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 Christmas, Crafts

The Advent Spiral

Each Christmas we look for a way to introduce the heart of Christmas to Hamish and for a new and reusable advent calendar.

What does Advent Mean?

Advent is a term from the Latin word ‘adventus‘ which means “arrival“.Advent is a time, in the Christian calendar, of waiting for the arrival of Christmas and represents the coming of Jesus to earth when he was born as a baby at Bethlehem about two thousand years ago

The Spiral Advent

Last year I came across a spiral Advent calendar and was blown away by both it’s simplicity and possibilities.

The spiral was formed from wood or using a clay and had groves etched into the clay before it hardened.These little groves were used to hold a candle, marble or bead to count down the days until Christmas.Often there was a candle at the centre.

Our advent calendar

My inner craft mamma knew I could make one and sat down one afternoon with Hamish to make a spiral advent calendar.

We first gathered our supplies:

  • Some unused plaster paris to mould with
  • 24 beads
  • Craft paint
  • Paying brushes
  • Candle
  • Elastic band
  • Fir tree foliage
  • A toilet roll inner to form a nanger
  • Dry wet wipes
  • Red felt
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Some Christmas decorations to make a donkey, Mary and Joseph
  • Marker
  • A3 sheet of paper

How to make your Advent Spiral

To make the spiral I first drew a spiral shape onto a piece of paper.

This helped me to both keep to size and form as I molded the plaster paris on top of this outline.

Plaster paris was all we had in the house, but I would recommend using air drying clay, river clay, playdough,modeling clay or salt dough.Once the spiral was formed, I made 24 faint marks to mark out where each bead would bead to be inserted.

Hamish then used his finger to push each bead in.

These would become our daily markers.

Again we used beads because that is what we had avaliable but you could use marbles, candles, small toys, hearts,sequences,ectI wrapped some of our fir tree leaves around a candle using an elastic band to keep it in place and this became the centre of the spiral to represent Christmas day and the birth of Jesus.

We lit the candle on Christmas morning.Lastly I made the Christmas nativity charactes.

We would need a donkey, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in a manager.

To make baby Jesus snug in his manger I first cut a toilet roll tube in half to form the manger.

Next I wrapped a bead into a dry wet wipe that I folded to look like a swaddled baby.

Lastly I cut a red felt heart and wings and placedar them onto the bead baby. Heart on it’s stomach area and wings underneath the body.To make Mary, Joseph and the donkey I took two Angels off our tree and cut the hair of one to represent Mary and Joseph.

For the donkey, I broke the antler off a wooden reindeer.

This became one of our favourite advents as Hamish, who was two at the time enjoyed moving Mary and Jesus up to meet baby Jesus.

Posted in Brands we love, Competitions, Family Life

Win a Barbie Dream Big Board Game

We recently recieved a Barbie Dream Big Board Game.

As a huge fan of Barbie, a mom and an educator I was excited when I sat down with designer Janine Van Schalkwyk, a mom of 3, and listened to her inspirations behind this innovative new board game that is designed to encourage and empower our young girls to “Dream big” .

About the game

This Proudly South African career based board game, developed around the iconic Barbie brand, is designed for girls age 8 to 12 years old to encourage them to know that they can “Be Anthing”, just like Barbie.

To date Barbie, who started her career 60 years ago as a fashion model, has added over 200 careers to her resume. Representing a diverse number of careers from rock star to CEO.

The Barbie Dream Big Board Game encourage young girls to envision themselves in a future career path by emphasizing the brand’s core message that “YOU CAN BE ANYTHING” and equiping them with real – life insights that encourage the discussion of topics such as – individual identity, subject choices,study options, personal talents and business ethics.

What’s in your game

Each board game comprises of :

  • A board game which unfolds and shows a diversity of Barbie faces, hair styles and skin colours.
  • 8 free standing Barbie figurines, printed on styrene. Each figurine depicts Barbie in a different career path.
  • A spinner, that clips together
  • A pink timer
  • 4 sets of cards representing different career paths.

How to play

The game is for 2 to 8 players. Whilst aimed at girls age 8 – 12 , younger girls could play with assistance.

A great family game and a wonderful resource in the modern day classroom.

Each player starts by choosing a figurine and takes a turn to spin the spinner in the centre of the flower on the board game.

The first person to land on pink starts the game.

The game continues clockwise and whatever colour the spinner stops on, that is the colour card you pick up.

The objective of the game, as you move around the board, is to answer the fun yt eeducational and challenging cards that have been divided into topics of :-

  • Question cards – these are aimed at educating by building a child’s general knowledge.
  • Action cards – these cards are interactive and will require your child to draw, or act out a specific scenario. Keep a pencil and paper handy. Your child will need to complete the task before the timer runs out.
  • Problem cards – these cards encourage your child to think about ethical issues they may encounter in a real life work situation.

The cards are colour coded and focus on 4 career paths …

1. Business (teal) – focusing on age appropriate insight on how to build a business and brand.
2. Help and Service (yellow) – focusing on comunity building careers and inspiring girls to give back to their community.
3. STEM (purple) – focusing on exposing girls to a variety of role models in the often under represented career paths of Science, Tehnology, Engineering and Mathematics.
4. Creative (pink) – focusing on the creative opportunities in arts, performance art, fashion, interior design, cooking and baking.

The cards present challenging questions that will encourage your child to find answers, learn more and think outside the box whilst preparing our young girls for the tomorrow of their dreams.

Where to buy a Barbie Dream Big board game

Barbie Dream Big board game is currently available at retail outlets including Toys R Us, ToyKingdom, C.N.A, Checkers, Reader’s Warehouse and Takealot for R399.90.

Win your own Barbie Dream Big Board game

TO STAND A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THE BARBIE DREAM BIG BOARD GAME

1. LIKE BOTH PAGES ON INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK

@innov8_play

@funmammasa

2. HAVE YOUR CHILD DRAW THEIR DREAM CAREER.

( TAG @FUNMAMMASA ON FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM OR DM ME A PICTURE AND I WILL SHARE THIS TO MY STORIES)

3. TAG 3 MOMS WHO WOULD LOVE TO WIN

4. ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

a) Name one of types of cards on the Barbie Dream Big board game.

B) At which retailer can you purchase the Barbie Dream Big Board Game?

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 All about Mamma bear, Mamma bears

The playdough dress

As a mom at home I’m used to having little hands and noses wiped on me ALL day!

So often I’ll find a bit of paint or smudge of peanut butter sandwich on one or other part of my clothing.

It’s a mom thing right ?

So, yesterday morning I’m rushing to get out the door to attend an event by 8am.

As usual I always leave the house and Hamish ready for the day before I go anywhere. It’s a habit.

Getting ready

I neatened the house. Made everyone morning coffees and teas. Prepared Hamish a breakfast and a snack box and opened his playdough for him to play with while I ran upstairs and got dressed.

Slipping into my long mustard dress I felt good. Often too few adult outings in a week, leave me feeling like old mother Hubbard but here I stood flashing my inner diva.

Checked the hair, added a dash of colour to my lips and I was ready to go.

Time to play

I went downstairs and waited for Brent to come down.

Hamish was building red playdough characters and I stooped down to help him add some ears and legs to his oddly shaped giraffe.

Here’s where I made my first mistake. I gave him the playdough from a brand that’s a little too sticky and tends to leave itself EVERYWHERE!

Off I go

At last Brent was ready and I kissed Hamish who by now had hugged me a hundred times, before leaving him to play with his older sister.

And I was off to enjoy a breakfast event at the gorgeous Durbanville Hills wine estate.

My confidence was high. I felt good and I think I looked good. Ready to spend some adult time away from playdough and Lego and toy cars.

Diva in a mustard dress

I walked my way around the room, introducing myself and prided myself with my dress choice …

and then I looked down!

I wanted to die!

Could the floor just swallow me up already!

There on my beautiful Mustard hued dress were the teeniest tiniest fingerprints of smudged red playdough.

I was horrified.

How many people had seen my newly patterned dress. Could I just sit and hide throughout the rest of the event.

How had I missed it?

Self concious

And so there I sat in my self conscious thoughts when the one speaker spoke about breaking the “supermom” concepts.

And I listened to her words and realised there I was worrying about how I would be judged by others but forgetting what those little red stains meant.

You see, my imperfect dress reflected me so much more authentically than any words I uttered that morning.

They represented the part of me that holds my heart …I am a mom!

Red stains

That means that regardless of what the world demands of me there are little hands that need me more. Those stains reflect my heart, they show that little arms hugged me before I left and show that I wasn’t too busy to stop and play.

A mark of love

Somewhere, in the silence of my thoughts, my mind became aware that each mark was a stain of love.

Somewhere I stopped worrying about the judgement of the women around me. I stopped obsessing about the marks that were so small I’m sure very few people noticed and somewhere a calm peace fell over me as I acknowledged that each little fingerprint stain in their perfect imperfection show the world that a little boy happily wiped his hands all over his mothers dress not to clean his hands but because he loved her so much he wanted to stop his play to give her a hug.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas

10 Affordable stocking fillers from Hasbro

Each year we search for affordable, good quality and entertaining toys to fill the kids Christmas stockings.

To help us, Hasbro have compiled a list of their 10 top ‘stocking filler’ ideas for 2019

These toys are perfect for Holiday gifting, on the go entertainment or as small spoils to keep the kids busy during the long December holidays.

Hasbro’s Top 10 stocking filler ideas

1· The Monopoly Deal Card Game is all the fun of the Monopoly game in a quick-playing card game ideal for on-the-go fun.

2· Have a blast with Play-Doh Colour Burst, it’s the classic non-toxic Play-Doh compound with an innovative way to mix and play.

3· It’s a real treat to experience the irresistibly fun Play-Doh Ice Pops ‘n Ice Cream Cones Assortment. Instead of a can, Play-Doh compound come in an airtight container shaped like an ice cream cone or ice pop.

4· Blast into big fun with the Nerf Microshots Fortnite series of collectible, mini-sized Nerf toy blasters, which includes replicas of the FORTNITE TS blaster, FORTNITE RL blaster and FORTNITE Llama blaster.

5· Look out for the Lost Kitties Mice Mania milk carton singles, which comes with a mouse or kitty figure, meme stickers, two hidden accessories and a collector’s sheet.

6· Kids can image new adventures with their favourite rescue birds-in-training with the Top Wing Single Figure Assortment. Each poseable 7-cm figure includes a snap-on ‘wings’ badge.

7· The 15-cm Power Rangers Beast Morphers figures feature multiple points of articulation and design.

8· The Marvel Figures assortment includes classic Marvel design. Create scenes from the Marvel Universe and imagine incredible adventures with Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor.

9· My Little Pony Cutie Mark Crew combines the worlds of My Little Pony and Equestria Girls. With a tropical vacation theme each blind bag includes a 4cm figure, beach-themed accessory, collector card and storage case.

10· Collect My Little Pony Equestria Girls Fashion Squad dolls to mix and match more styles. Each mini doll comes with two outfit pieces and an accessory to dress her up in her signature style.

With so many fun and affordable options to choose from your child’s stockings can hold an entire world of play this year.

Hasbro products are available from leading retailers including: Takealot.com, Makro, Toys R Us, ToyZone, Toy Kingdom, Game and Checkers.
Posted in Brands we love, Christmas

10 essential Christmas gifts for your baby from Chicco and Prima Baby.

With Christmas just around the corner shopping for quality baby toys that are both educational and entetaining can be an overwhelming and arduous task.

We have made it easy for you with a selection of the top 10 essential items this festive season from the trusted Chicco and Prima Baby brand.

1) CHICCO FIRST DREAMS MOBILE

A multi-tech mobile that brings a magical atmosphere into the nursery. Ten minutes of gentle classical music, alongside a diffused nightlight will sooth baby off to a peaceful sleep. With 4 removable plushies, the mobile is suitable for all wooden and travel cots, as well as co-sleepers. Available in gorgeous pastel pink or blue.

2) CHICCO BABY SENSES ANIMAL COTTAGE

The best way to get your child understanding shapes and colours, The Animal Cottage teaches animals as well as improving motor skills. Hugely popular with the global market due to its developmental innovation as well as entertainment value.

3) V-TECH BABY FIRST STEPS ACTIVITY WALKER

One of the most high-tech walkers on the market, The First Steps by V-Tech Baby has songs, sounds, lights and much more to encourage baby to walk with fun and entertainment.

4) DISNEY BABY 50CM MICKEY AND MINNIE PASTEL PLUSH

As soft and cuddly as a plush toy can get. Standing 50cm tall, these gorgeous dolls in pastel variations of Mickey and Minnie Baby are representatives of one of the best-loved baby labels in the world.

5) CHICCO MOVE & GROW TUMMY TIME PILLOW

Made by Boppy, leaders in the nursing pillow market, this memory foam tummy-time pillow has lots of entertainment for your child, with a book, mirror, textures and colours to keep their developing minds busy and active.

6) CHICCO BABY SENSES STACK ‘N FUN CUP

A great way to learn the alphabet whilst working on your child’s motor skills. The cups build a large tower with a hole down the middle that a ball drops into to collect in the base, which is a 4-piece puzzle. A great development toy for toddlers starting to grasp cause and effect.

7) CHICCO BABY SENSES FINGER PUPPET

One of few traditional finger puppets on the market, the Baby Senses Finger Puppet is unique in the sense that it has animals and textures on each finger and provides wonderful bonding time between parent and child.

8) DISNEY BABY MICKEY AND MINNIE FIRST ABILITIES 25CM PLUSH

Available in Mickey or Minnie, this plush toy contains various activities for your baby to engage with. A gorgeous gift that will instantly become their new best friend.

9) V-TECH BABY MY FIRST GIFT SET

A collection of V-Tech Baby toys in a great hamper type set that will blow your little ones mind. Consisting of 4 tech toys that act as entertainment whilst helping them reach milestones.

10) CHICCO MOVE & GROW HAPPY HIPPY WALKER

Another great walker from the Chicco stable, the Happy Hippy Walker is a fun, colourful and interactive way to encourage your child to take their first steps. With flowers and a cute face, the walker is a great gift for any child this Christmas.

The above toys can be found in selected stores including: Babies R Us, Takealot.com, Loot.co.za, Thekidzone.co.za, selected Kids Emporium stores, Hamleys, Lilliputs and others.
Posted in Christmas, Family Time, Life with my bears

Our Christmas Traditions

I love Christmas time.

It’s my absolute favourite time of the year. I love everything about Christmas, the hype, the kindness people suddenly possess and mostly the ability to unashamedly spoil my children.But, more than that, I love the numerous traditions that surround Christmas.

A history of traditions

As a child, I came from a family of few traditions and so no two Christmases were the same.In South Africa we don’t celebrate cold, TV Christmases with snow or elaborate decorating and so it never felt like a “real” Christmas to me.My first marriage was pretty much trial, error and trying to make ends meet and so as much as we tried to maintain some sort of tradition often we were just winging it each year.I always made a trifle and had my children sleep under the tree on Christmas eve, but other than that Christmas was as abundant and busy as the years bonus would allow.

My favourite traditions

Of course as the children grew so did their need or want of Christmas traditions and the day became a symbol for great food and new gifts.My silent traditions seeping in where I could still could.I’ve always had a mental list of all the things we would do as a family in preparation for Christmas day and would silently tick off those I had accomplished each Christmas.

This is my list :

1. Make and share handmade cards and gifts.

I had a shoe box where I collected stationary, glitter, coloured card and stickers over the months for the children to ue to make cards and gifts.I still prefer a homemade gift to a bought present.

2. Sleeping under the Christmas tree

This was my favourite thing to do. It started by accident, my children did not want to go to bed after we put the Christmas lights up one year, and so I let them sleep on the lounge floor that night.For many years they would decorate the tree on the 12th and make a family bed to fall asleep while the Christmas lights flickered.

3. Family tree decorating

Decorating the Christmas tree with 6 children is like letting Christmas puke on your house.There’s no order as each child creatively makes Christmas their own.Our Christmas trees were always a miss match of colourful, odd and handmade decor. Our trees were a true representation of our home …. busy.

4. Christmas baking

Christmas was the time to go all out as we baked biscuits, gingerbread men and later, when they were older gingerbread houses.There is something about the smell of cinnamon and ginger in a warm house that shouts Christmas.

5. My trifle

Each year I would construct a trifle I’d learnt to make in home economics class.This multi layered treat never lasted long and contained no alcohol.It is just layer upon later of sponge cake, caramel treat, mix tin fruit , ultramel and jelly that has been topped with Orley whip.

6. Christmas caroling

We would sing all the time. In the kitchen, while walking or just playing together.Although I always wanted to go door to door caroling we settled for beautiful carol services at church over Christmas time.

7. Christmas stockings

I love Christmas stockings and nothing fills my heart with more happiness than rows and rows of Christmas stockings.I would hand sew the children’s stockings each year and my favourite year is the year I hung 10 cheap gas store stockings up for my children and their cousins.

Last year I got to hang 14 stockings and my Christmas heart was in it’s happy place.

8. Advent calendar

The one item we never missed was an advent calendar.A cardboard box, brightly decorated with little windows opening to tiny chocolates each morning.Many times I would discover someone had opened all their windows during the night and gobbled up the chocolates by the 10th and that would end our advent attempt.

9. Nativity scene

A nativity scene is important to me as it represents the significance, history and meaning of Christmas.Some years we would make our nativity, other years I would bring out a little ceramic model.

10. Christmas candle

I’m not sure where I first decided we needed a Christmas candle and if I think back, my memory of my earliest candle is the year my grandmother passed.But I would walk the shops until I found the perfect candle.There was often nothing elaborate about the candle, but my Christmas candle shines for those we wish were at our table and so, many years later I still buy a new Christmas candle each year.

13. Look at the Christmas lights

Each year the kids and I would walk through the malls enjoying the Christmas lighs and decor.Some years we would drive to the centre of town to enjoy the large lights the council had hung.

14. String popcorn

The year my eldest child celebrated her first Christmas, I was at my father and my teen sister and step brother were trying to avoid the parents, I remember we had watched a happy family Christmas movie where the kids had been stringing popcorn and I decided there and then that regardless of our home we would have a happy Christmas .My children always loved this tradition, although they ate more than they strung.

15. Writing to Santa

Each year I would sit with the kids and we would page through the Checkers toy guide and they would write or draw long elaborate lists to Santa.This was also a great way for me to see what each of the 6 of them wanted.

18. Christmas hat’s and props

I’ve never needed a reason to dress up so we have always had a box of Christmas hats and props for the kids to dress up in.

19. Christmas clothing

As a young girl my gran would gift us a church outfit ( even though we never attended church as a family) and a blanket every Christmas eve.I fell into the same habit with my own children, leaving out the blanket and gifted them a new outfit to wear for Christmas day.

20. Christmas movies

Who doesn’t love a Christmas movie?To me the true Christmas season would start when all the hallmark movies came on.I had a large collection of kids DVDs that all centered around Christmas and as a bedtime treat the kids would get to watch one a night.

As my own children have gotten older and we’ve adjusted to new family dynamics we have changed or altered some traditions.After I had Hamish, the need to impliment those traditions, one again, became essential. Only this time I had a new husband to consider and we had to find a compromise on blending our traditions together.

Whilst I still keep all of the above traditions, I’ve also added these new ones for Hamish

1. 24 Christmas book advent

From last year I collected 24 books that have a Christmas theme and we read one each evening in December.

2.Reading Christmas story on Christmas day

I bought Hamish a beautiful Children’s bible and we will read him the Christmas story on Christmas day.This year I also have the Superbook DVD which tells the beautiful story of The first Christmas for him to watch.

5.leaving Santa his favourite milk and biscuits and a carrot for Rudolph

Santa works hard and so we want to say Thank you to him and Rudolph by first baking Santa some biscuits and leaving him one with a glass of milk and a carrot for Rudolph on Christmas eve.

6.Christmas eve box

I love this tradition and we have a wooden crate for Hamish. Each year we buy a premade kit which usually consists of:

  • a Nice list certificate
  • Santa button that he gets caught on the tree
  • Santa key to come inside and deliver gifts
  • Reindeer bell that Rudolph loses
  • letter writing kit
  • letter from Santa
  • Reindeer feed
  • and some treats.


7. Elf

Last year was the first year we did an elf on the shelf and everyone in the family was an immediate fan.I had great fun thinking up things for the elf to do over the month of December. Hamish couldn’t wait to see what the elf had done.I think this is my favourite tradition.

8. Santa cam

This year we have a specially made Santa cam that will be watching to see if Hamish is behaving.This is really just a decorated bauble.

There are many more small cute things each year and I’m sure the list will grow .

I’d love to hear about some of your favourite Christmas traditions.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting

Questions you should ask before taking your child on a game drive

This weekend we visited an established game farm, in the Western Cape, and Hamish experienced his first game drive.

A bad experience

I would love to tell you it was enjoyable but sadly it was not up to standard with other drives I have been on.

Whilst the guide was knowledgable, he spoke over Hamish’s questions, ignoring him to make rugby jokes with a rather rude visitor who seemed intent on spoiling everyone’s experience.

The “rude visitor” was allowed to enter the vehicle clearly drunk and carrying a beer, which to me having Hamish there and another mom her son , I felt was both irresponsible of the game farm and inappropriate for a game drive.

This man made stupid comments through out the drive, often interrupted the guide and then climbed out the vechil to relieve himself whilst we were stopped to view the giraffe.

The vehicle, which can seat 3 people per seat was crammed and myself and another mother were left holding our children for over an hour as their spaces to sit were taken so that we could squash in another two people instead if taking a larger vehicle or simply dividing the group into 2 vehicles.

This to me was not safe and was certainly not comfortable for either us the moms or the two little boys . Who on our laps kept knocking on the sides of the vehicle as the road is bumpy.

The vehicle at one point looked like we were not going to be able to navigate through the soft sandy path and smelt like something was burning. I imagined trying to walk back with a 15kg 3 year old to carry.

Needless to say the atmosphere on the vehicle was cramped and not pleasant with this unruly visitor.

But worst of all was that we hardly got close to most of the animals that the farm boasts.

We got up close to the zebra and springbok to get decent photos and came semi close to the giraffe and the poor lonley looking camel but all the others were so far into the distance that Hamish was often just looking at trees and those he could make out just looked like ordinary bucks.

It’s hard to explain the different physical features on an animal you can’t see.

I was bitterly dissapointed and actually packed my phone away, after we had seen the giraffe as prior to this we had sped past the emu and I was trying to keep Hamish comfortable on my lap and prevent us both from falling off the seat and bumping onto the railings.

The last 25 minutes of our drive I was willing it to come to an end now.

I was really dissapointed that this was Hamish’s first experience at something that should be magical in the eyes of a child.

It has however prompted us to ask few questions before booking any further game drives anywhere with a child.

Questions you should ask before taking your child on a game drive

  • Does the child have their own seat
  • How long is the drive ( this matters, especially if the child does not have a seat)
  • Are kids given a treasure hunt of animals to find or a spot sheet to tick off
  • Is their information avaliable for children on the animals before or after the drive?
  • What time is the drive? ( this also matters for naps, feeding of children, ect)
  • How many animal species approximately are seen at each time.
  • What is the best time for maximum exposurea to the animals
  • How close do you get to the animals
  • How many people per vehicle
  • Is alcohol permitted on a drive
  • If yes, can I request a family friendly game drive without alcohol being allowed and does this cost extra?
  • How are rude/unruly guests dealt with on a drive
  • Will mine and my child’s questions be answered along the drive
  • Is the drive child friendly
  • Can a car seat be inserted
  • What can I take along on the drive
  • Who do I complain to should the game drive not meet standards

Whilst bitterly dissapointed at our first game drive with Hamish, I’ll certainly do more research before booking a weekend away and wont just jumping on a game drive without asking enough questions for usto ensure he is safe and enjoying his adventure.

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Christmas, Events, Family Life, Family Time, Giving back

Slide into Summer with some Frozen Fun at Canal Walk Shopping Centre

Canal Walk Shopping Centre’s Frozen Fun Slide Park celebrates the launch of Disney’s Frozen 2

Get ready to slide into summer with the arrival of Canal Walk Shopping Centre’s Frozen Fun Slide Park, which opens on 29 November 2019 and runs until 5 January 2020.

The school holiday entertainment celebrates the eagerly awaited launch of Disney’s Frozen 2, the sequel to the smash hit 2013 movie, Frozen.

Frozen 2 follows Elsa, her sister Anna, and a host of friends, including the lovable snowman, Olaf, as they set out on their latest quest and will hit the big screen in South Africa from 6 December 2019.

Frozen Fun Slide Park

The Frozen Fun Slide Park is made possible by a collaboration between Canal Walk Shopping Centre (CWSC) and The Walt Disney Company Africa.

Sharing in the excitement of the upcoming launch, Canal Walk’s Marketing Manager, Vanessa Herbst said:

“Fans have waited for this movie for a long time and with its release on the 6th of December coinciding with the school holidays, we wanted to make the most of this magical time of year and give visitors a special Frozen experience.”

Canal Walk is well known for its family focused fun-filled events, and the Frozen Fun Slide Park will be no exception, with four frozen slides of varying heights appealing to thrill seekers of all ages.

But, if building a snowman is more your style, then an Olaf snow play area will help let the inner creative out.

Sessions are 45 minutes every hour, on the hour and will open from 10H00 each day (except 25th December and 1 January 2020), with the last session at 20H00.

This allows plenty of time for festive season shopping, or for entertaining energy filled kids during the holidays, not to mention a space for mom and dad to chill out in the heat of summer.

Ackermans print for Free!

The fun doesn’t stop here though. Ackermans is the retail sponsor for the event and will open a pop-up Frozen character activation at the event, where youngsters (and those young at heart) who have purchased a plain white t-shirt in store, can have a Frozen 2 character printed on it – for free.

The pop-up will operate at specific times. Check out the Canal Walk website for details.

Extended Shopping Hours

It is the festive season, so CWSC will extend its shopping hours from 29th November.

The Canal Walk Express and wrapping station will open on 6 December – wrapping starts at R15 per item and funds will be donated to charity.

Donate an Olaf

Because this is indeed the season of giving, a giant celebration tree will stand guard in the Food Court. Adorning this, will be a host of Olaf plush toys, you can donate R50 so that these cuddly Olafs can be given to children supported by Reach for a Dream or receiving treatment at The Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital, and Tygerberg Hospital.

Tickets

Tickets to the Canal Walk Shopping Centre’s Frozen Fun Slide Park are available on www.webtickets.co.za and on site at the event ticket booth and cost:

R100 – full rider

R80 – mini rider

R35 – non-rider.

Other Attractions

Meet Santa

Dates: 13 – 24 December 2019

Time: 10am – 9pm

Venue: Canal Walk Centre Court

Kids World Express

Dates: 7 December – 12 January 2019

Venue: Upper Level, Centre Court

Times: 10am – 5pm

Tickets: R20 per person

Magical Gift Wrapping

Dates: 6 – 23 December 10am – 10pm & 24 December 10am – 9pm

Prices: R15 – R55

Visitors are encouraged to share their festive experiences with Canal Walk Shopping Centre ….

Website: canalwalk.co.za

Facebook: Canal Walk Shopping Centre

Twitter: @canal_walk

Instagram: @canalwalk

Hashtag #FrozenFun #CanalWalk