Teach your toddler to brush their own teeth

By the age of 2 years old your toddler should be familiar with you brushing their teeth , if they are not brushing their teeth themselves by now.

For some children this is a pleasant experience but for other children it would be easier to wrestle an octopus than brush their teeth.

So how do you encourage your child to want to brush their teeth?

1. Let your child choose their supplies.

When you go shopping let your child choose their own special toothbrush, toothpaste, cup and timer.

These do not need to be the most expensive just age appropriate and something your child likes.

2. Use a child base toothpaste

Always choose children’s toothpastes from a reputable brand. Often an adult toothpaste is too strong.

3. Make it fun

Make up silly songs or rhymes about toothbrushes or brushing your teeth, like this one by Shelly Ores.

Use a timer or a star chart with rewards.

Let your child spit at targets in the bath. ( I know some of you are cringing but remember you need to teach little Johnny how to spit out the toothpaste and this worked with 7 of my 7 kids so far)

4. Be an example

Our children learn so much more from watching us, so let your child brush their teeth at the same time as you do.

5. Show them how to brush

Show your children how to brush watching themselves in a mirror this way they remember to brush all the teeth and not just the 2 in front.

6. Let them be independent

Allow them to be independent even if they mess.

By getting a small stool your child can reach the basin and turn the tap on and off. They can also put on their own toothpaste and rinse their brush. Let them store their brush in their special tooth brushing cup.

7. Smile

And lastly expect mess, mistakes and the chance that you will need to direct your child to brush correctly.


13 Free play ideas for Toddlers

Toddlers learn best through play.

The activities below will keep your toddler busy as well as teach them vital skills.

I’ve personally used each idea either in a class or with my own kids.

  • Ribbons in a bottle

Take an empty bottle with a wide lid . Stuff with ribbon. Help your child to push the ribbon in and pull it out.

  • Pom pom play
  • For this you need a bowl of pom Poms and some tweezers. Use the tweezers to transfer the pom Poms into and out of the bowl.

    • Colander pipe cleaners

    Take several coloured pipe cleaners and a colander. Turn the colander upside down and have your toddler stick the pipe cleaners in using the colander like a peg board.

    • Corn kernel sensory box

    This is great for if you have a child learning about the farm or food theme. Place popcorn into a shallow box. Insert farm animals, farmer and a tractor into the kernels covering them.

    Give your child spoons, a funnel, an empty container and a jug to play with.

    Let them discover the animals and scoop out the kernels. Teach them to pour the kernels into the container and how they pass through the funnel.

    • Cardboard box

    This is self explanatory, give your child a box and let their imaginations go wild.

    • Rip tissue paper

    This is fantastic for fine motor skills. You can start with soft papers like serviettes, tissue paper and work up to white paper, old magazines and wrapping paper.

    • Fabric scraps

    Give your child a box of fabric scraps.

    On a huge piece of paper trace around their body. Let them glue on the fabric scraps to make clothing.

    • Jars and lids

    Take several jars with lids. Unscrew all the lids. Muddle them up and have your child match the right lid to the container and screw it on.

  • Pots and pans orchestra
  • Hold your ears with this one. Give the kids some old pots and wooden spoons let them make music.

    • Transfer water

    This is especially fun in the bathroom but a bowl of water outside will also work.

    Fill a container and have your child transfer water from it to another container.

    You can use a variety of different items like spoons, cups, jugs, buckets, ect.

    • Stack cups

    Let your child stack plastic cups or Tupperware in your kitchen the same way they stack blocks.

    • Toothpicks and meat trays

    Draw a simple picture on a meat tray and let your toddler prick all around it to make the pattern.

    Most importantly have fun and always stop an activity if your toddler has lost interest.

    We survived The Cape Town Carnival with a toddler

    Bear is at that age now where he Does Not sit still, not even for a healthy amount of bribing.

    He loves to explore and the world is just so big and exciting … of course he wants to view it all, touch it all and do it all.

    This naturally means all outings currently feel like Olympic sporting events with one or both of us running after him.

    Our eyes have to be EVERYEHERE.

    Do not be fooled by those adorable blue eyes, inside my cute little toddler lurks a pint sized Tasmanian devil, who posseses the road runner’s sprinting skills and can climb and swing on everything like Mogli from the jungle book.

    Bearing all this in mind we diligently still try to engage in normal activities to maintain a degree of our sanity.

    Last night was no exception.

    We attempted to watch the Cape Town Carnival …

    With a toddler !

    It was going well, I packed enough oh my goodness snacks (see what a good mom I am …did I mention this was because we were going to skip supper and full up on junk) a bottle , warm clothing and a blanket.

    I dragged along his pram to sit in and was confident that we were ready for this.

    We secured a spot behind some deck chairs and waited …

    I seemed to have forgotten we would be waiting and bear got very bored.

    Not allowed to run around he also got very cranky.

    We tried to entertain him. Papa rushed off to find a milkshake and thankfully the parade eventually started.

    Trying to get bear a good view of the parade, papa held him on his shoulders and the oooohs and aaaaaahs started.

    How refreshing to see the carnival through the wonder and delight of a child’s eyes.

    Bear loved the lights , the floats, the music and the excitement.

    At one point papa and I were dancing to the drums with bear.

    At 9pm, an hour after bedtime and 4 trips to find milkshakes later bear grabbed his blanket from me . Took hold of his bottle and fell into a deep sleep in his pram ….just as the marching band came past.

    I held my breath

    Not a sound from bear …

    Can someone please explain how my toddler sleeps through a marching band but if I so much as move at night he wakes up.


    The life of a toddler mom ….so many struggles! So many rewards!

    15 fun Toddler Activities to do this weekend

    As an educator I enjoy easy activities that not only keep kids busy but allow them to learn through play.

    Here are 15 fun easy activities to keep your toddler ( and you) busy this weekend.

    1.Cut up pipe cleaners – collect a variety of coloured pipe cleaners and let your child practice their cutting skills by cutting the pipe cleaners into smaller pieces.

    2.Balloon badminton – make 2 bats by taping a carton tube to a paper plate. Alternatively You can cut a pool noodles and each use a piece or use fly swatter. Take turns using a balloon as the ball to hit.

    3.Bubbles wrap runway – this is very cute and perfect for little toddlers. Place a long strip of bubble wrap on the ground. Have your child stand like an aeroplane , arms outstretched and run down the runway to take off and fly.

    4.Golf tees into Styrofoam – for this you need a few golf tees and some Styrofoam. Give your child a wooden hammer and let him hammer each tee into the Styrofoam.

    5.Highways – make roads from tape on the ground and let your toddler ride their cars on the roads.

    6.Treasure hunt – hide a few items in a room or outside. Draw the items into a piece of paper and help your child to find each one. I like a nature hunt where each child has to find a few items to collect outside.

    7.Cereal necklaces – using a cereal that looks like hoops make a necklace by stringing tgem onto a piece of string or ribbon.

    8.Thread cereal onto a spaghetti stick – place a piece of raw spaghetti into a piece of playdough. Thread cereal with hoops onto the spaghetti.

    9.Newspaper balls – roll newspaper up into a ball and throw, kick and roll the balls with your toddler.

    10.Roll down a hill- I’m sure you all remember the fun of rolling downhill and in the grass. Teach your toddler to roll downhill.

    11.Balance beam- a balance beam can be made from a piece of plank or a few bricks placed together . Allow your child to hold your hand until they are confident enough to balance by themselves.

    12.Block stack – use blocks or plastic containers to stack into tall towers and let your toddlers knock it over.

    13.Lacinging cards – cut some easy shapes from card boxes. Old cereal boxes work best. Punch all around and let your child use a shoe lace to thread around.

    14.Cook with mud- who didn’t love cooking with mud as a child? Give them some old kitchen utensils and make a small mud patch outside. This is great for creativity.

    15.Peg play-allow your child to peg the clothing pegs on and off a paper plate, shoebox or string tied between two chair legs.

    Little Bears Toddler  bucket list for January 2018

    It’s January again , I mean how fast are the days flying by? It seems just yesterday we celebrated little bears first New Years eve and here we are again.

    As one does in the beginning of a new year, I’ve started organising and scheduling our year. Sorting our posting schedules and looking at various challenges for the year.

    One of the things i’ve started is a bucket list of things I want to achieve this year, some are easy , others require a bit bigger dreaming 😉

    So, I thought why not include a bucket list for little bear

    I know , I hear you groaning … as moms we can bearly keep up with the kids milestone books and extra murals so how will we fit in a bucket list

    Easy …

    Instead of writing a long list i’m going to post 5 bucket list items a month and work throughout that month to complete them 😊

    I hope you’ll join us and share your experiences with us.

    To make it easier for us to share your experiences with you ,tag us on your social media with #littlebearsbucketlist or #funmammasa

    January bucket list

    1. Join a library
    2. Picnic in a park
    3. Go for a ride on my bike 
    4. Build a sandcastle
    5. Bake with mom 

    1. Join a library

    We love to read and have a wide collection of toddler books. Even so i find little bear sometimes wants a new book to read or I want to read a specific book to him and don’t want to spend a fortune on a book we may only read once or twice.  That is where the public library comes in handy.

    The toddler book range is extensive, you can try out new authors and books at no cost, theres no need to worry about space for new books as you return your books every two weeks (or sooner), your child learns to love and respect books, it’s a fun outing and you can chose specific books to match your child’s interests and abilities never to stress about replacing the books your toddler has outgrown. Your library also loan out dvds, talking books, puzzles and magazines.

    So, how do you join the library

    If you aren’t a member already you will need to open a card for you aswell.  For that you need your ID and  proof of residence.  To open your child’s card you will need their birth certificate. 

    Remember to ask your library for a list of times, services offered and about their story hours and holiday programs to keep your todders busy.

    2. Picnic in the park

    When last did you pack a picnic basket of all your favourite nibbles and head to your nearest park to enjoy some quality family time? 

    I love to picnic, and the last picnic we enjoyed was bears teddy bear birthday picnic.

    I’m a bit weary of being alone in a park so chose an open park with lots of houses around or take a group with you. 

    3. Go for a ride on my bike

    We very lucky to live both next to the pretty #mycity walkways and close enough to the beach promanade so little bear can enjoy both.

    We lazy though and don’t  always take him for a ride on his bike.

     One of my own goals is to be outside and moving more this year so this bucket list challenge is the perfect way for me to start my daily walks with little bear.

    4. Build a sandcastle

    Is there anything nicer than the soft cool feel of sand between your toes? Little Bear loves the sand and has now started to copy what we do so building a sand castle together could be alot of fun. 

    As a little girl I spent hours decorating my sand castles with shells and driftwood imagining they were homes to mermaids and sea creatures. When I was done i’d built an entire town on the beach.

    If you don’t live near the beach, let your toddler build a sand castle in the sandpit or garden. Kinetic sand is also great if you cant get outside.

    5. Bake with mom

    Little bear loves to be in thd kitchen with me. He also wants to do everything we do, so baking is a great activity to bond and build that independance.

    He even has his own little apron to help bake in. 

    I’ll be posting some no bake recipes for you all to try with your children Or you can email me for a copy of the sugar biscuit recipe we’ve been using for the last 26 years, since Tammi first baked with me.

    I can’t wait to get little bear and I started on this bucket list .

    Enjoy the activities and building memories with your bears manma💖

    Teddy bear toast

    With bear moving happily onto solid’s and enjoying a piece of mammas toast I just had to share this idea to brighten the breakfast table.

    Smear your toast with peanut butter. For those with nut allergies I discovered a wonderful sunflower seed spread when Kiki was a baby. It tastes similar to peanut butter and has the same consistency. 

    Decorate with banana slices and raisins