Games to encourage healthy eating


Most parents know that seeing children eat healthy foods is rarer than (organic) hen’s teeth. Children will happily gobble a packet of chips, a party bag full of lollies and fast food, but if you offer them a salad or a nice healthy dinner, a parent can easily be offended by the cries of “I don’t like it,” or “I don’t eat beetroot/onions/salad/insert-endless-healthy-foods-children-won’t-try”. How come kids eat lollies they have never tried before, but not fruit or vegetables they aren’t familiar with? It seems ludicrous.

Nonetheless there are all kinds of tips and tricks for introducing nutritious foods into your child’s meal repertoire, including these:

  • Offer a new food only when your child is hungry and rested
  • Present only one new food at a time
  • Make it fun: a game, a play-filled experience
  • Cut the food into unusual shapes
  • Serve new foods with favorite foods to increase acceptance
  • Eat the new food yourself; children may just imitate you
  • Have your child help to prepare foods. Often they will be more willing to try something when they helped to make it
  • Limit drinks. Picky eaters often fill up on liquids instead
  • Limit snacks to two per
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Discover the joy in your 1-2 year old


Sometime around their first birthday your child will pull themselves to their feet and stumble forward. This first shaky step is a wonderful achievement that represents their entering of the toddler world.

Parenting a toddler is full of countless opportunities to discover the joy of parenting, even if a 1-2 year old’s independence, determination and enthusiasm for life can be both exhausting and entertaining. Understanding the day-to-day fun filled activities you can do to with your toddler not only enriches your role, but can also aid their learning, development and full potential.

Playing with your toddler every day allows you to build a positive relationship with your toddler, as well as discover your own sense of fun and wonder. The nurturing bond you have developed as a parent in the first year of your child’s life places you in a unique position of mentor, teacher as well as mother.

How play stimulates emotional development

Psychologists have known for decades (Piaget studied this back in 1962) that pretend playing supports the emotional development of children. Play is not only fun, but it offers children a way to express themselves,

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Subtraction learning games


Subtraction is a skill which is taught following addition and many children will learn subtraction as the opposite of addition. Subtraction is sequential, like addition, and your child will move from counting and combining objects they can see, to using numbers as replacements for completed counts with mental strategies, to recordings that support mental strategies.

Children often find subtraction trickier than addition due to the language used. Subtraction is taught as ‘taking away’ from a group then ‘comparing’ two groups and finally finding ‘how many more’.

Activities and games at home which allow children to practice subtraction skills should help them become confident mathematicians in no time. The use of worksheets and flash cards should be discouraged, instead aim for fun, engaging activities.

Subtraction for kids aged 5-6

If your child is aged 5-6 years then they need to see subtraction modelled with concrete materials. They are still drawing subtraction problems and learning to use the language ‘take away’, ‘left’, ‘difference’, ‘minus’ and ‘less’.

  • Subtraction Bowling – use bottles from your recycling to create Ten Pin Bowling at home. Let your child roll a ball and count how many a knocked down and how many are left.
  • When eating
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How to run a spelling bee

If you’re looking for an exciting way to help your kids learn spelling and gather the family – or friends and neighbors — for some educational and entertaining together time, consider rallying the troops together for a home spelling bee.

A spelling bee is a contest in which participants are asked to spell words in a round-robin format, where each person gets a turn to spell a word that is suitable for his or her level.

In planning your home spelling bee, you’ll want to make sure that you keep things challenging, but not so difficult that your kids get discouraged. Remember, the name of the game is f-u-n!

Step-by-step spelling bee guidelines:

Gather participants

For a truly competitive oral spelling bee, you’ll want to select about eight to 10 participants, though more or fewer is fine.


Make sure participants don’t feel uncomfortable when singled out to spell in front of a group. If a participant is not comfortable taking the spotlight to spell, give them another job to do: Let them read off the words and use it in a sentence (we’ll call that person “the reader”) or perhaps act as a judge. Remember: kids will also learn spelling by reading the words, thinking up

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Focus on physical fun

Daily physical activity is essential to our child’s development and important for children of all ages. Exploring physical activities with your child and understanding just how their bodies are developin:

  • Ensures they remain healthy
  • Is a wonderful way to spend time with your child
  • Strengthens the bond you share.

Research shows clear links between childhood patterns of physical activity and adult exercise habits. Parents are the most important role model for their children. By prioritising sport and physical activities in your family you are providing your child with a strong foundation for a lifetime of health.

Keep them safe

Parents of children between the ages of 7-9 will notice that their child’s physical development has taken off in leaps and bounds. Children of this age have generally good coordination and improved muscle strength. This increased coordination and balance can be exciting for children encouraging them to test the limits of their bodies.

This new risk-taking is developmental but contributes to the increased number of accidents in this age group. Remember to check that the play area is safe and play equipment is suitable for your child.

Enter a make believe world

The imagination of a child aged 7 runs wild and you can use this to encourage

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Active kids are happier adults

As kids grow older, it can be disheartening to see the fun of your child’s bike-riding and ball-kicking being replaced by video gaming, watching TV or spending time alone in their room. Developmentally, kids over the age of 10 have a stronger desire for solitary activities but that doesn’t mean that parents can’t try to spend time with their kids, encouraging them into physical activity.

Physical activities foster a healthy body and mind and importantly strengthen the relationship parents have with their children as they enter the teenage years.

Your role in your child’s life is just as significant and important as when they were younger. As at any point of developmental change, a child will look to their parents — the people with whom they have the strongest bond — for help, inspiration and role modelling.

Understand the developmental stage

Parents of 8 and 9 year olds who played every sport under the sun can feel surprised when their children begin to lose interest in physical activities or organised sport teams.

Research shows that kids who are successful at sport continue playing, but as kids grow into tweens and teens, they become self-conscious about their bodies for the first time.

As kids grow into

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7 Ways to Keep Cool with Preschoolers

Your preschool or kindergarten-age child may sail through the school day. But when he comes home, he’s sometimes downright uncooperative and tests your patience. What’s going on? Educators and psychologists say this about-face is perfectly normal. A young child who has worked hard all day to pay attention, listen to the teacher, get along with peers and master new skills may need to simply let down when he comes home.

How can you help him ease back into his home routine? Try these tips culled from educators and child development experts:

Don’t expect a conversation. Just because your child goes to school, she’s still emotionally very young. Her verbal skills may not be advanced enough for her to tell you how she’s feeling about something that happened in school or the difficulty of making the transition from classroom to home. A 3- or 4-year-old probably can’t tell you why she’s cranky.

Be patient. Young children often take a few steps back before they take a big developmental step forward. If they’re on the brink of learning a new skill – mastering the alphabet, for example – they may seem moody or crabby while they put all the pieces together in their

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Multiplication facts and learning games

Many of us can recall memorising our times tables as children. However the teaching of multiplication in schools now has changed from the drilling of times tables. Your child’s ability to visualise the process that is occurring when they multiply two numbers together is important before times tables are learnt.

Multiplication is taught from the first year of school which can surprise parents as many think of multiplication as a concept taught in primary school. In fact the strong foundations for multiplication are taught from kindergarten or Prep.

Multiplication games for kids aged 5-6

If your child is aged 5-6 years then are focusing on modelling equal groups or rows of items. They are using the language ‘group’ to describe a collection of items. This ability to ‘see’ the groups is important. Try these activities to reinforce the concepts:

  • Decorating Cupcakes – children at this age often like to help bake. When making cupcakes decorate with smarties or lollies and ask them to give each cupcake four smarties “we have 5 cupcakes and they each have the same number of lollies. Here is 1 cupcake of 4, that’s 1 group; here is the second group of 4 etc.”
  • Cereal necklaces – have children thread Cheerios
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Social and sensory learning

School-aged children regularly experience transformation in all developmental spheres. This translates for parents into being a challenging time as their children mentally, physically and emotionally change and grow.

Parents commonly observe distinct differences as their childs grow from being worry warts at 7, to becoming social butterflies at the age of 8 and then challenging authority somewhere around the age of 9.

Increasingly throughout this period children need their parents to be consistent and constant in their lives, joining them in activities, games and conversations.

All children will develop differently. Regardless of how your child develops, there are plenty of meaningful ways to stay connected to your child and emerge through this period with an even stronger, happier bond.

Cognitive development

The most easily identifiable change for children in this age bracket is the shift from learning to read into reading to learn.

Nightly home reading is replaced by children silently reading small chapter books. One way to foster this development but still engage with your child is to read the same book and share your thoughts on the book. If possible take the time to watch the film version together and compare and contrast elements from the story.

Children are also developing their critical thinking. They

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How to teach division

So your child has mastered addition, subtraction and multiplication. Well done, there is only division left to learn of the basic numeric operations.

Division for kids aged 5-6

If your child is aged 5-6 years then the focus is on using concrete materials to learn the concept of equal shares. This is usually easily learnt as most parents have familiarised their children with the language of ‘sharing’ through play experiences with other children. Ideas to use at home are:

  • Equal pouring – fill a jug with water and let your child fill smaller cups/glasses with the same amount of water.
  • Ask your child while wrapping presents to cut sticky tape or ribbon so that there are two lengths the same.
  • Drawing games – lots of legs is a great one that can be done with drawing or with toothpicks and play dough. Show them 20 toothpicks and tell them you need to share the legs evenly between the monsters. Talk about what happens when the monsters have two legs, when they have 3, when they have 10.

Division for kids aged 7-8

Children aged 7-8 years are recognising the division sign and understand that division “undoes” the effects of multiplication just as subtraction “undoes” or is the

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Speech and language development in babies and children

Speech and language are the tools humans use to communicate and share thoughts, ideas, and emotions. For babies and children, they come to know these tools and develop at a varying rate.

Language differs from speech in that language is the set of rules, shared by the individuals who are communicating, that allows them to exchange those thoughts, ideas, or emotions. Speech is talking, one way that a language can be expressed. Language may also be expressed through writing or things like signing.

The most intensive period of speech and language development for humans is during the first three years of life, a period when the brain is developing and maturing. These skills appear to develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.

There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are “critical periods” for speech and language development in infants and young children. This means that the developing brain is best able to absorb a language, any language, during this period.

An infant’s first ability to express his needs begins with crying during the first days of life. As jaw and mouth mechanisms develop, he is gradually able to make and

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Physical learning games for your 1-2 year old

It may look just like child’s play but your toddler is hard at work mastering important physical skills as they gain balance, coordination and muscle control. A toddler’s natural desire to get moving and keep going will allow you to support them with plenty of activities while still staying focused on fun.

  • Your child will use lots of mental and physical energy learning to walk.
  • Soft shoes or bare feet are great during this phase as it allows your child to develop touch and balance.
  • A 1-2 year old child will learn how to roll and kick a ball (with varying degrees of success!).
  • Toddlers seem to love stairs and will try to walk up them with help. Next she will put both feet on one step before going to the next step.

Physical development is an area where toddlers show a huge range of abilities. All children are developing in their own unique pattern but by the age of 2 most toddlers have learnt to stand on their two feet, walk forwards and backward, jump run and climb. Keep in mind that your toddler will still have troubles turning and stopping so don’t let him run too far from supervision.

Physical development includes outdoor play

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Social and emotional development in babies and children

It is easier to understand how important physical growth and development is for kids – but what about the emotional development? When our kids grow taller, or learn to walk, it’s so obvious to see. Yet when our kids understand how to share, take turns or make their own friends, it’s often not noticed. In fact, we’re more likely to notice the lack of social and emotional skills in our children than how accomplished they become as they grow.

The emotional aspect of development relates to a child understanding and controlling their internal emotions while balancing external social elements of interacting with other people and family.

Healthy social and emotional development allows children to:

  • Develop relationships
  • Master the ability to initiate, discover, play and learn
  • Develop persistence and attention
  • Self-regulate their behaviour
  • Develop emotional range

What is social and emotional development?

The development of the social and emotional health of a child is essential to his appropriate behaviour, understanding of life and transition to adulthood. Social emotional development helps shape a child into what he will become later in life by teaching proper reactions to emotional matters.  Social skills are all about a child’s ability to cooperate and play with others, paying attention to adults and teachers, and making

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Best teaching practices for left vs right

Learning to dress themselves, use a knife and fork and sing songs or play games are just some of the activities children love to do – but force them to learn their left vs right. Knowing our left from right is a concept which is able to be taught and understood during the preschool years and yet it is something which people can struggle with into adulthood.

So how do we learn our left and right? The exact process is not totally understood however it has been linked to the concept of Laterality. Laterality is the internal self-awareness of the left and right sides of the body. It is also linked to an awareness of a body midline, or an invisible line which divides our body in half. This is an important concept linked to learning left from right because it reminds us to first teach children the concept of left and right using their own body, before moving onto objects such as shoes.

You can determine whether your child is aware of their body midline by watching them run. Do they move the same arm and leg or do they alternate? When your child colours with crayons does the left hand

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Physical development in babies and children

There’s one thing for sure – babies and kids will grow. But physical development is about more than just hitting the right percentiles on a height chart.

All babies grow in the same order but at completely different rates. One seven-month-old might be crawling around and chattering madly. Another might be playing silently on his playmat. One five-year-old can look like he’s still only four, while another can look like he belongs with the seven-year-olds.

Developmental achievements are often called ‘milestones’ and there are certain physical milestones.

  • Gross motor skills involve the coordination and control of large muscles and skills like walking, sitting and running.
  • Fine motor skills (or manipulation) involve the coordination and control of small muscles, and skills like holding a rattle, picking up crumbs and scribbling with a pencil.
  • Vision is the ability to see near and far, and to interpret what’s seen.
  • Hearing is the ability to hear, listen to and interpret sounds, whereas speech is the ability to produce sounds that form words. Language is something different again, but also important.
  • Emotional and social behaviour and understanding is your child’s ability to learn and interact with others, including skills for play and communicating with other people and children.

What parents need to know

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Addition facts and learning games

Children learn the concept of addition from the preschool years and as most parents know children have grasped the concept of wanting “more” from an early age. Addition, like all mathematical concepts, is sequential which means that content is taught and builds on the foundations of previously learnt concepts. It is therefore very important that children have strong mathematical foundations.

Throughout the school years the addition strategies your child uses will become more efficient. Younger children will count on their fingers or use concrete materials (counters, blocks etc) to reduce the load on their working memory. As your child’s working memory and visualisation skills develop they will rely less on the use of concrete materials. A reliance on concrete materials past 7-8 years is an indicator that your child may require assistance with mathematical concepts and could have a learning difficulty.

Parents need to be wary of the use of drilling, flash cards or worksheets. Children need activities which are fun and motivating. When children feel that the classroom environment has followed them home, particularly if they are struggling, then they begin to feel pressured and fun games become chores they don’t want to complete.

Addition for 5-6 year olds

If your child is

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Benefits of craft for kids

As a learning activity, arts and crafts have traditionally been passed over in favour of more academic pursuits . But craft – particularly developmentally appropriate craft activities – can aid learning in other areas like language , music , art , social studies, science , maths , health, and nutrition.

Crafts have been around since the beginning of time when people made everything they used with their hands. Crafts were initially created for trading, selling, spiritual or artistic expression, as well as creating personal and household articles.

Today, crafts are a great pastime and educational tool for kids. It can not only keep the kids entertained on a rainy day, but also extend a child’s fine motor skills , develop concepts like colour or numbers and see scientific processes like gluing and paint drying in action.

Craft allows kids to explore ideas or concepts and then express it by making something to keep, entertain others with or simply look at for visual pleasure.

Craft for the under-5s

At this age, craft is more about passing the time when it’s too rainy to go to the park, but it’s a great way to engage your pre-schooler, toddler or baby in ideas that provide foundation for future

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Cognitive development in babies and children

Children change more quickly than we’d like. It seems you can blink and your child has grown, evolved, developed or reached a key milestone. One minute they are throwing board books in the toy box, the next they are flipping through the pages of story books and as they grow older, they start reading and enjoying books they choose themselves.

Some of the changes in our kids are not so easy to spot, particularly cognitive changes. Children’s brains develop as they have new experiences. You cannot see the brain developing, but you can see what new things the child can do.

Stages of cognitive development

Piaget was a major theorist and psychologist who developed stages to understand cognitive development. There are four major periods of cognitive development in children:

First cognitive development stage: Sensory motor period (0 – 24 months)

The following points outline the progressive nature of cognitive development and how physical actions aid the brain’s development as babies grow.

  • Reflexive Stage (up to two months): Simple reflex activity such as grasping, sucking.
  • Primary Circular Reactions (two to four months) Reflexive behaviors occur in stereotyped repetition such as opening and closing fingers repetitively.
  • Secondary Circular Reactions (four to eight months) Repetition of actions to reproduce interesting consequences
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Discover how kids can help with household chores

No, it’s not a pipe dream. Kids can help around the house with all kinds of chores. In fact, it’s an important lesson they will carry with them for life that will set them up to be independent, and thoughtful, adults.

Even toddlers as young as 2 can play a role in running the household – albeit in a very limited way. (Just don’t expect them to clean up as much mess as they are likely to make!) Some tips to raising kids that are helpful around the house include:

Teach your children about cleanliness and clutter early on

Cleaning will become a habit or a routine to them if they are always made to pack their toys in the box after playing or put their dishes in the sink after eating. This can start as early as 2-3 years of age.

Always praise them

No matter how small a task they complete, always thank them and tell them what a great job they are doing. This builds self-esteem and promotes a better feeling about helping out. If you really hate how incomplete their work was (have you seen how badly kids dry the dishes?), make a specific note about what you’d like them to

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Your child’s development milestones

As a parent, you know about the importance of physical health and probably take your baby to the doctor or clinic for all the right check-ups and immunisations. Your child’s development is just as vital to their wellbeing. As a parent, you are in the best position to observe your child’s physical, social, cognitive and emotional growth.

All children go through developmental “stages” – typical and predictable changes in the following four areas:

  1. Cognitive: how kids think and learn

This is the ability to learn and solve problems. For a two-month-old baby, this might be understanding their own environment with hands or eyes, while for a seven-year-old it could be learning how to do multiplication or subtraction.

  1. Social and emotional development: how they react to themselves and others

This is the child’s ability to interact with others, including helping themselves and self-control. For example, learning to smile as a six-week-old baby is considered a social development milestone while for a 10-year-old boy, a social and emotional milestone might be leading and organising a game at school.

  1. Speech and language development: talking, reading and communicating

This is the child’s ability to both understand and use language. For example, this includes a 12-month-old baby

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