Our Morning Ritual – Gentle Waking Up

We like to ritualise as many things in our daily life as possible. It brings a sense of peace, joy and spirituality within us. Gentle waking up ritual is not only beneficial for children but also for the adults.

We all know how important it is to get a good nights sleep, but we also know the importance of waking up on the right side of bed and how it is crucial to setting the tone for our day. A lot of the times, toddlers wake up earlier than the adults. Toddlers might be jolly but the grown ups feel tired and are very unwelcoming of the joyous spirit the child wakes up with. It is a common and a natural response. But with a morning ritual, you can change your mood around.

If RoRo wakes up grumpy or scared because of a nightmare, this ritual transitions him back to the reality very gently and if RoRo wakes me up without my will, this ritual helps bring positivity within me and also helps me connect with RoRo and sets a nice gentle tone for the morning.

So here is what we do:

1. Morning Verse

I quite often sing a morning verse on repeat. It goes like this

“Good morning dear earth

Good morning dear sun

Good morning dear flowers 

and fairies, everyone

Good morning dear beats

and birds in the trees

Good morning to you

Good morning to me”

A song provides a rhythm to a child’s breathing. It helps them to stay calm and transition from one thing to another without any stress. Verses and songs really really work for us in any given situation. We have a song for everything.

While I sing this verse to RoRo, we make a trip to the toilet and we clean our teeth. We come downstairs and open the curtains. We see where the sun is rising from and appreciate the colours of the sky. We point out at the birds and the planes. We also wave at the neighbours off to work.

2. Light a candle and an incense

Next thing we do is we light an incense stick and a candle. Lighting a candle symbolises a beginning of something. We light a candle after dinner which is when we start our night time routine. And without any word, the candle speaks and informs the child that we are about to begin enjoying our morning.

I just love the smell of incense stick, it brings a lot of childhood memories back and it also comforts me and soothes me. I am hoping my children will grow up associating incense with it being a positive and happy, and a cosy feeling.

3. Reading a book

After we light the candle, I make myself a cup of tea and RoRo brings a couple of books to read. He sits on my lap with a fruit or a breakfast snack while I read to him and sip on my tea.

4. Independent Play

After reading, RoRo either carries on looking at his books on his own or brings a couple of toys to play with whilst I wake up Reuben for school and pack his lunch.

5. Breakfast

After Reuben is all dressed and ready, we sit down to eat our breakfast. Irene sometimes joins us or else we wake her up for breakfast after Reuben leaves for school.

6. Play with Irene

Once, breakfast is taken care of, Irene and RoRo go upstairs into the toy room and spend a good hour or so playing. In that time, I wash up and tidy up. I get some emails taken care of and then I get dressed.

7. Dog walks

The last activity of the morning is usually a dog walk. We go on 2 hour long walks into the woods or the beach everyday. RoRo quite often has a nap on the way back.

8. Special Activity of the day

We also have a weekly rhythm. We have a special activity for each day of the week. For instance, mondays are for baking. So on Mondays, we would bake something before dog walks and savour it after we come back. Cakes and Breads are often still quite warm on our return and make for a perfect pre-lunch or post-lunch snack.

This morning ritual has been the same since RoRo was only a baby. The predictability of how the morning is going to look like makes a toddler feel in control of his environment and he doesn’t depend on an adult for any instructions. So if you find yourself in our household in the morning, you will see our mornings are not very noisy. We don’t have to constantly say what is happening next or shout out instructions. Actions and the slow transitional movements that this morning ritual creates guides RoRo enough to do what is needed at that particular moment. Ofcourse, after the candle is lit, sometimes the routine of things flow differently. RoRo may not want to read or want a snack but simply start playing. If we are running a bit late for school run then the order of things may change but the idea that all of these things will happen is empowering. For RoRo, it really helps if he has one to one time with me (reading), one to one time with big brother (eating breakfast) and some one to one time with Irene (play time). As long as all of these things take place, order of things don’t matter so much. We try to stick to the plan though. There is always room for flexibility but it more or less looks the same.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and if your mornings feel chaotic, perhaps creating a ritual will make it less stressful. Children will not ask for constant attention because they know exactly what is going to happen. Ofcourse weekends and holidays are different. But if one practices gentle waking up for a long time, waking up gently becomes second nature.

 

Advertisements

Buttered Tofu Cauliflower Tikka Masala

As always, this is an experiment gone RIGHT!!

We made tandoori kebabs for BBQ the evening before and I had these leftover marinades tofu and veg. I wanted to use them up and hence came up with this recipe.

So in order for this recipe to work, I suppose one has to first marinade the tofu in tandoori spices for a few hours.

Ingredients:

Marinade:

Tandoori Masala (Ready made powdered spice from the shop)

2 Tablespoon ginger-garlic paste

1 Lemon juice

Curry:

2 – 3 tbsp Tikka Powder (Ready from the shop)

Cauliflower

1 Onion

1/2 pineapple, chopped

1 Tbsp Ginger-garlic paste

3 Chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup of soy cream or more to taste

Salt to taste

1 tsbp sugar

1 cup of almond milk

Fresh Coriander to garnish

3 tbsp of butter

2 tbsp of oil

Method:

Start off by making kebab skewer marinade. Marinade tofu, pineapple and some other veg (I added courgette and peppers in kebabs). Mix in all the marinade ingredients mentioned above. Leave it to set for a few hours.

Heat oil in a pan. Cook the onions and cauliflower, cook for a while. Add the tikka masala, salt and sugar. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. If the spices start to stick to the bottom add a splash of water. Then add the milk and some more water until the cauliflower is semi-cooked. At this point add the tofu mix and cool it only for a minute so as to not overcook the cauliflower. Towards the end, add the cream and big dollops of butter and coriander.

Voila!!

Zero Waste Periods : Cloth Pad Review – Bloom and Nora

Processed with VSCO with preset

In the UK alone, we use about 4.3 billion single use sanitary products a year. An individual will be using around 11,000 disposable sanitary pads in her lifetime. And an estimated 1.3 million pads get flushed down the toilet, costing millions in clearing blocked drains. These plastic pads not only sit in the landfills for years (around 500 years), but the toxins used in these pads are polluting our oceans, thereby endangering the great marine life. The dioxins and carcinogens that are in these pads, enter our bodies through contact and can be literally deadly. So what is the solution?

Switch To More Sustainable and Healthier Options – Resuseable Cloth Pads

I have been using a menstruation cup for years now after having experienced terrible rashes from disposable pads and extreme dryness from tampons. But I could not go zero waste with my period right away. The cup is not the most convenient thing to empty, wash and insert back in in public washrooms. And I go on long walks which again makes cleaning after a few hours a difficult job, so I always used a sanitary pad to go with my menstruation cup. I might have cut down my use of disposable sanitary products by 90% but not completely.

Enter Bloom and Nora Cloth Pads

Bloom and Nora sent me their trail pack of sanitary pads made with 100% natural fibres. It was an opportunity for me to go zero waste in the red zone area, and I couldn’t have been more delighted.

I was sent a trail kit with two blooms and two Nora pads ranging between their four available sizes. I have used them over the past three cycle and I think I have enough experience to share my thoughts with you.

Blooms are basically made of bamboo core making it extremely soft against your skin and super duper absorbent. My baby uses bamboo nappies and I always thought he is so lucky to have something so cushy against his bits. Now I know how good it actually feels!!

Nora’s are known for it’s stay dry technology and stain proof quality and I have to say, after three cycles they still look as pearly as new.

Performance

In terms of performance, they get five stars from me. Not only are they soft but also leak proof. The outer PUL protects the clothing from getting wet and the leak proof edges prevents blood from seeping out.

The Nora Maxi and Bloom Mighty were the perfect team for the first day and night which is when my flow is the heaviest.

And Midi and Mini have performed excellently paired with my menstruation cup on long hikes and walks where there was no access to private toilet or cleaning facility. These pads successfully held any leaks from the overflowing cups and kept me dry and comfortable enough to finish my journey.

Life changer

One thing that I love about cloth pad is the fact that I don’t get any rashes. Disposables have the quality of drying out the skin which often left me with a rash. So not only did I have to go through the cycle (which in itself is an inconvenience) but also suffer in agony days after my period was over.

Washing

As a cloth nappy mama, it was no science for me know how this stuff worked, but for noobs I would recommended atleast three washes (no soap required) before use. This helps with the absorbency. You will see the absorbency improve with use.

After use, wash the blood off with cold tap water and put it either in your laundry basket or in the bathroom bag by Bloom and Nora, which is perfect to keep all the soiled pads together.

When ready, wash it on 40 degrees with a non-bio detergent. No need to tumble dry. Honestly, these pads dry in a flash and tumble drying may not damage the pads right away but will take away a few years of performance from it.

Price

Each one of the pads are less than a tenner and you will need about 10 to 12 pads each cycle. Less if you wash them more regularly. So a £100 for the next 5 years seems like a reasonable investment. That is less than £1.80 a month towards your period.

Conclusion

After having used both Bloom and Nora Pads, my favourites have to the bamboo Bloom pads. It felt the softest and most comfortable against my skin and felt light but sturdy. Nora had no performance issue but my skin was not necessary always happy with it. I felt the urge to change more frequently with Nora than in Blooms.

Also absolutely loved the poppers unlike the sticky wings of the disposables (often tore my knickers). They held the pads in place for hours and the wings were wide enough to prevent leaks but slim enough for comfort.

I also prefer Bloom for it’s colours, they suit my personality bold and bright.

Bloom and Nora is inspired by the daredevil feminist Amelia Bloomer who once said, “When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off”

Disposable pads put a lot of burden on our environment and health, I think it is time we cast it off too. What do you think??

 

 

How To Make A Green Smoothie That Kids Would Love

Processed with VSCO with  preset

Processed with VSCO with preset

We have been making green smoothies since the past two years. I come from a culture where a lot of delicious meals were cooked. There was hardly ever a green salad involved except the occasional cucumber slices . Having come to England, and being convinced by my husband the benefits of eating raw veggies especially greens, we have been consuming a lot of salads. I have to be honest that gulping down bowls and bowls of salad is not easy for me. I do it, (to set an example for the kids) but it is not necessarily my favourite way of getting those greens into my system. Let’s talk green smoothies!!

Since going vegan, the need for greens into my diet has become more pronounced than ever before. Everybody needs greens but once you go vegan you actually start thinking about your health and start watching your diet (if you are the conscious kind). Kids today need greens more than ever before with all the toxic substances and pollutants that are ingested into our system through various sources especially food.

Green smoothies are a great way to detoxify our system. Collard greens and kale actually have the quality of removing toxins from our body whilst adding a ton of nutrients into our system. So yes, let’s feed our kids those greens!

My baby is now 23 months and has been consuming green smoothies since he started solids really. He absolutely loves smoothies along with my big kids who are 11 and 10 years of age. I am lucky I have three beautiful, healthy and absolutely fuss free kids who would even drink a brown smoothie easily. But I do get asked a lot about how to introduce green smoothies to kids who would run a mile from anything that is green.

Let me give you a recipe for our go to green smoothie first:

Ingredients: (I don’t measure so please use your instincts)

two handfuls of spinach/kale/collards

2 – 3 bananas

1 mango or a cup of diced pineapples

1/2 inch of ginger (optional)

some spirulina or wheatgrass powder (optional)

juice of a lemon

Coconut Milk and Water (one or the other or both, adjust quantity according to the consistency)

Method:

Whack it all in the blender and boom! It is no rocket science to be honest.

Here are some tips that might help you along on your journey to green smoothies

1. Start Early And Practice Before Your Preach

As mentioned above, I started my baby on green smoothies when he was as little over 8 months old. He watched me consume green smoothies since birth and when he started solids, he obviously was eager to try everything he saw us consume. So when he could successfully drink from a cup or was enthusiastic about using a straw, I started giving him green smoothies. Hence, the love for smoothies persists.

But one can introduce green smoothies at any point in their children’s diet. I would recommend introducing it into your own diet first. Keep drinking it regularly and talk about your experience in terms of flavour, health and how good you feel. Share the excitement of how you are looking forward to your green smoothie etc. And offer some to your kids. They may say No but that should not stop you from drinking yours. They will come around.

When my daughter fussed about mushroom in her diet, that didn’t stop me from cooking mushroom stroganoff?! I always asked her to have a little bit just for my sake and then eat whatever else she preferred. After months of this, she now successfully can eat a meal of mushroom stroganoff with no alternative available.

2.Colour is key

Kids like anything bright in colour. Now green is quite often a likeable colour amongst kids. The trick to get bright green colour is to use fresh greens (organic if possible). Adding green powders like wheatgrass or spirulina will help you get a varied variety of green colours from light to dark to bright.

Having said that if you kid is not happy with green. Try adding beetroot and strawberries in their green smoothies. These two ingredients will dye the smoothie red. Now kids like red right?!

3.Ease Them Into It

If your children would drink a yellow smoothie. Make one. Yellow smoothie is completely fruit based including pineapple, bananas and mangoes. Now whilst it is highly recommended that we eat our fruits and not drink, it won’t hurt your kids to enjoy a glass every few days just to enjoy the idea of smoothies. Once they start enjoying it, start experimenting.

“Shall we try making a red one today? (add beets) Shall we make a purple one today? (add a bit of blueberries) and then say let’s try green one?” you get the drift!

4.Flavour

Ok, my green smoothies are not very sweet. My toddler never had very sweet smoothies so he never knew any better. But my older kids had to be eased into enjoying green smoothies without it being too sweet. Watching sugar intake is essential and hence it is recommended that green smoothies have more veggies and less fruits.

But in order to ease your children into the green smoothies I would suggest adding more fruits to begin with and gradually taking some out.

If you kids like tang, add a bit of lemon juice or pineapple so it overpowers the flavour of the greens (which can be a bit bitter)

5.High Speed Blender

This is a must. Green are super fibrous and hence very healthy for us. But the texture is not for everyone. A high speed blender blend things really fine. Also a high speed blender will blend things very quicky therefore, prevent the veg and fruits from oxidising.

6.Texture

Add atleast one or two creamy ingredient like avocado or bananas. This will help make your smoothie nice and creamy and take away the fibrous texture from the greens.

7. Get Them To Help

My kids love helping me out in the kitchen especially my toddler. I get my big kids to chop whilst the little one puts everything into the blender and presses the buttons. I am a huge advocate of letting children help and it’s positive effects on their eating habits. So get those kids to help. Kitchen gets a bit messy but it is worth it.

8. Keep Using Positive Praises

Always praise the children for trying something. Even if they drink just a few sips, praise them for doing so. Always ask them to taste it. And if they refuse it after tasting show them that you trust in their choice. Praise them for trying and if they are a bit older ask them what do they think would make this smoothie better. Try not to be harsh when they refuse to drink it or struggle to finish it off. And just because they refused it or struggled with it does not mean you have to give up. Stay persistent. It will pay off.

 

I hope you find this post helpful. Please let me know through likes and comments. 

Follow me on instagram: @beachwalkmuse

 

Anmol Basic Linen Carrier Review

Processed with VSCO with preset

Anmol is an India-based brand, known for baby carriers that are not only ergonomic in design but which come in varied colours and prints. It’s founded and run by Rashmee; a Mommy entrepreneur. (You see why I wanted to try her carrier and back her up?! Mommy Power!)
I was gifted two lovely carriers by Anmol, one was a standard SSC, and also a linen one. I love both, but seem to reach for the linen more. Before I pen down the reasons why, I’d like to express my gratitude towards the Anmol team for being ever so sweet and patient with me!

Rashmee Gajra – who is a baby-wearing educator herself – puts a lot of effort into the small details of her carriers; especially when it comes to the structural build: courtesy no doubt of background in architecture! They are comfy, robust and lightweight.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Let’s talk materials: linen is by far my favourite fabric and I couldn’t have received it at a better time than on a holiday in India! After six long years in chilly England, Mumbai seemed unbearably hot and sweaty. Linen makes cuddles with hot and sticky babies pleasant due to its high absorbency and cool feel. Furthermore, it is so lightweight that even back home in the English winter, I find myself reaching for it. Toddlers are heavy: if I can knock off a few grams of my back by grabbing a lightweight carrier, why wouldn’t I?!

Processed with VSCO with preset
One other reason why I find myself reaching out for the linen is because of its abrasion resistance. I walk dogs for a living, I have three kids and I homeschool. My carrier is precious to me but it is not necessarily treated very preciously! There have been times when dogs have jumped up and their claws have pulled a thread off my other carriers or kids have used my carriers as a blanket in the park etc. Anmol Linen carrier’s superior durability and sturdiness is what a busy mommy like me need! It has successfully managed to maintain and hold its own, despite the dogs jumping, kids chucking it here and there and general clumsiness one can assume around wild children and dogs.
Structurally speaking, Anmol Linen carrier has a huge body panel, that carries a baby from infancy to 20 kgs. Personally, I wouldn’t have managed to use this carrier from the newborn stage as my baby was smaller at birth it might have been too big. But for bigger newborns this carrier can be easily used with an insert, which is also available on their website or just roll up a towel to make a seat inside the carrier for the baby.

I doubt you would even need to upgrade to toddler carrier if you own one of these. Anmol is a little bit on the bigger side I have noticed compared to some other Indian brands and it can easily be compared to the International leader Tula in terms of the sizing of the body panel. It covers my 22 month old comfortably and the panel still comes all the way up to the back of his neck in a front carry.

The body panel has a sewn in hood which folds up nicely in a built in pouch on the top of the panel. The shoulder straps are not too thick or too thin. It provides for a perfect padding and I, personally have not seen any digging whatsoever. The waistband is also not too wide which is a plus for a petite woman like me. The waistband also expands quite generously, which might be handy for people with a bigger silhouette. The waistband also has a tiny little pouch on its side for keys. I have to admit it is not the most spacious pocket. I cannot even put a standard debit card in there. Just a small key perhaps. But that is the least of my worries!

Anmol Linen Carrier has four basic adjusters. One on the waistband, one on each side of the body panel, one on the back of the shoulder strap and one in the front of the shoulder straps. All of these adjusters help achieve the best personal fit possible. My favourite one has to the Perfect Fit Adjuster (PFA) on the shoulder harness in the front . It is perfect for breastfeeding your baby. Simply loosen up the body panel slightly by adjusting the straps on the side of the panel, then loosen up PFA voila! You are good to go.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
The hood is secured in the pouch with velcro which is easily taken out for some privacy whilst breastfeeding or coverage from harsh sunlight or wind or even spitting rain! Trust me, in England we can get all of those things within a matter of an hour, so a hood is an essential part of my baby carriers. The hood has a paracord that secures on to the hook on the shoulder harness pretty easily. It helps the baby’s head from falling back when they are fast asleep especially in a back carry.

Like its standard SSC, Anmol Linen SSC also provides a wide seat with knee padding for extra comfort to the child. It is so ergonomic with its deep seat and knee-to-knee positioning. Since we are talking about ergonomics, let me assure you that your back and shoulders will be thankful just as the brand promises. I walk in the woods and marshes for least 2 hours each day and I wear RoRo for more or less 4 hours on a daily basis.
I have a terrible back problem and my shoulders hurt from a simply activity such as carrying a heaving backpack but the Anmol Carriers never cause me any pain. It has an impeccable quality of distributing the weight of my baby evenly on my waist, back and shoulders. Linen especially feels comfortable and much more breathable.

Another favourite feature of mine is the safety buckle on the waistband. I have not seen many international brands carry this feature either. The buckle basically is secured with an elastic band but also has an extra locking system. In order to release the buckle you have to press an extra button. It is to prevent any accidental unlocking which can – trust me – happen with other slings. So it may take time to unbuckle yourself and you do need two hands to do it, which can be a bit annoying, it is totally worth the effort though.

What Would I change about the carrier?
I am personally very pleased with this product but having said that I wouldn’t mind if the adjuster attached to the sides of the body panel could be tightened by pulling away from the wearers body, rather than pulling back, it would make adjusting easier and we might achieve a tighter fit. The pulling back feature puts a lot of stress on the wrist. This obviously is not an issue when wearing the baby on the back. But in the front carry, the adjuster can become an issue to some.

Processed with VSCO with preset
Final Verdict:
All of Anmol’s products are Fairtrade, made with the highest standards, dyed with child – friendly colours and handwoven. Each piece is unique in itself. It is five out of five for me! It easily compares to the top international leaders like Tula for sizing and comfort or the very ergonomic German brand Manduca for its safety features.

Pricing is also very, very reasonable at around £77 plus shipping; which let’s be honest is less than many top brands sold second hand. Let’s also not forget to mention the one-to-one customer service Rashmee, the founder provides. She is available on Instagram, Facebook, via email or even a telephone call away. She has never disappointed me with her after care. So why not support a brand that is helping a small community of artisans who are handcrafting a product that your baby and you will be spending hours wearing?

 

Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Cookies

2018-01-16 08.52.24 1.jpg

“This is by far, as tasty a cookie (if not more) as your non – vegan ones”, my non – vegan husband. Now that’s a compliment because it is NOT always easy to get a 100% approval from non –  vegans!

These cookies have aquafaba in them and I think that made a huge difference. Aquafaba iz the liquid from a tin of chickpeas.

If you soak dry chickpeas overnight, don’t throw away the golden liquid.

Aquafaba is by far the best natural and cheap egg replacer. I used a non vEgan recipe for my cookies but simply replaced eggs with aquafaba.

Aquafaba can stay in a clean air tight or sealed glass jar for a week or so in the fridge.

Measuring it is fairly simple too.

3 tablespoon aquafaba = 1 egg

It takes a good 15 minutes to beat the aquafaba to fluff up just like a beaten egg. So be patient. It does come together. Good luck.

2018-01-16 08.52.23 1.jpg

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup cacao powder(or cocoa)

1 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown/white)

1/2 – 1 cup pumpkin seeds (or nuts)

2 tablespoons margarine (or 1/2 cup of oil)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (not powder)

6 tablespoons aquafaba

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Half a bar of vegan dark chocolate, chopped ( I used bournville)

Method:

In a saucepan, using an electric whisk blend in the butter and sugar. Now add aquafaba little bit at a time. Keep whisking until the mixture is fluffy. Don’t worry if it’s a bit runny. It will still work. But give it a good go first.

Now add all the other ingredients apart from the flour and seeds. Blend it all in.

Next add the seeds and flour. Using a wooden spatula or spoon combine the ingredients.

Once combine, refrigerate for 30 mins. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

After half an hour, spoon the cookie dough onto your baking tray. Either lay reusable baking sheet or grease the tray first.

Pop them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. They should be still soft when you take them out. Leave them on the train for a minute before you transfer them on a rack. It will crisp up as it cools.

Viola!

 

Play Shifu Augmented Reality Game Review

2018-01-09 01.00.02 1.jpg

It was Christmas Eve and the house was smelling of mince pies, the log fire was sprinkled with frankincense and the grownups were busy with their last minute Christmas shopping.

Adding to the Christmas mood was a nicely wrapped pre-Christmas present sent to us by the lovely people at Play Shifu. (A Secret Santa of sorts).

Play Shifu is an augmented reality (AR) game for children between two and seven years old. Baby Ro is only 20 months old and my bigger kids are above nine years old now. Having said that, the safari park game kit sent to us attracted all three equally.

The Play Shifu safari park kit came in a box. The box contained 60 animal cards, a handy travel bag for the cards and a stand for your phone or tablet.

AR is really taking off at the moment, and to think that toddlers as young as two can now use this new technology to learn is mind-blowing for me.

So once you download the app on your phone and activate the game (with the code provided on the inside of the box), you are ready to rock and roll.

2018-01-09 01.00.03 2.jpg

It is pretty simple and user friendly. You simply have to put the phone on the stand and place the animal card in front of the phone camera. As soon as the phone detects the card, you see a 3D animated version of the animal on your phone screen. You can see the animal in it’s own habitat, you can see what sound it makes and what it eats. You can always use your touch screen to get a 360 degree visual of the animal too.

We have been using this game for about three weeks now and it is still a popular one in the house. All three come running downstairs when I offer them to help little Ro’s play with it.

The two positives for me of the game are:

2018-01-09 01.00.02 2.jpg

Bonding:

I like how it brings all my three children together and sit and do an activity together. You can hear them squeak, roar and giggle together and engage not only through technology but with each other.

Education:

It may seem silly but my older children were fascinated by some of the animals and to have found their habitat. Little Ro is learning names of different animals and birds and the sounds of the animals. That said, 60 cards can get a bit overwhelming, so the trick I reckon is to take out only a few cards at a time. This way the game will be less overwhelming and more interesting.

A few questions spring to mind though. Is it bringing us close to nature or towards technology?

2018-01-09 01.00.01 1.jpg

I am a bit sceptical about screen times and over-exposure of young minds to too much technology. There’s a lot of research out there about the negative impact of too much time on smartphones as well

Augmented reality when applied well like Play Shifu has great potential for educational purposes. There are still many advancements to come I am sure, but even at it’s current stage it is a pretty nifty technology in hand.

My only worry or criticism is the captivating effect augmented reality brings. Having an animal-shaped toy or visiting an animal sanctuary or reading about various animals from books teach the kids exactly the same things that AR games do. But unlike AR games they do not make the child directly associate the animal with a phone or a tablet.

The first few days when I took the cards out for Ro Ro, just to play with or to use as memory cards/flashcards, he kept asking for the phone as if these animals make no sense without the app. This to me is a huge negative. Over time I have almost weaned him off this association. And now we travel with just the cards and talk to him about the animals. We have also limited his time on app to once a week. It is working but it took a while.

 

Technology is at our disposable. It has the power to backfire, but there is a lot of learning for us as a parent to do in terms of using it to our benefit. Technology in small doses, paired with a lot of old-fashioned activities like making dens and playing imaginary games, actual cards games, colouring, long walks in the woods, making sand castles, reading books etc. can be a huge resource towards educating the future generation.

Just make sure that you augment your augmented reality, with, well; reality!