Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Family Time, Health & Wellness, Parenting

Practical presents for kids who love gardening

Hamish and I love to spend our time ouside and starting a little garden with him has been a goal since I bough him home from hospital.

And whilst we’ve done a few little gardening projects, I really wanted him to be able to enjoy his new hobby with kiddy sized garden tools.

So, when I saw the stunning little garden kit from Practical presents, I knew I’d found the perfect way to start his hobby.

Who is practical presents ?

Practical presents is owned by a mom who understands the practicality of including quality essentials without breaking the budget but who is also mindful of the excitement of the little ones opening their gift.

With a range of gifts that suit most price ranges you can find practical gift hampers for a mom to be , toddlers and even for the young adult moving on their own for the first time.

I love that not only is the pricing affordable but these gift boxes can be ordered online and delivered to the child as a fun way for a distant relative, like a grandparent or aunt, to send a memory making activity.

The garden kit

Hamish’s kit contains everything you need to get your spring garden growing.

🌸watering can
🌸garden tool set
🌸decorative flower pot
🌸Starke Ayres kids flower seeds

Why you should Garden with kids

Gardening with children promotes responsibility, a love of nature and helps to strengthen the child/parent bond.

A child also learns early biology by understanding the plant life cycle and learning how to care for plants.

Our gardening experience

Hamish was very excited when we planted our little pot and there was so much giggling as he slowly dropped little stones into the pot.

Next he filled the pot with some soil, added some seeds and watered everything ,while I explained how the flower was going to grow from a seed to a plant but it needed sunlight and water.

The watering can is his absolute favourite part of this little garden kit.

When we had finished he carried the pot inside and asked about eight times if the flower had grown yet.

Wish me luck as we wait for the first seed to sprout.

* garden update …..Unfortunately Hamish overly loved his plant and gave it far to much water, so we are currently trying a second time to grow some seeds.

To order your own kits visit http://www.practicalpresents.co.za

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Family Time, Fine motor activities, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

Hamish was gifted this stunning Fit and Fun Mr Ring from Chicco

He absolutely loves it but it’s taken a few weeks for him to learn to throw the discs over this modern ring toss game, instead of just placing them onto the poles.

The cute hedgehog face base rotates at 2 different speeds, which challenges his attention every time and is awesome for building his hand eye co-ordination skills.

The 8 coloured rings, 2 of each colour pole, are made of lightweight plastic making it the best game for playing indoors as I know he can’t break anything.

Also great for little ones who have just started matching and grouping colours, as Hamish first used this to match the pole and discs according to their colours.

Now we play a variety of games, allowing him to learn to follow commands.

For example :

  • Throw the purple disc onto the red pole.
  • Throw 3 discs onto the blue pole.
  • Throw all the discs onto the yellow pole.
  • Throw the colour disc onto its matching pole.

You could make up any combination.

Of course he loves this version of play, as he gets to tell me what to do when I take my turn.

The poles are also removable, making it easy to store or to take with if travelling.

It plays 6 different melodies.The tunes are plesant and not overly loud, so if you had a baby sleeping your toddler could still enjoy this game without it waking baby.

This fun and funky musical game stimulates manual co-ordination and fine motor skills.

A welcome addition to any toddlers playroom.

For more information contact http://www.chicco.co.za

Posted in Crafts, Events, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, recipes

World egg day …. 4 fun family egg activities

Eggs are not just a great source of protein, they also feature quite a bit in our activities throughout the year.

I thought I’d share a few of our favourite ways to play with eggs today on World egg day.

1. Marbled eggs

Breakfast is the perfect way to introduce eggs , whether you like your eggs fried, poached, scrambled or boiled….there’s an egg for everyone.

One of my favourite ways to serve eggs to the kids, as I had some fussy eaters, was to give them dinosaur eggs.

Our dinosaur eggs are actually just boiled eggs that have been given a marble look using food colouring.

You can read how we make them here

You could also use the boiled or fried eggs to create pretty food pictures like we did with this egg-stra special breakfast

2. Egg and spoon races

When my eldest, now 27, was about 3 years old we did our first egg and spoon race. Just her and I and a dozen eggs that cracked very quickly. 🤣

There was a lot of mess, a lot of giggles, a lot of fun and the biggest lesson to a little girl that it’s ok to make a mess ….we can clean it.

Over the years we’ve had countless races with friends and families.

3.Blow eggs and paint them

Blowing eggs is a lot of fun and my boys always enjoyed the part as the egg sploshed and slithered out the little hole.

We wash the egg in soapy water, dry and paint using craft paints or undiluted food colouring.

You can also draw on them with markers. One of the easiest ways to work with your egg as you try decorate it is to place it on an empty toilet tube. You can also leave it on here to dry.

We once attended a holiday camp where the eggs were painted with icing sugar coloured in food colouring.

4. Egg rolling

For this you give each child an egg outside and let them roll it to an end point without breaking it.

We once gave the kids wooden spoons and fly sweaters to see which worked better when moving the eggs with gentle taps to the end.

( it’s a good idea to keep extra eggs for tuse little hands that may be a bit too excited)

How ever you choose to celebrate eggs today we hope you enjoy an Excellent day

Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears

A pledge to play

In July Hasbro gaming sent us a lovely campaign to pledge along with a pinkie promise to make time to play with our children.

Monopoly South Africa interviewed a few kids and the biggest result after being asked what they would do to get their parents to play was that parents realised children wanted them to engage and play with them more.

You can watch the video Here and read more about it Here

How many of us parents actually set aside time to play with the kids?

Research shows that learning through play is an important part of a child’s development.

Through play children learn many different skills they will need in their life such as:

  • Problem solving
  • learning cause and effect
  • Learning how to play with others through compromise, conflict resolution and sharing
  • Development of fine and gross motor skills
  • Nurturing their creativity and imagination
  • Discovering their independence
  • Building a positive self-esteem

Our pledge

We took the pledge and I promised that this would be more than just another campaign for us. Whilst I spend a lot of time with Hamish it is also getting easier as he gets older, to allow him to play by himself whilst I work.

So, I promised to keep my pledge to him.

So far, we’ve had good days and not so good days. But in all of them I’ve tried to remain totally present and engaged in the activity we are doing.

Whether we are busy with Playdoh, a game or reading.

Life changes

Some of the things I have changed to incorporate more time to play in my own busy schedule is :

  • Firstly to be aware of when I’m on my phone and to put the phone away when we are playing or reading.
  • To limit screen time for our entire family.
  • To not watch that last last episode and to rather use this time to bake or cook or read or play a game.
  • To have regular picnics
  • To include Hamish in the kitchen making a game out of cooking
  • To have monthly meals or braai with our entire family
  • To stop working from 5pm to 8pm when he goes to bed
  • To play board games
  • To have regular family outings
  • To make Sundays family only days and focus on play and togetherness
  • To make shopping a game or at least interesting if I cant shop online

Play is an important part of our childrens learning as is engaging with us. Because of this I pinkie promise to keep pledging to make more time to play.

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

Fun mamma School Holiday Challenge …. a look at our 10 days of fun activities.

These school holidays I set a daily challenge to encourage parents to spend some time just playing with their children.

All of the challenges were inexpensive, easy things to do at home that did not break the bank.

These were the challenges

On Day 1 we went for ice cream at our local KFC.

Day 2 was more messy as we made our own homemade paints to play with.

These paints were made by adding a few drops of food colouring to yoghurt.

On Day 3 we went on a nature treasure hunt. I think this was his favourite out of all the activities.

I drew a list of things for him to find and we took a walk to find each one.

For Day 4 we played an old fashioned game of hide and seek. Playing with a 3 year old has its challenges. He kept hiding in the same place.

On Day 5 we drew self portraits. I tried rater unsuccessfully to get the entire family to join.

This was also a very special activity as I’m going to get Hamish to draw one once a year and note his progress over the years in a special scrapbook.

Day 6 was to build a blanket fort. I managed to get one up but Hamish prefered pulling it down.

On Day 7 we enjoyed some water play. We had gotten home late and so I added an extra cap of bubbles and we filled the tub with bubbles. It wasn’t long before we were throwing bubbles at each other.

Day 8 we got to move it ! move it ! I took our dance party outside as we were at the Wordcamp kids daycare fir the day.

For Day 9 I gave Hamish some chalk and we went outside to draw pretty pictures on the concrete.

Day 10 and the last Sunday of our challenge. It rained and we decided a lazy Sunday cuddling up and watching movies Hamish chose was the perfect way to end our challenge.

The simplistic activities are often the ones our children enjoy the most. These are the fun things that become part of the memories they look back at when our children raise their own.

Spending quality time, even 20 minute a day totally present with your child is important. Doing things they love allows you to connect closer to them and builds their self esteem.

If you joined our challenge I would love to hear your thoughts on the activcities.

Posted in Brands we love, Cape Town - Things to see & do, Events, Family Time, Fine motor activities

The LEGO® certified store opens in Canal walk

Yesterday we attended the opening day of the LEGO® certified store in Century City’s Canal walk shopping centre.

Unlike some fans, who had camped out in front of the store over night, we arrived at 10am and took our place in the queue.

We were handed brochures containing a LEGO® minifigure piece and encouraged to build ourselves at the minifigure building station, once inside the store, using this piece for R20.

The crowds were kept entertained by KFM radio, who were broadcasting from inside the store. We even spotted the KFM penguin mascot.

I was really concerned about standing in long queues with Hamish, who at 3 years old can bearly stand still long enough to get his shoes on, but with all the excitement of balloons and giveaways he was perfectly happy to wait his turn to enjoy this unique experience

LEGO® certified stores are renowned worldwide for their remarkable focus on customer service and this was certainly demonstrated yesterday as I observed moms with babies being taken through first to avoid niggles and as we were handed bottles of LEGO® branded water whilst we waited.

The queue moved quite quickly and we soon found ourselves waiting outside the doors for our turn to enter as Hamish admired the model of a Harley Davidson, made entirely from LEGO®

I had read that each LEGO® certified store offers a uniquely local experience and the essence of Cape Town is certainly represented by the giant Mother city mural, depicting Table mountain,on the wall ….

and the quaint model of Bo kaap that captured my attention with it’s familiar bright colours.

Inside the store was hectically busy and honestly we were not able to enjoy all the offerings of this fun filled store as the crowds were eager to explore.

The LEGO® certified stores offer a variety of fun LEGO® installations, extended and exclusive kits and unique experiences that are not avaliable through other toy distributors.

This particular store has :-

  • A Pick a Brick wall, where customers are given a choice of plastic cup size to fill with bricks of their choice from a wall of colorful options.

  • A mini figure building station where you can dream up your own creations fom a large variety of parts and options.
  • An augmented reality screen which showns you a 3D image of the box set you want to purchase helping you to visualize your buildig project.
  • And special building areas to keep little hands busy and encourage creativity.

Hamish and I had a quick walk around and have decided to explore and build his mini figures a little later,when the store is less crowded.

He did however enjoy learning some fun LEGO® facts ….

And discover how many LEGO® meters tall he is.

After we both made mental wish lists of all the kits we would love, we heade outside of the store to enjoy the entertainment area.

Here customers who had made purchases could enter a lucky draw and the children were treated to special activities for them.

The LEGO® bowling was Hamish’s favourite. ( How cute are those mini figure plushies?)

There was also a colouring station, LEGO® building station and a giant pit full of LEGO®

It was a great morning out and I see this store becoming a regular monthly visit for our LEGO® crazy little boy.

Posted in babies, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

School Holiday challenge … Day 3

Sunday’s are family days. A time to connect and spend time together.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to get outdoors. Put on those Takkies and take the family for a walk. This is both healthy and fun.

A fun way to make this more exciting is to challenge the kids to a nature hunt.

A nature hunt is a list of items they need to find in your back garden, the park, or on your stroll through your neighbourhood.

Try to make your list relevant to your childs age and abilities. For example a little child may just look for a flower, whereas an older child can be asked to find a specific flower like a rose, sunflower or lily.

Here are some examples of a few fun nature hunts.

( photo credit unknown or on image .)

Make your own

Take a piece of paper or card. Draw or list a few items you want your child to collect.

Give your child the list and a marker to pick off each item found.

Just for fun

You could also divide into groups and see who finds the items fastest.

Happy hunting mammas.

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

Wise words for parents

Raising children can both be stressful and difficult at the best of times.

As a parent you will find yourself questioning and second guessing so many of your choices wondering if you have done the right thing, made the best choices or handled a situation ccorrectly.

Here are some wise words to help along your parenting journey.

Wise words for parents

1 Apologize to your children when you are wrong.

2. Say thank you to your children when they do something for you or give praise when they help others.

3. Admit when you’ve made a mistake.

4. Listen to your children.

5. Set boundaries for acceptable behaviour.

6. Lead by example.

7.Teach and practice compassion, kindness and love.

8. Explain to them that actions have consequences, good or bad.

9.Enjoy watching and nurturing them.

10. Lastly, enjoy the privilege and responsibility of being able to guide and shape your children into becoming responsible well adjusted adults.

Posted in Family Life, Family Time, Parenting

The greatest gifts you can give ….

The greatest gifts you can give someone are your time, your attention, your love, and your concern. …

These words have so often graced the posts on Fun mamma SA , and we read , nod our head in affirmation and go on thinking how we can afford our next holiday ,new car, ect.

This month let’s stop and take notice of the relationships around us -partner- children-friends-work colleagues- and truthfully, from our hearts put these into practice.

Time and attention

In our busy world finding time for our families and friends can be difficult, especially with the demands and stress of life .

But how nice for us to wake to a friend or family members email, or social network message .

If you have older children or are separated from your children, a good morning message and good night hugs mean more than a lengthy email. Share short messages , jokes or photos during the day , all of these say “I’m thinking of you”.

Put aside 20 minutes a day for individual time with each child – if you can pencil in gym, shopping,tennis , you have time. Don’t make this homework time. Some of my favorites are a cuddle and story .

As a large family , this was often difficult when the kids were small -so my solution was to give each child a day , and we would walk alone to the shop to buy bread (and a small treat) and chat there and back.

Giving the children different age appropriate bed times also allowed for a small quick cuddle time just before bed.

Spend alone time with your spouse/partner daily , even if it just a special good night or a quiet chat in the car to the shops . Make the effort to spend at least an hour or two alone each weekend. Staying connected is vital to any partnership.

When we give someone our time , we also give them our attention. This says I think your worthy and I want to spend time with you.
Our children, especially , need this validation to build a healthy EQ.

I don’t believe attention can be divided as you multitask . If you are speaking to someone who’s mind is everywhere else and they are so busy with something -are they truthfully giving you their attention?

Stop what you doing …….attention is a gift to give and its gift wrapped in time .

Love and concern

Love your children and the special people in your life. This sounds so easy but can you love unconditionally?

Can you accept those around you, even with their faults? Do you forgive the small hurts and try to see the other persons side before answering In anger ? Can you unselfishly give of yourself to serve them?

We all need unconditional love and praise. We all need someone to believe in us and support us.

Our children learn from us , what are you teaching them about love ?

Having never heard my parents tell me they loved me , I determined that there would never be a day go by that my children would not hear the words ‘I love you ‘. So much so that as I call their names , they often turn and say “yes , I know -you love me! ”

This may sound overdone but when you feel loved , you have a healthy self confidence and your self esteem soars . I want my children to be the best they can be , for that they need to know they were always wanted and loved .

This is the same for couples -if you ask a majority of divorced couples what the contributing factor of their divorce -one will inevitably say that the other didn’t love them.

So how do we show love ? By giving of our time and attention . Seems so simple and yet we have so many lonely broken people.

Concern is our love and empathy for our friends . Treating them as we want to be treated . Making time for them and being their to support. Not because you always know or truthfully understand but because that person is important in your life and you care.

So this month , truly and truthfully give of your love , concern, attention and time .

Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Family Time

Take the HASBRO #SAVETIMEFORPLAYTIME pledge

#SAVETIMEFORPLAYTIME CAMPAIGN ASKS PARENTS TO PLEDGE MORE TIME TO PLAY

Hasbro’s #SaveTimeforPlaytime video, which showcases several South African youngsters discussing
what they’ll do to convince their parents to spend more time playing with them provided a heart-warming moment of clarity for many people.

While the kids promise to do the washing, make coffee, even trying out ‘puppy dog’ eyes to convince their parents to play with them, what they
don’t know is that their intended audience is listening behind the scenes.

The parents featured in the video all agreed that while they consciously know they are not always available or actively participating even when they are in the same room, what they hadn’t realised is the impact this was having on their kids.

After being part of this social experiment, they offered up a few suggestions to try and create more time during the day – these included not taking work home
with them, spending less time on their cell phone and actively prioritising play time, even just 30 minutes a day, which could make all the difference.

Because the idea resonated so deeply with the local audience, Hasbro decided to take the campaign one step further.

To encourage South Africans to make more time to play, Hasbro introduced the #SaveTimeforPlaytime pledge, complete with a pinkie promise, which asks kids and parents to suggest ways to make playtime a priority – and then commit to making this happen.

The evidence of the benefits of play is overwhelming. The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines prescribes active play for kids under 5 to increase their mental and physical wellbeing as they get older.

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights recognises play as an essential right of every child and the Flux Trends’ 2019 Report – describes how doctors are prescribing playtime for stressed, depressed children and their equally anxious, always-connected
parents.

Engaging in shared play time plays a significant role in parent-child bonding and provides
invaluable opportunities for parents to role model positive values and behaviour to their children.

According to Hasbro South Africa marketing manager and working mom, Cara Birkett, “The video highlights how important it is to make the moments you spend together count. By actively engaging
in playtime with our kids we are also encouraging them to spend more time at play. The Hasbro
#SaveTimeForPlaytime video shows us that it’s not necessarily the grand gestures that make the
difference but rather the small uninterrupted everyday moments that make memories.

To make your pledge and share your ideas on how you can #SaveTimeForPlaytime or get some tips from other time-starved parents visit Monopoly South Africa on Facebook and click on the Save Time
for Playtime Pledge Page.

To get you started Hasbro has a few tips on how to save some time and incorporate more play in a day:

  • Make the morning rush fun: The usual chaotic panic of getting ready for school can put everyone in a spin. Make the morning rush fun and ‘gamify’ getting ready with points for helping with breakfast, getting dressed the fastest, etc. The kids can redeem the points for
    playtime later in the day once homework is done.
  • Skip the shops: Grocery shopping takes time so why not skip the store and buy online once your little one’s in bed. You’ll not only save on time but fewer in-store impulse purchases will also be kinder on your pocket.
  • Ditch the extra episode: Watching one less episode of your favourite series means an extra 30 to 60 minutes to play! Have a family board games night, competing over the classics, like Monopoly or Jenga or get extra active with Twister.
  • Cook up a storm: Turn Sunday nights into family meal prep time. Encourage everyone to lend a hand to prep meals and lunchboxes for the week ahead. A big pot of stew or soup can be stretched across several meals, make two lasagnes at the same time and freeze one – this will go a long way in saving you time during the week.
  • Picnic time – turn one meal a week into a picnic night. Set out a picnic blanket in the living room and serve dinner picnic style. It’s a great opportunity to break the monotony and combine mealtime and playtime as the setting allows you to play a few games during dinner
    as entertainment.
  • Bath-time bribery: Another potentially tricky time for the family! Encourage older kids,
    especially, to stop arguing over bath time by striking a bath-bargain. If the child gets
    squeaky-clean super-speedily, there’s more time for a game of his or her choice!

“Parents work extremely hard and it’s completely understandable that sometimes the energy and time just isn’t there to make playtime possible. However, we’re hoping that the
#SaveTimeforPlaytime pledge will help bring to the fore how big a difference just a little bit more play each day can make and hopefully starting this conversation will encourage people to share their ideas on how they can save on time during the day,” says Cara.

Visit the Hasbro YouTube page to view the #SaveTimeforPlaytime video and Monopoly South Africa

/Save Time for Playtime pledge page on Facebook to make your pledge.