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 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 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 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.

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Bring Home The Fun With Hasbro – why we use this site

Hasbro has launched Bring Home The Fun, an inspiring, purpose-driven website designed to support families around the world as they spend extended time at home and indoors.

Visit BringHometheFun.com to explore family-focused resources, including tips for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, and ideas for using games and toys to stimulate kids’ brains.

The site also features resources to help children and families cope with stress that might be heightened among kids at this time.

Featured content includes:

  • mindfulness videos
  • service projects
  • activity guides
  • other resources developed through our philanthropic partners to help develop empathy and kindness in children.

Fun to watch videos include:

  • Play doh
  • Peppa pig
  • Nerf
  • Pj masks
  • My little pony
  • Transformers
  • Power Rangers
  • Ricky zoom

Fun to do activities from your childs favourite toys like:

  • Play doh
  • Baby Alive
  • Power Rangers
  • My Little Pony
  • Beyblade
  • Transformers
  • Fur real
  • Pj Masks
  • Ricky zoom
  • Peppa pig

Tried and tested

Hamish has been kept busy during lockdown with many of the play doh activities.

Some of the ideas we tried were:

This fun rainbow caterpillar to match our rainbow of hope. Rolling doh balls is a good fine motor activity.

A fire man truck to support our essential services.

A lion.

An elephant

And a lady bird.

There are so many more activities to do, each one designed to keep the kids engaged and entertained.

This has become my go to site for inspiration to keep Hamish happy throughout the lockdown.

Not just for the play doh activities but also to :

  • Make PJ mask character masks for imaginary play
  • Colour in his favourite Transformer characters
  • Make musical shakers with Peppa pig
  • Make a set of Peppa pig puppets
  • Make power ranger posters from the colouring sheets
  • Go on a scavanger hunt with my little pony
  • Complete the fur real Cubby activity book
  • And do some dot to dot activities with Ricky Zoom

As a parent I especially like the parenting resources in the parent solutions.

These activities have been chosen to help parents and children become more mindful and take part in a variety of activities and projects that help to focus on placing emphasis on putting empathy into action.

Some of these activities and projects include:

  • Decorating lunch bags
  • Interviewing a senior
  • Family good scavanger hunt
  • Be a bee helper
  • Making homeless care kits
  • Being water smart
  • Creating a recycled bag
  • Upcycling plastic bottles
  • Bookworm bookmarks
  • ABC flash cards
  • Gratitude journal
  • Gratitude letter
  • Encouraging kindness in kids

With so many resources avaliable to parents, it’s nice to find a platform that encourages character building, emphasizes empathy and kindness, educates parents and offers entertainment and family bonding activities through our childrens favourite characters. Helping them to identify and connect the lessons through play.

Posted in Brands we love, Covid-19/ Coronavirus, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschool curriculum

Superbook – wholesome content to build character.

In November last year Hamish recieved a wonder gift from Superbook and the beginning of a lifelong love for Jesus.

The DVD’s told the story of Jesus’s birth and explained the true meaning of Christmas in a way that touched his little heart.

You can read my review here

But more than that he began to identify with the characters and we soon found ourselves downloading the Superbook App onto my phone.

This opened up a world of Bible stories and learning and we currently use the App in our morning Bible lessons.

But with so many resources out there why Superbook?

There are many reasons we use Superbook,

  • because Hamish identified with the relatable characters
  • The stories are engaging and interesting
  • They are told in a child centered way
  • I know that I’m contributing to his character training and faith presenting him with quality content suitable for children

As more and more parents find themselves homeschooling and unable to take their little ones to church or Sunday school, they are looking for activities and wholesome content for their children during this time.

At Superbook their heart is to see parents become intentional about their children’s spiritual formation.

Forming characters that emulate after the life of Jesus.

Superbook are passionate about offering parents content that forms a base for their children’s spiritual development. Knowing this, it is easy to place your trust in the wonderful resources this App and website offers.

Parents are encouraged to utilise the various Superbook resources and make them part of your child’s daily activity schedule during the coronavirus downtime.

Superbook has great curated content that help shape and form children spiritual development and character. This for me is especially important when bringing up little ones who are experiencing such a challenging time right now.

The best way to use the App

Parents, when using the app and website, are encouraged to not just view it as content that entertains children and keeps them busy but rather a time to explore the bible together with their children.

This is the perfect time to rekindle the wonder, joy and pleasure of knowing God together as a family.

Superbook encourage parents to:

• Explore the characters of the bible with Joy, Chris and Gizmo through the app and website
• Go through the downloadable discussion guides with children after every Superbook video
• Encourage children to play video games that help reinforce biblical messages and lessons.
•Go on a historical journey after every episode with the historical background video’s on the app.


Let the Bible come to life with Gizmo and his friends.

You can find more information at :

www.superbook.cbn.com

Posted in Education, Family Life, Family Time, Health & Wellness, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Press releases, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Takalani Sesame – caring for each other : Resources to help parents during these uncertain times

For over 50 years, Sesame Workshop have addressed important and difficult situations and provided support to families and children as they encounter these challenges in their lives.

Many of these challenges are surrounded in uncertainty and whilst we as parents, may not know what to expect, we know that we can rely on our Takalani friends to provide the strategies and messages to help us guide our children through these times.

Resources

As a direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic facing the world, Sesame Workshop’s Caring for each other inciative has launched new resources to assist parents and children.

These resources form part of an ongoing commitment by Sesame Workshop to help caregivers and children to navigate their ” for now normal” during this crisis and beyond.

What you can expect

The resources will also allow families and children to stay connected with the lovable Takalani Sesame characters on a regular basis.

The new resources will include:

  • Videos featuring our furry friends.
  • Printable activity sheets that focus on healthy habits
  • And playful learning activities.

Fun new resources

Sesame workshop continues to deliver on this commitment with the release of new content including:

  • Washy Wash with Elmo: Families can sing along with Elmo as he washes his hands for 20 seconds—washing the germs away and helping everyone stay healthy.
  • Learning how to sneeze and cough safely with Grover: Grover helps children remember that when they feel a tickle in their noses or throats, they should remember to sneeze or cough into their upper sleeve or elbow—that helps keep the germs off their hands and away from other people. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
  • Time to Wash Your Hands! Our Muppets demonstrate different situations where children and families should wash hands—after coughs and sneezes, before eating, after playing, after using the bathroom, and more.
  • Caring for Myself, Caring for Others: Our Muppets help children understand that when you take good care of yourself, you’re taking good care of others, too.

Takalani Sesame has long been a source of comfort for children and families during difficult times, and now more than ever, it is important to have healthy habits,be active and support our family and friends. What better way, than to learn with our favourite Takalani Sesame friends.

Together, we can help families get through these uncertain times and build hope for the future.

For more information visit Takalani Sesame

Posted in bookish play

Bookish Play : Icky little duckling

How to start

We always start our bookish play in the same way each week, by reading through the book and opening discussion on the characaters, story and talking about the illustrations.Then we move onto the activity that accompanies the book’s theme.To compliment this book, I wanted to set up an oats sensory bin as the little duckling in the story loves oats.

You will need:

  • Container large
  • Container small
  • Spoon or scoop
  • Oats
  • Rubber duck

How to play :

Into the large container pour 2 or 3 cups of oats. You can flavour this with vanilla/ caramel or mint essence to add to the sensory play.Place the duck in the container.Give your child a smaller container to scoop oats from the larger container into.

Posted in craft reciepe, preschool

Marshmallow play dough

This yummolicious play safe dough is easy to make and consists of items from your kitchen.

You will need:

  • 6 large or 12 medium marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons of oil ( any kind is suitable)
  • Food colouring
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Microwave

Method:

Combine all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.

Heat on high until the marshmallow expands ( about 30 seconds)

Carefully remove from the bowl and slowly mix as much as you can with a spoon.

At first the mixture will be very sticky but as it cools you will need to knead it with your hands.

To make the dough less sticky add more cornstarch in small amounts, until you reach the desired playdough consistency. ( soft and pliable)

This becomes the softest, most squishy dough that will delight any child.

Posted in Alphabet activities, preschool, preschoolers

Alphabet jelly hunt

This is a fantastic activity to strengthen those fine hand muscles, practice pencil grip and revise the alphabet.

You will need:

  • Jelly
  • Small container
  • Alphabet beads
  • Tweezers

Method

Make up the jelly the night before you want to do the activity.

Just placing the jelly in the freezer, add alphabet beads and leave to set.

Place the items on a table with the invitation to play.

You can have your child randomly pick out the beads or search for a specific letter.

Once we had picked out all the beads, Hamish turned this into a sensory activity by squishing the jelly between his fingers,scooping it and cutting it with a plastic knife.