Posted in Parenting

Why your child needs a balance board

Hamish received the most stunning balance board from Pips and moo

   
The quality of Pips and Moo products is outstanding and it is so beautifully presented in a lovely wooden storage box.
Did you know …
Coordination & balance are essential parts of child development.

Balance

Balance allows children to do everyday activities safely and with ease and allows for fewer injuries.
Children take risks each day when they are climbing stairs, and walking along surfaces that are unsteady. A child that has good balance & coordination skills will be less likely to injure themselves when they are attempting new tasks.

Balance also helps in the development of social and emotional skills
Developing these skills allows children to build confidence in their ability to do things, therefore building and encouraging independence.

Balance & coordination skills assist your child in academics and learning.
Children need movement and should not be sitting all day.  Learning balance from a young age allows children to comfortably sit with the correct posture and be able to complete academic tasks like writing, with ease.

Developing these skills early on in childhood is so important for your child’s development. A balance board allows your child to discover movement and balance in a safe environment.

You can use a Pips and Moo balance board in small living spaces to encourage movement as we do in our flat. take it outside for some gross motor playtime or add it to an obstacle course. balance boards can also be used in a classroom as an alternative seating at circle time in preschool or for brain breaks in older grades.
Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

Cape Town Museum of Childhood Review

We visited the Cape Town Museum of Childhood a few months ago and it was beyond amazing.
Definitely a space to visit often as there is so much to take in.
This free museum is open to the public and is free so that all children, can benefit from it.
As a homeschool mom, I walked away and envisioned the hours of hands-on learning that this museum offers as well as the opportunity for children to express themselves, discover new things, create, explore and play.
As I mentioned there really is a wide variety of things to do :
  • Grab an activity book and work through the activities
  • Go on a scavenger hunt to solve a riddle by finding the hidden pictures in each room
  • Discover and explore toys from yesteryear in the 100-year-old toy room
  • Draw on the giant chalk boards in the reception
  • Create your own masterpieces and inventions in the arts and crafts room
  • Play on the outside jungle gym and swings
  • Enjoy a picnic in the garden
  • Learn some of the history of important surgeries at @redcrosschildrenshospital and see a huge assortment of yesteryear equipment
  • Write send post a postcard to a child in the hospital
  • Watch child friendly cartoons in the screening room
  • See children who met Mandela and learn more about this hero
  • Pose for a photo with a Mandela cutout
  • Learn about District 6
  • Read books in the story room
  • Use the old fashioned phones to hear real life stories
  • Write a story, do a book review or write your own book
  • Learn about children’s rights and the realities that some children live.
  • Read beautiful books about children’s rights ( in a variety of languages)
  • Collect a free children’s rights colouring in book to keep learning through play at home
  • Read the inspirational quotes
  • Enjoy the smallest, free self service coffee
It’s helpful to look up their opening times on their website and keep a look out for some of the fun activities that they have planned.
This little museum gets a ten out of ten from Brent, Hamish, and I .
Now to plan our next visit
Posted in Parenting

When you thought I wasn’t looking

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

A message every parent should read because our children are watching us and doing as we do, not as we say.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and I learned to trust in God.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me good night and I felt loved and safe.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t feel good and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned most of life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked at you and wanted to say, “Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.
Author unkown
Posted in Family Life

Things I never thought I would say as a mom

A few months ago we got – actually let me rephrase that – Brent got Hamish a snake. Oh my slithers have I entered an entirely new dimension of the parenting realm with this creature.

Here are some very real Things I never thought I’d say as a mom ( even after raising 6 adult kids) that I have found myself blurting out….

1. No you can not sleep with the snake
2. Put that near me and I’ll fry it for breakfast
3. Do not kiss the snake
4. I don’t know if snakes love humans ( mumbling but I doubt it)
5. No! I do not think your pet is cute. He’s a snake!
6.Get your snake off the table please.
7. You can not take the snake outside without an older person ( who is not me)
8. Go get a frozen mouse to defrost please
9. Have you checked the cage for snake poo
10. If it’s hissing don’t touch it
11. No thanks I don’t want to cuddle your snake
12. I don’t know if snakes can understand English
13. Of course we can give your snake a mouse cake for his birthday
Currently, the snake and I have a love-hate relationship and I try to stay clear of it at any cost. As for Hamish he still cuddles the slithery thing like a teddy bear.
This may just be the child that turns me grey …send help or a snake catcher. lol
Posted in Crafts

Taste safe yogurt paint

Painting had been proven to be extremely beneficial for kids. Painting is relaxing, encourages a child to express themselves creatively, and helps a child communicate their emotions through the use of colour. It is also great fun.
Painting also :
  • develops hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills
  • Aids in mobility skills as fingers grip the paint brush to moves it across the canvas.
  • develops creativity
  • assists in decision making and planning ahead
  • is therapeutic

Painting with Hamish

knowing these benefits I introduced Hamish to paints as early as 5 months old. I was however very concerned about using commercial paint as I wasn’t sure a handful of paint in a baby’s mouth was the best idea in the parenting books, so I used a paint-safe yogurt paint.

How to make yogurt paint

You will need:
  • 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
  • Add a drop or 2 of food colouring.

Method

Mix a little food colouring to your yogurt and well together. Present to your child as a finger paint, sensory activity, or with brushes and rollers.

Posted in Parenting

National colouring in book day

The 2nd of August was national colouring in book day . We spend a lot of time colouring in but it is only recently that Hamish has actually started to enjoy colouring.
There are so many great colouring in books on the market but I love these colouring in books from Butterfly products.
They remind me of the ones I had as a child and come in a variety of affordable prices and sizes.
They are also avaliable at most retailers.

How kids benefit from colouring in

Colouring in is really good for children and here are some of the ways in which colouring in can benefit a child.
Colouring in helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
  • It is a great alternative to screen time and we actually use it as a winding down time before bed.
  • Colouring stimulates creativity and develops a child’s imagination.
  • Colouring also strengthens a child’s motor skills and grip strength
  • It also encourages concentration and focus

Tips to help kids who are reluctant to colour in

Some children, like Hamish arereluctant to colour in and this can be for a multitude of reasons from their little hands not being developed yet to them wanting to be perfect and fearing going out the lines.

It is important to first identify why your child is reluctant to colour in. Never make colouring in a chore, this will just make them more reluctant to do it.
You can rather :
  • Choose simple designs in.
  • Use picture Themes that interests them a
  • Colour in with them.
  • Display their work to help build confidence and for encouragement.

 

 

Posted in Crafts

Making a solar system

We’ve been learning about the Solar system this year and I have been meaning for Hamish and me to make a Solar system model in order for him to be able to visualize the planets and compare their sizes, amounts of moons, etc
I found this Creative Talent solar system kit at PNA last week and bought it.

Inside the kit

The kit comes with:
  • a really awesome solar system chart,
  • 9 polyester balls,
  • a sun,
  • ring for Saturn,
  • pipe cleaners,
  • wire,
  • modge podge
  • paints
  • Paint brush
  • And a large wooden tray.

How we built our solar system model

We started yesterday. Out came all the polystyrene balls and Hamish first played an interesting game of marbles with them before arranging them in size from smallest to biggest and eventually matching each one up to its assigned planet.
When he was ready to start painting we matched each one to our assigned planet and Hamish painted them to match ( give or take a little creative license)
We had mounted the smaller ones onto pipe cleaners in order to paint them without getting paint everywhere but soon discovered that this was just going to be one of those messy activities.
With enough paint to paint a beach ball on our hands, all the planets were finally painted and ready to dry.
We left them to dry and that was when I discovered this kit actually does not have any instructions on how to construct the solar system into a display.
So, as they say, a boer maak n plan.
We used the long piece of wire to string our planets along in order from the sun.
I think it came out really great.

How to teach your child to remember the planet names

Long before Pluto wasn’t a planet, a geography teacher I once had taught us this rhyme to remember the names of the planets, and I have taught Hamish.
My – Mercury
Very- Venus
Eager- Earth
Monkey- Mars
Jumped- Jupiter
Swiftly- Saturn
Under- Uranus 
Nine- Neptune
Planets- Pluto

Resources

Some helpful resources with great information for kids about the Solar system can be found at NASA solar system exploration
I think it came out amazing
Even if Hamish may have been a little more creative with the planet’s colouring.
Posted in Book Reviews

Asher series- Fun on the farm book review

So much excitement… Hamish received his new readers in May.

I bought this amazing set from Wild kids book
I searched for quite a while to find just the right set of readers for Hamish.
I knew I needed a comprehensive set of readers that would guide him confidently into reading but I also knew that I wanted a set of books he would relate to and love.
Mostly I wanted him to enjoy the story so that reading wasn’t a chore.
I wanted the story to come alive, the characters to be real for him, and for him to truly want to pick up the next book.
I wanted reading to be fun.
I couldn’t have chosen a better set of readers than the Fun on the farm series by Wild kids books
This set of 26 books follows the tales of a little boy called Asher and his life and adventures on the farm.
Designed for grade 1 & 2 readers to read and identify sight words, each book focuses on a letter of the alphabet.
Basic first words make up most of the text with many words repeated for emphasis
How I use these is …
I first read the book to Hamish
💕We read the book together and discuss the images on each page.
💕He reads the book alone 6- 10 times until he is completely fluent in reading each word.
💕The first time he reads the book alone I ask questions to see that he has comprehended what he has read.
💕I test to see that he can both spell out the phonetic sounds as well as identify individual words by asking him to look at the page and point to a word.
💕I have made flashcards of the sight words used and we flash these in the afternoon.
💕He then reads the book aloud to a family member.
💕Lastly, he moves on to the next book.
To make reading fun sometimes we read loud, or soft, or like a grandma, a pirate or a Gruffalo, etc
This also helps him later to add tone and expression to his reading
You can hear him read them here
Posted in Parenting

You are my I love you

I love this poem and have added it to Hamish’s baby book as well as shared it numerous times on social media posts.

You are my I love You

By Maryann K Cusimano

YOU ARE MY I LOVE YOU
I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggle
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your Carrot Sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines
I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you
Posted in Family Life

How to help your children love the Earth

World Environment Day was June 5th and the campaign for World Environment Day 2022 is called Only One Earth.
It emphasizes living sustainably and asks for worldwide, transformative action to honour, protect and restore our planet.
So, How you can help ….
Transformation will start with us teaching our children. Some ways you can teach your children to love the Earth are:
🌍 Teach your children to love the Earth and respect nature.
🌍 Talk about the dangers that affect Earth, things like climate change, overfishing, deforestation and pollution
🌍 Read books to your children that highlight sustainable and Earth concious topics
🌍 Reduce, reuse and recycle
🌍 Take part in beach, park or river clean-ups
🌍 Support your local nature parks, animal sanctuaries, and wild spaces
🌍 Conserve energy by using less and change to LED lights or use natural lighting.
🌍 Save water and be responsible for your water usage.
🌍 Plant trees, flowers, and your own vegetables
🌍 Don’t overshop. Buy only the things you will need and use.
🌍 Use as little plastic as possible
🌍 Stop using disposable items like straws, plastic shopping bags and single-use coffee mugs.
We only have one Earth …let us take care of her.