Posted in babies, Brands we love, Family Time, Fine motor activities, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

Hamish was gifted this stunning Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

He absolutely loves it but it’s taken a few weeks for him to learn to throw the discs over this modern ring toss game, instead of just placing them onto the poles.

The cute hedgehog face base rotates at 2 different speeds, which challenges his attention every time and is awesome for building his hand eye co-ordination skills.

The 8 coloured rings, 2 of each colour pole, are made of lightweight plastic making it the best game for playing indoors as I know he can’t break anything.

Also great for little ones who have just started matching and grouping colours, as Hamish first used this to match the pole and discs according to their colours.

Now we play a variety of games, allowing him to learn to follow commands.

For example :

  • Throw the purple disc onto the red pole.
  • Throw 3 discs onto the blue pole.
  • Throw all the discs onto the yellow pole.
  • Throw the colour disc onto its matching pole.

You could make up any combination.

Of course he loves this version of play, as he gets to tell me what to do when I take my turn.

The poles are also removable, making it easy to store or to take with if travelling.

It plays 6 different melodies.The tunes are plesant and not overly loud, so if you had a baby sleeping your toddler could still enjoy this game without it waking baby.

This fun and funky musical game stimulates manual co-ordination and fine motor skills.

A welcome addition to any toddlers playroom.

For more information contact http://www.chicco.co.za

Posted in Crafts, Events, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, recipes

World egg day …. 4 fun family egg activities

Eggs are not just a great source of protein, they also feature quite a bit in our activities throughout the year.

I thought I’d share a few of our favourite ways to play with eggs today on World egg day.

1. Marbled eggs

Breakfast is the perfect way to introduce eggs , whether you like your eggs fried, poached, scrambled or boiled….there’s an egg for everyone.

One of my favourite ways to serve eggs to the kids, as I had some fussy eaters, was to give them dinosaur eggs.

Our dinosaur eggs are actually just boiled eggs that have been given a marble look using food colouring.

You can read how we make them here

You could also use the boiled or fried eggs to create pretty food pictures like we did with this egg-stra special breakfast

2. Egg and spoon races

When my eldest, now 27, was about 3 years old we did our first egg and spoon race. Just her and I and a dozen eggs that cracked very quickly. 🤣

There was a lot of mess, a lot of giggles, a lot of fun and the biggest lesson to a little girl that it’s ok to make a mess ….we can clean it.

Over the years we’ve had countless races with friends and families.

3.Blow eggs and paint them

Blowing eggs is a lot of fun and my boys always enjoyed the part as the egg sploshed and slithered out the little hole.

We wash the egg in soapy water, dry and paint using craft paints or undiluted food colouring.

You can also draw on them with markers. One of the easiest ways to work with your egg as you try decorate it is to place it on an empty toilet tube. You can also leave it on here to dry.

We once attended a holiday camp where the eggs were painted with icing sugar coloured in food colouring.

4. Egg rolling

For this you give each child an egg outside and let them roll it to an end point without breaking it.

We once gave the kids wooden spoons and fly sweaters to see which worked better when moving the eggs with gentle taps to the end.

( it’s a good idea to keep extra eggs for tuse little hands that may be a bit too excited)

How ever you choose to celebrate eggs today we hope you enjoy an Excellent day

Posted in Education, Events, Giving back

HOW CAN WE LEVERAGE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE PROMOTION OF A SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

#SocialMedia4Good a passionate conversation between Maps Maponyane, Amanda Black and Ayanda Borotho that trended well over 3 hours

African Monitor hosted the first of it’s kind #SocialMedia4Good event at
SterKinekor Rosebank, on Wednesday, 25 September 2019.

An interactive debate moderated
by a global moderator, Nozipho Mbanjwa was held, in which South African role models Maps
Maponyane, Amanda Black and Ayanda Borotho discussed the UN Sustainable Development
Goals and how every day South Africans can use their social media influence to build
awareness and ignite positive change.

The event was attended by dignitaries, business leaders and members of the press as well as selected social media influencers with a track record of doing good in their communities.

Attendees were invited to interact and share the event on social media. The discussion was live-streamed on African Monitor’s Facebook page using a 360-degree camera and reached South Africans from all over the country, ultimately concluding in the hashtag #SocialMedia4Good trending on twitter for more than
3 hours.

Before the panel discussion with the A-List influencers, Ms. Namhla Mniki, the Executive Director of
African Monitor, drove a thought-provoking conversation to present real examples of social media
activations in South Africa.

One of the guests, as the fire-starters of the day’s conversations was
Sibabalwe Sesmani – a young woman who founded #WithoutUs and CEO of Unorthodox PR. She shed
light on her journey as an activist and explained how she is actively using social media as a tool to
make sure that every woman is economically emancipated.

The fire-starter was followed by a passionate 90-minute debate in which our influencers shared their
experiences and pearls of wisdom on the following subjects :

1) Social Media: Good or Bad?
In this section of the debate, participants discussed what role social media plays in today’s world when it comes to justice and what it meant for them, personally.

2) Social Media: Education
How can social media be used to educate people? How can the conversations be stirred? Is
educational content as popular as “glossy” content? Why are people more inclined to follow funny
meme accounts or celebrities and socialites rather than educational institutions, politicians, etc.

3) Social Media: Reduced Inequality
Social media plays no favouritism. It uniquely is the only medium to touch all levels of society, in
townships, you’ll find that some homes may not have running electricity, but they will have a
smartphone with WhatsApp and Facebook on it. How can we use this to their advantage?

4) Social Media: Decent Work & Economic Growth
How can social media play a role in giving access to decent work and economic growth?

5) Social Media versus Traditional media
What is the catalyst for real action in media? Do hashtags really influence people to action for e.g.
#MeToo #BlackLivesMatter #SayNoToXenophobia #WithoutUs? Which strategies work in media to
activate real social change?

The panel of influence indulged in the conversation:

Amanda Black emphasized there is a shift needed in how we educate our youth and we need to
critically think the way we change our environment and make use of new technologies to do so.

Ayanda Borotho addressed the issue of relatability, warning that if we only have conversations in English, we are closing the dialogue to many. She stressed : ‘ It’s important to have dialogues on
social media in indigenous languages.

Maps Maponyane made the point that social media is powerful but still reflects inequalities in South
Africa where many don’t have access because of data costs.

Building on Maps call to action to ‘ make caring coolNozipho urges the public: ‘ Do not give up
caring, because caring is contagious. And when people see you care beyond the hashtags it will make
a real impact.

In closing, the panel of influence resonated that all of us have a role to play.

We don’t have to overthrow governments to make a difference.

We can start something small and it can explode into a movement.

Social media has the power to disseminate information and create influence in a way we’ve never seen before.

ABOUT AFRICAN MONITOR:

African Monitor is an NPO with the goal of promoting sustainable development in Africa as
well as building the capacity of civil society.

Find out more about African Monitor on http://www.africanmonitor.org/

Follow the campaign on African Monitor Social Media: @AfricanMonitor

(Content provided)

Posted in Crafts, preschool, recipes

Chai seed slime

This recipe makes a generous amount of slime and has a very grainy consistency because of the chai seeds.

YOU NEED:

1/4 cup of chia seeds
1 3/4 cup of water
Food coloring
3-4 cups of corn flour (mazina)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix the chia seeds, water and food coloring together.Cover and refrigerate overnight.Uncover and add the corn flour a little bit at a time. Mix until you achieve the desired consistency. It should feel slimy but can easily be taken off your hands.Store covered in the refrigerator. You will need to add a little bit of water each time you take it out to use it. The water will reactive the slime.

Posted in babies, Crafts, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to dye pasta

Coloured pasta is very versatile. You can use it in sensory tubs or to do a vatiety of crafts.

Here is how to dye pasta

YOU NEED:

Dry pasta

Vinegar

Food coloring

Parchment paper / wax wrap

Baking tray

Instructions

For every cup of dry pasta in a bowl, pour 1 tbsp of vinegar.

Add a few drops of food coloring

Mix together until all the pasta pieces are fully coloured

Place a sheet of parchment paper/ wax wrap on the baking tray and pour the coloured pasta on top.

Lay out the pasta in an even layer and let out to dry for a few hours in the sun.

Tip – Try to not have any of the pasta pieces touching when you spread them out to dry.

Posted in babies, Life with my bears, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to make Pirate bananas

Each year on the 19 September we celebrate International talk like a pirate day.

To celebrate this year Hamish dressed up in his pirate mask and ran around shouting “Arrrr! Me matey!” as he pretended to be Jake from the Neverland Pirates before we settled down to a breakfast of Pirate bananas.

Pirate bananas

I hear you asking what a pirate banana is….

It is simply a banana with pirate face drawn onto it. I saw one online somewhere and it has stuck with me.

Hamish loves them.

To make your own

To make your own you will need :

Bananas

A piece of cloth or serviette as a bandana ( I used Johnson & Johnson baby wipes)

A black permanent marker

To make up

Draw your pirates face onto the top half of the banana.

Fold your material to form a triangle and tie on.

These make a really cute lunch box suprise or party favour.

Hamish, being just short of 3 years old decided of course, that I wasn’t allowed to break the face when opening the banana.

Have to love a preschooler 🤦‍♀️

Posted in babies, Crafts, Family Life, Fine motor activities, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

School Holiday challenge Day 2 – Homemade bath paint recipes

Most children love messy play as it stimulates their senses and allows them the freedom to explore and play.

Today’s challenge is fabulous for bath time but you can also use any of the recipes to let your child paint on glass doors, windows, tiles or a large plastic tray.

It washes off easily with hot soapy water.

I’ve included 3 recipes to make bath paints. I use the first one as I find it has a better consistency and can be made a few hours before and stored in the fridge.

RECIPES

1.Shaving cream bath paint

To make the shaving cream bath paints you will need:

🎨 A container to mix paints into ( cake baking tins work best, but you can use anything non breakable)

🎨 Shaving cream

🎨 food colouring

🎨 paint brush

To mix your paints together spray a generous amount of shaving cream into each container, add one or two drops of food colouring and mix well.

Note: The food colouring does not stain your child or the bath because it’s used in such small drops.

2. Yoghurt bath paint

This is a great paint to use with little children whom you think may try eat the paint.

The consistancy is a lot more runny, you could add some corn flour to thicken it if you feel it is too runny.

To make the yoghurt bath paints you will need:

🎨 A container to mix paints in. (I like to use a 6 pack yoghurt and use the little pots themselves as my paint pots.)

🎨 Yoghurt

🎨 food colouring

🎨 paint brush

To mix your paint, divide your yoghurt into little containers and add one or two drops of food colouring to your yoghurt.

The colours will be more pastel looking.

3. Bath tub finger paint.

This is a nice alternative to the shaving cream paint but also more runny and better for sensitive skin, as you can use your favourite baby wash or shampoo.

To make the bath finger paint you will need:

🎨 a container to mix your paint

🎨 About 4 to 6 tablespoons of your favourite baby wash or shampoo for each colour.

🎨 food colouring

🎨 1 teaspoon of corn flour per colour

🎨 paintbrush

To make your paint into each container add 4 to 6 tablespoons of your baby wash or shampoo.

Add a drop of food colouring per container.

Mix into each colour, a teaspoon of corn flour.

Mixing colours

Here’s a handy chart to mix your colours.

Happy bubbles mammas ❤

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

Fine motor activities- Save the dinosaur

Developing the strength in the little muscles in the hands and fingers is important for your child to learn to write, feed themselves and get dressed by buttoning, doing up zips, ect.

There are many fun activities to develop these skills. Save the dinosaur is one of them.  This game takes 5 minutes to set up and is fantastic for quiet time or traveling.




YOU WILL NEED :


🦕Toy dinosaur ( or other favourite animal)
🦕Elastic bands


How to play


Wrap the elastic bands around the toy and ask your child to remove them.

You can adjust the difficulty by adding more elastics or twisting them to make it harder to remove.


Note
Always supervise play with elastic bands.

Posted in Education, preschool

The kindness stone

I’m a large advocate for teaching children gratitude, tolerance, kindness and positivity as I believe that these character traits will take them far in their lives.

As an educator I’m also aware that some children may not be hearing these lessons daily.

As a parent I know that what I teach my children in their formative years will stay with them long into adulthood.


The challenge


Three years ago I had a very challenging class of 4 to 5 year olds. They were busy, loud and many of the children acted out with each other.

Every day was a new battle to try and get them to be nice to each other, to share, to be kind, and I found myself disciplining much of the time just to keep the classroom in order.

After a particularly stressful day I remember coming home wondering how I could change the negative patterns in my classroom and I remembered a time my own 6 children were not in sync with each other and I’d started introducing a morning circle to our homeschool lessons where each of them needed to  take a turn to list one thing they were grateful for and one thing they liked about each other.

This had worked at home and I decided to give it a try.

That evening I went outside, grabbed a stone from the yard, added some glitter glue to it and put it in my bag.


The kindness stone


The next morning after our afternoon nap I sat the children in a circle and introduced the magic kindness rock to them.

I explained I’d been given the rock by the kindness fairy and we were going to use it to say something that we enjoyed about the day.

The children were super excited and couldn’t wait to share. Each one holding onto the little painted stone as if it really was magic.

We would change the topic for discussion daily.

*what makes you happy
*say something nice about the friend sitting next to you
* what made you smile today
*what did teacher Judy do today that made you glad
*why do you like sunshine
*what is your favourite thing to do at school
*what made you sad today
*who made you happy today and why


Over the next few weeks I learnt more about my pupils hearts and they learnt important lessons.

They learnt ….

*to take turns talking.
*that someone cares enough to listen
*they are important
*how to express emotion
*to be greatful
*that not everybody likes the same things
*to say nice things about each other
*that kindness is important
*to listen yo others
*that school is fun

It was just a simple garden stone but it opened up a whole new way for my class to express themselves, and improved the overall behaviour of my classroom.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Education

Canvas club taking schools by storm

Canvas Club, the kids’ creative crafting club that’s already running in 55 locations across the country, is fast becoming popular at schools too. 

Canvas Club has grown in leaps and bounds since the opening of their first club in Cape Town in March of 2018. There are now 40 clubs operating in 55 locations in South Africa, as well as two in Namibia and one in New Zealand, all following the same curricula and applying the same principles, methods and processes. What excites founders and owners Stefanie de Wet and Christelle Janse van Rensburg the most, however, is the growing demand to bring Canvas Clubs into schools. 

“We knew it would be highly relevant to parents, and very popular with kids,” says Stefanie, “but we hadn’t anticipated the requests we would receive from parents and teachers alike to offer our classes as an after-school activity on school premises.” 

Stefanie and Christelle believe the popularity of Canvas Club has to do with the educational approach to fun. 

“What makes Canvas Club different – and more than just an art class – is that we use processes and systems endorsed by occupational therapists,” says Stefanie. 

At Canvas Club, each game or crafting activity is designed to introduce or develop important skills.

The age-appropriate activities cultivate conscious curiosity, stimulate independent thinking, problem solving and innovation, foster spatial awareness, hone fine motor skills and introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills to children as young as 12 months.

Much more than simply “arts and crafts”, Canvas Club is quickly being recognised by parents as affordable OT-endorsed play – with purpose. 

Christelle explains the process a parent or teacher can follow if they are interested in bringing Canvas Club to their school:

“When we are approached by a parent or teacher, we follow up by offering to do a demo class at the school,” she says. 

“This inevitably demonstrates how captivated the children are while learning and honing important mental and physical skills, under the guise of fun! Once the school understands the concept, we can start planning a whole new world of learning for their kids.” 


Canvas Clubs is already operating in 15 schools through various branches across the country, with many upcoming demos and plenty of queries coming in at a regular pace.

If you would like to enquire about Canvas Club at your school, visit www.canvas.club/schools.