{Review} Monsters Under the Bed | HowlINK

I am an faithful fan of the INK school holiday workshops hosted by Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB).  Having signed up for Jiejie to attend the above workshops twice last year, with themes like Monster HuntINK and INK to the Woods (sorry, we have not started our blog yet, so no posts except lots of photo memories), this year is no exception for our family.

Monster Under The Bed

Left : INK to the Woods | Right : Monster HuntINK (yea right, in Cinderella outfit no less >.<)

This holiday, as a lead up to P1 next year, both Didi and Wey were blessed with a 3-day HowlINK workshop with the awesome trainers at MUTB this week.

Despite having had previous experience, I am clueless of how exactly the actual workshops were carried out except from the notes brought home.  This is because I did not know that parents are welcomed to join in.  This time round, I was glad to have stayed for the full duration of all three days in order to observe the fun.

Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB) is a writing school that’s started by writers, for writers.  Unlike the weekly Creative Writing classes my kids are attending at a community club near me, MUTB does not carry out classes via push-info basis.  There is no spelling to learn or tests on sentence structure.  Neither are there blanks to fill in on their worksheets that is made up of many sentences that will eventually lead to paragraphs and finally assembled into essay at the end of the lesson.  At MUTB, it is simply full of fun!  Workshop participants at MUTB are led with a guideline on what to do, not taught what to write.  The brainstorming is left to the children.  From simple games and exercises, the children makes use of creative words and make up stories to form around the theme of the workshop.

“This week, a grisly remains of a 9 year old girl were found in the woods.  The local constabulary brushed the case aside as an unfortunate incident with wild animals.  The villagers believe that this was the work of a werewolf and they need help!  Will you be able to solve the mystery before the next full moon happening in the next three days?

Monster Under The Bed

The trees whisper above you as you step closer to the village. You can taste the mystery in the air, shivering under the Halloween moon. What will you do? Will you flee? Or will you save us all from this curse. The Mubsters are on their toes for lurking creatures around The Arts House. Be prepared for the unexpected and make sure to put on your best investigative hat tricks or end up being be a treat!”

Monster Under the Bed

As a teaser prior to the workshop, parents were sent a video link for the children to watch.  I could feel the engaging suspense in the video clip and found myself studying the closing credits closely.  Watch this video here to see for yourself how it was professionally done just for the kids.

HowlINK is a 3-day interactive creative writing workshop filled with puzzles and intrigue designed for students 7 to 12 years of age.  We arrived at the workshop on Day 1 to scenes of the incident, where a girl was found dead in a creepy old English town (The Arts House, by the way) where the townfolks (everyone else at The Arts House) all believed that it was the work of a werewolf.  They were also introduced to some notorious werewolf story characters, their traits, and even how one typically become a werewolf.

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Further to that, a few suspects have been named as well.  Our group (consisting of mainly the younger kids of 6-8yo at the workshop) of experienced investigators was assigned to Alan, The Hunter (portrayed by Trainer Leroy) and everybody was introduced to the profile of four other suspect characters before investigation works began.

Monster Under The Bed

The group took notes and with all the clues gathered, we came for a meeting with the two other groups (of experienced investigators – older school-going children).  Each group sent two representatives to read through their notes and name their suspects.  That was Wey’s turn below to give his views.
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Through various input and elimination process from the three groups, we concluded that the werewolf must be Professor Talbot.  Professor Talbot is a tall and friendly man who studied Botany.  He sleeps in the day and collects weird plants in the forest at night.   We found a weird and special herb in Professor Talbot’s house which werewolves were known to consume.  Moreover, there was no signs of silver in his house as well.

After concluding our investigation works for Day 1, we had to quickly act before any body else gets killed (full moon in two days’ time!).  Before we act, the children were invited to write their story introduction.  As Didi and Wey were amongst the youngest at the workshop, they were given special 1 to 1 guidance together with the other 6-yo children.  There were 1 lead trainer (Eugene Tay), 3 trainers and at least 6 assistant trainers in the class of 10+ children, which I thought was a a very good ratio as per the earlier workshops Jiejie attended.

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What Didi wrote by the end of the workshop.

On Day 2, the trainers and assistants were briefed on the day’s itinerary – Rising Action and Climax, before lesson started.

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Day 2 – they explored feelings, tools & equipments, actions for the body of their essay that they will be writing.

Monster Under the Bed

Slides from MUTB : Exploring the possible ways of killing a werewolf. Thinking more in depth, are werewolves always the villian??

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The children were discussing which route they should be taking, and where the werewolf’s hideout would be. (Discussing like real! Hahahaha)

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They took turn to draw a card each and to act out the word which would describe their feelings of being chosen as “the one” to be hunting for the werewolf. And everybody will write it down on their draft.

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They also explored about the possible the actions that could take place in their story once they located the werewolf’s hideout. What would you do – set up a trap, wait for next morning or confrontation right away? Whatever the decision may be, are you prepared with the necessary preparation works and tools too!  What are you going to do???

Day 2’s session ended a little late by the time everybody got back into the workshop for mass meeting.  So here it is, the highly anticipated and most elusive werewolf which had the 10+ children working around the “town” for 2 days in order to find out the location of his lair!

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The children were told to carry on with their essay at home – to explore their feelings about their expedition to kill the werewolf, what they plan to do since by now we all know where the werewolf’s hideout is located at, and when/how to go about confronting it?
Didi was highly enthusiastic about his story development.  He got down to doing his “homework” once we reached home.  If I were to just tell him to write an essay, he would cry out loud for sure!  However this time round he was excited about it and eager to complete it for next day’s workshop in anticipation of “seeing” the real werewolf.  Hahhaha!
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It was not a very long piece that he wrote.  Heeding advice, I also did not bother to correct his grammar or spelling (except the times when he asked me about spelling).  I was just very glad that he was enjoying himself at the MUTB workshop 🙂
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On Day 3, the children were introduced to “Choose Your Own Adventure” method of writing their story highlight as well as ending.  Boy, there was a lot more fun in writing a story this way!  The older boys were obviously exposed to this series of books and had no problems understanding what was going on.  They were having a lot of fun exploring the different options and came up with their version of possible options and routes.  As a child, I grew up with “Choose Your Own Adventure” books a mighty lot and tremendously enjoyed them too.  However Jiejie did not like this series, much to my disappointment.  Nevertheless, the little collection that I have purchased are still there, hoping to be enjoyed by Didi one day very soon!
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After navigating your way through the forest, you came to a junction by the river. Which path would you take – left, middle or right?

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One of the Asst. Trainers helping Didi with his essay-writing.

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This was the time when everyone finished their essays. The bigger boys read out their essay and presented their options. The two small ones daringly took on the challenge to meet the big boys! The laughter during the session – priceless story-telling experience for all!

After attending the full workshop myself, the following objectives were indeed achieved in my opinion.  Most importantly, the children learnt more than just writing with a given topic.  They were set to learn more in-depth about werewolves and use their imagination to work out their story around the journey to kill the werewolf.

Academic Objectives 

  • Genre knowledge: werewolf. Familiarize yourself with a wide range of werewolf lore and tropes in literature, and build their werewolf story.
  • Create tension and suspense. Could the person right next to you be a werewolf? You don’t know! That’s really what makes werewolves scary, not large fangs or golden eyes or clumsy Thriller dance moves. Learn to build a story that engage your readers’ fear.
  • Observe, interview, and investigate. Develop your story-flow in a coherent manner as you journal your findings and thought process in a structured manner.

Non-Academic Objectives

  • Critical thinking skills. Exercise problem solving skills as you piece together clues and make inferences.
  • Get Creative. Go Wild! Express yourself and your wacky ideas in a conducive environment where every child’s opinion is taken on board.
  • Expand your knowledge. Perhaps you will find a new found appreciation for werewolf themed stories and pick up reading as a hobby.
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Group photo to mark the end of a successful workshop.

MUTB workshops will always be one of my considerations for major school holidays.  With Didi going to P1 and Jiejie going to P3 next year, writing has become a more critical need in terms of academic work.  I hope to expose them to more fun in writing than to be learning spelling and grammar which can literally kill one’s interests in the language.  At a time when their creativity has not been killed by the current MOE system yet, better harness and keep it alive in them while I can!  Right?!

Thanks for joining us at SAys! Happy Mums!  All photos unless otherwise stated are copyright of SAys! Happy Mums.  If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.  We hope to see you back again soon. ❤


If you are keen to explore the workshops hosted by Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB), there is a VERY EXCITING one that Audrey has signed up for Wey which will be happening in the next two weeks!

WHO DO THESE FIGURINES RESEMBLE???

MUTB - Star Wars

That’s RIGHT!  A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Monsters Under the Bed held a writing workshop! Charge your blasters and go on an adventure with MUTB… IN SPACE!  As far as we know, there are only 4 more vacancies left.  To sign up, call Riza at +65 6100 4363 to confirm or visit this link at http://ink.mutb.com.sg/ink-to-the-void.html for more information.

Date: 14 – 16 December 2015 
Time: 10am – 1pm 
Venue: The Arts House

Participants will learn how to:

  • Design fun fictional tech. Super-weapons, robots, mecha, starships, and all sorts of vaguely scientific gadgets. Believability optional.
  • Build entire planets. And all the weird creatures and civilizations that live on them!
  • Create characters who are larger-than-life. There is nothing more exciting than a good old-fashioned battle between Good and Evil.

About MUTB

MUTB LogoMonsters Under The Bed Pte Ltd
111 Middle Road,
National Design Centre #03-05
Singapore 188969

Web | Facebook

Tel: +65 6100 4363 | Email: admin@mutb.com.sg

Operating hours:  10am to 10pm, Mondays to Saturdays | Sundays (by appointment)

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About SAys! Happy Mums

We are a Singapore Mum Blog hosted by BFFs Shirley & Audrey. We blog about our children, parenting and family lifestyle. Most often than not, we find ourselves immersed in family and kids entertainment and can't escape from the lure of great food!

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