Tweens

3 most important books to read before your child turns 10

Getting into a culture of reading will benefit your child by helping to stimulate brain development and build language skills, literacy and social skills, research has found.  Reading time can be made fun, especially when the whole family takes part and a family book club is formed.

We’ve compiled three must-read books for tweens before the age of 10 which provide not only provide entertainment but are informative, rich in language and are character building.

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I am Malala

Co-written by Christine Lamb, this is a stirring autobiography of a girl who stood up for her right to be educated in turbulent Pakistan. Her actions led to her being shot by the Taliban but she survived and has inspired millions around the world with her fearless activism and courage. This book will inspire your tween to find meaning and purpose in life at a young age.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A Roald Dahl classic, this is an easy read which has a strong message of morality. It chronicles the colourful and vivid adventures of Charlie and five kids who win a competition to visit the eccentric Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. This is a great book to stir your child’s imagination and is highly entertaining and gripping. It is also quite simple to follow and understand.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone

The Harry Potter Series is quite addictive so don’t be surprised if your tween ends up wanting to read the whole series. Following the life of Harry Potter, a human who has magical powers which he received at birth, the book is filled with a magical plot, characters who are well rounded and fascinating and copious illustrations which capture mood. This is an excellent book to improve your tween’s vocabulary while providing an interesting read.

Tips for choosing books according to age

Age 1-5: 

  • Select books with pictures about animals, fruits, colours and numbers.
  • Pick old school fairytales eg. Snowwhite, Three little pigs but with big bold letters and more pictures.
  • Try and find books with a series of stories about the characters going on adventures and exploring different cultures, languages etc. Dora the explorer(Spanish), Thoko (Zulu)

Age 5-10:

  • They start to show interest in the story lines and want you to actually read and explain things to them.
  • Choose books on morality, eg. lying, stealing etc. The boy who cried wolf
  • Select books on history of our country, their culture and the world.
  • Children’s bible stories (if it applies)
  • Books about their bodies to teach them what’s right and wrong.
  • Books to help them with their school work.

Parent tip: Make books a part of family life – Always have books around at home. That way you and your children are ready to get reading, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

5 Kids music albums that won’t drive moms and dads crazy

Justin Bieber comes on the radio and your little one knows all the lyrics of the song, right up until the part where Bieber croons ‘Baby baby ooooh.’  It’s all so cute and your child being able to memorise lyrics is commendable but those songs aren’t really made with an audience of  6 to 10 in mind.

Yet your tween is too old for nursery rhymes and they’re starting to develop their own taste in music so what now? That’s where music made solely for the entertainment of kids come in. We’ve rounded up a mix of kids music albums that won’t drive either parent up the wall but will keep everyone surprisingly entertained.

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Chloe and Halle

The R&B duo founded by superstar Beyonce have created  a niche serving soothing and beautifully crafted R&B music. Their music is soulful and perfect for long trips with the whole family. Not only will your tween enjoy this brand of classic R&B but it’s ear friendly and contemporary, perfect for a cultured kid.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason’

He won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the year award and played at Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding earlier this year. The super talented musician plays the cello and has already released music which has been described as awe-inspiring and powerful. Sheku’s music would be a great way to train your tween’s ear to enjoying classical and quality music at a young age.

The Twigs

Twin sisters Laura and Linda Good have mastered the art of making entertaining music for kids without dumbing it down. The songs are well crafted with smart lyrics and feature Laura’s daughter which makes for a fresh and breathtaking addition to their well-produced music.

Botlhale Boikanyo

After winning SA’s Got Talent at 11 in 2012, Botlhale has gone on to become a successful poet who performs around the country. Her performances are well received as she is able to command audiences with her words which are stirring and thought provoking. Botlhale isn’t a musician per se but she is an artist to look out for because her talent is so inspiring.

They Might Be Giants

Having won a Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2009, this band makes fun, upbeat and sing along music that both mom, dad and the kids can jam to. Expect highly creative music that the whole family will likely enjoy and want to hog for their own entertainment.

7 recipes that kids can make themselves

Let your tweens try their hand at making dinner with these simple, child-proof recipes. They may just surprise you and show themselves to be talented chefs in the making. The best part about having your kids make themselves meals is that it can save you time and when you are home late, they can survive by preparing their own meals.

If you are not sure how to start follow our guide to simple recipes then supervise as they take over the main event.

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Before getting started, always emphasise that they should use blunt utensils and if there is any equipment to be used, especially electrical appliances, supervise or assist them to use.

Boiled egg and mayo sandwiches (for 7 years and up)
Eggs take about 15 to 20 minutes to boil and ripen. Your tween can add mayo on bread and the eggs with ease.

Toasted cheese and tomato/ham
This fairly simple recipe will take about 15 minutes to do. They should able to operate the snackwich maker.

Wraps with leftover mince, or shredded chicken: add cheese, avocado etc
Fill tortilla wraps with last night’s mince or shredded chicken. Your tween can choose which extra fillings they would like to add like cheese, tomato, avocado or lettuce. This is a healthy option as well.

Ice lollies
This can be made from cooldrink or juice for hot days. (They pour the drink into shaped ice trays themselves).

Home made pizza
They can choose and add their own toppings to the base.

Homemade burgers with their own toppings
Instead of frying the hamburger patties on the stove, they can microwave them which will take about 5 minutes and is a safer option then them operating the stove themselves.

Toast
An old favourite, kids can just add their favourite spreads or toppings like jam, nutella, cheese spread or butter.

Five super fun birthday boy activities

Birthday parties no longer need to be filled with the usual boring gifts, instead you can spruce things up by picking activities for your tween to discover which are unique and extremely entertaining for tween boys.

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Exotic animal farm
Purchase a voucher for a visit to an animal farm where your tween will get to spend the day petting and taking pictures of exotic animals. He can go with a bunch of friends and will secure bragging rights of all the cool animals he saw.

Ziplining 
A zipline tour will have your tween doing a form of bungee jumping without the extremities. Zipline tours are safe for children over the age of 7 and are available around the country.

Virtual rollercoaster
Take your tween on a virtual tour when he can experience a roller coaster ride while standing in one spot or play a shooting game with opponents. The realistic sensation is a memory he will never forget.

Swim with crocs
Croc dives have become all the rage. You can visit a crocodile farm and under supervision take a dive and explore these scaly and fascinating creatures up-close.

4-d theatre shows
Theme parks are fail proof way to impress little boys. Except bring in a surprise and have your boy experience a 4-d theatre complete with water, movement and smell. Watch your tween shriek in excitement and watch all the effects in wonder.

Pregnancy

Eight smart ways to prepare for labour

PLUS: 10 Essential things to check off before baby arrives, Five amazing facts about the second trimester, How moms-to-be can support each other and How to chronicle your baby’s birth story.

Infancy 0-2

Everything you need to know about the Apgar test

PLUS: How to pack a hospital bag, Is organic food really better for your baby?, Should you vaccinate your child? and This is how you can raise a cultured baby

Toddlers 2-6

Does time out work?

PLUS: Five must-have products for toddlers, These are free ways to keep your tot entertained, How to tell your toddler is ready for the potty and Tips for taking a plane trip with a 2-year-old

Teens 13-18

5 ways to help siblings get along

PLUS: 15 Questions to ask instead of how was school?, Handling your teen’s first dating experience, How to guide your son to be a great man and Ways to get your teen to care about others who have less

Funny Videos

Video Blog

Here we have the funniest, cutest and most adorable videos of children doing the most funny things you could ever think of!

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