Ten Charlie and the Chocolate Factory activities for younger children

This post was originally published in November 2015. It reappears here in collaboration with million eyez. We’ve just finished a happy romp through the wonderfully bizarre world of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Having realised from page one that this chapter book was going to be a hit, I gathered a few ideas for activities we could try alongside it. For my four-year-old, it was delightful to dig deeper into the experience of the story. For my 21-month-old, it meant she didn’t keep trying to pull the book out of my hand or take me some place else.…

The Children’s Garden by Matthew Appleby

A while ago, I was sent The Children’s Garden a book filled with inspiration for things to make and do with children the garden. It’s written by Matthew Appleby, a former primary school teacher and author of The Allotment Planner. An aesthetically pleasing hardback, full of beautiful and helpfully instructive images, it’s a real pleasure to own and lovely book for the kids to flick through to see if anything appeals if they’re at a loose end. The book presents 52 family projects, themed and ordered by season, ranging from dead-easy, (nighttime snail watch with a torch, anyone?) to reasonably…

Mother’s Milk Books review and giveaway

I first came across indie publisher Mother’s Milk Books a few years ago, both through La Leche League (the breastfeeding charity that has been a source of strength, support and community to me since becoming a mother) and through chatting about breastfeeding and parenting online. Their tagline “Celebrating femininity and empathy through images and words” pretty much encapsulates what drew me to them and the books they publish. I say “they” but the press is run solely by at-home mother and founder Dr Teika Bellamy. Mother’s Milk Books receives no funding and makes no profit but they are putting out…

Jake and Tizzy – language support books for 3 and 4 year olds

My parents visited us from Trinidad over the summer holidays and the girls especially relished the time with their doting grandparents. My mother must have read Talitha hundreds of books. Among them was the Jake and Tizzy collection, a series of books aimed at equipping parents and professionals supporting preschoolers with language delay. To Talitha, they were just delightful stories but I figured my mother, as a special educational needs teacher would have good insight into what else might be going on here. Here’s her review. ‘“Let’s read this, Nana!” Talitha settled herself on my lap, book in hand, as…

12 Caribbean picture books for young children

I remember asking on a Caribbean bloggers group a few years ago for Caribbean book suggestions for young children, especially the preschool bunch. Lots of mentions of Brer Rabbit and Anansi were thrown in but nothing came up that I felt really suited kids under five. Still, between my mother and I (she always has an eye out for Caribbean books and music, keen for her grandchildren to keep their ties with Trinidad and Tobago) we’ve managed to furnish our playroom with a few. So, in case you’re looking for something for your own island baby or just fancy something…

100 Family Adventures – book review and giveaway

I first heard about the Meek family from Laurence. He’s a fan of their adventuring blog. Then, they kept popping up all over the place talking about their year of roadschooling or their “EdVenture”. Since we’ve decided to home educate and since wanting our children to be outdoors as much as possible plays a significant part in that, my interest in their journey was peaked. So, when I heard that Frances Lincoln was publishing the Meek’s book, 100 Family Adventures, I was excited about reviewing it. Tim, Kerry, Amy and Ella Meek’s book is beautifully printed and perfectly at home…

Beyond the Sling – book review and giveaway

I’m a big fan of reading parenting books. I know some people think they distract you listening to your instinct. I believe a good book, with solid footing in science, common sense and compassion can help you separate what you do because it’s left over from your own childhood and how you are naturally wired to parent. Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling is very much that kind of book. Best known these days for her role as Dr Amy Farah Fowler on insanely popular American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience in real life. She…