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Stuck at home with the kids and struggling on how to best use your time together? Drama teacher, Thomasin McCuaig, has created a list of drama activities for you to play with your kids that will educate them, boost their confidence and fuel creativity in this uncertain period.

The spread of COVID-19 is the topic of nearly every conversation. No matter where you go or who you talk to, it is bound to be brought up and add a new layer of uncertainty to your everyday life. With new self-isolation regulations and social distancing precautions, people are going to be feeling more removed from society as the months roll by. Even though the world may seem dire, it is important that we seek human connection during our time at home. Regardless of whether schools close or not, a lot of fun, creative and challenging extracurricular activities are being cancelled, causing kids to be stuck at home and wanting to retreat to their screens. A little screen time is fine, yet it is beneficial to add some balance to the mix by introducing your kids to these fun, challenging and educational drama activities that are sure to spark your kids’ imagination, creativity and lead to new thought processes.

Activities with one kid

Made up Monologue:

Give your kid a pen and a paper and tell them to write a monologue. Monologue is a big word for young ones so remember to let them know what a monologue is! Tell them that ‘mono’ means ‘one,’ so a monologue is a performance where one person expresses their thoughts about a certain topic aloud to an audience. You can tell them that they can be any character they want, e.g. an evil witch, a famous artist, a school student or an inventor. Once they have written their monologue, get them to memorise as much as they can and perform it to the family. Make sure to tell them to demonstrate all the actions in the script so as to make an engaging performance. After this exercise, your kids will feel a sense of accomplishment over what they produced and performed, as they were able to combine literacy skills with drama.

Sell the Product:

Similar to the fun game, ‘Snake Oil,’ get your kid to sell a product to the whole family. They can either find an object at home or create an imaginary product in their head that they have to sell to you. Before they begin, let them know that they have to know the price of the product, the purpose of the product, why it is valuable and where to buy it. If the seller has convinced the buyer, yell at the end of the performance, ‘SOLD!’ This activity is important, as it encourages kids to think practically, whilst using their imagination.

Movement to Music:

Go on your preferred music streaming app and look up a gentle movie soundtrack. The song ‘I’m Forrest… Forrest Gump’ from the Original Motion Picture Score album is the perfect track if you want your kids to create a scene that is magical, sentimental or fantastical. Get your kid to lie down and close their eyes as you play the music for the first time. Tell them to imagine a story that fits the mood of the music, where they are the main character. Then, play the music for a second time and get them to move around the lounge room to the music, telling the same story through movement. This activity is the ultimate creativity stimulator, as it allows kids to truly immerse themselves in their own imaginative world.

Activities with 2 or more kids

Elevator:

This activity is the perfect guessing game for the audience and character-building exercise for the kids. Pick a stage/audience space, most preferably the lounge room. Get your kids to whisper to one another what occupation their character should have e.g. fashion model, police officer, yoga instructor, teacher. The audience cannot know this. Once decided, the kids will move one by one to the centre of the space and pretend to stand in an elevator. When everyone is in the elevator and quiet, an audience member yells, “Elevator is broken!” Those within the elevator have to try and think of ways to fix the elevator and communicate with each other, while giving subtle hints to the audience as to what they do for a living. They cannot overtly say, “I am a mechanic so I can fix this.” They have to be subtle, e.g. a teacher could say, “Oh no, I’m going to be late for class!” An audience member can wrap up the activity by saying “Elevator is fixed!” The actors then step forward so that the audience can guess what each character’s job was.

Make Em’ Laugh:

Test your kids’ focus skills by setting up two chairs in the stage space. The person on the right chair (audience’s right) has to make the person on the left chair laugh. However, they cannot get off the chair or touch the other person. Add a bit of character to the activity by giving them a scenario or situation, e.g. two people stuck on a plane or two people eating at a restaurant. The person on the left has to try their hardest to keep a straight face and not laugh, while still engaging with and responding to the other person. As soon as the person on the left laughs, the actors switch chairs and perform another scene. This game is incredibly enjoyable to watch and perform.

Podcast Play:

Back in the day, radio plays were extremely popular. People sat at home and listened to fictional stories told purely through voice and sound effects. This form of entertainment has shifted into the popular medium of podcasts. Get your kids to create a story where they are only allowed to use voice and sound, as the audience closes their eyes and listens. A fun theme or prompt to give your kids is ‘Haunted House,’ as it allows for various sounds, voices and characters. Your kids can play multiple characters throughout the story and test the different ways in which they can use their voice. For example, one kid could be an evil witch, an owl and scared intruder at different times. Tell the kids to include sound effects and use either their voice or objects around them, e.g. if someone opens a door, they can make the sound of a slow creaking door with their voice or if they are making footsteps, they can create the sound with their feet on the floor. This activity is perfect for developing your child’s creativity and imagination. To make it more fun, record the audio on your phone and play it back to them so that they can hear what they created!

This is intellectual property of Thomasin McCuaig.

Lisa lets it out, “I hate kids Birthday Parties”. With mounting pressure to keep up with escalating extravagance for children’s birthday parties.

she decides to make a bold stand and opt out of Birthday parties in favour of mum-daughter holidays. I’m going to share a fact with you right now that might result in you spitting out whatever hot beverage you’re consuming or cause you to want to throw a heavy object at a picture of my head, so my advice would be to stop drinking immediately and move away from all objects not connected to the floor or plugged into an electrical socket.

This fact is humiliating to admit and it’s a game changer in terms of parenting. Good, loving, decent mothers shouldn’t feel this way. But I do. And I want to get it off my chest because I’ve kept it inside for too long. The fact is, I hate children’s birthday parties. Yes. You read correctly. I hate them. Including the birthday parties of my own child. I don’t want to have them and I get absolutely no joy out of attending them.

 

“I am a busy working mum who still loathes the thought of organising a child’s birthday party.”

Let me go so far as to say that I cringe at the thought of year, after year, after bloody year, having to come up with a plethora of brilliant, new, innovative ideas so that my child can have a better party than Sally up the road, because hers was a circus theme with proper clown machines where you can stick balls into their mouths and all the kids ate fairy floss and toffee apples and would you believe that her mother hired ponies for the kids to ride on the front lawn and it gets better because Tinkerbell herself flew all the way from Pixie Hollow just to say hello as she is great friends with Sally’s mum. Oh please. Give me a break. Without a party planner I cannot afford and a thousand helpers I can’t pay on the day, I’m not going to be able to top Sally’s party EVER.

But I’m not ignorant to the pressures on kids these days to fit in with their peer groups and to be able to talk about awesome experiences their parents have bestowed upon them.

So I’ve worked out my modus operandi to explain to my precious child for years to come why this is the case and why she is never, ever, going to have a fantastic birthday party like Sally. I’m going to lie. Well ok. If that sounds too harsh let’s say I’ll stretch the truth.

I’m going to tell Bells (my three year old) that mummies only have a certain amount of money for one special thing every year, and Sally’s mummy uses her money to hire ponies that hate being ridden by annoying children who grab them by the hair and kick them in the ribs so they go home and cry. Hopefully she will see the error of Sally’s mother’s ways and ask what special thing we will do for the year. Which will be my cue to explain that we do a much more special thing than Sally’s diabetes-enabling, pony-abusing, mother because I take us both to Bali where we swim for hours in the pool and Mummy drinks Daiquiris which make her relaxed and fun and, really Bells, if you had to choose would you prefer a happy mummy or diabetes in later life?

Yep. I reckon I’m on a winner with that one. Sally’s mum is probably having a nervous breakdown from the stresses of organising a small child’s birthday party of epic proportions while I am sitting on my couch googling Bali Villas and thinking about how many Christmas presents I can buy in one Balinese DVD store. What can I say? I’m super practical.

But I’m not ignorant to the pressures on kids these days to fit in with their peer groups and to be able to talk about awesome experiences their parents have bestowed upon them.

I’m sharing all of this with you because my daughter turned three in October. I can recall like it was yesterday being asked to feature on the cover of the inaugural Offspring magazine when she was only a few months old. But I can honestly say that back then, I wasn’t sure I should do it.

I was just easing into my breakfast show on 92.9 and by easing I mean struggling. Being up from 3.30am whilst breastfeeding and thinking of strategies to get inside Lady Gaga’s hotel room are a lot to deal with, and I felt quite alone as I’m not the type of person to let on that I was finding circumstances tough or that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Unfortunately both were the case but I kept those emotions locked away and I pushed on because I had no other option. I had to work to earn money, I’d made a commitment to my co-hosts and I’d said I was ready to come back. Also, I was not a typical role model parent (I was a single mum working full-time and living with my Dad), and these facts only served to lower my self-esteem and I absolutely doubted my capabilities as a parent. So to be approached by a parenting magazine to talk about parenting was completely out of my realm. But I hesitantly said yes.

I was met at my house a few days later by a young girl who looked about 18 years old. It turns out she was Offspring’s founder and editor, Kate, and after chatting with her for a few hours I realised there were others out there juggling being mothers and wives, while taking on jobs and careers that are, to be brutally honest, really bloody challenging. That day was, as they say, a game changer. My meeting with Kate opened my eyes to the fact that there are lots of women doing more challenging jobs than me and doing them well.

Since then I have become less hard on myself about the parenting decisions I have made and will continue to make. I am a busy working mum who still loathes the thought of organising a child’s birthday party. So when my workplace offered to do just that for Isabella, I jumped at the opportunity and it was an absolute blast. The very first ‘Baby Rave’ in Perth on the rooftop of my station. There were 30 kids dressed up as little Ravers, 30 parents who were thrilled they didn’t have to do anything at all, a kiddy dance floor, Wiggles music blasting through a loudspeaker, kids dancing while shoving handfuls of lollies into their mouths, bubble machines, balloon animals and a Miss Maud’s Dora Backpack cake. Brilliant. Because I organised nothing. I wonder what Sally’s mum would’ve thought? But then again, should I really care if my kid had fun on her birthday?

More and more women are going under the knife each year for breast augmentation surgery, for most it is about improving appearance and boosting self-confidence or getting back those pre-baby boobs. Offspring examined why these bags of silicone (or saline) are proving so popular and what is involved when you take the step to enhance your chest.

Despite the recent French-made PIP-implant scare, the popularity of breast augmentation around the world continues its steady incline. No longer confined to celebrities and strip clubs, our suburban neighbourhoods and play groups are filling with these new perks, pardon the pun. And they are becoming harder and harder to spot with advancements in procedures and implants able to give a more natural appearance than ever before.

Specialist cosmetic breast nurse at the recently opened Assure Breast Centre in Subiaco, Jill Brady, says the centre has seen the number of breast augmentation procedures at least doubled in the past 18 months with mums making up the largest increase in breast surgery.

“There is definitely increasing social acceptance of breast surgery,” she says. “Surgery is more accessible and surgical techniques have improved, costs are more affordable and the quality of implants has improved. All of these things contribute to society’s support and acceptance of this type of surgery – just as society is more accepting of other cosmetic procedures now than it was 10 or 15 years ago.”

“The pressures of pregnancy, labour and breastfeeding can all contribute to unwanted changes in the body. Breasts can become overstretched and saggy-looking. Other problems like enlarged areolas, unevenly shaped or ‘empty’ looking breasts and stretch marks are all common complaints from mums.”

Ms Brady, who conducts the centre’s initial client consults, says breast surgery can be as much a functional operation as it is an aesthetic one. That aside, Jill said she was always careful to remind patients that surgery was not a solution to psychological or emotional issues and not right for everyone.

“Breast surgery should be a personal choice and is only appropriate for women seeking to improve their own self image. A woman who is depressed or trying to please a partner should not have the surgery,” she says.

The three common types of breast surgery are enlargement, reduction or lift, sometimes a combination of two options.

Some reasons women consider breast enlargement:

  • The breasts have reduced in size following pregnancy, breastfeeding or weight loss.
  • The breasts are smaller than normal, uneven in size or out of proportion to body size.
  • To boost self esteem and improve overall appearance.

Some reasons women consider a breast reduction:

  • The size of the breasts is uncomfortable.
  • Pain in the lower neck, shoulders or back, or the breasts themselves.
  • Discomfort during physical activity.

Breast lift surgery can help to:

  • Reshape sagging breasts and improve contour.
  • Increase the firmness of soft breasts by removing excess skin.
  • Raise the position of downward-pointing nipples and areolas.
  • Reduce the size of the areolas.
  • Balance the size and shape of unequal breasts.
  • Increase the volume of breasts, in combination with a breast implant.

The decision to have breast surgery, whether to increase or reduce current size, like any surgery can be daunting. Many women contemplate the idea but don’t pursue because of the cost, the recovery, the perceived vanity, the permanence and the confusion about where to even begin. The decision is made even more complex, because breasts are a functional and symbolic icon of femininity and motherhood and the end results are designed to be noticed.

Dr. Brigid Corrigan, specialist Plastic Surgeon at Assure Breast Centre says no matter the breast surgery under consideration, the choice of surgeon is the most important factor.

“If you are thinking about surgery, the first step would be lots of research and then book a consultation with a medical expert who will sit down with you and discuss your expectations and the options that are right for you. If you decide to go ahead, an initial appointment with a plastic surgeon would then be scheduled,” she says.

“Having the surgery involves at least two consultations with your surgeon, plus time for in-depth thought about whether to proceed.

“The process cannot be short-circuited over the internet, with photography and email as a substitute for face-to-face appointments with a qualified surgeon because techniques and options will differ for each patient.”

Dr.Corrigan elaborates that depending on the type of surgery, a patient can expect to stay in the hospital a few hours, up to a few days, and explained there are a number of surgery methods available depending on the patient and the procedure.

“The implant insertion, for example, can be done with a small incision under the breast, around the nipple or in the armpit,” she explains. “The plastic surgeon will determine the most suitable approach depending on the patient and overall look to be achieved.”

And an inevitable result of any surgery is scarring, generally a few centimeters long and often positioned below the breast, with fading expected over time.

Dr. Corrigan says while the chance of post-operative problems is relatively low, some of the worst complications have occurred in patients who have traveled overseas for surgery.

“There is no regulation of the industry in places like Asia, so consequentially the risk of post-operative problems is much higher,” she says. “People have told us cost is the main reason for choosing to travel overseas for cosmetic surgery, termed ‘medical tourism’ but if there are complications and revisions required, that initial cost can blow-out.

“While some bruising and swelling can be expected for a few weeks following any breast surgery, patients can usually resume normal routine around two to three weeks after surgery, but we do not recommend people travel by plane for at least two weeks (ideally six weeks) after surgery and returning to strenuous exercise may take a little longer.

“The post-operative period is crucial to recovery, making it a poor combination with an overseas holiday. Recovery is a time best spent at home with close family to help out.”

And the cost?

While the cost will vary depending on the surgeon, anesthetist, implants, and hospital, the procedure usually ranges between $10,000 and $15,000. Some private health insurers will help with a hospital bed and theatre fees, especially for reconstruction or reductions so having a GP referral will enable you to claim some of the cost.

Note to readers: The information presented is not an endorsement of breast surgery. Readers must evaluate the options for themselves under medical guidance.

“I recently moved to WA from the Gold Coast and breast implants are fairly common over there. I heard advertisements on the radio for different clinics and friends who have already had the procedure gave me recommendations of reputable surgeons. I did some research and find a surgeon that offered 100 percent finance, sealed the deal for me. I wanted them to look natural, it was important to me that they didn’t look bolted on, so I opted for Brazilian teardrop implants inserted through the nipples, which were also reshaped. I am a small person and went for a large C-cup, small D-cup, depending on the bra, from my current A-cup.

All up it cost me $11,500, which I pay off fortnightly, but I felt safer and more comfortable having it done in Australia than going overseas and being able to go home to my own bed afterward. I know I could have got them for around $4,000 if I went somewhere like Thailand but I have heard the horror stories.

Prior to the surgery I had about four consults and had to start taking a Vitamin C and mineral powder drink every day to boost my immune system.

I stayed in hospital four hours in total and was sent home with Endone and Arnica. I wasn’t allowed to shower for two days after surgery, had to sleep sitting up for about two weeks because it was too painful to lie down, and was required to wear a sports bra 24 hours a day for six weeks. I was still on Endone for the pain a week later and took two weeks off work. The recovery was very hard and very emotional for me.

I am concerned about what will happen if I have subsequent children and try to breastfeed but the surgeon assured me after the first year it would be safe to fall pregnant and if I wanted to breastfeed, it all still should work as normal.

I have heard from friends that in order to keep the implants looking ‘perky’, the surgery should be redone in about 10 years, and while the end result is worth it, the pain of the recovery means I doubt I will go through it again.

It has been almost a year since surgery and they are looking and feeling very natural now. I am very pleased with the results.

For me, the surgery has given me back what I had before pregnancy, breastfeeding and weight loss and renewed my confidence after separating from my husband.

In light of the recent surge of mums heading for the operating table, many plastic surgeons now offer ‘mummy makeover’ packages combining breast enlargements, lifts or reductions with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), liposuction or other skin rejuvenation techniques. Mother of two young boys, Kelly, says combining an enlargement with a tummy tuck not only reduced costs but also meant there would be no need for multiple surgeries.

“The recovery was really easy compared to what I expected. I was back at work a week out of surgery,” she said. “It was the best thing I have ever done. My confidence has drastically increased. I would highly recommend anyone considering getting it done, to do it.”

You can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

Welcoming a new bundle of joy is exciting, but with so many products on the market the prospect of preparing for life with a newborn can be completely overwhelming. Fear not, Offspring has created the ultimate guide to help you sort the essentials from the gimmicks.

 

The Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests a first child can cost between $3,000 and $13,000 in the first year alone – a marked difference between thrift and indulgence when it comes to preparing for your little one’s arrival. The truth is you can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

 

Tip: Talk to other mums about what was useful and what was useless. They may be willing to loan you items, just check the safety standards and condition.

Tips for buying on a budget:

  • Question every purchase: is it really essential?
  • Plan ahead to take advantage of sales
  • Buy in bulk especially nappies and wipes
  • Borrow items
  • Decide on the brand/model and then check local Buy and Sell pages, eBay and baby markets.

Out and about

Before you hit the shops, what do you actually need to buy? Here’s a list of what a newborn needs:

Heading out with a newborn is like packing for a small camping trip and involves the biggest ticket items, so do your research to get the right equipment:

Essential

  • Car restraint:

The car seat will be one of the most expensive items on your shopping list. It is best to buy new, as car seats have a life span with most not made to last more than 10 years.

  • To trim costs, consider a travel system with a capsule that clips onto a pram frame. It might also mean easy transfers from the car to the
  • Baby capsules can be hired as they are quickly outgrown.
  • Convertible models that change from rear-facing to forward-facing will last from birth to four years and will save you the expense of buying two seats.
  • Pram/Stroller:

The price tag on a pram can vary dramatically and there are many features and accessories on offer so set a budget and do lots of homework.

  • When will the pram primarily be used – exercising or leisure?
  • Check it is easy to fold and lift
  • Check it will fit in your car boot
  • Are you planning another baby quickly or expecting twins and require a double pram or added accessories such as a skateboard or toddler seat?
  • Is it important to have a reversible handle or interchangeable seat to grow and change with your baby?
  • Do you need a rain cover, sunshade, cup holder or storage?
  • Look for second-hand alternatives as many mums change their minds or opt for different transport options as their baby grows.

Optional

  • A nappy bag
  • Pram Liner
  • Baby carrier
  • Window shades

Luxury

  •  Trolley cover
  • Breastfeeding cover
  • Portable Cot

Sleep needs

Unfortunately, sleep isn’t for sale, but you can set up a safe and secure environment for your baby to encourage a bit of shut-eye.

 Essential

  • Cot:

A cot is often one of the most expensive and difficult decisions faced by parents-to-be. All new cots have to comply with Australian safety guidelines but if you’re on a budget, ensure a second-hand cot meets current standards. To save money consider a cot that converts into a toddler bed. But, sometimes spending money on quality will ensure it can be reused for future siblings.

  • Mattress:

There will be many (yes, many) spills and accidents and years of use so select a good quality mattress that snugly fits your cot and invests in a waterproof mattress protector.

  • Wraps

There is a huge market dedicated to wraps, swaddles and sleeping bags, but they may take some trial and error to see which suits your baby. A large muslin wrap and some practice swaddling will work just as well.

Optional

  • A bassinet, Moses basket, cradle, cozy sleeper or hammock is smaller, more portable than a cot and great for those early days.
  • A baby monitor – to save money consider a monitor that doubles as a nightlight for those late-night feeds.

Luxury

  •  Light and music display
  • White noise machine
  • Room thermometer
  • Quilts, fluffy blankets, and cot bumpers

Feeding essentials:

Breast

While breast milk is free there are some things you will need to make the experience easier:

  • Breast pads
  • Breast pump – consider hiring or buying a manual one

Bottle

Bottles and formula can cost a pretty penny and there are so many options. Ask for recommendations and trial a couple of brands. Even if you are certain you will breastfeed, you may need bottles for expressing.

  • Bottlebrush
  • Drying Rack

Optional

  • A feeding chair/glider
  • Nursing pillow
  • Burp Cloths
  • Formula dispenser
  • A high chair, food processor, and plastic cutlery can all wait a few months.

Luxury

  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer

Change time:

Essential

  • Nappies and wipes:

Cloth or disposable – you will need to stock up and be prepared to use lots of them!

  • Toiletries:

Babies don’t need lots of products on their delicate skin. But having some baby shampoo, moisturizer, and nappy rash cream ready to go, is a good idea.

Optional

  • Change table – a changing mat on top of a dresser might be a cheaper option.
  • Nappy bucket or nappy disposal bin
  • Baby bath – to save money use the sink or an adult bath with a bath support.

Luxury

  •  Wipes warmer
  • Nappy Stacker

Clothes

One of the best parts of preparing for a new baby is buying gorgeous teeny tiny outfits! But it is easy to go overboard and people will often gift lots of outfits.

Essential

  • At least six onesies get a mix of size 0000 and size 000 for an average-sized newborn (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, full length or a combination, depending on the season they’re due). These can double as day clothes and PJs.
  • Singlets or singlet suits
  • A jacket or cardigan
  • A hat (a sun hat for summer and a beanie for winter)
  • Socks (these can double as mittens)
  • Bibs

 Optional

  • Scratch mittens
  • Going out outfits

 Luxury

  • Shoes – super cute but not necessary

Sanity savers:

  • Baby thermometer
  • Grooming Kit
  • Baby proofing kit
  • A few rattles, teething toys, and books
  • A bouncer, swing or activity mat for play and tummy time.

Tip: If you’re having a baby shower, set up a baby registry. It isn’t offensive to ask for gifts that will be appreciated and well used.

Your newborn will not know if you purchased the most expensive nappy bag or put them in designer clothes. The most important thing your baby will ever need is your love and attention. Fortunately, that’s free!

Think summer is over? Well think again! Thanks to the hot weather lingering long after summer has officially ended, you can keep enjoying all the best that WA has to offer.

For a perfect summer break, Rottnest springs beautifully to mind. Just saying ‘Rotto’ brings up images of the beach, bikes and barbies (the food kind, not the doll!)

Every year families and friends head over to Rotto. The beauty of it is that you can go for a just day or stay even longer. Don’t forget your hat or sunblock though!

Highlights include

  • The beaches!
  • Family Fun Park and Mini Putt-Putt
  • Just 4 Fun Aqua Park (It has a section called Little Kids Knee Deep Park for 7 years and under)
  • Snorkelling
  • Fishing
  • Diving
  • Bike exploration
  • Wadjemup Walk Trail
  • Visit museums and galleries
  • Perhaps the most important one of all; have fun and relax!

For more information visit

www.rottnestisland.com

www.just4funaquapark.com.au

The Quokkas of Rottnest

The quokkas are probably the most well-known animal on Rotto. Kids love spotting them, and it can be quite competitive to see who spots them first! However, it is really important to teach children not to give them food or water, as this can be very detrimental to the quokka’s health. In fact, the Rottnest Island Rangers may issue infringement notices to anyone who does this.

 

Where to stay

Rotto has come a long way over time and now has accommodation ranging from camping and hostels to premium self-contained cottages. The camping area was renovated in 2013 and the ablution blocks now also have wheelchair access.

Top tip

If you’re planning a group booking at the campground, call Rottnest Island Reservations on 1800 11111 or 08 9432 9111.

If you like something a bit more private, then the self-contained cottages may be the way to go. Some are even heritage listed!

If you’re travelling with family and friends, they can be a great place to unwind at the end of the day while enjoying the barbie and a glass of wine.

Top Tip

Rotto is VERY popular and in the past had a ballot system for booking accommodation during peak periods. This system is no longer used, however, reservations are open approximately 18 months in advance and it is recommended to book as early as possible for any time of the year.

For more information visit

www.rottnestisland.com/accommodation

A couple of other options are the Hotel Rottnest and the Rottnest Lodge. Both offer different types of rooms as well as having a licenced restaurant on site. The Rottnest Lodge also has its own swimming pool.

Interesting fact

The Hotel Rottnest’s original building was the summer residence for the Governors of Western Australia from 1864. In 1912 Sir Gerald Strickland became its last tenanted governor.

For more information visit

www.hotelrottnest.com.au

www.rottnestlodge.com.au

Getting there

It’s very easy; you can travel by plane, ferry or even your own boat if you have one. The ferry is the most popular means of transport and you can leave from the city, Fremantle or Hillarys Boat Quay.

For more information visit

www.rottnestexpress.com.au

www.rottnestfastferries.com.au

www.rottnestairtaxi.com.au

www.ozwestaviation.com

If taking your own boat email the Rottnest Island Authority Administration at enquires@rottnestisland.com or phone 08 9432 9300

Interesting Fact

In 2014, Rottnest Island was a winner in the ‘Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards’. It won Gold in the ‘Major Tourist Attractions’ section plus silver in two other categories. Go Rotto!

Community Educator at Ngala, Stephanie Fairbairn, explores some reasons toddlers become averse to vegetables, and suggests some strategies for getting them to eat more greens.

Have you ever wondered why your once-vegetable-loving baby turned into a vege-phobic toddler at around 14-18 months of age? Why does this happen, and how can we get them back on track with their greens?

Firstly, developmentally, toddlers have a growing sense of independence and this self-determination can also sometimes affect their food preferences. They push boundaries and some tend to say “no” a lot.

Scientists studying behaviour and evolutionary adaptation have proposed some fascinating possible reasons for this. In other words, how humans adapted to their environment in order to survive. Scientists have put forward the idea that babies being carried by an adult in the ancient savannah were relatively safe from harm and potential hazards, but as soon as they became mobile and independent, self-protecting behaviours had to kick in to prevent them from putting anything and everything into their mouths.

This applies particularly to green vegetables. Spinach, broccoli and other green leafy veg possess a group of chemical compounds that provide an ‘alkaloid’ taste – think of the smell when we’ve left the brussel sprouts on too long. Plants have sophisticated defence mechanisms, like spikes, thorns, stingers and chemical poisons to dissuade from being eaten, and many poisons have bitterness as a hallmark taste whereas sweetness tends to be ‘safe’, like breast milk – hence our preference for sweet tastes. The aversion to bitter taste is heightened at toddlerhood, to alert them to potentially harmful things to eat.

The aversion to bitter taste is heightened at toddlerhood, to alert them to potentially harmful things to eat.

To test this theory, researchers from Yale University in the US conducted an experiment with toddlers, looking at how they interacted with non-food items like wooden spoons, metal toys and cardboard, compared to green leafy plants. They found that the toddlers were significantly less likely to touch the green leafy items compared to the other objects, and took longer to reach out to them. There is also research to show that humans are likely to possess a gene that makes us particularly sensitive to detecting bitterness from our taste receptors. As children have more taste sensitivity than adults by nature of their age, adults may not taste flavours as sensitively as children.

 

All this is very interesting, but how do we overcome the battle to get our toddlers to eat their greens? There are several strategies that we can put into practice:

  • What tends to work in the long term so that we enjoy our five vegetables and two fruit a day later in life, is for parents to be seen to role model eating a variety of vegetables and fruit at mealtimes and snacks. You may have noticed already that your toddler copies your actions; what you say, do, and items you use (think mobile phones!). You may have also noticed that there are times they eat food off your plate that they would never eat off their own, this is down to feeling safe to eat food you eat. 
  • Have a fruit bowl in the middle of the table for visibility and accessibility. Think creatively about how you prepare and serve vegetables – cut them in different shapes, use a crinkle cutter, keep vegetables raw rather than cooked, use a dip or sauce, get your toddler to help you wash vegetables and put them on a plate.
  • Be persistent and patient – it can take many times presenting the food to your toddler before it’s accepted.
  • Let your toddler help themselves from a serving plate on the table. 
  • Grow something simple like herbs or tomatoes with your toddler – it’s worth the effort and they learn along the way.
  • Google it! If you are fresh out of ideas pick the brains of millions of others who have gone before. Pinterest and image sites are a good resource for triggering your imagination and creativity.
  • Offer healthy foods and snacks. If your toddler refuses to eat their vegetables, it does not mean they get rewarded with non-healthy food.
  • Relax! We are working towards a long-term habit not a mandatory daily chore. Vegetable success will only come when your child gets there in his own time.
  • Remember, toddler’s tummies are tiny – appropriate servings at this age are two vegetable and two fruit a day – about the size of their own fist.

Remember, toddler’s tummies are tiny – appropriate servings at this age are two vegetable and two fruit a day – about the size of their own fist.

 Unhelpful strategies include:

  • Force feeding: You might win the battle, but you lose the war in the longer term.
  • Cheerleading! Parents who get really excited their two-year-old has finally put the broccoli up to their mouth should not be surprised that this overly emotional response encourages the toddler to press their emotional buttons by putting it down again. It’s a great game!
  • Bribing: ‘If you eat your carrots now, you get ice-cream later’ – this will tend to create a negative association that ‘I have to eat the nasty stuff to get the good stuff’.
  • Telling a toddler that a particular vegetable is good for them and therefore they should eat it. You can try this strategy, but toddlers are not that easily convinced – and it may become the trigger sentence that reinforces an automatic ‘No’.

Check out further information and parenting workshops at www.ngala.com.au

What is it about holiday time that turns me into Clarke W Griswold, and my wife and kids into Ellen, Audrey and Rusty? For those not familiar with the Griswolds, they are the family from the National Lampoon’s Vacation series of movies, whose endeavours to enjoy family holidays are continually plagued by minor disasters and unfortunate predicaments. Whilst our recent holiday didn’t cause the destruction of any prehistoric monuments, there’s something about being on holiday that seems to bring out the Griswold in us.

It’s only recently that I’ve even wanted to go on holidays again since having kids. Even just going Down South has just seemed too hard. The whinging car journey, all the extra luggage, having to basically pack the pantry, the disruption to sleep patterns…and they’re just my issues. The thought of a holiday has seemed daunting, and not at all relaxing. Like taking what was already a tiring life and making it even more tiring by cramming it in a station wagon and moving it a few hundred kilometres down the road. Probably to a house with a skanky shower curtain and a floral-patterned bedspread with a very well-camouflaged history.

Christmas can be a stressful time of year when trying to find the perfect presents! These crowd-pleasing gifts are sure to put a smile on the faces of your nearest and dearest. From your tiny tot to your partner, our Christmas Gift Guide has you covered this festive season.

Baby

Buying for bub is lots of fun, but there are so many options out there. This year, get them something that will keep them entertained and stimulate their growing brains.

Fisher-Price Zebra Walker – $54.99

The Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra is a designed to encourage those exciting first steps. The zebra is also full of hands-on activities for sitting babies. It has everything from the alphabet to songs and phrases to help with language development. Available at Kmart, Big W, Target, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com

Fisher-Price Beat Bo Junior – $14.99.

With bright lights, playful tunes and silly dance moves, this cute product is perfect for keeping the little ones entertained, and will help them boost fine motor and thinking skills. It’s great entertainment for on the go and for making tummy-time fun. Available at Target, Kmart, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com

Best Christmas Present Ever 2017. $32.95.

A beautiful bub is the best gift of all, so deck your gorgeous new bundle in this cute-as-pie little number. Available at Unique Baby Boutique. uniquebabyboutique.com.au

Musical Clacker Keys. $10.

Every parent knows kids are mesmerised by jingly, jangly keys. These three bright and colourful keys allow your baby to satisfy their curiosity, but also can help to provide some relief once their first teeth come through. One key is a teether;  one is fun to clack and the third has a button for sounds and music. Available at Target.

Toddler

Little Belle night lights -$149.95

These beautiful night lights will provide a comforting glow for little ones at night – and will be a gorgeous feature in your child’s room. Made with hand-painted brush strokes, each of the night lights are inspired by the imagination of young children. Available at little-belle.com

 

Beginner Jigsaw Puzzle – $23

These cute and personalised 6-piece jigsaws are the perfect first puzzles for your little one. These are made from quality material, high resolution colour, and have clear-gloss coating so these puzzles will last. This bright and fun collection of jigsaw puzzles is a great treat for your toddler this Christmas. Available at tinyme.com.au

 

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Servin’ Up Food Truck – $149.99

Playing shop and restaurant is something kids have loved doing for generations. Keep your little one busy with customers and prepping orders in this play food truck. This helps to introduce toddlers to things like sizing and sequencing, advanced vocabulary, manners, taking turns, but makes it fun with lively songs, sounds and phrases. Available at Target, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com.

 

Fisher-Price Zoom ‘n Crawl Monster – $49.99

This is a fun toy for sit-and-play. This toy also help with language with 15 phrases and fun songs. This is a fantastic toy to encourage your little one to get up and get moving. Available at Target, Big W, Myer, TRU and fisher-price.com.

BRIO – My First Take Along Set – $149.95

This brightly coloured play bag is filled with the first tracks in an expandable magnetic train set. It’s perfect to take along when you’re travelling or visiting. It’s fun to use and easy to store, which we all know is very important with a toddler. Both are available at Childsmart.

 

Crocodile Creek Play Ball – $12.95

Balls are a great way to have fun with your toddler and help them learn motor skills.

 

Kids Aged 3-5

Perfect gifts for the fun, energetic 3-5-year-old that will come in handy during the Summer holidays.

Star of the Unicorn Bike – $69

A bike is a timeless gift your child can grow with. Give your child a bike to remember with this cute unicorn inspired bike that makes it easy for you to follow behind with a convenient handle. Available at Kmart.

 

Cotton On Kids

There is always a good excuse to get dressed up during the festive season, and your kids are no exception! We love the sparkly Iris Tulle Dress ($39.95) matched with the Amalfi Jelly Sandal ($16.95). And imagine how dapper your little boy will look in the Kenny Polo ($16.95) and Jerry Loop Back Short ($34.95). A range of adorable party wear is available from Cotton On Kids.

Crocodile Creek Tritan Drink Bottle in Jungle Jamboree, Backyard Friends and Hedgehog- $14.95

A fun gift and something that you can take into the new school year! These coordinate with other Crocodile Creek products such as the Crocodile Creek Backyard Friends Backpack – $29.95

 

The Elf on the Shelf 

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition is a magical story, explains how Santa’s scout elves help him manage his naughty or nice list. Each beautifully-illustrated children’s hardback book comes as a part of a keepsake boxed set including one of Santa’s scout elves, whose job is to watch the kids during the day and report to Santa every night. Available from booksellers including Myer, Dymocks and independent stores.

Glimmies – $7.99

Glimmies are collectable star fairies that magically light up in the dark. They make a cute little stocking gift for the little ones. Available at shop.funtastic.com.au

 

Crocodile Creek Bear and Friends Floor Puzzle – $24.95

All the Crocodile Creek floor puzzles have a slightly-recessed lid that makes the storage box easy for little fingers to open.  Available at childsmart.com.au

 

Kids Aged 6-9+

Young kids can sometimes be difficult to buy for because their favourites can change so suddenly. Thankfully, so many items these days come with colour options or are customisable. Just pick your child’s current favourite craze and there’s sure to be something to match. This is also a great way to get your kids useful gifts. If you know something they love, finding necessities like clothes and school supplies that they will get excited about will be easy.

Mokuru 

The latest wooden toy from Japan, designed to test your balance and concentration skills. It’s as simple as tipping the wooden piece over gently letting it flip and catching it between your fingers. Available at Kmart

Kmart so slime DIY slime factory kit – $29

Keep your child occupied for hours by helping them create their own toys.

 

Globber My TOO FIX UP- $120 

A scooter is a fantastic gift choice to get the kids out into the fresh air and sunshine. The kids will love the choices of the cool colour combos of this scooter and how comfortable it is to ride (featuring three adjustable height positions). Parents will love that this scooter has a reinforced fixed structure and can handle up to 100kg – finally, something that is built to be as tough as your kids!  Available at globber.com.au

 

Spin to Sing – $39.95

If your child is a fan of The Voice or The X Factor, they will love this fun sing-along game. An app uses music from your smart phone, and there is a 5 star judging system and jeopardy cards to add a hilarious twist. Available from childsmart.com.au

 

JBL Headphones

If you have a music enthusiast, they will love these wireless headphones, which can carry a wireless connection up to 15 metres away and have easy-to-operate controls. They have a long battery life and quick re-charge time. JR300 Junior Headphones -$39.95; JR300BT Bluetooth Wireless Junior Headphones – RRP 69.95; Junior Headphone – $49.95. Available at jbl.com

 

Springfree Trampoline

Designed with your child’s safety in mind, this trampoline will provide hours of bouncy outdoor fun. Boasting over 15 years of research and development, Springfree advances and exceeds safety standards, while also encouraging kids to get outside and get active.

This is suitable for a range of ages and both girls and boys. It is a perfect gift if you have more than one child, or for your child and their friends, because the kids can all enjoy it together. Available at springfreetrampoline.com.au

 

Simon & Schuster Dork Diaries Box Set, 10 books -$49

Encourage your child to develop their reading skills with this hilariously entertaining series. This is a popular book series that your child will devour. Available at Kmart

 

Smiggle

Smiggle products are great gifts because they are cute and customisable, so the kids will love them. They might even get kids excited about school with their range of learning supplies. Some great picks this season are:

DIY Hardtop Pencil Case – $22.95

Smiggle’s hardtop pencil case is a classic favourite. It has all the classic hardtop trimmings including internal mesh pockets and pen holders. Let your child’s imagination go as they create a unique design. It comes with markers for your child to use. They will love taking this to school.

Smiggle Studio Art – $34.95

A great gift for creative kids – this gift includes heaps of markers pencils and paint pallets and brushes.

Smiggle Gift Pack – $16.95

This cute set of glam products, including lip glosses and hair chalks, is a perfect stocking stuffer. All available at Smiggle retail stores.

 

Mums and Dad

The focus of Christmas is often on the kids, but it’s a fun family holiday for mum and dad too. Here’s some thoughtful gift ideas for the grown-ups!

Personalised Ladies Watch and Ring Stand by MijMoj Design – $84.44

This beautifully handcrafted solid oak ladies ring and watch stand, can be personalised with a special message to your Mum. This is a gift she is sure to adore this Christmas. Avaliable at MijMoj.

 

Duchess Necklace by Merci Maman – $175.86

The Duchess of Cambridge was spotted wearing the Merci Maman necklace. Since then, mothers all around the world are copying her look! This gorgeous necklace makes the perfect personalised gift for Mum this Christmas. Avaliable at Merci Maman.

 

Personalised Soft Leather Travel Gift Set by STOW – $810.75

Stow’s best-selling jewellery case is combined with two charming trinket boxes. Make it even more special with beautiful monogramming; creating a beautiful bespoke gift. Available at Stow.

 

The Finest Facial Mask Duo – $60

Let your loved one get stuck into the multi-masking trend with this beautifully presented Expert Facial Mask gift set. Available at The Bodyshop.

 

White Musk Small Gift Set – $30

Introduce your mum to the fragrance sweetened with notes of pear, for a deliciously fruity layer that fits effortlessly with the iconic floral blend with this gorgeously presented gift set. Purchasing these gifts from thebodyshop.com.au helps support the Peace Play Project.

 

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Key and Phone Holder

This stylish personalised phone holder, with an adjoining change dish or key bowl, is a lovely wooden gift for keeping everything together when Dad walks through the front door. All available at giftslessordinary.com.au

 

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