Digby and Claude by Emma Allen and Hannah Sommerville

“One autumn, change came to Main Street …”

 

Digby lives on a street that is going through a lot of change. He watches from his window an old crumbling building slowly being moved out of and taken apart, ready for new apartments to be built.

Digby is a child who live in the 1930’s and using his imagination, he decides to find a place to think about what he could build once inspired by the action in front of him. An old bathtub does the trick and he spends many hours lying there admiring the clouds and hatching up great ideas.

However, the next day another boy comes along – Claude – and together they start to build a cubby that they both can play, eat snacks and swap stories in.

The cubby gets bigger as the new developments start to rise up. They spend hours every day adding extra rooms and hideouts to their space – until Claude isn’t allowed to come anymore.

Digby continues to play in the cubby alone until one day some new children arrive – children that have just moved into the new apartments.  Together the magic of the cubby lights up again – showing the children that just a little bit of imagination can go a long way.

 

Ideas for the classroom and at home

How is an idea for a  book made?

Emma Allen talks about her book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkhPV8KgwKE

Community & change

How can you make new members of your community feel welcome?

Why is there change happening in this story? Is there any change happening where you live?

How does change to the buildings affect people? How does it affect the environment?

Who are Digby and Claude?

These children were able to play and there are not many adults in sight – why was this? Are you allowed to play alone? Why do you think this is?

Imagination

What is important about playing outside and using your imagination?

The Natural world

Many children live in apartments now – how can we encourage these children and their parents to play outside and use imagination more? How can buildings be designed so children are safe in common outdoor areas?

Design a cubby house that you would make from natural materials and old things. Label your drawing and outline what would happen in your cubby house.

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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:

Cloud conductor by Kellie Byrnes

Frankie loves sitting by her window and looking at the clouds. She loves to listen to the melodies they create, compose tunes and conduct ideas.

But being able to see the shapes the clouds make in the sky is a gift she loves to share with others.

As we progress through the story we start to see that Frankie is unwell and needs to spend many days in hospital.  But with her imagination, these days become much more amazing than they really are. Frankie sees a courageous cowgirl, children playing at the beach and a young girl riding a bicycle – all symbols of hope that one day she won’t need to be inside getting better, but outside amongst the joy of life.

The cloud conductor not only allows readers to see what life can be like for children who are in hospital for long lengths of time but also the importance of imagination and how imagination can brighten the darkest of dark days.

Positive thinking and hope shine through in this story and the important gifts we can give to others when they are feeling down – hope, joyful thoughts and imagination.

You will love reading this story to all young children and it might inspire some time to lie out in the sun and stare up at those clouds!

So what else can you do with this book?

Link to how you can help

  • Learn about children’s hospitals that exist near you. Is there anyway you can help brighten the lives of the children who have to spend a lot of time in here?
  • The picture book – The Silver Sea – was written in conjunction with children who were staying at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Imagination

  • What can you see in the clouds? Lie down for at least 5 minutes and talk about all of the different things you can see.
  • What can you hear when you see clouds?
  • Imagine the different types of music clouds would play – draw the different types of clouds and describe the types of music you hear when you see them.
  • Find some music that makes you think of breezy days, stormy days and still days.

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/

cloudconductor

Molly the Pirate by Lorraine Teece

“Molly lived a long way from the sea, but every day she wished she was a pirate”

Molly is a little girl with a great imagination. She lives in the red dirt of the Australian outback with her mum, a cat, a dog and three chooks but nothing is stopping her from dancing a jig with a pirate, steering a pirate ship or fighting Captain Chicken!

Lorraine Teece has brought this little girls vivid imagination to life through action, adventure and fun filled description of life aboard a pirate ship. Teamed together with Paul Seden’s colourful and movement filled illustrations, Molly the pirate is a great book for young readers.

Children will be inspired to use their own imagination after they have read this book – noticing that sometimes those every day boring looking objects can be turned into something a lot more fun.

A clothes basket could turn into a pirate ship.

A backyard chook into a fearsome pirate

A washing line into a sail .

Many children lack these skills of imagination as they have so many screens and toys to amuse them. Molly the Pirate shows us that with a little bit of creativity we can make any imaginary world come to life!

Perhaps you’ll start to look at the washing basket a little bit differently next time you take it out to hang on the line….

So what else can you do?

  • CREATE: Encourage imagination!! Instead of buying your children more toys take them outside to a park or natural setting and let them play and imagine up worlds.
  • INVESTIGATE: Take a look at your clothes line – who invented this and why? Why should we dry our clothes on the clothes line instead of the dryer?
  • LEARN: Do you have backyard chooks? Where do your eggs come from? Investigate the best types of eggs to buy if you can’t have chooks of your own.
  • RESEARCH: Where is the red dirt of Australia? Investigate which towns live on red dirt and why it is red.
  • WONDER: Did chickens ever travel on pirate ships? Find out more about pirates and why they existed and how they still exist now.

That’s not a daffodil by Elizabeth Honey

Does your child know how flowers grow?

Do they know that all flowers were once seeds?

That’s not a daffodil is a beautiful story about a young boy’s relationship with his next door neighbour. The neighbour, Mr Yilmaz, shows the boy a daffodil – but to the boys surprise it is only a bulb (which Tom – the young boy –  thinks is an onion)


Not understanding the time it takes for a seed to grow into a flower or the things you need to do to nurture the seed so it grows, young Tom is always bewildered when Mr Yilmaz refers to the pot of dirt with the bulb inside, as a daffodil.

As we see the bulb slowly grow, we also read creative similes, metaphors and figurative language that cleverley describe the daffodil in each state of growth.

The relationship between Tom and Mr Yilmaz also blossoms as the daffodil grows, just showing how simple acts of kindness can lead us to learning about someone we may not have always chosen to know.

That’s not a daffodil by Elizabth Honey was a CBCA shortlisted book in 2012 and is definately one for the home bookshelf. It not only teaches children about plant growth but also the importance of patience, kindness and the ability to see beyond the simple picture.

 

So what can you do at home?

 

  • Grow some seeds. Find some pots and plant seeds and watch them grow. If you can, keep a seed diary so your child can monitor when the seed is watered and how long it will take to grow into a plant.
  • Learn about the life cycle of a plant or an animal, discover how long other things take to grow and what they need for survival.
  • Imagine a world without regular rain or temperatures that are too cold – what might happen to plants that rely on rain and warmth?
  • Enjoy some green space and digging – it is a wonderful activity for the soul.

Tek, the modern cave boy by Patrick McDonnell 

Are you in need of some outside time? Are you addicted to the screen? 

Do your children tell you to stop playing with your phone? 

Or are your kids the ones who are addicted? 

Are you missing out on what is going on in your real world because you spend too much time staring at a screen playing games, scrolling through or taking selfies? 


Perhaps this book is the book for you! 
Tek , the modern cave boy by Patrick McDonnell is a wonderful read and full of many surprises! 

We meet Tek, who loves playing games on his computer, so much so that he misses major world events such as the ice age!! 

It’s only when Tek’s machines run out of batteries that he finally realises what is really happening all around him. 

Children and adults will be delighted with not only the story but the design of the book (it looks like an iPad) and the picture of the battery (that runs down as the story continues on) and even the wifi signal! 

Tek, the modern cave boy is a great read and something that will help us to realise that screen time has a use but not as much as many of us use it for! 
So what can you do at home? 

  • What can you do instead of giving your children screen time? 
  • Plan a family games night instead of a movie night. 
  • Take a walk around your neighbourhood instead of watching the tv and take not of what is out there. 
  • Investigate what children used to do in the past before screens. How do you think you would cope?