Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Education, Family Life, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

3 Trending Technology gifts for kids this Christmas

Christmas time is the time for gifts and festivities, but how many of those gifts last into the New year?

Many parents are choosing to invest in technology gifts to help their children to foster a development of skills and knowledge that will equip them for tomorrow’s workforce.

Whilst the assumption that doing this may force children to grow up too soon, as parents, we also need to remember in our ever changing world, toys are advancing.

Technology toys range from STEM building kits to children’s tablets, loaded with software to encourage knowledge and learning in a wide variety of learning areas.

Making technology toys a winning combination of fun, imagination and learning.

The perfect gifts to invest in.

What are STEM toys

STEM stands for Science , Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Toys or learning kits that fall onto this category are thse that promote the learning of these areas.

You can read more about Stem for kids. And see an example of a first stem kit for preschoolers.

My top 3 technology gift guide

So, as a mom what would I be choosing ?

Here’s my list of the top 3 trending technology toys for 2019

1. Smart watches

Smart watches are widely available. They start at a price range of R300.

Most smart watches are touch screen and have a variety of features, but as parents our favourite feature is the GPS tracker.

With these watches you can also do two way chats, send an SOS, SMS, voice chat and have App remote monitors.

They are compatible with iOS or Android smart phones.

2. STEM kits

STEM is the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

There are many kits that encourage learning trough play by building and constructing these robots, solar transportation, creations and experiments.

You can buy simple kits that start at a price range of R50 from Game, Makro, 4akid and Takalot

3. Kids Tablets

Children love to use mom or dad’s phones and tablets.

Instead of fighting to use your phone or tablet, equip them with their very own safe educational tablet which usually comes equipped with educational games, pre-installed programs and applications.

These start from around R350 and are suitable from 3 years. Most tablets offer a warranty and come with parental control.

But how do you know which tablet to buy?

I found this guide from Pixelsmithstudios helpful.

This year give a gift that will keep them entertained, is durable and empowers your child to learn the skills through play.

Do you have any other Technology gifts you would add to this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

You may also enjoy reading about :

The Christmas kindness advent calendar

10 essential Christmas gifts for your baby

Posted in Brands we love, Crafts, Education, Fine motor activities, preschool

Klei klei rainbow rice … an explosion of happiness

Hamish was sent a colorful tub of Klei Klei sensory rice to try a few weeks ago.This rainbow bowl of Happiness invites you to play with it’s multitude of safely dyed, non toxic colours.We have used coloured rice quite a bit in our sensory play and he was very eager to open the container and start playing.

What is sensory play ?

Sensory play is any activity that stimulates a child’s senses.The senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight.Coloured rice can be used in stimulating these various senses.For example:

  • For touch – the feel of rice on skin, hands, body and face.
  • For hearing- the sound of falling rice through a funnel or off a scoop.
  • For smell: by adding essential oils you can adjust the scent. Purple rice can be scented with lavender, brown with cinnamon, ect
  • For sight : various colours

It’s important for children to discover new sensations and learn how to regulate the sensory inputs.

What is sensory rice?

Sensory rice is simply rice that has been dyed with a food colouring or non toxic paint to use in a container or tray to aid with sensory play.

How to use sensory rice

You can use your sensory rice in:

  • A container
  • A tray
  • To scoop into baking trays
  • With small toys
  • With kitchen type toys for your child to “cook” with
  • With themes for example we used hallowen bugs in ours but you could use small items to reiterate a school theme
  • To hide letters and numbers or shapes for your child to find
  • As a writing tray for your child to draw shapes in
  • To glue onto art work for texture

The benefits of sensory rice

Rainbow rice is not just pretty but also has many benefits of play ….⭐Exploring and developing fine and gross motor skills
⭐Harnessing creative development through the sense of touch
⭐Free play means there are no boundaries and this fosters the imagination
⭐Developing communication and language skillsSensory play with an item like rice can also be a great alternative for children who do not like the texture of things like playdough or slime.For more information contact klei klei

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Giving back, Parenting, preschoolers, Tweens & Teens

Superbook brings back the heart of Christmas

As a mom I love watching my children enjoy all the magic of Christmas.

We decorate the tree and make our gingerbread houses. We fill our stockings, put up the lights,remember to move the Christmas elf and enjoy the many other traditions around this holiday.

But

As a mom I also very much want my children to grow up understanding the real meaning of Christmas and know that Jesus is the heart of this magical celebration.

So how do I do that?

Looking after their hearts

When my older children were younger we would prepare for the festive season by attending Sunday school and reading a chapter of Luke in the Bible a day.

We made nativity scenes and told the story of the birth of Jesus.

Often on Christmas day I would read to them from their children’s Bible all about the story of Jesus.

As my children grew older, these traditions faded and aside from my lonely nativity scene and a few Christimes carols there was very little to remind them of the true reason to celebrate.

A new beginning

After Hamish was born, it became important to me to once again share the true meaning behind Christmas and each year I’ve tried to include him so that he would understand that Christmas is so much more than just a day of gifts.

Last year was his first Christmas, at 2 years old, that I felt he could understand.

Last year I bought him a new Children’s Bible and we read the Christmas story before making a homemade advent spiral using some tree angels and a lot of imagination.

Each day we would move the Mary and Joseph up a bead and he would tell me it was nearly time for Jesus to be born.

But was this enough?

A heart for God

Would these simple acts over a month a year bring my child’s heart to God?

I was convinced I needed more and as I sat pondering this I came across the CBN Superbook advert on Facebook.

An invitation to experience the Bible like bever before.

For just R99 I could invest in :

  • A DVD combo with two stories (The First Christmas & The birth of John the Baptist)
  • Family discussion guide which help to open discussion and extend on the teachings behind Christmas time and how to apply the scriptural lessons in their little lives.
  • Stickers of the Superbook character

To order your own click here

Screen time

We were away the weekend Hamish recieved his DVD package and on our first Monday home I settled him just before nap time and told him we were going to watch the story of Jesus.

He was intrigued from the first minute. The characters, Chris, Joy and Gismo, are fun and relatable. Modern day kids just like him that set off on a big adventure to discover the Bible through animation.

Gizmo the lovable robot is Hamish’s favourite character and I was impressed that the Biblical character’s dialogue is mostly taken from scripture, whilst great care has been placed on the careful attention to detail within the illustrations.

Children love animated stories and I know how much knowledge Hamish picks up from the other animated stories he watches so I was certain he would walk away from this story understanding the birth of Jesus.

I was also sure he would have many question and was really greatful for the famiy discussion sheet that I pre read and assisted me to explain the story to his little heart.

About Superbook

The Superbook mission is to take the stories of the Bible to children of all ages and has been broadcast in over 90 countries and translated into 50 languages.

Superbook is created by an award-winning team of artists and storyteller, who have worked on some amazing Disney movies like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Mulan.

Each episode invites you into the pages of the Bible to experience God’s word as never before through captivating animation videos.

Now, children of all ages can learn to apply scriptural principles to their daily lives by watching the biblical events unfold on a TV, and through the Superbook App on a computer,tablet or Phone.

The App is aimed at children 6 -12 years but Hamish who is 3 has been able to play some of the games.

We watch the videos, discover the heroes of the Bible, enjoy the daily devotions and have fun learning new fun facts.

You can download the Superbook App from Aapple App store, Google Play or Amazon Apps or for more information http://www.Superbook.CBN.com

A new Tradition

We will certainly be watching The first Christmas many times before Christmas and have added it to our Christmas traditions.

But

More than that, I now have a little boy who understands the true meaning behind Christmas time and I will be using the Superbook App, videos and activity books daily to build his heart and character.

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 ❤