Growing things

Last time we talked about sniffing and growing Rosemary. At the moment, a certain supermarket is onto a really cool thing – giving out little pots of flowers or veggies with every purchase over R150. I know many kids are hounding their parents to go shopping there to increase their collection, but fear not if you don’t get it right.

You can easily grow your own veggies without any fancy little pots.

All you need are egg boxes, seeds and soil (seedling soil really works the best – but it’s not completely necessary).

Get a group of kids together and share resources. One bag of seedling soil goes a really long way. If you don’t have any money for seeds, ask friends who have gardens if they have any to spare. Marigolds grow very quickly from the seeds that you can harvest from a dead flower. So do lots of other things – like tomatoes.

Simply fill the egg boxes with soil – poke a little hole in the middle – about 1cm deep and plant a seedling. Cover it up with a bit of soil. Water gently and put them on a windowsill or somewhere light. They don’t like direct sunlight too much because then they dry out.

Make sure that you keep them moist – if the soil gets dry your teensy babies will never sprout.

The time it takes to sprout depends on what seeds you have planted. Some spout much quicker than others – for instance, Sweet Alyssum starts sprouting in about 3 days but onions take around 10 – 15 days to poke their little green shoots out into the world.

Once they do start sprouting, plant the whole egg box in the ground. Or you can carefully cut the little sections apart and scatter them around your garden or into pots. The egg box material is biodegradable. Just (obviously) make sure you do not use plastic egg boxes!

You can even have fun making your own artistic signs out of ice-cream sticks or bits of cardboard box so that you know which seeds are which.

Consider having a race with your friends and see whose seeds sprout first.

By the way – if you want to know how to make a veggie bed the size of a door – my book – Sibo and the Veggie Bed (check out the cover above) is available this month as a free read on the website.

Explore your green-fingered side guys!

Have fun.

Sibo

Xx

Fairy sized crackers

Last week we made some paper chains using recycled magazines or papers. This week I thought I’d tell you about the cutie little fairy-sized crackers that I had a go at making.

You need a few basic things to make these – but before you start I should mention that they do not actually crack! (Although you can buy the poppers at some art stores if you really want some.)

You need:

  • crepe paper
  • the inner core of a toilet roll
  • glue, sticky tape, scissors, ruler
  • pretty string
  • shiny tape or wrapping paper
  • goodies to put into the cracker – like sweets, little charms, jokes or even vouchers to wash dishes or make cups of tea or coffee.

First you need to modify the toilet roll core.

A normal toilet roll core is 10cm long and 4cm wide. Cut it down the centre and then cut it in half.  Roll one half around your finger and tape it closed. This should give you a baby sized toilet roll core of 5cm long x 2cm wide.

Crepe paper is nice and stretchy and comes in flat rolls in many different colours. You can get lots of crackers out of one roll.

Put your tiny core in the middle (at the bottom) of a rectangle of crepe paper that measures ~15cm x 11cm.

Roll it up and put a bit of glue on the edge to stick it down.

Carefully tie one side up with a piece of pretty string.

Pop the sweet or whatever you are going to use into the core and tie up the other side.

Then you can decorate the middle bit of the cracker with shiny tape or anything you have handy – stickers, pictures, leaves – get your creative hat on.

The crackers can then be used as table decorations for a special meal, or you can hang them on the Christmas tree if you have one. You could even staple one end of the cracker to your paper chain. Or you can simply use them as little presents.

Remember – you can always adapt ideas and make them your own. There is no right or wrong when it comes to being creative.

The main thing is to have fun in the process.

Lots of love,

Sibo.

Festive Decorations

Somehow the festive season always seems so much more jolly when decorations are involved.

Of course, you could tootle off to the shop and spend money on fancy, shiny, plastic, commercial decorations that might, or might not, land up in the bin after all the festivities.

Or you could make your own.

Like paper chains – they are nothing new – but they’re still fun and easy to make.

All you need is… imagination, an old magazine, scissors, a ruler, a glue stick or stapler.

  • Cut the magazine into strips. (~2cm strips are very easy to use and you get a chain of about 60cm long from one page.) If you make the strips 1cm or less, it becomes a little fiddly, but you obviously get many more strips out of a page so your chain is much longer.
  • Cut (or tear) all the strips in half.
  • Make a circle out of the first strip (overlapping the ends) and glue or staple it closed. Stapling is easier but is less environmentally friendly because when the paper breaks down you are left with little bits of metal that hang around for a whole lot longer.
  • Interlock your next piece of paper through the first circle and close it.
  • Keep going until you have a chain long enough to stretch from one side of the room to the other – or however you want to drape it. Better check with your parental agent before you stick things on the walls though.

Get creative and make little bunches of shorter chains to hang at the end of the long chain.

Traditionally chains used to be made out of coloured crepe paper. You can easily still get this paper and it’s not very expensive. Crepe paper has a bit of a stretch to it – so does not break very easily. It also comes in lovely bright colours.

If you are financially challenged though – magazines work just as well. You can even use newspaper!

You could glitz the chains up with a bit of glitter… but I was reading the other day that glitter is also becoming an environmental no-no. It is now classed as a micro-particle – it gets into the water system and does all sorts of nasty things to birds and other little critters.

Next week we’ll make some more decorations so stay tuned!

Have fun and stay safe this holiday.

Sibo

 

Science really is fun

It is no secret that I am fond of sciencey stuff. The other day I found out about a programme that is so exciting I just had to share it with you all.

Well – come to think of it – it is particularly aimed at girls.  Sorry boys! This is not really for you. But I suppose there is nothing stopping you checking out the videos of the cool experiments and trying them out yourself.

The programme is called the “I Am Science” project and it combines cool science activities, video and digital learning.  Three things in one project!

Wait! Don’t get discouraged and think it sounds too clever. It’s actually a lot easier than you think.

The whole point of this programme is to get girls interested in science and to change mind-set around the thinking that science is too hard for girls to do.   Did you know that only around 30% of the researchers in the world are women? We seriously need to change those statistics.

Science is not hard and we can do it.

This is how easy it is to participate in this fabulous project.

  • Visit LevelUp http://mylevelup.mobi/ and register.
  • Click the drop down menu on the home page and choose ‘I Am Science’.
  • There you can just watch videos and do quizzes related to the videos. For every right answer you are rewarded with digital tokens which are redeemable on the mobisite for data and airtime.

Ah hah! I saved the best for last… never mentioned the fact that you can win airtime and data if you ace those quizzes. How cool is that?

But even cooler is the fact that you can watch those little (they really are little – not much more than a minute each) videos and then you can go and wow your friends and family by doing a cool experiment YOURSELF – like holding fire in your hand, or poking a sosastie stick through a balloon without it popping – because you will have learnt how to do it (safely of course).

Seriously – I kid you not. Go check it out.  Every week a new quiz is published on the home page of LevelUp so it does not get boring either.

If you want to know more about the whole project – visit the website. https://www.iamscienceproject.com/ . You could maybe even get your school involved and make your own video.

Have fun!

Sibo

Spaced-Out

The 4th to 10th of October celebrates World Space Week. In honour of this I‘m making my book – Sibo in Space – available on the website to read freely for the next two weeks. Visit  Sibo’s website and just click on the link.

Thought for Space week this year I’d share some awesome (and slightly gross) facts that you could wow your friends with, unless they have also read the paper!

Did you know that if you were in space… the skin would be peeling off your feet? Eergh! Because astronauts are not actually walking on their feet, the skin starts to soften and then flakes off. Here’s an even grosser fact – because there are no washing machines in space, the dudes wear their socks and jocks for longer than they usually would on earth! When they take their socks off, they have to do it very very gently otherwise those yucky dead skin cells would just float around all over  the place.

How’s this… one million earths would fit inside the sun.

If you are vertically challenged… you should go to space. In micro-gravity, because the spine is not being pushed down, it straightens out and a person can become a whole 5cm taller!

One always imagines that space is really far away, but in actual fact – if you could drive your car 100km upwards, you’d be in space in about an hour. Makes you wish your car could drive upwards hey!

The solar system is around 4.6 billion years old… but scientists reckon it will probably last another 500 million years still – so don’t worry – there is still time to do stuff.

Space is entirely silent.

One day on Venus is longer than an entire year on earth!

If metal touches in space it will bond together and permanently stick together.

One day on Mercury last around 59 days on earth!

If you ever stepped onto the moon… your footprints would remain there for ever. Why is that… because there is no weather on the moon. No wind or rain to blow or wash those footprints away.

Neutron stars can turn at a rate of around 600 rotations per second! Enough to make a person really dizzy!

If you fell into a black hole… you would stretch like spaghetti!

So … if you have a choice of going to school on Venus or Mercury – which would you choose? Duh! Mercury of course!

Sibo

Growing succulents

A friend of mine recently moved into a house and they have a section of water wise plants in their front garden. To begin with I thought they were sort of ugly. But then I looked at them a bit longer and thought that maybe they were not so bad. In fact – some of them were quite pretty.

The thing about succulents is that they really do not need much water. Of course, if they get more water than they bargained for, then it’s not like they wither up and die either.

Did you know if you want to grow your own succulents it is really easy?

You simply lay a leaf or three down on a bed of soil in a little pot, with the pointy bit facing outwards, and give it a few drops of water every now and then.  They are not even too fussy about the water believe it or not.

Aloe

After a while teensy tiny little leaves start growing (in the middle of the pot). And it does not take too long either. Perfect little teensy weensy succulents. In fact, it is incredibly rewarding

The crazy thing about succulents is that some of them are good for various things – like Bulbinlella – a common garden plant.

Bulbinella is the ideal plant to have in the garden if you have children because it is a first aid remedy for most knocks and scrapes.

This hardy plant grows easily in many places. It has a nice bright yellow flower. The Bulbinella leaf can be crushed softly between fingers and the clear sap can be squeezed out from the leaf and used to smear on the following problems: wounds, rashes, burns, itches, ringworm, cracked lips, cuts, boils, eczema, insect bites, cold sores or acne.

The same goes for Pork Bush or as it is more commonly known by its Afrikaans name, Spekboom (Portulacaria afra), it is also pretty fabulous stuff. Not only is it Proudly South African but it is also a water-wise plant that can manage on less than a litre of water a year.

Poultices made out of the leaves can be applied to acne, blisters, corns, insect bites, sore feet and sunburn. It has also been said that chewing Spekboom leaves several times a day can successfully treat high blood sugar levels.

Great idea for Christmas presents – but you’d need to start growing them in little pots now!

Have fun.

Sibo

Creative Holiday Doodles

Yay! It is holiday time again. If you are looking for something cool to do – try this out. It’s really easy and lots of fun. Plus for once you can do it on your own and you don’t need parental agents to supervise anything.

All you need are: wax crayons, paper and a toothpick.

Start out small first just to see how it works and then work your way up to doing something bigger.

Fold a piece of A4 paper into half and then into half again so you have four little sections. (You can even cut along the folded lines so that you have four pieces of paper.)  If you don’t have any paper you can always use the back of a used envelope or something similar.

Draw up a pattern in the middle of one of your bits of paper. You could draw a diamond within a diamond within a diamond or use circles or squares or flowers or anything you fancy.

Then colour-in the different sections in using nice bright wax colours. Make sure you colour in the whole section of paper. (Have a look at the picture provided.)

When you have finished, grab the black crayon and colour over your already coloured in pattern.

No! Don’t worry – I have not gone mad – it’s part of the process.

Once you have a nice big black blob your sneaky canvas is ready…

Use your toothpick, to doodle little pattern. Or draw a picture… or even better you could draw an Easter egg and decorate it with doodles.

Then you could cut that out and stick it on another piece of paper or cardboard to make a pretty Easter egg card for your parental agents or somebody else.  You could even email a picture to me and I’d put it on my website. I always love hearing from people.

Remember – the 7th April is also World Health Day. I don’t know about you but I hate being sick – so it’s important to stay healthy.  It’s not hard if you get enough exercise, plenty of sleep and you can always nibble on fruit, raisins or carrot sticks instead of sweets and chips if you are looking for a more healthy option for snacks.

Happy holiday’s people!

Sibo