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!

6 ways to keep your kids busy

Today’s guest post is from Brittnay, creator of The NutButter Hub. A lovely website full of delicious healthy recipes, travel inspirations and loads of food tips. Here are 6 ways to keep your kids busy…

Kids always need something to do and there seems to never be enough time to plan enough activities with your children. On the bright side of things it doesn’t take much to ensure your kids are not bored out of their minds during breaks and other times where they would be spending more time with their parents. If you want to know some awesome ways to keep kids busy and engaged read on for some simple tips.

1. Indoor Camp Out

What kid doesn’t love to pretend play and make their dreams come true? What they would love even more is actually bringing their imagination to life. Brining the camping inside is just the fun they may be looking for.

For this activity you will need a tent, a real one will do or one made from sheets is good too. Pretend to light a fire and eat freeze-dried foods. You could also make indoor s’mores very easily at your stove or in your microwave. Be sure to get the sleeping bags and ghost stories ready for a fun night under the ‘stars’.

2. Do It Yourself Slide

More often than not there is so much cardboard around the house for kids to get into that we forget to be creative with it. Give a kid a box and they will have a blast for hours. The next time you are about to throw out that cardboard think twice because it could make a perfect activity for your kids. If you have stairs in your home you can make the perfect slide.

Take the cardboard and completely cover the stairs from top to bottom. Make sure the landing at the bottom of your steps is made soft by layers pillows. Now you have a safe slide to go down and the kids will love to go up and down over and over.

3. Make Your Own T-Shirts

Let’s be real, kids will practically draw all over the house if you let them. Foster their creativity skills and design your own t-shirts. It doesn’t take much to get this done and can be made on new or old shirts.

Use any type of art medium your child likes such as crayons, markers, or even let them paint on their shirt. Make sure to hand wash and dry your shirts so that your kids can cherish their creations for years to come.

4. Rainbow Bubbles

Bubbles are a great activity for hot summer days when the kids have nothing to do and can be made out of things you are guaranteed to have on hand. To create big rainbow bubbles get an old sock, cup, food coloring, and dish soap to make huge colorful foamy bubbles. Any age would love this activity and you could give the older kid materials and have them guide the younger kids. Everyone will be amazed at out cool they turn out looking and will want to make them all the time.

5. Outdoor Pizza BBQ

Pizza is the ultimate kids food and can be customized for even the pickiest eater. Make some dough in advance with the kids and tell them they can invite their friends over for a pizza grilling party. Bring out the picnic tables and let the kids add toppings and decorate their pizza with funny faces.

While the kids are busy decorating have an adult attend to the gas grill the kids will be so busy competing with their friends they will be too busy to notice the grill. Just be sure to ensure practice gas grill safety whenever you have kids near a gas grill.

6. Reading

Reading does not just have to occur before bedtime and kids love to sit and hear their favorite stories. For younger kids you will need to read lots of short stories like The Very Hungry Caterpillar that will keep them listening.

Older kids will sit and listen to longer books and would enjoy classic tales such as The Hobbit. Bonus if the book has a movie you can entice your kid into sitting and listening if they know they can watch a cool film once the book is finished.

Kids love to stay busy and will you love you so much for taking the time to have things for them to do. You will feel good knowing you were able to beat boredom with fun while encouraging creativity and learning in your children. Have fun and let loose with your kids they will thank you for it.

Brittnay is an Australian who lived in London for the past two years. She managed to squeeze in 21 trips to Europe and Africa in that time! She’s passionate about travel, health and nutrition, you will find her healthy and delicious recipes at The Nut Butter Hub.