Elephants

Elephants are my Mums’ favourite animal. She once ordered an elephant ornament off EBay and was so excited about it being such a bargain, only to find out, on its’ arrival, that it was an inch tall.

Well, now she can make her very own pint-sized (or rather four-litre sized) elephant by making one from a milk bottle.

https://theimaginationtree.com/milk-jug-elmer-elephant-craft/

This is a brilliant website that has all sorts of craft ideas on. Here’s one we made earlier:

The first time I was introduced to this, I was working as an after-school nanny and was helping out at my nanny child’s Brownies. Since then, I’ve made them with over 100 children in schools and homes.

By delving into the world of elephants, it opens the door to many aspects of learning, such as safari, zoo and circus.

Being a travel nanny, I sure do get to do some amazing things. This was on Safari last April.

I took this photo on the first day of our safari with my iPhone!!!!

This photo has inspired my children’s picture book “I did not know Elephants had eyelashes” packed full of facts. I am currently looking for representation from the right Literary Agent.

Make other 3D animals and hide them around the house or garden, and go on a safari. Don’t forget to whisper so you don’t frighten the animals away!

Also in the garden, make your own little circus; dance with scarves, put on a skipping show, or lie your skipping rope down and practice balancing.

This poor baby elephants tail had been bitten by an animal trying to eat it. Thank goodness it got away!

Also, the new Disney’s Dumbo has been out for several weeks in England. But the cartoon version is such a classic. (In other news, I love the train song in that movie, but I’ll save that for another blog)

I haven’t seen it but my Nanny Kid, G5, said it was very sad!

More to books…

There is, of course, the beloved ‘Elmer’ by David McKee. And I was brought up with the Large Family with ‘five minutes peace’, ‘all in one piece’ and ‘Mr Large in charge’ by Jill Murphy, but I want to shed light on some other elephant books.

A Quiet Night in By Jill Murphy
All in One Piece by Jill Murphy

I think we can use story books as a ‘hook’ to get children excited about a topic.

How Elephant got his trunk by Andrea Florens

There are several books of African Folklore that we have bought in Cape Town. I actually really love them all (and there is totally another blog post about those) but this one is just about how the elephant got its trunk. It’s funny and G2 loves it! On more research, there are actually many versions of this retold my many authors. Go check them out!

Here are some library finds.

Books can help you with the normal day to day routine, such as bathtime.

Small Elwphants Bathtime by Tatyana Feeney
What to do if an Elephant stands on your Foot by Michelle Robinson
Elephant White by Will Brenton

It’s a fun game with your children to go to the library and find as many books on one topic. Check the non- fiction and fiction sections and see what you find!!! Take turns in picking the topic. I’ve found some wonderful books by accident this way!

What other elephant books do you love?

What did you think of the new Disney Dumbo movie?

Show us your milk bottle elephants…

love Kat x

Spellings- how to get your reluctant readers interested

Getting reluctant readers reading is so fun! You just have to think outside the box. This blog will give simple ideas to help with spelling and sentence reading.

Bake it

In a few of my nanny roles, I’ve done something I like to call “Baking Thursdays”, I let the children choose the recipes the day before so I can make sure I get the ingredients in, and I also encourage savoury as well as sweet. Some recipes really challenged us, but that’s the point. Sometimes they looked disastrous but they usually tasted yummy.

To turn them into even more of a learning experience (not just maths- measures and science) but phonics too, I write their current spellings, sounds and tricky words, they have to read them before they eat them, and put them in a sentence. I also asked them to choose a word or sound for other people in the house to eat.

In one role, we had swimming on the Friday so I used the baking in their packed tea, the jelly was a little tricky to transport!

Chalk it

On sunny days, write their spellings out large on the patio. If you don’t have a patio, use the pavement or go to the park and use the path, chalk washes away easily. The rain will wash it. Other children might learn from the words too!

Play a game where they jump on the word that you shout out. For younger learners, start with sounds.

Let them write the words underneath yours. Or say the word and see if they can write it from memory.

Hide and seek it

There are four forms to this game!

  1. Sounds

For our younger learners, it is a good start to just write the sound on a piece of paper and hide it for them to find.

2. Words

I would take the word from the spelling, write it on a piece of paper and hide them around the house. Waiting in the kitchen, both siblings went around the house to find them together. Even though they were the eldest child’s spellings, the little one was so invested and got great exposure to the words. She could usually tell me what the words started (initial sound) with also.

The child has to read the word to you before they can find the next one.

You can repeat this game several times with the same words but add a timing element. How fast can they do it. Can they beat it? Repetition supports their learning.

On sunny days, hide the words in the garden or park but make sure they don’t fly away!

3. Sentences

Same as above but this time I would write the word in a sentence. Too often, as a teacher, I would have to give spelling tests and some children would have learnt how to spell the words but have no idea what it meant. By modelling the word in a sentence, it gives the child context. You can form the sentences together and you scribe, this helps you to know if they understand.

4. Missing word sentences

This really helps you find if they have consolidated the learning. Write out the sentence but leave a gap where the word from their spellings should fit.

You can hide either the word or the missing word sentence but keep the other set on the table. This time, they have to put the word in the correct place. If possible, get them to write the word instead of just placing it. Can you cover the word up and they write it from memory?

Scrabble it

I often use scrabble letters to help with spellings or Bananagrams.

Write the word for them to match the tile to each letter.

After that, say the word and see if they can do it from memory.

In the beginning, you can give them the right tiles all jumbled but to make it more challenging add some duplicates or more letters that they don’t need.

Crosswords and wordsearches

For younger learners, putting their spellings in a word search really helps them to think of the letters in the order, plus it’s fun.

For older learners, write clues for the word and then they write the answer in.

No word of a lie, I used to make these by hand for the children I worked with. Takes time, but it is possible. Now, there are brilliant resources on the web which generate them for you:

http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/WordSearchSetupForm.asp

https://worksheets.theteacherscorner.net/make-your-own/crossword/#

These are easy and simple to use, print more than one copy for if they make a mistake, they don’t get too frustrated, and if they don’t make a mistake (or you use a rubber and pencil- I actually always write with pens that can be rubbed out, they are inexpensive from Wilkinson’s) they can retry it in a couple of day, it helps to consolidate learning.

Fastest finger

Pick up a book!

Something we did for phonics and guided reading in one of the schools I worked at is called “Fastest Finger.” The idea was to play in a group but they can play against you.

You say “mirror, mirror on the wall, whose the fastest of them all, who can find the word ______?” Then the child traps the word using the index fingers of both hands.

You can also do this for letters and sounds.

I check the book to see if the book has the words in beforehand. Sometimes, I would say what page it was on, but depending on the size of the book (if it’s not too big) they can search the pages.

You can say a word that isn’t there and make a joke of it. That means they can’t just guess and they will read other words that are similar. If only do this once or twice though as it can become frustrating.

More to books…

You can pick up any book to play fastest finger. I mean literally any book. Even a recipe book, a magazine, the book you’re reading…so long as it has words in it…have fun!

Which activity did your child love the most?

Love Kat x

Running and RNIB

Finish line of Paris Marathon (April 2019)

As some of you may know, when I’m not nannying, travelling or writing, I like to spend hours of my day running back to where I started!

Always wearing a smile! London Marathon April 2018

26th Mile of Dublin Marathon October 2018

I’ve just finished my third marathon. I’ve completed London, Dublin and Paris within one year!

Not only that, I have become a guide runner where I support visually impaired runners fulfil their running wishes. It’s a bit like nannying, where I put their needs before mine and support them.

Guiding Mark Rogerson in the Big Half (March 2018)

This blog will have two parts. The first will talk about running and the second will delve into RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and how we can help children with activities.

Running

Running is my passion! And I wish I had been introduced to it as a child.

When I was at the end of primary school, we lived three quarters of a mile away along a loooong road called Booth Road, from Waterfoot to Stacksteads. To make it quicker, my Dad told me to run a lamppost, walk a lamppost and skip a lamppost! You could do this on your walk to school or even just to the library or shop!

Jeffing is where you run, walk, run. A method coined by Jeff Galloway. With your children, get them to count to 10 as they run, count to 20 as they walk etc as they get better at counting and/or running, you can switch the numbers round or increase them!

parkrun

parkrun has junior 2km events on a Sunday for 4-14 year olds all across the country.

https://www.parkrun.org.uk/events/juniorevents/

Alternatively, make it a family event on a Saturday. Prams are allowed on most routes for their 5km events.

To make running even more exciting, (and totally why I do it) look out for official events that children can take part in for a MEDAL!

https://www.greatrun.org/events/family-events

More to Books…

When researching for this topic, it really saddens me that there are no books solely about running. There really is a gap in the market. There are books just about cycling or just about boxing or just about swimming. Obviously, I am bias as running is my life! But there are enough inspirational runners out there to inspire your little ones.

To find out all about Cathy Freeman and other amazing sports women, take a look at this book.

Brilliant Women- Incredible Sporting Champions By Georgia Amson Bradshaw

For amazing runners such as Usain Bolt and Kipchoge Keino, take a look at this one:

Sports People- celebrating lives of inspirational people in Black History

I have ran many races with Mo Farah, but I always let him win!

RNIB- Royal National Institute for the Blind

In London, on Saturday the 11th of May, there is a unique race where you can raise money and run like a Guide Runner. If your child is 8 or over, accompanied by an adult, they can take part. Be sure to sign up before the 26th of April with the code DASH50 to get 50% off.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/double-dash

Make it a family day out and take the little ones to cheer you on. They can make signs and cheer boards for you to read along the way. The best one I’ve seen is a “Tap this to go faster” board!

Talking Books

Imagine not being able to see all the page when you’re reading. RNIB have talking books. You could sponsor one today.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/talking-books-service

Take out audio books from the library or download them to hear what it feels like. Maybe start using audiobooks if you take the car on a school run!

Braille and Moon

Braille and Moon are alphabet systems for visually impaired learners. If you are a teacher or Nursery nurse, RNIB have free education packs with lessons and resources available to download. But even as a parent or a nanny, I would encourage you to use these resources.

https://www.rnib.org.uk/braille-and-moon-–-tactile-codes-learning-braille/braille-resources-schools

There was an amazing Nanny on The Nanny Collaborative who looked after a visually impaired child. She used icing to make a massage on his Birthday Cake. Explore Braille with your children.

Share a picture of a run with your child.

Love Kat x

Spring

Daffodils

Well, it’s official, spring has sprung! And it’s a great time to learn about all things in Nature.

Today’s blog will cover animals, plants and even weather through arts, crafts, food and even dance!

Animals

For our younger learners, it is a good start to name baby animals but I think it’s never to early to introduce life cycles. The usual suspects are chicks, frogs and butterflies. (Find your local butterfly house to get a close up look)

Butterfly at the butterfly house in the Natural History museum

But for your older learners take a look at the cycles of bees or ladybirds and expand their vocabulary.

Printables from education.com

I have found a brilliant website called www.education.com which gives you a certain number of free printables on all sorts of subjects (alternatively, you can sign up for premium and print* to your hearts content)

*If you don’t have a printer available to you, your local library will print for a very small fee or you can email to your local Ryman’s store (they charge a one off fee and then the more you print the cheaper it is for each page)

When we go for a family dinner at a restaurant, we always take paper, colours and stickers. Why not take a printable to keep them entertained until the food arrives?

Plants

Outside my house, the trees have turned into the most gorgeous pink blossoms which make me smile each morning. Talking about the changes which they have noticed is great.

I believe we shouldn’t pick flowers as then they die. I once tried to discourage one of my Nanny Children not to pick a flower by saying if you like something then you’d pick it but if you loved it, you’d let it grow. It backfired, because she told me she only liked this one!

Saying that; I love a good daisy chain.

Visit your local garden centre to pick up some cheap daffodils and watch them open, or let them pick their favourite pot plant to take home and nurture.

Garden Centre at Alnwick Castle and Gardens

You could also grow your own Grass Head. Find out how by clicking the link below:

https://www.redtedart.com/kids-crafts-grass-heads/

Red Ted Art has some other amazing ideas for arts and crafts for Spring too!

Food

Our foods are animals or plants (unless they have been heavily processed) yet some children only see their food in packages from the supermarket.

Take your children to a fruit and vegetable stall and let them pick something new to try.

Or even better, search for a local “pick your own” where they can pick their own strawberries. It’s an event that they will never forget.

Or make something fun out of the foods they eat already.

Cheese, tomato and cucumber “flower” starter

Painting eggs is always fun! I have never seen eggs made into a safari before! I think it’s inspiring! Let your child run with their ideas. They might surprise you!

Egg craft by Grace Barker (aged 10) From Rossendale, Lancashire

Weather

Discussing what they see when they look out of the window at breakfast will improve vocabulary, sentence structure and conversational skills.

But an even better activity that I have done with countless classes in PE and several nanny children is to put on Disney’s Little April Showers from Bambi.

Within the song, the instruments change from rain, to a storm, to the sun coming out again before another shower.

Listen (Do not watch as the impact is lesser) to the song all the way through and ask your children what they think is happening and how it makes them feel.

I usually separate the song into the different parts but you can dance together, let them experiment with their movements to best show the types of weather.

After the dance, ask them to show you how they represented rain, wind, storm and showers. It’s fun. And memorable.

You can use instruments, make your own, or use things around your house such as metal spoons for the rain to recreate your own April shower.

In this Nanny Family, we also listen to it in Italian to help our language learning skills.

Pioggerella D’Aprile.

There’s more to books…

Here are books from a library find. There is nothing that I love more than going to the library with the children and getting as many books on a subject as we can find. Sure, some books are old but I bet there is something to learn from every one of them. Choose the books that take your fancy.

I especially recommend the Days out in Spring book by Vic Parker as that is the one we enjoyed the most.

The Egg to Bee book by Camilla de la Bédoyyère also has some great notes for parents and teachers showing that there really is more to books than reading!

Days Out in Spring by Vic Parker
From Egg to Chicken by Dr Gerald Legg
From Tadpole to Frog by Sally Morgan
Life story of a Ladybird by Charlotte Guillain
Egg to Bee by Camilla de la Bédoyyère

Show me your crafts, plants or dances for Spring!

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