Posted in Cape Town - Things to see & do

Cape Nature launches Kids Cub Club for Nature loving Children

Cape Nature have launched the best kids Cubs club for children under 12.

When signing up your child receives:-
🦒 A fantastic welcome gift
🦒Holiday voucher on their birthday
🦒 A newsletter every 3 months
🦒Environmental challenges they can join to earn points for their green deed.
But mostly it will encourage your child to be part of important work by :-
🌻 Expanding their knowledge & eco- consciousness about the environment
🌻 Perform actions to help improve the environment
🌻 Educate others about the environment
🌻Learn about green issues
🌻Create and build a vision of a sustainable future
The club is free to join on the Cape Nature website
Posted in Crafts

Inspired by the daffodil fairies We make Flower fairy pictures

Today’s craft use up the last petals of the now dying roses I was given. I couldn’t throw them away as they were so pretty so Hamish made flower fairies.

I drew the outline of a boy and a girl fairy and he decorated them using the parts of the flowers.
This also gave us the perfect opportunity to break open the flower and discuss the parts that make up flowers and the function of each.
They came out so much prettier than I had first imagined. We then pressed them along with our dried flowers to preserve.
To make your own you will need: 
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Flower petals
Method : 
Start by drawing your fairy outline. I drew a boy and a girl.
Next let your child break apart the petals and place them on a plate, ready to glue onto the picture
Using strong glue, glue the flower petals on as clothing.
Leave to dry
Posted in Education

As a family, we spend a lot of time outdoors and I would hope that over the years, I’ve instilled a love of nature in my children.

So, because we enjoy the natural world around us and knowing that there are so many lessons to be learned through nature I will often incorporate little lessons or snippets of information whilst we are outdoors. One of those is to teach your children how to tell how old a tree is.

Count the Rings

The easiest and oldest method to know the age of a tree is to count the rings on tree stumps. Each ring is equivalent to a year.
Each year, as the tree grows, it develops a new layer of wood below the bark, and this formula the rings you see on a tree stumps if the tree is cut down.
These Rings will vary in size as the tree’s growth depends on several factors including the availability of water and nutrients.
tree rings
tree rings showing growth

Measure the circumference

Another way to determine a tree’s age is to measure the circumference of the tree.
You can do this by using a piece of rope to tie around the trunk and then measuring the piece of rope.
Average growth of 2.5cm represents a year’s growth, however, this measurement does differ depending on the tree species.
tree
trees can be measured around their circumference

Count the whorl

Trees like pines, spruce, and fir trees grow new rows of branches each year. These rows are called whorls. By counting the rows or whorls of branches you can determine the age of the tree.
Fir trees grow new whorls each year
These are easy fun ways to get the kids outdoors and learning. Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any of these tree measuring methods.
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 Press releases

SERENGETI 2: ICONIC ANIMAL STORIES TOLD BY BBC EARTH

The Serengeti, recently awarded as Africa’s leading national park*, is world-renowned for its vast open plains and abundance of wildlife. This unspoilt corner of Africa has been beautifully captured in Serengeti 2, which airs from Sunday 14th November at 4.10pm on BBC Earth (DStv channel 184) and shares the dramatic and emotional interconnected stories of the iconic animals that inhabit the area.

Produced by Simon Fuller and John Downer and narrated by Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, this five-part pioneering wildlife drama series follows the journey of characters such as Kali the lioness, Duma the cheetah, Bakari the baboon, Zalika the hyena and Nalla the elephant. There’s humour, heartbreak and nail-biting tension as new characters move in, and familiar faces return.

Watch the promo here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUjGZrn1KLM

Over 2600 hours of footage was captured, over a two-year period, to bring these untold stories to life and narrate the bigger picture of what daily existence looks like in the Serengeti.

Character portrait: Duma (cheetah cub)

Discover some of the series highlights, as well as some fun filming and animal facts, below.

  • The flood seen in the series is a phenomenon known as an “extreme positive Indian Ocean Dipole” – a rare event that led to unprecedented rainfall and flooding in east Africa during 2020. It is likely to become more common due to climate change.

  • Despite extreme weather conditions the production team managed to continue filming and captured the Serengeti cast as they struggled to escape the never-ending floods. This led to some extraordinary footage, from Bakari the baboon leaping from his flooded tree to Punda the elephant racing to save calf Shani as she was washed downstream.

  • Baboons have at least 10 different vocalisations, which they use to communicate with each other. Bakari uses different calls to achieve different goals, from comforting his youngster or defusing a tense situation, to rallying support.

  • Elephants mourn dead relatives by smelling, touching and moving their remains, and may return to the same site many years later. The huge gatherings of multiple families, like the one that assembled in series 2, has rarely been witnessed. It shows just how vast elephant social networks can be.

  • Spotted hyena clans have been known to contain up to 130 individuals. They have complex greeting ceremonies to reinforce social bonds before embarking on dangerous activities like hunting or attacking an enemy predator. Zalika uses ceremonies like these to rally her clan before an important hunt.

Character portrait: Bakari (baboon)

Serengeti 2 marks the launch of BBC Earth’s Eco Season of programming, which aims to provide viewers with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world we live in.

Be transported from the Serengeti into deep space with the upcoming series Universe, which starts from Sunday 18 November at 7PM on BBC Earth. Watch the birth of a star in a stellar nursery, experience the power of a supermassive black hole as it consumes an entire planet, and witness the chaos created as another galaxy collides with our own, The Milky Way.

For more information on upcoming shows go to www.bbcsouthafrica.com.

* The World Travel Awards (WTA) 2021. https://allafrica.com/stories/202110220218.html

Posted in Education, Entertainment, Press releases

Why We Should Watch Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World

A Year To Change The World airs on Sunday 23rd May at 16:10 on BBC Earth (DStv channel 184)

Greta Thunberg: A year to change the world

In 2018, Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg stepped onto the world stage, challenging world leaders to take immediate action against climate change. Her solo ‘school strike for the climate’ demonstration outside Swedish Parliament has inspired a global movement mobilizing millions of people, especially youth, to demand real action from leaders in terms of climate change.

 

While she has garnered a strong following, she has also been met with criticism from those who disagree with her views. Despite the critics, Greta has reawakened and empowered a global conversation around climate change – unleashing a genie that won’t be put back into its bottle.

 

From Sunday 23rd May, BBC Earth (DStv Channel 184) will broadcast Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World. Join the then sixteen-year-old as she takes a year off school to explore the science of global warming.  Traveling across the globe, Greta explores the science – from the melting glaciers of Canada to the coal mines of Europe.  She witnesses first-hand the consequences of climate change and makes clear the reasons why she thinks something must be done right now. On her journey she meets climate scientists and confronts the complexity of what is required to make change happen.  Encounters with some of the world’s leading scientists and economists allow the series to examine what the latest science tells us about what can be done to avert the worst effects of climate change.  When Covid-19 brings life to a standstill Greta is faced with an even bigger challenge – to convince a world reeling from one crisis, to finally face another.

Here are five key facts about Greta Thunberg:

  • She has inspired a global movement – Fridays For Future with millions of people around the world taking part in protests to make the point. UK media regulator Ofcom coined the term the ‘’Greta Effect’’ to explain the increase in engagement by children in online activism compared to previous years.
  • She leads by example– she has convinced her family to implement several lifestyle changes to reduce their cardon footprint including adopting veganism and upcycling as well as a no-fly policy. To get to the United States and take part in the United Nations summit, she found a carbon neutral mode of transport in the form of a two-week trans-Atlantic journey aboard a racing yacht. 

 

  • Her words have impact. Greta’s “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,’’ speech at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference went viral and has even been incorporated into songs and slogans.

 

  • She has received recognition from leading bodies including, amongst others, Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, Right Livelihood Award and the International Children’s Peace Prize. In 2019 she was the youngest person to be named TIME Person of the Year, was included in Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and has received three consecutive Nobel Peace Prize Nominations.

 

  • She has the attention of world leaders and international bodies that can help to drive change.  Greta has met with several heads of state, expert climate scientists from around the globe, as well as Pope Francis, and Sir David Attenborough. She’s also testified before Congress, the European Parliament and the United Nations.

 

And finally, “For reasons I don’t understand people listen when I talk, but I don’t want that, I don’t want you to listen to me I want you to listen to the science… before it’s too late!’’  – Greta Thunberg

 

Follow the conversation on BBC Earth and @bbcstudiosafrica on Instagram.

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 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.

Posted in Giving back, Press releases

WWF SA SOUNDSCAPE PLAYLIST BRINGS NATURE INSIDE

To put us all back in touch with nature, WWF South Africa has launched a restful playlist of the unique sounds and features of Africa’s natural heritage for enjoyment safely at home, while observing the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.


The WWF playlist, titled ‘Bring Nature Inside’, captures the soundscapes of our beautiful natural world and features the sounds of projects and areas where WWF is actively working.

“We wanted to allow people to experience the richness of nature. With many of us feeling overwhelmed by the current state of the world and the unique disruptions we are facing, it is imperative for us to take care of our mental and emotional well-being. Nature provides the perfect ‘escape’ that we need during this time,” says Justin Smith, head of business development at WWF South Africa.

From the enchanting sounds of rhino translocations, to the soothing backdrop of a free-flowing river and the rhythmic sound of the Atlantic Ocean, each authentic track features immersive sounds with a description that brings together the beauty and significance of our natural resources,and showcases the work WWF is doing to help protect South Africa’s natural heritage.

Contribute by listening

“Fostering a connection with nature during these unsettling times is essential for our well-being and a reminder of the ways in which we can look after our environment, especially as the world searches for a new normal in how we live,” says Justin.

With its 10-hour long mix of different calming and inspirational tracks, the WWF SA soundscapes can be enjoyed in any setting; whether you are working, exercising, cooking, gardening or simply taking a break from your home desk.

For access to the WWF SA Soundscape Playlist please visit wwf.org.za or click on the below links:

1. SoutPansberg

2. HighVeld

3. Fishing

4. Rhino

5. Beach

6.Bees

7.Sugarbird

8. National Park

9. Windfarm

10. Pastures

The soundscapes will also be available on various streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer, Google Play and Amazon.

A percentage of the streaming royalties will go to support WWF SA’s ongoing conservation work, at no cost to the platform user.

“We are excited to share soundscapes with our audiences. Distance does not mean disconnect, and we hope that with this platform we can help bring some solace and peace to people in these extraordinarily trying times. At the same time, we want to highlight that nature still matters; we must continue safeguarding it so that we can all enjoy it together again in the future. As an added benefit, every time a track is streamed, WWF will earn a modest amount of much-needed money to put towards its conservation efforts,” says Justin.

Posted in Crafts

Butterfly prints

The first two things that come to mind when I hear the word spring are :- butterflies and flowers.

So it was only natural that we would include a butterfly in our Spring time crafts.

I showed bear how each side of the butterfly was the same ( symmetrical) even though he may be a bit too small to grasp what i was explaining.

To represent this I tore a butterfly shape from paper and on one half put dollops of paint.

Then I closed it in half and opened slowly to reveal the symmetrical printed butterfly.

To make your own butterfly print

You need:-

🦋Paper

🦋Paint in a variety of bright colours

Method

🦋Tear paper into a butterfly shape

🦋Place paint onto one side of the butterfly only

🦋Close the butterfly in half, squashing the paint

🦋Open the butterfly slowly to reveal the image

Note:-

While your butterfly is still wet with paint you can use it to make butterfly prints on other pieces of paper by placing it down slowly and peeling it off again.

Happy spring time