As it was Roald Dahl day last Friday, I thought it was only fitting to share my favourite Roald Dahl books and share activities that I’ve done with children over time.
This is my favourite book and film of all time. And the musical is also awesome. (The songs so resonate with me)
Obviously being someone who loves reading and books, I identified with Matilda, you don’t know how many times I tried to move my spoon or shut the curtains with my eyes.
One of the main things I love about her is the fact that she goes to the library and devours the books.
I love to take all my Nanny kids to the library, I also think it’s important to check them out and take good care of the books and return them. I believe it teaches children respect for the books and it’s exciting to choose new books every week.
George’s Marvellous Medicine
I love to make the medicine with Nanny children, we usually concoct our own disgusting medicine with anything we can find in the house.
I am so grateful to two Nannies who have helped me with this blog this week:
From the amazing Hellen Prideaux, who is the most wonderful creative Nanny.
Willy Wonka chocolate shop
Chocolate Cake for Bruce Bogtrotter In Matilda.
Fantastic Mr Fox foxes.
Dream jars from The BFG.
Another amazing Nanny is Nanny Kimbo who made Crocodile bookmarks from the Enormous Crocodile, on an Enid Blyton book.
Egg box crocodiles. Follow NannyKimbo on Instagram for more ideas!
Nanny Kimbo read Roald Dahls’ Fantastic Mr Fox.
Love Kat x
Send pictures of your little ones enjoying their favourite Roald Dahl book!
I’m not actually vegan, but with more and more of my beautiful friends turning vegan, I do support them when we are together by eating vegan or even cooking vegan when they come to visit.
In my personal life, I do eat meat at work or out at restaurants but when cooking for myself, I would describe myself, if I have to be pigeon holed, as pescatarian.
Time and time again, it has been proven that a plant based diet is the healthier option.
I do try to eat less meat and even fish, and I believe in food that’s as unprocessed as possible and I love fresh fruit and veg.
While in Portland, my friend Aly, took me to the first ever vegan mini mall. We ate some delicious food and shopped in a gorgeous little shop where she bought vegan shoes and I bought what I love the most, BOOKS!
(We didn’t eat either of them)
Whether you are vegan or not, I think opening the conversation with our little ones is what is important. After all, they are the future, and if there is anything we can do to support sustainability of our amazing planet and all be a little healthier, I’m in!
More to books…
Ruby Roth is the leading author and illustrator on all things vegan.
V is For Vegan by Ruby Roth
This book is for our younger learners and uses the alphabet to tell you more about veganism.
That’s why we don’t eat animals by Ruby Roth
There is some hard hitting information in this book and the one below. Definitely read through and decide whether your children are ready to hear it. But essentially, I think using books to open conversations giving our children the choice to decide for themselves is important.
Absolutely loved this book and gifted it to my Nanny Children. My souvenirs to my girls are always books, or some kind of activity that we can learn from! We have used this several times. They love pink cous cous and the banana and peanut butter . It’s so bright and set out in an original way that my G6 would look at it daily.
They also enjoyed cucumber sandwiches, avo toast and pizzas from the book. They were very intrigued by the colourful drinks.
Show me pictures of your little ones enjoying a meat free meal!
Love Kat x
I connected with Lorena Jane Docker on Nanny Chat who is a Nanny in London, she is planning to do Meat- free Mondays and Try it Tuesdays to support her Nanny children to eat less meat and try new things.
I am obviously an amazing surf boarder/guitar player! This picture reminds me of surfs up! With all those penguins riding the waves. On researching I came across a book about frogs of the same title. I love this because the main character is such a book worm.
There’s been a murder!
More to books…
This is actually a book my Mum bought for my Nanny Children, and they think it’s hilarious. What I love about it is the fact that there’s a section at the back of the book full of facts! Proving there’s more to books!
We used the turtle to make our own scene using mixed media.
3D Aquarium scene/craft
We made a 3D Aquarium scene. This was a lot that we bought from the Aquarium in Cape Town. If you happen to be there, here is the link. https://www.aquarium.co.za This one is still our favourite aquarium, it has those surfs up penguins that I mentioned above!
We glued blue tissue paper into a box, decorated it using bubble stickers and sea life stickers, then made fish out of coloured shapes and eye stickers. You can make anemones with couloirs cars and seaweed from green tissue paper.
More to books…
Especially with the colours of the scene above, this is a good dip in, dip out book if you want a catchy rhyme for different ocean animals!
Send me a picture of your little ones at an aquarium!
We went through the car wash earlier. Rookie error as the un-tarmacced (That’s not a word, but you know what I mean) road wound on before us!
We drove through an eerie cloud of white dust where the sun beams shone down in diagonal lines through the trees! It was mystical!
G6 was peering through the forest looking for fairies. She thought she saw a tooth mouse (they don’t have tooth fairies in some countries in the world, it must be too much work for one species!)
More to books…
The uneven road made the car wobble and G3 said we must be driving over DRAGON FOOTPRINTS!
More to books…
(I used to love reading this book at a Nursery I worked in, the potential for children to learn it’s ok to be different but also, eating more vegetables is healthy and eating less meat is good for the environment)
I can’t describe truely how magical it was, you would have to have been there, not even a photograph could have done it justice.
But at the end of the 5km track was even more magic!
Since 1982, Deva Manfredo has been collecting stones and literally anything that he finds in nature: forests and beaches. He does not alter them at all, and he sculpts with them without any glue or cement! He just uses gravity and balancing/equilibrium. There are over 120 sculptures. What I loved most about this place was how it opened the children’s eyes and heart to thinking differently. How they learnt that you can while away the hours without plastic toys or electronics.
So this blog will share books based on some of the sculptures we saw, and share ideas of how your children can make sculptures too!
There’s a baby! This reminded me of Avocado Baby! Great book!
More to books…
This sculpture reminds me of a scarecrow!
PIRATES. What’s a pirates favourite letter?
Pirate Pete (and Princess Polly) have a range of books for lots of subjects. We used this to help potty train G2!
To support your children to get creative, take them to the forest or park, by a river or on the beach and collect things there and then.
Let them use their imagination as to what it reminds them of, how would they like to build them? Sculptures can be made flat so there is less risk that things will fall on them if they are young but this is a great opportunity for engineering and science.
Do you remember art attack? Where Neil Buchannan would make pictures out of random stuff and then the camera pulled away it looked like something! I used to try and dot hat with my clothes. I’m pretty sure my mum hated that when they all ended up crumpled!
Check this out: what Is Neil making in this Big Art Attack?
From this, an idea to help your children learn letters, words or numbers, is to use a marker to write on the bottom of the duck and let your child hook the duck to learn.
More to books…
Usborne have hundreds of books where little ducks are hidden on each page!
Tower and graffiti
Half way up the tower of the cathedral (not the dome- as you have to book in advance for that, just heads up if you do go to Florence) there was a little screen where you can “graffiti” on the “wall” and it gets published to their website! If you have a reluctant writer, use chalk on the floors and walls as in my blog on spellings!
There are two mini ‘Go Ape’ like adventures that your children can go on as well, with a zip line across a river!
They also have a puppet show, albeit it being in Italian, my nanny children still got the grasp of the story from the visuals. Just be warned if you do go here, it’s all in the trees so be sure to spray with insect repellent or you’ll be eaten alive!
Watching the Puppet show inspired (then) G5 to put on her own puppet show with little Pinocchios we had bought.
Why not put on your own puppet show. Make your own “theatre” out of a cardboard box or just use a fancy material like we did!
I really love Twinkl, it has resources for literally any topic. This download should be free, but think about signing up, when I was a teacher, a few of us would chip in and all have the log in details so maybe ask other parents or nanny friends if they want to join too!
Recently, I’ve been using it to print of pictures for G3’s phonics homework. It has activities for different sounds and pictures to go with it. I usually cut the pictures out and she colours and sticks them. She absolutely loves it.
There are all sorts of different kinds of puppets. Pinocchio is a string puppet. When I worked on a nursery they used to have two big bird string puppets and they’d constantly need untangling.
Shadow puppets are easy to do with your hands, or draw a character and stick it on a pencil.
Hand puppets or finger puppets could be a great DT project. Or buy some and put on a show.
There is a huge whale sculpture in the park, you have to cross stepping stones and then he sprays water out his spout. The children LOVE it.
More to books…
Across the road from Pinocchio park is some Gardens with a Butterfly house in it. Check out my blog from Spring to see ideas for life cycles!
As in other blogs, I always send a postcard with questions about a new place to my last Nanny Children. I don’t know about you, but I loved receiving post when I was little. Plus, it supports their reading. Why not let them write postcards while you’re away, even if you just go somewhere not far? It’s brilliant practice.
More to books…
Pinocchio by Usborne based on a book By Carlo Collodi, illustrated by Mauro Evangalista.
I like this book because it has a CD to go with it. Useful to listen to on car journeys or even better, to listen to and follow the words at the same time.
This book is for independent readers, so they can enjoy it on their own.
Pinocchio illustrated by Giuseppe Di Lernia
This is for a younger audience.
The Story of Pinocchio illustrated by Mauro Evangelista
This one is illustrated by the same person as the Usborne one and I love her style but with slightly different wording. One to read to your little ones rather than them read it alone.
When I was in Canada, my friend and I took a road trip to Portland. Mainly to go to the first Vegan Mini Mall which will be in another blog- lots of books from an amazing author/illustrator who is very passionate about veganism.
But for today’s, it’s inspired by Portland.
When I told my friends that I was having a Road trip to Portland, literally everyone said I should check out Voodoo donuts! And what an experience- 24/7 donuts! And all sorts of flavours and toppings!
I’ve decorated biscuits and even cupcakes, but never donuts!
Why not buy a pack of donuts and decorate them yourselves? Be as creative as you can! They put sweets and biscuits on their icing!
More to books…
There is literally a book for any topic…
This is a lovely book where Norman loves snails and tries on lots of different items as a “shell”.
To get to the Children’s museum, we took the trams which are really easy to use. The station you need to get off at is in a “mountain” and you have to take a lift for what feels like forever. It was interesting. Luckily, I’m over my childhood fear of lift doors. When I was little and we were in Madeira. I ran into a hotel lift and the doors shut on me. Years later, I went up the Empire States building with two friends. One was claustrophobic and the other was afraid of heights. And with my fear of lift doors, we must have looked like a comedy sketch!
I got to drive a train. (Pretend to drive a train!) Did you know the first female train driver in England was Karen Harrison in 1977! I have been researching for a book I’ve written for the Suffragettes and women’s empowerment. I’m currently seeking representation.
For all things trains, check out my blog on the Water and Steam museum for ideas on books.
I went to York University and went to York maize maze (I love saying that) often. One Halloween we went in the dark and they had live actors scaring us. Maybe don’t take your really young children to that!
But see if there is a maze close to you. It’s so fun getting lost. I have been to Hampton court maze with so many Nanny Children.
More to books…
I love Paddington Bear always but here he gets lost with Mr Gruber in Hampton Court Maze!
And to show there really is more to books than reading, I’m sharing a book of mazes!
These are amazing for children’s fine motor skills and are super fun to do. I’ve taught (now) G6 to put a x when she goes wrong and go back. It’s brilliant for logic, patience and problem solving. She’s taken to asking me to draw mazes for her. I’ll take some pics when I’m back at work on Wednesday. She even draws them for me too!
The Usborne big maze book by Kirsteen Robson (Photo credit: books.google.com)
We had an awesome time!
Show me your own made up maze drawings.
Send me a photo of you and your littles ones conquering a hedge or maize maze!
As with last weeks blog on Bears, this week is also inspired by the trip to Canada!
We took a trip to Granville Island and we found the most amazing toy shop. And I just had to go in the Humpty Dumpty Books and Music section. Some of the books in this blog are from here. If am at a book shop, I always skim through the books and note down if I think they are good enough to mention and research further. I usually buy at-least one book every trip, I tend to gift it to my Nanny Children as a souvenir. A good tip is to YouTube a book title. There is usually always someone who has done a book reading video. But you can’t beat a real life book.
Humpty Dumpty Books and Music
Vancouver is by the sea but the land makes a huge inlet which was great for kayaking. I only had a single paddle and when motorboat sped past, I ended up turning 360 degrees. It actually made me laugh.
Check out your local lake to see if you can go boating with your older nanny children.
We went for a gorgeous walk in the sunshine, all around the waterfront. We saw totem poles which were made by aboriginal and indigenous people of North America.
Check out this website for some awesome facts on Totem Poles for kids!
When I was a teacher, I used to use dltk-kids.com for inspiration. There’s a template on there but use your imagination, look up some real life totem poles, create an animal for each member of the family and stack them. Don’t forget to use lots of colour!
More to books…
Great for phonics but also finding things in Canada. They also have a 123 of Canada for learning numbers, this book is for your younger readers.
I am Canada-A celebration by 13 Canadian Illustrators
This is an absolutely beautifully illustrated book with each scene done in a different technique by a different Canadian Illustrator. My favourite one is the sledging scene. Definitely lots to talk about on each page, for learners of all ages!
What I loved about this book was it was literally written by children!
This is a brilliant one for phonics like the ABC Canada book but for older children. Also check out Anne of Green Gables books with your older ones, as she is the A in this book. (And for adults, Anne with an E is an excellent box set!)
Mike Ulmer also wrote C is for Canada.
This is a great book, also for the older ones, which goes into detail about all things Native American.
There are many many many more amazing books that I found through research. If you’re interested in Native American books, do get in touch and I will be happy to share, or maybe I’ll do a follow up blog in the future.
Write an ABC of where you live!
Send pics of you boating with your children.
Show me your Totem Poles!
Lorelei, Salem, USA (aged 5) on a boating trip in Alaska!
You definitely need a snack when boating. Elsie, London (aged 4- now 9)
So as some of you may know, I work as a travel nanny and fly all over the world, to Cape Town, Italy, Maldives, Switzerland, Ibiza and Tresco to name a few.
My first few nanny jobs were on a cruise ship for one private family all over Northern Europe and also a stint in North West Italy.
I love travelling!
When I was a teenager I got to go to New York and Washington with school, then Beijing and Xian with sixth form college.
Well, last week, I got to go to Canada on a rare non-work trip (and we also had a road trip to Seattle and Portland which will feature in another blog)
Showing a little vulnerability here, but I have had feedback that sometimes by blogs are very long, so I’m going to act upon feedback and start splitting them up…
So the next few blogs will have ideas generated from things I saw so your little ones can experience a little bit of Canada without even going there!
It must be from the movies but I had a little fear that I’d run in to a bear on this trip, and there were signs on our amazing walk saying they had been sighted.
We did meet a bear, but it was a cuddly one.
More to books…
Why not go on a bear hunt, just like that book?
Hide a teddy bear in your garden or in trees in your local park…if you actually might have bears, beware!
Reasons to love a bear by Catherine Barr, illustrated by Hanako Clulow
Why not write 10 reasons why you love your own teddy bear?
Get different sized teddies and line them up in order from smallest to largest!
I took this photograph from www.worldofbooks.com -they are a company that collects books from charity shops and sells them online. You can get many titles second hand, I have used them and they have always been in great quality still.
A big help by Daniel Fehr
In a similar ilk to Where’s my teddy? And We’re going on a bear hunt, this book sees badger looking for his bear.