It’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the John Lewis Christmas Ad (or the Coca Cola ad- which I’ve not actually seen yet- but I don’t watch live TV anymore so I have to look up adverts these days! But I did see it in Picadilly Circus last night)
I thought this years ad was wonderful, and yes I did cry at the end- because of the slogan “show them how much you care”
In this radio clip, The Additional Needs Blogfather speaks about how he sees Edgar as having additional needs. He says it’s a story about acceptance saying we need to “think about the Edgars that we know and what it’s like to be an Ava”
So I thought this blog could feature books to support us and our little ones to understand children with additional needs.
I met, author, Janet O’keefe. Her book, The Ordinariness of Impairment- has inspiring stories about children with special needs.
More to books…
I also spoke to a wonderful Mum who has a child with additional needs, Michelle Miley, who recommends the following books to help support your little ones.
My Super Hero Brain by Christel Land (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)
For older children, the author was 13 when he wrote it, answering questions on why he behaves the way he does.
The Reason I jump by Naoki Higashida (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)
Michelle also really recommended anything by Temple Grandin who has lots of books for adults on supporting your children.
On further research, I found a book with a foreword by Temple:
The Spectrum Girls survival guide by Siena Castellon (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)
The book is due to be released in March of 2020 and the author is a 17 year old advocate for autism and anti bullying and is award winning and internationally recognised. I can’t wait for this to come out. For ages 12 and up.
I found out a couple of weeks ago and was told to keep it a secret. I literally have been wanting to shout it to the world as soon as I found out!
There’s More to Books than Reading- how to help your child bring stories to life is the winner in the Books- Adult category.
Ironically, it’s EXACTLY three years TO THE DAY! Since I won the last award in ‘inspiring creativity within children’ where I was invited to Amsterdam to receive it.
Creative Steps is a wonderful magazine for all those in childcare and teaching. With great content to inspire you to inspire your children, it’s available in digital and print copy. You can find it on their website
Thanks giving is on Thursday the 28th if November this year. I’m going to make my Nanny children a thanksgiving feast. Does England even sell pumpkin pie? We do baking Thursdays so I might check out a recipe for us to make.
I’m not American but I’ve always loved the friends episodes of Thanksgiving. I love the idea of giving thanks, gratitude is huge at the moment. I even have a gratitude diary which I (am supposed to) fill in for a few minutes in the morning and evening. I mainly use it when I’m feeling down or when a lot of things feel overwhelming and out of my control. But it really does help. Focusing on what (or who- my Nanny children make a regular occurrence) makes you happy and what brings you joy. But also realising all you have can outweigh the things you feel you’re lacking in. They say that your thoughts are on a frequency and whatever you give out, comes back. If it’s true, then I’d much rather get back all that I love than all that is negative.
In my last nanny job, lead by the children, they loved going round the table and everyone saying one thing they were grateful for that day.
I put out a call on Facebook for help from American Nannies for activities and books they would recommend. The lovely Hellen Prideaux is a regular on my blog now and without any irony, I’m hugely thankful for her input.
Sending some more love twinkls way! If you’d like your child to learn about the origins or have some comprehension and purposeful learning, head to twinkl and search for Thanksgiving.
More to books…
Just as Bonfire Night is interesting to learn about even if you don’t live in England. I think we should encourage our children to read about traditions around the world.
Spot’s Thanksgiving by Eric Hill (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)
I have bought this as a Christmas present for my nanny kid. I’m looking forward to journaling together. According to their website, it uses “scientifically proven methods that promote happiness, develop healthy habits for life and nurture enquiring minds.” So after she’s written in it for a few months, I’ll get back to you on what I think! (For ages 6-12- and great for purposeful writing opportunities)
Send me pics of your thanksgiving crafts or celebrations
Fall or Autumn trees by Laura Rideout Schroeder from Charleston, SC.
Thank you Laura!
And you can even use your feet, like Jaime Satter (Western Springs, Ilinois) has with her nanny child.
Keeping with the theme of feet, pumpkin pie by Jessica Elizabeth Levering from Columbus, OH!
Thank you to Maria D Johnson (Cincinnati,Ohio) for this lollipop craft!
These next crafts are by Courtney Katich with her two nanny families in Michigan.
I love the leaf wreath! There really is more to books than reading as you can also use them as a leaf press!
“that was fun to make. We got to pick leaves outside on a walk and then press them overnight with books!” Courtney Katich
“For those parents tired of footprints”
Fall trees by the Nks of Bonnie Logan from Fidalgo Island, WA!
A huge thank you to all the nannies who have contributed to this blog from America (and England)
There really is more to books than reading with this next blog. While speaking at the Childcare Expo in Coventry last month, I met so many wonderful people. Chico is a cheeky dog who goes on adventures on a narrow boatand his owner, Janet Roberts has shared them all in her books.
I “interviewed” the author all about how her books came about and why she thinks children love Chico so much!
A brief background I started my teaching career as a qualified NNEB and went on, years later, to become Deputy of a primary school.
I retired early to embark on a new career of writing. It was something I’d always wanted to do but teaching full time had never allowed me the headspace, or time to try.
Using all my experiences of over 25 years reading stories to children and helping them learn how to write, I wrote my first book about a little dog who went to live with his family on a narrow boat.
Which is exactly what my husband and I did. They always say write about what you know!
8 years later I now have 4 books in print and two live action TV series, based on the books.
I met a producer from the BBC who wanted to start her own TV production company, so now I’m constantly writing and pitching ideas for new TV series as well as writing new books.
I’ve always toured the country delivering workshops and assemblies to schools, putting my teacher hat back on, inspiring children with story telling and reading.
Recently I joined a company called Authors Abroad, who now book and organise all my school visits.
I think children love Chico Chugg’s character because they can relate to him. Not only can they see their own pet dogs in his personality and antics but also recognise themselves. Chico has a very childlike way, often getting into trouble without realising quite how it happens.
There’s a moral in every chapter and lots about friendships, canine and human, family situations, getting on with siblings and relatives, as well as learning how working together is fun.
The songs in the TV series reflect the story lines and children love learning the tunes and words so they can singalong.
In my own book “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” I talk about the ‘hook’ being really important to getting children excited or motivated about any topic through books. The most memorable things for children are trips or visits as it’s out of the ordinary. I really recommend children meeting authors to be inspired. I look out for author book signings in local book shops to take my children to.
But if you are a school, nursery or club and you’d like to book Janet Roberts for school assemblies or workshops follow the link here:
And you can even enjoy them on YouTube, for when you need a littletime to do some house work as a Nanny or a Parent, sometimes a little purposeful screen time goes a long way! All the programmes are from the perspective of Chico, which gives a brilliant opportunity to discuss.
I’d really encourage you to take your children to an art gallery and let them lead the way. Let them be curious and find the paintings that they are most interested in.
The most wonderful thing is the the stories they can make up from looking at a painting, and that they can let their imagination run wild.
To make it a really personal experience but also a great learning experience, choose something they are interested in such as their favourite animals. With a hardback note book and pencil (you could even buy it from the shop as a souvenir) model how to make a tally chart, with the names of the animals and the lines to make the gate. This gives a purpose to art gallery visit, but also, a purpose to the maths. Young children need encouragement to get in to the habit of making the tally into a gate after the four lines. And you practice your five times tables too!
For younger learners, you could make a pictogram where they draw that animal every time they see it and then support them to count with one-to-one correspondence and model the formation of the number for them to try and copy.
I would let the children take photographs of their favourite paintings. We can’t get away from technology being a massive part of our lives, and they need to know how to use things. Obviously, lots of things can be done on the smart phone these days, but if you can, get a Polaroid camera or Instax camera so the pictures can be printed straight away. Put them in that notebook you’ve just bought and ask them to make notes about the painting. I think what’s brilliant about looking at art is using how the child ‘feels’ about the painting. Using what they think. But also, helps generate description. Encourage them to use their senses as if they were in the painting, just like in Mary Poppins, when they jump inside the painting.
Well, obviously, an art gallery has the potential to inspire some amazing artwork. They can copy their favourite artist/painting when they get home.
Alternatively, get an expert in to support you. Artnight is a company that has venues across England but you can host parties where you choose the venue yourself. They bring the paints and materials. Could be a great birthday party opportunity.
They have a range of pictures that can be ‘taught’
I am dying to do the London Skyline Artnight for adults.
I absolutely love watercolour painting as it’s easy to set up and easy to clean up after. Don’t worry if they mix the colours together. I just grab a wet wipe and clean each colour in a circular motion.
I also like the paint pens that the toddlers can squeeze and brush if I’m tight on time to clear up.
If you have more time, let them make a mess, but encourage them to help you clean up after. I looked after one toddler who LOVED washing up. So that helped.
Check out the National Gallery website for more information:
I have shared James Mayhew’s books in my book and blog before. Katie visits art galleries around the world and books focus on different artists or styles. There really is more to books than reading with his wonderful adventures in Art!
For our older learners, I love these sets of books, it’s like a colourful version of Horrible Histories. And that says singed as in burnt by fire, instead of singed, la la la (as it’s not a word) and a play on signed, very funny! I am easily amused. Maybe that’s why I like children’s books so much.
For our younger learners, although it will help to remind everyone, head to the Cheshire Fire website, who teamed up with Fireman Sam to give tips on staying safe this November.
Also, use this opportunity to pick up some other Fireman Sam books to read, and this lends itself nicely to talking about People Who Help Us which is a topic in EYFS. Get some role play going to embed fire safety.
You can only buy this book second hand, as it’s from 1988! Head to eBay or WorldofBooks.com for a pre-loved copy at £1.99.
Fire works is a wonderful way into honing those fine motor skills and talking about shapes and colours with your toddlers and pre- school aged children.
For older learners, I love the Owl that was Afraid of the Dark, where animals tell them what they love about the night, Bonfire Night and Fireworks being something that they love.
The Owl who was afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howard (photo credit by books.google.co.uk)
Send me pictures of your little ones enjoying bonfire night!
Pongwiffy was one of my favourite book series when I was in lower key stage two. I even made a fancy dress outfit, entirely by myself for a dress up day. I won an award for it. It was probably the only non-bought outfit. I probably looked a mess, but hey! That was the point.
On researching this book for you, I found out that they made a cartoon of it! With French and Saunders. Honestly, I’m thinking of checking that out as an adult!
For younger learners, there is the wonderful Meg and Mog.
There’s so many wonderful maths activities you can do which can suit young and older learners with a few little tweaks.
One of my favourite is Cauldron Maths.
Make a spell and ADD in literally whatever they want! It makes it better if you can do it physically, so draw the pictures or use soft toys.
One to one correspondence
Just choose one animal, such as 5 frogs!
Then help the child put the frogs in one by one and support them to count!
One frog, three cats! That’s a simple maths sum. 1+3=
Make it more difficult by adding three animals.
One frog, three cats and 6 mice!
Multiplication and two (or more step) problem
If you have older siblings. Keep the same animals but they have to put the eyes in!
You’ve transformed a simple addition sum. Every animal has to be doubled.
And then add them altogether.
To make it harder, do legs! So it’s times by four. (Unless you do owls and then they have to two times table and the four times table in the same sum!)
Or even say eyes and legs! Multiplying by 6 if it’s a mammal and 4 if it’s a bird.
You could even use made up monsters, so they can make their own monsters with as many eyes or legs or wings as they wish…and that generates the sums.
Immediately, if you put those in the cauldron, you could practise your 8 times table.
But I’m more excited by the spiders web!
This can be used for younger learners as well as old. I actually was inspired by Twinkl which is a great resource printing membership, they had targets, like a dart board. But I wanted something more halloween-y!
You can use it as an activity for number formation.
You can do one more, one less!
Add 10 (add any number in fact)
For older learners, you can put the number of the times table in the middle, and then fill out the answers.
I put 0 on because when you times by zero, the answer is always zero. It’s a good one to reiterate as some adults don’t even know that!
More to books…
You can’t go wrong with a Julia Donaldson book. She is amazing. And this book is literally helping your little ones how to learn to count, and if boys aren’t excited by the spiders, they will be about the football.
(Nb girls generally take to most content and I’m all for books that get boys motivated to read or indeed count. I’m fully aware that girls can like football and spiders as well, and boys can have other interests. From a child centred approach, I’d say, find something your child is interested in and run with it- regardless of sex or gender)
Also, have a look at non-fiction books with spiders in them.
Aside from the carving, putting faces on a paper pumpkin can help your young child with shapes. Provide a pumpkin template with small triangles, circles, semi- circles, squares and rectangles to create their face while talking about how many sides and corners/edges they have. Repetition is key, the more you look at them, talk about them, count sides and corners, the easier it will be for them. I like to sing songs at the same time.
A square is like a box, a square is like a box, it has for sides, they are the same, a square is like a box!
A circle is like a ball, a circle is like a ball, round and round it never stops, a circle is like a ball!
A rectangle has four sides, a rectangle has four sides, two are long and two are short, a rectangle has four sides!
A triangle has three sides, I triangle has three sides. Up and down and back again. A triangle has three sides.
I love to do baking Thursdays, but with my new nanny family we have changed it to cooking Thursdays so they can make their own main meals. (It’s a day with no clubs and less home work)
So next week, we will be using the pumpkin after we’ve carved it.
Recipe books are a brilliant way to help children with instructions, lists and bossy verbs. (Non-fiction texts)
As well as all the maths and science and art that goes along with it!
Enjoy Halloween and send me pics of your little ones all dressed up!
And some children need a little encouragement to love books. One thing I know for sure; is if they are in the book, they love it more.
So today I will take you on a little tour of books that I have actually bought and personalised.
Get your pet involved
When I was a little girl, I had a white Westie called William.
This first book is about a pet. You can choose dog, cat or rabbit, choosing different types and colours. You can not only name the pet, but you can also name the children. I bought this book for my Nanny Dog, but also put my Nanny Children’s names in it. G6 even read it to her dog!
You can even add a location!
And your child’s name! Or your own name!
Makes it super special. It does cost £19.99, there are discounts if you buy more than one book. Also, there are two to choose from “Adventures in Petlandia” where you can add up to two children or “Roadtrip to Petlandia” where you can add multiple people’s names to make it even more personalised and unique to your family (or nanny family)
Here’s hoping my brother doesn’t read my blog, as the next one book is what I have got him for Christmas! We used to love Where’s Wally? And our hairdressers would always have a selection for us every time we had our hair cut! Well now, he can find himself! (He’s 35!)
It’s a book for learning too as it goes all around the world but also different time periods! And he can keep it for when he pops out some little sprogs.
Also £19.99, some people might think it’s a bit steep, but gives a personalised gift of reading, and I think the gift of reading is priceless. It’s far better than some plastic rubbish or clothes where the price is high because of some designers name! But that is just my opinion!
I also got a code to get a workbook for free.
Also, an amazing website of gifts that encourages the love of reading (not just for kids) is Litographs.
Gifts with reading on them
I bought my mum a tote bag with her favourite book on by Diana Gabaldon (who gabbles on and on and on)
They sell T-Shirts, scarves, Totes, blankets, pillows and posters!
And there’s Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, books by Roald Dahl, Wonder, Nancy Drew, The secret Garden…the list is endless.
I really want the illustration v neck Great Gatsby t- shirt in blue. I’ve mentioned it to my Mum before so here’s hoping she’s reading this and gets it me for Christmas (I think in Large, please and don’t tell my brother what he’s getting)
I finally went to see the new Lion King. At first, it was slow and felt more like a wildlife documentary (which I do love, but there’s a time and a place)
What I loved about the movie was the introduction of so many more African Animals, and how it showed children how they move, what their patterns are really like, in some cases of the lion and warthog as well as the rhino, especially, it showed the baby and the adult.
Also, for any adults who watch The Apprentice, that was in Cape Town, South Africa last week.
There are some amazing African Folklore books that tell you how animals became the way they are today. All written by Andrea Florens and illustrated by Claire Norden.
There are penguins in Boulders Beach in South Africa. I spoke to my new child I look after and she didn’t realise that some penguins live in hot climates. This is a lovely book about an egg on top of Table Mountain, and when it hatches, the penguin goes in search of other penguins and meets African animals on the way down the mountain.
In this book, the Rhino is not very nice to the other animals so in the watering hole, the other animals get their own back. While I think the premise is good for talking about verbal bullying, I think the other animals go about it in the wrong way…I like this book because of the medicine man in the village that helps the animals. It could help to introduce looking at other cultures and comparing and contrasting like in Understanding the World, the world aka Geography higher up the school. This book can help with animal rights! The chief wants a beautiful leopard coat, like Cruella wanting a Dalmatian. It could introduce how fur was once widely used and debate other issues about animal welfare, take a look at my blog on Veganism for more books to help you with that.
I went on a safari on Easter 2018 and I am so grateful that I got to see animals in their natural habitat. I am feeling sad about animals when they are not in their natural habitat but at the same time, I also know of zoo keepers love the animals they care for and zoos that research and support animals to not go extinct, so I guess that’s a debate you may start with your children.
I do believe children learn more through experience, so reading, watching and visiting animals will help them learn more, be more curious and ask more questions.
Send some pictures of activities you’ve done on African Animals with yourchildren
Laiq as a baby (Rochdale) dressing up as an elephant!
Thank you to Hellen Prideaux (an awesome nanny) for the following ideas and photos:
Watching a lion king show!
Also, go to see the West end Lion king if possible, the way they dance to move like the animals is incredible!
Love Kat xx
www.moretobooks.com if you’d like more content, follow the link to my website and click on the amazon link for my book or buy the e book on kindle for just £1.99
Welcome to my regular readers and to anyone who has come here because of the workshop at the Childcare Expo!
This blog will take you in a tour of the content from the workshop!
The kiss that missed by David Melling
Using puppets or little soft toy animals or even just props really brings stories to life. During my speeches, I retell The Kiss that Missed by David Melling by inviting some of the audience to “act” it out, while there are also actions and noises that can involve everyone. I would really encourage everyone to learn a story off by heart. Children hang on your every word.
I totally went to Burger King for the crowns!
Practice different voices. Practice pausing. Practice getting your child involved.
Speaking of screen time, check out CBeebies with Sid Sloane!
And to add to that, using screen time in a positive and purposeful way such as the amazing Cosmic Kids Yoga where they retell stories and help children to learn new yoga poses.
Yoga for Kids by Susannah Hoffman
I also attended Yoga Bugs workshop where she did an amazing story about packing to go to the jungle and all the animals they good see with brilliant ideas that you can use with your nanny kids for warming up, breathing and mindfulness as well as yoga poses.
I also love a YouTube of Just Dance Kids to get them really active on a rainy day. My last Nanny Child thought she was earning the points! If you have a console, obviously you could actually play the game and really earn the points! (I never let children use YouTube alone. It is very important in this day and age to preview content and be present to make sure it’s child friendly. With just dance, you can select from a range of song titles)
Not actual watching the screen, but using a phone or tablet, again with YouTube, I love story meditations with the children. There’s one where you go to the land of the unicorns and I’m always asleep before they go over the rainbow! The ones I use are by New Horizon. You can go to space, on a hot air balloon ride, or to a secret treehouse and many more. (Again, I advise you to listen with your child or least preview them if it’s something new)
In this blog are some programmes I recommend for those moments when you do need to sit them in front of the TV!