International Mud Day

Today is International Mud Day.

Is this your worst nightmare or a wonderful idea of fun?

International Mud day began in 2009 at a World Forum when Gillian McAuliffe from Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal got together to talk about ways to encourage feelings of community and appreciation for the world around us. They discussed the challenges children face when playing together in the mud. On the plane returning from the Forum, McAuliffe contemplated the obstacles that stand between many children and their ability to enjoy the simple, natural act of playing in mud. Challenges such as cultural preferences for cleanliness, lack of access to “disposable” clothing that can be dirtied and proper cleaning supplies, or dry, sandy geography not conducive to muddy conditions. So this is where Mud day grew from the idea that we should all be able to get down and dirty and have fun in mud, no matter where we live in the world.

SO —

The one thing you need to do on International Mud Day is: GET DIRTY!

It doesn’t have to be mud; it could be also be dirt or sand but just one way we can get down and play with the simpler things in life.

So what can you do on this day of mud?

 – Find some mud and stomp in it!

– Find some sand and build castles in it!

– Use your imagination and build something with your hands out of natural material.

Read some books about mud

Read some books about nature play such as:

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The perfect Leaf by Andrew Plant

But the leaves were so beautiful they had to be shown, they had to be shared.

 

Have you ever wondered at the colours of the autumn leaves? HAve you ever looked so closely to see the different colours of each individual leaf?

 

The Perfect Leaf by Andrew Plant will help you to see the wonder that is nature.

 

Each leaf that falls to the ground during autumn is so different – whether it be in colour, shapes or texture. Whether is is damaged, unmarked or broken – each leaf tells a different story.

 

In The Perfect Leaf, two girls meet and play. They search for the most perfect leaf of gold, red and crimson. They dive deep, throw leaves into the air and swim around in search of the most perfect leaf there could ever be.

 

But soon they discover that nothing is perfect and that everything can be beautiful – we just have to look at it in the right way.

 

The Perfect Leaf explores not only the beauty of nature but also friendship and love. It explores the idea that nothing in this world is perfect and everything has flaws – but these flaws don’t have to be a negative thing, they can be something that makes an object or a person even better.

 

The Perfect Leaf is a lovely book to share as the seasons change and we start to crunch through the leaves on the ground. It is one that will help you to discuss why we shouldn’t strive for perfection but instead strive for what makes us truly happy.

 

So what else can you do with this book?

 

SCIENCE

  • Explore the changes in leaves over the seasons.
  • Explore different shapes of leaves around your home and learning areas.
  • Get outside during those cold winter months and find beauty despite the lack of colour and warmth. See what grows in winter and ponder why.
  • Explore symmetry through leaves

 

LITERACY

  • Explore the adjectives used throughout the book to describe leaves. Write your own description of a leaf.  

 

THINKING

  • What is perfection?
  • Can something be perfect?

Teacher notes: http://fordstreetpublishing.com/ford/images/stories/teachers_notes/The-Perfect-Leaf-Teachers-Notes.pdf

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

 

Real Kids, Real play by Alice Zsembery

So, at what point did we fall in to the trap of believing that buying things makes memories? 

Alice Zsembery’s book: Real Kids, Real play is amazing and many parents should have it sitting on their bookshelves for those days when children call out that they are bored, when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or just days when you want to have some fun without dipping into your wallet.

The premise behind the creation of this book was to make the job of parenting (or caring) for young kids easier, less stressful and a lot more fun – which resonates so strongly with me.

In this book there are over 150 activities for children aged 0-5 that can be done in your home with your own things – paper plates, toilet rolls, sticky tape,cardboard boxes, potatoes, bed sheets….the list goes on!

There is little need for you to go to the shops to buy an item to do any of these activities which is fantastic for those who are time poor or sleep deprived!

And although these activities may not be instagram worthy because they are not as pretty as some, the hours of entertainment these activities provide are so much more important. These ideas are just what you need to not only give yourself a break from trying to be the perfect parent but they are gifts to your child as they allow them time to use their imagination and be creative.

We loved making our own car lot,

camping inside and the backyard

colouring water and turning it into ice

and of course the good old celery trick!

Any new parent who doesn’t mind getting down with their kids, having a play day at home or reusing that old cardboard box will love this book. And perhaps those who just need a bit of a break will be inspired to try some activities out too.

This book comes with free printables at http://realkidsrealplay.com.au and fabulous praise from Maggie Dent, parenting expert.

Head on over to http://realkidsrealplay.com.au to buy your copy for yourself or someone you know who needs it!

Join my facebook group and page where we discuss ways parents and teachers can engage children through literacy and play about big issues in the real world

Educateempower – https://www.facebook.com/educateempower11/

Globally conscious children – https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

What changes are you making this week?

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What changes are you making this week at home or at your workplace to lessen your eco-footprint?

Find your treasure #1

This year’s CBCA book week theme is Find your treasure. In our library the students will be participating in a variety of competitions with great book prizes!

Perhaps you would like to participate in some of these at your school?

Visit my Tpt store and for a term one special of $3.99 you can download and use these ideas too!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Find-your-Treasure-CBCA-Book-theme-2018-3653620

There are two competitions each term for all terms of the year – Finding your treasure doesn’t end in book week!

Just some of the ideas…..

Term 1, Competition 2.

Choose a book that you have read recently and using your mathematical skills, be creative and explain e.g.

The cost of keeping a dragon as a pet,

The tuition fees of a magic school,

The money you would give to one of the characters and why,

Draw a map to scale,

Create graphs about the characters in the story. Choose at least 3 aspects of the book to use your mathematical skills.

Term 3, Competition One.

Find some facts about a treasure that has never been found but many stories have been told about it.

Present these facts in an engaging way for display in the library.

Playing card games

What does your bed time routine look like?

Is it calm? Full of stories? Games? Laughter?

Or is it rushed, scheduled and stressful?


Some parent’s tell me that their children are too restless to sleep at night after a day at school and even stories won’t relax them.

Have you ever tried a card game?


We have found that a couple of rounds of UNO or Rummy for kids relaxes our Miss 6 and gives her the quiet space she needs before bed.

This time is also really special as it is often spent in her room with just one parent (mostly her dad) so not only is she playing a quiet and fun game she is also getting to spend some one on one time with an adult. There is no need for conversation but it is that 15-20 minutes of attention that helps her to wind down from the day.

So pull out those dusty cards and teach yourself then your child a simple game that you can both enjoy before bed.

 

Dungzilla by James Foley

Now you’ve got me thinking Sal…why don’t you use a bunch of Dung Beetles to clean Joe’s nappies? 

Ah, the friendly Dung Beetle – how I wish I could employ a couple of these poo lovers to clean out our nappy bucket so I didn’t have to deal with the washing of poo and wee on a weekly basis. But the risks of the Dung Beetle turning into a Dungzilla are real in our scientific household so for now….I’ll just keep my gloves on.


Dungzilla by James Foley is a highly entertaining graphic novel about a young girl – Sally Tinker (Formerly of Brobot) who is the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve. In this story she has invented a resizenator and whilst trying it out on a humble slice of pizza she accidentally hits her friends pet Dung Beetle. And you can only imagine what a giant Dung Beetle might get up to.

The humour entwined with adventure make this story one which you can’t put down. The comic style story allows younger readers to follow along with more enthusiasm as they can see the characters and gain more insight into how they are feeling and acting as each scenario unfolds.

James Foley has also included some great facts about the Dung Beetle within the story which we loved reading and inspired some extra research on this scat loving creature. We even learnt some extra words that also mean poo as we read along and some ideas on how we can create our own resizenator.

Dungzilla, filled with humour, action and great illustrations is a must read book for younger readers and those who are just starting to read on their own. But why Dungzilla on a blog about sustainability you ask – well building awareness of the small creatures in our world is just as important as awareness about the big ones.

Without Dung Beetles our world would be a lot stinkier, filled with more methane and germier.

Dung Beetles are endangered in some areas of the world due to loss of habitat, land being over farmed, more chemicals on the land and poorer quality poo due to poorer food sources.

Check out these links:

Why we need Dung Beetles

Feral animals endangering the Dung Beetle

So what can you do at home?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Go on an insect hunt and find out which insects live in your neighbourhood. Is there a way you can attract more beneficial insects to your backyard or local park?
  • What is a Dung Beetle? Find out some more facts and history about the humble Dung lover.
  • Why do we need insects? What might our world look like if we didn’t have beetles and bugs?

LITERACY

  • Create your own comic strip about a science invention that doesn’t work out as planned.
  • Look at how James Foley uses comic strips to create suspense and humour. How can you add that to your own creation?

EXTRA TEACHING NOTES HERE: Fremantle Press

Escape to everywhere

Have you ever read a book and wished that you could escape to that magical land? Perhaps you wished that your cupboard opened up to a secret land where you could meet animals that could talk, eat sweet biscuits with new friends and watch magic spells come to life with the flick on a wrist.

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Have you ever met a character in a book that you wanted to spend more time with so you could find out more about them, hang out with them and go on some of their adventures or perhaps learn some new skills from them?

Maybe your way of escaping is to learn new knowledge, perhaps you escape by becoming engrossed in new facts, pondering about hypothesis and exploring a new scientific or mathematical concept?

Reading allows us to escape. Reading slows our bodies down and gives us time to absorb what is going on inside us. Studies show that when we sit down and read we breath more deeply, our heart rate slows and our body has time to heal and absorb more nutrients from our day (must be why that hot cup of tea and healthy treat is a must when reading)

If we have the skills to escape through a story or through knowledge we can move away from the fast pace life of social media, fast paced computer  games and action packed news.

So not only during book week should we take the time to escape, we should take the time to escape everyday. We should be teaching our children the art of escaping through books.

Which book will you be reading tonight so you can escape?

Python by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson

It’s morning in the bush.
Python stirs and slithers out from her shelter.
She warms her head and smells the air
with her forked tongue.
Python is a beautiful snake,
but also dangerous
– and she is looking for a meal

Python by Christopher Cheng and Mark Jackson is a captivating picture book that takes you along for a ride as snake looks for her next meal.

Illustrator Mark Jackson brings the danger of the snake to life through his descriptive illustrations of snake sneaking up on her next meal, camouflaging amongst rocks and basking in the warm sun with her brood.

Christopher Cheng not only writes an enchanting story of the snake and her meal seeking adventure, he also adds in some great facts along the way that even the youngest reader can engage with.

Python teaches the reader about Pythons, their habitat and behaviour. Many of us are petrified of snakes and perhaps would rather throw a rock at it than let it run away. When we read stories like this to our children we are building their awareness of creatures like snakes, who are dangerous, and allowing them to know more about them to realise that the snakes are probably a lot more scared of us!

Did you know that pythons might only eat once every four weeks? And that they can unhinge their jaws?

The world of pythons is dangerous yet intriguing and this CBCA shortlisted picture book is a book for all to enjoy.

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Don’t forget the numeracy skills

There is a lot of focus on Literacy skills – and so there should be BUT numeracy is equally important and the embedding of those basic skills in the early years is really important.

However, many parents may feel that numeracy doesn’t play a role in home readers and sight words BUT it can.

  •  Count the letters in each word in the selected group of sight words. Group them according the number of letters in each group.
  •  Clap out and talk about or write down the amount of syllables in each word.
  •  Stretch out each word and count how many sounds there are in the word as opposed to just letters. (e.g. shop has ‘sh’ ‘o’ ‘p’)

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When reading:

  •  Look at the page numbers – discuss odd and even numbers. Look at how many pages there are and count on from the last number.
  • How many illustrations are in the story?
  • How many full stops?
  • How long is the book? Use informal measurements such as fingerspaces before you measure in centimetres.
  • How heavy is the book? What might it weigh the same as?
  • What shape is the book? What else is shaped like this? Count sides and then think about why books are square and not triangle or circular!

 

And perhaps consider this article, a very good reason to help your child to love mathematics: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/a-dire-lack-of-interest-in-students-wanting-to-pursue-maths-careers-20170330-gv9pwa.html

 

Loving all types of literacy

Linking literacy to books is a passion of mine (as you may have guessed) but so is learning to read.

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The early years of any child’s life and then formal education are vital for building a love of literacy. If we miss those years children struggle through many areas of their lives as reading is such a big part of it!

Here are some simple ways you can start to build phonemic awareness in a fun way which involves books. No worksheets. No writing. No repetition. Just books and conversations!

  • When you look at the front cover read it out loud. Read the authors name, illustrators name and perhaps even the blurb. Ask your child if they can think of another name that starts with the same sound as the authors first name. Start with the initial letter but if you child can do it, blend the first two letters and find names with that sound.

 

  • As you read look for pictures that might look like letters – this can be lots of fun and can be done as you drive in the car or go for a play outside!
  • If your child is a keen writer – write down their favourite words or sounds from the book. Stick these words on the wall and they can copy them or even make them out of blocks or shapes when the time suits them.

 

  • Make up your own story together – write it down if you like and illustrate.

 

  • Don’t just focus on home readers – make sure your children are reading books they choose for pleasure.

 

  • You don’t always need to read books – try comics or magazines, non-fiction and audio books! . Exposure to different forms of literacy opens their mind and encourages passion from an early age.

 

  • Let me know your thoughts!

When we go camping by Sally Sutton

When we go camping by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Cat Chapman is a rhythmical story that the youngest of readers will love. Rhyme incorporated with onomatopoeia provides a book that makes you want to move about, point to the pictures and possibly even pack your car for a family camping trip!

Zip petty zap petty flopp-io

Jumpy bumpy gigg-lio

When We Go Camping highlights all the wonderful things about camping – making friends, sleeping in a tent, helping out as a family and catching your own fish!

It also mentions the trials of camping – but we don’t need to worry too much about them when there is so much fun to be had boiling up the billy, splashing in the river and singing by the fire.

If you have a family member who is apprehensive about camping you need to read this book to them, it’s a gem!

camping

How can I develop my child’s literacy and create a globally conscious child?

LITERACY

  • RHYME – The three sentences on each page end in a rhyming word. Explore other words that rhyme with the final word.
  • Start with a sentence: When we go fishing, When we go riding, When we go bushwalking, When we go running (Make sure the sentence has something to do with outdoor play). Children then create their three lined poem using rhyme.
  • ONOMATOPOEIA: Explore the different uses of onomatopoeia throughout the story. How does it make you feel when you hear those words?  Look back at the three lined sentence that has been created and now add some onomatopoeia to it.

Nature Play

    • Plan a family camping trip or if you can’t do that an outside activity. Children learn so much when they play outside.
    • Write a diary entry, recount over dinner about the activity. Talking and listening reinforces fun times and allows for more family interaction – embedding the importance of talk from a young age.

Rays Outdoors – Homepage

Yucky Worms by Vivian French

If worms are underground farmers what are the underwater farmers?

 How does an animal survive without a sense? Investigate different creatures that can live without one of the senses we feel we must have.

 List some other animals that are deemed as ‘yucky’ and find out why. Is there a way to raise their profile?


Have you ever wondered if you chop a worm in half will it just grow a new head and keep on wriggling on? Or why people refer to worms as underground farmers?

Well, look no further than Yucky Worms by Vivian French! Delicately illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg, Yucky worms is an informative story told by a gardening grandmother to her inquisitive grandson.

Perhaps many of us have reacted to worms in the garden as yucky, disgusting, slimy or dirty (which they can be) but without them, as you will discover in the story, we would not have the fertile soil that we need to grow fruits, flowers and vegetables.

As you read through Yucky worms (published by Candlewick press) readers young and old can learn about worm anatomy, eating habits, habitat and how they survive in different situations through story, labelled diagrams and funny worm conversations!

So how can you use this story to inspire some worm loving?

SCIENCE

  • Create a large worm diagram and label it using your own words. Investigate worm life cycles, diet, habitat and anatomy.
  • Buy or make a worm farm!
  • Investigate worm farms – how do they work? What do worms need to eat? What can kill the worm farm worms? What can they live without? What can’t they live without?

GEOGRAPHY

  • Is there anywhere in the world where worms cannot live?
  • Is there anywhere in the world where worms do not want to live due to human acitivity?
  • If you were a worm what would you enjoy doing the most?
  • Many people on the dance floor think they can do a move called the worm but can worms really dance? And, is that move doing worm bristles and muscular movement justice?
  • Write an ode to the worm.

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay is a stunning wordless picture book which draws you into each image, searching for stories within stories.

A young boy lives in a lighthouse and spends his days beach combing – where he meets a young girl and together they play until a storm rolls in.

The boy retreats to his lighthouse home, to only find once awakening, that a giant octopus has emerged from the storm and is stranded on the beach – alive but tangled in old netting.

The boy and girl rescue the octopus along with other caring beach goers and release it back into the sea to all of the other sea creatures.

No words are needed for this story to make you feel warm with hope, blue with sadness and energised with joy. The illustrations allow your mind to wonder throughout the story and long after it has been read.

Take your time to read this story again and again – and draw fact from the back pages to learn more about the creatures of the ocean and how we can take better care of them.

So where to from here?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • The Ocean Clean up is an amazing company who are working on creating an eco friendly way to clean up the ocean by removing plastic bags that lie around in the ocean, harming wildlife and their habitat.
  • Investigate organisations which act to look after the ocean.
  • Should plastic bags be banned? Debate this – look at the pros and cons and work out why large companies are reluctant to ban them.
  • Visit the beach or a local waterway and see how much plastic you can find while you are there. Categorise the plastic – what is turning up the most? What state is the plastic in? How might these pieces of plastic be harming wildlife (links to numeracy: graphs and creating categories)

SCIENCE

  • Investigate ocean animals that live in the deeper parts of the ocean. What do they look like? How are their survival techniques different from animals who live on the upper levels of the ocean?
  • Have there been occasions where a deep sea creature really has appeared on the beach out of the blue?

LITERACY

  • Rewrite this story from the octopuses point of view or even the little girls point of view.

I’ve got nits! by Mike Brownlow

I’ve got nits by Mike Brownlow is a great book to read to your children when they have nits!


I found it a fun read but it also put my daughter at ease – which was what I really wanted. She was quite worried that she had ‘bugs’ in her hair but after reading this book she could see how easy they are to catch and also with patience they are easy to get rid of.

I have included this book on my blog as I really wanted to take a natural approach to getting rid of nits as there are so many products out there. All of the products claim that they will get rid of nits straight away  – which is not true (after some research) and many of them contain harsh chemicals which are likely to irritate the scalp and therefore cause other issues!

I was trapped into buying a product – it was totally natural but expensive. I thought that if I used a store bought product I would get rid of the nits. BUT I found that as my daughter’s hair is so thick we nearly went through the whole $13.95 bottle in one treatment – which didn’t work!

I have since read that nits need several treatments over 2-3 weeks and this book really hit home in telling me all you need is conditioner and a fine toothed comb!

So when I discovered the nits had come back we used conditioner (left in for twenty mixtures with a shower cap on), then i combed her hair – for about 20 minutes – with tea tree oil and a bowl of vinegar to fry the darling nits.

We did this every 2-3 days for 2 weeks and it worked! Hooray!

There is a lot to say about the simplicity of essential oils. I have heard  a lot about essential oils in the world lately and have looked into joining some of the programs but for now they are out of my reach as they are quite expensive. Luckily Tea Tree oil is easy to come by and we are only using it for cleaning and nit attacking so I don’t think I need to worry about spending big yet.

Tea Tree oil is one to have in your cabinet as it is antibacterial, anti fungal and a pest deterrent.

I’ve since heard that Neem oil is also a great deterrent for Nits. I might need to get some for our next battle!

And remember  – you don’t need to wash the sheets as nits do not survive for long without a scalp to feed off.

Good luck in battling the nits! I managed to escape infestation this time…

Nit Tips

  1. Cover hair in conditioner – thickly. Leave on for at least 10 minutes  – I did 20. Cover with a shower cap so it stays wet.
  2. Finely comb through hair with a fine tooth comb layer by layer. Use tea tree oil as your comb through.
  3. Dip comb in vinegar to kill off any eggs and seller bugs. Wipe comb after each use so you are not spreading one nit from one strand to another.
  4. Wash hair afterwards.
  5. Repeat every 2-3 days for at least 2 weeks. This is of course your time dependant and also how well your child copes sitting still.

 

The importance of nature play. 

There is a lot of new research coming out on the importance of play and the importance of play outside.

As a teacher I have always observed children learning best when they are in a relaxed and informal environment. In saying this, there is always a place for teaching and mentoring but there is also a place for exploration, making mistakes and collaboration.


I love being outside – it just makes me happier. I love being in natural areas where there is less human activity and more time to sit back and admire what is around us. So when I became a librarian I couldn’t think of a better way to get children outside than through books!

Research shows that playing outside increases happiness, problem solving and motivation. When children play outside they use more imagination as there are less boundaries, they can problem solve and they can learn about the world they live in through their 5 senses.


Now, you often think of books as an inside activity – which they can be (and often are) and this is fine BUT what if we can take ideas from these books and use them to inspire some outdoor play?

Here are some books which might inspire you to take a trip outside!

 

Go on an adventure

We are going on a bear hunt

This is a classic book that we all know and love. It is so much fun to read and sing to and is a favourite of ours.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go on your own bear hunt! Find some swishy grass, splashy water and sloshy mud – lots of fun!
  • Can you go on a native Australian animal hunt? Which animals live in your area?
  • Pack a bag and go on a short hike. Think of the different things you need to cope with storms, rain, wind and sunshine!

Worm explorers

The worm who knew karate by Terry Denton and Jill Lever

The worm who knew karate By Jill Lever and Terry Denton is a hilarious book about a worm who decides to become a braver and stronger worm through the art of karate! Which made me think….how can we help our children to build their confidence? And what do those worms in my worm farm really get up to? Maybe it’s a secret dojo I have never been aware of….

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • go and dig up some dirt – find some earth worms!
  • Go and buy a worm farm or explore your local community garden worm farm.
  • Feed the worms – what do they like best?

Create a garden

The curious Garden by Peter Brown

One boy’s quest for a greener world, one garden at a time.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is a book based on fact. The Highline is an abandoned railway line that people began to take back over and return it back to nature and open spaces for people to enjoy.

It is a poignant book as many cities, suburbs and towns are starting to explore how they can become greener, literally.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Keep a seed diary – plant a seed and watch it grow! (use quick growing seeds like herbs, beans or sunflowers)
  • Look at a local park or your own backyard and redesign it so there is more growing and more green.
  • Make an inventory of the nature in your area. Discuss biodiversity of plants and animals.

Explore insects

Mechanics by Lance Baldachin

Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Find some insects and sketch them. Look at how they move their arms and legs. Try to recreate an insect out of natural material.
  • Create an insect house for your local insects. Many insects are lacking in city gardens as there are not enough small holes for them to live in.
  • Look for signs of life cycles of insects  – these can be hard to find but it will make your child look in the small places that we often overlook.

Explore new places

Bogtrotter by Margaret Wild

The Bogtrotter is a delightful creature that lives in the bog – a gloomy, marshy, mushy bog! Bogtotter, written by Margaret Wild is a book that focuses on belonging, trying new things, playing outdoors, loneliness and discovery.

The illustrations by Judith Rossell are marvellous, really bringing to life the Bogtrotter and his feelings.

The reader steps through into the life of the Bogtrotter, watching him start off doing the same thing every day, not knowing how to make a change. It is through talking to other animals around him and picking a flower that he sees that there is more to his bog.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go to a new park, a new national park or any outdoor space.
  • Walk a path you walk everyday but do it slowly and try to notice the small things as you go along. Talk to people, say hello and notice what is happening.
  • Take something outside that you normally do inside – does it make a difference?

 

Imagination

Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn

I loved reading Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Gaye Chapman to my children, the pictures really transport you to an imaginative world full of crazy creatures, whispy clouds and natural beauty. We loved looking at each page and imagining what Georgie was thinking about, what she was playing and how the others could play to.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Take some ribbons, balls, string and scraps and see what you can do with them outside rather than a specific toy.
  • Create new names for the local insects, trees and flowers in your garden or local park – imagination!
  • Go somewhere or find something that you think is incredibilia!

Being Green

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

Leaf shows the love of nature that children can have when given the chance. It also shows the adult world and how everything needs to be neat, tidy and regimented. A sad story on adults behalf!

In this magical story a little boy  grows his own seedling in his hair and loves it, cares for it and shares many adventures with it. He spends every waking minute finding the best way to care for his seedling.

Unfortunately it’s time for a haircut and the adult world tries to take his small tree away from him. However, his determination and resilience shines through and he continues to care for the tree as he grows older.

This is a beautifully drawn book which not only intrigues the reader but really hits the spot on how we need to take a step back and let the natural world become a part of our daily lives.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Perform a puppet show outside with leaves as the characters – draw on them and create a story!
  • What can you grow out of different substances? Explore how seeds grow and what they need to grow.
  • How heavy are different trees. Use problem solving to try and work this out.

 

I hope this has inspired you to read some books and play outside! I have many more ideas each week on my blog so please sign up to flickingonthebook.wordpress.com

 

 

When should we send children to school?

This is a question that I am asked very often!

child-and-school

The main people who ask this are parents of children who are born between Jan – June – they are either going to be the youngest in their grade: Still four when they begin the school year or will be the eldest, possibly turning six before they begin school.

So, as  a parent, what do you need to consider for your child?

  • If your child goes to preschool or daycare ask what they think. They see your child in a different way to a parent so trust their opinion.

 

  • Consider if your child is ready emotionally. Do they cry easily? Do they anger easily? How do they solve problems? Although your child will learn these skills as they grow up, in order for them to be happy socially, they need to be able to get along with other children as much as possible. They need to be able to talk to other adults and deal with small problems without breaking down. Keep in mind that some children will always be sensitive – have a look at this article about overexcitabilities to see if your child fits into this category: http://sengifted.org/archives/articles/overexcitability-and-the-gifted

 

  • There is some new research that is shows there can be harm in sending your child to school early rather than sending them late. BUT in saying that some children will be ready early as perhaps they have an older sibling or perhaps they are socially ready, eager and ready to learn. Check your child is ready – don’t send them because you want them to go or their friends are going. Send them because they are ready. 

 

  • Don’t think that sending them early is going to mean they will be able to read within a month. Kindergarten is now a time and a space for children to learn through play. Lessons are not as formal as they used to be and children are encouraged to move, talk and touch things in order to learn. Children need time to learn and by pushing them to know their alphabet or sight words will just turn them away from their ingrained passion to learn.

 

  • In saying that – read to your child. Encourage them to sound out words but do it in a fun way. No threats! Yes, reading is a very important skill and once we learn to read we can do so many things BUT pushing your child can teach them the incorrect skills which can do a lot more harm than good.

I once taught a kindergarten girl who was an excellent reader but had no comprehension skills. This was causing a very big issue as she was slowly dropping in her self esteem – she thought she could read and had been praised but now there was something related to reading that she couldn’t do. She had to go back to basics which was very difficult for her. 

 

  • Talk to the school. Ask what they think and allow them to meet your child. They may have open sessions where they can watch your child interact with other children around them and also how they approach different activities.

 

  • Trust yourself. You know your child better than anyone else. Trust that you know what is best for your child. You have raised them to be the best person they can be so far and I am sure you can continue to. Trust that you know what your child can do.

 

  • Keep reading those picture books! Enlighten your child to the world around them. Let them see words, play with vocabulary and have fun looking at pictures.