Posted in babies, Education, Fun Mamma SA Products we love, Fun Mamma SA Toy of the Week, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, STEM, Toddlers

Fun maths games with Building Genius by Moluk

We are huge fans of the Moluk design brand and I can not recommend these open ended toys more.

Read my reviews on the awesome bilibo and oibo

So you can imagine our excitement when Straight_zigzag sent Hamish the latest product – Building Genius.

This soft, safe, silicone construction toy comprises of 3 of each of the brands popular products – Mox, Hix and Oibo.

Truly toys that grow with your child and can be used from baby stage.

With so many uses.

  • Your baby 0 -1 year can grasp and sense.
  • Toddlers 1-3 can stack and build.
  • Children 3 – 12 can imagine and invent.

We spent some time exploring the products and using them in lessons to:

  • count objects
  • sort colours and shapes
  • identify shapes
  • do maths sums
  • build

We also used them in play….

  • Hamish used them in free play with water to experiment with volume
  • we turned the hix into boats and see who could blow them across the bilibo fastest
  • he rolled the mox balls to the bilibo
  • practised throwing and catching with them
  • and he played with them using his imagination creating robots

The hix fold into 3 sizes and are great for fine motor development as your child manipulates the silicone into it’s different sizes.

The mox balls have groves that could look like eyes and slits which Hamish calls a mouth. You can post items inside for your child to get out or let them squeeze the sides to open the mouth.

The oibo are also flexible and the mox fit inside. Hamish loves to pop the balls in and manipulate the sides of the oibo to get them out.

How to use the Building genius in lessons

Nothing excites me more than a toy we can use in lessons, mostly because I know that I will immediately have Hamish’s full attention and that he will grasp the concept a lot faster because he is enthusiastic to play.

I jumped straight in by introducing the building genius to our next maths lessons.

We’ve been working on sizes and Hamish categorized the hix into:

– small, medium and large

-big, bigger, biggest

-small, smaller, smallest

Next we reinforced categorizing and sorting by placing the items on a piece of paper to match the colours.

Lastly we reinforced shape names and properties by looking at the hix, mox and obio and discussing what shape they were and how many sides each had. Then Hamish grouped each onto a piece of paper with its corresponding shape.

Using familiar objects and favourite toys in learning activities makes learning a concept much more enjoyable.

So, although Hamish loves to build and create his own items with this lovely set, he also loves to add them to his learning time.

I love the possibilities of play and learning that this set of toys offer and can’t wait to share the new and innovative ways we find to introduce them into our every day learning and play

Posted in babies, Brands we love, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Bring Home The Fun With Hasbro – why we use this site

Hasbro has launched Bring Home The Fun, an inspiring, purpose-driven website designed to support families around the world as they spend extended time at home and indoors.

Visit BringHometheFun.com to explore family-focused resources, including tips for family playtime, activity challenges to keep kids occupied, and ideas for using games and toys to stimulate kids’ brains.

The site also features resources to help children and families cope with stress that might be heightened among kids at this time.

Featured content includes:

  • mindfulness videos
  • service projects
  • activity guides
  • other resources developed through our philanthropic partners to help develop empathy and kindness in children.

Fun to watch videos include:

  • Play doh
  • Peppa pig
  • Nerf
  • Pj masks
  • My little pony
  • Transformers
  • Power Rangers
  • Ricky zoom

Fun to do activities from your childs favourite toys like:

  • Play doh
  • Baby Alive
  • Power Rangers
  • My Little Pony
  • Beyblade
  • Transformers
  • Fur real
  • Pj Masks
  • Ricky zoom
  • Peppa pig

Tried and tested

Hamish has been kept busy during lockdown with many of the play doh activities.

Some of the ideas we tried were:

This fun rainbow caterpillar to match our rainbow of hope. Rolling doh balls is a good fine motor activity.

A fire man truck to support our essential services.

A lion.

An elephant

And a lady bird.

There are so many more activities to do, each one designed to keep the kids engaged and entertained.

This has become my go to site for inspiration to keep Hamish happy throughout the lockdown.

Not just for the play doh activities but also to :

  • Make PJ mask character masks for imaginary play
  • Colour in his favourite Transformer characters
  • Make musical shakers with Peppa pig
  • Make a set of Peppa pig puppets
  • Make power ranger posters from the colouring sheets
  • Go on a scavanger hunt with my little pony
  • Complete the fur real Cubby activity book
  • And do some dot to dot activities with Ricky Zoom

As a parent I especially like the parenting resources in the parent solutions.

These activities have been chosen to help parents and children become more mindful and take part in a variety of activities and projects that help to focus on placing emphasis on putting empathy into action.

Some of these activities and projects include:

  • Decorating lunch bags
  • Interviewing a senior
  • Family good scavanger hunt
  • Be a bee helper
  • Making homeless care kits
  • Being water smart
  • Creating a recycled bag
  • Upcycling plastic bottles
  • Bookworm bookmarks
  • ABC flash cards
  • Gratitude journal
  • Gratitude letter
  • Encouraging kindness in kids

With so many resources avaliable to parents, it’s nice to find a platform that encourages character building, emphasizes empathy and kindness, educates parents and offers entertainment and family bonding activities through our childrens favourite characters. Helping them to identify and connect the lessons through play.

Posted in Education, Family Life, Family Time, Health & Wellness, Parenting, preschool, preschoolers, Press releases, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Takalani Sesame – caring for each other : Resources to help parents during these uncertain times

For over 50 years, Sesame Workshop have addressed important and difficult situations and provided support to families and children as they encounter these challenges in their lives.

Many of these challenges are surrounded in uncertainty and whilst we as parents, may not know what to expect, we know that we can rely on our Takalani friends to provide the strategies and messages to help us guide our children through these times.

Resources

As a direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic facing the world, Sesame Workshop’s Caring for each other inciative has launched new resources to assist parents and children.

These resources form part of an ongoing commitment by Sesame Workshop to help caregivers and children to navigate their ” for now normal” during this crisis and beyond.

What you can expect

The resources will also allow families and children to stay connected with the lovable Takalani Sesame characters on a regular basis.

The new resources will include:

  • Videos featuring our furry friends.
  • Printable activity sheets that focus on healthy habits
  • And playful learning activities.

Fun new resources

Sesame workshop continues to deliver on this commitment with the release of new content including:

  • Washy Wash with Elmo: Families can sing along with Elmo as he washes his hands for 20 seconds—washing the germs away and helping everyone stay healthy.
  • Learning how to sneeze and cough safely with Grover: Grover helps children remember that when they feel a tickle in their noses or throats, they should remember to sneeze or cough into their upper sleeve or elbow—that helps keep the germs off their hands and away from other people. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
  • Time to Wash Your Hands! Our Muppets demonstrate different situations where children and families should wash hands—after coughs and sneezes, before eating, after playing, after using the bathroom, and more.
  • Caring for Myself, Caring for Others: Our Muppets help children understand that when you take good care of yourself, you’re taking good care of others, too.

Takalani Sesame has long been a source of comfort for children and families during difficult times, and now more than ever, it is important to have healthy habits,be active and support our family and friends. What better way, than to learn with our favourite Takalani Sesame friends.

Together, we can help families get through these uncertain times and build hope for the future.

For more information visit Takalani Sesame

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

How to keep the kids moving during lockdown

With the current COVID-19 crisis and the enforced lock down in South Africa, the pressure is really on us parents to keep our kids fit and active at home.

But with so many other things to consider right now,fitting in physical activities can be quite overwhelming.

This being said, now more than ever, it is important to see our children happy and healthy. A large part of keeping your children both happy and healthy is to keep them enjoying physical activities.

Why is physical activity important?

Physical activity is vital to the healthy growth and development of children.

Physical activity ….

  • Strengthens bones, muscles and joints
  • Develops good posture
  • Assists with balance
  • Allows for optimal heart function
  • Assists with mental health
  • Acts as a stress reliever
  • And allows for better focus

How do you exercise whilst in lockdown?

Worldwide many countries are only social distancing which still allows you the freedom to :

  • Walk with your children
  • Hike a trail
  • Jog or run
  • Go for evening bike rides
  • Go swimming at the beach
  • Go to the park
  • Skateboard

Here in Cape Town, with a full lock down and people only allowed as far as their own yards,these exercises are not options but you can still :

  • Run races in the yard
  • Climb trees
  • Use a trampoline
  • Swim
  • Ride bikes
  • Play games like tag or stuck in the mud
  • Go on a scavanger hunt
  • Play sport games like cricket, soccer, rugby,netball or volleyball

For others even an outside game is impossible as their children are under lockdown in small flats.

How does a family continue to enjoy physical activity indoors?

Here are some ideas of indoor physical activities:

  • Build an obstacle course using your dining room tables and couch cushions
  • Play ball – bounce, roll or learn to catch a beach ball
  • Use a skipping rope and jump rope
  • Use tape to mark out a hopscotch on your kitchen tiles
  • Hula hoop
  • Host a dance party in the lounge
  • Balloon juggling – blow up some balloons and have your child continue to knock the balloon to keep it up in the air
  • Jog on the spot
  • Try online fitness classes
  • Do yoga for kids
  • Complete an indoor scavanger hunt
  • Play games like hide and go seek or farmer in the Dell
  • Give your child a small step ladder to climb up and down
  • Climb up and down stairs
  • Play musical chairs
  • Set up some indoor objects to go bowling
  • Play Simon says
  • Let them leopard crawl from room to room

Most importantly have fun and keep moving.

Posted in babies, Family Life, Family Time, preschoolers, Toddlers

6 fun water activities to keep the kids cool

One of the easiest ways to keep my children occupied was to just add water.

Here are 6 fun water activities you can do with the kids during the coronavirus lockdown.

Water fun

  1. Fill a tub of water, have lots of plastic cups/bowls/spoons/funnels/ect
  2. Colour the water different colours (helps to show colour combinations)
  3. Add bubbles and Lego blocks to the water for some sensory construction time.
  4. Make paper boats to sail in your tub. I have a wonderful paper boat tutorial
  5. Have a foam fight. Make big buckets of bubbles and let them throw it at each other.
  6. Draw with the water onto the concrete/driveway. You could also paint concrete fences and stones with water.

Water safety

Always be vigilant when children play with water.

It is proven that a child can drown in a small bucket of water.

Never leave a child alone during water play.

Posted in babies, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Free the dinosaurs – a fine motor activity for toddlers

This activity is a great way for your toddler to develop both fine motor and hand / eye coordination.

You will need:

  • Whisk
  • Items to place inside

For this activity I used a metal whisk as Hamish can manipulate this but a silicone whisk is recommended for smaller children, as a younger child would be able to manipulate the silicone whisk more.

I also used plastic dinosaurs. This was a good challenge for Hamish as his fingers were able to bend and move the dinosaurs to slide out.

For younger children you could smaller, easier to pick up items. Always watch a small child with anything that could be a potential choking hazard.

You can also use :

  • Any small toys
  • Pom poms
  • Bottle lids
  • Cut straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cut pieces of foam
  • Magnetic letters, numbers or shapes
  • Soft sweets
  • Socks
  • Blocks
  • Lego

How to play

Insert the dinosaurs into the whisk and let your child manipulate the toy and whisk until they have removed each one.

Posted in Family Life, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

Bubble snakes

Several years ago I remember one of the teachers I worked with made this activity for our class of 4 to 5 year olds.

The children loved blowing the long bubble worms and we had competitions to see who could blow the longest worm.

Yesterday, I decided to let Hamish try.

It took less than 5 minutes to set up and kept him busy for a hood half an hour.

🌟It is good to note though that kids tend to suck back, so watch small children when doing this activity.

You will need:

  • An old water bottle
  • Sharp knife
  • Sock
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Container

Method:

  • Cut the bottom off of the water bottle.
  • Place a sock over the open end.

  • Pour some dishwashing liquid into a container with a little water.

How to play:

Dip the bottle, sock end first, into the water to get wet and soapy.

Let your child blow.

This will form a long bubble snake out of the sock.

Have fun!

Posted in Crafts, Education, Family Life, Family Time, Life with my bears, Parenting, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

Our Covid-19 lockdown time capsule

This weekend we started our Covid-19 lockdown time capsules.

Why a time capsule ?

“A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as direct methods of communication with future people ” according to Wikipedia

We are currently living through a period of history that our children will learn about in years to come.

I wanted to preserve a box of mementoes for Hamish to remember this time.

How to make a time capsule

To make a time capsule you will need a container that will preserve over time and a selection of items that would tell future people about you, your family and the year you make your time capsule.

Containers like:

  • Metal boxes
  • Coffee tons
  • Glass bottles ( although these can break if buried)
  • Little wooden suitcases
  • Wooden boxes
  • Cardboard boxes ( although these wont last as long as others if buried)
  • Old ice cream tubs

What am I putting in our capsules?

  • A letter to myself. This will include a few random facts about myself like like age, family, where we live, my occupation and how I’m feeling.
  • Family photos
  • A group photo of the family we are in lockdown and one of each of the other kids where they are in lockdown.
  • A drawing by the kids of our family
  • Newspaper headlines or printed social media updates that are relevant to preserve about the Coronavirus.
  • An object to remember – for me this is a braclet with each of my childrens photos.
  • A painted rainbow rock

For Hamish

  • A copy of the Covid-19 time capsule printables by long creations
  • Information about the Coronavirus
  • A heart from his window
  • A photo of his chalk my walk
  • A photo of his teddy in the window
  • A few of his artworks
  • Some photos
  • Two of his dinosaurs as those are his favourite toys

Other items to include

Our time capsule will only be completed after the lockdown as I want to add a small item from each of his siblings into the container.

Other items you could include are :

  • Calendar
  • USB with movies or music
  • Items from nature
  • Toys as these change with time
  • Food items or sweets you enjoy ( but package these well in plastic)
  • Jewellery
  • Handmade keepsakes
  • Sports items
  • Or something that represents a hobby.

Building a family time capsule is both fun and a lovely way to spend time as a family.

Posted in Education, Family Life, Health & Wellness, Parenting, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers, Tweens & Teens

28 free resources to help your children understand Coronavirus

With the Covid-19 pandemic interrupting our children’s school year, normal life routine and ability to play with their friends they obviously have many questions.

So many of our children may have heard us talk about this deadly virus that is keeping us home and making us sanitise everything , and whilst we may have explained to them, they may still be anxious, worried, fearful or not fully understanding of the virus.

In light of this I compiled a list of 28 free resources to help your children understand Coronavirus and how to stay healthy during these times.

Education

  1. Hand washing printable from Parent24
  2. What is Coronavirusby National Geographic kids
  3. A wide range of resources on germs from Scholastic
  4. Printable posters in several African languages by SA organisation from The Good news guy

Books, stories and comics

  1. Free Covid-19 comic by Elise Gravel
  2. Coronavirus – a social story from Fragilex.org
  3. Kids reading and pdf colouring book about Coronavirusby Malia jones
  4. Hello ! I’m s virusby Manuela Cruz from Parent24
  5. Colouring in bookfrom St Jude together website
  6. Q is for quarantine- the ABC’s of Coronavirus a colouring in book by Brian & Gordon
  7. H is for handwashing by Sesame Street
  8. What is Coronavirus and how you can play your part to help the community activity book by Moments a day
  9. Shubert and Sophie stay home story by Concious Discipline
  10. Why I cant go to school story by Concious Discipline

Other

  1. Daily schedule from Just a mamma
  2. Toddler schedule from Busy toddler
  3. Positive posters by Squidoodle
  4. Colouring page from playing and learning
  5. Wordsearch
  6. Journal pages to remember this time by letgrow
  7. How to wash your hands videowith Beebee
  8. My healthy week printable to help your children chart their good habits by Sesame street
  9. Free Afrikaans Coronavirus colouring poster by Hero in my hood
  10. Free English Coronavirus colouring poster by Hero in my hood
  11. How to make a Tippy tap by Hero in my hood
  12. Covid-19 time capsule printablesby Long Creations
  13. How to teach young children about germs resource pack by Mother Goose Time

Do you have any other resources we could add to this list ? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted in Education, Fine motor activities, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

5 ways to teach your child using jellybeans

Each morning Hamish and I do an hours school work at the table where we concentrate on :

  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Numbers and counting
  • Letters
  • Pre writing skills

I’m not a fan of worksheets at this age (3 years) so a lot of our work is play related.

Yesterday we were inspired by a packet of jelly beans in our morning lessons.

Here are 5 ways to teach your child using jelly beans

For each of these activities you will need:

  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Jelly beans

1. Jelly bean Rainbow

There’s much talk about rainbows with #covid-19 and Hamish has become obsessed with them so this was a great way to have him sort the jelly beans into colours.

He had to, after sorting the colours make each colour by placing the right colour jelly bean onto the correct colour arch.

2. Jelly bean colour sort

For this I drew a coloured circle, gave him a few jelly beans and had him match them to the correct colour.

3.Count the jelly beans

I drew a jar with 10 jelly beans. Labled them 1 to 10 and had him count them out and place a jelly bean on each as a marker.

4. Counting jelly beans

We are doing number work and sums up to 5 this week so I stuck to only working up to number 5 but you can go as high as you like with this counting activity.

He had to place the correct amount of beans under each number.

5.J is for jellybeans

For this he first identified the letter J and then trace it with his finger.

Lastly he made a J with jelly beans ( We have already learnt all phonetic lower case sounds first and have now started to introduce upper case, so you may see a lot of upper case work on my page right now – please if introducing the alphabet to your child start with the phonetic sounds.)

These activities were a lot of fun and of course we both loved packing it all away.