Posted in Education, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

13 ways to use Megabloks in the classroom

I’m a big advocate for learning through play and recently used Hamish’s Megabloks to do some revision on numbers colours and shapes.

For colours

1. I had him sort his blocks and divide them into groups of the same colour, then build only red / yellow towers for example.

2. We made patterns using the different coloured blocks. ( eg red / yellow /red /yellow/etc)

For fine motor

3. I had him use some mini pegs to peg into one of the bigger blocks

For shapes

4. He divided all the shapes into different shapes and classified them together.

5. He built shape outlines using the blocks.

6. I drew 2 sets of shapes on big blocks and he had to match the correct shape.

For early maths skill development

7. We divided and classified the blocks into small, medium and large.

For number work

8. We counted out the blocks in each group.

9. I numbered 10 individual blocks and Hamish then put these in order from 0- 10 and then 10 – 0 . He also built towers up to 10.

10. Using the numbered blocks I had him count out the correct amount of blocks infront of the number and then build a tower.

Following our colours,shapes and numbers revision we worked with some letters and cvc words as well.

For name recognition
11. I wrote Hamish’s name on 2 larger blocks using one spot for each letter and then on corresponding blocks and he matched them to spell his name.

For alphabet

12. I wrote the Uppercase on large blocks and the lower case on small blocks and he matched up the correct letters.

For cvc words
13. I wrote the end sound ,in this case -at, on a large block and several letters onto single blocks. Hamish placed each letter in front of the sound to make the words.

These are fun activities that can be prepared in just a few minutes.

I used a whiteboard marker to write on the blocks as this wipes off easily with a cloth and water.

Posted in babies, Parenting, preschoolers, Press releases, Toddlers

Squish Launches New 200ml Bigger Pouch for Toddlers

Photo credit: Rhodes Squish

For Growing Kids with Growing Appetites

South Africa’s, well-loved, convenient baby food brand, Squish has launched an SA first, a new larger 200ml pouch size especially for toddlers and their growing appetites.

The new, bigger 200ml pouch range sees the popular baby and toddler food brand extending its existing range of ready-to-eat 100% fruit and veg and yoghurt purees and pressed juices, giving parents another reason to love the 100% goodness and convenience of Squish.

The range includes three yoghurt flavours and three 100% fruit puree flavours packaged in the convenient new, bigger 200ml pouch.

“We have created this larger pouch size with our consumers in mind, providing a new, innovative solution for babies and toddlers with growing appetites,” says Tamara Patel, Brand Manager for Squish at RFG. “The bigger Squish 200ml pouch is perfectly sized for growing kids, in a convenient format that parents want, in a size they want.”

Patel explains that the latest extension to the Squish product range came after identifying the opportunity to introduce a larger pack-size, “The 200ml Squish range has been developed for parents who have grown to love Squish during their baby’s weaning journey, but are looking for a larger meal for their babies and toddlers as they grow older.”

“Like all our Squish products, the utmost care has been taken to ensure that we offer our consumers the best product possible,” she adds. “We do not compromise on quality ingredients, there are no preservatives, colourants, flavourants or starch, and we fully control our supply chain, meaning we can control the quality of raw materials from the fields, right through to the end product.”

She says, “Our Squish puree range is made from 100% fruit and vegetables, and is preservative, colourant and flavourant free with no added starch. Our 100% fruit and veg puree with yoghurt range is made with double cream yoghurt, not yoghurt powder, which offers us a notable point of difference.”

“With our new bigger pouches, parents can rest assured they are offering their children the same goodness and great taste they have come to rely on from the Squish 110ml range,” she adds. “We understand that parents want the best for their children, but they are often pressed for time. With the extension of this larger pack size, they can feel confident in the knowledge that they are not compromising on the quality of ingredients for baby through to toddler.”

“Over the past few years, we have seen a switch in consumer behaviour from jars to pouches. The pouch format offers a safe, hygienic and convenient offering,” Patel explains. “We saw the need to provide a larger pack to parents of older babies and toddlers. Where they would have previously purchased two pouches per meal for their growing little ones, the 200ml pouch is an all-in-one meal for an older baby, or the perfect lunchbox snack for a toddler”.

The Squish range now comprises a wide range of purees in 110ml and 200ml pouches, and a 100% fruit and veg pressed juice range ensuring that parents find a range of convenient, quality products to help them on their weaning journey, from starting solids right through to toddlers and beyond.

The products are available nationwide at top-end retail, wholesale and specialist chains – find Squish in the baby food section.

Photo credit: Rhodes Squish

For more information visit: www.squish.co.za or follow Squish on Instagram: @rhodes_squish

Posted in Competitions, Education, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting

Mega bloks bag + 1 bringing all the fun

Imaginary play is so important for children, it helps them process their world, learn boundaries and develop their creativity and imagination.

Which is why we love open ended toys like Mega bloks.

Benefits of building blocks

Mega bloks is a wonderful tool for early childhood development.

Not only do they build imagination and develop creativity but Mega bloks building blocks also develop skills in colours, numbers, shapes and even the alphabet.

Building with Mega bloks also :

  • Improves hand- eye coordination
  • Encourages social interaction
  • Develops imagination
  • Enhances innovative ability
  • Offers creative stimulation
  • Develops problem solving abilities
  • Improves organizational skills
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Teaches patience
  • Encourages communication
  • Develops creative thinking
  • Improves fine motor skills

Bag + 1

Mega bloks offer a wide variety of both building blocks and fully compatible toys that compliment your child’s play.

All Mega blok toys are designed to click, slide or fit onto the Mega bloks assisting your child to combine all their toys to get more enjoyment from their play.

Knowing this Mega bloks have a fun formula of play ….

Bag + 1 =fun

By combining a fun toy, like this Mega bloks tool box with a bag of Mega bloks building blocks your child’s imagination is the limit.

Let’s play

As I mentioned, we love Mega bloks and Hamish has been spending his time using his Mega bloks and Mega bloks tool set, constructing new homes for his toys.

This cute tool set comes with 36 pieces and includes:

  • A spirit level
  • Hammer
  • Screw driver
  • 2 screws
  • 2 nails
  • 4 blocks with screw images
  • Building plans
  • A block containing a gear
  • Sturdy tool box storage
  • 36 pieces of Mega bloks

I love watching him in play, as he uses the tools ( including the spirit level to see it’s even) and follows the building plans to become a master builder and create the buildings he imagines.

Join us and win

We would love you to join us and show us your ” Bag + 1″ Let’s build a house together moment.

Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and don’t forget to enter the competition to ….

*Win a MEGA Hamper: tag someone you want to build MEGA with in the comment and write what you want to build with them. Use the hashtag #buildMEGAtogether

*terms and conditions apply
Posted in Family Life, Mamma bears, Parenting

What to tell a mom today …

All day I’m busy.

I do not stop from the moment my eyes are open.

Mental load

I’m constantly teaching, watching for negatives, alert for danger, setting an example, worrying about my children, my husband, my home and trying to be present whilst also micro-managing every aspect of my life and multi -tasking the entire day to fit in my own needs.

Physical load

On top of the mental load, there is also the very real physical load mother’s carry.

Hundreds of cups of tea, never ending meals and snacks and not to mention the cleaning… I am always cleaning something.

Who cares?

And do you know who notices ?

No one!

Do you know who cares?

No one?

Do you know who praises me? Who says Thank you ?

Yes, you guessed it …

No one!

Not alone

But

I am not alone in this. I am joined by every other woman who has a home and family.

Every new mom hoping their child’s green poo is normal and every grandmother who still worries if she should have let little Billy cry it out or if her child’s inabity to stay in a stable relationship at 35 is her doing!

Yes, as moms we carry the unspoken mental and physical load of raising our families, working, looking after our home, being a partner, a good friend and still trying to remember who we are.

And more often than not we cry into showers and worry late into the night if we are doing it right …

Are we being good moms?

Judgmental motherhood

Surprisingly,

Although we know we are not alone in our overwhelmed and busy mom/wife life.

Although we wished someone knew how we felt and saw all we did….we loudly and competitively judge the mom next door.

We judge her for her parental differences.

We judge her for her beliefs, her cultural differences and the choices she makes believing they are the best for her family as she cries in the shower hoping she is doing this mom thing right.

We judge Mary for not breastfeeding and Sally from church for still co-sleeping.

We look at Jill disapprovingly, whispering how her child was expelled and to the lady in the bus we shake our head whilst her toddler screams through it’s 5th temper tantrum of the morning and we tsk! under our breath judging them for being bad parents.

Change of mindset

How strange our behaviour!

We long for approval, support and acknowledgement and yet, as moms …as women …we are the first to criticize and judge another mother who only wants the same as us.

A mom with the same worries, the same fears and the same tired black marks under he eyes as she tie up her unwashed hair into a mom bun.

This seems illogical and totally counter productive.

What if instead of judging and running down mothers we reached into the pockets of our empathy and became their greatest supporters?

What if we changed our mindset to see ourselves in that new mom, to identify our children in the toddler throwing yet another tantrum, to support the mom walking a hard journey the way we would want to be supported.

What if we stopped judging and started praising?

What if we looked at every fellow mother and told her what a great mother she really is.

Posted in Family Life, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

I love you more than daddy :- when a child prefers one parent.

I spend the vast majority of my day with Hamish as opposed to Brent who spends 90 % of his day at work away from the home.

Because of this I am Hamish’s primary care taker.

I also take on the roles as his friend and teacher. Which means I have an incredibly large influence in his little life.

But even I was rather taken aback when my 4 year old, giving me a huge hug said last week ” I prefer to you to daddy”

He continued with sentences like ” I love you more than daddy” , “I don’t like daddy” and “I love you more”

Concern

Naturally this concerned me. So, I asked Hamish why as Brent is really great with Hamish when he is home.

They play, chat and watch stories together.

From a child’s mouth

The answer he gave was that Brent spoke less gentle than I did and was grumpy.

He said I was calm and Brent shouted.

Which if you know us is the exact truth. I am more calm and patient, using gentle tones and words.

I’m less quick to get angry or upset and my children all have me wrapped around their fingers.

Brent is more stern and his words, to a child, could seem angry or punishing.

He is also faster to get annoyed or bugged by small issues.

So, it stood to reason that Hamish, who is naturally gentle, identified with a more gentle tone and approach and thus preferred to be around me.

But …

Still wondered if there wasn’t a more logical and proven answer to this favoritism.

Primary care

Children under the age of 5 are completely reliant on their care givers in order to survive.

This natural instinct, allows them to navigate and identify who their primary care givers are and how to meet their needs.

Knowing this, you can understand that a child who makes a statement preferring one parent to the other, does so out of need and survival and not as personal attack on the other parent.

What has in fact happened is that the child has identified one parent as more avaliable than the other and so they attach themselves to that parent and fight to keep that care and connection.

By voicing their favoritism, your child is protecting the relationship that they have identified as consistant and beneficial to their needs.

What about love

Just because your child has verbally chosen the other parent or physically fights to stay with their primary care givers does not for one minute mean that they do not love the other parent.

Pushing your child away

And whilst the words may sting or be hard to hear, the parent who is not being favoured should recognize this for what it is –

Your child’s ability to have their basic needs met.

Sadly,often times, on hearing that one parent is favored, the other may instinctively start to push the child away, taking the favoritism of the other parent personally and as a form of rejection.

What should you do?

According to most of the articles I read the first step is to :-

  • Acknowledge your child’s favoritism without taking it personally

You can also:-

  • Accept that your children are identifying where to get their needs met with the least resistance.

As a Parent it is best to :-

  • Offer to assist more in your child’s daily activities or be more present during the times you spend with them so that your child knows that you are also avaliable
  • Do not push your child away because you have taken their preference personally.
  • Know that children respond to consistency, safety, acceptance and connection

And importantly…

  • If you are the parent who is favoured, build up the other parent infront of your child and let your child know that they can rely on them.

Lastly

No one can be avaliable 24/7 for their children but the most effective way to build love and trust with your child is to be 100% present when you engage with your child.

At the end of the day your child really just needs you to be consistent, avaliable and love unconditionally.

Posted in Alphabet activities, Family Life, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers

Are you raising a sharer or a meanie?

Sitting with Hamish after his first week of school, we were going over the class photos and I was asking him questions to learn more about his first week’s experience at his new preschool.

Laughingly he couldn’t remember the kids names, aside from the 3 or 4 he obviously connected with and he spoke me through the activities they had done with his new teacher.

I was impressed at the gentleness that he described his teachers and the new songs and games he had learnt.

The we spoke about the kids and what being a good friend was. Very aware that some kids can be more dominating in a class I asked who played nicely.

When in conversation I try to not give him the words but to let him express himself fully in his words and experience and so the general question of who plays nicely allows him to relate his experience within his peer group.

Sharers

He rattled off about the kids who play with him, pointing them out to me.

He spoke about the cars and the animals and the little girl who shared the frogs.

Then

He said but mommy there some children who aren’t sharers.

I asked what he meant.

He explained that some of the children did not share the toys and said things like “I don’t want to play with you.”

My heart fell to my feet and I looked at him honestly and said are they meanies?

Meanies

Meanies is our word for children who hurt others, use their words to intentionally upset someone or break things.

We use this word instead of bully, as Bully is a strong word to use for preschoolers who may not yet have learnt the social cues to play with others.

He thought for a moment and honestly answered…

” No they not meanies, they just not sharers!”

And so we carried on talking about why sharing with our friends is important. How sharing is how we show kindness and love and lastly what to do if someone doesn’t want to share with you.

I feel strongly that giving him the opportunity to express himself, the ability to convey how he feels and the coping skills to overcome the effects and interactions with children who may not behave as he does is important for him to be able to integrate into his class, now and in future schools and to not be affected by bullies later on in his school career.

Raising kids who share

For me it has always been so important that my children be the ‘Kind Child’

That they are inclusive, gentle and share with their peers.

But how do you raise a child who will share?

You can read many books, you can pick more gentleness parenting styles and you can introduce as many games as you like but the first and most important way to raise a child who is inclusive and who shares is to model that behaviour in your daily life.

You are your child’s first teacher and the most important influence on their personality and character.

If you use gentle words, share with those around you and are non discriminate and inclusive, it is probable that your child will be too.

In short ….to raise a child who shares, you need to be an adult who shares.

Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Family Life, Family Time, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Health & Wellness, Life with my bears, Parenting

Is your child a KRAZI AWSUM KID ?

Every mom believes we have the most beautiful, wonderful and amazing children but how often do we remind our children how wonderful they are?

Now, you can gift your child with a positive affirmation to remind them just how amazing they are.

Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies have launched a range of slogan tshirts for the whole family to remind them just how KRAZI AWSUM they are !

Hamish loves his and likes to shout out “I’m krazi awsum” as a positive mantra. I love that he is developing a strong self value and when he forgets how wonderful he is, this shirt is a cool reminder should I forget to tell him often enough.

Shop

Krazi Awsum kid Tshirts R150 each

Krazi Awsum mama / papa
R220

KRAZI AWSUM custom shirts for any family member:

Granny
Grandpa
Aunty
Uncle
Sister
Brother
Niece
Nephew

Or how about reminding someone what a great job they doing or celebrating a special milestone ….

Krazi Awsum:
Teacher
Boss
Friend
Artist
Bride to be
Matric 2020
Husband
Wife

This design is copyright Krazi Awsum gifts and goodies 2020

( Last orders for 2020 are 1 December in time for printing )

Contact Judymacgregor161@gmail.com

Or follow Krazi awesome on

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Posted in Family Life, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

A spring scavanger hunt

September brings the first day of spring and although Cape Town was certainly not showing any signs of spring weather in early September, I compiled a spring scavanger hunt to keep Hamish busy.

The hunt is designed to use on a walk about your neighbourhood but you could also use this inside your garden.

Scavanger hunt.

Look at your garden/park or beach and draw or write a list of things for your child to find.

We started nature walks and hunts when Hamish was about a year old and would collect things onto his pram.

Give each child a copy of the hunt and a pencil to mark off what they find.

I’ve found that this activity works well for smaller children if you attach your print out to a clipboard. This makes it easier for them to carry around and ensures the wind does not blow it away.

You could also give younger children stickers to stick on to mark off what they find instead of a marker.

If you know that you will do the hunt on a regular basis, you can save paper by laminating the print out and use a white board marker to cross off as white board markers will just wipe off the laminating.

Things to find

I put together a list of 20 easy to find items in nature.

  • Bird
  • Thorn
  • Ant
  • Spiders web
  • Leaf
  • Pine cone
  • Flower
  • Log
  • Rock
  • Mushroom
  • Cloud
  • Dandelion
  • Grass
  • Bug
  • Stick
  • Mole hill
  • Earth worm
  • Tree
  • Sand
  • Caterpillar
  • Bark

Happy hunting ….

Posted in Brands we love, Family Life, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting

What you need to know about Nerf blasters for younger children

As parents we took a stand to not let Hamish play with guns.

As he has gotten older and his comprehension has grown we have relaxed that rule to not letting him play with guns that look realistic and to include educating him in the very real dangers a gun can possess.

Boy toys

As much as we, as a society of parents,have started to move to a more open minded parenting culture many of our children’s toy manufacturers still have a vast amount of violent and traditional toys aimed at boys.

Shops are still divided into boy and girl sides with the boy shelves full of guns, army men and play sets that involve harming others.

It is also natural that many family members and friends still gravitate towards these gifts when buying for boys.

Nerf guns

This led me to openly look at what type of toy guns we could allow.

Bright blue, green and yellow water guns seemed safe and then I saw his eyes dart towards the nerf blasters.

These certainly don’t look like real guns but are they safe for small kids ?

What is a nerf gun?

A nerf blaster is a colourful toy blaster made by Hasbro that uses soft foam darts to shoot.

What does Nerf stand for?

I was confused as to why it was called a Nerf blaster but it seems the term describes the foam darts. Nerf stands for Non- expanding recreational foam.

At what age can a child play with a nerf gun?

The core Nerf range is suited for children aged 7+Although, Nerf have developed a range designed for an older market of 14+ (Nerf Rival)

I was interested to discover that they also have elements for a younger audiences including Nerf Nitro and the Nerf Microshot series.

Each Nerf product has a suggested age suitability on the packaging to guide you, the parent, in making an educated choice as to which blasters are recommended to suit your child’s age.

Which Nerf product would be best for a 4 or 5 year old?

For younger kids the smaller more compact models would be better suited as they are easier and more comfortable for them to manage and handle.

The Nerf Nitro has a recommended age from 5 years and comes with cars to act as targets for your child to shoot at. This is definitely the Nerf blaster we would look at for Hamish.

What safety precautions do we need to take with a Nerf blaster?

Nerf blasters are relatively safe. They have few movable components, limited power and shoot foam darts.

But as with any toy that could hurt someone, however slightly, it might be best to teach younger children:

  • Not to look down the barrel of the blaster
  • Keep the blaster pointed down and your finger off the trigger if not shooting
  • Don’t leave the blaster lying about loaded
  • Never shoot someone in the face
  • Never shoot at animals
  • Wear safety glasses

Final thoughts

I mostly like that this toy “gun” is known as a blaster allowing children to identify with it being a toy straight away.

I also like that the manufacturers have ensured that there are age restrictions to the blasters and that most sites I visited spoke of the Nerf blaster as a safe toy.

I like that the blasters are brightly coloured and even discovered a pink one on Amazon.

Overall, i can see that Nerf blasters encourage children to play with each other, providing action-packed and safe fun, indoors and outdoors.

Would I let Hamish get one?

Yes.

Being little though I would only encourage to him aim at inanimate targets and naturally teach him set of rules for play.

I think Nerf wars seem like good fun as he gets older. ( with the correct safety eye wear) and I can actually see my older boys joining in with this.

For more information visit here

Note:

For younger children especially adult supervision is recommended.

Posted in Crafts, Education, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

How to make a set of nature inspired number flash cards and counting poster for your homeschool classroom

Every springtime the Western Cape show cases the most gorgeous blanket of little wild flowers.

Every open field has huge spreads of whites or yellows or orange daisy and we are blessed to live very close to one of these areas.

Nature appreciation

Not only are these flowers beautiful they also hold an abundance of life in their little ecosystems.

Little ants that scurry about, earthworms underground, bees, dragonfly, bumblebee and beetles all gathering nectar….these can often be missed as we focus on the flowers.

But, I’ve always tried to teach my children the importance of nature, show her beauty and have them understand our role to protect and look after the world around us from ant to whale.

And so before we even started our activity, Hamish and I, first admired the flowers and sat along the side of the path watching the insect and bird life that danced amidst them.

Using nature to learn

Knowing how important it is for me that my children appreciate the natural world around them, I incorporate nature studies and the use of natural materials in our home classroom.

We count out sticks, print with leaves, have sensory play with mud and build with stones.

If we learnt flower parts we did so outside with real flowers. Shapes and patterns were identified in the garden and what better way to learn about the ocean than to be there?

A Pinterest idea comes to life

Somewhere along my late night Pinterest scrolling sessions, I saw a number freeze made by forming numbers with stones and leaves.

I knew I wanted to make this.

But, the stones and leaves looked dull against the grass background …what if we used flowers?

And so Hamish and I took a walk down the road and gathered several little white flowers to start our new project.

Counting flowers

As soon as we got home, I let Hamish cut the stems off the flowers and we started arranging flowers on the grass in the shape of numbers to photograph.

These number photographs have become the posters and flashcards we use in our classroom.

How to make a set of nature inspired flash cards and counting poster

To make your own you will need:

  • Wild flowers ( but you could do this with any natural item- shells, stones, sticks, leaves)
  • Scissors to cut the flowers
  • A container to gather the flowers in
  • A camera ( your cell phone camera will work just fine)
  • A grass background ( although you may want to use a wooden background, sandy beach, mud, ect)
  • Printer or printing facility
  • Laminator or laminating facility

To make:

  • First gather all your flowers. We used about 20 flowers and made two numbers at a time. Reusing the flowers for the other numbers so that we didnt have to cut that many flowers.
  • Next arrange the flowers into the number shapes.
  • Photograph each number.
  • Edit your photographs until you are happy.
  • Have each photo printed. I printed A4 to make the number freeze and printed 2 images on an A4 piece of card to cut into A5 sized flash cards.
  • Have your posters laminated and display.
  • Cut your flash cards in half and store neatly.