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

SA National Park Week 2021

As a South African citizen you can visit any National Park for free during this year’s 16th annual SA National Parks Week from 22 – 26 November 2021.

Everyone over the age of 18 years must produce an SA ID or SA driver’s license to enter the Parks. It’s important to note that no electronic copies of ID will be accepted.

Extensions

The Bontebok, Tankwa Karoo, and West Coast National Parks in the Cape Region will be extending SA National Parks Week until Sunday, 28 November 2021.

The Agulhas and Table Mountain National Parks will host SA National Parks Week until Friday, 26 November 2021.

Cape region parks

If you are in the Cape Region during SA National Parks Week, here are some things you can do:

• SANParks – Agulhas National Park Explore the Southern Most Tip of Africa which boasts magnificent views. You can also take a walk along the shore to view a graveyard of shipwrecks along the Agulhas coastline.

• Bontebok National Park – SANParks

One of the smallest parks offering you sightings of countless Bontebok roaming around. You can also go canoeing along the Breede River Dam, and enjoy endless hiking trails to explore and embrace what nature has to offer.

• SANParks – Tankwa Karoo National Park

Experience the quietness and most scenic 4×4 routes that this park has to offer.

• SANParks – Table Mountain National Park

Enjoy a braai at one of the many braai spots such as Tokai Forest, Newlands, and Oudekraal, and indulge in the essence of the Cape of Good Hope with the many activities it has to offer.

• SANParks – West Coast National Park

Just inland from the secluded harbor of Saldana Bay, and only 2 hour’s drive from Cape Town’s City Centre, you will find the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the focal point of West Coast National Park.

So put on those hiking shoes, grab your cameras and head out to nature.

Posted in Family Life

6 things to do before you throw away an old cell phone

We all know that feeling of getting a new phone and instantly trying to transfer our data from our old phones.

The old phone is then cast aside or handed down to someone who can use it.
But
Did you know that experts recommend that you do the following 6 things before getting rid of your old phone?

Things to do before you change to a new phone

1. Backup
Your cell phone, if it is anything like mine has half of your life on it. Everything from to-do list notes to a calendar full of family birthdays and phone numbers for Lucy’s mom and that lady who cells honey. Not to mention the gazillion photos you don’t want to lose.
In order to not lose any files or important information, you can back up this data to a USB or cloud file.
It’s also worth clearing your cookies at the same time.
2. Sign out of all of your accounts
You will want to remove any apps that you’ve downloaded and sign out of all your accounts. This clears the phone memory and gets it ready for the next user, ensuring that your personal information stays safe. Always keep a list of passwords so that you can sign back into the accounts like your email, social media platforms, and banking Apps on your new phone.  You will also want to remove your phone from any 2-factor authorization accounts in your Google account ND remove it from platforms like iPhone and iCloud.
3. Change your account passwords
I must admit I thought this was silly advice until I realized that although the old phone would be reset, things like my banking App would be much safer if I changed my password.
4. Unpair from devices 
You will want to unpaired your Bluetooth from all authorized devices. Especially if you are connecting to things like smart TV., blue tooth speakers, or home printers.
5. Remove your memory and sim cards 
Once you’ve logged out of, unpaired, and backed up everything remove your memory card and SIM card. These often contain your personal information and things like contact numbers. For many of us, we will transfer these to our new phones. If you are not using your Sim card, cut it up to prevent anyone from using your information.
6. Reset the phone 
By resetting the phone back to factory settings you will wipe out any data or information left on the phone and prepare it for its next user.
If you use an android phone often many larger chunks of data like email addresses and documents will not delete with a factory reset so before you reset the phone you will need to go to settings and choose to encrypt phone first and then choose to reset to factory settings.
With many of us working from home and online it has become more important than ever to educate ourselves in how to keep our online data safe.

 

 

 

Posted in Crafts, Cricut Projects, Halloween

Make a spooktacular easy Halloween t-shirt for your child

With Halloween just around the corner, I asked Hamish today what he wanted to go dressed as and he answered that he really wanted a Ghost t-shirt and so with the helping hand of my trusty Cricut maker I whipped him up this cute ghost face shirt in a few minutes.

Doesn’t he look boo- tiful?

How to make your own

You will need: 
  • Plain white t-shirt
  • Black felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors or a Cricut machine
( You can see my guide on how to cut felt on a Cricut maker here)
To make
On the Cricut 
Choose a design from the Design Space App. ( I used the premade design Pumpkin Body Suit which uses the image Scared Pumpkin Face.  These images are approximately 8.25cm x 12.7cm so depending on your shirt size, you may want to enlarge your design before cutting.)
Load the pink mat with your felt.  Add more pressure before cutting and follow the prompts on your machine to cut the design.
With scissors 
Trace or draw pattern pieces onto paper, you could draw these free hand. Pin to your felt and cut out 2 eyes, a triangular nose, and a mouth.
Once you have your pattern pieces cut out, use your fabric glue to glue into place.
Leave for an hour before allowing your child to wear.
Hand wash your t-shirt when dirty.
Posted in Blog posts, Family Life, Health & Wellness

Tips for outside play with your toddler

Studies have shown that a small child needs a minimum of 15 minutes outside play each day. As a mom of a busy little boy I personally find that 15 minutes would be way too short a time for him to get all his energy out but now that we live in a flat and especially during the very windy or rainy days, we do try to get at least those 15-30minutes outdoor play in during our day.

Why is outdoor play important?

Playing outdoors has many benefits for children (and adults) some of them include :

  • Vitamin D – Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin as the sun is the best source of vitamin D , being outside helps your child get the vitamin D needed to promote calcium intake to grow their bones and help their bodies to develop.
  • Gross motor skills – outdoor play promotes gross motor skills and gives a child wide open spaces to exert themselves.
  • Fitness- being outdoors promotes a healthier lifestyle and encourages your child to boost their fitness level.
  • Knowledge – Being outside is a great way for your child to understand and explore the world around them. Being outdoors will naturally encourage them to discover and explore, promoting a love of learning and developing their natural curiosity. It will also encourage them to use all their senses as they investigate their surrounding.

How to get your child outdoors more often

Now that we know the benefits of taking our children outdoors to play, here are some fun ways to get outside for some quick play time with your toddler.

Dress well

When headed outside, check the weather. Often times, as in Cape Town we can have four seasons in one day, I will pack a warmer or cooler set of clothing in a bag to take with. if it is slightly drizzling, you can add a raincoat and some wellington boots for some fun running in the rain or if you are heading to the beach pack in a costume and towel. Be careful of  your child over heating if they are dressed warmly. When we exercise our bodies get warm and if dressed too warmly your child may over heat.

Hydrate

Keeping hydrated is very important, even if you are only outside for a short while, your child will be exerting themselves through play so always offer them a bottle of water or juice after or during  play.

Let outdoor play be natural

Introduce outdoor play as a natural part of your daily routine, this way your child learns to enjoy being outside and sees it as a natural thing to do.

Indulge in your child’s interests

Indulge in your child’s interests and encourage their discovery. If your child likes flowers, plant a garden. If they love bugs, go on a bug hunt. Find them a strong tree to climb if they enjoy climbing or help them to make mud pies, build pretend roads or look for imaginary fairies under mushrooms.

Go for a walk

Often if the day has been busy or Hamish has been extra busy that day we stop what we are doing and go for  a little walk. These need not be long and can include looking for flowers, spotting birds, counting cars, identifying colours and numbers and learning road signs. you could take a scooter or bike with you to exercise those gross motor muscle. Often even the shortest walk is enough to refocus and break the monotony of the day.

Go for a run

One of our favourite ways to get outside as a family was to join a park run. (Pre-coivid) Running gets your endorphins flowing and is good for you. Take a ball, hula hoop, skipping rope or cricket set outside and get running.

Make it fun

Never let your child feel like being outdoors is a negative experience or a chore as this will affect their fitness levels as they are older.

Some fun activities you could try with your children are ;

  • wash the car together
  • take paints outdoors and paint rocks
  • have an outdoor picnic
  • go on a scavanger hunt
  • join a beach clean up
  • spend time planting a garden
  • build a fort in the yard
  • fly a kite
  • play a game like cricket, baseball or rounders
  • kick a ball
  • play in sand or mud
  • add a container of water
  • use water guns or water balloons
  • play with some toys in the shade
  • play in a paddling pool
  • search for insects, butterflies and frogs

Which ever way you choose to enjoy the outdoors always make it fun. Setting a positive example to our children now will help them enjoy keeping fit and healthy as adults.

 

 

Posted in Family Life

A Letter to my Son’s Favourite Teddy

Dear teddy
I remember the day we bought you. Hamish and I were enjoying the last mama magic expo pre-pandemic.
We came across the build a bear stand and Hamish, who was just under 2 years old, eyed in on toothless the dragon.
Toothless, however, was way out of my budget, as most build a bear are but there you were …. casually smiling at me.
Happily Hamish cuddled you and we went through the process of hugging your heart and stuffing you before he ceremoniously loved the fluffing into you and tried to carry you around the rest of the expo. You were almost the same size as him and just as as heavy.
That same day we headed on holiday and you became Hamish’s sleeping companion and best friend.
Over the years, you’ve not been left out of one adventure. You’ve been dragged by the ears, the arms, the legs and unceremoniously dumped on beds and couches.
You been on every holiday, beach trip and car drive.
You’ve been puked on and washed more times than I know .
You’ve scared away monsters and played in mud. You’ve painted, played and developed a personality all your own over the last years.
But
Slowly I see you aren’t invited along on adventures. Your bravery isn’t needed as much. Quietly you sit alone in the room more often only to be snuggled at bed time.
Slowly I see a little boy growing up and needing you less and less.
I know you’ll still sit on his bed for many years to come but I’m sad to see him need you less yet at the same time I love that he is brave, and kind, and gentle and loving because of you.
A teddy holds a special place in a little child’s heart, arms and imagination and You’ve walked all the important things, the big things,  the small and the scary things with him on his journey.
You are his first friend and his first true love.
Thank you for being his teddy.
Love
Hamish’s mommy
Posted in Family Life, Parenting

How to keep a sick child entertained

Hamish caught a cold over the weekend and with a slight fever, I decided to keep him in bed today. Now, if you’ve ever tried to keep a 5-year-old in bed all day you will know just how hard a task I took on. We settled down in my room with some snacks, flu meds, and a lot of liquids.

To begin with, he was happy to watch his tablet and indulge in far too many episodes of Power Rangers on YouTube kids but all too soon he got really restless. It was time to get creative in order to see that he rested. Here is how I kept him busy.

 

Ways to keep your child busy when sick

 

  1. Read together

This is always my go to and we grabbed his new books from Little Book nook and the Wimpy.

 

  1. Colour in or draw

After reading together I brought through his lap desk and I read him the jokes from the crazy book of laughs from the crazy store while he completed the fun activities. We also coloured in his colouring in book. Butterfly products sell a wonderful range of kids colouring in books if you are looking. These are also very reasonably priced.

 

  1. Playdoh

It wouldn’t be a day in bed without playdoh and he sat for a while cutting shapes and creating characters.

 

  1. Magnetic toys

We have a few magnetic toys but his favourite is currently a magnetic skeleton model by Melissa and Doug which kept him busy as we discussed the different organs and parts of our bodies.

 

  1. Podcasts

Kids podcasts and online stories are also a good way to keep a child entertained. We haven’t yet started listening to podcasts with Hamish but I have a wonderful selection of read with me cd’s that he loves to listen to.

 

  1. Photo albums

We took a stroll down memory lane and I pulled out his baby book, book of baby scans and other albums I have of pictures. I love looking at old photos and Hamish thoroughly enjoyed seeing himself as a baby.

 

  1. Forts

To keep Hamish lying down and in bed I allowed him to set up his Bush baby tent in my room and this gave him a great space to lie and watch his movies whilst not feeling like he was in bed.

 

    8. Play hospital

Misery loves company and so we doctored his favourite Build a bear teddy to be sick with him. Teddy had to take medicine and nap just like Hamish.

 

  1. Yoghurt pops

To soothe sore throats making homemade water lollys from fruit juice or yoghurt pops will encourage your child to eat more and ease the pain.

 

  1. Board games

Board games always keep us busy and as a family we could keep busy for hours playing new games.

 

Some of our favourite games are :

Chess

Uno

Scrabble

Snakes and ladders

Checkers

Ludo

Domino’s

Card games

 

  1. Eye spy

Playing eye spy is a lovely way to keep Hamish still and we will often lie on the bed taking turns to spy or guess.

 

  1. Scavenger hunt

Another great way to keep house-bound kids busy is a scavenger hunt. I’ll often change these up to follow a theme like colours, food, shapes, etc and we search through a room to find the items.

 

  1. Take a walk

Even the best-behaved child will get tired of 4 walls. Instead of fighting with them go for a short walk around the house, garden or in our case the complex where we live, to smell flowers, photograph the birds and spot insects.

 

However you choose to keep your child entertained, remember to keep them comfortable, offer a lot to drink, give extra cuddles and encourage them to rest by sleeping as often as they will.

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Family Life, Parenting

Safe Online Games for Children

I sat with a friend the other day and as we have both raised adult children and are once again bringing up little ones, we discussed how things had changed with the introduction of technology, technological devices, and technological toys being so readily available today.

Ten or fifteen years ago we allowed our teens to get cell phones at 16, bought specific learning programs for our PC for younger kids, and only let them play games if they were on a console like PlayStation or Wii.

Nowadays my 5-year-old has his smartphone, used under supervision and mainly for youtube kids. He also owns a kids tablet, several smart toys that require technology to work, and can use a laptop as well as we can.

Naturally, screen time is a concern and we balance his technology time with other activities like playing, crafting, reading, and being outside.

but

We do encourage him to play educational games and as a homeschool mom, I firmly believe that his general knowledge, reading skills, maths skills, and logic are developed through the use of online educational games.

Finding good quality online games

So, I am constantly looking for good quality, trusted sites where I can find new games that will both stimulate and entertain Hamish. One of the great sites I’ve come across is http://www.plays.org

Plays.org is a user-friendly site that offers you a wide assortment of free, fun games that you can quickly play on your browser.

Unlike many other game sites which have a ton of ads or require downloads before you start to play, I discovered that Plays.org did not require you to register or set up an account before playing. You also do not need to download an App first, instead, you can simply log on and pick a game to start playing any time you like.

The games are simple, easy to beat, and reminiscent of the old Nintendo console games.

Their simplicity, and lack of ads and upgrades needed, for me as a mom, allows me the knowledge that Hamish is playing a game intended to let him have fun, learn something and retain the innocence of childhood, even in such a fast-paced modern world.

Top 3 Games that we are enjoying

I have only been using the site for the last month and we’ve tried several games, however these are the games we are currently enjoying for entertainment and learning at home…….

Pac-Rat

I love this game, inspired by the arcade classic Pacman.

The object is to eat the cheese whilst avoiding the cats. Your child will use the arrow keys to move the rat and a level is complete when all the cheese has been eaten. However, if a cat bumps into you are dead, unless you ate a power pellet which turns you into a ghost and lets you eat the cats.

Unlike the original Pac-Man, this game is easier with just 6 levels and slower speeds.

This game is fun and great to replay until you master a level. Hamish at 5 thoroughly enjoyed this and did not find it too difficult.

AGE; 5+

Complete the Sequence

This cute kindergarten maths game requires your child to put the numbers in the correct sequence. With 3 levels of difficulty – easy, medium, and hard- your child can pop the bubble that contains the correct number to finish the sequence.

A great beginner numbers game that allows your child to practice maths skills, number recognition and develop their hand-eye coordination as they look to find the correct bubble. A graph underneath shows if the sequence is in ascending or descending order and all sequences are randomly generated.

We are currently using this game as a brain break in our homeschool maths lessons.

Age: 3+

 

Dinosaur Train bridge builder

This has to be Hamish’s favorite game. He loves dinosaurs and has watched every episode of Dinosaur Train and so finding a fun game with his favorite dinosaurs from Troodon Town was a bonus.

Designed for preschoolers, your child will help the dinosaurs to cross the chasm by breaking down numbers and adding them up, finding the length of the chasm, and choosing the log bridge units that are the same length as the chasm.

When your child has found the right length the dinosaur will cross the bridge. This took some time for Hamish to master but it was easy enough for him to grasp after I initially showed him how to measure.

Age:3+

Comments

I was impressed to find that there is a game for everyone. From educational games that help your child with reading, spelling, and maths to character games like Avengers, Tom & Jerry, and Batman to simple old-school fun games like Tetris.

The games are both PC and smartphone or Tablet compatible, allowing you to play anywhere and the games save to your web browser for you to log back in and replay.

Overall I was really impressed to find such a comprehensive library of fun and educational games on a safe site to use for Hamish.

Have you tried this site before? If so, what was your favorite game?

Posted in Family Life

Checkers Oh my goodness snacks

Oh my Goodness…healthy eating choices for kids

One of the things we are increadibly strict about is giving Hamish the option of healthy snacks to nibble on.

Especially during the pandemic when we need to keep our immune systems at their optimal best.

Knowing this we try to keep fresh fruit and yogurt in the house daily.

However we have lived through a few weeks of quarantine and self isolation over the last 17 months and have found that giving him dried fruits and other forms of healthy food options that he a longer shelf life to be just as beneficial to his overall nutrition and health.

One of those options is the Oh My Goodness snack range from Checkers.

oh so goodness snacks

About the range

The Oh My Goodness range was developed for Checkers in 2017, by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsy and his daughter Matilda.

These were designed as on the go or lunch boxes snacks and they are especially great for packing in as healthy lunch options.

The Oh My Goodness range includes :-

  • Mini rice cakes- these include no MSG and are gluten free.
  • Health bars – are raw with no added sugar or preservatives.
  • Fruit gums – these are artificial flavour and colourant, preservative and sugar free. They contain 99% pure fruit.
  • Cookies – with 30% reduced sugar.
  • Berry flavour sparkling water – made from natural spring water and high in vitamin C.
  • Yogurt melts- these are freeze dried fruit and yogurt drops.

Other products

Oh my goodness also have a range of easy to heat up ready cooked toddler /child meals.

All meals are MSG free with no added sugar or salt and contain no preservatives or artificial colours or flavours.

My thoughts

Overall I’ve been very impressed by this range and have used it since 2017 for Hamish.

I especially found it helpful when trying to pack a busy school lunch box in the rush of a morning and to quickly heat up a meal if I cooked something for the family I knew Hamish wouldn’t eat.

He loves the range. We currently buy them weekly, however as a busy and active boy of almost 5 I do find the snack portions quite small and find myself often offering 2 snacks instead of 1.

But they make the best on the go snack for little ones.

Oh so goodness for kids
Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschool

Get a personalised call from the Paw patrol

Get Chase or Skye to call your child

The Paw Patrol movie was released nationwide yesterday and many a child is waiting to see Chase on the case.

Now, you can book tickets and surprise your child with a personalized call from either Skye or Chase himself letting them know they are going to see the movie.

Imagine their excitement as their favourite pup gives them a call.

The link is free to use and you add your child’s name. Then you choose from one of 4 good things your child has done.

Your chosen pup then calls and announces that your child has been well behaved and is going to the movie theater to see Paw Patrol the movie.

On a level of cuteness this is a ten.

I’ve just had a look at the link and can’t wait to surprise Hamish in the morning before we take him to see his favourite puppies in action.

Let me know how your children enjoyed this.

The link to get your own personalised Paw Patrol call is Here

Paw Patrol

 

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

100 Easy Ways to help your family become more eco-concious

100 Easy ways to help your family become more eco-concious

Over the last year I have started to focus more and more on the small steps we can take as a family to become more eco-concious and sustainable in our everyday life.

I recently compiled a list and thought I’d share them for anyone else on the beginning or even long into a more sustainable, green and healthy life choice.

The Earth is what we all have in common.

Wendell Berry

100 Easy ways to become more eco-concious

  • Walk – wherever possible walk to where you are going. Start a walking club, especially if you live in an area that may not be that safe and walk in groups. Walk with the kids to school or to a bus station, train station or taxi rank to cut the use of fossil fuels
  • Public transport& lift clubs – make use of public transport as often as you can. The less cars on the roads the better.
  • Lunches – pack your lunches in reusable containers or beeswax covers.
  • Takeaways– supply your own containers and eco coffee cups when buying takeaway to reduce the amount of packaging used.
  • Straws – wherever possible use reusable or biodegradable straws.
  • Baby nappies- use cloth or choose your disposables well as you do get “Green” biodegradable disposable nappies, they however cost much more than less eco conscious brands.
  • Meatless Monday- choose vegetarian options as often as you can if you can’t commit to becoming vegetarian or vegan.
  • Bathing & showering – shower more regularly and keep these short. If you do bath, use the water to flush toilets, wash items or water plants and gardens.
  • Car – using cruise control on your car will save on fuel.
  • Maintenance – service your car and big appliances often as this will ensure they last longer saving you buying new ones each year.
  • Shopping – Batch your errands and shopping to allow you to be in one space and get everything done at once. This saves on fuel.
  • Reusable shopping bags – Take your own reusable shopping bags with you when you go shopping.
  • Screen time – limit the use of screen time and technology, saving electricity.
  • Lights – switch off any lights that you are not using and switch to energy saving bulbs
  • Recycle – take the time to sort your refuse into recycling, not only is it good for the earth, the animals will be safer.
  • Repurpose – repurpose items into arts and crafts projects or new gifts, decor and toys.
  • Reuse – Buy second hand and support thrift and charity shops. Reuse containers and other items for new purposes.
  • Regift – Anything you’ve not used in 6 months is most likely not going to be used. Regift your unused items to family or friends who may need it or donate to charities.
  • Wrapping paper – reuse any wrapping for other gifts or use newspaper. Save gift bags and reuse them or use fancy scarves, dish towels or other material to wrap a gift.
  • Nature– spend more time outdoors.
  • Think of the environment– when choosing activities to enjoy as a family choose from those that have the least impact on the environment.
  • Be the example – model the change and eco friendly practices you are trying to achieve or implement in your home.
  • Talk to your family – teach your family to be eco conscious and talk to them about why it is so important.
  • Litter bugs – Do not litter. Join beach clean ups or other litter clean ups as families to highlight the importance of not littering.
  • Clean home – Keeping a clean home and teaching our children to respect their belongings as well as their environment is the foundation to teaching our children to become eco concious.
  • Washing clothing – use cold water to wash your clothing rather than hot water. This won’t affect how clean your clothing becomes.
  • Full loads– never run a machine without a full load. If you are doing the washing wait until you have a full load.
  • Detergent – Try to use a green detergent brand and if not,do not use use too much.
  • Hard chemicals– where possible stay away from hard bleaches. You can use a homemade bleaching agent which is much softer on fabrics and surfaces.
  • Dry cleaners & Tumble driers – avoid them both. Make use of the sun to dry your clothing.
  • Freezer efficiency– make your freezer more efficient by ensuring it remains full, even if just with ice as your freezer still uses energy to freeze this space.
  • Shut the door- try not to open and close your fridge door often. Take everything you need out at one time or pack everything back together.
  • Clean your fridge– a Crack to the fridge seal or a leak can cause your frqidge to use more energy. By keeping your fridge clean weekly you will spot these faults easily. Vacuum the back coils and clean the door seal often.
  • Cooking – use a pot the correct size as the burner plate to avoid losing heat and wasting electricity.
  • Put a lid on it – use a lid in your cooking pits to allow you to cook on lower settings and save electricity.
  • Ovens – only pre-heat for baking. Do not open the door often and turn off a few minutes before the food us cooked and use the heat to continue cooking your meal.
  • Appliances – purchase energy efficient appliances
  • Laptop vs desktop – when choosing a computer always buy a laptop as they use 10% less energy than a desktop.
  • Printer power– If you need a new printer, invest in an ink jet printer as it has a low energy consumption.
  • E-waste – recycle your ewaste in order for it not to full up landfills.
  • Batteries – use rechargeable batteries, saving the need to constantly buy new.
  • Disposable products – change as many disposable products like razors, toothbrushes, etc to sustainable options.
  • Organic– Buy as many organic vegetables and fruit as possible.support your local farmers and farmer markets.
  • Pesticides – Do not use pesticides in your garden.
  • Watering plants – water your plants in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid over watering in the noon sun.
  • Planting – plant more trees, bushes and indigenous flowers. Succulents look beautiful when blooming and use very little water.
  • Keep track – sit down as a family and look at how much electricity and water you use, discuss ways to reduce this and work on achieving using less each month.
  • Trash cans – have a Competition by giving each family a bin and see who uses the most dirt in a week. The winner could get a prize.
  • Trees, glorious trees – plant as many trees as you can.
  • Adopt an area – adopt an area. This could be a stretch of beach, street, park or community garden. Keep this area litter free and visit often.
  • Compost – start a family compost bin to use in the garden.
  • Start a garden – even the smallest home can have a garden. Starting a container garden or vegetable patch will save money in the long run and save you trips to the shop.
  • Furniture – use furniture made from natural materials or buy used furniture to upcycle or repurpose.
  • Containers – save your containers to reuse as pot plants, to package meals for the homeless or store small nick nacks.
  • School duties- any lighly used school supplies or unused books and other stationary can be donated to local schools and charity organizations for others to reuse.
  • School uniforms – most schools have a thrift store where you can buy gently worn school uniforms or donate back to when your child outgrows theirs. Many times these shops assist parents who can’t afford uniforms.
  • Toys & books – pass them down, recycle, donate or sell old toys to toy exchanges or on Facebook market place.
  • Old clothing – like toys and books you can pass them down, recycle, donate or sell old clothing on Facebook market place. For clothing that is stained you could turn it into rags and old tshirts can be used to make yarn wool and recreate an entirely new item.
  • Hygiene products – if you have a store of hygiene products you were gifted and won’t use, other than re-gifting them at Christmas you could donate them to a local old age home or homeless shelter.
  • Napkins vs serviettes– choose material napkins over serviettes and material placemats over paper printed ones.
  • Left overs – pack any left overs into a reusable container instead of a wax or plastic wrap. You can freeze these. We often can’t eat the left overs fast enough and will leave the containers marked for the homeless.
  • Make your own – make your own natural detergents and household cleaners.
  • A cup of water – when brushing your teeth or when men are shaking try to use a cup of water instead of running the tap. If you must run the to switch it off until you need it,do not let it continue to run.
  • In the pantry – always keep lemon juice, bicarbonate and vinegar. You’ll be surprised at how usefullthese products are.
  • Car wash – when having your car washed use a professional car wash that uses recycled water.
  • Rainwater – collect your rainwater to reuse on plants.
  • Reusable bottles– pack your coffees, teas and cold drinks into reusable bottles, cups and flasks. Take these with you when you go out.
  • Evening in – use the car less and replace an evening out for a date night in or a family meal specially prepared and decorated for at home once a month.
  • Exercize – walking or riding a bike to where you are going is a great way to exercize.
  • Make your own – convenience foods are super handy but it is easier on the environment and much less packaging if you make your own things like smoothies, cake mixes, baby foods and pre- cooked meals.
  • Water – don’t continue to buy a new bottle of water each time, use a bottle that is reusable.
  • Aircon– the air-conditioned takes a lot of electricity a much more efficient option is a ceiling fan. Allow your aircon to warm up before just adjusting the settings and service it often to prevent leaks.
  • Gas – switch off any gas when not in use.
  • House colour matters – if you live in a warm continent you should paint your house a light colour and likewise if you live in a cool continebt it should be a dark colour. This will save up to 5000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Repair – repair items that are broken.
  • Minimize– Buy less stuff and only own what you need or use.
  • Free cycle- I personally live the Freecycle services on Facebook and it allows people to give away the items they don’t want or look for items they need.
  • Go digital – use as little paper as possible.
  • Online shopping – online shopping saves you needing to go into the shops, thus less cars on the road and tends to help many people stick to a budget and only buy what they need.
  • Green gifts – when gifting for family and friends choose green options.
  • Businesses– support businesses with good environmental records and policies.
  • Buy local – Buy local products. Craft fairs, farmers markets and online marjet places are the best way to source local products.
  • E- tickets – purchase all your tickets online where you can.
  • Online banking – go digital and print less. Do as much of your banking online as you can.
  • Make up – choose brands that are not tested on animals
  • Food waste – don’t waste food. Only use the correct amount of ingredients to make what you need. If you have left overs freeze them or save them to give to the homeless. Teach your children not to waste food.
  • Plastic – try to cut out plastic all together and buy products and toys made from. Wood or sustainable products.
  • Lego – repurpose and Lego or plastic building blocks by donating them to schools or charities,reading them in crafts or sending them back to the Lego factory for recycling.
  • Insulate your home– this will help you save on electricity during winter.
  • Microwave – as crazy as it sounds the microwave uses less electricity than a stove, use your microwave where you can.
  • Avoid flying – flying is one of the most environmentally damaging things you can do and besides road trips are much more fun.
  • Seasonal foods – only eat foods, fruit and vegetables that are in season.
  • Open windows – opening your windows allows fresh air into your home, avoids a mould build up in damp spots and gives you a great opportunity not to use the aircon.
  • Volunteer – use your time to volunteer in projects that you are passionate about for example I love the beach and attend every beach clean up that I can.
  • Educate – use opportunities to teach others how to become more eco-concious.
  • Energy audits- energy audits are a thing and you can get one done to see just how much electricity your family use and where helping you to conserve electricity going forward.
  • Shower – install low flow shower heads in your showers so that you do not waste water.
  • Toilet buddy – place a brick in your toilet cistern or get a toilet buddy to stop the toilet filling up as full. Many of us don’t think how often we flush the toilet nor how much water it uses with each flush.
  • Recycle – recycle all your waste correctly. Set up separate bins to do this.
  • Fish are friends – only eat fish that are in the SASSI green list. And if eating out ask the waiter if your fish is from the green list.
  • Toilet paper – purchase recycled toilet paper. My favourite is Gud sheet.
  • Bird & butterfly feeders – encourage birds and butterflies into your garden by putting out water, feeders and planting flowers to attract them.
  • Save the bees – encourage bees in your garden and only shop sustainable local honey.
  • Cellphones – unplug your cell phone if it is done charging.
  • Reuse the paper – keep any paper that kids can draw on if it’s been used on one side, or shred it to make packaging and pet rodent beds.

This is a very practical list of very easy ways you and your family can start to become eco-concious. Don’t aim to achieve them all in the beginning, rather pick one or two at a time to start to implement.

Let’s change our world for the better.

Have I missed out any others? List them in the comments below .