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 🎄

I’m back with another fun Christmas activity you can do indoors! Easy to make and so much fun for babies, toddlers and even the older kids!

This week I made a Christmas themed sensory tub for Izzy, with some coloured pasta and some Christmas props. It was so fun for him to play in and he loved all the different things he could feel and hear. This sensory tub is good for their sensory development, fine and gross motor skills and communication and language, as they learn about some colours, talk about what they feel, see and hear. It can also be used to discuss and explain the meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it to older children, who are able to understand.

It’s so easy to make and really doesn’t take long at all, although mine did because I made a silly mistake, haha! I’ll explain as I go along…

What you need:

A small tub/messy play tray

Pasta

Green and red Tempera paint

A dash of PVA glue (so the paint sticks)

Carrier bags/ziplock bags

Christmas props

E.g.

bells

Christmas felt shapes

Tinsel

Snowflake confetti

Pine cones

(All these things can be bought from Poundland or you can even use decorations off your tree.)

The process:

Put pasta in two separate bags; now I’m all about inexpensive ways to entertain my kid so I used food bags that I had lying around in the house. Then, put green paint in one bag and red in the other, add a little pva glue in both and shake shake shake! Make sure all the paint is mixed in well with the pasta and all of the pasta is covered.

Let the pasta dry overnight by pouring and spreading it out onto a flat tray, put some foil paper on the tray first, again, another thing you can find lying around in your kitchen. It should be dry after leaving it overnight. However here’s the mistake I made, I laid all the pasta out on a tray but didn’t spread them out enough and it took three days to dry! Three days! I think I might have put too much red paint on the pasta too because it was the red pasta that took the longest. I usually use rice for sensory play and it dries in a few hours so this was highly annoying that it took so long to dry but we got there in the end!

When the pasta dries, pour it in your tub (I used a bowl I had at home) both colours on either side and throw in your Christmas props and, voila! You have a Christmas sensory play tub. I placed the props in and made the tub look pretty and inviting so Izzy would play in it, I also put in a cup for him to place the bits in.

Izzy wasn’t too sure of the tub at first, so I let him hold the pasta and I told him what colours they were, he repeated them after me, then obviously tried to eat them! I quickly told him they weren’t for eating and once he saw me playing with them, he didn’t try eating them again. **there is a baby friendly way of making the pasta with food colouring in case you have any little nibblers!**

The bells were his favourite, he loved putting them in the cup and shaking it, listening to the sound they made, he eventually added some of the pasta and continued shaking the cup, listening to the sounds. It is safe to say his favourite sensory experience were the sounds.

The good thing about this sensory tub is, you can keep it for as long as you want until your child gets the full play experience from it, after they’re done, you can still store the pasta away for the next time you want to play!

Have a go with this indoor fun idea this Christmas season and let me know how it goes!

Hannah xo

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

OddMumOut is six months!

As the year comes to an end, I’ve been doing some reflecting (as you do) and I realised, oh my gosh! I’ve been blogging for six months now! This definitely has to be celebrated, no? And what better way to celebrate than to write about it.

These past 6 months spent starting up a blog have been pretty eye opening and I’m very proud of myself for sticking to it although not as consistent as I’ve wanted to be with posting. Along the way I’ve actually helped new mums, mums that have been for a while and future mums, women in general and it honestly makes me so, so happy. I don’t have loads of followers but to know that people are reading my stuff means so much more to me.

When I first started my blog, I was beyond nervous, so anxious, I kept on thinking, ‘will people like the stuff I post?’ ‘Will people even read them in the first place?’ ‘What if my blog posts aren’t interesting enough?’ ‘BUT WHAT IF I GET WRITERS BLOCK?! ARGHH!’

But I prayed, and you know, just asked God to guide me and we’ll see where this goes (if you believe in God, one thing I’ve learnt this year is that it’s really important to pray about EVERYTHING you’re putting your hands into) and 6 months later here I am, still going. There are times where I’m stuck on what to write about and other times where I’m just so busy, I don’t have time to sit down and write, but that’s okay. That’s something I’ve had to tell myself, it’s okay to not have time, but it doesn’t mean you should quit. The time will come if you can’t make it right now, and don’t let the issue of time stop you if you’re thinking of starting up a blog in 2018. I always thought I would never have time especially with a baby, but honestly if it’s something you love doing, you will find time.

What I’ve learnt & experienced through motherhood & lifestyle blogging:

1. It’s okay to be open and honest about personal experiences, in fact, readers can relate more to those kinds of posts so will find them more helpful

2. Welcoming people to talk about their own experiences, also helps me deal with some stuff I’m going through

3. I’ve met so many mums through this blogging experience, such amazing strong women

4. You will make time for the things you love

5. Negativity will always be a part of being in the public eye, take it with a pinch of salt and choose your arguments wisely

I didn’t start this year with the goal of starting a blog and seeing it through, it wasn’t in my plans at all. I was too busy worrying about how I was going to handle being a single mum! And as I reflect on my blogging experience, I also want to take this time to just reflect on how proud I am of myself for doing such a great job raising Israel, like, it’s okay to celebrate yourselves! I feel like mums don’t give themselves enough credit for the great jobs they’re doing, forget about all the stress for a minute and forget about all the help you might have needed or asked for. Essentially, we are still here, raising these wonderful little bundles of joy and doing so many other things on the side and I believe we should celebrate ourselves. I’ve loved every minute of being a mum, and without him I wouldn’t be blogging right now. I’ve always wanted to start a blog ever since finishing my journalism degree but I never had anything that I really enjoyed or had enough interest in, to sit and write about. Motherhood literally gave me new life, I found passion, I found someone that I love so much, I could write about everyday of my life and not get bored (I always say this but babies are honestly the most fascinating beings, just watching their growth process is amazing) and me as a mum, as a woman, I’m growing alongside this little being and I’m just so grateful and proud of my growth.

I hope to continue blogging next year, to inspire mothers everywhere, dads too, new bloggers and bloggers who want to blog but aren’t sure. My advice to anyone who wants to start blogging or already is, is don’t put pressure on yourself, let your ideas flow, don’t write for the sake of writing. At the end of the day, blogging is about what you’re passionate about so don’t lose that passion just for the sake of followers or satisfying people’s needs. If you really want to boost your followers, you definitely need a social media presence but honestly, if you write about what you’re passionate about, it will reach someone somewhere. Oh, and it’s okay to take a break!

Hope you’re enjoying this festive period, and I’m wishing you a wonderful new year! See you in 2018 my loves x

Hannah xo