Mum on the rock

To messy play or not?

in Mum on the Rock

Messy play or as it is also known sometimes sensory play can be some parent’s nightmare. The thought of the cleaning up or potential mess of your home environment can put some parents off. When my own children were growing up playdough was a no-no in our house however, I would happily take my children along to play group and let them indulge in any form of messy play.

Messy play can be beneficial to your child or children on several different levels. It is a creative hand on type of play, because of this type of creative play it gives children endless ways to develop and learn. Young children learn from their environment and the sensory impact it has on them. Research has shown that sensory play can help build neural connections that helped to support thought learning and creativity. Sensory play also supports cognitive growth fine and gross motor skills problem solving and reasoning as well as supporting language development and social interaction. 

Messy play gives children a variety of opportunities to develop their fine motor skills this could be through squishing and squeezing playdough cutting and rolling out shapes. A tray full of fine sand or salt where children can practise letter shapes and number shapes can help their development in these areas. 

Different types of play can help children develop their mathematical skills it will help them discuss sizes, shapes, height, weight and counting of a variety of different materials. At the Parent and Child Society we enjoy encouraging children to look at the different items on a sensory table and discuss the differences between them. 

Sensory or messy play plays a crucial role in brain development in the early years of childhood the brain is more adaptable when you are young and you have the opportunity to be more imaginative and creative and with new and different experiences this can lead to innovation and problem solving by your child. 

Every parent worry that their little ones do not spend enough times outdoors too much time is spent on devices messy and sensory play can help with this it helps to create creative play skills. Messy play does not focus on producing something specific like a craft, so it gives the children the freedom to explore lots of possibilities. This freedom of play helps your child to develop self-confidence and self-esteem they have a sense of control as there is no right or wrong way to play or create. 

You and volunteers at playgroups play an important role in this type of play although children need to feel they have time to play to create and explore they will also be looking for guidance and support from those around them . Your reaction to the feeling of slime or dough in front of your child will impact their reaction so be brave and join in! 

At the Parent and Child Society we have designed our sessions to help your child to engage and give them the opportunity to try different things that you may not be keen on to do at home. It may take a few sessions for you and your child to get comfortable with messy play, but the benefits are well worth it and your child will thank you for it in the future. 

In Gibraltar, the Parent and Child Society have been offering playgroups to the community for the last 10 years. The Society offers several different sessions suitable for all children under the age of 5. So, although it could be scary to come along to a new place, we encourage you to take the plunge and come see what we do at our sessions. For all the dates and times of our current sessions please follow us on our Facebook page Parent and Child Society Gibraltar. 

We look forward to seeing you soon. 

InSight chatted with Jude Farmer to ask about her work.

in Mum on the Rock

If there is one thing that has surprised us all during the lockdown period of Covid-19, it has to be the amount of unknown talent out there. Some have entertained with renditions of well-known songs, while others have danced their way through the lockdown and many have used their time painting the most amazing artworks in all forms. Here in Gibraltar we know that we have many talented people. One of those talented people who you may not know is Jude Farmer.

“Although I never had any formal training in art” Jude explains,“I just love to bring a smile to the faces of children with my wall murals, and from my own perspective I love to watch the scene come to life.”

“I have over the years painted many characters and scenes, and of course there are always new characters hitting the screens. My inspiration always comes from the mouths of children. They will tell you in no uncertain terms exactly what they want to see. I once painted a whole room as a woodland scene with woodland animals. I like to add little extras and I included painted apples on card which were hung from the trees.

My own daughter loved the story of Sleeping Beauty, so I painted scenes on every wall and hung real curtains on Sleeping Beauty’s four poster bed. Needless to say my daughter was over the moon. The little unexpected extras bring a scene to life,” says Jude.

“Not forgetting the boys. I have painted football stadium scenes for my own sons. Liverpool of course! It’s just simply something I enjoy. Almost anything can be brought to life with a little imagination.

Fifteen years ago when my granddaughter was born asleep at St Bernard’s Hospital I painted a mural in the Maternity Ward as a tribute to her and all the other babies who were born sleeping. It was a sad time but I hoped that it could bring a little comfort to others.

Bringing the walls to life is just simply something I enjoy doing, but the best part is seeing and hearing the reaction from the children when they see it for the first time.”

Jude can be contacted on 54009681 or by email:

Craft Corner – Polymer Clay

in Mum on the Rock

Do you fancy sculpting with clay but get put off because you think you need lots of tools and equipment? Well, then polymer clay is the clay for you! There’s no need for a kiln, and all you need is some clay, your hands and some very basic (and cheap) tools, if you chose to use them. Polymer clay is the most exciting clay product and it has been around long enough to gain a great reputation. 

Polymer clay is suitable for all kinds of creations and suits beginners to experts in this exciting creative hobby. It has been around for several decades and so has evolved into a really fabulous craft. From charms, jewellery & keychains, to larger pots or dishes. The sky is the limit with polymer clay! 

Polymer is a very practical product that is of plastic origin. It is a synthetic, modelling clay product and can be moulded until it is cured in a regular home oven on a low temperature.One of the most well known and popular brand soft polymer clay is FIMO, it’s been around for over seventy years, and has grown in popularity over the decades. 

The beauty of working with polymer clay is that it lasts and lasts; colours can be blended; things you make can be broken down and remodelled and only at the final stage of baking will it be finalised. It is water-resistant, hard-wearing and easy to use and suitable for children, as long as they are past the stage of putting everything in their mouths. It lends itself to simple beginner stuff and to the more advanced ideas too. 

So, let’s get started!

The basic actions used in clay modelling are – rolling, moulding, pinching, scratching and poking, cutting, shaping, storing and baking.You can buy sets of inexpensive clay modelling tools, which have an assortment of handy edges to shapes your clay. You can also use anything you have around the house although try to avoid wooden surfaces and tools as the wood can absorb the clay’s plasticiser. Instead opt for metal, plastic or glass. 

In addition, a pasta machine is a great asset to help with the rolling and blending colours together, this can create those cool marbled effects you often see in polymer clay creations. Using these methods, you simply shape your clay into your desired model or pattern. There’s no need for glue to bond your pieces together; just shape and press them together…it’s that simple! 

Baking & Curing

Baking is the final stage of our polymer clay tutorial and the point of no return. Baking hardens the clay and finishes the article you have made. Polymer clay must bake in an oven at temperatures between 100C – 160C. You cannot bake the clay in a microwave. 

Although polymer clay is rated as non-toxic it does give off some fumes so be aware of them during the baking process. The packaging should give the required oven temperature. Baking time also depends on the thickness of the project; the thicker the piece the longer time required. 

Use a baking tray, glass or ceramic tile for your baking surface. A piece of baking paper to rest on will help avoid shiny spots. 

Beads and other round items can be placed on a mound of cornflour to support their shape or if your beads have a hole through the centre, thread them onto a wooden skewer and rest it on supports while baking to stop flat spots. 

Even after baking, It is important to keep rounded items off the flat surface while they are drying as the clay can flatten slightly and spoil the shape. It is also wise to make bead holes a bit wider as they tend to close slightly as the clay bakes. 

The baked clay is rubbery when it comes out of the oven but will harden as it cools. Be careful when handling, and the clay will be hot! Although it isn’t necessary, you can seal finished items with varnish. FIMO make a dedicated sealer, but you can also use other varieties. Choose wisely though, as some will yellow over time. 

So what are you waiting for?! Stock up on some FIMO and get sculpting! Even beginners can create some beautiful pieces, and the more practice the more impressive they’ll turn out! There are hundreds of easy to follow tutorials online, you’ll be amazed with what you can create. Happy Crafting!

DitzyB Craft Supplies & Workshops, +350 200 44665 Visit their new store on the first floor of the ICC, where Just Desserts used to be.

DitzyB are offering Gibraltar Insight readers 10% discount in-store, on mention of the code INSIGHT10 throughout August.


The importance of Playgroups and the ‘New Normal’

in Mum on the Rock

One of the things that Lockdown has shown, in our opinion, is the importance of Playgroups. Playgroups not only provide vital social interaction for babies and toddlers but they also provide much needed social time for their parents / carers. New babies who were born at the start or during lockdown have missed out on meeting other babies, toddlers have spent months not being able to run around with their friends. Activities that we provide at PACS such as sensory play, story time, cooking, arts and crafts and of course song time give children learning opportunities and support their social development which in turn can ease the transition to school. And of course a cup of tea and chat for their parent / carer can provide knowledge sharing and learning opportunities and create life-long friends. 

As September approaches, faster than we think, what will the new normal look like at PACS? On top of what we normally do, we will ensure that all of our toys, play mats and all other items that are used throughout the session will be disinfected at the end of each session. All Government guidelines will of course be adhered to. However, in amongst the hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, we will of course provide a happy and safe environment for you and your children. We can’t wait to get back and hope to see you there. Please check our Facebook page (@parentandchildsociety) for updates and details of the sessions. 

Back to School

in Mum on the Rock

1. Will all children in Gibraltar be going back to school at some point in September?

It is the Government’s intention to open all schools, for all children, in September. The school day will be, as far as is possible, of normal duration. There will be some changes to the timing of the school day to minimise the potential for congregations of people and we will implement staggered arrivals and dismissals to help with this. Specific details of the logistics for each school will be communicated to parents in due course.

2.  What steps will schools  be taking to help ensure the safety of students?

This will be done in full compliance with advice from the Director of Public Health. Naturally, the circumstances relating to COVID-19 nearer the time will have to be taken into account. However, given the low numbers of coronavirus infections in our community and current figures, there can be no justification in keeping children at home. We feel it is important to get children back into school and more of a normal routine to support their continuing learning journey.

As we have done for the phased reopening of schools as part of Unlock the Rock, the DofE will issue guidance on measures which will apply in all schools. This is expected to include staggered entry and exits for different year groups; staggered breaks; to the extent possible and where the curriculum allows keeping the same classes together throughout the day; special arrangements for lunchtime to avoid large gatherings; limiting access to schools to children and staff except by appointment; using thermal scanners and using one-way circulation routes where possible. Face masks and face shields will be made available to all staff who wish to use them. Staff who are involved in the intimate care of children or who have to change nappies will be provided with aprons and gloves. Our guidance document will be available on

4.  What extra protective measures are being put in place?

We will continue to adopt the following measures, which were put in place when we opened schools in May:

  • prioritise hand hygiene and make it a ritual at key points throughout the school day;
  • promote good respiratory hygiene by reinforcing the “catch it, bin it, kill it” approach;
  • have an enhanced cleaning regime in place, with particular focus on frequently touched surfaces / handles;
  • ndividuals who feel unwell should not attend school. We ask parents to help us and ensure that any child who is unwell is kept at home until they recover. There will be protocols in place for staff to ensure that individuals who feel unwell do not report for work. It is important to minimise the contact with individuals who are unwell. We also have a protocol for staff to follow if a child begins to feel unwell over the course of the day, once they are in the school setting;
  • our school routines will be organised to minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distance wherever possible. Social distancing will be managed in as practicable and sensible a way as is possible.

Given the circumstances of increased COVID-19 measures and with the focus of avoiding larger gatherings, HMGoG has also taken the view that school meals will not be offered in September. Parents of children in all schools will be advised to prepare a packed lunch for children.

5. How will schools support the mental health of students and combat any stigma against people who have been sick?

When children return to school in September there will be a significant focus on mental well-being. We recognise the different experiences children have had during the pandemic and are aware of the range of resulting emotional needs. Work will be carried out on helping children understand what has happened and what is happening in our community and, for older children, the wider world context will be explored at an appropriate level. Understanding is essential to reducing anxiety. Age-appropriate exploration of the virus itself, together with distinguishing between fact and myth, is also vital in reducing any potential stigma associated with coronavirus and with individuals who contract it. This said, at this moment in time, we have not felt there to be, within our school communities, any significant perception of stigma linked to the illness. Teachers will to be vigilant to children’s varying needs, as they always are. During the pandemic, many members of staff have engaged in additional online training and seminars. They have gained more knowledge and experience in areas such as loss and bereavement; school avoidance; trauma; self-harm; and anxiety. It’s important to note that when children return to school, work on emotional well being will continue to be built on strong foundations that have already been developed pre and during the pandemic.

Previous to COVID-19 the DofE had already embarked upon a major Mental Health Strategy (see Gibraltar Insight January 2020 – “Developing the Holistic Child”). The essence of the strategy was already being embedded into the ethos and practices in all of our schools. Although additional work needed to be done when the impact of the COVID-19 struck our community earlier this year, the progress already made was an extremely valuable springboard for the challenges the pandemic posed to mental and emotional well-being.

The DofE launched 2 initiatives at the end of March which were designed to support the mental health of students during this unprecedented time. Both the ‘Reach Out’ and the ‘Place to Talk’ initiatives have had and continue to have the common aim of providing children and families with an avenue of support during COVID. Both initiatives are still running. Counsellors remain available over the summer to advise students, teachers and parents; to liaise and to carry out multi-agency work.

The Reach Out initiative put teachers directly in contact with their students; to offer direct support or point them to appropriate avenues of support; and to assess and mitigate risk. The Reach Out initiative’s core strand consisted of a telephone strategy. Approximately 3,000 calls have been made to families across all sectors. 

These are in addition to the thousands of interactions and online messages via Seesaw, Google classroom, Edmodo, emails and text messages through which school staff have communicated with parents and young people in our community. Most often teachers have provided a listening ear for parents and provided advice on children’s emotional well-being; on difficulties children were facing with the interruption to their routines; or on any challenges the child/family was encountering with the home learning programme.

The two other most frequent avenues of support that reach out directly to families and young people to were the Home Learning Team and the Care Agency Child protection teams. However, other avenues of support have included: the 111 helpline; the 41818 helpline; the Care Agency; the mental health team including contact with liaison nurses; the Civil Contingency repatriation team and borders and coastguards; the School counsellors; and the Educational psychologists. 

The Reach Out initiative also recognised that during this period of increased anxiety, children not originally identified as at risk might also find themselves in needing support. Teachers have been vigilant to those not engaging in home learning platforms and followed up where deemed appropriate to ascertain whether or not the young person or family has experienced any difficulties could be supported with. Any child or parent who expressed concerns through the learning platform or via initiatives such as A Place to Talk have also been followed up on. The aim has been to try to retain a level of engagement, connection and communication with families and young people who usually rely on schools and on familiar individuals within schools for support. Throughout the pandemic, the DofE has worked with staff and other agencies to monitor the children and identify those more at risk. As these children became known, schools reached out to families and arrangements were made with the DofE for them to come back to school under extenuating circumstances.

Additionally, the Reach Out initiative has recognised the need to support teachers. In particular, the emotional impact that can result from working with vulnerable children has been recognised, especially during uncertain and anxiety-ridden times. After liaison with the COVID-19 Welfare team, a strategy for teachers was formulated to work in unison with the group’s Frontline Resilience Management initiative. The strategy aimed to both support teachers’ mental well-being during this emotionally challenging time and help them support children’s emotional well-being. 

The Place to Talk initiative has acted as a signposting service and a forum through which the young community as well as their parents/guardians can reach out for emotional support and comes under the school counsellors.

The helpline was set up on 16 March 2020 on Facebook & Instagram, coming into operation on 24 March. The variety and channels of communication allowed students to communicate with counsellors in their preferred way. 

During the pandemic, the Place to Talk team reached out to children and young people they were supporting before lockdown, who have been finding life difficult, not necessarily directly because of the pandemic but because some of their usual lines of support may not have been available to them during lockdown. Teaching staff have raised concerns about children and young people with school counsellors and where appropriate, the team has forged links with these students and families. If necessary the team has then made any relevant referrals to other agencies.

Parents have accessed Place to Talk not just to access support for their children due to mental distress but also to access support for themselves when struggling with the emotional impact that supporting their children at home has caused. Anxieties have been appeased around the expectations of home-learning, about the plans to return to school, about the education facility and the safety of children and young people in school. We are also aware of other agencies, outside school, who offer support to children who have problems they wish to share.

6.  How will schools refer children who may need specialised support?

Schools will continue to use their established pathways of referral and will escalate matters that require intervention. School staff have already been doing their utmost to maintain contact with individuals identified as being at higher risk or more vulnerable to experiencing difficulties during the pandemic. It will be much easier to maintain contact and provide children and young people with support if they are actually attending school. Frequent and regular contact with trusted adults is a critical avenue of support for vulnerable children in our community.

The DofE has strong links with the GHA’s Mental Health team and key staff have been working throughout the summer to discuss cases and find the best support for students. We endeavour to ensure that referral pathways are established and clear.

7.  Will any of the schools’ safeguarding and bullying policies change once schools start to re-open?

School practices and policies have been updated as necessary at all key stages throughout the pandemic. We will continue to ensure our practices reflect the latest advice from Public Health and are in keeping with best practice. Our safeguarding and anti-bullying policies will not necessarily change as a result of the developing situation with COVID-19, but they will be reviewed as a matter of course and school staff will be guided as to particular ways in which the pandemic might impact on the behaviour of children and young people. Guidelines will be given as to particular strategies that might prove to be more effective during these unprecedented times.

8.  How can parents and students support school safety efforts?

Parents and students can help by listening carefully to all guidelines and instructions given and doing their utmost to comply with measures put in place. We need to work as a collective to ensure that schools continue to be safe and happy places for children. We feel strongly that all children need to be back in school and need to re-establish their learning routines. We will be prioritising the health and safety of all of our learners and all of our staff, whilst maintaining a keen focus on the learning journey.  We ask parents to trust that our plans are based on expert advice and have the best interests of children in mind.

Back to School

in Mum on the Rock

COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools

While COVID-19 continues to spread it is important that communities take action to prevent further transmission, reduce the impacts of the outbreak and support control measures.

The protection of children and educational facilities is particularly important. Precautions are necessary to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in school settings; however, care must also be taken to avoid stigmatizing students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus. It is important to remember that COVID-19 does not differentiate between borders, ethnicities, disability status, age or gender. Education settings should continue to be welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and supportive environments to all. 

Measures taken by schools can prevent the entry and spread of COVID-19 by students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus, while minimizing disruption and protecting students and staff from discrimination.

Today, children and young people are global citizens, powerful agents of change and the next generation of caregivers, scientists, and doctors. Any crisis presents the opportunity to help them learn, cultivate compassion and increase resilience while building a safer and more caring community. Having information and facts about COVID-19 will help diminish students’ fears and anxieties around the disease and support their ability to cope with any secondary impacts in their lives.

Education can encourage students to become advocates for disease prevention and control at home, in school, and in their community by talking to others about how to prevent the spread of viruses. Maintaining safe school operations or reopening schools after a closure requires many considerations but, if done well, can promote public health.

What can I do as a parent/caregiver and community member?

Know the latest facts

Understand basic information about coronavirus, including its symptoms, complications and transmission. Stay informed about COVID-19 through reputable sources such as UNICEF and WHO and national health ministry advisories. Be aware of fake information/myths that may circulate by word-of-mouth or online. 

Recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, fever, shortness of breath) in your child. Seek medical advice by first calling your health facility/provider and then take your child in, if advised. Remember that symptoms of COVID-19 such as cough or fever can be similar to those of the flu, or the common cold, which are a lot more common. If your child is sick, keep them home from school and notify the school of your child’s absence and symptoms. Request reading and assignments so that students can continue learning while at home. Explain to your child what is happening in simple words and reassure them that they are safe.

Keep children in school when healthy

If your child isn’t displaying any symptoms such as a fever or cough it’s best to keep them in school – unless a public health advisory or other relevant warning or official advice has been issued affecting your child’s school. Instead of keeping children out of school, teach them good hand and respiratory hygiene practices for school and elsewhere, like frequent hand washing, covering a cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throwing away the tissue into a closed bin, and not touching their eyes, mouths or noses if they haven’t properly washed their hands. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty.

Help children cope with the stress

Children may respond to stress in different ways. Common responses include having difficulties sleeping, bedwetting, having pain in the stomach or head, and being anxious, withdrawn, angry, clingy or afraid to be left alone. Respond to children’s reactions in a supportive way and explain to them that they are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Listen to their concerns and take time to comfort them and give them affection, reassure them they’re safe and praise them frequently. If possible, create opportunities for children to play and relax. Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible, especially before they go to sleep, or help create new ones in a new environment. Provide age-appropriate facts about what has happened, explain what is going on and give them clear examples on what they can do to help protect themselves and others from infection. Share information about what could happen in a reassuring way. For example, if your child is feeling sick and staying at home or the hospital, you could say, “You have to stay at home/at the hospital because it is safer for you and your friends. I know it is hard (maybe scary or even boring) at times, but we need to follow the rules to keep ourselves and others safe. Things will go back to normal soon.”

Checklist for parents/caregivers and community members

  • Encourage your child to ask questions and express their feelings with you and their teachers.
  • Remember that your child may have different reactions to stress; be patient and understanding.
  • Prevent stigma by using facts and reminding students to be considerate of one another
  • Monitor your child’s health and keep them home from school if they are ill 
  • Teach and model good hygiene practices for your children
  • Ensure that safe drinking water is available and toilets are clean and available at home
  • Ensure waste is safely collected, stored and disposed of
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face
  • Coordinate with the school to receive information and ask how you can support

For students and children 

Children and young people should understand basic, age-appropriate information about coronavirus, including its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted and how to prevent transmission. Stay informed about COVID-19 through reputable sources. Be aware of fake information/myths that may circulate by word-of-mouth or online.

Checklist for students and children 

  • In a situation like this it is normal to feel sad, worried, confused, scared or angry. Know that you are not alone and talk to someone you trust, like your parent or teacher so that you can help keep yourself and your school safe and healthy.
  • Ask questions, educate yourself and get information from reliable sources
  • Protect yourself and others
  • Wash your hands frequently, always with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Remember to not touch your face
  • Do not share cups, eating utensils, food or drinks with others
  • Be a leader in keeping yourself, your school, family and community healthy.
  • Share what you learn about preventing disease with your family and friends,
  • Model good practices such as sneezing or coughing into your elbow and washing your hands, especially for younger family members
  • Don’t stigmatize your peers or tease anyone about being sick; remember that the virus doesn’t follow geographical boundaries, ethnicities, age or ability or gender.
  • Tell your parents, another family member, or a caregiver if you feel sick, and ask to stay home.

This article has been extracted from a longer document: “Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools” and is published with the permission of its author, Lisa Bender (Education UNICEF NYHQ), also written with WHO and IFRC. It can be read in full here:

For accompanying supplemental content, annexes such as child friendly materials and contextualization, visit the Education Cluster site:

Craft corner UV resin

in Mum on the Rock

If you are on any social media sites and follow any craft related pages or blogs, the chances are you’ve seen some amazing creations using casting resin. Resin is the perfect medium for making your own jewellery pendants, earrings, dioramas and so much more. You can colour resin, cast things into it, shape it… the possibilities literally are endless! And the best part is, it’s now even easier to do yourself in the comfort of your own home.

The two most popular types of resin are: 2-part epoxy resin & UV resin. Epoxy resin is the most common, it consists of two chemical compounds that need to be measured precisely and mixed together. It sets very hard but does take quite some time to cure (harden); usually 12 hours or more. It’s also extremely smelly. 

But there is now an amazing alternative, which is even easier to use (and less offensive on the nose too) called UV curing resin. It’s used in the same way as epoxy resin, except there is no need for measuring or mixing. All you need to cure UV resin is ultraviolet light. The fastest way to cure UV resin is with a UV lamp but you can also leave it out in the sun. Lamp curing takes approx. 3-6 minutes, whereas natural sunlight takes 30-60 minutes. 

So what do I need?

Whichever type of resin you chose to use, the first thing you need is a silicone mould, pendant frame or cabochon. You can make these yourself (although it is a little tricky and time consuming) or you can buy a variety of shapes and sizes. 

If using UV resin, the other thing you’ll need is a UV light (or plenty of direct sunshine) mini nail lamps work perfectly and are fairly inexpensive. 

As for inclusions, (the things you put into your creations) you can use pretty much anything as long as it isn’t perishable or wet. 

• Candy usually works though, as do dry foods like dried beans or rice. 

• Hollow objects like pressed flowers or shells may create air bubbles (which you can pop with a pin when the resin is still liquid)

• Fabric and paper need to be coated with a sealer; you can use glue or varnish before casting or they’ll turn transparent, which can be a nice effect on its own. 

If you’re in doubt about whether you can put it in resin, research it! Someone has probably tried something similar. You can also colour resin using resin colourant, note that it is highly pigmented though, so a little goes a long way. 

Getting started

It really is easy to get started, pick your mould and have a think about how you’d like your creation to look and gather your materials. Pour your resin into your mould, then add any extras. Sometimes adding things into your resin can create little air bubbles but you can pop these with a pin, also tapping your mould gently on a hard surface will bring any other bubbles to the surface.

If you are using a metal pendant frame, you’ll need to stick the frame to a piece of tape first, this makes a seal under your frame, so the resin doesn’t leak out. These rolls of blue tape have a special finish so they won’t ruin the surface of the resin when cured; you could use ordinary sticky tape, but the adhesive may give an uneven finish. 

If you’re using a cabochon or silicone mould, all you need to do before beginning, is make sure your mould is clean, free from any dust or debris and dry. 

Be aware that the resin will start to cure quite soon after pouring so you’ll want to work fairly quickly. Once you’re happy with your design just pop it under the UV light (if using UV resin). Most small UV lamps are designed to turn off after 1 minute so you may have to turn it back on once or twice to complete the curing process (depending on the thickness of the resin). Lightly touch the resin to check its fully cured before removing from the mould. If you chose to use a pendant frame or cabochon, please note the resin isn’t designed to be removed from these. 

With epoxy, place the mould somewhere safe to cure for 12-24 hours… it’s that simple.

Top tip!

If you are casting something a little heavier into your resin such as a metal shape, try putting a thin layer of resin in your mould and curing it first, then add your item along with more resin. This lifts the object from the base of the mould and adds some dimension to your project. 

So, what are you waiting for? Why not stock up on supplies and let’s get casting! 

DitzyB Craft Supplies & Workshops, +350 200 44665

Keep Calm and Carry On

in Mum on the Rock

That’s what we have been trying to do here at PACS since Lockdown began. Our Facebook page has been awash with ideas on activities you can do with the children. Our sensory table at Playgroup is always a firm favourite with the little ones and pre lockdown we had a term of activities planned. We would love to share some of these with you as they would also work at home:

  • First up is planting fun. All you need is a tray, some chocolate cereal for mud, some small pots that would work as plant pots, a spoon for a spade and some flowers if possible! Your little one can dig and plant to their hearts content! 
  • Another favourite is “what’s in the bag?” Gather up some items from around the house: socks, duplo, small toys, kitchen items that are safe and place them in a drawstring bag. Ask your little one to put their hand in the bag and guess what’s inside. 
  • And lastly, why not try messy play with Cornflour. Mix Cornflour with water in a bowl and wait for it to form a gloopy mixture. If you have food colouring add some to the mixture. Then let your little one play. It’s great for your little child’s sense of touch and easy to do. 

And don’t forget that Story-time, Cooking and Song-time and other fun videos continue to be delivered virtually via our Facebook page. But, don’t forget to look after yourself…

As the days have turned into weeks, weeks into months, we’ve realised how important looking after our own wellbeing has been not just for us but also for our children. We all have bad days, we’ve all had days where we want to cry. That’s perfectly normal. One of the messages we’ve tried to spread is that parents and carers shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting time out. Have that cup tea, read that magazine, hide in that bedroom. Your mental health is also important. 

Craft Corner Potato Prints

Potato prints are quick and cheap to make, and the patterns can be as basic or as sophisticated as you like, so it’s a good craft for all ages.

Step 1
Choose decent sized potatoes. Cut potato in half and then at a 0.5cm depth, scour just through the skin surface, not cutting through too much. Always ask an adult to do the cutting.

Step 2
Insert cookie cutter, a good depth then cut around the edge of the cutter, taking away the potato on that level.

Step 3
Ease cookie cutter out of the potato and voila your stamp is ready.

Step 4
If you wish to freestyle it with a shape you don’t have a cutter for, I scoured out the pattern on the potato first and overlaid a paper template, then punched through into the potato, and carved it out with knife. Thanks to Molly Mahon for the forget-me-not inspiration! 

Step 5
With a paint brush apply paint then get stamping. 

Right from Wrong

in Mum on the Rock

Teaching Children Moral Values

How to teach your children to make better moral decisions and to understand the difference between right and wrong can be a tough ask in modern society. Your moral values include both what you treasure most; such as family, education or democracy, and what you think it is important to be; such as honest, compassionate or hard-working.

The truth is that as parents most of us are teaching our children values every day through our own actions. They observe everything that we do and unconsciously develop their own moral system, regardless of what we say and try to teach them, so if you are parenting with loving guidance, the chances are your kids will want to follow your lead.

In his theory of cognitive development, Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget placed great importance on the education of children and how they learn to tell the difference between right and wrong; how they use this knowledge to arrive at appropriate decisions when faced with complicated choices; and how they have the strength and independence to act in accordance with that right decision (to “do the right thing”) despite the fact that it may not be a convenient thing to do. However, morality is shaped by many factors, and children aren’t only influenced by their parents but by other children, their family and other adults.

Research has shown that babies can distinguish right from wrong before they reach the age of two and that by the age of five they should have developed a strong set of moral values. Some of the best qualities of humanity are compassion, consideration for others, respect and generosity. Here are some of those values that you can start teaching your children from an early age:


This quality rates highly amongst those that parents would like their children to achieve. All children tell lies, but how can you teach your child the difference between those little white lies, for instance – did they eat the biscuit before dinner that you told them not to, or big whoppers which are blatantly dishonest? Teaching children the importance of honesty from an early age will go some way to giving them the tools that will let them resolve issues without having to rely on lying. Toddlers are too young to be punished for lying, but once they get to four and become more verbal you can explain what a lie is and why it is not acceptable. 

Justice and Fairness

“That’s not fair!” Fairness and treating others in a fair manner is an essential value that will help children negotiate a complicated world as they grow into adulthood, but it is a trait that is difficult for young children to understand. Talk to your child about what is and isn’t fair. Watch a film together and point out moments of fairness or when someone was unfair and how it might affect the characters involved. Role-playing is a good way to talk about justice with older kids. Tell them that they should treat people in the same way they would want to be treated, teach them to think about how their actions might affect others, and help them construct their own value systems. 

Considerate and Kind

Considerate children grow up to be considerate adults. Being kind and mindful of others can make the world a better place. Explain to your child that taking the time to think of others and helping to make their life easier or more enjoyable can have a huge impact. Start with little things such as covering their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough so that they don’t spread their germs. Praise their behaviour and they will value your responsiveness. Children who share learn important life skills about how to take turns, how to negotiate, and how to cope with disappointment. Talk to your child about sharing their toys with others and praise them when they do so. “Great sharing” works!


It is not just about respecting your elders but respecting everyone, regardless of age or social status. Set clear limits on how they should behave and enforce the importance of good manners. Making sure they say ‘Please’ or ‘Thank You’ when appropriate shows caring and respect. 5-year-olds should automatically be using those phrases. Remember that we cannot teach respect to our children by being disrespectful towards them. 

Intentional parenting and the choices we make can shape the lives of our children in the future, leading to them becoming responsible adults with good moral values. Our actions speak a thousand times more than words so we must lead by example and quite often it is the little things that may seem unimportant or insignificant that can have a huge impact on their moral development and on the person that they grow up to be. 

Raising Body Confident Children

in Health & Beauty/Mum on the Rock

Raising our children to be healthy, happy and confident is something that most parents aspire to, but nowadays that is becoming increasingly hard to do as they are bombarded with negative
messages about body image in the media where beautiful and thin people are portrayed as ideal.

Kath Temple, the Psychologist at the heart of Gibraltar Charity The A healthy body image in childhood can lay the foundations for good physical and mental health later in life. An unhealthy body image in childhood can have long-lasting consequences.

Unfortunately, Photoshopped images of perfection are everywhere and their effect can be seen in children even from a young age, with body image concerns beginning as early as preschool, and kids don’t understand the powers of airbrushing or self-editing images.

Self-esteem is all about how much we value, love and accept ourselves. Children with high self-esteem and who are body confident feel good about their physical image, take pride in their abilities and appreciate their own worth. Signs of bad self-esteem about body image can include a child that is self-critical, comparing their body to others and obsessing about weight loss.

It’s not just girls that are affected either. Boys can be influenced by superheroes and action figures depicting unrealistic body types. Teen boys may strive for the perfect body through dieting or compulsive exercise and children with negative body image have a greater likelihood of developing an eating disorder that can lead to anorexia. 

NHS UK advice for parents of a child who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder include talking to your child about it: ‘Although they might come across as angry or aggressive, deep down they could be feeling scared or insecure. It might be difficult for them to express their feelings, so be patient and listen to what they’re trying to say.’

A child’s body image is influenced by many factors including family environment, ability or disability, the attitudes of their peers, social media and their cultural background. As they get older, puberty can also be a big influence. During puberty your child’s body is going through lots of changes, at the same time as they are trying to fit in and look the same as other people.

There’s a lot you can do to help your child develop a positive body image, including:

  • Talking and listening with your child. Discuss the severe realities that underweight models and overly-muscular celebrities experience. Talk about the drastic and unhealthy measures many people take to obtain these body types, despite what it does to their 
  • Have regular conversations about stereotypes, prejudice and using words like “ugly” or “fat” as insults and how that can change someone’s body image.
  • Watch TV together, pause shows and adverts to talk about the messages that are being sent. Look at magazines together and discuss the unrealistic images
  • Discuss the tactics advertisers use to sell products. Help your child spot underlying messages about how a product will make them more attractive.
  • Explain that personality is more important than physical appearance.

At every stage of your child’s life you can do positive things to support a healthy body image and develop their self-esteem. 

If you think that your child has an eating disorder, you can ask to be referred by your GP to the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) to get professional help or counselling.   

Become a Positive Body Image Role Model

How you feel about your body can have a powerful influence on your children. Take time to think about ways you might be telling them about your body image. If you talk about your huge stomach, your latest weight loss diet or your gruelling workouts, your children will pick up on these negative messages. They will begin to worry about their own size and think they should be dieting.

Focus on Health, Not Weight

Shift your focus from weight to health. Stop obsessing about numbers on the scales. Instead, concentrate on delicious foods and fun physical activities. Children shouldn’t be counting calories or restricting their intake. They should be enjoying regular meals and learning how to make smart, healthy choices. Try cooking healthy meals together. 

Nutrition and fitness are great goals because they give us energy to do all the things that we want to do. We all feel better when we take care of our bodies so teach your children about how to get the energy they need to live an active life.

Help them to get fit

Feeling fit, strong and capable is one aspect of positive body image. Children who undertake regular physical activity enjoy good social skills and develop a more positive body image. All children need regular physical activity they enjoy. It doesn’t matter what they do for physical fitness, it just matters that they do something. Be active together; go for a walk, to the park to play ball games, or take them swimming. 

If your children see that you are active every day, that you eat healthily and that you talk about your own body in positive ways, they will pick up on this and do the same.  You can make your children feel comfortable in their own bodies by helping them to realise that their shape and size doesn’t matter to anyone else, and it certainly doesn’t matter to you!

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