Play Idea: Postperson

Provide your child with a special post bag (have a look in the op shop) or trolley, then your child can collect the mail each day from your letter box (maybe on their post bike!). Simple daily activities (rhythms) can bring joy to the lives of children.

Inspiration – The Dinner Table

“The oldest form of theatre is the dinner table. It’s got five or six people, new show every night, same players. Good ensemble; the people have worked together a lot.  I heard at a parenting seminar that the best place to reduce stress and boost confidence in children is to set aside a regular time together at the dinner table. I shall eat with my boy! “- Michael J. Fox

Winter story – Goldilocks and the three bears

Classic Tales are wonderful gifts for children. Tell ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’ to your child/ren this winter and then make porridge for breakfast! Place around three different sized bowls on your table and invite teddy bears. This game helps children to eat porridge! “Quick we better try some while the bears are taking their walk…”

 Unsure of the story, here it is….

 Once upon a time there lived three bears, Papa bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. They lived in a little cottage deep in the forest. One morning Mama Bear was serving porridge from a steaming pot. She put porridge into Papa bear’s big bowl, then her own middle sized bowl and into Baby bear’s tiny bowl. “Mama, this porridge is too hot!” cried Baby bear, holding his spoon mid-air. “Yes, indeed” said Mama Bear, “We must go for a walk in the forest while our porridge cools”. The bear family headed out for a walk.

Meanwhile, on the edge of the forest lived a girl named Goldilocks.  “Goldilocks” said her mother. “Please go into the woods and pick some flowers”. So Goldilocks gathered her basket and started down the path. Her mother called after her, “Don’t go too far and don’t get lost”. She went into the forest to gather flowers for her mother. She went further and further off the path as she found lovely flowers of all kinds, she was lost. Pretty soon, she came upon a little cottage. She knocked and, when no one answered, she slowly turned the door knob, the door opened and she quietly walked in.

Once inside Goldilocks smelt something wonderful, “Mmmm, porridge with honey” she thought. At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry.  She tasted the porridge from the first bowl. “No one will mind if I taste a little” Goldilocks thought. She tried the great big bowl. “This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second middle sized bowl. “This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last tiny bowl of porridge.”Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” Goldilocks thought happily and she ate it all up. “I am so full I must sit down!” said Goldilocks.

In the next room there were three chairs: one great big chair, one middle sized chair and one tiny little chair. Goldilocks sat in the first chair. “This chair is too big!” she exclaimed. Her feet wouldn’t touch the ground! So she sat in the second, middle sized chair. “This chair is too soft!” she exclaimed as she struggled out of the cushion. So she tried the last and smallest chair.

“Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed.  But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs. In the bedroom there were three beds all in a row, one great big bed, one middle sized bed and one tiny little bed. She lay down in the first great big bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third small bed and it was just right.  Goldilocks fell asleep.

Meanwhile, the bears that owned the little cottage were heading home, after fishing their morning walk. As she Goldilocks was sleeping, the three bears came home. The door was still open, and in the kitchen the three bears looked around.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said Papa bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said Mama bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.

 They went into the next room.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” said Papa bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” said the Mama bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair and they’ve broken it all to pieces,” cried Baby bear.

They went upstairs. Papa bear said, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed,”

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, too” said the Mama bear.

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed and she’s still there!” exclaimed Baby bear.

Just then, Goldilocks woke up and saw the three bears staring down at her.  And she jumped up and ran out of the room.  Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran all the way home, never to be seen by the Bear family again!

Healthy Snack Idea – Tahini Cookies

Tahini Cookies to bake together (a really wholesome and nutritious sweet treat) – yum! Give this recipe a try…

6tbs tahina

1/3 cup of honey

1 egg

1 cup of rice flakes (or other cereal)

1/2 cup of coconut

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds 

Mix together tahina and honey. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well. Drop tablespoons onto a well greased tray and bake till brown but not overcooked (moderate oven).

Taken from Recipes to the Rescue: Jann Bonner, Lindy Kingsmill and Suzanne Morrow (Viking publishers)

Inspiration of the Month – Knights of Pythagoras

A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child. – Knights of Pythagoras

Creative Discipline Tips – for bathing, teeth and hair brushing

As you clean each tooth, tell a tale about the tooth’s day. “This tooth ate cornflakes for breakfast; this tooth went to the park”. Children love this game and it can be adapted for other potentially tricky times…

In the bath while washing your child, “This foot is so good at kicking a ball; this leg can jump high…” While brushing hair, this hair’s favourite game is skipping, this hair likes to swing on a swing and fly high”. A connection is created to your unique child and daily tasks are not always met with a “no!”, if you include stories about your child’s day, life, favourite activities and so on whilst doing the above tasks.

Winter Story – The Magic Porridge Pot

This is a wonderful humorous tale, while cooking porridge with your child remember to say “Stop, little pot, stop!”

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived alone with her mother in a small house near a big forest. They were poor and had nothing left to eat. One day the little girl went into the forest to look for berries. She met an old woman, who knew about her troubles, and gave her a little cooking pot. The old woman told the girl that it was a magic pot that would cook porridge whenever it heard the words ‘Cook, little pot, cook’. When there was enough porridge in the pot, the words ‘Stop, little pot, stop’ would make the pot stop cooking porridge.

The little girl took the magic pot home. She and her mother were no longer hungry because they ate porridge as often as they wished. One day the little girl went out for the day. When she had gone her mother decided she was hungry for a bowl of porridge. She said, ‘Cook, little pot, cook’ and the pot started to cook porridge. The pot filled with porridge and the woman wanted to stop it cooking any more, but she had forgotten the right words.

She said, ‘No more now little pot’ but it kept making porridge and spilled over the edge of the pot. She said, ‘That’s it, little pot, stop.’ But the porridge started to overflow from the pot and spilt down the table legs. ‘Stop it!’ she cried, but the porridge overflowed onto the floor and filled the kitchen. “Enough, enough!” the mother cried. It poured out into garden and down the street and into the next house. Then it poured through every street in the town and no one knew how to stop it. People came with buckets and pots to scoop up the porridge but as fast as they did, more porridge filled the streets.

At last the little girl came back into the village and shouted ‘Stop, little pot, stop!’ and the pot stopped cooking. But for a while, anyone who came into town had to eat their way there.

Creative Discipline Book

Turning Tears into Laughter: Creative Discipline during the Toddler and Preschool Years (by Lou Harvey-Zahra) is published by Five Mile Press (RRP $12.95 for 160 pages, plus $2 postage). Available from this site, payment by PayPal, credit card or internet banking, please Contact Lou

Learn positive parenting tools to help create a more relaxed child-parent relationship, transform behaviours in a positive manner, and teach children skills that will help them throughout their lives.

  Find out how to deal with common issues like bedtime, mealtimes, sharing, car journeys and much more…

This book holds the power to turn ‘tears into laughter’ and to successfully change family life.

“Best parenting book I have ever read!” Sally Jones (parent)

Turning Tears into Laughter will lighten the load and enlighten the mind”. John Allison (teacher, consultant, author).

“It is the most accessible and inspiring book on parenting that I have read for a long time. I would not hesitate to recommend it.” Carol Liknaitzy (Parent of 5, grandparent, early childhood teacher training university lecturer RMIT and Rudolf Steiner teacher)

“Lou has a deep respect for children…” Kay Watts (Producer of Wonder World Media Network, 3WBC 94.1FM)

 Ask your local library to stock Turning Tears into Laughter: Creative Discipline for the Toddler and Preschool Years (Five Mile Press) or bookshop.

Play Tip – ‘roles’

Give your child a ‘role/job’ to achieve daily tasks in a playful manner “Do I have a removal man in the room?” –putting the toys away; “Do I have a chef in the room?” – helping with cooking; “Do I have a swimmer in the room?” – to get in the bath; “Do I have a post person in the room?” to go to the post box; “Do I have a waitress in the room?” – laying the table.

Spinach, feta and ricotta sausage rolls

Spinach, feta and ricotta sausage rolls – winter lunch recipe and veggie garden craft ideas

Grow some winter vegetables together, a child’s veggie garden is a healthy activity both for fresh food and the nature experience gained while digging and touching the earth. A little patch will do, even gardening in pots if restricted for space. Include a child’s watering can to give the seedlings a drink and pea straw to put a blanket on for bed! Four easy things to plant and grow are silver beet/spinach, parsley and mint.

 If these are at your finger tips (or just silver beet or spinach) you can easily make this lovely lunch together (spinach, feta and ricotta sausage rolls). 

 Here is the recipe – enjoy!

8-10 big spinach or sliver beet leaves, washed. Leafy bits cut off from stem and all chopped finely
small bunch of parsley, washed chopped finely (optional)
8-10 mint leaves, washed chopped finely (optional)
1 onion, chopped finely
olive oil
ground pepper
100g fetta
100g ricotta
Puff pastry (I use frozen sheets)

Put onion in fry pan/wok with olive oil and cook gently. Add chopped spinach/silver beet, parsley and mint. Cook until spinach leaves have wilted and the whole lot is reduced. Allow to cool.

 In a large bowl crumble fetta and ricotta. Sprinkle on nutmeg and pepper. Add the cooled spinach, parsley, mint mix. Mix well. (I often put the whole lot through for a quick whiz in the blender – makes the next bit easier).

Cut a sheet of frozen pastry into 4 pieces. Spread the mix over the 4 pieces, near to the end. Wet the end with water and roll up. Prick the top of the pastry. This amount of mixture makes 8 rolls (i.e. uses 2 sheets of pastry). Cook according to pastry instructions (about 20 minutes at 200C in my oven). Allow to cool slightly before handling, and eating – yum!