Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Little Engine That Could Review & GIVEAWAY

I was so pleased to have the opportunity to receive a copy of the gorgeous animated version of the beautiful story The Little Engine That Could.  We all grew up with The Little Engine That Could book, so its just brilliant it has been adapted so beautifully to animated movie format.

"The Little Engine That Could comes to life in an all-new feature length movie filled with fun and adventure! Hailed as; “A fun family film” Los Angeles Family Magazine. When Little Engine must leave Dreamland to deliver toys into the real world, she sets her fears aside and learns that with a little determination and courage, anything is possible. "

To be honest, I wasn't sure if my sons (4 and 5) would be very interested in The Little Engine That Could - I thought it would perhaps be more suited to the toddler age group.   But the boys were surprising captivated, perhaps by the amazing colours and lovely animation (when you see this movie for yourself, you will realise what I mean about the colours and animation, it is just beautifully made).  I for one loved the storyline, it is a feel good movie with a moral and lessons to be learnt.  My five year old loved the scary bits and the nightmare train, but be warned - younger children might be frightened in these bits.  Overall, its just a lovely innocent family movie that is a joy to watch.  I for one get a bit sick of all the violent movies and cartoons, so this is a refreshing change.

The Little Engine That Could is from Universal Studios and runs for 1hr 22mins  It is released on DVD today the 29th June 2011!

And we have three copies of The Little Engine That Could to give away to readers of this blog.

To enter, simply leave a comment here on this post and tell me why you and your children are looking forward to watching this movie.  If you are unable or do not wish to leave a comment you can send me a message via my Contact Form.

You can also leave separate comments for each of the following for further entries:

1. Follow this blog publicly on Google Friend Connect
2. Tweet this giveaway =
The Little Engine That Could Giveaway at the @YrCheekyMonkey blog -

You could also head on over and like the Your Cheeky Monkey facebook page if you really wanted to.. you know, to stay up to date with any other giveaways ;-)

Giveaway Conditions (please read):
~ Australian Entries only 
~ Be sure to leave your email address in your comment if your profile is protected - if I draw you as a winner but have no way of contacting you I will re-draw the prize.
~ Winners drawn randomly and notified by email.  Prize will be re-drawn if winner does not respond within 3 days.
~ Giveaway closes in one weeks time on Wednesday 6th July 2011 at 6pm (EST)
~ Prizes sent directly to winners from Universal Pictures

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Encouraging persistence in our children

This months theme for the Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival is Persistence.  Persistence is defined as tenacity, or continued effort or existence.  To me, persistence simply means not giving up.

Persistence relates to how long a child will stick to a task, so a child with little persistence will give up very easily while a child that has learnt to persist at something will stick at it until successful (or at least give it their best effort).

To be honest this theme has got me thinking, because I never really associated this with children's learning or play.  Persistence, however, is an essential life quality that children would benefit from greatly if it was identified and encouraged.  And it goes without saying that different children have different temperaments and attention spans, which directly affect their level of persistence at a task or activity.

So, thinking practically and using my own real life subjects (my sons) here are some of my thoughts and real life examples:

1. This short video shows perfectly a toddler exhibiting very low levels of patience and persistence (that is my youngest son who has a remarkably short attention span, is perhaps slightly hyperactive, and has a temper to go with it... don't you love the bit where he even bites the block!).  It has honestly been a long hard road encouraging him to be persistent at just about any task (perhaps you can tell from the video?), but that is his personality and you have to work with what you have.

2.  Persistence is easier to encourage when your child is working on something they love.  Actually, thinking about it, its very easy to get them to persist when doing something they love, the challenge begins when you want them to persist with a task they don't want to do.

3. Swimming lessons are a great example of continued persistence at a task.  It takes many lessons and a lot of effort to become even a little proficient.  The same goes for musical lessons and other sports.

4. When strongly encouraging your child to be persistent at a task, you usually end up with a face like this.  But don't let it daunt you, your child is learning persistence and building resilience.

To encourage persistence, we as parents and teachers need to be the leaders and cheering team for our children.  Using positive phrases such as "I just know you can finish that", "I am so proud of you finishing that even though it was hard", "Congratulations on working so hard at that project", and "Just take one step at a time and you will get there in the end" will positively nudge children in the right direction.  Encouragement, a rewards system, making something seem fun, a positive supportive environment, and awareness of the end goal, are all tools you can use to promote persistence.

Have you thought about persistence (or lack of) in your children's play and learning?  Do you agree it is one of the most important life skills?

This month our theme for Teach/Learn was Persistence, something that is needed to string all the pieces together and achieve something big.
'Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race' Calvin Coolidge, US President.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What you can expect from your iPad when you’re expecting

What you can expect from your iPad when you’re expecting
The joys of pregnancy and being a new mum are well documented – just ask anyone who’s been pregnant or is a new mum! But that doesn’t mean that we’re not desperate for help. Pregnancy and motherhood can be tiring – exhausting even – which is why we welcome anything that lightens our load or makes this full time job a little easier.
Did you know that the iPad can be used for just that? When they say there’s an app for just about anything, they’re not joking. And there are a slew of apps just for pregnant and new mums. Yes, pregnancy and motherhood just got digital!
Here are a few of our favourite picks -
Just enter your due date into this handy app and you’ll be provided with a wealth of information - graphic depictions of your baby throughout different stages of development, journals for tracking weights, mood, medical visits, filing systems for any pics or interesting pregnancy articles, and BabyBump forums where you can interact with other mums-to-be and ask all the questions (don’t hold back!) you need answers to before the big day.
Not sure whether that sushi or pate is safe for eating? Just download this app and you’ll find all about what you can and can’t eat while pregnant.
Once you’ve delivered your little bundle of joy, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. This app allows you to send a picture and all the important information to your friends and family (name, weight, gender, etc). It’s an easy and simple way to get the exciting news across to a lot of people at once.
Not getting enough sleep? Forgetting when you last fed or changed your baby? This app is for you! Total Baby is a baby logging and tracking tool to help you stay abreast of everything from your child’s doctor’s visits, vaccination needs, feeding timetables, age and growth statistics.  It also comes with a whole lot of other handy tools including automatic measurement conversions. You’ll be the most organised mum around with this app.
This app helps you monitor your sleeping baby from another room or when you’re moving around the house. Simply leave your iPad in the room with the baby, and if it detects any noise a call is placed to a number of your choice. Just answer the phone and you can listen in to your little tot.
Help your bub fall asleep peacefully with this iPad app that plays soothing lullabies to your baby at bed time. There’s a wide range of tunes and instruments to choose from and you can set the timer so that it runs for a specified length of time.
This is just a short list of the hundreds of apps there are for expecting and new mums out there – all designed to help you through what is an exciting, but often overwhelming time in life. Don’t have an iPad to enjoy these from? To avoid the cost of buying one outright, it is possible to rent an iPad from a number of technology rental companies that offer other services such as computer rental. This avoids the initial upfront cost but you still get to enjoy all the benefits of these apps - and you’ll be a tech savvy mum!
What was your favourite app when you were pregnant or a new mum?
This post was provided in collaboration with RentSmart.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Having a bloggy break

I'm having a little bloggy break! I'm sure you all completely understand a girl needs to have a little breather and re-charge her batteries a bit... but I'll be back soon! xx