Petra’s Golden Shadows

A happy hello from the Karoo. Flu season is well upon us, I should know, temperatures at night can get so cold that even my little Labradors wish they had a woolly coat.

Dusty and Cloudy are my two shadows. They are like my other children and I’m not quite sure they know they aren’t human. Everywhere I go my two big smiley golden shadows follow me everywhere. To this day they are the only dogs allowed at the Hanover tennis and bowling club because they are so well behaved. Fortunately, they aren’t my children otherwise I would be running around after them trying to add an extra layer of warmth, making them wash their hands and put their shoes back on.

Come rain, wind or shine Dusty followed by Cloudy will take any opportunity to have a swim, even during these chilly months of winter they‘ll throw their shaggy bodies into a freezing fountain. 

But don’t fret mom, your child isn’t a winter swimming Labrador and winter doesn’t have to mean that unwanted flu viruses are waiting outside, ready to pounce on your tot at any moment. You can’t bundle them up and put them back in your womb for safety during winter. Let them learn and play outside for short bits at a time as long as they stay warm, clean and take an immune booster. In fact, studies have shown that a certain amount of exposure to viruses and bacteria actually help develop your child’s immunity to them in the future. 

Here are a few fun activities to enjoy with your tots for this month, inspired by my two golden shadows. 


Let’s go on this journey of exploration and curiosity with our tots, how they see the world as grown-ups is after all dependent on how we introduce them to it. Especially when it comes to animals. Encourage your tot to be inquisitive with everything, especially the lovely things you have in your front yard. Ask them questions even if it’s as simple as “what’s that?” and direct them to potential answers.

In the theme of keeping things Karoo Horsey, here are some activities for you and your little one:


Horse Themed Messy Play Ideas

Idea 1 - Build a horsie paddock

What you will need:

  • Plastic horses/ ponies
  • Raw oats
  • Syrup

Simply spread the raw oats on a plastic tray and cover with syrup, so that your toddler can taste the “shavings” and get a feel for sticky textures and let them have fun in their stable.

Idea 2 – Hoof prints

What you will need:

  • Plastic horses/ ponies
  • Liquid paint on a paper/ polystyrene plate
  • Large sheet of white paper

Allow your tot to dip the ponies’ hooves into the paint and place onto paper, to see the horse foot prints.

Idea 3 – Make your own horse mask

What you will need:

  • Cardboard shaped as a horse face
  • Glue stick/ Pritt
  • Ice cream stick
  • Loose tea leaves
  • Glitter glue

Cut out a pre-painted horse face for your tot. Allow your tot to glue the loose tea leaves onto the mane for smell and texture. They should then glue the ice cream stick onto the back, so that they can hold mask up. Followed by applying glitter glue, to jazz up the ears. Finally mom, help your tot cut out the eyes and let them “trot” around the garden with their new-made masks.

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