The Love Tank

Is your child misbehaving more than usual?

Try filling up his lovetank. This is best done in one of 5 ways – there are 5 love languages:

* words of affirmation;

* quality time;

* acts of service;

* physical touch;

* giving and receiving of gifts.

Try to figure out which ones are most prominent in your child, for you to be able to meet his needs most effectively.


A Word on Discipline…

A handy tip I came across when my children were still very young, was to insist that they answer all instructions with “Yes, Mama” or “Yes, Daddy”. I doing so, you know that your child has heard you. Then there can’t be any excuse for disobedience, because he/she has acknowleged your instruction.


Only say “NO” if you have to. Children so often hear all the stuff they can’t do. Give them a break! Say “Yes” more often 🙂


Do you take your children seriously? Never tell them that you don’t want to hear “tales”. Little ones are establishing a moral code. They must be heard and guided.


Some fun outdoor ideas…

* Ever noticed how children love whacking pinatas at parties? Well, here’s an idea which is basically cost-free!

* Roll up a magazine to use as a bat and fill an orange bag stuffed with plastic packets. Hang the orange bag from a tree for your child to hit.

* Easy-to-make golf clubs are also a ‘hit’. Roll up a newspaper and attach a small liqiufruit box on the one end. Reinforce with masking tape or duct tape.

* You can purchase thick hessian rope from any farmer supply store to lie on the grass for children to walk/balance along. Simply tie the ends of the rope with masking tape to prevent fraying, and lie the rope on the grass in curves.

* Hanging a rope in a tree, with knots tied at regular intervals, is also a must-have in a garden with trees. Just ensure that the rope isn’t too thick! Also, when purchasing a length, be sure to add an extra metre or two for the knots you will tie.

* A ‘Tinka-Tonka’ adds a bit of noisy fun to a garden 🙂 Simply hang different objects from a wire between two trees. The suspended wire should be higher than the head of the child. Hang objects like old pots, pans, tin lids, old cans etc… (anything that will make a sound when hit) and supply a wooden bat to hit the objects on the Tinka-Tonka. If you experiment with different-sounding utensils, you can create a really interesting array of sounds.

* You could even take the Tinka-Tonka a step further by adding chimes (from C to C), and thereby making it more musical.


How I experience Little Hatchlings


Hi, I’m Liesel – principal of Little Hatchlings Playschool.

I just love what I do. The whole experience of owning a playschool is so special – it is a dream I had for so long, which was finally realised in June 2001, when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. What a priviledge to be able to be a part of the lives of the little ones in our care 🙂

Outside playtime is such fun. Happy sounds – and the occasional cry from a ‘bike-crash’ or accidental bump/slip/crash – emanate from the garden, as the little ones immerse themselves in playtime fun. Every day we put out sensopathic (messy) play such as Gloop (see recipe in another post), shaving foam, mud etc… for the children to explore. I often see them digging in my flowerbeds with little spades, buckets , spoons and bowls. And to keep some of them out of the plants! Let’s just say that we have a few budding horticulturalists on our hands 🙂

Then there’s the oak tree and acorns that are a never-ending fascination to some of the children. When I tell them that there’s a tree in there, just waiting to grow, they just look at me as if to say, “Lady, I know you’re the boss here, but you really have no idea about stuff, do you.” I think I should grow one for them, to convince them otherwise.

I love seeing their artwork. Such unique interpretations of the world. It’s so special to witness loving, caring teachers giving each child support, encouragement and praise. I am so blessed to be working with such unique and caring teachers.

And then all the comments that are made 🙂 🙂 I could write a book!

Teacher Lara: …so Jesus died on the cross so that we could go to?…

Bella: …bed!…


“Sarah, I just love your dress.”

“Teacher Claire, it’s not a dress. It’s a skirt withhandles.

Too cute.

At eating time, it’s often funny to see the teachers trying to coax a child to take “just one more bite’, or ‘you must eat the healthy things first.” The children all sit at the table with a placemat, say grace and then eat. They can only talk quietly and not make a noise, so everyone can concentrate on eating peacefully. This is often where children come up with their little stories to relate.


And no matter how long the plastic dinosaurs stay in the playroom, they never cease to be a hit 🙂 Joshua, in Teacher Claire’s class brought a book about dinosaurs and underpants (a book obviously written for the potty-training phase), and the children absolutely LOVE it!!

Please, moms and dads, feel free to send books to playschool for the teachers to read. A new, favourite book is always a treat for everyone – especially for the important little one – well, in his/her eyes and that of the friends – who brought the book 😉


We have managed to be able to raise sufficient funds through Baker Day for the children’s home that we support, to purchase food every month. Thank you, parents, for supporting such a worthy cause! We are able to purchase mielie meal, rice, coffee, canned food , sugar etc… which is really appreciated.




Reptile Citi


Reptile (Photo credit: montuschi)

Reptile Citi will be coming to playschool on Monday 20th May 2013 @ 10:30am.Feel free to join us, parents, if you would like to see some reptiles up-close 🙂



English: Adding a food color inside the corn s...

English: Adding a food color inside the corn starch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My children called this “Magazina” when they were little… We often use gloop for sensopathic play at playschool – the children love it.

Purchasing a big bag of cornflour (Maizena – “magazina”) is much cheaper than buying it from Checkers/Pick’nPay.

Place a heap of cornflour in a large mixing bowl and slowly add water, a little at a time. Mix until it feels sticky and ‘gloopy’, then add a few drops of food colouring. Just be really careful not to add too much water, or it won’t work. Perhaps try it with a small amount first? If you agitate the gloop with your hands, it makes crumbles and if you leave it alone it drips off your fingers. It has a consistency unlike anything you’re probably accustomed to. Children will typically spend a long, happy time playing with the gloop as it is so fascinating to play with. This is particularly of benefit to children with Sensory Processing issues.


Provide the raw materials and turn a blind eye to a little chaos…

This may sound daunting, but will give your child what he needs – a safe place to explore his environment.

Set an area aside which will be the designated “den” or “work” area – play is work, after all 🙂

Make certain rules clear, such as, “all mess stays on the table”.

Have playdough and plastic knives, rollers and cookie cutters available on the table at all times. Playdough promotes fine-motor co-ordination which is crucial when children start with more formal schooling in grade 0/R and primary school.

Provide chunky crayons, paper, colouring books, old magazines (that you’ve screened beforehand for unsuitable content) to tear and paste, gluesticks and collage items such as cottonwool, leaves, tinfoil, coloured paper and all sorts of other collage items in your garden/home for your child to tear and stick.

If your child begins to show left-hand dominance, invest in a pair of ‘lefty’ scissors.

When providing paint, use large sheets of paper, a chunky paintbrush and no more than one colour at a time for under 2s. You can offer 3 colours at a time for children aged 3 and up. Children tend to mix all the colours together if given too many colours to choose from! Reinforce the colour names as you go.


best gross motor ideas for toddlers

Tree climbing too

Tree climbing too (Photo credit: lownote)

Toddlers need to be actively engaged in order to learn – technological entertainment is usually ‘dumbed down’ and just isn’t stretching enough to develop the whole child. Toddlers need to be physical! They should be provided with toys to encourage gross motor development. Examples are:

* Big boxes to climb into and out of and through.

* Place pillows or a mattress on the floor to jump on.

* Place sticky paper on the floor to walk on.

* Build ‘hills’ to climb on, by putting cushions and other soft things under quilts and blankets.

* Wagons, ride-on bikes, wheelbarrows, prams… (push and pull)

* Why not stop at a park and climb some trees?

* Attach a rope (that you have tied knots in) to a tree.

* Invest in a trampoline and/or jungle gym.

* Balance on things (like a low wall, whilst holding your hand).

I know that the easiest thing to do is to put a busy toddler in front of a TV, but try to avoid screen-time (TV, computer etc) as much as possible. There is plenty of time for that when they get older! Rather opt for exploration of the environment through play.


Reading and Narration

Cover of "The BOOK OF VIRTUES"


Entrance to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in...

Entrance to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As parents, we often regret the things we should have done more of… ‘I should have played more, sung more nursery rhymes, taken more time to smell the flowers…’ is a refrain one often hears, as parents reflect back on when their children were little.

One thing I can confidently say is that I don’t have the ‘I wish I had read more stories!’ regret. One can never read too many stories! Reading good classical literature to your children from a young age – yes, even books without pictures – is a wonderful way to spark the imagination, encourage the love of books and encourage a love for learning. Beautiful examples of books for younger children are ‘The Little House’ series  by Laura Ingalls Wilder and ‘The Book of Virtues’ by William J. Bennett. I would encourage every family to invest in these wonderful books.

Narration is a valuable learning tool. It is used to reinforce what has been read to the child and encourages memory and retention. It also promotes communication skills and logical thinking. Basically explained, children give a brief description of what was read previously, before continuing with the reading of the story. Continued reading and narration can become a way of life which will eventually be of great benefit when the child begins academic work, or bookwork at school.