5 Ways to Share the Happiness of Books with your Child ~ #IfShesHappyImHappy

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy #IfShesHappyImHappy

5 Ways To Share the Happiness of Books

I recently introduced a regular feature #IfShesHappyImHappy and this week I’m talking about sharing the happiness of books with your child.  #IfShesHappyImHappy is all about the cycle of happiness – you being happy, making your child happy and it coming full circle to make you happy again!  You can read it here if you missed it.

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy #IfShesHappyImHappy

Laying Foundations

I’m passionate about encouraging children to read.  Laying a good foundation in literacy really does have its advantages – increases vocab, increases interaction and increases bonding.  With enjoying books comes the joys of bedtime reading and mini libraries.  You don’t need much to instil a love of reading into your child – just grab a book, and away you go!  These books (see the picture below) hold such a special place in my childhood and the warm, fuzzy feeling I got when our daughter began to read about Silky, Moonface and Saucepan Man in The Magic Faraway Tree was beyond words.

5 Ways To Share The Happiness Of Books With Your Child And Lay The Foundations For Literacy ~ #IfShesHappyImHappy

Encouraging reading

  1. Read the book to your child ~ From an early age, we read to our daughter every single day.  As a newborn, it doesn’t matter if you read them something that’s not a board book or that goes way over their heads; the point here is that reading to them is a bonding experience and increases their vocab, laying vital literacy foundations as they grow.
  2. When your child is old enough to read themselves, give them the books you read (and that were read to you).  We did this when my Mum unearthed some of my childhood favourites (as seen in the picture above).  My copies are well-loved and that just adds to the charm for me.
  3. If you don’t want your own copies to be used, consider borrowing from a library or buy another copy.  But also consider that charm of seeing your child read the very book that you read and that was read to you.
  4. Ask your child what their favourite part or character is.  And then tell them yours.  Our daughter was amazed that I had read the same books that her Grandma had now given her!
  5. Do a ‘Create Make Do’ activity around your child’s favourite book from your stash of ‘oldies’ (or if they haven’t got your stash, choose their favourite from their own collection).  Perhaps a puppet show, thinking of a different ending to a chapter (what could happen in the next chapter now?), a new take on a pivotal point in the story…

The only limit, as they say, is imagination!

 What happy memories have you got of reading to your child(ren) or being read to when you were a child?   What was/is your favourite childhood book?  And your child’s?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

Thanks.

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Here’s a past-time for all seasons

Have you ever thought that you need to have a perfect blue sky dotted with clouds in order to cloud watch?

 

Well think again…

It’s a past-time for all seasons!

 

Take this picture that I shared on instagram.  Though there’s not much blue sky, isn’t it beautifully atmospheric and zen-like? (if I say so myself!!)

past time for all seasons cloud watching meditation clouds relaxing wellbeing relaxation

 

Granted, I’m not suggesting that you lay on your back on some sodden, cold grass and cloud watch, but just stop a moment.

 

Be in the moment.

 

Take in the clouds as they swirl by… Follow that swirl as it changes form…

 

Although you haven’t got your eyes closed, it’s a great way to slow down and it actually might just be a form of meditation.

 

So, my message to you is ‘do yourself a favour’ and gaze up at the sky; lose yourself in those swirly wirly clouds; relax and be grateful 🙂

 

Why not make it a habit?

past time for all seasons pin 2 c cloud watching meditation clouds relaxing wellbeing relaxation

 

And when you do it, let me know how you got on!

 

 

Do you like cloud watching?  What else do you like to do that relaxes you and is a great past-time to adopt?   I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

Thank you 🙂

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The joys of bedtime reading

Our daughter loves to read.  She always has done.  From back in her first year at school when her phonics learning grew before our very eyes, with sounding out, blending, understanding, expanding her vocab… She’s always thrived in her literacy.

I’ve never held back in my passion of reading with children.  Our daughter is proof that by reading to them every day, then with them, as they learn to read, their literacy goes from strength to strength.

One way that we’ve continued to instil books into our girl’s daily life is with the fabulous old-fashioned bedtime story.

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I’m sure that the vast majority of households with young children build this into the evening routine.  But what about when your young child is growing at an alarming rate both physically and mentally?  What when they don’t want you to read to them or even with them any more?

I knew it would come some day and at 7 years old, that day inevitably came.  However, every cloud as a silver lining!  Why?  Our daughter now asks me to read my book while she reads hers, “Let’s read in our heads, Mummy!”  I’m more than happy to oblige with this because it gives me some down-time and chance to read a few pages to!

And after ‘lights out’, the torch goes on.  At first, she did this on the sly but soon realised that she wasn’t being told off for not going to sleep straight away and now reaches for her torch when it’s lights out.  And so her little bedtime reading adventure continues for a little while longer each night.  I remember myself that there’s something about being immersed into another world, while tucked up in bed, reading by torchlight.  It takes the magic and imagination to another level…

She often reads the same books that I did, such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books.  And that to me, is the most magical thing about the bedtime reading.  I distinctly remember all those wonderful characters literally coming alive from the pages of the book.  What a wonderful time and what wonderful memories!

How did you feel when reading the bedtime story out loud disappeared from your child’s routine?  Or do you still have it, but in a different way, like us?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment (below) or tweet me @AllSortsHere.  And come and say hi on social media ~ 

 

Thank you 🙂

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Who else could I share this post with but the #DreamTeam, given that it’s bedtime reading?…

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#PaperyPeep ~ mini libraries, colouring tables and a little collage

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It’s been a while since I joined in with Papery Peep so here’s a collection in pictures (mainly).
I’m starting off with the main blog pic; our daughter left this little lot on the table just as you see it here.  A perfect photo opportunity!  I love the cat, don’t you? 🙂
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 I’ve shared a few pictures on instagram lately of our girl’s reading matter…
It’s a daily occurence for her to come downstairs to breakfast with a book under her arm or in her hand.  In between mouthfuls and general chat, she always reads a book.  I can’t remember when this first happened but we’ve never discouraged her from bringing a book to the table.  Sometimes our days are so busy in the week that the ‘only’ reading she does (apart from at school, which I don’t get to savour!) is at breakfast and bedtime.
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I truly hope she never loses her love of reading.  Strange really – I embrace that she can read to herself but a part of me misses sitting down every day like we used to and me reading to her.  I think that stage is withering out now…  But strange because I embrace with pride this newest phase of her reading journey 🙂
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On to the pic below and who in the UK remembers the Griffin savers dictionary?  The you got free when you opened a Midland Bank young savers account?! (Showing my age!!)  Our daughter has claimed mine, which I don’t mind at all.
You can just about see the cat diaries top and bottom in the end column there.  Chosen by our daughter, of course (had to be cats!)  The ‘best mummy ever!’ card totally melted my heart and is on the wall next to my desk.  The final picture is of the Message in a Bottle postcards.  I’ve been involved in the launch of this book for children and it’s coming to end now…
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Finally, it’s been while since Stephanie from Lifeat139a very kindly sent me this book as a random act of kindness.  And it’s been a good few months since I finished it.
 
Our little girl was at a birthday party, hubby was at work that same afternoon and I took myself into the garden to read ‘Missing, Presumed’ by Susie Steiner.  I chilled out and got stuck in.
This was definitely one of those books that I found very hard to put down due to its readability.  Each chapter effortlessly flowed into the next, with questions being raised and left unanswered from the beginning.
I didn’t make any notes when I finished this (which is what I would normally do when reviewing a book) and because it’s a while since I read it, I’m not going to attempt a ‘review’.  Suffice to say that I felt a little lost when I’d finished it (you know it’s a good one when that happens) and there was satisfaction at reading it quite quickly – around 3 weeks.  (Unlike Jocelyn at The Reading Residence who seems to get through one in 3 days!)
Aside from wanting to thank my virtual friend for kindly posting it out to me, I genuinely feel it deserves a good mention.
Pop it on your reading list!

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Have you been writing, reading or even colouring recently?  Do you remember that dictionary?!  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Creating with a mosaic jewellery making kit ~ #BoredomBuster

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Show a little girl a jewellery-making kit and I’ll bet they’ll happily ‘make’ for hours.  (and little boys too, come to that!)  Our daughter loves making and using her imagination, like when she made pencil toppers and a Hello Kitty picture.  She gets absorbed into craft activities and it’s lovely to see.
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Predictably, that’s what happened with this mosaic jewellery-making kit that our little girl was given as a present.
She was making her own mosaic patterns for ages.
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First, she started off copying the patterns from the box, then her creative side kicked in!
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It’s a great little kit, as long as you organise yourself by:
  • preparing the mixture and allowing a good 2 days for it to set within the jewellery mould.  (although atmosphere and environment have a lot to do with this!)
  • preparing yourself to break off what seems like millions of tiny little mosaic squares from the frames.  It’s not millions at all I’m sure, but just be prepared because it feels like it!
Once you’ve got the prep out of the way, you can kick back and watch your little one creating to their heart’s content!  You really can, because (depending on their age), minimal supervision is required, just appropriate encouraging comments through out the  process!  Which, of course, I gave without hesitation!
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And here’s the (rather blurry) mosaic creation that she was very proud of… 🙂
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Have you ever made jewellery or something similar to this?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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The best moments in parenting

What are the best moments in parenting?  Well it’s moments like these that make being a mummy so worth it!
I was pottering around, getting stuff done and our daughter was busying herself with colouring at her colouring chair.  I had my head in the washing machine sorting a load out when our girl came through to me.
“Mummy, can I show you this?”
Truthful answer:  “Not at the moment.  You couldn’t have chosen a more inconvenient time!”
Actual answer: “Of course you can!”
And so, with my head half in the washing machine, I was presented with this
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and immediately, the washing was forgotten and I got a big hug from a proud daughter instead!
There was no reason – it wasn’t mother’s day or a birthday… it was just because she wanted to!
This is what happens when you stop what you are doing and give your attention to your child.  These are the moments when it’s all worth while! 🙂

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What has your child done recently to make you glad you stopped what you were doing?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Pull up a colouring chair!

What is one of our daughter’s favourite things to do?
Well, one look at her desk will give you a big clue.  Because there are several recycled containers full of pencil crayons, felt tips
and wax crayons.
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She ran out of pencil cases and recycled food punnets were there to save the day.
Her desk is her upcycled cot and so there’s lots of room for her colouring paraphernalia.  Give our girl a colouring book or print out her favourite character of the moment to colour in and she’s happy!
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 I find it fascinating that children love to colour – given it’s therapeutic benefits of relaxation and de-stressing.
Children don’t have the distractions of the endless jobs to do round the house and practical things to do that we have, do they?  And until recently, it was much more acceptable for a child to colour than an adult.  Expected even.
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When our daughter started to run out of the recycled food punnets and pencil cases, she got creative and turned her desk chair into something of a pencil case!
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She got paper plates, stuck them to the chair and used the slot in the back of the chair to turn it into something of a pen holder!  Then she got sellotape, wrapped it around the four legs and hung highlighters off there!  You certainly can’t knock her being resourceful or thinking outside the box!
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Now, if we need a pen and can’t find one, we know where to look!
Next time your child runs out of pencil cases, pull up a chair!…

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Has your child ever come up with something querky but practical like this?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Our Jam Packed movie adventure ~ #BoredomBuster Review

 

When this box came through the letterbox, I was very excited…

jam-packed-make-create-do-inspire-imagination-boredom-buster-activity

I had been expecting my Jam Packed Craft movie adventure box… well strictly speaking it was for our little girl but I was looking forward to joining in too.

I immediately loved the colourful outer layer and it caught our daughter’s eye too.  She wanted to know what was inside and so did I!

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Containing everything we needed to make a home-made movie adventure, the box really and truly was jam packed with craft supplies!  That said, as the activity went on, I was really impressed with how little waste there was and that we had to use the box itself.  What a great idea!

Inside we found:

chalks for the clapper board (I think that’s what it’s called…!)

crayons for decorating the stage, curtains and audience

paint for the ‘stage’ (though our little girl preferred to colour it in and decorate it with the glittery star stickers supplied)

glue, a template for the ‘screen’, a film strip and even… get this

POPCORN!  Yes, really!

So there really was everything we needed.

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First she coloured in the curtain surround

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Then she created the film strip and couldn’t decide on Sleeping Beauty or Jack and the Beanstalk…

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There was the popcorn preparation

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…which intrigued our daughter because she had never heard popcorn popping in a microwave before.  We all tucked in to what was delicious popcorn!  Seriously, it’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted (5 stars here!).  And left a handful for the audience!

Next came the all important audience and setting the scene

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Before the show itself… (see below for the vlog!) #Exciting!

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This activity took the best part of an afternoon to create, which was just the right amount of time.  There were full instructions which were a little tricky to follow at the beginning with cutting the template out.  But really, our daughter had little input from me.  Then she was off creating!

Jam Packed Craft boxes are  ‘little boxes bursting with big ideas’ and this was certainly bursting – full to the brim!  I loved that this was a fresh idea for an activity.  There are adventure boxes and mini kits available.  I love the Fairy Door and bracelet mini kits – I know our daughter would too!

I for one have never seen anything quite like it before and that makes the adventure boxes worth the retail price of £12 (if this box is anything to go by) because you don’t have to add anything to the box at all.  Just imagination and perhaps a nice cuppa to go with the popcorn! 🙂

We had so much fun and it was great for bonding.  Although our daughter was quite happy to be left to her own devices for the colouring and sticking parts.

The creation is currently on her desk because she’s so proud of it and she even cut her first very short vlog (possibly the shortest vlog in the history of vlogs!… but it’s a good one!)

She’s clearly a star in the making because when she had cut that one, she vlogged another (including an alternative version of ‘Fe Fi Fo Fum’.  And we’ll just skirt around me forgetting the storyline!.. 🙂

From our experience, I’d highly recommend Jam Packed Craft boxes for those boredom buster moments, or any moment in fact!

You can follow Jam Packed Craft on social media to keep up to date with their products and to get some inspiration:

Visit their website and follow them on instagram, facebook and twitter.

 

*This is a review post but all opinions are my own.

 

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How to adapt learning to the changing seasons ~ #BoredomBuster

As the seasons change, it can be quite difficult to get our daughter outside.  The lure of the kitchen table to do seasonal crafts, the lure of the screens, the lure of the snuggles on the sofa!  And why not?  All of these are great ways to spend your time.

But here at VirtuallyAllSorts, we’ve been adapting our learning to the seasons!

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At the present time, our daughter loves role playing (among other things), particularly schools.

Since moving house, we haven’t had the chance to do much to pretty up our garden.  It’s quite a small garden but it has potential.

Potential for exploring, for using imagination, for building insect hotels!

Due to its size, we do have to think outside the box.

It’s all concrete and there’s no room for a swing.  Despite this, we have prettied part of it up successfully by painting a wall all different colours.

When our girl says she wants to play in the garden, she often says she’s bored out there.  So despite the obvious change of seasons, we recently popped her easel outside.  She can think outside of the box and so can we!

It’s perfect for her to role play her schools, as you can see.  All she needed was her coat and she was happy as anything for ages 🙂

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And a happy little girl makes for happy parents!

 

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What do you do to think outside of the box when it comes to space – inside and out?  Have you got any other suggestions for a boredom buster?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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How to make pencil toppers ~ #BoredomBuster activity

When our little girl was given a ‘Go Create’ animal puppets craft activity pack, she couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

The picture on the outside was for puppet but imagination knows no bounds with our daughter and she often thinks outside the box.

She set-to, asking for gloopy glue (eeek!).  When I offered to help with the glue, I was shunned!

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I don’t mind mess, in fact I love when we get the crafting paraphernalia out but ‘gloopy’ glue…  Would pritt stick do? NO, it had to be the messy version.  The one that always dries round the nozzle between sessions, is a nightmare to declog before a new session can start and takes ages to dry!

how to make pencil toppers rainy day activity parenting kids make create do imagination

Despite my trepidation, I did as I was told and kept out of the way.

The end result were ‘pencil toppers’ and they’re not too shabby!

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So, readers, that is how you come to make pencil toppers! 🙂
What do you think?  Do you fancy having a go yourself?  Have you made anything similar?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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