Healthy Snacks

Sibo with fruitFeh! I was always under the impression that being a kid meant we could gobble up as much junk food as we like… chips, sweets and cakes.

But I was reading the other day how easy it is to get addicted to junk food. And if you get addicted when you are a kid, it’s harder to kick the habit when you get older.

Worse – all the negative side effects were a bit shocking too. Who would have thought that eating too much junk food can cause tiredness and weakness? Seriously.

It’s so easy to grab a packet of something junky when you are hungry and chomp it down – but the problem is, a short while later you are usually hungry again. And so you grab another packet of something… and another and another.

So what could we eat for healthy snacks?

Yoghurt is a good one. It’s easy to pack in a lunch box and it’s full of vitamins too.

Another healthy snack is nuts – although preferably they should be unsalted.

Stuff like celery or carrot sticks is also good – you know what mums always say… eat up your carrots – they are good for your eyesight!  Raw slices of peppers – red, green or yellow are yummy too. Did you know that a pepper has more vitamin C (the stuff you need when it’s winter and you don’t want to get a cold or the flu) than an orange. Sjoe! I was quite surprised when I found that out.

Of course oranges are good – although sometimes they are a bit sticky and messy to eat at school. All fruits are good snacks – but one fruit that is really easy to eat and full of goodness is a banana.  They are also an instant energy boost because they are full of sugars like sucrose, fructose and glucose. They have lots of iron in them – which is great because many children in South Africa suffer from anaemia (iron shortage) and eating bananas is an excellent way of fixing this. Plus the potassium in bananas promotes healthy bones – which, as growing kids, we need.

Don’t drink too many sodas either – water is better!


Word for the week: Acne

Meaning: a skin condition characterized by red pimples on the skin, especially on the face, due to inflamed or infected sebaceous glands.

Example: She rubbed the peel (the inside bit) of a banana skin on her face each night to help improve her acne. (This is a true tip – try it out.)


Sibo and the rainbowDid you know that 2015 is International Year of Light and Light-Based technologies?

Probably we mostly think of light as being that stuff that Eskom turns off every now and then, but it’s more, much much more.

Can you think of some other ways that light is used?

Hmmm… what about CD or DVD players – they use lasers. In 1982 CD players became the first laser equipped device readily found in the home.

Ooohhh – but what exactly is a laser?

Well, regular light from the sun or from a light bulb really contains all the colours of the rainbow. But you have to split it up to see this. You can split white light up into its colours using a prism (raindrops act like tiny prisms when they make a rainbow in the sky).

A laser is a special source of light of only one pure colour (or wavelength). You can’t break up laser light into other colours.

So what is so cool about laser light?

They can focus. It’s not like a torch at all. Just think when you shine a torch, the beam of light goes wider and wider. But a laser beam can be focussed to a very small spot (it does not spread out) and can shine for long distances.

That laser spot contains lots of energy. So much so that it can even be used for cutting stuff like thick metal.

Even more exciting, small laser beams are used in surgery, like scalpels.


BUT… lasers can be extremely dangerous if used irresponsibly. Recently, some kids at school got permanent eye damage from fooling around with laser pointers. In fact, you are now no longer allowed to take lasers to school in the Gauteng province. Shining a laser pointer into somebody’s eye is just silly. Don’t do it.

We haven’t even touched the surface about all the cool stuff lasers can do. If you know of some other uses of lasers – why don’t you write me a letter care of the African Reporter – I’d love to hear from you. Or email me.

If you visit my website – you’ll find a cool experiment on how to bend light.


Cool word for the week: Photonics

Meaning: Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling and detecting photons, which are particles of light.

Example: When I grow up I want to study photonics.

Stay Safe

Sibo and Wayne walking Zona

I heard that there was an accident the other day when a person was killed just walking down the street on the pavement, minding his own business.

How terrible is this?

Cars and bikes should not drive like hooligans through suburban areas – but they do.  And they probably always will – unless the municipality puts humps and bumps in all the roads. Even then, I’ve seen some drivers get very creative driving on the pavement to avoid the humps.

People should take care when driving in suburban areas. Kids and dogs roam around. They shouldn’t really. But still they do.

We children should also be vigilant.  Keep an eye on the road. Walk on the pavement or side path. Don’t walk in the middle of the road. If you are taking your dog for a walk, make sure it is on a leash so that it cannot charge off after that unexpected cat and get you (or itself) into trouble.

Also remember the rules of the road.

Cross by the zebra crossing. Walk facing the oncoming traffic so that they can see you. If it’s night time – wear something bright so that cars can clearly see you. There is nothing worse than wearing black clothing walking down the road on a dark night. That is just silly.

And while we are on the topic of safety… don’t talk to strangers. No really – just don’t do it. And definitely do not take sweets from people that you do not know. Never ever! Not even if you are hungry and they look really good.

If you are at home alone, keep the doors locked. Don’t just open it if somebody knocks. Look out of a window or through the peephole to check if you know the person. Better still; just speak to them through the locked door. It’s also okay to pretend that there is somebody else there too.

Child molesters and drunk drivers should be locked up in a cold dank cell for a very long time – but unfortunately often they get away with their crimes.

Don’t be scared. Rather be alert my friends – it might save your life.


Cool word for the week: Snigger

Meaning: to laugh in a half-suppressed, typically scornful way

Example: Some of my friends snigger at me when I wear bright colours at night time, but I don’t care – I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Hula hooping is fun

Sibo hula hoopingDon’t know if you’ve heard this, but they say that we use more of our brains when we are sleeping than we do when we watch television.

Eish! That’s a scary thought. We all know how much kids like to watch television. We’d probably sit and watch it all day if we got half a chance. My mum is quite strict. I’m only allowed to watch TV for an hour every day. So I have to pick my programmes carefully.

Often our parental agents tell us to go outside and run around. Like we were dogs or something?

Of course, if you have dog – you should go outside and spend time playing with it – throwing sticks or a ball, or taking it for a walk. I hope that your dog is allowed inside too – those people who think that dogs should be left outside, no matter what the weather, make me very sad. I don’t even want to even imagine how the poor dogs feel.

Sometimes people forget – they have lots of things to do, TV’s to watch, jobs or school to go to, families to talk to… but a dogs’ whole life revolves around his owner. Dogs are family too. Sadly, people tend to forget this.

Back to exercise… I got a hula hoop for a present and I’m having such fun with it – I don’t even mind when mum tells me to go outside and get some exercise. Some of my friends also have hula hoops – and so we all play in the garden together. We put some music on and have great fun.

To begin with it was quite hard to keep the hoop spinning around my waist – but I’ve got the hang of it now. It’s actually quite easy. I googled hula hooping and I see that there are some sites where you can learn cool tricks.

I think that my mum might quite like to do it too. I read that it’s great exercise. And you know how mums are – always trying to lose weight. Only thing is – she needs a bigger hoop than the one that I have.

Luckily my friend Ginny knows how to make these hoops. If you want to know you can contact her.


Cool word for the week: Dank

Meaning: Unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and, often, chilly.

Example: I feel sad because the poor dog across the street has to sleep in a dank shed and is never allowed inside.

Adults acting worse than kids

Sibo 5Eish!

I have been feeling rather agitated just lately. All these people throwing coloured paint on statues and messing them up makes me sad, mad and just plain fed up.

It’s worse than littering.

I understand that not everybody is happy with their lives, and that things have not worked out the way they wanted them to, but destroying stuff is wrong.

And it does not fix anything. You might feel good or happy for a little while, but soon you’ll be looking for something else to mess up.

If you think about it, it’s a bit like stealing.

I’m just a little kid and one day I want to be able to go and visit history. Check out what people looked like, read up on what they did. All people – no matter what colour they are.

Even if I maybe did not agree with what they did in the past – I still have the right to know about them.

If they get rid of all the statues – how long before they get rid of all the information in the history books that we have at school?

It’s not like you can change things that have already happened.

But you can learn from mistakes and make sure that they don’t happen again.

I thought big people were supposed to know better. It seems to me that some of these big people are acting worse than little kids.

Seriously! If a kid destroyed something just because he or she didn’t like it – they’d probably get a fat smack and be in serious trouble.

Imagine if you stole your neighbour’s angel statue and broke it just because you don’t believe in angels?

I listen to a lot of adults moaning and whinging that they wished their lives were different. That they had a better job… or earned more money. Or they wished they were thinner… or whinge whinge whinge. But I don’t really ever see them doing anything to help themselves and change things.

This seems a bit odd to me.

It’s up to you, yourself, to change stuff that you don’t like.

But this does not mean that it’s okay to destroy things.



Cool word for the week: Tolerance

Meaning: A willingness to recognize and respect the beliefs or practices of others

Example: We have to show tolerance for what other people think – even if we don’t agree with them.


Smile awhile

Sibo smilingHey everybody!

Hope that you all are enjoying the holidays or what’s left of them.

I was in the shops with my mum one day last week and was horribly bored. I’d much rather be out in the sunshine, digging in my garden or doing other cool stuff than trawling around a stupid mall. But my mum likes going shopping. My dad is one sneaky dude – he usually manages to avoid going with mum. He always has urgent “other” stuff to do.

Anyway, I was sitting on a bench watching people and do you know – nearly none of those people were smiling. Everybody had various different looks on their faces. Some looked worried. Some looked sad. Some looked cross and some looked so angry their eyebrows were nearly smouldering into their noses.

It was rather interesting. Even most of the kids were stomping along with faces like thunderclouds. I could hear some whinging that they wanted things that they were obviously not getting.

There was an old auntie standing on the other side of the walkway asking for money. She smiled at everybody who dropped some coins in her cup and thanked the people.

But most of those people did not even look at her again.

A droopy looking young lady walked passed and looked at me. I smiled sweetly at her.

Immediately she smiled back.

Ah hah! An experiment. I love experiments.

I tried smiling at more people. Big smiles and little smiles. Most people smiled back at me.

When mum came out of the shop I smiled at her.

She looked at me. “Oh oh Sibo!” She said. “What have you done now? Why are you smiling like that?”

I wiped the smile off my face and put on my hurt look. “Mum!” I exclaimed. “I was smiling at you because I love you. I have not done a single naughty thing. I promise.”

I did not consider experimenting smiles on people as being naughty.

She looked a bit doubtful and then she smiled back at me. “I love you too Sibo,” she said.

I took her hand and we walked off, smiling at all the people we saw.

Let’s make the world a happier place and smile more.


Cool word for the week: Agitated

Meaning: Feeling or appearing troubled or nervous.

Example: A whole lot of people were looking very agitated because the shop had run out of chocolate eggs.

Fun stuff to do

Sometimes I get bored in the holidays. I mean the first few days are great – you get to sleep in late and don’t have any homework or stuff to do.

Then it gets to when I’ve read and reread all my books and the novelty of sleeping late has worn off.  My beans are growing nicely on their own – all I have to do is water them, talk to them and pick them when they are big enough.

I do go play with friends sometimes, but they are not always around – they also have their own things to do and… some of them go away for the holidays.

I spend time with my dog too – take him for walks, brush him and train him. He’s my best friend and I really love him. I always get so sad when people mistreat their animals. Some people even leave them chained up in their yards or go away without bothering to get somebody to look after them. That’s so bad. I would never do that to my dog.

But even after doing all of the above – I still get bored and that’s when it is great to have some fun stuff to do.

Like what Sibo? I hear you asking…

Well – you all know I like recycling stuff – right? So I found a cool way of making a hanging mobile or a hanging curtain (if you’ve got lots of time and patience) using stuff like plastic bottles, bottle tops, corks, beads, buttons, straws and anything else that’s lying around that you can thread on a string.

You might need one of your parental agents to help you with the plastic bottles. You cut them up into shapes, like circles and squares and triangles using scissors – sometimes make the first cut is the hardest and that’s where you need help. You can also put glue on the plastic and sprinkle sand or glitter on the pieces. Then you thread all the stuff on a piece of string, or wool, or fishing line – whatever you have. Make a knot at the bottom. Put something heavyish on first so that it hangs nicely.

Have fun! Send us  some pictures if you want to.

Go check out what my friend Ginny did:


Cool word for the week:

Hah! It’s holidays – you get a break from leaning cool words!!!

Mind your manners!

The other day mum and I had been shopping in the mall. I was tired, my feet were sore and actually I was a bit fed up watching her try on gajillions of clothes.

Mum suggested that we stop for a break and a bite to eat. I wanted to go to McDonalds. Mum wanted to go to another little tea shop.

Obviously, because I’m the small one and mum has the money – we ended up going to Mum’s place.

I was not very happy and started to pout.

Look said mum, they have chocolate cake and milkshakes. I did not want chocolate cake or a milkshake. I wanted a cheese burger and a coke.

I was really miffed. I plonked down at that table and sulked. When the waitress came to take our order I did not look at her, nor did I say please or thank you.

Mum said I’d been really rude.

Really rude? Me? I didn’t think so.

But mum insisted. She said just because I was having a bad day I should not take it out on other people. They were just doing their job.

“Please and thank you are the cornerstones of politeness”, she said. And a smile does not hurt either.

Mum went off to find the Ladies room and left me sitting there – thinking.

Hmmm… probably I had been a bit rude hey? Come to think of it – I was not very proud of myself. I don’t ever like it when people think they can be rude to me, just because I’m a little kid. I guess it works both ways. One can’t just be bad tempered and mean when we don’t get our own way.

Even if it is something important like going to McDonalds!

Sibo 5In fact you could say that my behaviour had been downright dodgy.  The next time I saw the waitress passing our table I smiled at her and said I was sorry for being rude.

She patted my shoulder and said it was okay. She thanked me for apologising and said she also found it tiring going shopping with her mum.

I said sorry to  mum when she came back to the table.

The chocolate cake was delicious.


Cool word for the week:

Word:  nook

Meaning:  a corner or a small recess

Example: Sibo and her mum found a nice little nook in the restaurant and sat down to have a snack.

Full of beans

Hi everybody

You know how adults always talk about sustainable farming, growing your own food and stuff like that? We don’t think that it applies to us – but it does, you know. There is nothing to stop us growing our own stuff to eat.

Like beans.

Beans are really easy to grow. And it’s fun to watch them grow too. Better still, those little beans (when they are about 7 cm long) are really good to eat raw. They taste a million times better than the big ones your mom cooks for dinner.

You get two types of beans – pole beans and bush beans.  You can buy bean seeds at places like Checkers or Pick ‘n Pay. Maybe it’s a plan to club together with your friends, buy a packet of seeds and share them.

Back to the beans – pole beans grow tall and need something to lean against, like a stick or a wall or a trellis or something. Otherwise they get all tangled up and are not such happy chappies.

Bush beans grow in a little bush and don’t need to have a stake like pole beans do.

If you don’t have a nice piece of ground, you can grow your bean(s) in a container. You can even use a 2 liter cool drink bottle. Just cut the top off (get a parental agent to help).  Cut it quite high up so you can have more soil and there is more space for the roots. Make some little holes (using a nail) in the bottom for the water to drain out.

Stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. Put your bean into the hole and cover it up gently with soil. Give it a little bit of water.  Beans don’t like too much water so be careful not to drown it. If you leave it on the windowsill or outside in the sun you will need to check that the soil is always a bit damp – don’t let it get too dry or it won’t grow.

After about five days you will notice that your bean has begun to sprout. Once they start growing, they grow really quickly.

It’s great fun to watch plants grow.


Cool word for the week:

Word:  dodgy

Meaning:  unreliable or dishonest

Example: The weather forecast is often dodgy – you never know if it is actually going to rain or not.


PS – you can visit for more info about Sibo and the Veggie Bed!

Sibo makes a clever plan

Hey guys!

Hope you are all surviving this hot weather.

I was so hot the other day I had an extra cold shower in the middle of the afternoon. But then I felt really bad about wasting water so I came up with another plan.

I asked my mum if I could have her old spray bottle – the one that had stuff in it to clean the windows.  She had put it in the plastic pile to be recycled. I always go and nose around in the recycling pile to see if there is anything interesting that I can re-use or modify. Think I sometimes drive my poor mum a bit crazy.

I washed the bottle out very well, using some sunlight liquid to make sure that all the nasty detergent was gone. Then I rinsed it out several times too. I thought it was okay to use all that water because I’m planning on using the bottle for quite a long time.

Then I filled the bottle up with water and put it in the fridge for a while.

Later on, while I was doing my homework – I sprayed my legs and arms with nice cool water. It worked a treat. If you’ve got a fan – you can also spray the water into the fan and stand in front of it – that works well too.

But be careful not to make your books all wet and smooshy though, otherwise your teacher will be miffed with you.

I know some people are lucky and have swimming pools that they can use to cool down in – but we don’t. So I had to think of a clever plan instead. My Grandmother always says to me, “Sibo! When you have a problem, you have to put on your thinking cap and figure out a way to solve it.”

Sometimes it’s fun thinking of ways to unravel problems. And sometimes it is easier than we imagine. It’s the really simple things that work and make a difference.

Did you know… the 22nd of February is World Thinking Day?

Imagine that! A whole day dedicated to thinking about thinking.


Cool word for the week:

Word:  miffed

Meaning:  to be annoyed with, to be displeased

Example: I left the recycling pile in a mess when I took out the spray bottle and Mum was miffed with me.