Make Plans Please

sibo-and-zona-2

We are going away for the festive season – to Flatwater Stills – so its yukky old malaria pills time again. Mum insists we take them – and we do – because malaria is very nasty and we don’t want to get it. Luckily there are only a few places in South Africa where those particular mozzies hang out. Sadly, our relatives stay in one of those places.

I wanted to take our dog Zona with us on holiday but mum said no. She was not having that hairy mutt slobbering and panting in her car for hours and hours.

Dad was more realistic and pointed out that our family has plenty of dogs of their own, there are not many fences and so it would not be safe to take Zona with us.

Mum said that we could get old Mr Whatsit next door to come and feed Zona whilst we were away.

There was a bit of an argument – Dad said that it was a bit risky to ask an elderly neighbour to look after our dog for five whole days. What happened if he forgot or if he got sick or something.

He said he would rather book Zona into the kennels for those days and then we would know for sure that she was being looked after. Plus she would not be lonely either because there are people around and there are other dogs to bark at.

That started me thinking… Mum usually invites Mr Whatsit to our house for Christmas dinner because he lives on his own and his family – if he has any – is not around.

I looked at Mum. Shame, poor Mr Whatsit! He’ll be really lonely too.

Mum agreed and said she’d talk to some of the other aunties in the street and see who would love to have him join their family for Christmas lunch or dinner this year. She’d organise it before we left to go on holiday.

It’s so sad when people get old and nobody looks after them or comes to visit. Must be very lonely just sitting by yourself all day with only the television for company.

Sometimes I have to do errands for him. He’s a bit grumpy but mum says I should not let that put me off – he’s actually quite a sweetie at heart.

Remember to make a plan with your animals if you are going away please!

Sibo

Christmas is Coming.

Sibo cutie face

Eish! Seems like this year went very fast – to me, anyway.

The other day mum and I went to the mall and guess what… the shops are all full of Christmassy stuff. There are crackers, Christmas lights and the toy isles are starting to look very interesting. I got all excited but mum sighed and said that each year the shops get their Christmas stuff in earlier and earlier and by the time Christmas actually arrived you were so sick of Jingle Bells you could hooch.

I thought she was completely crazy but decided not to say a word.

When we got home I rattled my piggy bank and was a tad concerned to see that it is not very jingly. In fact it is downright empty.

I made a deal with mum. She will pay me for extra chores – things like vacuuming and doing different odd jobs obviously – not my usual tasks like washing dishes, picking up my dog’s pooh and stuff like that.

Dad says if I help in the garden, he’ll pay me too.

Even so, I don’t think I am going to have enough money to buy cool Christmas presents for everybody. I am going to have to get crafty…

Very crafty!

Ultra crafty in fact. I am going to have to make my presents this year. Good job I realised now already because it gives me enough time to get things done.

I’m planning on making some stuff out of Paper Mache. I know we’ve done this before – but really – it remains one of the easiest and yet nicest ways of making awesome things using recycled plastic stuff like yogurt containers and old newspapers or magazines.  You can transform simple junk into lovely useful pencil holders, boxes or mobiles – just by using a bit of imagination.

You can use wallpaper glue or you can make your own glue using water and flour. It’s not hard and it does not cost much.  Once you’ve finished sticking on several layers (remember to let them dry in-between) you can paint your article to make it look really nice.

The other day a friend of mine made a cool hat stand using a balloon and the top of a coke bottle. Then she painted a face on it. I bet you could use something like that for necklaces or scarves as well.

If you need help with your Paper Mache – check out my website – www.sibo.co.za

Get busy!

Sibo.

That time of year… exams again!

sibo-thinking

Firstly and very importantly… do not leave your studying until the last minute.

Give yourself enough time to study. Seriously – cramming is not the best way to try and get good results. But before you even start studying, tidy up the area when you are going to be sitting when you study. It’s hard to concentrate when there is lots of mess around you. Make sure you are comfortable, have enough space and that you have sufficient light – especially if you are going to be working at night.

Next – make a list of how many exams you have and when you have to write them. Then make a timetable so you can see how much time you have to study for each exam. Remember to schedule in breaks as well. After studying for 45-50 minutes you should take a 10 minute break. Make sure you take some of those breaks in the sunshine too – Vitamin D is very good for your brain.

(And… don’t waste lots of time making a really awesome timetable just so you don’t have to start studying. That is called PROCRASTINATION!)

Use flow charts and diagrams to help you study. Visual aids really do work.

Make flash cards and keep them handy. Get your parental agents to help you. Explaining things to other people is a great way to get everything organised in your head and help you remember.

You might also want to think about organising study groups with friends. Sometimes it is great to bounce questions off other people. But make sure that you stay focussed.

Another good thing to remember is that you should try and avoid junk food when you are studying. Believe it or not – fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries have been proven to aid concentration and memory. Snack on raw veggies and fruit rather than sweets and chips. Also make sure that you have a good healthy meal before you go and write your exam.

Drink plenty of water – keeping your brain well hydrated is very important so that it works best.

Last but definitely not least – remember to get enough sleep. If you have been cramming all night and are tired when you go to write your exam… you probably won’t remember as much as you should.

Good luck!

Sibo.

Is it a Snat… or a Cake?

sibo-and-her-snat

Ginny was telling me the other day that when she was a kid she loved drawing monsters.

Monsters? I said. Whatever do you mean?

She reckoned she and her friends used to take a couple of pieces of paper and draw imaginary creatures. Scary ones, funny ones, tall ones, thin ones – you name it ones.

Then they would give those crazy critters names and make up stories about them.

Of course, I should add that Ginny grey up in Malawi a million years ago when there was no social media, internet and… it’s really hard to imagine this… but they did not even have a television. Sjoe!

No wonder they had to find stuff to occupy themselves.

But then the other day a friend of mine posted a picture of her cat on Facebook. She was holding the cats’ ears back, so it looked a bit like a snake.

leonies-cat

I started thinking about those monsters and wondered what it would look like if you drew cats’ ears on a snake. Or if you gave a cat a spitty tongue like a snake has. And what would you call your creature… a Snat? Or maybe a Cake?

I reckon that often we’re so busy going about our lives that we don’t use our imagination half as much as we could. And with with all these awesome animated movies it’s also a bit mind boggling and feels like a hard act to follow.

But actually we don’t have to follow anybody – we can do our own thing!

Plus we have cool tools. Apart from good old kokis or crayons and paper, we can also draw monsters on the computer.

You could even write your own little book with monster illustrations too!

So… who wants to accept the monster challenge?

Draw a monster – post it on Sibo’s Facebook page  and we’ll have a lucky draw where somebody can win some Sibo books. We’ll put the pictures on the website too.  If you want to make up a story about your monster – go for it!

You can draw them on paper and take a photo – or get your parental agent to take one. You can also draw one on the computer and post it or email it. There are no rules. You just have to draw a monster!

Have fun and be creative!

Sibo

sibo-thinking

We’ve got to save MORE water!

Sibo having a shorter shower

Recently we got a letter from Rand Water saying that it will be reducing its supply by 15% in order to try and conserve water.

This is means that we all have to make a plan to save more water.

I know many of us already save water and think that there is not much more that we can do, but if you think carefully about it, there probably is.

Here are some reminders of the easy ways to save.

Shower for 5 minutes or less. No more of those long hot soaks in the bath where the water sloshes around your chin and you pull the plug out every so often to let some water out so that you can top it up with nice hot water. Nope! A short shower is the way to go. Anyway – its summer  now so that is not really a problem – is it?

Wash your dishes in a basin with the plug in. If you have a dishwasher – don’t rinse them with running water either. Use a basin of water rather. Yes, I know it’s a pain – but do it anyway please.

Wash your car with a bucket. Many South Africans are obsessed with having clean cars – I think that’s so silly – I mean – they just get dirty again. Why bother – as long as you can see through the windows – that’s all that counts.

Check that your taps are not dripping or leaking.  Kids can check and report to their parental agents. Remember to check the taps outside too.

If you are staying in a hotel – reuse your towel. Good heavens! It’s not like you get a spiffy clean towel at home every day is it? so don’t expect one in a hotel either.

Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. Yes really – it’s not hard to do – it’s just a mind-set.

Same goes for when you wash your hands. Run a little bit of water with the plug in.

In fact – do an experiment – you know how I always like doing experiments. Waste a bit of water just once.  Put the plug in but leave the tap running when you brush your teeth… you will be horrified at how much water you have been wasting every single day.

Please people – lets save more water.

Sibo

PS –  If you see any water wastage in town or somewhere that is not your home you can call the toll free number 080 0200 200 and report it. Or you could send an sms to 45174.

PPS – Did you know that you can invite Manzi and he water Wise education team to your school – free of charge. It’s a 25 minute show and it is really fun. I know – I’ve seen it myself!  Email Waterwise@randwater.co.za

PPPS – Hahahaha – sorry – but you can read Sibo Saves Water   free of charge too!

Get off your butt!

Sibo hula hooping

Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!

Yip – we’re talking about exercise.

It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.

Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.

Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.

Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.

Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.

You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?

It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.

Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.

Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.

All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.

Get moving people.

Sibo

Have fun and eggsperiment!

Sibo and eggs

Sometime last year we found out how good eggs were for us. Not only are they very nutritious but they are also good for our eyesight and for memory (maybe we should all chomp down eggs for breakfast when we are writing exams in future. (Here’s the blog link in case you missed it.

The other day I read about a cool trick that you can do with eggs. It’s really simple. All you need are two eggs. One you have to hard boil (make it 15 minutes to make sure) and once it’s been boiled, put it in the fridge so that it becomes the same temperature as the raw egg.

Now you have two eggs that look and feel the same. Nobody knows that there really is a difference.

This is what you do…

Spin the eggs and watch what happens.

One egg should spin while the other egg wobbles.

You can also lightly tough each of the eggs while they are spinning. One should stop quickly while the other keeps moving after you have touched it.

Ask your audience why they think this is happening.

And why is it happening…. the raw egg’s centre of gravity changes as the white and yolk move around inside the shell, causing the wobbling motion. Even after you touch the shell it continues moving. This is because of inertia – the same type of force you feel when you change direction or stop suddenly in a car – your body wants to move one way while the car wants you to do something different. Inertia causes the raw egg to spin even after you have stopped it, this contrasts with the solid white and yolk of the hard-boiled egg. It responds much quicker if you touch it.

This is a good eggsperiment to test a friend or someone in your family with – see if they can figure out how to tell the difference between the eggs (without smashing them of course) before showing them how your nifty trick actually works.

Then you can have a nice hardboiled egg sandwich!

Have an eggsellent week!

Sibo

Get off that darn cell phone please!

sibo-having-fun-at-the-wimpy-2Sjoe – some adults are really a bit less than the best!

Mum and I were at the Wimpy having a milkshake.

We chose to sit outside so that I could investigate all the fun stuff to do – and let me tell you – there is plenty of fun stuff to do at the Wimpy in Petersfield. Mum likes to watch me whilst I play. But we have a rule that I have to come back every now and then and talk. I also have to eat all my food.

Actually I quite like having my mum all to myself – so I spend more time at the table than I do in the playground.

I was slurping down my shake, chatting away, when I noticed a little kid who came in with her parental agent. They sat down inside – far away from the play area.

The little girl looked at the slide longingly but sat down, good as gold. A few minutes later the man took out his cell phone and kept it glued to his ear for quite a long time.

After a while the girl ventured outside and had a look around the play area – rather apprehensively.  Then she went back inside. The man was on his phone again. She fiddled with the sauce and stuff. He carried on talking. Their food came and he still chatted.

Part of the treat of going out somewhere is having the person talk to you – not someone else!

I see this quite a lot. People go out and they spend more time looking at their cell phones than they do talking to the person that they are with.

Adults are the worst!  They order their kids food and seem to feel that is all that’s expected of them. Their job is done,  they can sit back and withdraw into their cellular worlds. They don’t need to interact with their children other than to help them cut up their food.

Sometimes the kids spend the whole time in the play area and don’t even eat much of their food.

Most of us want you to watch us, we want to talk to you and we want to you listen to us – with your eyes and your ears. You can’t do that if you are attached to your cell phone.

Put it away people!

Sibo

Sweat is cool!

Sibo 5

Sjoe! Seems like one day it was the middle of winter and then all of a sudden –kapow!  It’s summertime.  What happened to Spring?

The rest of the country still seems to be having all up and down weather – but Gauteng is just plain hot already.

When it’s hot we get sweaty.  If we’ve run around the place or had a workout at the gym or even sometimes just sitting in the sun makes a person dampish. Sweat cools us off when our body temperature rises. It’s very necessary – otherwise we would overheat.

Here’s a little experiment you can do to see how sweat makes us feel cooler… all you need is 1 pair of socks and a fan.

Wet one sock with warm water and then wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping wet.

Put the socks on – with one foot in a wet sock and one foot in a dry sock (yes – really – do it).

Sit for about 5 minutes with the bottoms of your feet facing the blowing fan – do not get your toes caught in the whirling fan blades either please!

Does the foot with the wet sock feel different from the foot with the dry sock?

What happens is this… As the fan blows, the water in the damp sock evaporates. The heat from your foot gives the liquid molecules a little energy and they change from slow moving liquid to fast moving gas molecules. As the water in the sock evaporates into the air, it carries heat energy with it. The heat comes from your foot – so obviously your foot cools down. Sweat works the same way – the heat energy from your body gets transferred to your sweat and then into the air as the water in your sweat evaporates.

See! Sweat really is cool.

Here are some skinny facts…

The thickest skin is on the soles of your feet – 3mm.

The thinnest skin is on your eyelid – only 1mm

We all shed a complete layer of skin every month. The top layer consists of hard, horny dead cells and they flake off all the time. Most of the dust in your house is actually dead skin. Errgh gross! New skin is forming all the time below the old skin – that’s why we never run out of skin. Bodies are clever things hey?

Stay cool everybody!

Sibo

Being polite when using public transport

sibo-event-post-2

Remember last week I told you that it was International Literacy Day on the 8th of September! Well, I am super stoked. My latest book – Sibo on the Move – which is all about the Gautrain and how you should behave when you travel on public transport – is being launched on this very day in the Rosebank Gautrain Station.

How cool is that!

Wait! I hear you say… how on earth did you, Sibo, get to write a book about the Gautrain?

Actually it’s quite a funny story. We were busy with the road safety book – Sibo Looks Right. Not sure if you remember but actually we crowdfunded for this book so that we could share it with as many kids as possible.  Sadly we did not get enough money to print thousands of copies to distribute – but we did print a few and share them around the place. Plus of course the e-book is on my website for anybody to freely read.

Magically (there was a bit more to it than that – but we’ll leave it there) Gautrain got to hear about my road safety book and asked us all to a meeting. We thought that maybe they wanted to donate some money towards this book but it turned out, in fact, that they wanted their own Sibo book.

This is the book that is going to be launched on the 8th of September.  Actually it is also going to be used for transport month. This happens in October every year.  There is a serious drive in Jozi to minimize traffic on the roads and everybody is encouraged to use public transport as much as possible.

In fact – to make sure that people actually do this, some of the roads are closed off – so that people have to use public transport to get where they want to go – or walk!

This is part of the reason that Sibo on the Move was written – to help people remember that there is some etiquette to be adhered to when travelling on trains and buses.

Simple things like…

  • don’t listen to loud music
  • don’t put your feet on the seats
  • don’t sit in the seats that are allocated for the disabled or elderly
  • wait until people get off the train or bus before you jump on… and
  • eergghhhh – never ever stick chewing gum under the seat – that is beyond gross.

Travel safely people!

Sibo

PS – If you want to read this book – it’s also freely available on www.sibo.co.za – just click on the cover of the book.