Riley and Mema

Riley and Mema

I love having fun with my grandsons, so much for them to experience and learn.


Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Bath Time Fun

One of the most fantastic activities I’ve done with kids is this one…bath time fun. Just look at the smile on his face, he is loving every moment of it.

Colored Ice Cubes is a fun activity that helps the child in learning his colors and learning about cold.

He is intrigued as he watches the ice disappear while he holds it in his hands. He has fun chasing it around the bath and watching it as it keeps getting smaller.

When he catches it, you guessed it, he puts it in his mouth. Good thing it is just food coloring and water!

I’d better get some ready for the next time he visits!

Just a couple of drops of food coloring is all that is required to make this fantastic activity for young children. Plan ahead and have it in the freezer waiting for the young visitor to arrive, guaranteed you will have lots of fun together!

Damper and Campfire Recipes

I have been camping and bush walking all my life. As I look back on those early days, what really stands out as the best fun as a kid was sitting around a campfire. I always thought that the bigger the fire the better, but on a cold evening there is nothing better than cooking Damper on a stick over a bed of coals. I can still remember my mother saying, the bigger the fire, the bigger the fool, and with a big fire all you get to eat is charcoal! Thus a successful “dough boy” requires a parent, a child and a double helping of patience.  As well as that you will need:


  • 3 cups SR flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 80 gms butter
  • 3/4 cup water


  • Rub the butter into the flour and salt, then add the water.
  • You will need a long, straight stick approx 1m long.
  • Mould damper mixture onto tick and poke damper in coals.

Note: Allow the fire to burn down and produce some coals before adding damper on a stick, so that the damper doesn’t burn. Take it slow, 15 – 20  minutes or so.

To test if cooked: knock on the cooked damper, if it sounds hollow, then it’s cooked.

Take it out of the fire. Being careful not to burn your hands, remove damper from stick by gently turning the damper, it should come off easily. Pour golden syrup or butter into the hole. The same recipe can be used to make a damper loaf, just form it into a flat loaf shape and wrap it in several layers of alfoil and place it in the coals and turn it after 10 minutes. You know it is cooked when you tap it and it sounds hollow.

Eat and enjoy! But be careful, they always leak, and hot golden syrup makes a terrible mess! So make sure that your kids are suitably attired, which comes back to what makes any camping trip fun and successful, comes down to one word, “Preparation!”

The Ultimate Campfire Kitchen and Camping Guide is an excellent resource for those who are new to camping as well as those who have a lifetime of experience. It is a very practical book, including a range of helpful hints, covering every aspect of camping, including what to buy, what to take and how to adapt to changing circumstances.

It has a large range of recipes that are easy to follow, uses ingredients that are readily available and shows you how you can prepare delicious meals without having to take the whole kitchen with you!

Many bonus sections, including the awkward questions of how to keep children entertained in the car on those long trips, and what to do each night after the sun goes down when there is no TV or other electronic gadgets!

There is a section on tents, which tent to buy for the type of camping you are going to do, and how best to site them. Choosing a spot, preferably not in the creek when it looks like rain, allowing you to prepare ahead to have the best possible camping experiences. (Although, sometimes the disaster can be good fun too… maybe not at the time, but when you look back on them and can have a good laugh!)

So don’t delay, buy your copy today, read it and apply it, and make your next camping holiday, one of the best you and your family have ever had.

What Makes Us Tick?

Having Fun with Grandpa

One of the tragedies of getting older is the fact that we forget how to play. The pressures of work (often both parents) coupled with all those urgent jobs that HAVE to be done around the house, squeeze out the important jobs like playing with your children. This is NOT something that you can delegate to a day care centre or pre-school or school! These institutions have their place in your child learning to play, but for them it is just work. For you as parents and grandparents it should be a passion.

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Why? Making play fun is teaching children to be passionate about learning. This is one of the things that convinces children that they are loved and wanted. Australian social researcher, Hugh McKay, states in his book “What Makes Us Tick”, that the most basic desire of life is to be taken seriously. If you make time to play with them and have fun together doing it, they will learn an invaluable lesson, because you took them and their needs seriously. You noticed them and gave them a high priority in your busy day.

If our children feel that they don’t count and get only the leftovers of our time, then we shouldn’t be surprised to find some alarming statistics. Hugh McKay quotes some research conducted by Professor Bruce Robinson, Professor of Medicine in University of Western Australia, who found that having an “uninvolved fathers double the risk of drug addiction in teenagers” (P7).

All too often fathers are too distant and rarely play cars with their sons or dress ups with their daughters! Set aside some time today to play with your children and show them they ARE important.

Readers Are The Leaders!

Reading and Learning Together

This is one of those statements that I have shared with many people who desire to be leaders, yet few of them actually discipline themselves to learn to read and apply it to their lives. It seems to me that the problem is not that they can’t read, (though I read recently that there are 7 million working aged Australians who are functionally illiterate) it is just that they have never learned to enjoy reading! The fact is, as parents we have the power to make reading fun, or to send a subliminal message that says it is just something that we have to do at school or work that is a necessary evil!

My observation is that we start sending that message very early in a child’s life, and long before they can really understand what we are reading to them. By the time they are two years old, we have already set the scene to teach them if this is business or pleasure on our part! If we enjoy reading, put ourselves into sharing that joy with our children, and take them on an exciting journey with us, they will grow to share that joy.

Obviously you will need to choose books that are age appropriate, but we found that as our children grew and younger siblings were added, that it was the fun of the exercise and the intimate sharing that became more important. The trick is to recognise when to revisit  old favourites, and when to move on to new material, making sure that at least the majority are enjoying it. Your job as the reader is to make sure that the right balance is found.

So, if you want to be a leader and grow leaders, start by learning to enjoy reading, and then let that passion infect your children.

6 Ways to Encourage Long Distance Traveling Fun

Is long distance traveling with small children in the car fun? Or is it challenging and tiring? Sometimes it is both! But as parents we can be proactive and, by our own example and attitude, can encourage our children to enjoy car journeys.

1. Always make room for toys in the car, which as they grow older can become a space for books. Make sure the choice is their choice and not yours, although you might need to make some helpful suggestions. Having a library bag on a string that hangs over the headrest of the seat in front, is a great way to limit the amount of toys and books they can bring and also a great way to keep the car tidy.

2. Car sound systems have come a long way, and having the ability to play songs which you can all sing along to and stories that you can all listen to can make the time go a lot faster. The availability of portable DVD players also helps here, but good to have a balance with other things to do as well.

3. Have a supply of drinks and munchies. If you don’t then you will be at the mercy of whatever is available at the next service centre – which may not necessarily be good for them or the rest of the family. The key is to plan ahead of time, choose items that are good, nutritious and not just full of sugar and preservatives. Make sure that drinks are adequately spaced so that toilet breaks line up with availability of amenities and fuel!

Village of Wombat

4. Stop at anything that looks interesting! That includes funny looking sheep or cattle, lookouts and places with strange names – just to say that you have been there and taken a picture! Recently I reviewed one of a place called “Wombat”! Plan for an extended break every two hours, preferably with somewhere for the children to run around and have things to play on.

5. Spend time talking and looking at the map so that he children can see how far they have come (and maybe still have to go). Get some books so you can read about the history of the area and other points of interest.

6. Play games suitable for the car like I spy or Spotto.  Make “Spotto” sheets up before you leave home, cover in plastic and you can wipe the marks off ready to use again.  Ask “What’s happening?” “What is the name of the town we are in?” “What building can you see?” eg church, shops, police station.  Encourage them to look out and notice things around them. Look at cars going past, can you make a word out of their number plate? For younger children, they may be looking for and counting “red” or  “yellow” cars.

If you put these hints into practice and keep looking for new ways to be proactive, traveling will be more enjoyable for your children and the flow on is, you will too!