Posted in Brands we love, Christmas, Education, Family Life, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

3 Trending Technology gifts for kids this Christmas

Christmas time is the time for gifts and festivities, but how many of those gifts last into the New year?

Many parents are choosing to invest in technology gifts to help their children to foster a development of skills and knowledge that will equip them for tomorrow’s workforce.

Whilst the assumption that doing this may force children to grow up too soon, as parents, we also need to remember in our ever changing world, toys are advancing.

Technology toys range from STEM building kits to children’s tablets, loaded with software to encourage knowledge and learning in a wide variety of learning areas.

Making technology toys a winning combination of fun, imagination and learning.

The perfect gifts to invest in.

What are STEM toys

STEM stands for Science , Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Toys or learning kits that fall onto this category are thse that promote the learning of these areas.

You can read more about Stem for kids. And see an example of a first stem kit for preschoolers.

My top 3 technology gift guide

So, as a mom what would I be choosing ?

Here’s my list of the top 3 trending technology toys for 2019

1. Smart watches

Smart watches are widely available. They start at a price range of R300.

Most smart watches are touch screen and have a variety of features, but as parents our favourite feature is the GPS tracker.

With these watches you can also do two way chats, send an SOS, SMS, voice chat and have App remote monitors.

They are compatible with iOS or Android smart phones.

2. STEM kits

STEM is the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

There are many kits that encourage learning trough play by building and constructing these robots, solar transportation, creations and experiments.

You can buy simple kits that start at a price range of R50 from Game, Makro, 4akid and Takalot

3. Kids Tablets

Children love to use mom or dad’s phones and tablets.

Instead of fighting to use your phone or tablet, equip them with their very own safe educational tablet which usually comes equipped with educational games, pre-installed programs and applications.

These start from around R350 and are suitable from 3 years. Most tablets offer a warranty and come with parental control.

But how do you know which tablet to buy?

I found this guide from Pixelsmithstudios helpful.

This year give a gift that will keep them entertained, is durable and empowers your child to learn the skills through play.

Do you have any other Technology gifts you would add to this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

You may also enjoy reading about :

The Christmas kindness advent calendar

10 essential Christmas gifts for your baby

Posted in 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 Family Life, Life with my bears, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

What toiletries to pack for your 3 year old for a weekend away

We are going away this weekend as as much as I’m super excited and we won’t be too far from the shops, I’m still trying to pack so that we won’t need anything but also as lightly as possible.

Anyone with kids knows that’s near impossible.

Here’s what I’m taking in Hamish’s toiletry bag with us this weekend….

1. Clicks baby wet wipes

I’ve specifically chosen the Clicks baby brand of wet wipes as I know that they contain a little more moisture than most and I can squeeze a few together and clean more thoroughly. Being in the bush with lots of sand, we are going to need the extra water.

2. Hand sanitizer

For those moments when we are too far away from the bathrooms or taps. And for quick hand washes in the car before snacks.

3. Chicco strawberry toothpaste

This is Hamish’s toothpaste of choice and we thankfully have a few sample tubes, so can take a smaller version.

4. Colgate kids toothbrush

I find this toothbrush to be just the right size for Hamish with bristles that are not to hard for little mouths.

5. A rinse cup and tooth brushing time.

Because good hygiene routines don’t change just because we are away for the weekend, I’ll pack in his spiderman Character group plastic cup and a little tooth brushing sand timer that we bought from Diskem a while back.

6. Bennett’s bum cream

In case we need it. Honestly I hardly leave home without a tub.

7. Chicco anti mosquito products

I love this range and we’ve been using it for 2 months now …it works.

Hamish has been Mosquito free and as his skin is so sensitive I know this is a brand I can trust on his skin.

I’m taking the spray, as my teen Kerri has claimed the roll on, and the wipes which are nice and easy to just wipe him down with if he argues about the spray.

I’ve also packed in the after bite lotion just incase he is bitten.

8. Sunscreen

We don’t leave home without a sunscreen as Hamish burns so easily. Tis I usually keep in my handbag.

9. Johnsons and Johnsons 3 in 1 body wash

This product is devine. It smells fresh,makes just enough bubbles and is soft on Hamish’s skin. While I could use this as a shampoo as well I don’t.

10. Johnsons shampoo

We’ve been using this on Hamish’s hair for the last few weeks and I love the smell. I also like how shiny his hair is and that now with him trying to help me wash his own hair, it doesn’t burn his eyes like some others if it accidentally gets in his face.

11. A face cloth

Because we need to wash with something.

Can you think of anything I may have forgotten ?

Posted in Brands we love, preschoolers, Toddlers

Saving the day with Lieflap superhero felt dress up dolls

Hamish is a typical boy who loves anything to do with superheroes.

He spends hours submerged in imaginary play, pretending to be Batman or Superman as he saves the day from evil.

So, when I came across these little felt dress up dolls from Lieflap I knew they would be a hit with my adventure loving little boy.
The set comes in an attractive carry bag that has big strong plastic pockets on the outside to store your dolls in.
I was impressed that the pockets are wide enough for little hands to easily slide the dolls in and out.

The bag zips opens to reveal velcro strips on which to store clothing, masks and accessories.
Each one  of the pieces is handmade with so much attention to detail.
Hamish recieved this stunning superhero kit on Saturday and immediately launched into play. Inventing a make believe crisis for the  Hulk and Batman to rush off to and save the day.


As a young girl I remember spending hours playing with my paper dolls and love that these little felt dolls will give Hamish the same joy.


It’s the perfect quiet time activity, great for travel, classrooms, play therapy or to gift .


His kit included:

  • A green hulk
  • 2 boy dolls
  • A batman outfit and mask
  • A spiderman outfit and mask
  • An iron man outfit and mask
  • And a superman outfit and Cape


Lieflap do a beautiful range of princesses and other characters/accessories aswell.

For more information contact https://www.facebook.com/lieflap1/
Posted in babies, Brands we love, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

6 reasons I love this eco friendly giraffe play mat from Babyluv

We live in a really small space that is mostly tiles and I’ve been looking for a playmat to put down for Hamish to play on.

I specifically wanted one that was easy enough to move around to the area he wanted to play in and that I could take with us if we headed for a picnic or to the beach.

When I saw the Babyluv eco friendly animal play mats I knew I had found the mat I was looking for.

Why a giraffe ?

Looking at the cute designs of bunny, elephant and giraffe I chose the friendly lookng giraffe as he loves giraffes.

If you follow us on Instagram you would have seen the absolute delight on Hamish’s face when he recieved this package. He fell in love with the giraffe and insisted on putting the play mat on his bed to sleep on that night.

Why I love the eco friendly playmat

Firstly, the size…. it’s perfect for babies tummy time all the way up to preschool playtime, ensuring that you are investing in a product you can use for a while.

The mats come in two sizes and this is a large which measures 145cm x 195cm

Secondly, design …it’s just too cute. Hamish fell in love with the friendly giraffe and it will compliment most homes.

It’s the perfect play mat or carpet for bedrooms, playrooms, classrooms, travel, speech therapy, or rainy days at home.

Thirdly, its portable …this playmat folds up into a much smaller size and can be kept or transported in the little bag it comes with making it great for taking along to the beach, on a picnic, playdate or on holiday.

Fourthly, its non slip. ..Soft anti slip cloth underneath allows your kiddies to jump, roll and slide all over the mat without it moving.

Fifthly, its soft … it’s so soft that if you were out your little one , or bigger one could nap on it comfortably.

This breathable mat was made with comfort in mind.

And finally…. it’s easy to clean.

The mat is MACHINE WASHABLE and you can tumble dry (gentle/low) or drip dry.When cleaning use a mild detergent, no bleach. You can also use warm iron if needed to get any creases out afer washing.

This little mat is perfect for childhood adventures and I see many reading moments and puzzle play happening here for us as I love to play on the floor with Hamish.

For more information please contact http://www.babyluv.co.za

#sponsored

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

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

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

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

These were the challenges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in babies, Crafts, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to dye pasta

Coloured pasta is very versatile. You can use it in sensory tubs or to do a vatiety of crafts.

Here is how to dye pasta

YOU NEED:

Dry pasta

Vinegar

Food coloring

Parchment paper / wax wrap

Baking tray

Instructions

For every cup of dry pasta in a bowl, pour 1 tbsp of vinegar.

Add a few drops of food coloring

Mix together until all the pasta pieces are fully coloured

Place a sheet of parchment paper/ wax wrap on the baking tray and pour the coloured pasta on top.

Lay out the pasta in an even layer and let out to dry for a few hours in the sun.

Tip – Try to not have any of the pasta pieces touching when you spread them out to dry.

Posted in babies, Life with my bears, preschool, preschoolers, recipes, Toddlers

How to make Pirate bananas

Each year on the 19 September we celebrate International talk like a pirate day.

To celebrate this year Hamish dressed up in his pirate mask and ran around shouting “Arrrr! Me matey!” as he pretended to be Jake from the Neverland Pirates before we settled down to a breakfast of Pirate bananas.

Pirate bananas

I hear you asking what a pirate banana is….

It is simply a banana with pirate face drawn onto it. I saw one online somewhere and it has stuck with me.

Hamish loves them.

To make your own

To make your own you will need :

Bananas

A piece of cloth or serviette as a bandana ( I used Johnson & Johnson baby wipes)

A black permanent marker

To make up

Draw your pirates face onto the top half of the banana.

Fold your material to form a triangle and tie on.

These make a really cute lunch box suprise or party favour.

Hamish, being just short of 3 years old decided of course, that I wasn’t allowed to break the face when opening the banana.

Have to love a preschooler 🤦‍♀️

Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do, Family Life, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers

50 budget friendly fun holiday activities to keep the kids busy.

It’s the holidays and you have 2 weeks to keep the kids busy.

Whilst there are many amazing and wonderful programs, workshops and activities for the kids, often there are also parents who just can not afford to use these options as they exceed the budget.

Here’s my list of 50 budget friendly things you can do with the kids these holidays.

  1. Perform a puppet show
  2. Make magazine collages
  3. Play board games
  4. Have a bubble bath or fill a small plastic pool with bubbles
  5. Have a dance party
  6. Listen to an audio book or make your own by recording a book you read
  7. Make paper chains
  8. Build a blanket fort
  9. Make box cars, boats or houses
  10. Bake together
  11. Play dress up
  12. Go to the library
  13. Play a card game
  14. Build puzzles
  15. Blow bubbles
  16. Have an indoor picnic
  17. Go on a scavenger hunt
  18. Be superheroes with homemade capes made from towels
  19. Draw or paint a picture
  20. Start a scrapbook
  21. Make a video of your child singing or saying a poem
  22. Make paper aeroplanes
  23. Make and play with playdough
  24. Make friendship braclets
  25. Play with balloons
  26. Make your own musical instruments
  27. Paint each others faces
  28. Watch a movie
  29. Play hopscotch
  30. Have a tea party
  31. Make a car wash for toy cars
  32. Have a foam fight outside
  33. Make mud pies
  34. Finger paint
  35. Play in puddles
  36. Play hide and seek
  37. Go on a nature walk
  38. Plant flowers and start a garden
  39. Make shadow puppets
  40. Build a shoe box city
  41. Paint rocks
  42. Play charades
  43. Write letters to friends and family
  44. Write it tell a story
  45. Learn new songs or rhymes
  46. Read a book
  47. Build Lego towers
  48. Make a toy hospital and let your child be the doctor
  49. Run races or have an indoor obstaclean course
  50. Cuddle up and say I love you

How ever you choose to spend the holidays may then be full of love and memories.