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.

Posted in easy science experiments, Education, preschool, preschool curriculum

Science for kids – fishing for paper clips

Children love science experiments.

The mystery and magic holds even the most busy child captivated.

This little experiment is a nice learning through play idea to teach children about magnets and the metals that attract to them.

Fishing for magnets

You will need

  • Glass or jar ( use a clear plastic container for smaller children)
  • Paper clips
  • Fridge magnet

Method:

Let your child place the magnets into the glass.

Give them the magnet and show them that the paper clips attract to the magnet.

Allow them to continue fishing for paper clips.

You can also turn this into a game by taking turns and see who catches the most at each turn or by giving a group 9f children each a glass and set a timer, who will finish collecting all their paper clips first?

Video

I absolutely loved Hamish’s reaction to this. You can see how he enjoyed catching his paper clip fish in this video.

Why do magnets attract paper clips ?

The magnetic field from a magnet creates a magnetic force, attracting other ferromagnetic materials.

Paper clips are usually made from steel wire. The steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. Iron is a ferromagnetic material and that will make the paper clip attract to the magnet.

I’d love to hear if your children enjoyed this experiment. Let me know in the comments.

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, 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 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.

Posted in Education, Family Life, Health & Wellness, Parenting, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

28 free resources to help your children understand Coronavirus

With the Covid-19 pandemic interrupting our children’s school year, normal life routine and ability to play with their friends they obviously have many questions.

So many of our children may have heard us talk about this deadly virus that is keeping us home and making us sanitise everything , and whilst we may have explained to them, they may still be anxious, worried, fearful or not fully understanding of the virus.

In light of this I compiled a list of 28 free resources to help your children understand Coronavirus and how to stay healthy during these times.

Education

  1. Hand washing printable from Parent24
  2. What is Coronavirusby National Geographic kids
  3. A wide range of resources on germs from Scholastic
  4. Printable posters in several African languages by SA organisation from The Good news guy

Books, stories and comics

  1. Free Covid-19 comic by Elise Gravel
  2. Coronavirus – a social story from Fragilex.org
  3. Kids reading and pdf colouring book about Coronavirusby Malia jones
  4. Hello ! I’m s virusby Manuela Cruz from Parent24
  5. Colouring in bookfrom St Jude together website
  6. Q is for quarantine- the ABC’s of Coronavirus a colouring in book by Brian & Gordon
  7. H is for handwashing by Sesame Street
  8. What is Coronavirus and how you can play your part to help the community activity book by Moments a day
  9. Shubert and Sophie stay home story by Concious Discipline
  10. Why I cant go to school story by Concious Discipline

Other

  1. Daily schedule from Just a mamma
  2. Toddler schedule from Busy toddler
  3. Positive posters by Squidoodle
  4. Colouring page from playing and learning
  5. Wordsearch
  6. Journal pages to remember this time by letgrow
  7. How to wash your hands videowith Beebee
  8. My healthy week printable to help your children chart their good habits by Sesame street
  9. Free Afrikaans Coronavirus colouring poster by Hero in my hood
  10. Free English Coronavirus colouring poster by Hero in my hood
  11. How to make a Tippy tap by Hero in my hood
  12. Covid-19 time capsule printablesby Long Creations
  13. How to teach young children about germs resource pack by Mother Goose Time

Do you have any other resources we could add to this list ? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Education, Fine motor activities, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

5 ways to teach your child using jellybeans

Each morning Hamish and I do an hours school work at the table where we concentrate on :

  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Numbers and counting
  • Letters
  • Pre writing skills

I’m not a fan of worksheets at this age (3 years) so a lot of our work is play related.

Yesterday we were inspired by a packet of jelly beans in our morning lessons.

Here are 5 ways to teach your child using jelly beans

For each of these activities you will need:

  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Jelly beans

1. Jelly bean Rainbow

There’s much talk about rainbows with #covid-19 and Hamish has become obsessed with them so this was a great way to have him sort the jelly beans into colours.

He had to, after sorting the colours make each colour by placing the right colour jelly bean onto the correct colour arch.

2. Jelly bean colour sort

For this I drew a coloured circle, gave him a few jelly beans and had him match them to the correct colour.

3.Count the jelly beans

I drew a jar with 10 jelly beans. Labled them 1 to 10 and had him count them out and place a jelly bean on each as a marker.

4. Counting jelly beans

We are doing number work and sums up to 5 this week so I stuck to only working up to number 5 but you can go as high as you like with this counting activity.

He had to place the correct amount of beans under each number.

5.J is for jellybeans

For this he first identified the letter J and then trace it with his finger.

Lastly he made a J with jelly beans ( We have already learnt all phonetic lower case sounds first and have now started to introduce upper case, so you may see a lot of upper case work on my page right now – please if introducing the alphabet to your child start with the phonetic sounds.)

These activities were a lot of fun and of course we both loved packing it all away.

Posted in easy science experiments, preschool, preschool curriculum, STEM

Fun science – changing a flowers colour

One of my favourite activities as a child was to pick my mothers flowers and try change their colour by leaving them in food colouring water.Tonight as I glanced over at the flowers I bought before lockdown I decided it was the perfect time to show Hamish this ” magic” trick.And so we grabbed some glasses, water, food colouring and 2 flowers and set our experiment up.Eager little hands were ready to help me and are still learning to do things slowly.As he poured the blue food colouring he managed to splosh it all over the counter. ( thank goodness for jick)So, when pouring the red, he was so much more gentle and deliberate.After we had coloured the water, he placed one flower in each glass and we have left them overnight.I cant wait to see his reaction in the morning.It takes 24 hours for the flowers to completely change colour and you normally use a plain white flower, so I’m not too certain how vibrant the shades will appear on our slightly greenish flowers.This morning our flowers had absorbed enough food colouring to change colour already.The longer we leave them the more vibrant the colour will appear.

How this works

Plants absorb water from the roots. This water travels up the stems into the flower petals.Although the cut flowers we use no longer have roots, they still absorb water up their stems through a process called capillary action.As the water is coloured with the food colouring, the dye enters the flowers petals and stains them to change colour.What is most interesting is that you need to leave each flower in dyed water to keep the colour as plain water would make the vibrant shades of the petals fade.

Posted in Alphabet activities, Education, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Using toy cars for name recognition

Hamish absolutely loves his cars and when I first saw this idea on @homeschoolingideas I knew it would be an activity that he would enjoy.

We recycled our Beacon easter egg box to make the parking garage and it took only a few minutes to set up.

I started the activity with him building his wooden name puzzle and revising the letters that make up his name.

He then identified each letter taped onto the cars and drove each car into the parking space that corresponded with the letter taped onto the top of the car.

To make your own you will need:

  • Cardboard box
  • A toy car for each letter of your child’s name
  • Stickers or paper to tape on
  • Marker
  • Ruler

To make

Inside the box write your child’s name and divide each letter with a line to resemble a parking space.

Stick letters onto each car. One car per letter of your child’s name. I used paper to write letters with a marker and then taped them on with tape.

To play

Have your child tell you the letters on top of the car and drive them in to the correct parking spaces.

If your child does not know how to read their name yet or how to spell it, build confidence by letting them match the letters in any order.

Once your child can read and spell their name have them drive the cars in from left to right in sequence.