Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschool

Get a personalised call from the Paw patrol

Get Chase or Skye to call your child

The Paw Patrol movie was released nationwide yesterday and many a child is waiting to see Chase on the case.

Now, you can book tickets and surprise your child with a personalized call from either Skye or Chase himself letting them know they are going to see the movie.

Imagine their excitement as their favourite pup gives them a call.

The link is free to use and you add your child’s name. Then you choose from one of 4 good things your child has done.

Your chosen pup then calls and announces that your child has been well behaved and is going to the movie theater to see Paw Patrol the movie.

On a level of cuteness this is a ten.

I’ve just had a look at the link and can’t wait to surprise Hamish in the morning before we take him to see his favourite puppies in action.

Let me know how your children enjoyed this.

The link to get your own personalised Paw Patrol call is Here

Paw Patrol

 

Posted in Education, STEM

Skittles experiment- how to make a rainbow on a plate

Although Hamish and I have tried this experiment before for our blog, we initially used Smarties and Rascles, both of which only let off a very light colour and when mixed did not form a bright rainbow. So, when trying with skittles today I was happy to see a brighter rainbow.

The Skittles experiment is both easy to do and low cost to try. To me, it is. Wonderful first experiment for children and it opens up opportunities for a wider observation, investigation and conversation.

Although this experiment is normally done with hot or warm water you could also try the effects using :-

  • Milk
  • White vinegar
  • Lemonade

To try this experiment yourself you will need:

  • White plate (we used a white cutting tray. We use white to allow the colours to show up better)
  • Skittles
  • Warm water

Instructions.

Place the skittles in a circle around the plate.

Slowly add warm water to the centre of the circle. If the skittles move a little out of place, just push them back.

Slowly watch as the colours spread. You can watch our experiment HERE

Why do the colours spread?

When the Skittles are made, they are coated in sugar and food colouring. The warm water causes this outer layer to melt and results in the good colouring dissolving into the water and defusing the colours. As these colours blend they give the impression of a vibrant rainbow.

You will however note that the colours do not blend into each other, unless the water is disturbed.

One of the reasons for this is that each colour skittles has a slightly different chemical make up and so when each colour disolves, each has slightly different properties such as salinity, density and oxygenation. This then creates a barrier preventing the colours from mixing.

Children of all ages, ( and their moms)enjoy this experiment but you could expand this for older children by:

  • Timing how long it takes for the colours to start running.
  • Use one plate with color water and one plate with warm water and discover which plate disolves faster.
  • Use different liquids.
  • Use different sweets and see their reactions.

Have you tried this experiment? Let me know how your children enjoyed this.

Follow us on YouTube for more fun learning videos

Posted in preschool

Table painting: keep the kids busy on a rainy day

Yesterday it was pouring with rain and Hamish was bored with everything in the house.

I decided it was some time for Table painting.

Many years ago I flipped my dining room table over and turned it into a boat or a car or a bus for my older kids, but yesterday I turned our table into an easel.

Now, you don’t have to be as dramatic as me. You can use a kiddy table or a the legs of a chair.

What you need:

You will need:

  • Table
  • Clingfilm
  • Paint brush
  • Paint

Method

To turn your table into an easel, turn over the table. You are going to start by wrapping cling film around the legs of the table.

I covered the top section of the table as well.

Open the paint and let your child’s imagination and creativity free.

Benefits

Painting – Painting offers many benefits to your child and is a great activity to help teach concepts like numbers, colours and shapes.

Whilst painting your child is encouraged to use their imagination and develop their creativity.

Painting is also good for sensory development, fine motor skills, a means to express emotion and building self esteem.

Vertical painting – By allowing your child to paint on a vertical surface you encourage the natural crossing of the midline as their domibant hand moves from side to side and up and down to reach all points of the surface.

Vertical painting also improves visual attention and hand eye co-ordination.

Age recommended

This activity is recommended for all ages.

Posted in Education, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

13 ways to use Megabloks in the classroom

I’m a big advocate for learning through play and recently used Hamish’s Megabloks to do some revision on numbers colours and shapes.

For colours

1. I had him sort his blocks and divide them into groups of the same colour, then build only red / yellow towers for example.

2. We made patterns using the different coloured blocks. ( eg red / yellow /red /yellow/etc)

For fine motor

3. I had him use some mini pegs to peg into one of the bigger blocks

For shapes

4. He divided all the shapes into different shapes and classified them together.

5. He built shape outlines using the blocks.

6. I drew 2 sets of shapes on big blocks and he had to match the correct shape.

For early maths skill development

7. We divided and classified the blocks into small, medium and large.

For number work

8. We counted out the blocks in each group.

9. I numbered 10 individual blocks and Hamish then put these in order from 0- 10 and then 10 – 0 . He also built towers up to 10.

10. Using the numbered blocks I had him count out the correct amount of blocks infront of the number and then build a tower.

Following our colours,shapes and numbers revision we worked with some letters and cvc words as well.

For name recognition
11. I wrote Hamish’s name on 2 larger blocks using one spot for each letter and then on corresponding blocks and he matched them to spell his name.

For alphabet

12. I wrote the Uppercase on large blocks and the lower case on small blocks and he matched up the correct letters.

For cvc words
13. I wrote the end sound ,in this case -at, on a large block and several letters onto single blocks. Hamish placed each letter in front of the sound to make the words.

These are fun activities that can be prepared in just a few minutes.

I used a whiteboard marker to write on the blocks as this wipes off easily with a cloth and water.

Posted in Education, Press releases

Empowering Children Through Stories In Their own Language
Cadbury Launches read to Succeed Initiative

 

Photo crefit: Cadbury

A love of reading is sparked when children see themselves in stories and relate it to their lives, even more so when it is shared in their home language.

Xolisa Guzula – early literary specialist, author and translator – agrees that when children learn to read in their mother tongues it’s much easier to build on that foundation.

However, a survey by the Publishers Association SA (2016) highlighted that only approximately 2% of children books published commercially in South Africa are in local African languages*.

The effects are seen in our schools, based on the 2016 Progress in International Reading Study (PIRLS)*, which is conducted every 5 years across several countries, 78% of South African Grade 4 learners are unable to read for meaning.

According to Nic Spaull*, Senior Researcher at the Stellenbosch University Economics Department, “Those who do not learn to master the basics of reading remain in catch-up mode for the rest of their lives.”

Nal’ibali, a national reading for enjoyment campaign to spark children’s potential through storytelling and reading, is founded on the ethos of giving children access to stories in their home language.

The organisation firmly believes that literacy skills are a strong predictor of future academic success in all subjects – and children who regularly read and hear engaging stories, in languages they understand, are well equipped and motivated to learn to read and write.

Knowing this Cadbury Dairy Milk, through its inherent generosity, has committed to addressing this need through the recently established Read To Succeed initiative.

This three-year initiative aims to ignite a love for reading amongst children across the country by making books in their home language more accessible. 

To achieve this, Cadbury Dairy Milk, in partnership with Nal’ibali, has set a goal to create and translate “a Glass and a Half” (1 500) new stories for children in their home languages, over the next three years.

“Cadbury Dairy Milk is rooted in generosity, driven by the genuine desire to act on improving someone else’s situation. We know the ability to read for meaning empowers children to succeed and although there are a myriad of hurdles that may hinder this, a significant one is the sobering lack of storybooks children have access to in their mother tongues. We look forward to working with Nal’ibali, and the public, to create new children’s stories in African languages and making them accessible to all South African children. Ultimately, we want to create an impact by igniting a true love for reading amongst our children,” says Lara Sidersky, Mondelez SA Category Lead for Chocolate.

Reading aids learning

Guzula says, “Children are naturally intelligent and just need us to create immersive spaces conducive for learning. If there are no African language books in our libraries or homes, how can we blame children for not being able to read?”

 She adds, “If children never read about airplanes, mountains, cars, dinosaurs and more, and encounter these words – and concepts – for the first time in tests translated from English into their home language, how can we expect them to do well?”

Language as a frame of existence

Lebohang Masango, anthropologist, poet and award-winning author of Mpumi’s Magic Beads – a children’s book that has been translated into nine official South African languages – echoes Guzula, “I think it’s important for children to be able to read in their own mother tongues because that is the language that they first use to think, to communicate and to exist in the world.

“This is the language that frames their entire existence, so it follows that they should be introduced to reading, mathematical literacy and other kinds of learning concepts in that language as well. I think it’s incredibly jarring to learn one language and then have to master literacy of all kinds in a different language.”

 She adds, “The written word is the present word. When we use indigenous languages in children’s books, instruction manuals etcetera, that’s how you legitimise them and allow them to grow. You never want a child to feel like their language does not matter. If they can learn in their own language from a young age, that gives them more dignity and pride in their mother tongue and culture.”

Cultivating a culture of reading

Yandiswa Xhakaza, CEO of Nal’ibali, shares that the organisation aims to make reading material accessible to children in their home languages and to create a demand for reading, “Our primary focus is to bridge the gap between speaking and reading in African languages. We understand that it’s not enough to teach children how to read if there’s no material for them to engage further with text and start to learn to decode and read for meaning.

 Reading books in one’s home language also enhances self-worth. “We can’t just translate stories from other countries because the context needs to reflect the people of this country. When children read stories by South Africans – or Africans – about areas they know and people they relate to, they feel seen. It changes how they view themselves and gives them the confidence. That’s why I believe this partnership with Cadbury is so powerful.”

 “We’re excited about working with Nal’ibali to give South African children access to stories they can relate to, understand, enjoy and feel empowered by,” ends Sidersky.

Join the conversation and follow how you can participate @CadburyDairyMilkSA (Facebook) or @Cadbury_SA  (Twitter and Instagram), and visit cadbury.co.za

 

*Sources:

https://www.news.uct.ac.za/article/-2019-01-11-solving-sas-literacy-crisis

 

https://nicspaull.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/nic-spaull-and-elizabeth-pretorious.pdf

 

https://www.news24.com/citypress/news/want-to-read-to-your-children-in-your-mother-tongue-check-out-these-books-20190221

 

https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pirls/

 

https://africasacountry.com/2019/04/why-are-south-african-children-struggling-to-read-properly

 

https://www.publishsa.co.za/file/1519203677awr-2016publishingindustrysurvey.pdf

 

https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/retail-and-consumer/2021-04-28-game-pins-hopes-on-selling-african-language-childrens-books-in-turnaround-drive/

 

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Press releases

Why We Should Watch Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World

A Year To Change The World airs on Sunday 23rd May at 16:10 on BBC Earth (DStv channel 184)

Greta Thunberg: A year to change the world

In 2018, Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg stepped onto the world stage, challenging world leaders to take immediate action against climate change. Her solo ‘school strike for the climate’ demonstration outside Swedish Parliament has inspired a global movement mobilizing millions of people, especially youth, to demand real action from leaders in terms of climate change.

 

While she has garnered a strong following, she has also been met with criticism from those who disagree with her views. Despite the critics, Greta has reawakened and empowered a global conversation around climate change – unleashing a genie that won’t be put back into its bottle.

 

From Sunday 23rd May, BBC Earth (DStv Channel 184) will broadcast Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World. Join the then sixteen-year-old as she takes a year off school to explore the science of global warming.  Traveling across the globe, Greta explores the science – from the melting glaciers of Canada to the coal mines of Europe.  She witnesses first-hand the consequences of climate change and makes clear the reasons why she thinks something must be done right now. On her journey she meets climate scientists and confronts the complexity of what is required to make change happen.  Encounters with some of the world’s leading scientists and economists allow the series to examine what the latest science tells us about what can be done to avert the worst effects of climate change.  When Covid-19 brings life to a standstill Greta is faced with an even bigger challenge – to convince a world reeling from one crisis, to finally face another.

Here are five key facts about Greta Thunberg:

  • She has inspired a global movement – Fridays For Future with millions of people around the world taking part in protests to make the point. UK media regulator Ofcom coined the term the ‘’Greta Effect’’ to explain the increase in engagement by children in online activism compared to previous years.
  • She leads by example– she has convinced her family to implement several lifestyle changes to reduce their cardon footprint including adopting veganism and upcycling as well as a no-fly policy. To get to the United States and take part in the United Nations summit, she found a carbon neutral mode of transport in the form of a two-week trans-Atlantic journey aboard a racing yacht. 

 

  • Her words have impact. Greta’s “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,’’ speech at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference went viral and has even been incorporated into songs and slogans.

 

  • She has received recognition from leading bodies including, amongst others, Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, Right Livelihood Award and the International Children’s Peace Prize. In 2019 she was the youngest person to be named TIME Person of the Year, was included in Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and has received three consecutive Nobel Peace Prize Nominations.

 

  • She has the attention of world leaders and international bodies that can help to drive change.  Greta has met with several heads of state, expert climate scientists from around the globe, as well as Pope Francis, and Sir David Attenborough. She’s also testified before Congress, the European Parliament and the United Nations.

 

And finally, “For reasons I don’t understand people listen when I talk, but I don’t want that, I don’t want you to listen to me I want you to listen to the science… before it’s too late!’’  – Greta Thunberg

 

Follow the conversation on BBC Earth and @bbcstudiosafrica on Instagram.

Posted in Competitions, Education, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting

Mega bloks bag + 1 bringing all the fun

Imaginary play is so important for children, it helps them process their world, learn boundaries and develop their creativity and imagination.

Which is why we love open ended toys like Mega bloks.

Benefits of building blocks

Mega bloks is a wonderful tool for early childhood development.

Not only do they build imagination and develop creativity but Mega bloks building blocks also develop skills in colours, numbers, shapes and even the alphabet.

Building with Mega bloks also :

  • Improves hand- eye coordination
  • Encourages social interaction
  • Develops imagination
  • Enhances innovative ability
  • Offers creative stimulation
  • Develops problem solving abilities
  • Improves organizational skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Teaches patience
  • Encourages communication
  • Develops creative thinking
  • Improves fine motor skills

Bag + 1

Mega bloks offer a wide variety of both building blocks and fully compatible toys that compliment your child’s play.

All Mega blok toys are designed to click, slide or fit onto the Mega bloks assisting your child to combine all their toys to get more enjoyment from their play.

Knowing this Mega bloks have a fun formula of play ….

Bag + 1 =fun

By combining a fun toy, like this Mega bloks tool box with a bag of Mega bloks building blocks your child’s imagination is the limit.

Let’s play

As I mentioned, we love Mega bloks and Hamish has been spending his time using his Mega bloks and Mega bloks tool set, constructing new homes for his toys.

This cute tool set comes with 36 pieces and includes:

  • A spirit level
  • Hammer
  • Screw driver
  • 2 screws
  • 2 nails
  • 4 blocks with screw images
  • Building plans
  • A block containing a gear
  • Sturdy tool box storage
  • 36 pieces of Mega bloks

I love watching him in play, as he uses the tools ( including the spirit level to see it’s even) and follows the building plans to become a master builder and create the buildings he imagines.

Join us and win

We would love you to join us and show us your ” Bag + 1″ Let’s build a house together moment.

Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and don’t forget to enter the competition to ….

*Win a MEGA Hamper: tag someone you want to build MEGA with in the comment and write what you want to build with them. Use the hashtag #buildMEGAtogether

*terms and conditions apply
Posted in Crafts, Education, preschool

Activity- An introduction to Symmetrical objects for preschoolers

Teaching your child about symmetry doesn’t need to be a daunting prospect.

I made this fun game for Hamish to help him understand the concept of symmetrical objects using a few hand drawn cards and a small mirror.

How to make your symmetrical game

To make your own you will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Small mirror

To make your own:

Cut your cardboard into several smaller cards.

Onto these cards draw half of an object that is symmetrical. Items like faces, flowers,bodies, animals, house, kite, etc work best.

How to play

Showing symmetry

Once your cards are drawn, show your child how to hold the card right next to the mirror and explain that the mirror will reflect the image, completing the other half of the symmetrical object.

Extended activities

Let them explore on their own with the cards and you can extend this activity by having your child point out other symmetrical objects in the home for you to draw.

You can also introduce a few asymmetrical objects to help to differentiate to your child how to telling an object is symmetrical or asymmetrical .

Using your cards containing both symmetrical and asymmetrical objects, let your child try each card and classify the objects accordingly.

Posted in Crafts, Education, preschool

Activity – Unicorn fine motor game to make

This unicorn fine motor activity is easy to make, great as a quiet time activity and can be brought out on a rainy day to keep the kids entertained.

I’ve also added a few ideas on how to extend the activity for older children.

Make your unicorn

Some of our best moments of play are with ordinary home made games we make.

This morning I drew a unicorn on some old card, Hamish coloured the horn with crayon and then he exercised those fine motor and co-ordination skills as he decorated the unicorns mane with pegs.

Unicorn craft
Let your child use coloured pegs to create a fun unicorn mane

To make your own you will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Crayons,markers or paint
  • Colourful pegs

How to make your unicorn

To make your unicorn start by drawing a unicorn head shape onto a thick piece of card with the black marker. Add details like eyes, etc.

Cut your shape out.

Let your child colour the eyes, horn and ears with crayon, marker or if you prefer paint.

When the unicorn head has been coloured, give your child a small container with coloured pegs and show them how to peg them onto the unicorn shape to form a mane.

Hamish designing his unicorn mane

Extended activities

Another great way to use this would be to help your child learn to make patterns by pegging the coloured pegs into a colour sequence.

You could also number the pegs, label them with the alphabet or with your child’s name to enhance the activity for older children.

Posted in Alphabet activities, Family Life, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers

Are you raising a sharer or a meanie?

Sitting with Hamish after his first week of school, we were going over the class photos and I was asking him questions to learn more about his first week’s experience at his new preschool.

Laughingly he couldn’t remember the kids names, aside from the 3 or 4 he obviously connected with and he spoke me through the activities they had done with his new teacher.

I was impressed at the gentleness that he described his teachers and the new songs and games he had learnt.

The we spoke about the kids and what being a good friend was. Very aware that some kids can be more dominating in a class I asked who played nicely.

When in conversation I try to not give him the words but to let him express himself fully in his words and experience and so the general question of who plays nicely allows him to relate his experience within his peer group.

Sharers

He rattled off about the kids who play with him, pointing them out to me.

He spoke about the cars and the animals and the little girl who shared the frogs.

Then

He said but mommy there some children who aren’t sharers.

I asked what he meant.

He explained that some of the children did not share the toys and said things like “I don’t want to play with you.”

My heart fell to my feet and I looked at him honestly and said are they meanies?

Meanies

Meanies is our word for children who hurt others, use their words to intentionally upset someone or break things.

We use this word instead of bully, as Bully is a strong word to use for preschoolers who may not yet have learnt the social cues to play with others.

He thought for a moment and honestly answered…

” No they not meanies, they just not sharers!”

And so we carried on talking about why sharing with our friends is important. How sharing is how we show kindness and love and lastly what to do if someone doesn’t want to share with you.

I feel strongly that giving him the opportunity to express himself, the ability to convey how he feels and the coping skills to overcome the effects and interactions with children who may not behave as he does is important for him to be able to integrate into his class, now and in future schools and to not be affected by bullies later on in his school career.

Raising kids who share

For me it has always been so important that my children be the ‘Kind Child’

That they are inclusive, gentle and share with their peers.

But how do you raise a child who will share?

You can read many books, you can pick more gentleness parenting styles and you can introduce as many games as you like but the first and most important way to raise a child who is inclusive and who shares is to model that behaviour in your daily life.

You are your child’s first teacher and the most important influence on their personality and character.

If you use gentle words, share with those around you and are non discriminate and inclusive, it is probable that your child will be too.

In short ….to raise a child who shares, you need to be an adult who shares.