would like another app to support and complement their existing primary parental control software, or for those that would prefer not to spend money on such software.


  • Fast and easy set-up
  • Excellent and detailed app filtering for Android and Chromebooks
  • Set daily screen time limits and restrictions for timings like bedtime


  • The kids’ app is only available on Android and Chromebook (while the parents’ app is also available on iOS and web browsers)
  • Limited web-filtering and video supervision

Price: Free

Find out more about Google Family here.

As a coding school, we know that it’s important that we let our little ones continually explore the digital world while also staying safe and vigilant. The use of Parental Control Software allows us to be aware of what our children are up to online, to limit screentime and prevent stranger danger – ultimately, it is up to us, as parents, to educate them on healthy online habits that will stay with them for life!

Coding Lab wishes everyone a blessed Chinese New Year! We wish you success and good health. 🧧

Read Next: Inculcating healthy digital device habits

Written by Oliver Zhang, edited by Thinzar Htet and Gracia Goh

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

#CodingLabParenting: Cultivate Resilience with the Power of Inquiry-Based Learning

Many of us probably remember sitting in classrooms, listening to our teachers as we sat quietly and took notes. What if we told you that silent classrooms are a thing of the past? At the heart of the Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) approach, asking lots of questions is the best thing a student could do. 

Globally, IBL is growing in popularity and in fact, it is central to Coding Lab’s teaching methodology – it works even better with the help of technology. Let’s dive into what IBL is, its benefits and how it’s important in enriching our Coding Lab students’ lives!

What exactly is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Inquiry Based Learning
Our inquisitive students love exploring new topics with technology

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) is an educational strategy where students take a more active approach to their learning through asking questions and finding their own solutions. It’s quite different from what we know – students are now at the centre of teaching and take charge of their own independent learning. Of course, with the right encouragement and guidance, they will be empowered to tackle problems and be motivated to find their own answers.

IBL follows an inquiry cycle. Students will first get acquainted with the topic, then formulate their questions and decide what they want to find out. Through investigating and experimenting, which is key to IBL, they are able to make their inferences and then share their findings with others. Throughout the inquiry process, discussions happen not only at the end, but constantly throughout as reflection and insights from others can help improve the process.

Sounds familiar? Yes, IBL is influenced by The Scientific Method that we were introduced to in our Secondary school’s science lab experiments and research papers in University. Here’s a helpful infographic to navigate your way! 

Inquiry Based Learning IBL Inquiry Cycle Process
Click to enlarge this infographic

Many countries have adopted IBL in their education systems. In Ontario, Canada, and the Dutch school system, IBL is used to teach reading, with impressive results and improvement.

Other benefits include the increase in students’ self-perceived confidence in research skills and effective communication – even six months later. It can also have a significant and positive effect on the building of technological knowledge and the development of problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities.

The best part about the inquiry cycle? The more they know, the more they will get thinking about related topics, and the deeper their hunger for knowledge will be. But they know how to find the answers themselves!

How Inquiry-Based Learning and Technology go hand-in-hand

IBL might sound a little tricky and complex, but with technology, it’s a lot easier to carry out. IBL has shown to be an effective method – so, where does technology come in?

Educator Salena and student in our Young Computer Scientists mBot class
Our curious Young Computer Scientist tinkering with Scratch and mBot

You might have heard of a time where people had to physically go to libraries to search for books and encyclopedias. Today, open access to search engines have condensed everything into a device, such as your phone, laptop or tablet. Students now have the world at their fingertips with a simple search.

But how do we get children to start questioning? At Coding Lab, we pique their curiosity with things that they are interested in, such as with games that they love. We get them to start wondering, “How do these games work? Why does the character jump when you press space?” We make sure that we facilitate the inquiry process – we ask them questions to get them thinking, and they get to ask us too. It helps that they can search up their answers, but we don’t want our students to just copy codes, we emphasise on the understanding of codes.

Incorporating Inquiry-Based Learning: What can we do?

Got questions? Our passionate educators have answers.

Technology doesn’t only help with finding the answers, we can do experiments with it and so much more! We know that learning becomes more fun when games are involved, and students get to experiment and find out the answers by watching their guesses play out. Want to understand math concepts like geometry or physics? Play games, code with Scratch or explore Minecraft’s virtual world, and you can learn and experiment individually or in a team.

Another way that technology helps is when we put our heads together for discussions, which are important and should be ongoing throughout the inquiry process, and everyone gets to chime in. Tools such as Poll Everywhere and Survey Monkey have made it easier for participation (especially the shy ones), and online productivity tools elevate learning to the next level. From real-time collaboration with Google Workspace and Padlet to asking questions anonymously on Mentimeter, you can leave no stone unturned!

Now that you understand how technology and IBL work together, you can see why Coding Lab has chosen to make it central to our curriculum and teaching. Every feature of our classes has been carefully designed to allow our kids to flourish, and it’s why IBL is part of our teaching philosophy. Let’s cultivate resilience in our children and teach them the ability to hunt their answers down with the power of Inquiry-Based Learning!

We know that taking care of the little ones while working from home can be reaaaal hectic – we’ve been there too. Hang in there, mums and dads! 💪 We’ve got your back with these quick and fun wellness activities that you can rope your kids in to do together.

I’m sure as parents we know that taking breaks has many benefits. That’s why our classes have always had breaks (and will continue to have them), whether they are physical or online classes. We want our students to rest their eyes and get that extra brain boost to be the best coder that they can be!

So, we thought we would share with you the wellness activities that the Coding Lab Team encourages our students to do during breaks. We have even included the recommended age groups so that you can choose the right one. Our suggestion? Perhaps one video a day with your children (and family) so that they can remember it in the long run!

1. Eye Workouts

We only have one pair of eyes to see the world around us. Pamper it with a little massage or simply relax it gently with these videos that we have compiled for you. Maintain optimal eye health with these easy eye exercises!

Bond with your tiny tots when you perform this simple eye massage to a catchy song together. Massage the face to relieve tension quickly and easily. 

Recommended for: Ages 4 to 6 (Accompanied by parents)

Squeeze your eyes tight and then open wide! This soothes your eyes and facial muscles while you inhale and exhale deeply. It’s easy, effective and energising.

Recommended for: Ages 4 to 9

Need a quick screen break? Soothe your optic nerves and relax your eyes in less than 2 minutes. All you need are your palms, then you are good to go!

Recommended for: Ages 7 and above

Want more ideas on other eye exercises that you can do? Check out this 2-minute video that introduces 8 simple eye exercises you can do anywhere.

Recommended for: Ages 10 and above

These exercises aim to soothe your optic nerves and relax your eyes. This way, you can strengthen your eye muscles, increase your focus, ease eye movements, and stimulate your brain’s vision centre. Feeling creative? You can even design an eye workout with your favourite eye exercises.

2. Deskercise

Did you know that ‘deskercise’ (desk exercise) is a thing? All you need is a desk and chair for these moves. This is useful even if you are in the office or classroom – just do not start busting these moves while you are eating at the dining table! If you are feeling stiff, these two-minute workouts feature exercises that can all be done without leaving your chair.

Grab a chair and get moving with arm rolls and leg in-and-outs!

Ready for more deskercise? We have twists and knee lifts!

That very chair you are sitting on has some versatile functions. Try some ‘deskercise’ as the catchy music and bright colours encourage you to move along! There’s nothing like some quick yet effective movements to get active and loosen those tense muscles after sitting for a while.

Recommended for: Ages 4 to 9

Want something to add to your daily routine? Check out this 3-minute stretching plan that you can easily fit into your day!

Stretch your lower body with this 2-minute desk stretch, so you can feel your best. 

Try out some 3-minute chair yoga stretches to relax your muscles and mind.

Feeling an ache in your neck and shoulders? Here are 3 quick stretches you can do to target those tight spots!

Stretch your neck, back and arm muscles without leaving your desk! These quick and easy tutorials of chair yoga stretches (yes, it’s an upgrade from the primary school version) relieve stiff, tight shoulders and neck at your desk. Instil good digital habits and get active during your short breaks!

Recommended for: Ages 10 and above

3. Look out of the window

It is no secret that our Parkway Parade campus boasts a great view of East Coast Park and the sea. It is where our students are naturally drawn to during their breaks, which works wonders for calming and relaxing their eyes. What are the sights and sounds around your home?

Play “I spy with my little eye” with this catchy song and challenge your child to spot things around them according to the alphabets.

Recommended for: Ages 4 to 7

Go through these simple exercises, naming the things that you see around you or outside of the window. It is a great way to spend your eye break!

Recommended for: Ages 8 and above

Look out of your window together to rest your eyes and absorb the lush greenery! Appreciate the nature around you and look far away, such as spotting planes and looking at different cloud shapes. This is great for the eyes, and it is also a therapeutic experience.

4. Take deep breaths

Breathe in… and breathe out. We have all heard these words. But how often do we practice them? Release the tension in those muscles with some deep breathing exercises!

Teach your little ones square breathing with some underwater friends. They will learn the handy technique and can visualise it when they need to relax.

Recommended for: Ages 4 to 9

Take a deep breath with one of the top mindfulness apps, Calm. They have a relaxing, 1-minute video as you go down the river. Got 3 minutes to spare instead?

Recommended for: Ages 10 and above

These videos impart deep breathing to help you relax and stay calm during times of stress, or even when feeling a little stiff. Oxygen helps to promote blood flow, flushing out the lactic acid that causes muscle soreness. You can also view this playlist of helpful short videos with picturesque views and guided breathing and meditation. Feel as good as new with some breathing exercises!

5. Replenish your energy with drinks and snacks

A boy sitting on a bean bag snacking
Our students snacking at our Parkway Parade campus.
Note: Masks were only removed when eating, and social distancing measures were in place.

We could all use a little perk-me-up at any time of the day. This is why we provide snacks to our students during breaks and encourage them to drink more water. Our Python Perfect students sometimes even bring their own tidbits to nibble on as they get in the zone and code on. 

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Choose the healthier options, such as the list of brain food we have compiled here. It is also as important that you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. As an added benefit, getting to your snacks and drinks can also help you to rack up more steps. Research has found that this can even improve your creativity!

We hope that you had fun doing these activities together with your family, taking productive and fun wellness breaks, and making great memories working from home and together with your family!

Read: Getting Through MOE HBL

At Coding Lab, we do our best to instil these habits, which we hope will go a long way. If you see your children doing some exercises during their coding classes, don’t be shy and join in the fun. Let’s all work together to achieve better physical and mental wellbeing!

Read Next: More Tips to Better Eye Health

GIF of our Young Computer Scientists doing some deskercise - with grandpa joining in the fun!
Our Young Computer Scientists doing some deskercise – with grandpa joining in the fun!

(Written by Amanda Soh and Edited by Cheryl Tang)

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Home-Based Learning (HBL) is slowly becoming the new norm, with students, teachers and parents familiarising themselves with digital devices in order to continue the pursuit of knowledge.

Wondering how to enjoy HBL with your child or how you can get through it? Look no further! From concerns of screen time to helping your child acclimatise to online learning while juggling other responsibilities, we have you covered!

The Coding Lab Team has specially curated a list of tips for you and your child to navigate this HBL successfully. Take deep breaths and read them below!👇

Tip #1. Create a conducive environment for learning

Tip #1 - Create a conducive environment

Did you know?
Good learning environments can increase one’s motivation, focus and general learning ability.

Ensuring a conducive learning environment is fundamental to the quality of your kid’s learning. So, what are some ways that you can create the ideal learning environment and help your child to learn better? 

  • The state of your child’s study space can determine their learning ability and life habits, so encourage them to organise their study area. This reduces visual distractions, which improves focus and memory. It also helps that you are building good lifelong habits in them!

  • Too many members in your household at home? Discuss and decide on the house rules and map out the areas to learn, work, rest, and bond. Your child could do HBL at the tidy dining table while you work in the living room. This way, everyone has the perfect environment to work and study in!

Tip #2. Plan daily routine

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Did you know that planning a daily routine with your kid also encourages them to take ownership of their learning?

Unlike in schools where there are teachers to supervise your child, you may not always be available to watch over them, nor make certain that they are doing their work. In this case, it is crucial that you establish a structured routine with them.

Guide your child to plan their own HBL days and set their own learning goals. This will help your child to get into the right mindset, be more productive and keep the boundaries between work and home from blurring.

  • Consider when to study, play and eat together, which will teach your child to be disciplined and to stay on track.
  • Ensure that mealtimes are consistent (balanced and nutritious) to provide nourishment for your growing children.
  • Make sure that your child changes out of his/her pyjamas before HBL starts! This will serve as a cue to start the school day.

Tip #2 - Plan daily routine

Need a planner template?
The Coding Lab team has created a printable planner for you. Print it out and put it on the fridge, use a whiteboard, Google or Apple calendar – try it out and find out what works best!

Tip #3. Inculcate healthy digital device habits

Tip #3 - Inculcate healthy digital device habits

Did you know?
You can control and monitor your child’s screen time with Digital Wellbeing on Android devices and Screen Time on Apple devices. Beyond simply restricting your kid’s access, educate them on how they can take responsibility for their own online well-being. 

Read more: 5 Tips to Better Eye Health

With full HBL, the age at which children use digital devices and are encouraged to get one of their own is getting younger. Healthy digital device habits are necessary for our digital economy, with the widespread use of digital devices. What are these “healthy digital device habits”? It refers to using the Internet responsibly, minimising screen time and taking regular eye breaks! 

Follow ROLE to cultivate healthy screen use habits:

  • Review your child’s and your own screen use, so you can be a role model for your little one.
  • Offer fun screen-free alternatives to engage your kid. For example, have them do off-screen activites with family-friendly games such as Jenga or a family exercise session together.
  • Limit your child’s screen time and ensure that there are consequences to violating their amount of screen time allocated. 
  • Eliminate unneeded background screen time, such as the TV, to avoid distracting your child. 

Additionally, enforce regular eye breaks. We make it compulsory for our students to take eye breaks every hour – whether they are doing physical or online classes. This instills good eye care habits, and we all know the benefits of having breaks – it gives us a breather and helps us to be productive and stay focused. Set a timer and look out of the window at something green together with your child, and reap the benefits together!

Tip #4. Have regular check-ins

At the end of the day, make time to have regular conversations with your child. Such check-ins can help them feel supported and cared for. Ask your child about their day gently, but be sure to listen attentively! Simple questions such as ‘How was your day?’, ‘What did you learn in class today?’ and ‘How is your daily routine?’ can spark a meaningful conversation.

It is essential for you to model this behaviour by sharing about your day too. How was your own day? You can take the opportunity to bond with your child and affirm him/her for the resilience and learning to adapt to the current situation, encourage your child to explore strengths and interests, and help them work through any issues that they might need help with. You can also involve other family members and check in on their well-being.

This is also a good chance for you to exemplify how the topics they have learnt in their textbooks and assignments work in real life. For instance, if your child is learning about lipids in school, you could make a cup of Dalgona coffee with them and explain the science behind how lipid compounds in coffee oil help to form a stable coffee foam that you can pour over milk. You can even get creative and make latte art together too!

Tip #4 - Have regular check-ins

Wondering what to talk about?
Here are some conversation starters and topics.

  • Do you require any guidance or assistance?
  • Is there something that you want to do or learn more about?
  • How do you feel about the current COVID-19 situation?

Tip #5. Have ‘me time’

Tip #5 - Have 'me time'!

Learn about STEM through comics!
We’re giving away 5 sets of colourful STEM comics by Piqolo Kids for ages 3 to 9. Hurry on and participate here, the giveaway ends on 31 May 2021!

‘Me time’ is a need for daily functioning, not a want. It also increases productivity! By making a conscious effort to take the time out to relax, it can release stress and tension, and increase motivation.

MOE announced that HBL would enable students to have the time and space to explore their areas of interests by initiating learning activities independently. Let your child read up on topics of interest or try out activities they are passionate about, such as tinkering, baking or playing a musical instrument (why not give coding a try?).

But, ‘me time’ shouldn’t only be reserved for your child! Yes, even if you are a responsible parent, you still need your own personal time. We know that working from home and supervising your kids can be tough and require more of your attention. All this parenting can have a mental and physical strain on you. Making time for yourself to rest and recharge is paramount in preventing severe burnout during this time. Play your favourite movie, contact your friend for a chat or take a jog — just find time for your personal relaxation! Remember, taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of your children. 

We hope these five tips will help you in getting through HBL with your dear child (or children!), and do share this article with your friends and family if you found it useful! 

Now that you’ve read our article on what you can do to get through your child’s HBL, why not learn even more tips to make your child’s digital journey the best it can be? From proper typing posture to digital security, read What You should know Post-Circuit Breaker now to learn more and gear up for when Hybrid classes make a comeback! 😉

Need more resources? You can check out the Parent Kit curated by MOE. Remember to stay home, stay safe and stay curious! 🤩

(Written by Amanda Soh and Edited by Cheryl Tang)

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger