The more you read, the more things you’ll know…

…The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. That very popular Dr. Seuss quote, and isn’t it the truth?

If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll see I’ve been posting in my stories quite a bit about reading with Israel over a long period of time. Reading, for me is an essential part of learning. Growing up, I read so many books and as I was born in Nigeria and migrated to England at a young age, it was important I learnt good English really quickly, I honestly believe reading is what helped me learn quicker and made it a lot easier for me. Nowadays, I don’t read as much as I’d like to but I do spend a lot of time reading to and with Israel.

Reading is an essential part of learning for everybody, but for children it’s even more important because this is how they learn new words which leads to the development of speech, gaining confidence in saying new words and being able to concentrate for longer periods.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

I try to read to Israel every night but of course sometimes we have a late night and he’s too tired to stay up for a story. When we do read, he loves it, we usually read a minimum of 2 books per night, sometimes we can have up to four, which honestly I don’t have a problem with because he learns so much from them.

Sometimes it can be difficult choosing which books to read to your little one and there have been days where he’s just not interested in the book I’ve chosen lol. So now, I let him choose, I get a collection of books and he picks out which ones he wants to read, this way I know he’ll enjoy our time reading.

I also try to read one book a few times in the week, so he really gets to know the story and by the end of the week, he repeats some of the words and ends some of the sentences. It is important to have books with rhymes and a little rhythm in them to encourage that, also pay attention to the length of the story (too long and they lose interest) touch and feel books are great too, for interaction. I also have books all over my flat so he has access to them throughout the day, I know sometimes as busy parents we don’t always have the time to sit down and read to our children so having books around is a good idea, then they can look at pictures themselves, talk about what they see and just show interest in books in general.

Because Israel’s been brought up on reading, he does bring me books to read to him even during the day, and we share stories whenever, not JUST at bedtime, so technically there’s always time for a story in our house!

Research shows that children who are read to are more likely to exceed in school which tells of the importance of reading to your children from a young age, even simply looking at the pictures in a picture book and discussing them will encourage some learning, reading shouldn’t be a chore, it should be fun! A chance to escape reality!

Here are a few essential books for toddlers, that I’ve used in teaching my kids at work and also some of Israel’s favourites;

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? By Bill Martin Jr.

Ten little fingers and ten little toes by Mem fox and Helen Oxenbury

The very hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle

We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Goodnight spaceman by Michelle Robinson

Where’s spot? By Eric Hill

I want my potty! By Tony Ross

Owl babies by Martin Waddell

There are so many books I haven’t even listed on here! But gosh I do love a good picture book myself, just thinking about all the picture books I’ve read over the years, there are too many to name! Now I’m also quite big on representation in stories, tv programs, media in general because it’s important for all children of all races and social backgrounds to see themselves being represented. Being able to relate to a character in a story is so important in this generation that’s literally being taken over by social media right before our eyes, so here are a few that we love:

Peekaboo morning by Rachel Isadora

Please, baby, please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

Handas surprise by Eileen Browne

My mum is a supermum by Angela Mcallister and Alex T Smith

So much by Trish Cooke

Let’s have fun by Pamela Venus

Mad in the back by Michael Rosen and Richard Watson (I find this story so funny and relatable lol)

To name a few…

The next step in our reading journey is to visit the library more which I want to try and now incorporate into our routine but I really hope you’ve found this post helpful and if you have any books or know any authors you think we could do with reading up on, leave a comment below!

Happy World Book day!

Indoor fun for toddlers – A Christmas series 🎄

Glitter winter sensory bottle

As it’s Christmas season and the temperature has dropped, Izzy and I have been doing a few activities indoors after work and on the weekends. This is the first in my series of Indoor fun for toddlers; Christmas edition. Enjoy!

Making a glitter winter sensory bottle was very quick and easy, the hardest part was probably collecting all the bits we needed and trying to keep Izzy from pouring the glitter and beads everywhere! (Which he still did eventually! Ugh! lol)

This activity is great for toddlers’ fine motor skills development and also communication and language because it requires focus and listening skills as they follow instructions and copy what the adult does. Kids also find these bottles calming and they just love watching how everything moves around and how the substances mix, there’s a lot you can put in your bottle but we used 5 substances.

What you need:

A bottle: we used a ‘smart water’ bottle because I find them quite sturdy and the size was perfect.

Baby oil

Gold glitter

Yellow food colouring (to mix with water)

Beads

Decorative glass shards (frit) – we got these from Flying Tiger

The process –

Put a few drops of the yellow food colouring in the water and mix with a spoon, set aside.

Pour baby oil into your empty bottle up to half way, mine was a quarter way up because I didn’t have enough baby oil, but it still came out amazing!

Pour some glitter into the bottle to sit on top the oil, then put your beads in (we only used white and clear ones to make it look a bit more wintery) then I added the glass shards.

Pour your water into the bottle all the way to the top, leave a tiny bit of air space at the top.

Glue the lid on the bottle to avoid disasters of spillages, I used a glue gun but you can use super glue.

When adding all your substances into the bottle, get your toddler to help, this is where they use their fine motor skills, and show so much concentration. I however, avoided letting Izzy put in the glass shards because of his delicate little fingers, but they’re actually not sharp at all.

It’s beautiful how the substances mix and it literally looks like liquid gold in a bottle! The beads and shards also make a lovely sound like rain when the bottle is moved side to side slowly. What’s also beautiful about this activity is how cheap you can get the stuff you need, perfect!

Izzy loves playing with his sensory bottle, I find he gets more fascinated by it everyday, it’s like he discovers something new every time he plays with it!

I hope you have a go making one of these and if you do, leave me a comment and let me know how it went! Also keep a look out for my next Christmas Indoor fun activity!

Hannah xoxo