Posted in Education, Fine motor activities, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

5 ways to teach your child using jellybeans

Each morning Hamish and I do an hours school work at the table where we concentrate on :

  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Numbers and counting
  • Letters
  • Pre writing skills

I’m not a fan of worksheets at this age (3 years) so a lot of our work is play related.

Yesterday we were inspired by a packet of jelly beans in our morning lessons.

Here are 5 ways to teach your child using jelly beans

For each of these activities you will need:

  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Jelly beans

1. Jelly bean Rainbow

There’s much talk about rainbows with #covid-19 and Hamish has become obsessed with them so this was a great way to have him sort the jelly beans into colours.

He had to, after sorting the colours make each colour by placing the right colour jelly bean onto the correct colour arch.

2. Jelly bean colour sort

For this I drew a coloured circle, gave him a few jelly beans and had him match them to the correct colour.

3.Count the jelly beans

I drew a jar with 10 jelly beans. Labled them 1 to 10 and had him count them out and place a jelly bean on each as a marker.

4. Counting jelly beans

We are doing number work and sums up to 5 this week so I stuck to only working up to number 5 but you can go as high as you like with this counting activity.

He had to place the correct amount of beans under each number.

5.J is for jellybeans

For this he first identified the letter J and then trace it with his finger.

Lastly he made a J with jelly beans ( We have already learnt all phonetic lower case sounds first and have now started to introduce upper case, so you may see a lot of upper case work on my page right now – please if introducing the alphabet to your child start with the phonetic sounds.)

These activities were a lot of fun and of course we both loved packing it all away.

Posted in Family Life, preschoolers, Tweens & Teens

How to start a Pandemic journal with your children

We are currently living through not only a worldwide pandemic, the Covid-19 virus, but a time in history that will be recorded and learnt about in the future.

Many people are recording these moments in photos, online videos, social media posts and memes.

But how are your children recording this time in history?

The Diary of Anne Frank

As we sit through a 21 day lockdown in South Africa, there has been a meme about Anne Frank spending 761 days hidden in a small attic and most of us unable to withstand the luxury of being confined to our homes, with our families, Wifi, food and all our comforts.

Image source : travel tales and tips

Whilst there is a vast difference between a young girl during a world war, trying to survive daily and our current pandemic, it is still a time of fear, sadness and uncertainty as the world fights this virus.

Because of that courageous young, frightened girl, who took solice in her diary, we have an accurate account of the world through her eyes.

A diary that has captured the hearts of all who have read it and taught us so much in so few pages.


How many of us today, still write an old school diary or journal ?

How many of us record our thoughts free of social media?

A journal is a great way for children to write or draw their emotions, record their experience and express themselves without judgement.

These books of raw, uncensored experiences will be invaluable to them 10 years from now as they open their history books to answer the question ….. What were you doing during the 2020 pandemic?

Tips to journal with your children

  • Make it a family activity – provide each family member with a book to decorate and use.
  • Make it a habit– especially with small children you could dedicate a specific time to journal as a family. With older children you can write this into their schedules until they are able to write unprompted.
  • Let them express themselves- this is their space. Let them express themselves as they are comfortable. There is no right or wrong way to journal.
  • Journal box – collect a box of stationary, stickers, washi tapes,ect that your child can use to decorate their journal with.
  • News – for older children, encourage them to print pieces of news that are noteworthy and record their feelings about it. Watching to see that this does not affect their mental health and cause them anxiety.
  • Add photos – if you can, add photos of your child and the activities that keep them busy.
  • Offer prompts -see The journal jar
  • Have fun – don’t let the journal become a chore.


There is no right or wrong way to journal. Each of us express ourselves differently and you may find your one child writes long essays, whilst another draws comics.

Encourage and support your child’s individual style of expression as well as their privacy when introducing your journals.

Happy journaling

Posted in Family Life, preschoolers, Tweens & Teens

The journal prompt jar

In the blog post, How to start a Pandemic journal with your children, I speak about starting a journal with your child during this pandemic to help them to express how they are feeling and what they are thinking right now.

I also share some valuable tips if you or your child are new to keeping a journal.

One of those tips is an idea we first used in 2011,and that is of a journal prompt jar.

What is a journal prompt jar?

The journal prompt jar is an old glass jar that has been cleaned and labled.

Inside are several slips of paper with a journal prompt written on
It is used to encourage your child to find inspiration as to what to write about.

Journal prompts

Some prompts to include:

• My favourite day
My best friend
• I live……

• My mother/father
• A new day
• Pets are……
• Guess what?
• My favourite sweets
• Last night i dreamed….
• My brother/sister
• My teacher said….
• I like school because….
• It rained….
• We went to the…
• I like the beach because…
• A bully is…..
• My favourite colour
• Don’t eat_________because…
• Friends should….
• A secret
• What i watched on tv this week
• Heartache is….

• My house
• Making pizza
• My best memory
• Good friends are….
• The time i lied
• My favourite school subject
• Rainbows are….
• Love is….
• A nightmare i had
• What i want to be when i grow up
• My favourite movie
• I know my parents love me because…
• My fears
• My worst day
• Rules of our home
• Responsibility means
• My favourite book and author
• My dream day

You could have as many prompts or as many jars as you require.

Happy journaling

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

Have your photo taken with 3D animals thanks to Google

This morning we came across this wonderful feature from Google, which allows 3D animals to appear on my phone screen with an easy search.

This easy to use feature allows your phone to place 3D animals within your camera view finder in real life scale.

Whilst this is not a new concept, with so many children worldwide on lockdown due to the Covid-19 corobavirus pandemic, I thought I would share this fun feature with you to keep the kids entertained.

You will need:

  • An android smartphone running 7.0 or higher or an iphone running iOS 11 or later
  • Google chrome for Android/iOS

How to use the function

1. Open Google chrome and type the animal name in the search bar.

2. When the search opens opt the view in 3D option.

3. The screen will open, asking to you to point the camera screen to the floor.

4. Once it has scanned an area, the chosen animal appears in the camera lens.

5. To take a photo have your child stand in front of the camera and direct them to make the image look like they are interacting with the animal.

What animals can you search?

Searching for any of the following animals will give you the option of bringing them into your home in high resolution 3D.

  • Alligator
  • Angler fish
  • Brian bear
  • Cat
  • Cheetah
  • Dog
  • Duck
  • Eagle
  • Emperor penguin
  • Goat
  • Hedgehog
  • Horse
  • Lion
  • Macaw
  • Octopus
  • Pug
  • Giant panda
  • Rottweiler
  • Shark
  • Shetland pony
  • Snake
  • Tiger
  • Turtle
  • Wolf

To add to the experience and entertainment level, this zoo like list of animals also include realistic grunts, growls and groans.

This would make a wonderful addition to a homeschool lesson, is a fabulous way to pass the time during quarantine or lockdown and best of all you don’t have to view the animal in AR, you can see each of the animals in 3D on your Google search page.

Which is your favourite animal?

Posted in easy science experiments, preschool, preschool curriculum, STEM

Fun science – changing a flowers colour

One of my favourite activities as a child was to pick my mothers flowers and try change their colour by leaving them in food colouring water.Tonight as I glanced over at the flowers I bought before lockdown I decided it was the perfect time to show Hamish this ” magic” trick.And so we grabbed some glasses, water, food colouring and 2 flowers and set our experiment up.Eager little hands were ready to help me and are still learning to do things slowly.As he poured the blue food colouring he managed to splosh it all over the counter. ( thank goodness for jick)So, when pouring the red, he was so much more gentle and deliberate.After we had coloured the water, he placed one flower in each glass and we have left them overnight.I cant wait to see his reaction in the morning.It takes 24 hours for the flowers to completely change colour and you normally use a plain white flower, so I’m not too certain how vibrant the shades will appear on our slightly greenish flowers.This morning our flowers had absorbed enough food colouring to change colour already.The longer we leave them the more vibrant the colour will appear.

How this works

Plants absorb water from the roots. This water travels up the stems into the flower petals.Although the cut flowers we use no longer have roots, they still absorb water up their stems through a process called capillary action.As the water is coloured with the food colouring, the dye enters the flowers petals and stains them to change colour.What is most interesting is that you need to leave each flower in dyed water to keep the colour as plain water would make the vibrant shades of the petals fade.

Posted in Health & Wellness, online events

Complimentary live streaming of yoga/ nia classes from Life retreat studios to keep you healthy

Remember those yoga classes you always said you would try?

Well now you can try them from the comfort of your own home.

Live streaming of yoga/ nia classes

In a united effort to both keep South Africa healthy and continue to service their clients during the 21 day Covid-19 lock down, Life retreat studios are hosting complimentary Yoga/ Nia classes daily.

You can join the live classes on this link and can access a full live streaming class schedule here.

To compensate these wonderful teachers, who have no current income, a donation of as little as R10 a month has been requested if you can.

What you will need to join the class

  • A yoga mat or towel
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Internet

What if I miss a class ?

If for any reason the time doesn’t suit you,you miss a class or want to repeatedly a class you can join the Life Retreat Facebook page , scroll down and watch the class later.

Who would benefit from these classes

Movement is important to stay both fit and healthy.

“During physical activity, muscles secrete hormones into your bloodstream that make your brain more resilient to stress. Scientists call them “hope molecules.” – Amy Rojas, Nia sound

This is a great low impact activity that you can enjoy with the kids together in your lounge.

So, what are you waiting for, join a class today.

For more information contact :

Image credit : life retreat studios

Posted in recipes

3 ways to get your child to eat more fruit at breakfast

Here are 3 ways to encourage your fussy eaters to eat more fruit at breakfast.

1. Fruit kebabs

Fruit kebabs are a fun way to get fussy eaters to enjoy their food, especially if you involve them in the process of making them.

You will need:

  • Assorted fruit
  • Kebab sticks
  • Silicone cupcake holder
  • Fair Cape low fat Granidilla yoghurt


Cut up the fruit to thread along the kebab sticks.

I like to stick to fruit Hamish eats and let him help me thread the fruit pieces into the kebab sticks.

Pour some Fair Cape low fat granidilla yoghurt into a novelty silicone cup cake holder or fancy little bowl.

You could serve with a small sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

2. Fruit platter

Finger foods often appeal to a fussy eater as the food is not combined but separate from each food type and is served in small bitable sizes, as to not overwealm them.

I also find the presentation seems more fun and appealing.

You will need:

  • Assorted fruit
  • Fair Cape low fat granidilla yoghurt
  • Silicone cupcake holder
  • Large plate


Cut up each fruit into smaller pieces.

Arrange onto the plate.

Pour some Fair Cape low fat granidilla into a silicone cupcake holder.


Hamish enjoys dipping his fruit bits into the yogurt and eating it that way but you could also serve with a tiny straw, sprinkled with cinnamon or some crushed nuts on top.

3. Monster fruit plate

This is a fun favourite in our home and a nice way to repurpose those plastic Easter eggs.

You will need:

  • 2 plastic easter eggs
  • Grapes
  • Silicone cupcake holder
  • Fair Cape low fat granidilla yoghurt
  • Citrus fruit – we used naartjie


Place grapes into the two plastic eggs and close to form eyes. Kids love opening the eggs to find the suprise fruit.

Pour some Fair Cape low fat granidilla yoghurt into a silicone cupcake holder as the nose.

And lastly form a mouth using the citrus fruit.

You can substitute the fruits for any that your child will eat.

Posted in Education, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, Tweens & Teens

A list of virtual tours, field trips and live cams around the world

Schools are closing early in 2 days all around South Africa, and many parents are wondering how to both work and entertain children whilst respecting the social distancing needed to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

One of the ways that you can keep your children entertained and learning is through the use of virtual tours, live cams and virtual field trips around the world.

I have compiled a list for you and will keep adding to the list as we discover new amazing places to visit


1. Aquarium

Two oceans aquarium

Monterey bay aquarium

Seattle aquarium

2. Zoo

The San Diego zoo

Smithsonian National zoo

Houston Zoo

Woodland zoo

Brno zoo

zoo Atlanta

Milwaukee zoo

Indianapolis zoo


Farm tours – A list of some Canadian farm tours:-

  • Milk & cheese
  • Dairy cow farms
  • Grain farms
  • Sheep farm
  • Mink farm
  • Egg farm
  • Egg processing facility
  • Canadian feed mills
  • Oat farm
  • Apple orchard
  • Pig farm

4. In the wild

African safari


The Louvre

The national gallery of art – American art gallery

Interesting Places

1.South Africa

A virtual drive through Baviaanskloof

2. Around the world

The great wall of china
Yellowstone national park

Panoramas of the world – a variety of interesting places around the world

Mount Everest

The secrets of Easter island

3. Geography

Explore an estury


Colonial Williamsburg – American history museum

The Smithsonian – American natural science museum

John Muir exhibit – Anerican naturalist and conservationist

The museo Galileo – museum dedicated to Galileo

Boston children’s museum

Du page children’s museum

Paso Robles children’s museum

The virtual toy museum

Heins history centre – toys of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s

Lincoln children’s museum

Museum of play

Marx toy museum

Andersonville – Confederate military prision during the American civil war



This is an on going list and I will add new resources often. Check back regularly or join the mailing list to get news of when new resources are added

Posted in craft reciepe, Crafts

Microwave puffy paint

We love puffy paints and they add an interesting element to art works.Have you tried making your own puffy paintyet?Today I’m sharing a fun puffy paint reciepe I first used with Kerri and Ronan for art lessons in 2012.Not only is it a fun art project but can be used as a science experiment to demonstrate how heat changes things.

To make your own you will need :

  • 1 tblsp plain flour
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tblsp plus 1 tsp of water
  • food colouring


  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Paint onto paper.
  • Put the painting into the microwave for 20 seconds. Do not leave the microwave unattended during that time.
  • Carefully remove the painting and observe the wonderful transformation!

💥Be careful – the paint may be hot when it is removed from the microwave

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

A receipe to preserve children

Preserving children

A reciepe to keep the innocence of childhood alive.

Source : unknown

You will need:

  • 1 large field
  • 4 to 6 children
  • 3 dogs
  • Goat or donkey ( optional)
  • Grass
  • Trees
  • Rocks
  • Flowers
  • Pool of water or stream
  • Hot sun
  • Deep blue sky


Mix the children with the dogs and goat or donkey.

Add grass, trees, flowers and rocks.

Cover all with blue skies and sunshine. Mix in a little rain for variety if you like.

Bake under the sun until children are well browned and happily satisfied.

Set them away in a bathtub to cool.

Serve them dinner, read them a story and tuck them into bed.