Posted in Crafts, Education, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

How to make a set of nature inspired number flash cards and counting poster for your homeschool classroom

Every springtime the Western Cape show cases the most gorgeous blanket of little wild flowers.

Every open field has huge spreads of whites or yellows or orange daisy and we are blessed to live very close to one of these areas.

Nature appreciation

Not only are these flowers beautiful they also hold an abundance of life in their little ecosystems.

Little ants that scurry about, earthworms underground, bees, dragonfly, bumblebee and beetles all gathering nectar….these can often be missed as we focus on the flowers.

But, I’ve always tried to teach my children the importance of nature, show her beauty and have them understand our role to protect and look after the world around us from ant to whale.

And so before we even started our activity, Hamish and I, first admired the flowers and sat along the side of the path watching the insect and bird life that danced amidst them.

Using nature to learn

Knowing how important it is for me that my children appreciate the natural world around them, I incorporate nature studies and the use of natural materials in our home classroom.

We count out sticks, print with leaves, have sensory play with mud and build with stones.

If we learnt flower parts we did so outside with real flowers. Shapes and patterns were identified in the garden and what better way to learn about the ocean than to be there?

A Pinterest idea comes to life

Somewhere along my late night Pinterest scrolling sessions, I saw a number freeze made by forming numbers with stones and leaves.

I knew I wanted to make this.

But, the stones and leaves looked dull against the grass background …what if we used flowers?

And so Hamish and I took a walk down the road and gathered several little white flowers to start our new project.

Counting flowers

As soon as we got home, I let Hamish cut the stems off the flowers and we started arranging flowers on the grass in the shape of numbers to photograph.

These number photographs have become the posters and flashcards we use in our classroom.

How to make a set of nature inspired flash cards and counting poster

To make your own you will need:

  • Wild flowers ( but you could do this with any natural item- shells, stones, sticks, leaves)
  • Scissors to cut the flowers
  • A container to gather the flowers in
  • A camera ( your cell phone camera will work just fine)
  • A grass background ( although you may want to use a wooden background, sandy beach, mud, ect)
  • Printer or printing facility
  • Laminator or laminating facility

To make:

  • First gather all your flowers. We used about 20 flowers and made two numbers at a time. Reusing the flowers for the other numbers so that we didnt have to cut that many flowers.
  • Next arrange the flowers into the number shapes.
  • Photograph each number.
  • Edit your photographs until you are happy.
  • Have each photo printed. I printed A4 to make the number freeze and printed 2 images on an A4 piece of card to cut into A5 sized flash cards.
  • Have your posters laminated and display.
  • Cut your flash cards in half and store neatly.

Posted in easy science experiments, preschool, preschool curriculum

Preschool science … Fizzy lemons

We had so much fun with just these two ingredients this morning ….

Hamish and I decided to start the week with an easy science experiment and we made some fizzing lemons.

The bicarb, which is the base, mixes with the lemon, which is a acid, it starts a bubbling reaction, which is carbon dioxide that is fun to watch.

To make your own:

You need –

  • Lemon
  • Bicarb
  • Food colouring ( optional)

Method

Cut your lemon in half.
( I poked mine with a knife and squeezed it a bit so the lemon juice was quite oozy)

If you are using food colouring add a drop or two to the lemon.

Put 2 or 3 spoons of bicarb onto the lemon.

It should start to react straight away.

Just like magic!

Posted in Brands we love, Education, preschool

Meet the Brand – Learning through wood

Last week I showed a lovely set of magnetic learning cards gifted to Hamish and many of you have asked where he got the set.

Today I’d like to introduce you to Ferhensha the dedicated, passionate teacher behind the educational range at Learning through Wood.

Meet the brand

Learning through wood

Instagram @Learning_through_wood

Tell us a bit about your brand

Learning with wood was created to introduce young minds to long lasting and mostly resources made from wood which allow for self teaching and autonomous learning.

With an attempt at marrying structured play and free play or to create a symbiotic relationship between the two, where the resources, through play will teach the child a variety of lessons.

I also wanted for the resources to stimulate on more than one skill at a time.

A set of number pegs will allow for fine motor, cognitive, imaginative, gross motor, listening and a few other skills comprehensively.

What was your inspiration to start your business.

I used to believe I was born to teach to educate young minds, but when I began teaching, I realised that I was actually here to learn and create!

I have learnt so much about children and their ways, I have seen in my almost 13 years of nursery life learning, ‘my’ children learnt and retained lessons the best when they did it through ‘play’ or pretend play of teaching each other, but structured learning is necessary and they need it too.

So all they needed was the right resources to be used during these times and then they would thrive wholly.

I have always made such resources for my classes and now with being in lockdown and what our world is facing, especially with parents having to juggle so much, I thought that this is an excellent way for the children to keep learning on their own with as minimum input from parents as possible.

Homework isn’t important, the understanding of the concepts is.

What is your vision/ mission with your brand

If I can save parents and children from hundreds of photocopied worksheets, more play time and repetition of activities just to allow a child to gain understanding then my mission would be complete and I would have made a big difference with a little resource.

What is your favourite product in your range and why?

The numeracy set. It just offers so much.

A few being:

  • number recognition
  • Rote counting
  • Number conservation
  • Number name recognition
  • Number name writing
  • Number writing
  • Imaginative play
  • Mathematics concepts
  • Less than and more than

Yes, I love this one.

Tell us a bit about yourself- the person behind the brand.

I am in my early 30s, ECD qualified nursery school teacher with a year of psychology.

I’m also a stay at home mum of two little hearts, a 3 year old and an 8 month old.

I have a passion for education in every way you can possibly think it can be used. Education in everything for everyone in the most simplest ways where it is never seen as a task but merely a life experience and one where you’ve received enrichment for your whole self.

What is your favourite quote.

I can’t possibly choose one! But I will share just 2 that have spoken to my life a few times.

Of course I absolute adore Dr. Seuss.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

And

“I don’t think that we’re meant to understand it all the time. I think that sometimes we just have to have faith.”

Nicholas sparks from A walk to remember.

What message would you give a brand just starting out.

Reach out to all your friends and loved ones for help and advice, don’t think you can do it all on your own and have a schedule, don’t let it consume you in those first few months.

Posted in Education, Giving back, Press releases

Educo Solutions provides free online accredited SETA courses

Educo Solutions, the organisation that supplies free, accredited education to our country’s youth, has fast-tracked its digital services, launching Educo Academy in an attempt to counter the negative impact Covid-19 is having on the educational environment.

The online learning portal allows all Educo students to conduct their courses remotely and for free, helping them to continue progressing during lockdown.

Educo Academy won’t replace the existing learning centres situated in Alex Mall, Protea Glen Shopping Mall, Diepkloof Library and the newest addition in the Libridge Building, Braamfontein. It is, instead, an easy-to-access tool for students to keep learning whilst locked down, one that they will continue to use at their respective centres when they return to class.

The launch of Educo Academy means Educo is also not limiting its services to the physical learning centres in Gauteng.

“Since we announced Educo Academy last week on social media, we have had dozens of registration requests from potential students all over the country,” says Ayanda Makwanazi. “This bodes well for a mobile platform that aims to provide South Africa’s qualifying youth with much-needed opportunities to up-skill themselves through education, no matter where they live.”

“With Educo Academy, all a student needs is a device to connect to the site,” explains Ayanda Mankwanazi, Educo’s Head of Academics and Facilitation. “This innovation in remote learning opens up our services to the nation. Our existing students can continue their studies uninterrupted, and many more now have the opportunity to join our programme and better themselves.”

In addition to the Q&A function on Educo Academy, each student is assigned to a facilitator who offers support on WhatsApp, either to their group or on a one-on-one basis.

Educo Academy is a positive development that aims to alleviate the stress and uncertainty of these difficult and testing times. It is easy to use and, most importantly, the data is zero-rated, with Educo Solutions picking up all the data costs involved. For the thousands of students currently stuck at home, it offers enormous benefits and hope.

Educo Solutions began registering new students immediately after the launch of Educo Academy, and is encouraging all qualifying South Africans to register and apply for their new 3 -month Digital Business Skills Program.

The course covers a wide variety of skills including Microsoft office and business communication to, and very relevant right now, dealing with HIV and Pandemics in the workplace.

Students will receive a certificate of completion after their 3-month Digital Business Skills programme, as well as earning Unit Standard credits towards a 12 Month National Certificate should they wish to continue their studies.

With youth unemployment on the rise, South Africa’s younger generation are in desperate need of skills that set them apart and enable them to gain access to the labour market.

Educo Solutions is directly addressing the country’s educational and skills gap by providing free, quality NQF and SETA-accredited education to unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 28. And with the launch of Educo Academy any qualifying individual can do this course from their mobile phone free of charge and reap the benefits.

On completion of a 12-month course contract focusing on relevant skills like end-user computing and business communication, these up-skilled graduates find themselves in an ideal position to enter the formal job market and apply for jobs like secretaries, data capturers, admin staff and customer service agents.

To qualify

  • one must be South African
  • unemployed
  • and between the age of 18 and 28.

For interested individuals, you can register at this link:https://bit.ly/EducoDigital
Or email:Hello@educosolutions.co.za

For more information:www.educosolutions.co.za

Posted in craft reciepe, Crafts, Fine motor activities, preschool

Painting marshmallows with milk paint

Painting marshmallows is a fabulous activity to keep the kids busy.

You will need:

  • Marshmallows
  • Fork or kebab stick
  • Milk
  • Small containers to hold colouring
  • Paint brushes
  • Food colouring

Method:

Pour a little milk into a container and add a few drops of food colouring.

Do this for each colour you are going to use.

Attach a marshmallow onto a fork or kebab stick so your child can hold the marshmallow nicely while painting.

Let them use a paintbrush to decorate their marshmallows with the milk paint.

The white marshmallows are best to paint on as the colours are more vivid.

Instead of using a paint brush you could also let your child paint using ear buds.

Posted in Education, Parenting

YouTube kids – the App made for curious minds

As Hamish has gotten older, I’ve naturally looked for more ways to entertain and educate him.

One of those options has been the introduction to child friendly and educational learning Apps.

One of my favourites Apps for him has to be the easy to use YouTube kids App.

Youtubekids App

YouTube have created a FREE separate App, designed specifically for children to be able to navigate around on their own, watching their favourite family friendly videos and exploring new things that capture their imagination.

The App provides settings that let you, the parent, customize your child’s experience.

For peace of mind and easy use, there is a comprehensive parent guide that answers all your questions before you download.

Why is this App awesome?

For me personally I love that you can choose a content level that is based on your child’s age group

  • Under 4 years old
  • 5 -7 years
  • 8-12

So, there is no need to worry about inappropriate content popping up.

You can also set screen time limits and even approve your child’s video and play lists.

With thanks to the parent control, and the engaging Youtubekids content, Hamish can now learn more about himself and the world around him.

You can download the App on GooglePlay and AppleApp Store

Posted in babies, Education, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, STEM, Toddlers

Fun maths games with Building Genius by Moluk

We are huge fans of the Moluk design brand and I can not recommend these open ended toys more.

Read my reviews on the awesome bilibo and oibo

So you can imagine our excitement when Straight_zigzag sent Hamish the latest product – Building Genius.

This soft, safe, silicone construction toy comprises of 3 of each of the brands popular products – Mox, Hix and Oibo.

Truly toys that grow with your child and can be used from baby stage.

With so many uses.

  • Your baby 0 -1 year can grasp and sense.
  • Toddlers 1-3 can stack and build.
  • Children 3 – 12 can imagine and invent.

We spent some time exploring the products and using them in lessons to:

  • count objects
  • sort colours and shapes
  • identify shapes
  • do maths sums
  • build

We also used them in play….

  • Hamish used them in free play with water to experiment with volume
  • we turned the hix into boats and see who could blow them across the bilibo fastest
  • he rolled the mox balls to the bilibo
  • practised throwing and catching with them
  • and he played with them using his imagination creating robots

The hix fold into 3 sizes and are great for fine motor development as your child manipulates the silicone into it’s different sizes.

The mox balls have groves that could look like eyes and slits which Hamish calls a mouth. You can post items inside for your child to get out or let them squeeze the sides to open the mouth.

The oibo are also flexible and the mox fit inside. Hamish loves to pop the balls in and manipulate the sides of the oibo to get them out.

How to use the Building genius in lessons

Nothing excites me more than a toy we can use in lessons, mostly because I know that I will immediately have Hamish’s full attention and that he will grasp the concept a lot faster because he is enthusiastic to play.

I jumped straight in by introducing the building genius to our next maths lessons.

We’ve been working on sizes and Hamish categorized the hix into:

– small, medium and large

-big, bigger, biggest

-small, smaller, smallest

Next we reinforced categorizing and sorting by placing the items on a piece of paper to match the colours.

Lastly we reinforced shape names and properties by looking at the hix, mox and obio and discussing what shape they were and how many sides each had. Then Hamish grouped each onto a piece of paper with its corresponding shape.

Using familiar objects and favourite toys in learning activities makes learning a concept much more enjoyable.

So, although Hamish loves to build and create his own items with this lovely set, he also loves to add them to his learning time.

I love the possibilities of play and learning that this set of toys offer and can’t wait to share the new and innovative ways we find to introduce them into our every day learning and play

Posted in Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Education, Giving back, Parenting, Press releases, Tweens & Teens

Hope for South African matric learners as radio lessons are launched

The premature closure of schools due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa has resulted in both challenges and opportunities, with many learners missing out on large pieces of work especially in term two. In an effort to support rural learners without access to television classes, computers or data, Kagiso Trust has partnered with the Limpopo Department of Education to provide radio lessons to our grade 12 learners. The scheduled lessons will commence via Capricorn FM radio from Monday 11 May 2020.

“Kagiso Trust has long believed that education is the key to overcoming poverty,” says the organisation’s CEO, Mankodi Moitse, “ Over the past 16 years we have created education programmes structured to have the highest impact and greatest sustainability. Our work in the Free State is testament to that.”

Radio lessons will be hosted on Capricorn FM, Sekhukhune FM and Tubatse FM from Monday to Sunday hourly.

The Limpopo MEC for Education Ms Polly Boshielo said, “Crafted lessons will be offered by expert appointed subject teachers with an excellent track record in the subject that they offer. These are the teachers who recorded 80% and more pass rate in the subjects that they have been teaching since 2017. We believe that their expert content knowledge will benefit more than 80% of the current grade 12 learners in Limpopo.”

COO of Kagsio Trust, Themba Mola said, “Grade 12 learners have already lost more than 30 days since the lockdown coupled with the possibility of losing another month if the phase-in model announced by Minister becomes a 1st of June return. This model of mediating learning will strengthen teaching and learning in the absence of face to face conventional classes.”

Capricorn FM will focus on MST subjects (Mathematics, Sciences and Technologies), including Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Agricultural Sciences. “These are the subjects that are highly enrolled and determine the standard and quality of education offered in Limpopo province.

Currently, the main subject of the five, that still poses a serious challenge in the province is Mathematics, whose performance is still below the threshold,” said Mola.
“These are the subjects that are highly enrolled and determine the standard and quality of education offered in Limpopo province.

The other 7 non-MST subjects will be broadcast by the community radio stations in the both Sekhukhune East and South education districts. They include English FAL, Sepedi HL, Accounting, Business Studies, Economics, History and Geography.

Each live broadcast lesson will last for an hour per day during and after the lockdown period. The first 30 minutes is allocated to the teacher to mediate learning and the other 30 minutes will be reserved to the learners to interact with the teacher through questions or comments.

Content will largely cover term 1 and 2 scope and will be supplemented by face to face contact sessions after learners shall have returned back to school.

“In a province as large as Limpopo, radio is the perfect platform to reach most learners,” says Moitse. “ This is about inclusivity. It is about access to information. It is about gathering together around a radio like we once all did. This is the new normal. We call upon everyone to support the radio lessons and #KagisoRadioTeachers – local teachers, broadcasting across Limpopo, straight into the homes of learners.”

Detail:

  • Capricorn FM willbroadcast lessons 5-6pm Monday to Friday on the Just Drive show.

  • And every Saturday and Sunday 9-10am on The Saturday Breakfast and The Sunday Restoration respectively.

  • Podcasts will be available on the station’s website and learners from other provinces can listen via livestreaming

For more information please visit the following stakeholder websites for schedule information on classes:

Posted in Book Reviews, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Education, Family Life, Parenting

Table mountain Ariel Cableway release Free educational activity book for kids to download

Join the Table mountain friends, Phumi the Protea, Dale the dassie and Larry the lizard and learn all about Table mountain, the history of the cable way and nature in the mountains.

A fun and engaging truly South African educational activity book which you can download free to use here

The book contains:

  • Fun facts
  • Colouring pages
  • Quizzes
  • Treasure hunt
  • Dot to dot pictures

Whilst the activity book is geared at older children, Hamish enjoyed working through many of the fun pages, meeting the cute characters and colouring in the pages.

He loves Table mountain and points it out on our daily walks.

Although he hasn’t yet been able to go up the mountain, he is now aware that a cable car will take him to the top and we have set the treasure hunt aside and decided his birthday gift in September will be a trip up his beloved mountain.

This is a great way to teach the kids and build their general knowledge.

It would make a lovely family project or fun extra activity if your child is completing this assigned school work earlier.

Posted in Crafts, preschool

Roar-some dino puppets

Dinosaurs are always a hit with my junior paleontologist so when teaching new concepts or trying to get him to do an activity I feel he may find boring, I will often adapt it to a dinosaur theme to capture his interest and build a enthusiastic platform for learning.

Little learning

As we are currently learning to write, I’ve introduced many more fine motor activities to help exercise those little finger muscles.

I found this interesting image from Mindful Moments showing the difference between a toddler and a school aged child’s hand.

Image Source: facebook – Mindful Moments

As you can see, the reason why little hands are so clumsy and may find it hard/ tiresome to write, draw or cut is because those little bones need to grow.

This is why fine motor activities play such an important role in preschool lessons.

Roarsome dinosaurs

Opening and closing pegs is a great fine motor activity and can be used in a variety of different manners.

From letting toddlers just peg them onto containers to showing your preschooler how to hang washing with pegs.

There are also a wide variety of fun games using pegs to assist in counting, letter identification and other learning areas on Pintrest.

But how do you keep a very active child busy when they are bored with pegging?

You make dinosaurs of course!

And that is just what I did.

How to make a dinosaur puppet

I made 3 T-Rex whilst Hamish slept and he woke to a fun game trying to get the dinosaurs to open their mouths to Roar and eat me.

You can also have your child put on a small puppet play using these cute puppets.

To make your own you will need:

  • Coloured paper or card
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Pegs

Method:

  • Draw a dinosaur on card.
  • Cut your dinosaur ( or other animal shape) but cut the mouth section in two so that you have a top and a bottom section.
  • Tape or glue the dinosaurs head onto the top part of the peg where it opens to clip.
  • Tape or glue the bottom part of the jaw onto the bottom part of the peg where it clips.
  • Draw or add any detail

Craft hack – if you are not the best of artists cur an image from a magazine, trace from a colouring book or print one to cut out.