Posted in Education

Improve your childs reading comprehension with these 6 easy tips

As parents we understand just how important reading to our children is but how much of what you are reading is your child understanding and remembering ?

Reading comprehension is crucial for helping your children make sense of more complex texts as they grow.

Between the age of 3 and 7 years your child learns new words by hearing an unfamiliar word, discovering its meaning and using it in sentences.

Reading is the best way to introduce new word. So why do some children learn less than others when their parents read to them?

Research has shown that the way you interact with the book you are reading will determine how much your child learns and retains.

Here are 6 easy tips to help your child remember as much as they can when you read to them.

1. Reading the same story repeatedly

Are you reading your children’s books until your child knows the story well? Reading the same story over and over again may seem tedious but repetition comforts children and helps them to learn more.

2. Stop and explain new words

Are you describing the meaning of new words to your child as you read?Building your child’s vocabulary will assist in their understanding of the story, develop their love of reading as the words will make sense and increase their confidence in conversation.

To introduce new vocabulary you can first explain the word meaning simply and ask then questions to see if they understand.

3. Read the book first

Read the book first, know the story and which words you may need to explain to your child. By doing this you’ll be ready to discuss new words and have more fun reading with your child .

4. Involve your child

Engaging your child in the story will make reading more enjoyable, peak their interest in the story and build your bond with them.

You can involve your child by talking about the illustrations by asking what they see. Have your child turn the page, point to an item on the page, guess the next part of the story or make animal sounds if there are animals in the book.

5. List new words

Make a mental note of the new words your child is learning in the story and try to use these daily for a while. This assists in building vocabulary and showing your child how to use those words in everyday life.

6. Retell the story

Make a game of retelling stories that you read. You could use puppets or felt boards. Another clever way for pre readers is to let them ” read” the story back to you using the book.

All of these tips will assist your child to retain the information in the story, build their vocabulary, develop their creativity and instill a love of reading.

Posted in Education

Teaching your toddler about static electricity – a fun STEM activity

Today after Hamish had his nap I used the balloon that he had been playing with earlier and was now next to him to show him how if we rub our hair with the balloon it will make our hair stand up.

He thought this was very exciting and I decided to go online to find more fun experiments to show him how static electricity works.

I found this exciting science experiment over at Steve Spangler Science to demonstrate static electricity.

You will need:

1/4 cup of mazina

1/4 cup of cooking oil


Wooden spoon



How to :

🔹️Mix the two ingredients in a bowl.

🔹️Blow up the balloon.

🔹️Rub it on your hair to add charge to the balloon.

🔹️ Place some of your mazina mixture into a spoon and hold it close to the balloon.

What Happens ?

You will notice that the gloopy mixture starts to move towards the balloon. As you get close enough the gloopy mixture will jump from your spoon onto the balloon.

Why does this happen?

By rubbing the balloon on your hair, electrons from the molecules in your hair rub off onto the balloon. This gives the balloon a negative charge which is attracted to the positive charge of the gloopy mixture.

Other ideas

This was a lot of fun and Hamish and I decided not only to give each other awesome 80’s puffy hairstyles with the balloon but to also use it, once charge to pick up small pieces of paper.

Posted in Education

Colourful spaghetti sensory play and how to make your own.

Today’s sensory play involved colourful spaghetti. We had left over cooked spaghetti in the fridge and I divided it into 4 cups .

I left one cup uncoloured.

The other 3 I placed in 3 separate Ziploc bags.

I then added one drop of colour to each bag. Only having blue and red colouring in the house I combined them to get the earthworm brown.

After adding the colouring the bags were zipped tight and shaken.

I poured each out onto a plate to dry for a bit and then presented them to bear to play with.

A rainbow for bear

At first he was hesitant but he was soon mooshing and squishing the rainbow spaghetti between his fingers.

I had given him some kitchen tools and containers and he proceeded to pretend to be cooking for us and dishing us up bowls of colourful pasta.

I also have him some scissors to try cutting the soft pasta. This was great for working those little hand muscles.

Bear had a lot of fun with this and I’m not sure why its taken us so long to try. It was easy to make and there was relatively no mess.

Cold spaghetti is very easy to clean up.

How to make your own

Here’s how to make your own

To follow more of the learning through play activities bear and I do together follow us on Facebook learning with little bear

Posted in Education

Positive pencils

I saw this on Facebook and wanted to share it, in hopes that it would inspire others to encourage their children , especially over exam time.

It’s such a simple, inexpensive idea that parents and teachers could easily make these and distribute them within a classroom.

Positive pencils

A teacher called Amanda Cox shared this on Facebook today….

“Today I was running low on pencils so I asked all of my kids to pull out any of my pencils that they had in their desks. I had one student ask me if he could keep his pencils that his mom gave him for school. Of course, I said yes. He then said, “well, I guess I’ll give you a few so my classmates can have them too.” I thought nothing of it and took the pencils that he handed me.

When I was sharpening them, I noticed writing on a few of them. I then realized that my student’s mother took the time to write on his pencils. I asked him if he would mind showing me the rest of them.

What I read melted my heart:

– You are so talented.

– This will be a great year.

– You are creative.

– You are phenomenal.

– Never give up.

– You can do this.

– You are knowledgeable.

– You are a math whiz.

– You are intelligent.

– Proud of you everyday.

– I love you.

– You have a brilliant mind.

– You are wonderful.

– You are a problem solver.

– Follow your dreams.

– You are perfect.

– I am proud of you.

– You will change the world.

– You are amazing.

– You are the best.

– You are important.

This probably took his mom a few minutes to do yet it lit up his whole day at school. He wasn’t embarrassed that his mom wrote on his pencils.

Thanks to his mom, he was reminded of his self worth and wanted to share the same feeling with his classmates. THESE are the things that we should be reminding our kids (both parents AND teachers).

Imagine the look on a child’s face when they are reminded that they are important, talented, loved, knowledgeable and so much more.

Help them know that someone believes in them and is proud of them in everything they do. Even if you think it is cheesy or you don’t have enough time or that you will have little impact, remember that you may be the only one telling and reminding them these things and EVERY kid needs to know their value. This is why I teach. ❤️”

Make it yourself

You will need:



To make :

Write positive statements on the pencils with markers.

Thank you Amanda for this inspiration.

Posted in Education, Family Life

An alphabet of life to teach our children

  • A … Appreciate.
  • B… Build something.
  • C … Connect.
  • D… Do what is difficult.
  • E… Explore.
  • F… Forgive
  • G…. Gather.
  • H… Honour.
  • I… Ignore the sceptics.
  • J…Just be.
  • K…Know you are loved.
  • L…Listen.
  • M….Make.
  • N…Nourish body and soul.
  • O…Observe.
  • P…Plant a seed.
  • Q… Question.
  • R… Read.
  • S…Stretch.
  • T….Try something new.
  • U…Unplug.
  • V…Vote.
  • W…Wonder.
  • X… eXpress gratitude.
  • Y…say YES to adventure.
  • Z… get enough ZZZZZZZZZZ

This list of advise to teach our children will stand them in good stead for life.

( image credit:unknown)

Posted in Education

Little bear’s guide to planting sunflowers

Sunflowers have long been my favourite flower so when bear recieved an adorable little grow your own kit containing sunflower seeds I asked him to show you all exactly how to grow sunflowers.

About Sunflowers

Sunflowers are not just beautiful blooms of sunlight yellow, they actually have a characteristic called Heliotropism meaning they follow the sun as it moves through the sky.

As the sun rises and sets, the sunflower points its bud towards the sun so it can absorb the most amount of sunlight whilst growing.

How to grow a sunflower

You will need :-

🌻mini flower pot


🌻sunflower seeds



Step 1

Fill the little pot with soil. Three quarters full.

Step 2

Place your seeds on top of the soil. Evenly spaced.

Step 3.

Cover with more soil and water your plant .

Leave your pot in a sunny spot , remembering to water it reguarly and watch your seeds sprout.

Posted in Education

Whats new :-Learning with little bear

One of the things I’m passionate about is education. I’ve always tried to find fun and noval ways to introduce a concept to my children at home and at school.

Little bear will be at home with me from September and I’ve started working on the themes he will use.

I’ve decided to share them on a new Facebook page called Learning with little bear.

Here you will find for each theme, resources and activities for toddlers and preschool children.

Some of the resources you will find include :-

  • Books to read
  • Songs on youtube
  • Poems and rhymes
  • Links to resources
  • Worksheets
  • Art and craft activities
  • Classroom recipes
  • Creative food ideas
  • Flashcards
  • Weekly letter/ shape/colour/number
  • Opposites
  • Early maths ideas
  • Early reading ideas
  • Messy play
  • Sensory play
  • Gross motor activities
  • Fine motor activities
  • Educational game and toy suggestions
  • App suggestions
  • And much more

I’d love for you to follow along and tag us with #learningwithlittlebear.

You can acess the Facebook page HERE

Posted in Education

Why your toddler should blow bubbles

I’m a huge fan of bubbles. Not only are they fun and entertaining they are also a great item to bring out of the cupboatd on a rainy day.

My bears have all loved playing with bubbles and little bear is no exception. As a mom I’ll often look at putting bubbles into a party packet or gifting them with birthday gifts.

Do you know how much simply blowing, catching and chasing after the bubbles teaches them?

Kids blowing bubbles
Kiki and bear blowing bubbles

According to The Early Years Institute your child gains the following skills when playing with bubbles :-

🐾 they learn about cause and effect as the bubbles form and pop.

🐾 they practise visual tracking needed for early reading skills by following the bubbles movement.

🐾 they develop hand eye co ordination as they learn to navigate the wand into the container and wave it about.

🐾 they learn about shapes and sizes as they explore the bubbles they have blown.

🐾 their imagination and creatívity are being developed through play.

🐾the chanel is open for kids to discuss scientific facts as the understand how the ingredience are formed to make bubbles, what makes a bubble move, how a bubble is formed, why it pops, ect


Bubbles bubbles everywhere …

Developing skills

Along with these skills your child also builds on the following :

Fine motor skills

🔹️Your child needs to practice pinching the bubble wand and using a pencil grip to hold it.

🔹️ They need to coordinate holding the bottle and wand using both hands without dropping it.

🔹️ Opening and closing the bottle.

🔹️using their hands in various ways to pop the bubbles. Ie : poking them, clapping hands together to pop them, ect

Gross motor skills

🔹️your child will use their body to twist and turn to catch bubbles.

🔹️to run , hop, jump and reach up high as they chase the bubbles.

Make your own bubbles

Although there are many good bubble products on the market, here is how to make make your own blowing bubbles.

Homemade bubbles
Recipe for homenade bubbles

You will need :

  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Corn starch
  • Baking powder

To make:

Place all the ingredients in a clean container.

Mix gently without creatinv bubbles .

Leave for an hour before use.

Have some bubblicious fun today ….

Posted in Education

GirlCode – empowering women through technology

GirlCode, a social enterprise that aims to empower young girls and women through technology, will be hosting its fifth annual GirlCodeHack from 3 – 5 August 2018.

The hackathon will be the largest all-female hackathon in South Africa, with over 400 participants expected.

Computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, and project managers are invited to collaborate on software projects aligned to this year’s theme: “Technology as an enabler to tackle the UN Sustainability Goals”.

Taking place in Women’s Month, the primary goal of GirlCodeHack event is to raise awareness of female technical talent and foster a competitive, yet cooperative and congenial culture for talented female techies. This years’ #GirlCodeHack promises to be the biggest yet, with a total of R350,000 in prizes to be won, meaning all participants stand a real chance to win something over the course of the weekend. This years’ grand prize will be a trip for the winning team to the Women in Tech Conference sponsored by Cisco.
Over the past four years, we’ve seen some exceptional product protoypes pitched at the GirlCode Hackathon and so, in partnership with Cisco, we want to provide the winning team with outstanding opportunity to learn, grow their idea, network with international women in tech and come back to South Africa with some inspired stories of women in tech to share with their peers.
“Despite the progress that’s been made, when you walk into most IT departments, you will be greeted with predominately male faces” says Zandile Keebine, co-founder of GirlCode. “This event aims to not only show off the female tech talent we have in South Africa, but also to encourage young girls to consider a career in technology, and local companies to think about how they can support the development of women in IT. And, we’re excited to be able to give the grand prize winners a trip that will be an educational experience of a lifetime.”

For the first time since its inception, GirlCodeHack will take place in three cities from 3-5 August 2018:

  • Pretoria – 22onSloane

  • Cape Town – Workshop 17

  • Durban – Immedia

Diamond sponsors include: Wolf Information Risk, which specialise in information and cyber threat management covering the full spectrum of prevention, detection, incident response and business resilience capabilities. Amazon Web Services a subsidiary of that offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services, and Ericsson, which is one of the leading providers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers, with about 40% of the world’s mobile traffic carried through their networks.
“By supporting the GirlCodeHack event, we hope to empower and inspire girls and women to pursue careers in technology. We need their skills, knowledge and passion to ensure that local innovations promote equal access and opportunities for all,” says Joanne van der Walt, Director: Sage Foundation Promotions which is our newest partner, who are also diamond: Sage Foundation provides time, resources, and technology so non-profit organizations can help more people reach their true potential. They are focused on building social, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities in our local communities
Platinum sponsors include BBD and Britehouse, and Gold sponsors include IQBusiness, IndigoCube, Mint, DVT and Entelect. To enter the hackathon, participants can register here:

GirlCode’s vision is to impact 10-million women across Africa in 10 years, starting with getting young girls interested in STEM, and to become the largest female digital academy.

It aims to do this through strategic partnerships with the public sector; strengthening collaboration with similar organisations; and leveraging corporate assets in the development of ICT facilities, infrastructure and networks within schools in disadvantaged communities.

For any questions regarding the hackathon contact:
Posted in Education, Family Life, Parenting

Floating on a cloud – a relaxation technique

Some children really battle to relax and as the mom of two boys with Aspergers we’ve needed to be quite creative in learning to relax and calm down over the years.

This is an idea we tried a few years ago .

Floating on a cloud.

☁️Lie on your back and close your eyes.

☁️Imagine there is a large fluffy cloud above you. See it come gently down next to you.

☁️Imagine what your cloud looks like.

( What colour is it? What shape is it? What size is it?)



You could also encourage the use of a journal after this activity to encourage your child to express their emotions.