Book Month – Part 4

Space week was a little bit like a collapsed star – the first week just disappeared because for some reason we were sooo busy but eventually something happened, but it wasn’t as successful as previous weeks.

It all started with a book from Twinkl (an online store of resources for people working with children). It’s a Twinkl original so you can’t get it anywhere else, so I know this is a bit mean. It’s called ‘Back to Earth with a bump’

It’s a great, because it is Augmented Reality (AR). So on certain pages you put your phone over the pages (you have to download the Twinkl app) and out of the page pops the little boy holding his bear, or the planets moving around the sun. It really got J interested in the Solar system. It was also another way for him to engage with the book.

Other books we read…

We love this series of Ed Hart books with Albie.

We also read a few non fiction books from the library about the solar system, which were fascinating. Although J prefers Mars Rovers!!

So down to the activities…. or should I say activity.

I made a space Tuff Tray, which he didn’t touch 🤦🏼‍♀️. The sandy stuff is quinoa and seeds. Then the foil is just put over some boxes. I printed off some planets too.

I did order a decorate your own solar system but didn’t realise it was coming from China, so we’ll just have to do that another time.

I did have a long list of things I wanted to do…

Decorate the solar system

Make Space Rock Cakes

Make a Rocket

Make moon sand

but he’s also been poorly so everything went awry!


Book Month – Part 3 Robot Week!!

We have loved Robot week. We started with the book ‘Robot Rumpus’ by Sean Taylor.

This is one of J’s favourite books, so much so recently on a car Journey we were both able to tell each other the story without the book! The book is about two parents who leave their child in the care of 7 robots with the line ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ as they close the door!

So our week of Robot activities started…

Firstly we had some friends round and they helped J build a basic robot, then the next day I set out a Robot Factory tuft tray.

There were lots of random bits we put on the tray – circuit boards, light bulbs, wall plugs, screws and strimmer wire (yes I do have lots of random things in my house!) and in the end we were able to make our basic robot have a bit more life!

J then wrote another story about a little boy called Joe Joe (we read Horton Hears a Who – Dr Seuss) who loses his toy robot and then a police robot finds it and brings it back. So we’ve been making this into a comic strip.

One evening I left on the table some robot magnets I made ages ago (hence they are a bit beaten up) and to my amazement he made all the robots without my prompting.

These are really easy to make. I used the robots from this blog and printed them onto Magnet paper.

Then just cut them up and put them on your fridge or baking tray and there are endless combinations of robots unless you have a perfectionist as a child and then there are only the set combinations! I made these for J when he was about 2 and they are still fun!

You may or may not have access to Twinkl (a resource website – I use it mainly for work but there are some great things on there for J). Well we used their robot writing sheets to practice his letters and a grid sheet to design a robot. So I guess if you had the time or inclination you could just design your own.

Other books about Robots we read this week…

So all in all a good robotic week!

We also had World Book day (rescheduled due to the snow!) all my fears were confirmed as he refused to wear the outfit, so I’m glad we didn’t spend any money or time! But also pleased we are still celebrating books in our own way!

Book Month – Part 2

Well after all of my huffing and puffing about World Book Day, it was snowed off anyway. So it was a good job we celebrated it in our own way.

We’ve had a lovely week reading lots and doing fun things to do with our book of the week.

As I said last week our book was ‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravett. Such a lovely book.

Beautiful pictures and a lovely rhymical story and to add to that it includes hoovers and diggers! (This is a good thing if you love them as much as J does.) But there is also a more meaningful undertone to this book about looking after our planet and protecting our woodlands and not cementing over everything to make way for galumphing great tower blocks and houses!

Reading it this week really brought it home to J the impact of what happens to build houses for us.

But we didn’t just read, we had extra fun too…

The world

After our little chat about looking after the world had a look at what our world looked like, we used an atlas but Google Earth is also great fun too.

Then we set about painting the world and I was so impressed by the outcome.

We used paint dabbers – easy and slightly mess free (if you don’t slam them down and then find all the splats on your wall).

The woods

I tried to bring a little of the woods to our front room in the sensory tray. The book talks about autumn coming and the leaves falling, and the diggers come in and dig up all the trees so this is what I tried to recreate.

I used a mixture of quinoa and pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds for the base. Then added in some sticks, acorns and pine cones. There were some diggers and scoops to add to the fun. We left it out for a few days so he kept coming back to it.

Where is my rabbit?

Something that I thought would take the whole month was writing a book, but he got it done in one evening. Can I just add this was his idea.

It’s a lovely book called ‘Where is my rabbit?’ and is very similar to Monkey Puzzle, but I’m sure Julia Donaldson won’t mind! He is 4 after all. But he told me the story whilst I wrote it down and then I typed it into Book Creator, which is a great app. He was then able to add images and draw a lovely rabbit wearing trousers and wearing a hat. Now this is amazing because I have an active bean that doesn’t really like to draw – but give him an iPad and we get masterpieces.

He was also able to add some voice over too. It was such a special time doing this together and it something we will treasure. I must have read it a hundred times already.

Other books with the same theme

We also had a read around with some similarly themed books.

Starting with ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss – brilliant, brilliant book one of our favs.

’10 things I can do to help my world’ by Melanie Walsh. I think the title says it all. But it was a challenge to me too.

‘Christopher’s Bicycle’ by Charlotte Middleton a lovely book about recycling things to make gifts for others.

So all in all a good first week. We might get chance to make a painted forest tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Next week is ‘Robot Rumpus’ by Sean Taylor. This is a fab book and have already read it loads and loads. But we had to have a robot week!

Book month! Part 1

I have spent a lot of time moaning about World Book Day this week. Anyone who knows me has probably started avoiding me because I’ve been on my soapbox all week.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love books. J and I love reading together; it is one of the highlights of our day, snuggling down on the sofa and reading the chosen books for that day. We go to the library and get out 20 books each time and get through them all each week. We’ve even bought J a reading light and now he also reads a book before bed by himself.

But what I’m struggling with is dressing up for ‘World Book Day’ – it seems to be a huge pressure for people. I’m a creative person and still find it massively pressured. Mainly because I could spend hours making an outfit and then J wouldn’t wear it at all! Or go and buy one and again he doesn’t wear it. Not only that my husband is a teacher and so we have two outfits to think of (I’m very aware that most of you have 2 or more to make, so I know that I’m not alone in this!) I know the purpose is to get children engaged in books, but mostly children dress up as characters from films – I checked out a stores website for their world book day outfits and out of 12 outfits only 4 were actual book characters! But enough of my rant because believe me I could go on!

So this morning I decided to stop moaning and be the change I want to see. So in our house we are going to have Book Month. We will choose one book a week (on top of our normal books) read it and choose activities to do from the book, and really try to engage with the books and inspire creativity and hopefully some learning.

Our first book is….

It’s a beautiful book encouraging the reader to look after our world.

Amazingly it also includes two of J’s loves — hoovers and diggers — so it’s a winner. Tonight at bedtime we had such a lovely conversation about protecting animals and replanting trees after they’ve been cut down.

I’m desperate for J to grow up loving books and reading. He already has a thirst for knowledge, so I want to support him in every way I can.

This morning I read an interesting/terrifying report from

‘New report reveals 58% of parents of 3-4 year-olds struggle to read with their children every day’

I understand that there are a million reasons why this happens. being too busy, not loving reading themselves, lack of confidence with reading and so on. But hopefully our book month will not only inspire J and myself, but others too. So I’ll stop moaning about dressing up and start championing books! I’ll also share all our activities as we go along.

Playing Libraries

I love going to the library, mainly because it means we get a fresh hit of books to read each evening. J enjoys going because he always manages to get the librarian to let him stamp the books at the end of our visit. We also love reading together, and J is also getting into reading, so I’ve been trying to find ways of encouraging more of a love of books.

At our last visit to the library, J asked if we could buy a date stamp and yesterday in Poundland we found these stamps. I know they are not date stamps but they have a similar action and date stamps are not very cheap and it might be a one time game!

So it pushed me into action and I’ve made a whole set of library cards, borrowing record slips and even a scanner (I might need to work on my scanner though!)


I made the scanner out of a yogurt pot and some card, but you can probably come up with something better.

I’ve since laminated the library cards, hopefully this will make them last a little longer. And yes the QR code works too.


I will spend time with J sticking the borrowing record cards in our books, so he can choose which ones go in our library. I just used a small bit of glue to stick them in.


I personally can’t wait to play libraries hopefully he will too!

Let me know if you want copies of the cards and slips.


The ‘H Free running crew’

We are being introduced to the world of digraphs here. Now when I learnt to read this wasn’t a common thing in fact I didn’t really know the word existed until my husband became a nursery teacher!

Well now my little one is learning to read. So digraphs and split digraphs are becoming much more part of life!

Currently he’s finding ch, sh, wh and th tricky. There are loads of activities out there on the internet, but I wanted something a little more personal so that J would connect with it and he’s into free running at the moment, so meet the ‘H free running crew!’

This is Charlie and he likes chasing people.

This is Whitmore (there are not many wh names – that I could think of anyway) and he likes whistling.

This is Shelly and she likes shimmying into a spin.

And last but not least this is Theo and he likes walking on thin things.

Our best time to learn new things is whilst we are eating dinner together so these will come out whenever we’re not having a tired tear filled meal time.

Another activity I made was painting by sound…

(Yes it got J’d before I could explain how to do the activity!)

This is our sound monster. You have to use the right colour for the sound. We will use paint Dabbers as J isn’t much into colouring, but if you have a little one who enjoys colouring with pencils or pens, you can use them too. The great thing about this is again it could be completely personalised and you don’t have to be an artist to draw a very simple picture that has large spaces to colour in.

Kinetic Sand – What do you do with it?

I was asked this question last week, and I was slightly amazed at my shock and horror that someone wouldn’t know what to do with it.

We absolutely love Kinetic sand in our house. It’s one of J’s favourite things to play with and it’s one of the only things that really keeps him focused and spends more than 5 minutes playing with it. This is probably why I have a real love for Kinetic Sand (KS)!

We bought it mainly because J loves sand, and it’s a bit tricky to just have sand inside, so this is the perfect solution. It doesn’t go everywhere, and even if it is dropped on the floor, then it’s fairly easy to pick up in a clump.

There are lots of benefits to KS and Michaels Blog – The Glue String does a brilliant job of explaining those benefits. It can also be great for children (and adults with ADHD and ASD). Just having pot of it out all the time in their room or on their desk at school, can help them when feeling unsettled, or needing to focus or requiring that feeling of deep pressure. Just pouring the sand over your hand can really help with those who need that sensory feeling. The sand never dries up, so it can be left out.

There are all sorts of Kinetic Sand, and lots of different brands and I’ve tried out a few of them. But my favourite (Unfortunately because it is the more expensive) is the official Kinetic sand. It feels so much nicer than the cheaper brands.


I know in our experience, it really does calm J, the feeling of the sand in his hands meets his sensory needs, but also creatively it can be almost anything.

So how can you play with Kinetic Sand?

We started off simply having having a scoop and some pots in but over time we’ve progressed in sand play.

  1. Get some little diggers and just have some scooping fun, especially if you have diggers and dump trucks.
  2. Carve the sand into roads and ravines for cars and diggers to travel along. Make it into a sand town and add houses and little people and cars.
  3. In a tuft tray or a roasting tin, add animals, sticks and maybe a safari vehicle if you have one, for a desert play scene.
  4. Add in a rocket, aliens and space men for walking on the moon play.
  5. Make pretend food out of it, it can be rolled, cut, prodded, made into chips, sausages, pies and ice-cream. Add some cups, spoons or some cupcake cases. (Hint don’t use silicone cases or chocolate moulds if you want to use them for food again, the sand doesn’t easily come out).
  6. J loved watching fall out of bottles…IMG_1765 2
  7. Use all different types of pots or vases or jugs.
  8. Roll it out and use cookie cutters.
  9. Roll it out and stamp different patterns into it.
  10. Roll it out and write in it, practice writing, learn shapes and letters and numbers.
  11. Make Skate Parks for mini BMX’s or Mini skate boards.
  12. Push Magnetic letters and numbers into it.

The more sand you have the better, we bought two 2lb packs of the sand and it definitely increases the fun.

Hopefully thats enough ideas to get you started!! And I also hope you have as much fun as we do!