Opera and ballet

Now, I am the first to say I love the theatre. I truly do! I try to go atleast once a month and I don’t mind the cheap seats in the back! I also love to take the children as I think not only is it an immersive way for story telling but it fires their imagination and could inspire them.

We went to see School of Rock with G7 and she now is intrinsically motivated to play the piano. It helps that her baby brother also loves “play” the piano.

Sleeping Beauty by Blackwell and Fletcher
This book literally lets you bring stories to life on a mini stage.

I remember the first ballet I went to see was Sleeping Beauty in Manchester. I pirouetted all the way home.

This is the Royal Opera House in Covent Gardens

I don’t know about you, but theatres always make me feel special. Wherever I am sat. The luxuriousness Of the curtains and the deep crimson with the gold. I love thinking about the history of the place and who was sat in this very theatre decades ago!

I think it’s important to let our children experience this. It also teaches them about being patient, waiting, sitting nicely, thinking of others.

A few weeks ago, my wonderful nanny friend and I went to see Alices adventures underground. It was an opera. I’m more used to musicals and plays but the costumes and set were amazing! This show had Russian, German and French as well as English and there were subtitles so our older learners might get some reading opportunities but I would say, you probably didn’t need any words to follow the much beloved story.

More to books…

My First Orchestra Book. Y Genevieve Helsby and Karin Elkins

I always try to show my NKs the Orchestra. Maybe in the interval, to go down to the front and look at all the instruments and the players. It could inspire them to become a musician.

My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby and Jason Chapman

This book also comes with a CD but I don’t think I know anyone with a CD player anymore! You can listen to it online also.
As well as reading the book and dancing to the music. Pull out some colours and big sheets of paper and encourage them to Mark make to the music.
http://writedancetraining.com/

I’m trained in write dance which improves hand, fine and gross motor skills all to music. It is really fun, there are books you can buy or training you can go on.

Vivaldi The Four Seasons

La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini and Rosie Brooks
Carmen by Georges Bizet and Rosie Brooks
The Walkabout Orchestra by Chloé Perarnau

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt

I have a lot of love for books that take a story and make it in a different setting. My G7 wants to be an astronaut so she would love this! Girls don’t have to wear pretty dresses and jewelry!
Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt

I think Reading Beauty is me!

Share a picture of your little one at the theatre! What did you go to see?

Love Kat x

Valentine’s Day

Love heart made my last Nanny child and I when she was 5. You just roll up strips of card and dip them in PVA. You can dip in glitter too but we opted for a glittery background instead. You can also make flowers this way!

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone from More to Books. I am declaring my love has always been and will always be for books!

This weeks blogs will share some books like usual but I really wanted to send it over to our lovely nannies and parents to give you ideas of what craft projects we can do just in time for Friday.

If you’d like to have your idea shared on this blog, email me at moretobooks@gmail.com with your idea and your name. If I share your idea, I will always credit you for your awesome work. Or if we are contacts on social media send a private message. On Twitter I am @KathrynLord912 and Instagram @Moretobooks!

Chocolate Hearts

This year my Nanny children are a bit older, meaning I could teach piping, marbling and let them roll creatively. G13 even did cursive writing in chocolate which really helps fine motor skills and artistic accuracy.

Chocolates and treats
First attempt at piping!

We filled the hearts in so they were less likely to break after being refrigerated.
I taught G7 to melt chocolate safely and marble the milk and white.
We used different materials to make our creations!

Valentine’s Day Crafts from Parents and Nannies

Emily (10 months old) from Canada made a plate making a love heart with her feet

Made by Laiq, 3 from Rochdale
Thank you to Helen McCarthy for your artwork that you do with your nanny children every year.

I love these bears holding a chocolate heart by the Nanny Children of Hellen Prideaux

Food
Jamie Herrell Roman (Nanny in California) shared this gorgeous Valentine’s Day Packed lunch for her Nanny Child on The Nannyhood and gave me permission to share it on the blog, this looks delicious, I want a packed lunch like this!

More to books…

Love from the Crayons my Dre Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Guess how much I love you by Sam MCBratney and Anita Jeram
Peter Rabbit I love you by Beatrix Potter

Childcare and Education Expo: Widgit and Persona Doll Training

As some of you may know, I am super excited to be invited to share More to Books in a workshop on the 21st of March at 1.30pm in London Olympia.

Very excited to share my new GINORMOUS banner at the workshop and the books signing!

Also, I have been invited to a book signing at the Nanny Hub by Helen McCarthy and Ria Culley, I can’t wait to see you all there. Come on over to have a chat!

So this weeks blog is guided by Exhibitors at the Childcare and Education Expo at London Olympia.

First up is the lovely Eleanor Barber: Marketing Events Executive at Widgit: I research the event landscape, develop our annual event plan and lead on the delivery of this. I really enjoy working at exhibitions and showing people our amazing programs! Widgit symbols are used worldwide to support people and help them realise their full potential, no matter what their age ability or background.

Eleanor Barber at Widgit

What was your favourite book when you were a child and why?

“My favourite books were “Brambley Hedge” and in particular “The Secret Staircase”.

The Secret Staircase by Jill Barklem (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

The Brambley Hedge books are magical tales revealing the secret world of mice who live “on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it” and believe me I did look. 

The mice live in a tight knit, loving, friendly community. Food and celebrations feature heavily in Brambley Hedge. The mice work hard collecting fruit, nuts and berries which they use to make delicious foods, jams, preserves and baked goods. These foods are enjoyed at the many celebrations they hold: picnics, parties, balls, feasts and festivals. It was such an uplifting comforting and imaginative world for me to lose myself in. 

Brambley Hedge is an enthralling place where there are mansions built inside trees, secret staircases, palaces, dressing up boxes, storage rooms crammed full of delicious food, roaring fires and Winter balls with ice rinks and feasts, celebrations and surprise picnics with plenty of adventure. 

The descriptions and illustrations are beautiful, and I found it so easy to immerse myself in this enchanting miniature world.”

If you’d like to follow Eleanor, here are her social media handles.

Twitter: @widgit_software

Instagram: @widgitsoftware
Facebook: @widgitsoftware26
LinkedIn: Widgit

Next up is Robb Johnson from Persona Doll Training.

Robb Johnson from Persona Doll Training

As a child, my favourite book was “Little Old Mrs Pepperpot” by Alf Proysen. I was entranced by the idea that she could shrink to the size of a pepperpot, & delighted by her cleverness.

Little Old Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Prøysen (photo credit: world of books.com)


As a dad, my favourite book to read to our sons was “Guess How Much I Love You?” by Sam McBratney. I love the way it reads, the way it gives the child in the relationship a real voice, & it says pretty much all I wanted to say to my children.


I worked as a classroom teacher for 35 years, mainly in the wonderful world of Early Years education. Currently I work as a consultant for Persona Doll Training, & also as a songwriter. A book I have written about education “The People’s Republic Of Neverland: the Child vs the State” is due to be published by PM Press this summer.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Thank you to both of you for sharing your favourite books.

My most favourite thing about asking everyone what their favourite book was as a child is that I learn about books that I’ve never even heard of.

If you are excited about something, it’s contagious and the children get more motivated. Sharing the love of your favourite books is such a lovely thing to do.

In my book, There’s More to Books than Reading Guess How Much I love you features in the Mathematics- Measures sections!

I was just thinking about Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley. I remember this book so fondly because I lay on my Grandmas bay window for hours on end one holiday devouring this book.

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley (photocredit: Amazon.co.uk)

I was just thinking that my G7 would probably love this book. She is into Captain Underpants at the moment. I believe any book that gets children motivated to read is positive.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (photocredit by world of books.com)

What was your favourite book as a child and why?

Be Your Own Superhero by Doctor Laura Meek

For this weeks blog, I interviewed Dr Laura Meek about her book “Be Your Own Superhero”

Be Your Own Superhero by Dr Laura Meek, illustrated by James Davies
(photo credit: penguin.co.uk)

I think it is so important to support our children on how to deal with their feelings and emotions in a healthy way.

How did your book come about?


By complete chance and good luck! I was completing an exercise one day about where I saw myself in 5 years’ time and what I would like more of in my life. I had previously written a blog and some articles for the Metro which for me was a hobby, and I realised how much I missed writing. I vowed to make more time for it, and after some brain-storming decided I would focus my writing around my area of expertise- children’s mental health. I wrote a number of articles for Rock My Style, a blog I was already a keen reader of. This was all completely unpaid, but through this I was approached by a book agent who was looking for an author on behalf of Penguin books. At first I couldn’t believe it was for real, but 8 months’ later my book was published and in the shops!


What do children learn from your book?


That they are all heroes in their own way. That difference is to be celebrated, and that they can take control of their feelings and not be ruled by them. I really hope that children feel empowered by my book and learn some tricks to stop unhelpful thoughts or feelings from taking over.


Tell us a little about your journey


For me, writing is something I’ve always enjoyed but never felt confident about. I started a blog when I was on maternity leave with my first child as a way of keeping my brain engaged and I really enjoyed it. I have studied for many years to become a Child Psychiatrist and feel passionate about supporting young people to have good mental health, so combining this with my writing seemed natural.

I’m currently making the final edits to my second book (a mental health guide for primary teachers) so have well and truly caught the writing bug now!

Dr Laura Meek

Thank You, Laura! What I love about this book is that it helps children to feel in control of their emotions to become happier and more confident using fun activities proving that there really is more to books than reading.

To follow Laura, her social media handles here:
Insta: @mindfuldoctoring
Twitter: @drlaurameek

To buy her book, follow the link:

Love Kat x

Write Mentor and Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard

As many you have read, I’m taking a pro active approach to writing my upcoming lower MG novel and I have been to my second Write Mentor weekend.
I genuinely love them. I get so much writing done and get clarification on where I want to go (or need to go)
You also get to speak to an agent who reads some of your work and answers all your questions.
If you are a writer, I really recommend them.
I’m looking into doing another one around London in the upcoming months! I have dreams of nipping to Dublin or Edinburgh or Coventry too but I have to be sensible being a full time nanny working 57 hours plus a week too!

Not only do I get to meet other upcoming writers, I am taught by fully fledged published authors. This week is Alexandra Sheppard!

So this blog, like with Emily Critchley’s Notes on my family is for your older siblings.

How did your book come about?

OH MY GODS is a fusion of the things I loved reading about the most as a teen. It combines my love of Greek mythology with the angsty teen diaries I couldn’t get enough of (think Adrian Mole, The Princess Diaries and Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging). I came up with the concept when I was watching an old movie with my family one Sunday afternoon – it was called Down to Earth and starred Rita Hayworth as one of the Greek muses, who ends up coming down from Mount Olympus to play herself in a Broadway musical. It got me thinking: what if the Greek gods lived on earth? What would they do for a living? And how would it feel to be a half-mortal in that family? I wrote the first chapter not long after that!

What do you think your readers learn from your book?

I hope my readers learn that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ family. That Bad Things might happen but it’s possible to pick up the pieces and keep going, even if things will never be the same again. And that no matter how annoying their siblings get, I hope they’re grateful that they don’t have Aphrodite for a big sister!

And a little bit about your journey. 

I’m not sure if there’s a typical author journey. But if there is, I certainly didn’t take it. I dropped out of my English Lit degree in the first year and I’ve worked in social media and advertising ever since. I started writing OMGs six years ago after being frustrated at myself for putting it off for long enough. I wrote in the early mornings before work and occasionally on weekends, revising drafts until a literary agent contacted me on Twitter requesting to see the full manuscript (there’s nothing like an interested agent to get you motivated to finish a draft…). I signed with them not long after sending over my fourth draft. 

I’m currently working on my second novel, balancing writing with freelancing and school visits.

If you’d like to learn more about her, look at her website or follow her on social media:

My website: https://www.alexandrasheppard.com/
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexsheppard
My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexsheppard19/

More to books…

Thank you to Alex for hinting at the books that inspired her to mix them up to make Oh My Gods!

Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging by Louise Rennison

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The secret diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Show your older siblings with their favourite book at the moment or even better, with copy of the books in today’s blog!

Chinese New Year

Oh I love this festival.

I went to Chinatown to get some fortune cookies for my whole Nanny family (and a play date friend)

When I was a teacher, I did a whole class assembly based on the story of how the years got their animals. All my pupils dressed up as the animals and acted out the crossing of the river.

The Great Race by Emily Hiles (photo credit: eBay.co.uk)

If you don’t already know the story, do check it out with your little ones.

CBeebies have made this sweet video that is only a few minutes long.

https://youtu.be/eVClAj8q_lY

Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies give reading opportunities.

Why not make your own fortunes up with your children and pick them out, leading to writing opportunities too!

Chinese Dragons

I drew this dragon by copying a line drawing on the internet but there are templates you can download and print. I used card for the middle, it’s great for their fine motor skills to try and fold the card like that, and I stuck two straws on so they can dance around with it!

I made the dragon from a dog cutter and got a little creative, using cucumber for the body and tomatoes for the fire.

G13 and I followed an easy recipe for sweet and sour chicken, she chopped garlic, squeezed lemons and cooked up a delicious storm. It was a big hit with MB too who ate our leftovers!

I always find children are more willing try new things on a play date and if they’ve made it themselves they also are more excited. Cooking from scratch makes it healthier, as well as a reading/maths and science activity. Skills for life too, cutting veg and not cutting yourself.

Lanterns

These are super simple to make. There are templates on the internet but once you get the hang of it you don’t need templates anymore. I draw lines for the children to cut, great to hone in on those fine motor cutting skills!

Children can decorate them too!

Why not let them try some yummy desserts?

Twinkl

All though I am essentially against worksheets, Twinkl do these great activities where you can choose the topic, key stage and area of learning. G7 was so proud of her Comprehension she took it to the teacher to show her what she had learnt and the Code Breakers give purpose to the times tables and it helped us learn things about Chinese New Year!

(Photo credit: twinkl.co.uk)

More to books…

Mr Men Chinese New Year by Roger Hargreaves

Who went to celebrate Chinese New Year?

Show us pictures of your fortune cookies or dragons!

Nanny Hellen Prideaux did fine motor skills with chopsticks and coins with Chinese Lanterns too! Thank you for letting me feature your activity on my blog!

Love Kat x

Winnie the Pooh

Being National Winnie the Pooh day tomorrow, it felt right to do this weeks blog on Winnie the Pooh.

Definitely a loveable bear who’s friends are in many hearts, but this blog is More to Books so here are some books you can enjoy with your little ones that are a little bit different to the usual stories.

Touch and feel

Pooh and friends- a touch and feel book

For our youngest readers, this gorgeous book is a little like the “That’s not my…” series. Not only is it interactive, as your children start to talk it can encourage description, compare how things feel with their teddies/clothes/cushions etc.

Time

What’s the time, Winnie the Pooh?

As our readers start to learn the time, this is a great book for supporting children with the hour hand and the minute hand. Why not talk about different times that are important in your day to day routine, set the time on the clock and take a picture, print them to display them somewhere you can see to help your child recognise what the clock looks like at those times. The children could label them with “wake up”, “breakfast” etc

Outdoors

Winnie the Pooh’s 50 things to do before you are 5 and 3/4

This book has ideas to do outside the house, let your child choose something from the contents and find the page. It says for before you are 5 and 3/4 but I’m sure older siblings would love to join in.

Inside

Winnie the Pooh’s 50 things to do on rainy days by A A Milne and E H Shepard

And for days when you need to stay in the house, check out this. Why not take pictures of the things you do from either books (with or without teddies from Winnie the Pooh), stick them in a notebooks. For our younger learners, ask them to describe their day and scribe for them.

Depending on their ability, encourage them to label the photograph, write a caption or if they can, a sentence or paragraph.

These activities can be done with siblings and differentiate accordingly.

This is my Nanny Baby’s new toy, B7 months.

Show me your pictures of your little ones with Winnie the Pooh and friends

Lorelei, 5, Oregon, USA

Notes on my Family- Emily Critchley

As some of you may know, I am currently writing a lower/middle grade novel and last weekend I went to a Write Mentor weekend lead by the wonderful Emily Critchley. I learnt so much and have been fired up to write on average 700 words a day since.

This blog, therefore; is for the older reader. So something for the older siblings.

I interviewed Emily about her book.

How did your book come about?

I knew I wanted to write a humours novel about a modern, dysfunctional family. At first, I thought I might write from the perspective of the different family members. I began with Lou. I knew that, at thirteen, she would be the youngest family member of the Coulson family. Lou’s voice was so strong, and her observations on those around her so interesting, that I decided to write the entire book from her perspective. When I started, I didn’t even think about whether I was writing young adult fiction or not but it was suggested to me that teen readers might be able to identify with Lou. The novel encompasses such themes as bullying at school, divorce, friendship, coming out and acceptance of difference. Notes on My Family has been published with two covers – as contemporary fiction and as a YA novel. 

What do you think readers learn from your book?

I think readers learn that it’s okay to be different. The book is a comedy and doesn’t take itself too seriously but there are some more serious issues beneath the humour. The novel is about accepting those who are different and who think differently from us. The reader is able to see the world through Lou’s eyes. It was important to me, especially knowing the book would be read by teens, that readers were left with a sense of hope. And as Lou’s art teacher says, ‘It’s the people who are different who make the difference.’

And a little bit about your journey. 

I’ve always written and wanted to be a writer. As a child I wrote stories and plays. When I was a teenager I wrote a lot of bad poetry (who didn’t?). I studied creative writing at university including an MA at Birkbeck and completed two practise novels before writing Notes on My Family. I’ve also always been a voracious reader. I think you have to be if you want to write. 

If you’d like to learn more about Emily or follow her on social media, here are her handles.

My website: emilycritchley.com https://www.emilycritchley.com

Twitter: @EmilyMCritchley  https://twitter.com/EmilyMCritchley

Insta:  emily.critchley   https://www.instagram.com/emily.critchley/

Facebook: Emily Critchley author https://www.facebook.com/emilycritchleyauthor/

I have got my G13 a signed copy of this book so we will update the blog with her review when she has read it!

Show us pictures of your older siblings enjoying their favourite book!

Love Kat x

Periodic Table

Let me start you off with my favourite periodic table joke. Yes, I have one of those!

Two! Actually.

They go like this:

What fish is double sodium?

Now you might have to use an American accent but first of all, what number would double be? If you times something to double it?

And then you might have got it? If you think of a fish beginning with that…or you may need to have a look at a periodic table!

Two Na

Not NA squared as some clever clogs tried!

Yes! It’s tuna. Pat yourself on the back of you got it!

I asked my friends if they had any other sodium jokes and they said “na”

(Telling jokes helps children play with words and in this case, remember the chemical symbol for sodium! But can lead you to picking up a joke book or one on tuna fish?)

Photo credit: accentuategames.com

I’m a huge fan of Scrabble and this new game which has won lots of awards, classes itself as Science meets Scrabble.

The idea is you write as many words down against the timer and then you match your words to the symbols on the periodic table. You earn points based on the chemical symbols.

What I love about this is it’s encouraging spelling. But also, it’s a fun way to learn not only the chemical names and letters but their numbers too.

My soon to be G8 is getting this for her birthday. Mainly because I want to play!

Have you got this game?

All board games are great for helping children learn taking turns, how to be a good loser and problem solving. They are also great for bonding with family and conversation.

More to books…

My nanny child is on free choice with books for reading from school. It’s hugely important that we don’t just read fiction. While any reading exposure is great, if you tune into the child’s likes, reading won’t feel as much of a chore for reluctant readers.

Usborne lift the flat Periodic Table

With this book, there were many big words that G7 didn’t understand and many that were difficult to pronounce even for me!

We looked at the chemical symbols and matched the initial letter to the initial letter of our names. I am krypton. (Which means hidden in Ancient Greek- and can lead you to read about Superman)

By doing this, for them and members of their family, it gave another purpose to our reading and made it more personal. In other books, you could use this to help use the contents or index to go and find information about that chemical.

We also found out about Iridium which was named after a relative of hers; Iris. And she was the Greek Goddess of rainbows.

(Which can lead you to read books on rainbows or Greek Godesses)

Show me a picture of your little ones enjoying science!

Hellen Prideaux and her nanny children are the science museum!

Send a pic of you involved in a family board game!

Hellen Prideaux and her nanny children playing Exploding Kittens

Here is another periodic table joke just to have a giggle!

Mary Poppins

Last weekend, I went to see Mary Poppins. I was thoroughly disappointed by the interval but they more than won me round by the end. I totally understand that they had to change things such as the hunting scene but other changes I was actually fairly creeped out by (toys that come alive who are not Buzz and Woody!)

On the whole, I loved it, they totally redeemed themselves.

Take your little ones and let me know what you think! Nb children under 5 are not allowed.

https://www.lovetheatre.com/tickets/500080/Mary-Poppins?gclid=Cj0KCQiAr8bwBRD4ARIsAHa4YyL_fF886DSPjp0efHjQCsyU9CPT0KgtUfGvHGIDb85xpiuD22Vv-ScaAlnqEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

More to books…

Speaking of changing things, I always find it hard when I read the book and then watch the movie as for me, the film rarely does a better job than my imagination.

I never read Mary Poppins as a child, but I have as an adult (and a nanny) I can definitely say I would be fired if I did some of the things that she does, but of course I love Mary Poppins.

Photo credit: amazon.co.uk

Mary Poppins by PL Travers, illustrated by Lauren Child

On researching Mary Poppins I found this gorgeous version illustrated by Lauren Child. I have mentioned before about author/illustrator signings. They are an amazing way to excite your child into reading a book but may also inspire them to write or draw themselves.

I met Lauren Child at a cute little book shop in Kew when I first moved down to London as a Nanny.

Lauren Child and Myself in a bookshop in Kew

Totally nothing to do with Mary Poppins other than I am a Nanny, I had priority tickets to Loose Women last week, so with the help of the amazing compere Lee Peart, I gifted my book to Stacey Solomon and the Loose Women ladies.

Look at my book making a sneaky appearance in an audience shot!

Show me pictures of you at the theatre! What did you see?

Post a pic of your little one at a book signing!