I love having a little sneak into my childrens minds. While their tastes seem to change ever so often, this is still a wonderful way to document their likes and dislikes for the moment. It happens to be very interesting to look at previous years and see how they have developed and changed over time. I have included a free printable link below to download the birthday interview I have drawn up to use. It is in monochrome, invite them to doodle and decorate it!!!
This is a beautifully written story introducing children to the Two Noble Scribes aka the Kiramin Katibin or the angels on your right and left shoulder who are responsible for writing down your deeds.
It is written in rhyming verse making it very appealing and exciting to younger and older readers. The book focusses on positive and negative behaviour (good and bad deeds) in a cheerful manner and also indicates the importance of saying sorry. It also emphasises on the glory of good deeds and how appreciative God is of our deeds no matter how big or small they may seem.
I would like to invite you to scroll down to see a sneak peak of the inside of the book, the pictures are colourful and bold with easy to follow text.
I love books that have a moral to the story, yet are fun and inviting to read. I often like to choose our stories in line with the occasion. This particular book we particularly enjoyed reading on the Eve of Shabe Baraat (an islamic auspicious night that emphasises the beauty and power of Gods compassion and forgiveness).
I laid out an activity at the end of our reading session for the kids as follows:
If you enjoyed this review and would like to see many other engaging titles please visit Suhayla Kids.
We began getting familiar with the letters of the alphabet when my daughter was 2 (she is now 3). And that is exactly what it is-getting familiar!!!! In my opinion there is no right or wrong time to introduce literacy to children, the earlier the better! While they may not recite the letters, or even associate upper case letters with lower case letters, the idea is to let the visual opportuniy be available to them. That way they will start becoming familiar with the formation of the letters and with the sound and pronounciation too, thereby paving the way for reading later on.
When we do our activities I say the letter and I do the sound a few times. I like her to repeat after me, but even if she doesnt its ok. When we move on to the next letter, we revise the old ones that are up on our wall. Id like to again add that even if she doesnt repeat it, I am quite satisfied that she is receiving the visual and oral stimuli.
I have introduced mixed media to my little one, it provides the sensory stimulation, I allow her to get messy and feel and experience each items unique attributes. We are using poster paints, acrylic pva, finger paints, do-a-dot paints, watercolours, oil pastels, wax crayons, glitter, stickers, appliques and embelishments, stamp markers and much much more as we go along.
All our letter of the alphabet printables can be found at Kim Lifeovercs.
School holidays is primarily a time for us to relax and unwind and personally i don’t always feel like we need to go away to a resort or the seaside. Yes, without a doubt our seaside holidays are always a heap of fun in the sun and the breakfast buffet is always more than welcome. But being at home and in your comfort zone can give you pretty much the same after effects of a holiday away. Provided that you have at least made some plan on how you are going to spend your days. We follow almost the same plan every holiday. Its not at all rigid though and we go with how we are all feeling on a particular day. Basically to enter the holiday with excitement we usually draw up a list of things everyone wants to do. And that list usually comes from another list that i drew up a few years ago (plus of course some new additions). Below i am going to give you some ideas of activities you can do at home.
This is a layout of our day routine during the holidays (again i must mention that its not at all rigid but its nice to have some sort of time allocation). Our meals, bathtime and bedtime are usually fixed so that it doesn’t stray too much from their usual routine. I like the kids to continue sleeping on time during the holidays so it does not disrupt their usual sleep patterns. I have come to notice that if they sleep late or eat late it tends to affect their mood and i end up with less than happy kids.
Wherever you see arrows is usually when we are actively (or passively) involved in some or other activity. I dont expect all 4 kids to conform to each activity i have planned for them. So if one is feeling like reading instead of building puzzles then that is absolutely OK. I really want them to enjoy their time off from school. Although at the very same time i do like to have all 4 of them joining in on our activities so that it enhances our bonding time and is of course a lot more fun-usually that does happen 80% of the time.
Here is a list of things to do at home:
- Puzzle Day This used to be a day we dedicated to building ALL the puzzles we have. Right down from 2piece puzzles up to 250piece puzzles. More recently my 6 & 8 year old prefer to race and see who can build a puzzle the fastest. I suppose that makes it all the more exciting. My toddler builds the smallers puzzles and often also enjoys helping place the pieces of her older siblings puzzles.
- Lego Day We love Lego here and have a beautiful collection of favourites that we continually adding to. Our favourite themes so far are Lego Friends and Ninjago. Often we break up the set and rebuild them or sometimes just build new sets. The Lego Creative boxes have been a more recent favourite because of the multitude of little creations you can make.
- Games Day We tend to dedicate an entire day to our board games. Sometimes we end up playing a particular game over and over without actually realising that 3 hours have passed. Some of our favourites are Chess, Pictionary, 30Seconds Jnr, Disney Cupcake party, Disney Spuzzle, Disney Who Shook Hook?, Cluedo Jnr, Snap, Uno, Memory, Zingo by Thinkfun etc.
- Baking My little ones always enjoy a good bake-off. Icing, decorating and licking the bowl (hehe).
- Camp–Out this seems to be a favourite right now. All the blankets and duvets from all the rooms down on the sitting room floor, pillows galore, a mini tent, popcorn and snacks and lots of movies.
- Dress–up and Video Lots of memory making here. I set up my camera on a tripod while the kids dress up in their favourites and come and do a show for me. Often we include fun things like face painting, makeup, masks and wigs too.
- Picnic either inside or outside when the weather is warm.
- Swimming my kids can swim for hours so for us that pretty much means the whole day in the garden.
- Hire a jumping castle or water slide. Most places would hire them out for 2-3 days mid week so we make the most of the outdoors when we do this.
- DIY Science activities
- Arts and crafts (have a look through categories and see some fun things to do)
- Scavenger Hunt
- Obstacle Course draw up an obstacle course with visual/verbal instructions with jumbo chalk. Add in some chairs to go ‘under’, some bean bags to ‘throw into’ a bin, a mini trampoline if you have one and any other creative ideas. Keep treats at the end for when they complete.
- Minute to Win it Draw up a few “fast-paced” activities and time them as you go.
- Memory Box we enjoy spending a day looking through each ones memory boxes at all the art, certificates etc
- Photo Day looking through photos saved on my computer, i usually try to connect it to our tv so it shows up bigger and turn it into a slideshow. We also watch and have a good laugh at our home videos.
- Movie Day Either at home or at the cinema
- Orphanage we try to spend a day each holiday at the end of the season taking out clothes and toys. And then plan a day to visit an orphanage to distribute the items. Sometimes, if we know the ages and gender of the kids we visiting we pack little hampers into gift bags so that we can gift them individually.
- Spa Day this has got to be one of my favourites. We whip up homemade masks, light up candles, take out all the yummiest smelling lotions, nail polish, nail files, colourful headbands and give each other facials, manis and pedis and massages. My son usually ducks out in front of the tv when we do this.
- Treasure Hunt this is more like a rewards day. I usually hide little clues for each child that lead them to a present (usually something i know they like or asked for) and i usually have this in the last quarter of the holiday
Remember though that kids need to also learn to keep thenselves busy with activities other than TV. Often i present the idea to them, enjoy playing with them and also allow them to explore and play on their own. This gives them an opportunity to be creative and you will be pleasently surprised. I tend to sit down, have a cup of coffee and watch from a distance, and im always amazed….
We had quite a few flowers remaining after our dyed flowers experiment, so we decided to get creative with some flower and paint stamping.
I offered my little girl 3 colors of paint and 3 flowers to stamp to her hearts delight.
We used poster paints from Woolworths. And the same white sprays we used in our dye experiment.
I felt the need to share this indoor swing idea with the mums out there who also experience their little ones constantly wanting to be carried. When no other activity seemed to draw her attention i would put her in the swing.
We installed this one when my little one was 9 months old. She is now 2y4m and still uses it. We placed it between our kitchen and dining room interleading door, using heavy duty bolt hooks above the frame, available from Builders Warehouse. I specifically used hooks so that the swing is removable when not in use and can easily be adjusted to face in both directions. These swings are available from Crazy Plastic Stores for around R199. They have a harness for safety and are suitable up to age 3. Parental supervision is essential.
Looking for indoor playparks and entertainment for your kids during the school holidays and over weekends?
Here is a list of some of the fun and exciting things to do this holiday:
- Irene Youth Theatre Pretoria.The youth theatre offers exciting live plays for kids 3 times a year. Subscribe to their mailing list for the latest shows firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bounce indoor trampoline arena for little ones upto adults. Bounce Website
- My Soul Space Arts, crafts and pottery for a relaxing and creative space My Soul Space Website
- Spur Restaurants Nationwide. Personally my most favourite family friendly restaurant with great menu options. Spur Website
- Ice Skating at The Ice Rink Pretoria and Johannesburg. Offers guides for beginner skaters too. The Ice Rink Website
- Bowling Pretoria (Forest Hill Mall, The Grove Mall) Johannesburg (Montecasino)
- Yeesh Johannesburg Indoor Jungle Gyms for babies/toddlers upto to 12 years. Art and craft section. Yeesh Website
- Sterkinekor Prestige cinemas at select locations www.sterkinekor.co.za
- Indoor Laser Tag Johannesburg Montecasino Indoor Laser Tag Website
- The Magic Company Johannesburg Montecasino, games arcade and x-rider The Magic Company Website
- The Planetarium Johannesburg Wits University The Planetarium Website
- Gautrain Take a ride on the Gautrain to Sandton or Rosebank Gautrain Website for times and rates
- Jimmy Jungles Centurion Mall at Reds, undoor play park for toddlers till 12 years old. Sit in with your kids or drop and shop.Jimmy Jungles Website
- Sci–Enza University of Pretoria for a hands on science experience forbthe little scientists. University of Pretoria Website
- Annie Teatro at Montecasino Johannesburg Starts 12th October 2016
The purpose of this experiment is to show how water moves through the parts of a plant. We know that water from the ground is absorbed by the roots of a plant, moving up the stem and then into the flower/petals. By colouring the water we aim to show how the water travels along a continuous column until it reaches the flowering part of the plant. Water is necessary to keep a plant rigid and alive.
You will need:
- Fresh white flowers (preferrably carnations, chrysanthumums or sprays)
- Food colouring
- 4 vases or tumblers
- Fill each glass 3/4 full of water
- Colour the water nice and dark
- Trim the stems at an angle and place them in the water.
It is necessary that your flowers are freshly cut and not wilted as this will cause obstruction to the column of water that needs to rise up the stem and may interfere with the results.
If possible cut your stem under water to prevent air from entering the stem.
We used sprays in pure white that hadn’t bloomed yet.
You can expect to start noticing results within 1-2 days. For older kids it might be a good idea to keep a diary documenting any changes daily. You can also keep a control (flower placed in plain uncolored water so that you have something to compare the coloured flowers to
Some points of interest to pose:
- Which color was visible first?
- Did the control bloom first or at the same time as the colored flowers?
- Do you think if you used colored vinegar or colored soft drink the results would be different? (You can even test this out is a different experiment)
Are you always looking for places to take your kids over the school holidays? Or family outings for the weekend?
I have compiled a list of favourite outdoor places to visit in Gauteng.
- The Elephant Sanctuary (R104 road) Hartebeespoort Dam. (012)258-0423 / 0833063770 Elephant Sanctuary Website Programmes:feeding, petting, touching and elephant rides into the mountain
- Hartebeespoort Dam and zoo visit the cable way or have a picnic or braai. Restaurant on premises. Hartebeespoort Dam and Zoo Website
- Lion and Rhino Park this reserve has cheetahs, lions, rhino, and a number of other game species. Restaurant as well as picnic area and braai facilities. R28 Highway towards Krugersdorp Rhino and Lion Park Website
- Lion Park in Muldersdrift Lion Park Website
- Strawberry Farm picnics and strawberry picking (012)207-1116 Tangaroa Strawberry Farm Website
- Zoo Lake outdoor tea garden, lake to feed ducks and picnic and braai area.
- Garden World Garden World Website R28 Highway. Tea Garden, kids parties. Sunday arts and crafts.
- Willow Feather Farm Irene. Plant nursery, tea garden, animal farm, swings and play area for kids. Willow Feather Farm Website
- Wondercaves (011)957-0106
- Groenkloof Nature Reserve Pretoria biking trail, picnic area and fountains. Groenkloof Nature Reserve Website
- Acrobranch Pretoria and Johannesburg Acrobranch Website
- Pretoria Zoo Pretoria Zoo Website
- Johannesburg Zoo Johannesburg Zoo Website
- Lory Park Zoo Midrand Lory Park Zoo Website
- Montecasino Bird Gardens Johannesburg Montecasino Bird Gardens Website
- Cest la’ vie Centurion outdoor playpark. Area for babies and toddlers as well as an area fpr older kids C’est La Vie Website
- Irene Village Mall Outdoor Fountains (remember to carry costumes and towels) Irene Village Mall Website
- Quad Bikes R55 Laudium/Centurion Zwartkops Quad Rides Website
- Serendipity Rosebank. Outdoor play area, arts and crafts and tea garden Serendipity Website
- Rooihuiskraal Terrein Pretoria Centurion Rooihuiskraal Terrein Website
- Horseriding at Cornerstone Equestria (R55 Laudium/Centurion) 0843507238 or Peppermint Park (Raslouw) Peppermint Park Website
- Lasertag and Paintball at Crywolf Irene. Crywolf Website
- Zita Park 0724282408 MenloPark Pretoria wonderful paddle pool and slide, picnic and braai area as well as jungle gyms.
- Irene Dairy Farm see the cows and buy some freshly delivered milk. Play area. Tea garden Irene Dairy Farm Website
- Honeydew Mazes wonderful for kids aged 6+ a must visit. Honeydew Mazes Website
- Crocodile Farm Johannesburg Crocodile Farm Website
- Gold Reef City Theme Park Johannesburg theme park rides for all ages Gold Reef City Theme Park Website
I made this sweet little baby family photo album when my now toddler was around 11 months old. She was absolutely fascinated to see pictures of herself. In fact she was simply fascinated to see pictures of all of us.
To make one of these (and i promise it is worth it) you will need:
- Everyday Photo paper
- Laminator and laminating pouch
- Key ring
- Some teething links
Select the pictures you would like to use and paste each one into a word document (preferrably each one on its own page). I used 3 pictures of my toddler and 1 of each of the other family members (mum, dad, grandma and siblings).
Add in a text box under the picture with each persons name and relationship e.g My Sister – Iman underneath Imans photo.
I then proceeded to print on some everyday photo paper.
These sheets are A4 in size and i chose to print 4 pictures on each page. So basically each picture with caption resulted in being A6 in size perfect for little hands to hold comfortably. I laminated the pictures before cutting them. And then punched a single hole in the top left corner. Put them onto a key ring and then attached the teething links. I clipped the end onto her stroller while we were out and about.
This very same album can be made for older kids too by continually adding favourite photos to the key ring.