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 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

Posted in Christmas, Crafts, Family Time, Giving back

The kindness advent calendar

I love everything about Christmas. I love the old traditions that mark the day, the holiday keepsakes, the cheap tacky decor that some shops sell and the lavish gifts all through the stores.

But more than that I love that Christmas is a time where families remember to include everyone, where neighbours greet and the malls are full of people smiling at each other. It’s a time where secret Santas are endulged in just to make someone else happy.

It is a time of magic and belief …

But it also fast becomes a commercial humdrum of wish lists and debit cards. Of us spoiling our children with expensive toys that to be honest may never be played with after Christmas day or are broken and discardead.

So, as we fill our homes with chocolate advents and cheap toys for bright red Christmas stockings, as we hunt down expensive wrapping and buy gifts that we have just paid off when Christmas rolls around again, how do we teach our Children the true essence of Christmas?

Kindness Advent

This year in our home I’ve started a kindness advent to do just that.

To teach Hamish, and remind ourselves, that Christmas is about our love and kindness for others.

It was incredibly easy to set up and you can use any little advent calendar that will hold 24 slips of paper.

We bought an Advent Calendar DIY kit from Busybean which Kerri stitched together one night a few weeks ago with her friend.

This little felt kit is much bigger than I first thought and each little pocket is big enough to hold a small sweet or toy.

Everything is precut and the numbers stick on with a little sticky tape. At a later stage I want to secure the numbers a bit better,by removing them carefully and gluing them on using bostick to make them more permanent .

This little kit cost R30 and was well worth the buy.

To personalise his tree, I added a few little Christmas pegs and each little advent pocket will hold a little slip of paper encouraging an act of kindness that we will help Hamish to complete each day.

My hope is that this becomes an annual family project and a reminder of the Christmas spirit.

Gifts of Kindness

The acts of kindness that I’ve included are:

  1. Feed the birds
  2. Donate 3 old books to a library
  3. Make Christmas cards for your friends
  4. Bake biscuits for your neighbours
  5. Take a treat to the police station, fire station , hospital or ambulance service.
  6. Phone your grandparents
  7. Make a special ” I love you gift” for your sibling(s)
  8. Smile all day
  9. Donate 3 old toys to a Children’s home
  10. Hug a friend
  11. Hide a happy rock that you paint for someone to find in a park.
  12. Do a chore for mom or dad
  13. Leave a Thank you note and candy cane for the mail man
  14. Gift 3 old pieces of clothing to a charity or homeless shelter
  15. Make a new friend
  16. Pick up litter or join a beach clean up
  17. Tell your family you love them
  18. Pick flowers for someone
  19. Make someone laugh
  20. Share your sweets
  21. Ask mom and dad to help you take treats to an old age home
  22. Help mom and dad prepare dinner
  23. Tell shop assistants to have a nice day
  24. Plant a tree

This is our list but you could write your own adjusting it to suit your family, child’s age and to acts of kindness that you are comfortable with.

Because the greatest gifts we can ever offer anyone are our time and kindness.

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.