The Beauty on this Earth

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Mother Nature provides us with such beauty on this earth, I have been struck with the magnificent sunsets we have been enjoying over this summer. Every day I am grateful for the gift of sight that allows me to see this magnificence. The only thing you can do is sit and enjoy it… take it in, it does not cost anything to look at… the beauty on this earth. I hope you will start to notice it and take a deep breath and enjoy this time. The colour of the sky is a source of great wonder to me.

So what is Well Being?

Well being can be described as being in a good place within yourself characterised  by having your health, happiness, abundance, family, friends and to be able to be grateful for those blessings. Being positive and always looking for the good in what is around you is also very advantageous  to well being.

How can we maintain that feeling of Well Being?

Appreciation of the arts are a magnificent way of taking our minds to another level, music has always been a great solice to me, John Rutter’s Anthem For the Beauty of the Earth is just a beautiful piece of music.

Check out this youtube video

Everyone has some form of art work that inspires them… from painting through to dance, ballet, singing, film, books, poetry, photography what ever it may be, the arts enrich us in so many ways and will personally touch us sometimes when we least expect it.

Meditation is another way we can give to us… time to be with ourselves… just a few minutes a day can enhance our well being. There is a great deal of research on how meditation can drop blood pressure and slow your breathing to alleviate stress.

Having regular sleep is necessary to enhance well being, it allows your body and mind time to recuperate and replenish. Having regular sleep patterns makes a big difference to your quality of life. The www.sleepfoundation.org offers Healthy Sleep Tips if you are interested.

Eating wholesome food, grains, fruit and vegetables having regular meals and sitting down to eat (enjoying the ritual eating together) is pertinent to well being.

Every now and then taking a break and having a holiday is necessary to enhance well being…going somewhere you have never been or having that special place to go to. Making time for a vacation, getting out of the routine is very helpful to maintaining self preservation and that of the family.

Maintaining an exercise routine or partaking in sport, team events or solo persuits gets the heart rate up and keeps the weight down and has a positive effect on mental health.

Finding our own place.

Each and everyone of us is different we find our own place to be and nurture our selves. I have touched on a few ideas to support our well being. Men and women alike…don’t neglect your self be proactive in maintaining your well being. Remember to laugh and know your children are being guided by you and your example.

Take care.

Love hearing from you, thanks for visiting.

Best wishes,

Jackie

www.makingkidslaugh.com

 

 

 

 

Nurturing the Family Holiday

Should you take a break?

I remember, as a child, traveling for hours in our family car, playing a variety of games, putting up with my little sister crying and always asking the question… “Are we there yet?”

 

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All the fighting and squabbling dissipates when we finally arrive at our destination: it looked something like this! Beautiful beaches, glorious weather and swimming in that water… what more did a kid want? I remember those holidays with much affection just the family enjoying time together, no agenda, just time to chill.

At the time I did not understand the significance of spending that time together but as an adult I am pleased to say that I went on these holidays and I am more delighted to observe that families are still going away on holiday together. Families are still nurturing each other. Yeah!

Some times children are taken on an over seas holiday to Singapore or some other place, enjoying scenes such as these.

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The Great Wall in China                            Gardens by the Bay Singapore

 

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Swimming with turtles in Tahiti                  Tea Plantations in Sri Lanka

 

What ever it might be holidays are a great way for families to nurture each other, coming together spending time, talking, exploring, experiencing… creating memories.

Why spend time together as a family?

The dictionary describes “families” as a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not: the traditional family

There is a bond with these people and often a blood connection, a shared DNA, a hereditary. In most societies this is the place where children are nurtured and socialised and many of the adults play a big part in who they become. Adults are role models. We learn about trust, honesty, loyalty, sharing, caring, supporting,values, morals, resilience… in an ideal world children have both a female and male role model to nurture them into adulthood.

During my teaching career I was often astounded, after the long holiday break, how much some children had blossomed, they had a renewed sense of themselves and were so eager to tell you about their holiday. They sparkled, it was delightful. I have no doubt it was due to that special family time. Dad played with me… etc.

Families can look quite different today, some children have two mothers or two fathers, or step parents or are being bought up by grandparents, what ever the configuration, I think most child physiologists agree, it does not really matter, as long as children are being bought up by caring adults. That is what you would wish for every child on this earth but we all know that not all children are blessed with a caring family around them.

10 Reasons to go on holidays.

Many countries of the world provide government run social services that organise holiday camps for those children that might not have the opportunity,for a variety of reasons, to go on a holiday. The need for people to have a change of scene is well recognised and so here are ten reasons why you need to take a break.

1. The memories, the photos, the connection.

2. Broaden your perspective and give you time to reflect.

3. See new places, whether at home or abroad.

4.Try new food.

5. Relax and have fun.

6. Gives you time to let go of your life and day dream and be creative.

7. Saves you from burning out or your job.

8. Improve your health, taking in more Vitamin D or excerising more ie: boating, skiing or riding a horse…

9. Relieves stress having time to chill out.

10. Brings you closer to your loved ones.

Enjoy your family, take a holiday and be grateful everyday for the things you have.

Be safe.

Best wishes

Jackie

 

 

Are we only skin deep?

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I was reading an article this morning on whether we were comfortable in our own skin and it got me thinking about skin and how we might perceive it and the many layers within which we might intellectualise the topic. With the relative ease of obtaining botox and plastic surgery many people today, appear to be so quick to change their appearance.  Why are we so obsessed with self image?

Is it the media and how we as human beings are portrayed?… You know the gorgeous man in the Armani suit or the young thin woman in designer clothes! Those images of our so called perfect human form, are like the beautiful tea cups we drink out of, if we are lucky enough to go to an occasional High Tea, beautiful to look at and lovely to use occasionally, but not practical on a daily basis. Is it that some people have more disposable income? Are we insecure emotionally?  What do you think?

We use our skin all the time, we wash it, cut it, scrape it, massage it, paint it, tattoo it, rub it…what ever our whim. We come in all shapes and sizes, is that really so terrible? No one is the same. We are all unique. I love that. I want to be me, I am comfortable with that but are we all? What are we teaching our children about self image who we are or who they are?

Let’s consider what skin is… and how useful it is, by looking at how the role of skin is used by musicians. Sometimes to deprogram ourselves of a bad habbit…(this might be a self obsession!)  It is sometimes useful to consider a topic from another perspective.

Music and dance is a part of our cultural  heritage. How does that rate when compared to our self image… Can we compare?

SKIN as defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica
“ the integument, or outer covering, of the vertebrate body, composed of two major layers: the epidermis and the dermis.”

Musicians through out the centuries have relied on ‘skin’ to enhance the timbres of their craft. They have dried it flat and tapped out rhythms: rolled it up tight to make gut strings: used reeds to create a fine skin like velum to blow down a pipe to create melody:  used the skin of vibrating lips to blow mouth pieces. Skin is an integral part of music making.

All sections of the orchestra including the percussion, wind, strings and brass are all connected in some way to the use of animal or vegetable skin and of course the players could not play with out skin on their fingers, necks, lips and their bottoms!

Singers rely on vibrating folds of skin to sustain vocal production and would be lost with out the mucosa or inside skin in their internal resonators, tongue and lips.

Folk instruments have also depended greatly on skin with many cultures making up their own forms of membranophones, experimenting with drying skin, with hair on and hair off, using different types and parts of animals, thick skin, thin skin, rough, smooth, wide skin, narrow and so on. These instruments were not only made to keep a beat but also to create drones and melodies, such as bagpipe type instruments.

So is music only skin deep? Is our perception of self only skin deep?

These questions we could ponder for ever, but I would argue just as skin is the outer layer of our skeleton and holds us together the music made from these connections also plays an important role in keeping cultures together by creating rhythms and melodies that permeate our inner being and our souls, enhancing our well being.  For example where would the African cultures be without their drum beats, song and dance, these artistic rituals are used to celebrate life. They are used without question or compromise they just are.  South American cultures, Middle, North, East and Western European Cultures, Polynesian cultures and the Australian aboriginal culture, all use song, dance, rhythm and music making as an integral part of their connection with themselves, community and their land.

So in considering whether we are comfortable in our skin or with who we are, think of what skin does for us what we would be with out it. What is more important the depth of who we are, the traditions of family, community that we represent or the superficial look on a bill board!

When the earthly remains of creatures return back to the earth, including us humans, it is the bones that are left. The skin eventually disintergrates.  The fabric of who we were, what we created and how we lived our lives, is what people remember not that wrinkle on your left cheek or the crows feet round your eyes. How you portray yourself comes from within and it would seem that we need to do a lot more in our society to encourage self belief.

Check out this video a study on what people want to change about themselves… Listen to the adults then listen to the children. They have got it. Don’t you just love them. We adults need to take note!

Adults and children answer what would you change about yourself?

 

 

Always love to chat send me your thoughts.

 

Best wishes,

Jackie

Enjoying Water Play

 

 

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This is part of a very interesting article by Angie Dorrell M.A. from Earlychildhood NEWS, about water play and it’s educational significance, the link to the whole article is below. You can have fun in the bath with your children at home or enjoy a built in facility such as the one above.

Of course water safety is paramount when children are around any type of water facility.

Water Play: Wet and Wonderful
By Angie Dorrell, M.A.

Splish, splash, bubble, bubble, pop! Water play, both indoor and outdoor, is a unique activity for children because it’s always available, open-ended, and provides opportunities for extended learning. The following ideas, written for preschoolers, will give you more detailed information about the creative learning that takes place during water play, hints for easy water play, and ideas for fun outdoor water activities, many of which can be adapted to indoor experiences.

All They’re Doing Is Splashing, Right?

Wrong! Water play fosters learning in all developmental areas. It provides opportunities for children to experiment with math and science concepts, strengthen their physical skills, advance their social and emotional skills, and enhance language development (Crosser, 1994; Hendrick, 1996).

Problem-Solving Skills.

As children manipulate water play materials, they begin to understand why and how things happen. For example, given sinking and floating objects, a child will soon discover that just because something is large in size does not mean it will sink.

Math.

Children begin to understand and experiment with concepts such as more/less, same/different, many/few, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than, and counting (Crosser, 1994). Science.Water gives children an avenue to contemplate issues such as: What makes rain? Where does water come from? What makes mud? (James & Granovetter, 1987). Children also learn physics principles such as the effects of force (increasing the water flow through increased force); effects of gravity (water runs downhill); and change in state (solid, liquid, gas).

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Physical Development.

Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting. Children strengthen their gross motor skills by running, dodging water drops, and hopping through a sprinkler. They widen their sensory experiences as they put their hands in different textures (gritty, squishy, and slimy) and different temperatures (warm, cool, and cold) (Hendrick, 1998).

Social and Emotional Development.

Water play is one of the most relaxing activities children can experience. After all, many adults relax in a warm bubble bath or hot shower! Water play relieves tension by encouraging children to release their emotions with pouring, pounding, and swooshing. In addition, social skills expand as children play cooperatively; negotiate; and share equipment, space, and materials.

Language Development.

Children learn new vocabulary such as sieve, funnel, eggbeater, stream, bubbly, moisture, and evaporation. Water play is such a meaningful experience for young children that it can be extended to writing experiences as well. Children may draw pictures of sprinkler play, then dictate a description or story to the teacher. Another valuable writing experience involves the teacher writing down children’s predictions, such as how long it will take ice cubes to melt in the sand box or how many babies one batch of soapy water will wash.

Creative Development.

Water encourages children to use their imagination. As the children play, they may pretend that they work at a car wash or live in a castle. Water also encourages children to try out new ideas and solutions to problems in a safe environment…

To view the whole article go to

http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=374

Continue to enjoy your beautiful children and please feel free to comment, always love hearing your ideas or thoughts.

Best wishes Jackie

Yoga For Kids

Just found an impressive video on YouTube called Squish the Fish | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure! The Presenter Jamie, cleverly uses storytelling to put children through a variety of Yoga moves. Exploring space, strength, balance, confidence and movement. Cosmic Kids offers a variety of Yoga experiences for children using story telling. There are numerous episodes, Lulu the Baby Lioness, Babs the Beaver, Marv the Metal Detective to name a few. Check out cosmickids.com

Squish The Fish | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure! – YouTube

 

Enjoy, always welcome your comments.

 

best wishes.

Jackie

 

Is PLAY important to a child’s Well Being?

Is play important to your child’s well being?

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It would seem that this is very much the case. There seems to be so many children attending out of school activities at such a frenetic rate, every minute of a child’s day is taken up with ballet, music, gym, tuition, athletics, baseball, basket ball… the list is endless…. Oh and yes…not to mention video games…!

While I can see the benefits of many of these pursuits and do not want to give parents a hard time about this. I do ask parents and care givers to think about the work play balance for children in their lives.

You never have your childhood again. I remember listening to radio conversations of elite sportsmen and women talking about their childhoods. Though they seem to have no regrets, love their sport and expressed the distinct advantages of starting young. There was that notion expressed that their childhood was a little lost to them.

Not all our children will reach an elite status in a chosen sport or art or subject. I am not saying that children should not be encouraged to strive to reach their full potential. But just to encourage a balance and that providing a time for a child to just chill and play is ok.

Latest research from Google Alerts

According to the Children’s Play Policy Forum, play can have numerous benefits for young people, from supporting the development of their language skills to helping them learn independently and manage risks.

One notable finding was that it can also have a favourable impact on their state of mind, with children who go to playgrounds with their parents often being happier in their family unit.

In addition, making use of public play and youth facilities was found to make children less likely to engage in low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.

Tim Gill, author of the report, commented: “At the core is the message that not only does outdoor play impact significantly on the lives of children and young people, it also in many cases can provide a basis for the transformation of wider communities.”

Robin Sutcliffe, chairman of the Children’s Play Policy Forum, added that the report offers “compelling evidence” of how play can impact on various policy areas, such as education and health.

Earlier this year we reported a University of Hildesheim in Germany study that found children who enjoy plenty of time to play freely are more likely to experience social success as adults than their counterparts whose every waking moment is carefully scheduled.

So Something to consider… your child’s program and yours…we are all working with the choices we make.

The website for Play England Freedom to Play

www.playengland.org.uk

Play England’s vision is for England to be a country were all children and young people can fully enjoy their right to play.
(This is a direct quote from their website.)

“The Childrens Play Policy Forum brings together leading play agencies, government departments and other bodies to focus on play within the broader scope of national policy.”
The forum aims to:

-advise government on play related policy
-advocate for play and develop coordinated policy responses
-identify research and highlight good practise
-lobby government to achieve full implementation of Article 31 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.

A very interesting website, check it out.

In the mean time consider this.

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Thanks for dropping by.

Best wishes

Jackie

Babies Laughing

 

This really touches my heart, there is nothing like the sound of a baby laughing and this is astonishing… four at one time… Clever Mummy and Daddy…a truly beautiful clip, thanks Utube. Have a great day.

 

Quad babies laughing

Would love your feedback. Click on the article on the side of the home page to leave me a message or contact me via email

jackie@makingkidslaugh.com

Is Laughter the best medicine?

Is laughter the best medicine? Find out…

This is such a great article from the Wanganui Chronicle a  local newspaper in New Zealand it resounds so magnificently with the objectives of this website. It is a direct quote from Google Alerts. I felt I could not say it any better. Enjoy.
Kids love to laugh.
Have you ever wondered why we laugh? There are loads of theories, but one I find particularly interesting is the evolutionary theory of laughter, which suggests that we use laughter as a way of signifying safety.

A researcher recently told me about a study that observed chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The chimps were seen to change their behaviour and facial expressions when they realised that a snake was not a snake but actually a stick. According to the researchers, the chimps appeared to start laughing when they realised their mistake. This signified to others that the situation was innocuous and they could all relax. Super interesting I think.

But moving into the 21st century, what are the benefits of laughter? We’ve all heard the old adage that laughter is the best medicine, but what is the veracity behind this particular folk wisdom?

A great laugh is a wonderful thing, not only does it feel great but the science is showing that laughing also has remarkable health benefits. A good laugh releases a tsunami of feel good chemicals and hormones in the body, which has amazing benefits for your physical health and mental agility.
Regular laughter strengthens the immune system and helps people to fight against illnesses from the common cold to cancer. Laughter reduces blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and relieves pain. A good laugh increases heart rate and blood flow, having a similar effect to exercise and can feel like the “runner’s high”.

The health benefits of laughing have propelled some hospitals to develop humour programmes for their patients and invest in clown doctors. Not only does it seem so intuitively right for clowns to be in hospitals, taking patients’ minds off their illness for a while, but with regular laughter strengthening the immune system clown doctors may in fact be aiding in recovery. How cool is that: laughter really may be the best medicine.

Unfortunately, as we get older we laugh less often. Kids reportedly laugh 300-400 times a day and adults 15-17 times. Why all this sobering up in our adult years?

We need reminding not to take life so seriously, make time for fun and frivolity. I say we need more practical jokes, more opportunities for humour – fart jokes always go a long way in our family. A friend of mine came home from work one day to find her nanny dressed as a giant caterpillar as she was making the kids’ dinner. Clearly meant just for the kids, but what a fantastic way to come home after a long day at work.

Laughing is no laughing matter. Given the health benefits of regular laughter, I’ve realised that ensuring my family gets a good laugh is just as important as a good diet. So what can you do to get giggling?

Join a yoga laughing group people who get together to participate in exercises that stimulate laughter. Tens of thousands of people are meeting all around the world in groups to laugh. Started in India a few decades ago (a friend told me about these laughing groups he’d seen all through parks in Mumbai when he was living there) there are now around 16000 laughter clubs all around the world, practiced in schools, businesses, prisons, police and hospitals. You can read about New Zealand’s laughter yoga club at www.laughteryoga.org.nz.

I looked up laughing clubs on Youtube and watched some of the exercises used in laughing yoga. Just watching other people laugh I started to smile and chuckle along. This is because laughing is contagious.

Brain scans show that when we watch another person smile or laugh the same regions of the brain light up as if we were smiling and laughing ourselves.

The other day I was shot down in the street, in open daylight with no one offering to help me. Instead my misfortune elicited laughter in the bystanders. Luckily it was only a 3-year-old who shot me down with a gun stick, but it was quite an elaborate death that would stand up in any western movie.

It was fun to watch the kids laugh and the post-laughter glow set me up for the rest of the day.

So what do you have to laugh about?

A registered psychologist with a masters in applied psychology, Wanganui mother-of-two Kristen Hamling is studying for a PhD in positive psychology at Auckland University of Technology.

– WANGANUI CHRONICLE

 

The Nurturing Family

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On my recent trip to Sri Lanka I learnt a new Elephant Song check this one out I feel deprived not learning this one in my childhood!

Nellie the Elephant

I was bought up on Rudyard Kipling’s How the Elephant got his Trunk. Loved the language … the great, grey-green greasy Limpopo River…

During the trip my friends and I went to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.We were enthralled by the herd in the river having their daily bath. The elephant is such a noble creature. The female elephant is the most exemplary mother and would go to extraordinary lengths to protect her young. The females tend to live in family groups with their calves, with one older female becoming the matriarch. The males interact with the females when they want a mate. Elephants are herbivores and can be found in Asia, Africa and India. I was fascinated by the differences between the African and Asian animals. The Asian ones have smaller ears and pinkish pigmentation on the upper part of the trunk.

What’s really most interesting about elephants are the lessons we can learn from this extraordinary creature, its spiritual connection to the world and how it has been revered by many cultures throughout history. Ina Woolcott in her article Elephant, Power Animal, Symbol of Commitment, Royalty, Strength reveals many interesting facts about their longevity, their connections to religion, their intelligence and telepathic abilities with other members of their herd and how they have just four molars which are replaced six times throughout their life.

Elephants have much to teach us about nurturing, caring, supporting, protecting and especially how those simple qualities allow their young to thrive. Not dissimilar to humans the baby elephant relies on its mother for the first three years of its life. They show grief when a herd member dies and will pine and may even die as a result of separation.

Such an extraordinary creature. I loved watching the babies playing in the water.

I would welcome your comments, suggestions and thoughts. Comments can be made on Recent Posts, on the right hand side of the home page. Click on the name of the article.
Enjoy, best wishes Jackie

 

Enjoy “Someone” this Holiday Season

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The iPad App for this book allows the option of hearing the story being read and also for the child to record and hear themselves reading the story. There are ‘puzzle me’ as well as ‘painting’ options so the child can make the story their own.

The story can be used in the classroom or in the home as an adjunct … and in a variety of contexts, maths, self esteem, rhyming to name just a few.

This delightful children’s story introduces the eponymous character, Someone, who has a problem that made him sad: he had only ten strands of hair on his head! Readers will follow Someone as he goes to hilarious lengths to grow his hair. Will any of his wild antics work? Parents, Teachers and their kids will find out the answer and enjoy a great laugh along the way. The exciting mix of vibrant illustrations and the hilarious storyline in Someone make it a delightful read. This is an App that will capture the imagination and tickle the reader’s funny bone.

The link for the App is below.

I would welcome your comments, suggestions and thoughts. Comments can be made on the right hand side of the home page, click on the name of the article.

Someone by Jackie Ewers