Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Favourite Five: Books about the Snow

As it's the last day of winter and spring is on its way, I thought I might farewell the chilly season by sharing with you our favourite five books about the snow.

Not many of us get to experience snow here in Australia, however, living in Canberra we are fortunate to be close to the snow fields. However, our trip to the snow this year was a bit of a disaster! We were caught in a terrible blizzard. It was dangerous and scary for the kids but thankfully we made it off the mountain before the roads were shut.

Grug at the Snow (Grug) Grug at the Snow by Ted Prior

White Snow, Bright Snow White Snow Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt

Snow Snow by PD Eastman

Snowballs Snowballs by Lois Elhert

Snow Is My Favorite and My Best Charlie and Lola: Snow is my Favorite and my Best by Lauren Child

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Foggy Foggy Canberra!

A popular book for us this winter has been Nick Sharratt's Foggy Foggy Forest.  Winter in Canberra is cold and most mornings start with a thick fog, so this delightful picture book was perfect!
The Foggy, Foggy Forest

To create a sense of fog the book has translucent vellum paper covering the picture underneath. With the story's repetitive question "what can this be in the foggy foggy forest?" we have heaps of fun trying to guess which fairy tale picture lays beneath.

We recently made our own foggy picture book, called Foggy Foggy Canberra!  I found an old tourist photographic magazine in an op-shop that we used for the pictures and baking paper to provide the foggy effect.

What can this be in foggy foggy Canberra?

It's the Telstra Tower!

We are now saying goodbye to the foggy mornings as the weather warms up and we move into Spring, but we still have our foggy book to look at.

If you are looking for more craft and play ideas, please check out these lovely blogs!

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Create a Storytelling Jar

how to create a storytelling jar

Storytelling is a popular pastime in our house.  We tell stories in the car, at the dinner table, at bedtime and any other time that takes our fancy.

To keep our storytelling fun and fresh I created the storytelling jar!

Using a lovely shaped jar that I found at an op-shop, I filled it with lots of brightly coloured notes. On each note there is a word or a short statement. Some examples include going to the playground, bananas, helicopters, rainy day, on the farm, and monkeys!

A storytelling jar

We take turns to select a note and then make up a story about the concept we find on it. The jar was a big hit, not only with my 3 year old but my husband as well! 

The jar is located on bench near the breakfast bar and while I'm making lunches in the morning or cooking dinner in the evening the kids sit at the breakfast bar and we tell each other stories.  

Other ways to start the storytelling fun is through the use of props, like toys as characters or you could try story stones like those made by My Little Bookcase

Storytelling is a rich experience for children that benefits their literacy skill development.  It is a wonderful activity to help improve vocabulary and language skills as well as develop the art of conversation. When children tell stories they are learning to use their imagination as well as understand the structure of stories, including setting the scene, sequences of events and incorporating a variety of characters.  Most of all, it's fun!

How do you and your children tell stories at your house?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Little Golden Book Challenge

A challenge was issued by My Little Bookcase to think of creative or practical ways to reuse/upcycle Little Golden Books that have been damaged.

We have a lovely collection of vintage Little Golden Books that my husband had when he was a child and our children love them! I have added to the collection over the years from finds from garage sales and op-shops.  Some of them are a little worse for wear and we also have some duplicates, making them perfect for this challenge.

Oscar's Book by Jeffrey Moss was the first Little Golden Book I chose to craft with.  It had a number of torn pages and I decided to make a collage using for my Daughter's room.  The grass is made from Oscar, the tree trunk was from Oscar's trash can and the leaves were from a variety of pictures that were red, orange or yellow (including Big Bird and Ernie).

I am really happy with the result. The leaves were the most tedious part of the picture but I think it was worth it.

My second collage was for my Son, who is really in to pirates at the moment.  So a tatty old Peter Pan book was perfect.  I had an old picture frame that I got for 50c at a local Op-Shop but it was a terrible green colour. I jazzed it up a little using some left over white paint from a recent renovation.  I then took the scissors to the book (which always feels a little wrong).

I hope my little man likes it.  I know I certainly do!

I have a great time with this challenge.  If you want to join in the fun, head over to My Little Bookcase to find out more and get some inspiration.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday's Favourite Find: Kisses for Daddy

With Father's Day just around the corner (4 Sept) this week's favourite find is very timely.  Kisses for Daddy by Frances Watts and  illustrated by David Legge is a gorgeous bedtime story about a grumpy little bear who doesn't want to give his Daddy a goodnight kiss.

Daddy Bear keeps trying and while he helps Baby Bear with the bath time routine, he gives lots of kisses  just like other animals do. He tries a giraffe, koala, crocodile, bat, tiger, monkey and a mouse, but continues to hear  "No kiss for Daddy." When Baby Bear is finally in bed, the dejected Daddy Bear sighs and turns to walk away but Baby Bear has something for him! 

David Legge's illustrations of the bears are playful and certainly cuddly! This is a perfect story for children to share with their Dads, acting out all the different animal kisses. It is both heart-warming and lots of fun!

Happy reading and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rain clouds and puddle jumping

It has been raining for the majority of the day, so we decided to get out into the rain and enjoy some puddle jumping!

After splashing around in the puddles, we came inside, dried off and started crafting.  We made a rain cloud by sticking cotton wool balls onto a piece of cardboard in the shape of a cloud.  I then cut out some rain drops and stuck them some string and then to the cloud.

When James finished making the cloud he proceeded to tell me that it wasn't a rain cloud because it was too white and fluffy and rain clouds are dark and grey! Another insightful lesson from my little man!

We are off to the library tomorrow to find some books about rain and the weather.  

If you are looking for more fun play and craft activities, please check out these lovely blogs that we link up with!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A visit to the lady shop

Today we went to the Lady Shop! The lady shop is what James calls our local hairdressers (because it's always full of ladies).  James, Emily and I all got our hair cut today.

James loves to get his hair cut and he has been going to the lady shop since he was 9 months old. My kids are blessed with lots of thick hair! His favourite part of the haircutting experience is when they finish cutting his hair and he asks, ever so nicely, for some 'cream'. The hairdresser then puts some hair wax in his hair and makes it all 'spikey wikey'.

Today was Emily's very first haircut. I wasn't sure how she would go, but was hoping that she would follow in her brother's footsteps and love the experience.  Unfortunately, I was very, very wrong! As soon as the hairdresser approached her (just for a chat, not even with the scissors) she started to scream. We managed to quickly trim her fringe before she completely lost it and we gave up. I am always amazed at just how different my beautiful children are.

So this experience got me thinking, are there any stories out there for children about getting their haircut. Here is what my searching uncovered:

  • Sprinkles' First Haircut by Dan Kanemoto
  • No Haircut Today! by Elivia Savadier

Sprinkles' First Haircut    No Haircut Today!

I noticed that there are not many books available about little girls that don't want their haircut, but I will keep looking. Do you know of any?

Have you had a similar experience with your children? If so, do you have any hints or tips for making the hairdresser experience a little easier for our next visit (which will no doubt be soon, the way her hair grows)?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Turtle day!

This rainy day was filled with turtle fun. Here's what we got up to...

We started by reading one of our favourite turtle books, One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. This is a beautiful story that explores the life cycle of the loggerhead sea turtle.

One Tiny Turtle

We then made a paper plate turtle:

I got inspiration to make this little turtle from the lovely blog Our Crafts-N-Things.

What would a turtle day be without a great turtle song.  Being big fans of the Wiggles, we spent the day singing Murray Had A Turtle. You can watch it via YouTube.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Favourite Five: Books about Bunyips

After visiting a Bunyip statue at one of our local libraries this week, I thought I would look around for some stories about bunyips.  Here's our favourite five:

Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip Emily and the BIG BAD Bunyip by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek by Jenny Wagner

Rosie and the Bunyip (Aussie Nibbles S.) Rosie and the Bunyip (Aussie Nibbles) by Meredith Costain

Bunyips Don't! Bunyips Don't by Sally Farrell Odgers

Watch Out, Little Wombat! Watch Out, Little Wombat! by Charles Fuge.

Happy Reading!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday's Favourite Find: Pancakes, Pancakes!

This week's favourite find is Eric Carle's Pancakes, Pancakes!

When Jack woke up he felt like a pancake for breakfast, but who would have thought making a pancake was such hard work? To help his mother make the pancake, Jack has to cut and mill the wheat to make flour, collect the eggs, milk the cow, churn the butter and build a fire. All his hard work is worth it when he finally gets to eat his delicious breakfast.

This is another wonderful story by Eric Carle featuring his iconic artistic style.  I love that this story looks at where our food comes from and especially the hard work that goes into making it.  Something we all could be reminded of every now and again in this world of pre-packaged convenience food.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bunyip hunting!

It was a beautiful sunny day so we ventured outdoors to go exploring. The new library in Gungahlin has a wonderful bronze statue that I have been wanting show the kids, so off we went to find it.

The statue is called A is for Alexander, B is for Bunyip, C is for Canberra and it was designed by Anne Ross. Alexander the Bunyip is from Michael Salmon's 1970s book The Monster that Ate Canberra.  Alexander was a short-sighted bunyip that mistook famous Canberra landmarks for food.  For all things Michael Salmon, check out his website.

We managed to hunt down this bunyip.  Here he is:

After enjoying the sunshine we went into the library for Story time and then borrowed a wonderful array of books - mostly on dragons, which is the closet we could get to bunyips.

A bunyip is a creature from Aboriginal mythology that lived in swamps and billabongs.