Collecting Sunshine by Rachel Flynn and Tamsin Ainslie


A collection, by definition is both the action of collecting something or a group of things.

Children love collecting things and we often get caught up with their desire to collect stuff we need to buy – but this book Collecting Sunshine – shows that collections are everywhere we look, and do not cost a single cent.

Mabel and Robert are out for a walk collecting anything they can touch, smell, hear, taste and see. Their senses are alive with wonderment as they count their collections, play in the rain and collect things that cannot fit into pockets.

Reading Collecting Sunshine makes you realise how much joy children get from being outside and taking the time to look closely at the world around them. A simple 5 minute walk can turn into an hour but they joy they find in their collecting, is second to none.

Collecting Sunshine will be enjoyed by young children and inspire them and hopefully their adults to start collecting things from the natural and outside world around them rather than the shopping centre!  

The illustrations are vibrant and full of detail, giving the simple story so much more. Young eyes will love the tiny details of the cats up in trees, budgerigars watching closely and rainbows dancing on the grass.

In the classroom

Numeracy

Take your class outside and collect things. Record this on a sheet and create graphs to show the different types of collections and the amounts of things we can have in a collection.

Science

Use this book to look at the five senses and how we can look at different things differently through a sense. E.g : We can touch a collection of rocks but can we taste rocks? Hear rocks? Smell rocks? See rocks?

Activity Pack : https://www.penguin.com.au/content/PRH_FLYNN_PBOTM_PACK_HR.pdf

Teacher notes: http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/126706/september-2018-ec-collecting-sunshine.pdf

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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?

Global Guardian Project: Rainforest conservation

Did you know that even though rainforests only occupy around 7 percent of the entire Earth’s land surface they support over half of the globes plants, trees and wildlife?

Without rainforests we would not only lose this precious flora and fauna but the world as we know it would change dramatically.

Rainforests take in much of the world’s carbon and give us much of our oxygen, they hold much of the world’s rainfall and keep the soils nutrient rich and full of life.

Hopefully at home you are:

  •  Saying no to palm oil
  • Buying wood products that are from sustainable sources.
  •  Buying any products that are environmentally friendly
  •  Educating those around you about the wonders of the rainforest so they can see what will happen if we sit back and do nothing.

And this is where the Global Guardian Junior comes into play

Recently the GGP have released a new set of modules aimed at younger readers and there families.

We have just delved into the Rainforest conservation unit and we loved it!

We learnt about

  • Morpho butterflies and practiced drawing them.
  • Read about sloths, drew them and wrote our own stories about the day we hung out with them!
  • What palm oil is and where is can be hidden (My kids were disappointed they were in some lollies but yay for me!)
  • Wrote down ideas on how we can be change makers.

This module is fantastic and so well set out for young children. There are colourful photographs, interactive activities, videos and a meditation – which is always a nice way to finish off learning.

When we live in a world far removed from these intriguing places it is important to find informative sources that really give children an insight into what life is like there and how they can make a difference from their home.

Why don’t you give it a try today with my discount code: GGPVANESSA?

Check out these articles and websites: 

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jan/23/destroying-rainforests-quickly-gone-100-years-deforestation

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

http://palmoilaction.org.au/resources/palm-oil-action-shopping-guide/

I can change the world

What can we do?

Worry we aren’t doing enough when all we do is perhaps compost or perhaps you buy your food in bulk?

Do you cook from scratch? Say no to plastic bags?

Or perhaps the best thing you are doing now is educating your children through books and discussions?

 

How can we make the world a better place to live in?

From so many different sources the message is very clear.

Every small sustainable difference we make, every small change we make, every small thing we show others – all makes a difference.

What are you doing to make a difference? How are you showing this?

How are you educating children? Would love to hear what you are doing or what you would like some help doing!

You can buy this great poster at The Global Guardian Project and try my discount for a further 10% off!

GGPVanessa

Hey Warrior: A book for kids about anxiety by Karen Young

Anxiety explained: Kids empowered

 

Do you have a child who feels anxious? Do you have a child who worries or perhaps cries over what seems to be nothing? Or perhaps a child that might lack a bit of self confidence?

Then this book is one for your book shelf!


Hey Warrior: A book for kids about anxiety by Karen Young, is a marvellous read aloud story for parent and child. It clearly explains to children what anxiety is and how it can happen to anyone at any time.

The clever way Karen Young has done this is by explaining the part of the brain that causes our body to think it might be in danger – the Amygdala – as a fierce warrior who is there to protect you but needs a name so that you can help it to calm down when there is no real danger at all.

I have read this book only a handful of times to my daughter and straight away it made a difference to how she deals with worrying situations. Her amygdala has a name now and she can tell it to calm down which helps her. This simple act of naming is another tool to add to her toolkit for her future and equip her with skills to deal with anxiety.

Karen Young clearly explains to the young reader what is happening to their body when they feel worried and gives out simple tips that young children can easily remember when in difficult situations.

This book is amazing and is one to read again and again just to remind your little one that emotions do not need to overtake us and that we have the power and strength in our brains to make ourselves even more incredible than we already are.

I hope you can share this book and make a difference to at least one child.

 

This house, once by Deborah Freedman

What is your house made of?

Who built it?

How old is it? 


This house, once by Deborah Freedman is a wonderful springboard to start a conversation about what house are made of before they become a house. Many house are made of man made materials but within many of these materials there is often a natural material underlying the design.

Deborah Freedman’s use of soft pastels allow the house to be an inviting place that feels welcoming and warming and encouraging to the exploration upon it.

As the reader walks through the house from dawn to dusk we explore the foundations of the house, the solid walls and the protecting windows. The house emits a calming effect and through this calming effect the reader really has time to engage with the materials of the house and time to think about their own house.

Many people may have never put a single thought as to what their house is made out of or where those materials came from – this book will inspire you to have a look around, scrutinise the material and dig into the history of the house.

So what can you do at home?

Explore your house, find out what it is made of.

Make your own mud bricks – what do you need to make these?

How could your material be more sustainable if you were to change or renovate?

Which materials are sustainable? Which materials are damaging?

Design your own sustainable home – explore different companies that offer sustainable materials for regular household use.

 

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

 

 

Screen time

I’ve just read an article about screen time and it alarmed me as they quoted that some parents allow their children to be in front of a screen for 4 hours a day! When you are only up for 12 hours that is quite a long time for a small child.

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/12/why-slowing-down-stimuli-to-real-time-helps-a-childs-brain/

Screen time in this article consists of television watching and computer game playing – not work as I know many adults would use screens for most of their day.

The concern here is why are we allowing our children this many hours of screen time?

  •  Are we too busy with work and this is our babysitter?
  • Do we see the screen as an educational tool so deem it OK for it to be on for a long period of time?
  • Have we run out of options to entertain our children?

 

Here are some of my suggestions and what I do at home:

  • During the week (and most weekends) we only allow television in the afternoons and try to limit it to up to 2 hours a day. There are days when I am tired, need to get something done or the children just need a break themselves and I think television is great for this. We generally watch ABC for Kids or our own DVD’s.
  • I avoid television in the morning as I find it just puts the kids out, they just don’t seem to function as well after even half an hour. The article suggests that the brain can get tired from too much stimulation  – many computer games can do this too.
  • When my children need downtime we pick up some books and sit down together to read. We all get a break, we can sit closely and have some quiet time.
  • I allow them to play with ‘stuff’ I keep old boxes, bits of plastic, toilets rolls and let the kids create there own things. They can use the masking tape to make their own inventions and I find this can keep them busy if I need to do some work.
  • Find simple toys that empower them and ignite imagination – blocks, duplo, string, lego, playdough. All of these toys require little supervision or adult input. You may need to start them off for 5-10 minutes but then you can get things done on your own.
  • If you feel that you really need the TV perhaps you need to look at how your child plays. Perhaps they need to be taught how to play; so show them. Find a period of the day where you can give them your full attention so you can upskill them in play. If children cannot play they will find learning at school difficult.
  • Have a look at what your child is watching or playing. Is it age appropriate? Is it over stimulating?
  • Could you try music instead? There are some great Kids radio stations and great CD’s. I have found having the radio on at home can provide that added stimulation.

And lastly:

  • Get outside! Even if you take your laptop or washing to fold out with you, being outside is much better than always hanging inside AND you’ll feel better for it!

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