Paris, France

Notre Dame

In the sadness and disbelief of actually being in Paris while the Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames on Monday evening, I believe it’s even more important to support our children in learning about the history of different buildings and cities around the world.

A rather poignant film to share with your children would be Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and sadly, smoke does blow up from the Alter at the end of the film. I will also be watching Les Miserablé, but that is not one to share with the children just yet!

The Eiffel Tower

Me in front of the Eiffel Tower with my Paris Marathon Medal

Postcards

As in Edinburgh, and you’ll see, from every place I travel to, I ALWAYS write a postcard to my Mum, Dad and my last Nanny children!

Remember when you were a child and you were so excited to get post through the door? The art of writing letters is almost dead, with emails, texts and FaceTime or Skype. But writing to your children will support their reading.

Send postcards from where ever you visit!

But also, giving your child a purpose to write will make it easier and more exciting. Send a postcard with your child to a friend or relative! It can just be a simple sentence, or even a picture and attempting to write their name for our younger learners. You don’t have to travel anywhere to write a postcard! You could even make your own!

Can you find the answers to these questions with your child?

As in the Edinburgh blog, I said that I send questions to my last nanny children, as before we had bedtime stories, I would always let them ask Siri (or Alexa) a question.

Also, forming questions with different word stems models how to form questions for themselves. How, what, and when are in this postcard. Do encourage ‘why’ questions too! They open up a world of exploration but also encourage longer sentences. I also love questions that encourage maths.

More to books…

I cannot tell you how much I laughed at this book. I don’t know if it’s because I’m an adult that I found it so amusing, but if you or your little one get as much joy out of this as I did, then it’s worth sharing, most definitely!

Mr Chicken goes to Paris by Leigh Hobbs

This next book is absolutely beautiful, the art work is phenomenal. Definitely one to share together (rather than independent reading) as you do have to be careful when turning the pages.

Paris- Up Up and away by Hélène Druvert

To do some of this with your children, check out products such as these. Be warned, even when they say they are for children, you have to press them really hard. They may need some help, but it is fun and looks really good. Can they make a pattern?

You could even use these to make simple but effective birthday cards.

https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/product/1?q=card+making+cutters&client=safari&hl=en-gb&biw=414&bih=622&tbs=vw:g,ss:44&prds=num:1,of:1,epd:16786674937283578738,paur:ClkAsKraXxJaf2549P06w6jtJrs8JDUCsgRrBRioPVAdKPog6WEAOwHvcbekMkDO_XoUfi1Y4dqlZ8vx94UDdnI2ZXhMU3PvYmjFX0gsmffxvWoobJBkzWwGzhIZAFPVH70ZhX9fASFXP_opKYWB-iaH_UkknA,prmr:1,pid:16786674937283578738,cs:1

This next book is like a Where’s Wally of today but around famous landmarks of Paris.

Paris- Hide and Seek by Masumi

My friend actually recommended the three books in the picture below, and then when in Paris, I found this one:

This is Paris by M. Sasek

Other cities by M.Sasek
A page out of This Is London by M. Sasek

I loved this bit, being a Nanny myself!

For the younger learners…

My Little Cities- Paris by Jennifer Adams

Show me your postcards by your little ones!

Send a picture of your Die Cut Cards.

What question did your little one ask Siri/Alexa about Paris?

love Kat x

The Writer’s Museum, Edinburgh

The Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh

How can a writer not go to a writer’s museum?

This museum is dedicated to Famous Scottish writers, such as Robert Burns, and it’s free to go in! I loved the curly wurly staircase.

Pressing or stamping

The Ballantyne Press

At the very top of the museum is an example of the Ballantyne Press. Two brothers in Scotland invented the pressing machine so that could print books.

You can buy alphabet stampers and press your names or other words out. With your child, can you press out a sentence and read them to each other?

For our younger learners, use potatoes to do some printing. Holding the potato will be a good first step into practising gripping. Then think outside the potato, and choose other things to print with. Dried pasta is an old favourite. What letters can you make with these? The thinner and smaller the implement, the more practice they will have of holding like a pencil grip.

Writing

A long time ago they used to have pen nibs and dip into ink. Everyone knows that authors such as Shakespeare used feathers. But let’s think outside the box.

Collect things that might be good to mark make with! Feathers, sticks…fold piece of card so it has a point and dip in paint. And obviously, fingers are ALWAYS fun. When I do finger painting with the children, I have them paint in their underwear as it doesn’t matter if they get paint on themselves.

I also prepare bubbly lukewarm water in a basin so I can get them cleaned up fast. Once, with twins I looked after, we just did the artwork/body paining in the bath, so as soon as they’d finished, I could clean them and the bath at the same time!

Theatre

Theatre made by children

At the very bottom of the museum is a theatre with characters and scenes drawn by children. Make your own theatre out of a cardboard box and you can even make yourselves as characters.

Make backgrounds such as a forest, a living room, a kitchen but also things they are not used to like a jungle or desert. Look up pictures in books and choose your favourite to copy.

Children’s books from the past

These are books for children in the 1800s!!!

More to books…

My Luve’s like a Red Red Rose by Robert Burns

Show me pictures of your Pressing, writing with feathers or home-made Theatres!

Love Kat x

Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

The Camera Obscura itself is a ‘dark room’ at the top of the museum. Using a pole and mirrors and the sunlight, it reflects images from the outside, onto a concave table on the inside. The lady showing me today, said people in the 1600’s were so scared of this they ran out screaming. They had never seen outside without using a window before.

Me in the Light Corridor in the Camera Obscura Museum

This museum is so child friendly. I absolutely loved it. There was so so so much to see and all interactive. But in this blog, I’ll suggest books and activities so if you can’t get to Edinburgh, you can still experience some of these things and bring learning to life!

Food art

London skyline by Carl Warner

A couple of Carl Warner’s pictures are on display in this museum, to look at more of his work check out this website:

https://oddstuffmagazine.com/amazing-foodscapes-art-landscapes-created-with-eatables-by-carl-warner-19-pics.html

Why not make your own pictures with your child? (and eat them afterwards)

Write with light

Writing my name with lights (it was tricky)

This was an interactive display on the first floor. There was also a hall of mirrors and a turning tunnel that made you feel like you were falling!

The light drawings made me think of when I was child and we used to write out names using sparklers. So long as you supervise them, make sure they wear gloves and support them to know how to use sparklers safely, most children can use them to have fun writing in the air. Although, the nights are getting lighter and if you don’t feel comfortable with that, use a torch in the house with the lights off and curtains shut!

Kaleidodraw

Kaleidodraw- an interactive display in the museum

This was a lot of fun, you pick your colours and draw dots, lines or squiggles and then press spin. It made all sorts of patterns.

A kaleidodraw App is available to download for IPads.

Magic Eye

Magic Eye on display in the museum

Without even trying to look for the magic eye, these pictures can help start some good conversations about what they can see. I remember having these books as a child, and when the picture would appear, I’d be so happy with myself! Haha! See below, in the More to Books…section for books ideas for magic eye!

3D picture

3D picture in the Museum
How the 3D picture was made

Looking through the hole, it looked like a room with people standing at the front and different objects and people in the middle of the room or even the back! You can recreate this with your child. Make several frames identically and then stick one character or object on each layer, make sure you vary the position. Experiment and have fun with it!

You can buy 3D cards in most shops now. Sometimes they have things dangling down.

Moving images/Flip book animation

I loved doing this when I was a child. Take a notebook, go to the back of the book and on the bottom corner, draw a little stick person. Turn one page then draw almost the exact same stick person only millimetres different. Keep going, you can make it jump or get smaller and bigger, it’s really up to you. Then, with your finger flip the pages so the paper goes really fast and your image will move.

It is so hard to describe: how to make a flipbook animation with Mr Otter Art studio on YouTube is a great visual to help you.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Njl-uqnmBGA

I would use this to make up a story about the character with your child.

There’s more to books…

For our younger learners:

ABC Animals by Rufus Butler Seder

As you move the pages, the animals move. There are other books with “scanimation” too!For our older learners:

Magic Eye Gallery by Magic Eye inc
Where’s Wally? By Martin Handford

At my hairdressers, when I was little, they had a Where’s Wally? Collection to keep us entertained while having a trim.

Post a picture of your:

  • Food art

  • Kaleidodrawings

  • 3D pictures

I can’t wait to see them.

Love Kat x

Edinburgh, Scotland

Playing the Bagpipes on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

Although I do a lot of travelling for my Nanny role, it’s something I’m super passionate about. On my time off, I explore places closer to home. So here I am, in EDINBURGH! If you can’t get to Edinburgh to explore with your little ones, explore with them through the books recommended in this blog!

I’ve not been to Edinburgh since I was 14 and I can’t really remember much. I do remember Graham Norton once saying in his stand up that when he was staying in a really posh hotel, Balmoral Hotel, he had a few too many and got chips on the way home. He got in his hotel room and his food had got a little cold on the walk so he put it in the microwave…after he shut the door, he realised it was a safe!!

Edinburgh Castle

Me in front of Edinburgh Castle

There’s More to books…

Normally, I would put the #moretobooks sectioned at the end of the blog, however; this blog has many sections so I’ll share the books linked to the heading as we go along.

For younger learners:

Scottish Castles Illustrated by Louise Forshaw

For older learners:

Avoid being Mary Queen of Scots by Fiona MacDonald
Slimy Stuart’s by Terry Deary

Harry Potter

Did you know that JK Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books in Edinburgh?

The cafe JK Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books in

Apparently, there are areas around Edinburgh that inspired Jk Rowling for some of the things in the books.

George Heriot’s school is the inspiration for Hogwarts Castle

JK Rowling finished the final book in Balmoral Hotel. I wonder if she used the microwave?!

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard

A graveyard, called Greyfriars Kirkyard, is said to be one of those places. In an interview, she said she collected names from gravestones.

When I was a child, my mum used to love to look at really old graves and try to find the oldest gravestone, or the person who was the oldest when they died. Recently, my mum and I walked through a graveyard in Tuscany, Italy. They had pictures of the person and it helped my Italian too, trying to translate what it meant.

Funnily enough, I wasn’t going to go to Greyfriars Kirkyard but then when researching books, I found out about Greyfriars Bobby, a true story of a dog who became famous all over Scotland. So famous, they made a statue of him. And I just had to see for myself.

Greyfriars Bobby Statue

So while I was there, I had a sneaky peak around the Graveyard too!

There’s more to books…

For younger learners:

Bobby by David Gall and Cameron Scott

For older learners:

Greyfriars Bobby by Richard Brassey

Haggis

Everyone talks about Haggis being a traditional Scottish dish and when I went for dinner at a local pub down from Edinburgh Castle, I asked what he recommended. It was actually really tasty.

I even had Haggis on my Scottish Breakfast at Zaza’s at the end of Grassmarket which has an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle.

Hamish The Hairy Haggis by A.K Paterson

Can you believe there is even a book about Haggis?

Highland Cows

Highland cows, taken while on a Day Trip to Hadrian’s Wall
Baby Highland cows

There’s more to books…

For younger learners:

Harry the Highlander by Cameron Scott

I love this one! Plus it has jigsaws in which will help with your child’s fine motor skills. There are several books like this with other titles.

For older learners:

The Kilted Coo by Rachel McCaw

Some of the words are very strange to me, as it uses Scots as do the next two following books;

Three Craws Illustrated by Melanie Mitchell
The Reiver Rat by Julia Donaldson (The Highway Rat, but in Scots)

I had such an amazing time in Edinburgh and I have so much more to write… so keep a look out for blogs on Camera Obscura and the Writers Museum coming soon!

They will be packed with ideas for books and also, activities to bring learning to life!

Postcards and Siri

Yes, that does say Siri. (Although, I’m sure Alexa or whoever else is just as helpful!)

With my last nanny children, before I settled them to sleep, they were allowed one question to ask Siri, before we had our stories. I verified the questions to make sure they were appropriate and I skim read the answers to make it child friendly and understandable…

Since that role, I have taken on a Travel Nanny role, and I send postcards from every country to my last nanny children. I try to choose a photographs that can provoke a conversation, and I write three or four questions for them to ‘find out’ the answers, either by asking Siri, or other methods (ie books/internet- whichever way, it promotes reading and learning)

So from now on, I’ll share the postcard and the questions on my blogs.

Can you find the answers?

Send a postcard from your hometown with your child.

Love Kat x

Everyone has to start somewhere…

So, after Umming and aaahing about which blog to launch with first, I decided that I wanted to set the scene…

Just to let everyone know what they can expect from More To Books and me.

I am a passionate teacher who loves all things literary. When I transitioned to becoming a nanny, which I adore, other people would ask me how I do this, how I teach that, what books to I use, what websites do I like, and that is how “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” was born.

She took 9 months to write and she really is my baby.

There’s More to Books than Reading- how to help your child bring stories to life

When it was published in November 2016, I was invited to Amsterdam to receive an award by my publishers for ‘inspiring creativity within children.’ Which is all I ever set out to do!

Receiving the award in Amsterdam from Raymond Aaron (Nov 16)

My British book launch was in the Paternoster by St Paul’s Cathedral in December 2016 which lead to me being invited to the Author Awards at the BAFTAS, which was an amazing experience.

BAFTAs Author Awards (Dec 16)

In early 2017, I received a letter from Buckingham Palace which lead to me being interviewed by The Nanny Magazine in America. Following that, I was invited to speak at the International Nanny Day in May 2017 by the wonderful Helen McCarthy.

Me with Helen McCarthy. Credit: UK Nanny LTD (May 17)

Then NannyPalooza by the inspirational Sue Downey in November 2017. Then, I was interviewed for the Childcare Magazine in the UK.

Me with Sue Downey at NannyPalooza (Nov 17)

In December 2017, I met the wonderful Emily Kate Rolen of The Nanny Collaborative at the Nanny Ball In New York.

Me with Emily Kate Rolen, Lynne Townsend and Stephanie Sing at the Nanny Ball, New York (Dec 17)

All that time and since then, I have been working full time as a Nanny. For the last two years, I have been working for one private family as a Travel Nanny, seeing the world, teaching privately and doing what I love.

I have continued to write and I am seeking representation for my Children’s books.

(And I’ve trained for three marathons!)

This blog is along the lines of my first book. As I believe whole-heartedly that there is More to Books than reading.

In each blog, it will follow a topic, suggest websites if necessary to craft, activities and printables. It will suggest things to do around that topic. Being a class teacher in deprived areas around Manchester and Oldham for 6 years, I am adamant about making things as cheap as possible or even free.

I am an avid user of the library, even though my Nanny clients have been very wealthy in the last four years.

I also travel a lot with my Nanny Role but also personally. So these will feed into which topics I blog about. At the end of each blog, I will recommend books to support that subject.

Please check out the Facebook group,

More to books

follow me on Instagram for daily posts at (you guessed it)

MoretoBooks 📚

Love Kat x