Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Competitions, Entertainment, Events, Family Life, Family Time

Superbook presents “The First Christmas “at the V & A Waterfront and a Giveaway

As we turn the page to the last month of 2021 and begin to prepare our homes for the coming Advent season so do we as parents prepare our families’ hearts for the true reason behind the Christmas festivities.

Two years ago I was desperately searching for a way that Hamish could enjoy the magic of Christmas and somehow still know the true reason for the season. He was still really little and although we had read the story of the birth of Christ in his Bible book, he was unable to put the connection between the birth of Jesus and Christmas.

I then discovered that Superbook had a beautiful Christmas DVD combo consisting of 2 stories:

The first Christmas and The birth of John the Baptist

I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to help him see the Bible come to life as we watched the story of the First Christmas together. We have since watched this DVD several times and he has begun to understand that Christmas is so much more than just Santa, his elves, and gifts.

You can read the review here

More than just a DVD

However, something else happened that first day that we met the Superbook team to receive the DVD. Superbook was no longer just another brand or a product we would cast on a shelf until we needed it. Superbook became real to Hamish as he asked for Gizmo, the cute robot mascot, and eagerly wanted to watch more movies.

Read about Superbook movie nights here 

Superbook became a safe App on my phone for Hamish to play games and watch Bibles stories. We followed their social media and used the crafts in our homeschool Bible lessons and all too soon we found ourselves ready to celebrate another Christmas and this time I confidently knew where to turn to prepare Hamish’s heart for the coming festive season.

Last year, we, once again, excitedly, joined the Superbook First Christmas experience and made advent crafts while we decorated our homes, baked cookies, and got ready to join people from all over South Africa to watch The first Christmas episode at the same time and see how Chris and Joy, together with Gizmo find out the true meaning of Christmas.

Superbook has become an important part of our family’s Christmas traditions.

Read why I feel Superbook brings back the heart of Christmas here 

The first Christmas experience and you are invited

This year Superbook will host a fun and meaningful Christmas experience at the V & A amphitheater on the 3 and 4 December from 11am- 12pm and you are invited to bring your children and experience the magic as they watch the nativity come alive on screen in a fun and relatable way that children can truly grasp.

The show is free and your children will enjoy watching, laughing, dancing, singing, and even getting to meet Gizmo the robot. Hamish and I are both super excited and can’t wait. It promises to be a wonderful experience, great morning out, and a fantastic way for us to start our advent season.

Giveaway

To help share the Christmas spirit we have collaborated with Superbook to bless one lucky Fun Mamma SA reader with a wonderful Superbook hamper.

To enter answer below with the Superbook robots name.

The competition closes Monday 6 December 2021

Posted in Giving back

Give the gift of reading this festive season with Cadbury’s IN OUR OWN WORDS initiative

Experts agree that a culture and love of reading is sparked when children recognise themselves in stories and, even more so, when these are written in their mother tongue.  As only 2% of children’s books published commercially in South Africa are written in local African languages*, the Cadbury In Our Own Words initiative (introduced in May) aims to continue changing this by igniting a love for reading amongst the next generation.

In Our Own Words is a rallying cry, a call to action to help co-author a collection of locally crafted children’s stories in all South African languages. These are made easily accessible through the Cadbury In Our Own Words digital library.

This year, Cadbury is creating the perfect pairing of its delicious Festive range with enchanting storytelling and is once again offering South Africans an opportunity to give the greatest gift of all, the gift of reading.

The continuation of the In Our Own Words initiative will enable South Africans to give the gift of words to help co-author festive children’s stories that showcase a truly South African season. The stories crafted over this period will celebrate our traditions and reflect what makes our festive season special and of course, these stores will be available in all African languages for children to enjoy.

Posted in Christmas, Giving back

Give a gift box with Playalot

This , Playalot, are building a with ! With they will an under-privileged child with a , that will give them the same your child gets when you spoil them with gifts.

Playalot , filled with one of each of the below necessities (that we all take for granted). Just drop your off in reception on your next visit to our park. You may also donate R200 through the till and we will shop & wrap on your behalf.

  

1️⃣   Send a WhatsApp to Chantel on https://wa.me/27871387529 requesting the details of your very own    . This way you know the name/age/sex of the child that will receive your gift.

2️⃣   Fill the box with your goodies (Estimated cost – R200) and wrap/label.

3️⃣   Deliver to Playalot. Enjoy a deeeelicious coffee while the kids play.

    :

 Soap

 Face cloth

 Toothbrush

 Toothpaste

 Sweets

 Toy
Stationary
Clothing item

*         ,          –     *

Playalot filled a from @PEP (for a 6-year-old girl called Miché) and paid only R185. The perfect !

Playalot are all about recycling and suggest that you go and buy yourself a new pair of shoes, just so that you have a box for your project.

 Do not have a ?

@box-itbrackenfell sells boxes, starting from R10.

021 981 3008 | boxitbrackenfell@gmail.com

 Unit 5 Sandpiper Crescent, N1 Okavango Park, Brackenfell

 !

 Donations close on at 5pm on 30 November 2021.

 Please wrap and label your  with your allocated name.

Should you have any questions, chat to us on WhatsApp https://wa.me/27871387529

(087 138 7529) or email info@playalot.co.za.

Posted in Events, Family Life

Superbook movie night

Superbook has featured on my blog and social spaces often. Hamish and I are huge fans.

Read about our first experience with Superbook HERE

And why I believe that Superbook offer wholesome character-building content HERE

Why I love Superbook

Superbook to me is so much more than just another App that Hamish uses. Superbook is a community, a place where the Bible comes to life and a safe place for him to play games, watch movies and learn as he grows his faith at an age-appropriate and child-friendly level. Superbook is my guide to teaching him the Bible and their crafts and parent discussions help me to present important topics and hard conversations in a way that allows us both to feel relaxed and connected.

Superbook Events

Not only do Superbook have a great App, wonderful videos, and great games but they also have craft activities, host fun events, and have a monthly movie night to celebrate a new season of videos.

Currently, on season 4, Superbook has been hosting a new episode each week on www.superbook.com

Superbook Family Movie Nights

These movie nights are designed for families to enjoy wonderful nights of bonding and spiritual growth together. Each episode touches on a particular area of focus and this week is the last episode of season 4 and will focus on Prayer.

As we know communication is so important and The Lord’s prayer, outlined in the Bible shows us so beautifully how to pray.  This episode of Superbook will help you to explain the importance of prayer to your children and teach them how to pray.

You can also download the discussion guide to continue the conversation long after the episode.

The videos are screened from Friday until Sunday night, on the last Friday of the month, only, and these last episodes screen from  Friday the 26th of November from 6 pm until the 28th of October at midnight.

Connect online

Superbook is on Facebook( Superbook Manzi) and Instagram (@SuperbookManzi) and you can follow along to learn more about the Bible, discover more about the Superbook App, watch videos, join crafts, and discussions, find out about the latest events and win prizes.

 

Give your child a gift of love and join Superbook now.

Posted in Blog posts, Christmas, Press releases

HASBRO HELPS YOU FIND THE IDEAL GIFT THIS FESTIVE SEASON

Kids fall in love at first play with Hasbro’s 2021 Great Gifts selection

When a child receives a new toy and they fall in Love at First Play, magic happens.  Imaginations are unlocked, fun is found, explorations begin, and bonds are formed.  

According to a recent survey by global play and entertainment company, Hasbro, almost half (47%) parents surveyed admit their kids have been disappointed with gifts received at festive time and 30% say they have struggled knowing what to buy their children in the past.   Sound familiar?  Months of your child begging for a particular toy or game, only for the gift to land up at the bottom of the toy pile a few days later.

 Understanding the science behind the many forms of play will help you choose toys that are the most compatible with your child’s play personality, essentially how does your child love to play and which toys are best suited to their play personality?

To help parents make the best gift decisions this festive season Hasbro developed a Play Personality Quiz. Play personalities are based on a widely acknowledged scientific theory of the way children engage with play, based on neuroscience and natural behaviours. The 8 play personalities identified in the Hasbro Play Personality Quiz are informed by Dr Stuart Brown’s research [author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens The Imagination And Invigorates The Soul]  and capture the fundamentals of child development, movement, sensory development, language and attachment theory, so that you can easily navigate the best gifts compatible to your child and how they play. 

Take the Hasbro Play Personality Quiz to identify whether your child is a mischievous Jokester or more of a creative Imagineer, a curious Discoverer or an active Energizer and find the perfect toys for Love At First Play.  

 

Visit https://sa.loveatfirstplay.com/ to take the quiz and find out more on each play personality.

HASBRO RELEASES ITS GREAT GIFTS 2021 RECOMMENDATIONS

Once you have determined your child’s dominant play personality move onto Hasbro’s recently released Great Gifts 2021 selection with a wide range of gifting recommendations for the upcoming festive season.  With th latest releases from popular brands including My Little Pony, Peppa Pig, NERF, Baby Alive, furReal, Power Rangers and more, plus fun new Hasbro Gaming solutions – there is  something to surprise and delight each family member this summer!

Inspired by the My Little Pony: A New Generation movie kids can have fun imagining with the Singing Star Princess Petals. Imagine she is performing at the Royal Gala with the 15-cm Princess Petals pink pony figure sporting a character-inspired music note Cutie Mark. The articulated figure’s soft purple hair is curled in her signature style. She also features music and movement. Press her Cutie Mark to hear her sing part of her song, “Glowing Up” and squeeze her back legs together to make her beautiful, fuzzy wings flap up and down.

furReal Glamalots – What’s more fun than walking a pet? Walking a pet that you’ve groomed and styled yourself! Give this doggie diva a sweet new ‘do with the included styling accessories, which you can use to style yourself up as well,  then attach her leash to take her for a walk. She’ll make lots of happy sounds as you stroll along!

 

Baby Alive Baby Grows Up interactive doll transforms from newborn to baby to big girl. Reveal 1 of 2 surprise dolls as you remove her from the package, and she starts to wiggle! With first bottle she opens her eyes to reveal colour, remove her hat to see her hair colour. After rocking and pretend bottle feeding, she kicks out of her swaddle blanket! As a baby, Baby Alive Baby Grows Up talking doll sits up and says her first word. Hold her hands to help her stand. Now she’s a big girl who loves dress-up!

Play-Doh fans (ages 4+) ignite your imagination with the Play-Doh Lava Bones Island playset features eggs filled micro dino bones to discover and slippery-smooth Play-Doh Slime HydroGlitz compound to make the toy volcano erupt and fill the valley below with pretend lava. Fill the clear dino mould with the skeleton and the Play-Doh Slime lava to make your own dinosaur!

Kids (ages 3+) will love pretending that they’re on holiday with Peppa Pig and her family with Peppa’s Family Motorhome toy. Press the steering wheel to hear music and phrases from the Peppa Pig show. When it’s time to ‘camp,’ kids can convert the vehicle to a multi-level RV playset. Once you’ve finished playing all accessories can be stored inside the playset, ready for the next adventure.

Blast into battle with the power of a T-Rex with the Nerf DinoSquad Rex-Rampage blaster! Rev up the motor on this motorised blaster and press the trigger to fire darts fast. It comes with a 10-dart clip so you can send 10 darts in a row racing through the air at your targets. The blaster includes a nonremovable targeting scope to line up your shots. Eyewear recommended (not included).

Flip into battle with the Nerf Elite 2.0 Flipshots Flip-16 blaster featuring 16 barrels – 8 face forward and 8 face backward. Fire darts from the 8 front-facing barrels, then flip the 8 rear barrels forward to keep on blasting darts. Just when your opponent thinks you’re out, you can take them by surprise with 8 more fully loaded barrels! The back-to-back barrels are connected, making it quick and easy to rotate them by pulling the handle. Eyewear recommended (not included).

Nerf Elite 2.0 Flipshots Flip-8 blaster – fires darts from the 4 front-facing barrels, then flip the 4 rear barrels forward to keep on blasting darts. The sight on top of the blaster doubles as the flip mechanism; pull it back to pivot the barrels. Eyewear recommended (not included).

IT’S MORPHIN TIME! The Dino Fury Morpher with lights and sounds reacts to motion. Spin the dino-shaped face to morph into action and unlock even more sounds with the included Dino Fury Key!

Take home the magic of what makes the Transformers robots – More Than Meets the Eye – with Roll N’ Change figures! The push-to-convert feature allows for seamless conversion of Roll N’ Change toys to robot mode. Pull out the sword accessory, roll forward, and watch the figure convert to robot mode in one continuous motion. Features coloured lights and 10 button-activated sound effects.

It’s the Monopoly game with a strategy twist on Monopoly Island, located in the center of the board. With the Monopoly Builder strategy game, players travel the board buying properties and collecting rent and resources. They also use builder’s blocks to build their island city! The more a player builds, the more points they’ll earn. The game ends when the penthouse has been built. Then the player with the most points wins!

In the Monopoly Crooked Cash game things aren’t always as they seem. Someone added fake cash and fake chance cards, luckily, Mr. Monopoly is giving players his decoder so they can find the fakes and still make a fortune. It’s an exciting game of hidden reveals, and players get to challenge their opponents for using fakes with accusation coins. The player with the most money at the end – real or fake – wins.

LOOKING FOR SOME FUN  STOCKING FILLER IDEAS?

  • Meet the new pony characters from My Little Pony: A New Generation movie with these 7-cm pony figures. Each pony features character-inspired colours, hair styles, and Cutie Marks. Collect all the ponies and imagine movie-inspired stories with friends (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).

  • The fun starts as soon as they tear open the pinata box filled with 2 cans of Play-Doh Slime Feathery Fluff compound and lots of fun mix-ins. The ultra-lightweight, super fluffy compound feels like a big cotton ball in your hands, and colourful glitter, shiny beads, and fun charms make it even more fantastically fun!

  • With the 24-cm scale Power Rangers figures from Hasbro, kids can imagine the action and adventures of their favourite Power Rangers characters, inspired by the Power Rangers Beast Morphers television show.

  • In the world of Peppa Pig, Peppa’s day is packed with lots of fun activities, and the Little Rooms accessory sets give kids ages 3+ a chance to act out even more of those adventures! Each set includes a figure and themed accessories. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).

  • It’s time to be a hero! Pre-schoolers can zoom to the rescue with the PJ Masks Hero Vehicle toys. Each vehicle has super cool deco straight from the Disney Junior show and comes with a poseable PJ Masks action figure that sits in the open cockpit. (Each sold separately. Subject to availability).

  • Get ready for an exciting quick-playing Monopoly card game! The Monopoly Bid game is a game of chance, luck, and strategy as players bid in blind auctions, pay with money cards, steal properties with Action cards, and change their luck with Wild cards.

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers (subject to availability) including:  Takealot.com, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Hamleys, Checkers Hypers & selected Checkers store, Makro and Importatoy.

For more information visit: Facebook @PlayDohSouthAfrica;  @MyLittlePonySouthAfrica@MonopolySouthAfrica@NerfSouthAfrica@TransformersSouthAfrica

*The brands featured are all registered trademarks of Hasbro

 

 

 

 

About Hasbro

Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is a global play and entertainment company committed to Creating the World’s Best Play and Entertainment Experiences. From toys, games and consumer products to television, movies, digital gaming, live action, music, and virtual reality experiences, Hasbro connects to global audiences by bringing to life great innovations, stories and brands across established and inventive platforms. Hasbro’s iconic brands include NERF, MAGIC: THE GATHERING, MY LITTLE PONY, TRANSFORMERS, PLAY-DOH, MONOPOLY, BABY ALIVE, POWER RANGERS, PEPPA PIG and PJ MASKS, as well as premier partner brands. Through its global entertainment studio, eOne, Hasbro is building its brands globally through great storytelling and content on all screens. Hasbro is committed to making the world a better place for all children and all families through corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. Hasbro ranked among the 2020 100 Best Corporate Citizens by 3BL Media and has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere Institute for the past nine years. We routinely share important business and brand updates on our Investor Relations website, Newsroom and social channels (@Hasbro on Twitter and Instagram.)

Posted in Blog posts

Expert Tips to Help Your Kids Prepare their Xmas Wish List

Holiday wish lists are far from a new concept, for most kids the biggest toy trends hit the top of their lists but the pressure every parent feels surrounding the festive season is sometimes overwhelming.

As a parent we often struggle with giving our kids too much or not enough, you often wonder where the balance should be, coupled with the feelings that they are too spoiled or not spoiled enough.

Frequent questions we ask ourselves include; what should we spend? Are we making them materialistic? Or just simply showing love? That’s where a wish list comes in, it helps parents and kids keep the right attitudes and perspective during the biggest giving and receiving time on earth.

Kids love making Christmas wish lists, here are some tips from the experts at Toys R Us on how to make, organise and share your kids wish lists with friends and family. This will ensure you get them something they really want and at the same time give them some guidelines and provide a good learning opportunity.

Setting guidelines:

Children need guidance from their parents to manage expectations and provide a good learning opportunity when creating their wish lists. If you are particularly worried about a wish list promoting greed, an important thing to highlight is that, ‘Just because you list it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.’

Be sure to let them know that if they get it, great, but if they don’t that’s cool too, create a savings plan to buy it themselves at a later time.

Starting early:

Don’t wait until December to get your kids to do their wish lists. Every year Toys R Us releases their top toy list with an expertly curated selection of toys for all kids, this year is no exception. Children can pick up Geoffrey’s ‘Big Book of Wonder’ in-store or online making selecting toys for their wish list much easier. There’s also an opportunity to win their wish list.

A parents veto:

Mom or dad have the last say, sometimes you just have to say NO. Explain to your kids why they need to accept it and move on and help them select a different gift. Give them some alternative options, brainstorm with them and discuss pros and cons.

Needs vs. Wants:

This is an especially valuable conversation to have and the festive season provides a great opportunity to demonstrate this. Explain to your child the difference between a need and a want and show them options of gifts that demonstrate both.

Why not have them write down something they need, want, can read, can wear, and can give!

Putting the list together:

This should be the fun part. Get some coloured paper, decorations, crayons, pens etc and get creative.

If you want a way for your kids to create a digital wish list and share it with family, visit this link to create a registry: https://www.toysrus.co.za/registry

Giving back:

It should be instilled in your children that the season isn’t all about receiving, it’s also about giving as well. Find a worthy cause to get your children involved, why not get them to donate some old toys of theirs before they get their new gifts?

Take advantage of this great learning opportunity this holiday and help raise conscientious gift givers and receivers.  It’s just one more way you and your kids can add more joy into the holidays.

For more information visit the website or follow Toys R Us on Instagram and Facebook #TopToys2021 #LandOfWonder #BigBookOfWonder

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Family Life, Family Time

SA National Park Week 2021

As a South African citizen you can visit any National Park for free during this year’s 16th annual SA National Parks Week from 22 – 26 November 2021.

Everyone over the age of 18 years must produce an SA ID or SA driver’s license to enter the Parks. It’s important to note that no electronic copies of ID will be accepted.

Extensions

The Bontebok, Tankwa Karoo, and West Coast National Parks in the Cape Region will be extending SA National Parks Week until Sunday, 28 November 2021.

The Agulhas and Table Mountain National Parks will host SA National Parks Week until Friday, 26 November 2021.

Cape region parks

If you are in the Cape Region during SA National Parks Week, here are some things you can do:

• SANParks – Agulhas National Park Explore the Southern Most Tip of Africa which boasts magnificent views. You can also take a walk along the shore to view a graveyard of shipwrecks along the Agulhas coastline.

• Bontebok National Park – SANParks

One of the smallest parks offering you sightings of countless Bontebok roaming around. You can also go canoeing along the Breede River Dam, and enjoy endless hiking trails to explore and embrace what nature has to offer.

• SANParks – Tankwa Karoo National Park

Experience the quietness and most scenic 4×4 routes that this park has to offer.

• SANParks – Table Mountain National Park

Enjoy a braai at one of the many braai spots such as Tokai Forest, Newlands, and Oudekraal, and indulge in the essence of the Cape of Good Hope with the many activities it has to offer.

• SANParks – West Coast National Park

Just inland from the secluded harbor of Saldana Bay, and only 2 hour’s drive from Cape Town’s City Centre, you will find the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the focal point of West Coast National Park.

So put on those hiking shoes, grab your cameras and head out to nature.

Posted in Blog posts

Mamma,Mommy, Mom … Dude!

One day you are cuddling your beautiful newborn, soaking in the newness of this little life and dreaming of the future as you envision all those chapters in the parenting manuals and the very next minute you are hit in the gut as your preschooler throws you a curveball and calls you ….DUDE! 

Blind-sighted and in shock you double take and wonder where exactly the chapter on transitioning from Mamma, Mommy, Mom to Dude is in that parenting manual.
How did you go from being your child’s adored, number one Mommy to just another Dude?
So, here it is ….the missing chapter in your parenting 101 books…

The transition from Mamma to Mommy

I remember when Hamish first started to talk, I really hoped his first word would be Mamma because let’s be real, I grew this beautiful baby for 9 months and he came out looking exactly like his dad so the least he could do is yell out a Mamma before giving dad a Dadda…right?
Alas, I joined the hundreds of other moms whose kids call daddy first.
But that first, sweet, angelic Mamma was like music to my ears and it became our first way of understanding each other.
Me whispering lullabies as he slept assuring him his mamma would keep him safe and calling out to him asking him if he was joining Mamma to go play, do shopping, clap hands or go for a walk. A reassuring tone as I reminded him throughout the day that his Mamma was running a bath, would be back soon, or just that she loved him with all her heart.
His screams of delight as he saw me in the morning and his calls to remind me he needed my attention. His cries with a heartsore Mamma if things got hard or if he got hurt and his clumsy “luff oo mamma” at bedtime to remind me that he loved me with all his heart.
We were happy. I was his Mamma and he had stolen my heart.
And without warning, something changed. One day my adorable toddler headed off to school, and this proud Mamma held her tears back as he waddled into his first classroom. That day he chattered and told his Mamma all about his fun day and his new friends and his teacher who sang colours with him.
A week later, as we climbed onboard our bus and headed home and as I listened to the events of his morning at school he looked up at me, bright blue eyes shining and said ” Mommy me got new friend” 
Just like that my Mamma heart shattered a little. Teeny tiny moments of realization that in my little baby’s world, he was growing up. I had moved into a new category overnight and whilst he still loved his Mamma with all his heart , he was ready to explore, discover and create a bigger world around himself.
That night I cried in the bath. I wanted my Mamma boy to stay little. I wanted to cuddle him and hear the sweet sounds of Mamma again.
Being a veteran mom, I knew this time would come but my heart was completely unready to transition from Mamma to Mommy. I knew that his changing of my name only meant he needed me to grow to meet him in his development. That he needed a little more from his mamma.

Who is this Mom?

Slowly, I grew into Mommy. Over time I came to realise that Mommy was still called out in the same way Mamma had been. My little boy loved his Mommy with all his heart and needed only his Mommy if he was sad, anxious, unhappy or heartbroken.
We woke to morning cuddles with Mommy and long walks. Mommy and him played outside and found new bugs in the yard. We built playdough models and big brick towers and excitedly he would call his Mommy to come to see something or watch over him as he discovered new things.
By now my toddler was becoming a preschooler and he homeschooled with mommy.
I remember one day after a particularly trying day hearing Mommy every few seconds and just needing a few moments to myself, thinking I was going to change my name …..stop answering to the sound of Mommy.
The universe may have heard me that day or more realistically I may have taught my sweet little boy independence and given him the confidence to grow, and him knowing that I would love him with all my heart even if he did because he came home from school the one day and asked ” Mom can my friends come play”
Who ? 
Who exactly was this Mom he was calling? 
In shock at hearing that Mommy was gone, my heart shattered just a little more.
My little baby wasn’t a little baby anymore. He was an inquisitive,  confident, and social little boy busy learning the world around him to grow.
That night I cried in the bath. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to hear him sweetly call Mommy just one more time. The lump of tears grew bigger in my throat as I reminded myself that I’d done a good job raising a confident, independent, and loving little boy who knew his Mommy would love him even if he changed her name to mom.

Hey  Dude.

Slowly over time, as with Mommy, I grew into my new title of Mom as I heard him call out to his friends ” My mom says you can play” ” My mom made the best cake” and more importantly as he cuddled me after his bedtime story and whispered ” I love you mom”
Slowly over time, he became more confident. He grew. His world got bigger but always he looked for Mom.
I understood. I knew that my new title meant that even if I wasn’t ready to let go a little he was.
He was ready to not always hold my hand when climbing down the stairs. He was ready to wave goodbye and play with a friend all day. He was ready to head off to school but he always knew that his mom was there if he called.
One night as we sat watching a movie and I reminded him that he had 5 minutes before bed he looked up at me and said ” Dude!” 
I recoiled in shock. Who the hell is Dude? 
I was prepared for Mommy and I knew I’d be Mom but who exactly is Dude?
My Mommy heart shattered in the realization that we had entered a new phase. A new area of growth and one I again was unprepared for. ( So much of parenting is being unprepared for a new phase or situation)
That night I sobbed huge tears in the bath. I don’t want to be my children’s friend. I am their mother. They only get one of me. They will have many friends throughout their lives.
The next day, we spoke and I explained that my Mommy heart doesn’t want to be called Dude. Hamish looked heartbroken: and said,” but Mom you are my Mom and my friend.”
And there it was ….the first real lessons in understanding boundaries and respecting others. How had we gotten to this point? My son is 5, not 15?
He no longer calls me Dude, unless we are both playing around and I’m happy being his mom.
I love hearing him explain to his friends with an exaggerated Dude or how he calls them over in his surfer style lazy drawn out Dude. I love hearing the shock in his voice as he speaks to his brothers with an eye Rolling Dude or how he refers to his sisters with a more gentle Dude but more importantly, I love to hear how he remembers to respect others by using their names. How he sets boundaries with the other people in his circle and how I know those lessons were first learnt by trying them on the one person who would love his heart forever….his mom.

As they grow

We are only 5 years into our journey together. We have a long way ahead on boundary testing and name calling.
He, like his siblings, will call me many things over the years. Each time, I’ll sit in my bath and cry as my heart shatters but each time I’ll love him, as I do his siblings, unconditionally, regardless of what he calls me, how hard it is to hear, how unprepared I am and because I know that it’s just a phase.
When it comes down to it my little boy will call his mom when he needs her, when he’s scared, when he’s sick, when he’s uncertain, when life gets too big. He will call his mom and share when he’s happy when he achieves and every so often when he remembers that he loves her with all his heart.
Moms …. that transition is real. It is inevitable. If we have taught our children well, encouraged independence and shown them enough love they will test us. They will push buttons and they will grow, gently guided by our words.
Regardless of if you are Mamma, Mommy or Mom …you won’t be ready for the last time they called you by a younger name. Your heart will shatter slowly each time, as you watch them grow but the three things we can give our children are :
Unconditional love
Roots to come home to
And more importantly wings to soar.
So, enjoy the Mommy phase you are in right now.
Posted in Blog posts

Inspirational Women Series -Amber Toerien

Let’s be honest ….Women are remarkable.

The last few years have highlighted the mental load mothers carry daily added to their already challenging careers, relationships, and the desire to keep their individuality, femininity, and beauty in a world judging us for being real.

To celebrate just how amazing moms are, Fun mamma SA has chosen some inspirational moms to chat to about motherhood, careers, and the secret to their success.

Kicking off our INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN SERIES is Amber Toerien, a Digital Specialist , work from home mom and homeschooler.

Amber Toerien

1. Who are you when you are not being a mom?

I am a Digital Specialist who helps passionate entrepreneurs launch and build online businesses. I have qualifications in content marketing, web communications, advertising and events management coordination and have become dedicated over the years to helping like-minded entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

2. How would you define Motherhood in your own words?

Challenging but the most rewarding thing you can be blessed with in life.

3. How do you find a balance between work and home?

This is something I struggle with as a work from home mom who is also a homeschooler of a 10-year-old. Even though I have my own office – space and boundaries are always tested.

4. What has been your biggest personal achievement? 

Well besides becoming a Mom, it would have to be being selected as the Digital Marketing Facilitator for The Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative – CiTi’s Top Tech Tools For Women In Business Programme 11 times.

The Women In Business programme provides female entrepreneurs with strategic support to implement and adopt digital platforms and programs that up-skill their technological savvy candidates to drive business growth and promote inclusion in the digital economy.

5. What is your favourite thing about being a mother? (Why?)

I love knowing that there is someone who relies on me, depends on me and loves me unconditionally. It’s hands down the most rewarding feeling.

6. What has been the hardest part of your Motherhood journey?( and how did you deal with it?)

I had my son at the age of 18, fresh out of high school and growing up myself while being a mother at the same time has not been easy. Having a baby while working and studying, having a kid in school while starting a business. The hardest part has been balancing and sacrificing certain things. (All just parts of being a Mom) I wouldn’t change anything, looking back…

6. What do you hope your children think of you as they grow older?

That I worked hard to provide for, educate, and protect them. That I always let them dream and believe in their talents and that if they worked hard they could be anything they wanted to be.

7. What keeps you motivated?

I have a vision board that I look to for motivation. It has various things on it from my dream house, car, holiday, lifestyle, food goals etc to simple things like the podcast I wanna listen to. I am always updating my vision board as my motivation and self-belief grow.

8. What is something we don’t know about you?

I have ADHD. But these days who doesn’t LOL

9. Can you share your best advice for moms just starting their careers with young children?

It is by no means going to be easy. There will be sacrifices that you will have to make for the bigger picture. There will be hard times – BUT DO NOT LET THAT STOP YOU! Remind yourself every day WHY you are doing this and work daily to make small improvements.

10. Share your favourite quote. 

”You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.”

Posted in Education, guest blogs, Parenting, STEM

Why you should teach S.T.E.M. to children from a young age By Jonathan Drake, Head of Accessories at The Core Group

The world today is changing rapidly. Technological advancements are unlike anything we have seen before. We have entered the fourth industrial revolution and can only speculate about the future of workplaces and the required skill sets.

 

Children need to prepare for an exciting and tech-driven future, and we need to enable them to acquire the necessary skills to build their careers. The education curriculum is adapting to meet this need by introducing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) in the school syllabus to help children develop creative problem-solving, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and other vital skills. Many early learning brands like PlayShifu are creating incredible toys that help children master S.T.E.M. and all these essential skills early on.

 

However, S.T.E.M. is more than learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. At its core, S.T.E.M. is the process of integrating these disciplines to help children develop new ways of thinking that interlink science and mathematics to technology and engineering and how it all fits into our daily lives. This holistic approach to learning encourages children to experiment with concepts and develop critical thinking, logical analysis, curiosity, and inquiry through trial and error.

 

Although educators and parents are generally aware of the importance of S.T.E.M. and its benefits, until recently, S.T.E.M. initiatives have been limited to children that have demonstrated an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics. Further, funding is often set aside for higher grade levels and overlooking the benefit of S.T.E.M. for younger learners.

 

When should S.T.E.M. be introduced to children?

Children are naturally curious, explorative, and eager to learn. All these qualities are crucial for S.T.E.M. learning. By their very nature, they are scientists at heart exploring the world around them, organizing items, and trying to figure out how and why everything works the way it does. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer children a safe and sound space to play, tinker, and learn. PlayShifu’s Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto offer a safe and sound space for children to play, tinker, and learn.

 

Introducing children to S.T.E.M. experiences helps establish a critical foundation early on and fosters a positive attitude towards learning. Children as young as three can be introduced to S.T.E.M. learning as suggested by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, Next Generation Science Standards, and International Standards for Technology in Education[1].

 

What are the benefits of introducing S.T.E.M. at an early age?
From language development to collaborative learning, there are several significant benefits to introducing S.T.E.M. to children at an early age. The most pertinent benefit is that it prepares them for the workplace of the future. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, non-S.T.E.M. occupations are predicted to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028, while the number of S.T.E.M.-related jobs are expected to grow by 9%, creating 10.6 million jobs[2].

 

Children who are introduced to S.T.E.M. early on could perform better academically and could pursue a career in S.T.E.M. comfortably. Early S.T.E.M. learning helps develop critical thinking, creativity, and other essential foundational skills. The Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop study[3] asserts that closing the gap between preschool and elementary school practices is necessary to prepare children for a better digital future.

 

What can parents do to encourage S.T.E.M. learning at home?

Many schools have started implementing S.T.E.M. learning into the curriculum from preschool through to Grade 12. However, parents have an important role to play in encouraging S.T.E.M. learning at home from an early age. Parents’ guidance at a young age could impact children’s attitudes toward learning in the classroom and beyond.

 

The study from the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop found that many parents felt anxious or lacked confidence in their knowledge of S.T.E.M. and thus found it difficult to implement and encourage S.T.E.M. development at home. Fortunately, more tools like PlayShifu’s Orboot and Plugo are becoming available to help parents foster S.T.E.M. activities at home.

 

How to introduce S.T.E.M. to young children?

 

Many innovative S.T.E.M. toys integrate tech seamlessly with rich storytelling and gameplay that encourages curiosity and learning.  However, screen time is a major concern among 21st-century parents. Extended screen time is known to cause behavioural problems and sleep disorders.

 

That said, the focus of screen time is shifting from avoiding screens to harnessing their benefits as learning supplements, providing opportunities to learn through play, and changing the role of children from being passive recipients of information to participants in learning alongside a screen.

 

PlayShifu’s innovative use of Augmented Reality and tactile toys brings phenomenal educational games for children. These games are driven by hands-on play that enriches and brings new meaning to screen time. They have developed smart S.T.E.M. toys that work in conjunction with a phone or tablet device to help foster critical thinking, grammar, logic, social-emotional learning, cultural awareness, and problem-solving skills. The products have physical components that children can touch, connect, and build with. And the companion app has super fun games that teach children various curriculum-based concepts.

 

The PlayShifu range includes Orboot, Plugo, and Tacto, which start at R899 and can be purchased from iStore, Takealot, and Toys’R’Us. Designed for ages 4 to 12, all the product platforms are supported by free-to-download apps that work with a range of devices on iOS and Android.

 

About PlayShifu

PlayShifu is a leading early learning toy company offering a variety of immersive, educational toys that connect the physical and digital worlds. The play experiences are specially designed for kids ages 4 to 12 years, and build foundational STEAM skills through fun. Founded in 2016 by Dinesh Advani and Vivek Goyal after they saw a need to provide meaningful digital play experiences for their kids, PlayShifu is now loved around the world. With offices in the U.S. and India, PlayShifu products are available in more than 35 countries through online marketplaces including Amazon, and brick-and-mortar locations including Sam’s Club, BestBuy, Argos, Toys‘R’Us, Hamleys, Virgin Media, and Rakuten.

 

To purchase and find out more, visit PlayShifu.com.

[1] http://cadrek12.org/sites/default/files/DRK12-Early-STEM-Learning-Brief.pdf

[2] https://soeonline.american.edu/blog/stem-in-early-childhood-education

[3] https://joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/stem-starts-early/