Category: PAKMAG

The PakMag Experts May 2020 – Townsville

Cassandra Chiesa – Helping Hands – Hand, Wrist & Arm Clinic

Dear Cassandra, my son plays a lot of video games. How could this affect his hands?

The repetitive nature of finger and thumb movements on keyboards, joysticks and hand held controllers can lead to fatigue, pain and even inflammation of tissues. Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and cumulative trauma can be the end result if not picked up early, which means the pain continues after the consoles have been put away, affecting other activities and disrupting sleep. On a positive note, it is rare for children to present with RSI, but good habits and moderation will certainly ensure your son doesn’t have more serious problems once he hits his teens.

4755 2337

Yolanda Van Der Kruk – Psychologist – Townsville Paediatrics

Dear Yolanda, how can I help my child with autism manage big emotions?

Many, if not all children diagnosed with autism experience emotion regulation difficulties. With the right help, we can teach our children with autism how to better manage these. When they’re upset, remind them that this feeling will pass. Practice taking deep breaths with them and offer calming and comforting tools. Talk to them about what they can do to better manage these emotions through prevention and regulation techniques when they aren’t upset, then remind them of these techniques during a meltdown, even offering a reward for doing so.

4427 5817

Matthew Calanna – Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy

Dear Matthew, how can I get the most out of my medication?

Make sure you’re taking the right medicine and the right dose, at the right time. Our Medication Packing service is a simple and convenient way to help you stay on top of this. Our MyDNA Medication Test reveals what medicines are better suited to your body, which medicines may have fewer side effects and the optimal dosage of a particular medicine for you. Your DNA contributes to how your body breaks down medicine, so we can liaise with your healthcare professionals to assist them with current and future prescribing decisions. Take your MyDNA test today from $99.

Jana Gorski Naturopath – Calanna Whole Health Pharmacy

Dear Jana, I struggle with my emotions in the days leading up to my period – more than I think is normal. But I don’t want to go on the pill. Is there anything natural that will help?

Premenstrual symptoms (PMS) are common for women in the days leading up to their period. Many women report bloating, breast tenderness, irritability, moodiness, cravings and fatigue. If your symptoms are concerning you, regular exercise, 5 servings of vegetables daily and stress reducing techniques are all proven relievers of PMS. For some, traditional herbal medicines are also helpful. Consult with a Naturopath or Herbalist for the best combination for you.


Toilet Roll Craft Projects the Kids Will Love

Rocket ships

What You Need

Blue and white paint

Dark blue and white paper


Red, yellow and black colouring pencils



Paint a couple of toilet rolls blue and white, then set aside to dry.

Cut all of the shapes that you need out of the different coloured paper, using the picture for reference. This includes the fins, the white wings and nose of the rocket, any windows and doors that you don’t want to draw on, plus the flames. To make the pointy ‘hat’ for the rockets, cut a circle out of the paper then cut a triangle wedge out of it (like a slice of pie). Bring each side of the disk together to make the cone shape and glue them together.

Using your colouring in pencils, colour the shapes according to the pictures (or however you feel- it’s your rocket after all). Feel free to mix and match what colours you use for the different parts of the rocket (leaving the coloured paper as it is).

Stick each part of the rocket onto the cardboard roll using the hot glue gun.

Tip: Cut two thin lines into the bottom of the toilet roll and insert the fins into them. This is easier than trying to glue them on.

Cute Bumble Bees

What You Need

Cardboard toilet roll

Yellow paint


Black, white and yellow paper

Black and pink pencils

Hot glue gun and glue sticks



Paint the cardboard roll with the yellow paint and set it aside to dry.

To make the wings, cut four tear drop shapes out of the white paper, making sure two of the drops are larger than the other two (for top and bottom wings). Cut the antennae and two thin strips out of the black paper. These strips should be long enough to wrap around the roll of cardboard.

To make the bee’s face, take the yellow paper and cut a circle from it. Use a black pencil to draw the eyes and smiley face on the circle and the pink pencil to draw the heart cheeks. You could also cut out two small hearts from pink paper and glue them on, should you wish.

Once the paint on the cardboard is dry, take the two strips of black paper and run a glue stick along one side. Then, wrap the freshly glued strips around the lower half of the roll, roughly 2cm apart. Use the hot glue gun to stick the wings, face and antennae onto the roll as pictured and then you’ve got a cute bumble bee!

Tip: Cutting the shapes out of the paper is easier if you draw them with a pencil first. When gluing the wings, place all the points together in the centre.

You can find some great jar upcycling activities for kids here. 


Brighten Someone’s Day with a Friendly Neighbourhood Note

We all know how good it feels to receive a handwritten letter in the mailbox…anything other than a bill right? Imagine the joy and surprise you could create with a simple yet meaningful note, dropped into your neighbour’s or nearby letterboxes along your regular walking route. Let people know you care and are thinking of them! The smallest act can make the biggest difference.

Spread some sunshine with one of these cute notes that we have designed, adding your own personal message. Simply download them from our website,  cut out the notes and start sharing the love. If you want to offer your assistance to the personal living in the house, should your neighbours be elderly or vulnerable, you could also add a contact number. Maybe you just want to offer them your phone number to have a chat any time they feel lonely during this period of social isolation due to coronavirus.

This is a time for all of us to come together. Something as simple as a note could make a world of difference to the person receiving it. Have fun spreading sunshine… as my Mum always said, “you can’t water a garden, without getting wet yourself.”

STEAM Activities to Develop and Harness Critical Thinking

Want to help grow a ‘solution finder’ in your household? STEAM activities are perfect for using learners’ critical thinking abilities. They help them develop problem solving skills to last throughout life. Teaching critical thinking simply means that children are being taught to really think instead of memorising actions and facts. STEAM education focuses on real-word, hands-on learning. In doing this, it helps develop skills for solving problems. It teaches critical thinking by encouraging the use of different knowledge and approaches. Often, this is through the process of trial and error. Most importantly, these skills are not only useful for careers, but everyday life too.

Good critical thinking encourages a child to ask questions like “why?”, “how?” and “what?”. It’s about not taking things at face value, but using curiosity to look further into all sides of an issue. An in-depth look into an issue means you can make a better judgement on it, resulting in a better solution. The more ‘outside of the box’ thinking that is done then the more connections are made and ideas created. Using a variety of skills and knowledge for problem solving means children are more likely to test their own limits in a healthy way.  At the same time they are also more likely to use this way of thinking for a better creative approach. 

Both critical thinking and being creative lead to great innovation skills. Innovative thinkers are the people who challenge standards and help change the world, which makes it a very important thing! Imagine how different our lives would be without all the inventions, new products and processes that have been made to make our lives easier. STEAM activities encourage independent thought. They inspire your children to grow up and become an ‘Ideas-Person’ … a critical thinker!

Resources to Inspire and Educate

The Jame Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards – The challenge cards are perfect for getting kids to think hard, be creative and have fun. By using unique challenges like making a functional chair out of cardboard, they create a whole new way of learning. This is done by hands-on, competitive activities. Made to get young minds excited about engineering, they help children develop a basic level of understanding around structures and how they work. You can use the cards both at home or in the classroom.

Little Bins for Little Hands – This website uses both simple science and fun to engage children in STEM education. It includes 100 activities, from science experiments to small building projects. The goal is to help children learn about basic science and structures. You don’t need fancy equipment or difficult activities that cause confusion – just curiosity and basic supplies!

Wabisabi Learning – 36 Resources for STEM Project-Based Learning Activities – Discover 36 resources for project-based learning, broken down into each STEM subject. These can be adjusted for different age groups. They will have kids broadening their ideas and using critical thinking. They allow children to learn in an enjoyable way while also helping them to understand how the STEM subjects can be used in the ‘real world’. 


Academy Of STEAM Solar Helicopter by Engino – $49.95 (Get 10% OFF at by using code PakMag10) 


The thing is

The Thing Is, Now Is the Time to Be Grateful

It’s nearly 10pm, and it’s the first time in weeks that I have had a moment to myself to put my thoughts onto paper. The only reason I’ve lasted ‘til this hour of the night, is because of a 15 minute powernap I had during the day. Those 15 minutes were when I had momentarily given up on trying to be mum, chef, personal assistant, nurse, teacher’s aide, cleaner, cheerleader, animal wrangler, detective, therapist, boss, wife, daughter and mediator.  The thing is, it’s exhausting! You get to the end of the day not knowing where it went or what you did. Sometimes it’s been such a blur that you look at your children still in their PJ’s at 6pm and think to yourself “at least they’re ready for bed at a reasonable hour tonight”.

I went to do grocery shopping the other night. Because physically I’ve really let myself go, late night food shopping when it’s pretty empty is more appealing to me. So bum bag on with my “sanny” hanging off the side, I put on my white Michael Jackson washable gloves. Now I am raring to go. Sexy as. I shop like a crazy lady possessed as there is only thirty minutes to get in and out before the place closes. Then I rush through the aisles like a racecar driver with a busted wheel (I am never one to score a trolley that steers straight).

After making it to the counter and unloading my loot with 5 minutes to spare, I think to myself – what a legend. I stack that conveyer belt like a bricklayer with hot bricks (and my butt crack is likely showing too). But, realising I’ve left my bloomin’ shopping bags in the car, I tell the lady “Forgot my bags, I’ll be right back”. Before she can answer I run for it. “Whoa exercise! How many hats can I bring into my food shopping trip…go girl, multitasking again” is what I think as I am running like Forest Gump to my car.

Like a message from the universe, 10 steps in my trusty thong blows out. Not defeated, I start dragging one leg like I’ve been shot. I look down, and notice I am wearing two different thongs. But I keep going, grabbing my trusty reusable bags like a war on waste warrior. Making my way back to the checkout, breathing heavily, I smile. There is still stuff on the conveyer belt. I made it. 

But ALAS. Now I have to stuff my bags too, they don’t fill bags if you BYO. Quickly I drag my foot down to the other end of the register so fast that I create static electricity and zap myself. I’m sweating, but my white gloves remind me not to touch my face. Instead I use my upper arm to wipe my forehead and whoa – someone forgot deodorant. It gives me the boost I need to hurry up and get the heck out of there. I start shoving my purchases into bags like I’ve won a free 1-minute shopand-grab promo. Of course now my trolley looks like I am one of those terrible hoarders! I pay and get out of there as fast as my one dragging leg walk will allow.

As I drive home, I think to myself – WOW! Never did I ever imagine that getting the food I needed would be my biggest achievement for the day.

The simplest of things that I have taken for granted for so long are truly the most important. This really is a time to be grateful for so, so much.

Support Hub for Students in Australia

Leading Australian Mental Health service ReachOut have created a study support hub for students. The hub is to support the wellbeing and mental health of students across Australia as they navigate online learning during COVID-19, though it’s also helpful for parents and teachers. It Includes tips and articles on dealing with stress, maintaining routine, balancing social life and study life, and more. The option to sign up for content to be sent directly to your inbox makes it easy to get helpful tips on staying occupied, self-care and other topics. 

With the pandemic changing so many aspects of our day to day lives, stress is prevalent and it’s hard to not worry about future. But students have already been worrying about their future, particularly their exams. Ashley de Silva, CEO of ReachOut, said “New ReachOut data shows that even before COVID-19 had disrupted schooling, nearly 75 percent of young people were already experiencing worrying levels of exam stress, and one in five had extreme stress about exams.” 

 “Students across Australia are worried about how COVID-19 will impact their learning and education, not only this year, but also going forward. Of particular concern are students currently in Year 12 who are already thinking about the implications on their further education and employment.” “We don’t want to see these figures rise due to COVID-19 because unhealthy levels of study stress can have a direct impact on a young person’s mental health.”

Advice and information for parents on helping their young person with both school and wellbeing is available on the site. Parents can encourage and provide support their young person with keeping a routine, motivation, studying and managing stress. Support for teachers and wellbeing lesson plans are also available, which are mapped to the curriculum and can be delivered online.

You can find the student support hub here.