A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

Poll: What’s Your Favourite Children’s Book?

With World Book Day upon us I thought I would ask all my lovely readers what your favourite children’s books are.

Why not take my poll and share your views with me?

Lets see what our number one and all time favourite is!

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Party Time – A Baby Takeover

I’ve had a lovely morning this morning at my friend’s birthday party.

Lots of my friends were there, there was party food and most importantly cake, it was a lion!!!! I managed a hole in one with a cupcake everyone was very impressed!

My friend got a trike for his birthday so our mummies say we can go out for rides together as I’ve got one too. I am looking forward to that!

I’m playing at home now with mummy, daddy and my grandma and grandad, they are staying the night with us, I like seeing them and they are very impressed with my new walking skills!

Daddy, grandma and grandad are all shouting at the television at the minute, there seems to be some men in red running at some men in white that have a funny shaped football, it’s all very exciting. Mummy says she has other reasons for watching but I am not sure what she means???? 🙂

oooh that sounded like the big food thing, I think mummy calls it an oven, that means my food is ready so I am off now night folks!

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It’s a baby takeover

So… my mummy has been a bit busy the last few days and not really had chance to update you all on what we’ve been up to so this is a baby hijack and I am going to share what I’ve done today with you in my own words!

First I woke my mummy very early because I’d had enough sleep. Mummy lets me come and sit in her bedroom with her so I can have my bottle and play while she gets ready. I insisted on emptying the contents of her make up bag to find the very best items to play drums with, I find the moisturiser tubs and eyeliner pencils make a great set! Then when I was bored with that I got all my books and read some of my favourites while mummy got ready.

Then we headed downstairs for breakfast and a play but I was far too interested in Zingzillas to eat much of my breakfast or drink any of my milk, who has time for that when there’s dancing to be done?

After a short play we headed across to grandmas so that mummy could go and get about her business, sometimes she goes to a place called work.

It was funny to watch mummy having a fight with my car seat though, it’s almost as big as she is and very heavy, she said she had forgotten she had to use daddy’s car today and had to move it across so she could take me to grandmas. I don’t think she was too happy as it took her a long time to manage to put it in and she seemed a bit hot by the time she had finished… anyway back to my day…

Mummy took me to grandmas where I had a little bit more breakfast (a girl has to start the day right and after all I was too busy to eat my breakfast earlier!) then after another play with my favourite toy at grandmas, my new singing hamper, grandma took me to playgroup to see all of my friends.

I like playgroup, there’s lots of really fun toys, my favourite is a little red car but because I am so small I have to make grandma push me around, and around, and around, and around and… oh, ok you get the message! Anyway, once I have made grandma dizzy I then had to practice my walking all around the room, exploring all the other toys before taking a short break for biscuits and a drink, that’s another favourite part of my day!

By the time I finished playgroup I was one tired out little girl, especially after I woke mummy so early this morning, so we went back to grandmas so I could have a nap.

When I woke up grandma had a lovely yummy dinner ready for me and then we played with my toys and read some of my faourite books. I have lots of fun with my grandma, we do lots of fun things and if I ask nicely she also sings funny songs with me, I really like the dingle dangle scarecrow and laugh at grandma doing the actions.

After we had lots of fun and I practiced walking all over grandmas house and exploring to perfect my steps she brought me back home. I’ve had a lovely day but I was also very happy to see my mummy and daddy.

I had some tea and then spent the night playing with mummy and daddy and having lots of cuddles. I also watched CBeebies bedtime hour, Waybuloo and In The Night Garden are some of my favourite programmes, along with Mr Tumble, he is funny!

I am cream crackered now, daddy read me my bedtime story tonight which was all about mummy dog and baby dog playing hide and seek with the other pets, I like that book as I can peek under the flaps, but I think it’s time to go to bed now and cuddle up to my bunnies and start dreaming about my fun day tomorrow! My other grandma and grandad are coming to see me and I am looking forward to seeing them. It’s also my friend’s birthday and I am going to his party… Hmmm….. I wonder if there’ll be cake?????

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Book Review: Calm Down Boris! (Sam Lloyd)

“Boris is a VERY lovable monster. If only he didn’t get so carried away…”

This is a fantastic book that I came across whilst I was pregnant with my little girl and on holiday. Its bright fun cover with fluffy monster puppet head jumping out immediately caught my attention and it still doesn’t cease to amuse me and my daughter!

Children journey with the excitable and “kissy kissy kissy” Boris through his day as he gets ready to go to the park, eat his picnic and play with the other little monsters before the story culminates in Boris saving the day… but as to how I won’t give any more away!

This is a fun book for children across a wide range of ages. I’ve read it to my daughter since she was 6 months old and I have friend’s children who are 3 and 4+ who also love it. The reaction to Boris’ tickly kisses has been so good time and time again that I have bought Boris and some of the other books from the Sam Lloyd monster range as Christmas and birthday presents, which have gone down a treat!

I’d recommend this range to anyone looking for a fun, imaginative and entertaining story for their little one.

LINKS:

Find out more about Sam Lloyd and her books

If you like book reviews why not check out @Homedad’s Fiction Fridays

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Aquadoodle Review

So like me you probably want to release your little one’s inner creative genius but you’d rather not have crayon or paint all over your walls

or furniture? The first time I tried arts and crafts with my little girl it got somewhat messy and slightly put me off from going there again in my own home for quite a while!

However at Christmas I came across Aquadoodle and it is a fantastic solution!

Generally speaking Aquadoodle is a mat that you can lay on your floor (travel sizes also available) and allow children to doodle on with the Aquadoodle pen.

So what’s the difference to a piece of paper and crayons or pens I hear you ask? The difference being that the Aquadoodle pen will ONLY write on the Aquadoodle mat, so any stray strokes won’t leave any tell-tale signs! Genius! All you need do is fill the Aquadoodle pen with water and hey presto it writes, there’s no ink and it’s non-toxic too.

My little one found it hard to draw with crayons initially as she couldn’t put enough pressure onto the paper but the Aquadoodle pen needs little pressure at all and is easy for little fingers to grip and doodle with.

The mat we have has a range of pictures around the edge, each relating to a letter of the alphabet, when the pen is drawn over the images and / or letter they show up in dark blue, so it’s a great way of encouraging your child to doodle, whilst also teaching them new words and the alphabet. the centre part of the mat is left for releasing your child’s creativity in whatever way they like. My daughter and I draw around one another’s hands and I have even managed to draw around her when she was a little smaller! You can even wet your child’s hands and feet and they can make marks on the mat that way too.

You can get lots of different versions of the mats including a rainbow one which looks quite cool, as well as smaller travel / table size mats (the large ones do however roll / fold down very small anyway). My daughter loves playing with her Aquadoodle and although not cheap I think it’s certainly been worth the money!

Find out more about Aquadoodle

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Pancakes and Art

Here’s some we made earlier….

Some of our achievements from our arts morning out today with one of my lovely mummy friends and our gorgeous daughters

After a fun morning out getting arty we couldn’t resist some scrumptious pancakes!

HAPPY PANCAKE DAY!!!!

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Fun Morning Out Trying Something New!

I guess this post follows on perfectly from my previous post yesterday about the joys and benefits of reading!

We’ve just had a fun morning out at a local Debutots class with a couple of my lovely mummy friends and our daughters. I’d seen the groups advertised for several months but was never sure if my daughter was at the right age yet however as I saw today there were children there of all ages and they were all having great fun!

As the Debutots website says Debutots is a unique blend of interactive storytelling and dramatic play for 6 months to 7 years where imaginations soar, communication skills grow and creativity and confidence gently blossom.”

It does just what it says on the tin!

The class involved a sing song welcome with actions for everyone to join in with and then moved onto a bit of dancing, which saw all the kids up and shaking about. In between bouts of music the lady running the class introduced the different characters that were going to be in the story for the day and encouraged the children to act the animals out. There was a Fox, which saw the children on their hands and knees sniffing the ground and shaking their tales, a Rabbit, which saw them bouncing with their floppy ears and eating a carrot, a badger, which involved them on their hands and knees, scratching at the ground and digging up delicious earthworms to eat, followed by an owl, which the children loved creating by running around swooping their arms like wings.

We then moved on to telling the tale about how Fireman Fox went around checking all the BBQ fires that the creatures were making and at one point Fireman Fox had to put out the fire that had got too big when one of the animals had fallen asleep and left it. The children all had to run and grab their pretend buckets of water to throw on the flames.

It was lovely to watch them all engaging with the one another and creatively acting out the story. I think it’s important to encourage children to use their imagination and to journey off into magical lands on adventures. I think it helps build their interaction with one another and overall communication skills as well as their creativity.

After the main class there were story books for the children to choose and read and juice, tea and biscuits for everyone to enjoy while having a catch up too. Always a bonus!

I had fun and I know my daughter did, she was clapping, laughing and shaking her body to the music, I think it will be even better as she gets a bit older as she is still quite young and not steady on her feet yet, once she can run around more and get up and down easily she could get really involved. A plus point is that it wore her out and she’s fast asleep now and I am getting to write this update for you all and have a cup of tea! All in all I will certainly go back to a Debutots class and would recommend any mum to take a look at the Debutots site and find out if there’s a group near you, It’s not expensive and offers a fun filled creative hour to entertain your little ones!

Do you have an experience of a Debutots group or other children’s drama group near you? Why not share it with us!?

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A little reading each day goes a long long way!

As children both my husband and I were bookworms, there wasn’t a day went by that we didn’t read in some way shape or form and I remember it being like that for as far back as I can remember. Both sets of parents had instilled into us the importance of reading and had enjoyed sharing story time with us. Some of my favourites that I can still remember today were Topsy and Tim, Meg and Mog, Spot the Dog, Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree stories, Famous Five collection and The Wishing Chair to mention a few

As we have grown our love for and passion for books and stories hasn’t waned. My husband loves his Kindle that I bought him and I have to say I am rather fond of it too, not least because he can store his books in one place now rather than any more room being taken up in our house, he is a real book worm and we were running out of space! Looking back through school reports recently I noticed that I always had a reading age higher than that of my age throughout school and that was obviously testament to the time I spent reading both on my own and with my parents. Whilst I may have found the attraction of shopping with my friends and going out more attractive in my teenage years and may not get the chance to read myself as much nowadays I still take the opportunity to pick up a book when I can and now love having daily stories with my little girl.Reading is so important for children in helping them develop.

An International Study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently examined the long-term impact of parental support on literacy.  The OECD analysis, based on teenagers in 14 developed countries, found on average, teenagers whose parents had helped with reading at the beginning of school were six months ahead in reading levels at the age of 15.

Leading education institution Kumon states there are Four key reasons for reading to your child

  • Improve their literacy – the more you read to your children, the more competent they will become.
  • Quality time – Time spent reading with them will not only improve their reading skills, but also benefit their well-being and self-confidence. Feeling close to your parents is something that every child needs.
  • Improve their general knowledge and imagination – Every book is different and will display a whole new world to your children.  This can really help their general knowledge and will develop their creativity and imagination at the same time.
  • Calm them down before going to bed – Reading to your child before going to bed is the best way to end the day and relax them before falling sleep. 

Surely these are fantastic ways to give our children the best start in life?! I’ve been reading a bedtime story to my daughter every night since she was a few months old and I think this did help as a key part of her bedtime routine, it let her know that it’s time to sleep now and helped wind her down after a busy day.  We have also been taking our daughter to Bookstart Rhyme Time sessions at our local library since then too and I think they are fantastic. They combine a short story with music and rhymes and the children absolutely adore it and are on their feet dancing and taking part in the action rhymes and songs. If you join the Bookstart Bear Club every time your child attends the library to read, takes books out or attends a Rhyme Time event you get a stamp and every six stamps you get a Bookstart certificate, which is even more encouragement for your little ones to take part and enjoy reading as they feel a sense of achievement.

My little girl may only be 18 months old but she’s already building quite a collection of books and absolutely adores them. Below are just a few of our favourites:

She also likes lots of ‘lift the flap’ and sound books such as:

  • Find That Freight: Lift-A-Flap Sound Book [With Soundboard] (Thomas & Friends) by Publications International
  • Heads (Mathew Van Fleet)
  • The Wheels on the Bus: A teddy bear sing a long book (David Ellwand)

There’s many, many more but these are just a few of our favourite recommendations. I am aiming to review a few of them and hopefully some more as I develop my blog so keep checking back and please do let me know if you have any recommendations of your own. What books do your children love?

Happy Reading!

TIPS, LINKS AND FURTHER INFO

Places to purchase children’s books and to fin out more information about books

The Kumon Institute believes there are five good ways to help children read within the family environment:

  • Read to each other
  • Ask questions about the story
  • Enrol at the local library
  • Look up for unknown words
  • Be a good example

The Words for Life website also has a great range of information about helping your child along the way including tips for reading bedtime stories, fun things to do for different age groups and important milestones.

March 1st is World Book Day which celebrates authors, illustrators and books. Their website is fantastic and has a host of information from resources for parents, nurseries and schools, book recommendations, games and competitions. I would strongly recommend a visit!

On Thursday 1st March 2012, 9.30 – 10am you can visit www.worldbookday.com to view The Biggest Book Show on Earth where you can watch the following authors and illustrators live:

Nurseries and schools may also be giving away £1 vouchers to children to use to purchase any of this year’s nominated World Book day books so don’t forget to see if your nursery or school is participating!

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Baby Swimming – An Amazing and Most Valuable Life Lesson

Having been a true water baby when I was younger, one of the key priorities for me with my little girl was to make sure she had confidence in the water. During a visit to a baby fair I came across the Waterbabies organisation and was immediately blown away at the prospect of what I could achieve with my daughter and the benefits it would have for her.

Baby swimming is said to significantly improve a child’s development, whilst it also helps boost their confidence . Research highlighting the benefits dates back to Dr Mrytle McGraw’s study in 1939 “Swimming Behaviour in the Human Infant”. More recently a 2010 study conducted by Professor Hermundur Sigmundsson and Professor Brian Hopkins found that baby swimming improved children’s movement and balance significantly in comparison to non swimmers.

Most importantly for me however is the concept that babies who take part in swimming lessons from an early age have a reduced risk of drowning.  A case-controlled study conducted by Ruth Brenner discovered that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged one to four years. Surely that’s a good enough reason in itself to hit the swimming pool!?

I signed my daughter up to Waterbabies classes when she was 6 months old and I was thrilled at how well she took to it. The instructors are fully qualified and the idea around the class is to teach us as the parents to teach our babies to swim. There’s a range of exercises and activities that you take part in throughout the class, they include

  • Learning how to hold and guide your baby in the water (the different holds change as the course develops and babies confidence grows)
  • Control phrases to make sure your child is aware of when a specific activity is going to begin
  • Getting used to going under water (from the initial taking them under and back up to more advanced swims under the water)
  • Teaching your child to hold onto the side, move along it and climb out
  • Fun songs and props such as balls, rubber ducks / fish, tubes and floats

The first entry level was split into four terms and we completed all of them. However unfortunately my little girl suffered what they call “The Wobbles” for the last term and a half. The wobbles are said to happen when they are going through a key development period (for us it was learning to stand / walk), for whatever reason she got upset every time we used the control phrases and as a result we generally weren’t able to complete many of the under-water activities. It was probably added to by the fact that we also went through a period of repeat illnesses during this period so that will have obviously made her not particularly keen too and we did miss some lessons because of this. As a result we have decided to hold off doing the next level as we feel we have missed so much.

Despite not continuing with specific lessons at this stage I am definitely going to continue to take my daughter swimming on my own and once I am sure the wobbles have gone I will look to certainly sign her back up to lessons.

I would still recommend Waterbabies to anyone.

Positives:

  • The course covers a wide range of skills and takes things gradually
  • There are demonstrations ahead of every class member having the opportunity to try the new skill / activity and with direct support of the instructor.
  • the songs, toys, floats etc make it great fun and interactive
  • There’s a lot of support from the Waterbabies team out of the pool too

Negatives:

  • Some people may think it is going a little too slow at times but I think you have to remember that they are babies and it takes time for them to learn and develop new skills, rushing them and overloading them won’t help.
  • The rate per lesson can seem expensive
  • There is a strong non refund policy so if your child is sick (like our daughter was) you can lose out on quite a bit of money

But I still signed up for four terms so these points obviously didn’t make that much of a difference! The positives by far outweigh these negatives.

The experience and skills you can give your child are invaluable.

The International Life Saving Federation states that “The best scientific evidence has taught us that 1.2 million people around the world die by drowning every year, that is more than two persons per minute. From that more than 50 percent are children. All over the world, infants and toddlers drown more frequently than people at any other age. Inadequate supervision, an inability to swim, and lack of barriers separating toddlers from pools and other water are the main causes of drownings of small children.”

With that in mind baby swimming is one of the most invaluable things I have done with my daughter, whether she’s having or had the wobbles, she has still gained so much from it already and if I can teach her a life saving skill then I am a happy mummy.

To find out more about the benefits of baby swimming and classes why not follow some of my links below. There’s also a link to Splashabout, an essential link to a range of products to keep baby, happy and content in the water. Happy Splashing!:

International Life Saving Federation (drowning stats)

Medical News Today – Study finds benefits in teaching babies to swim

E Science News – Ruth Brenner Study

Baby World – The benefits of teaching your baby to swim

Waterbabies

Waterbabies You Tube video

Baby Swimmers

Little Fishes

Dolphin Baby Swim

Splash About – Baby Swimwear

Swimbabes

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A few tiny totters and we’re off!

So for months now I’ve watched as all my mummy friends kids took their first steps wondering when it might be my little girl’s turn and this last week has finally been the turning point!

We weren’t the earliest in the physical development states, we didn’t bear weight on our legs and we HATED tummy time. We sat up at 7 months but didn’t move until 11 months and even then it wasn’t the most conventional of methods. After the hatred of tummy time crawling was probably never likely to be on the cards, instead we opted for a bum shuffle. However strange this may have looked it was actually very cute and quite endearing. It did attract a lot of attention when we were out and about and comments of “oh wow look at that”, “I’ve never seen anything like it”, “that’s an alternative way of getting around” and “awww how cool / cute” were regular utterances.

From around 13 months we started to bear weight for the first time and became happy to ‘totter’ holding onto someone’s hand, but the minute the grip was released the legs buckled and we sat ourselves back down. Harnesses / reins were not an option at all and resulted in tears and the ‘Walker’ was initially an item of fear. At 16 months out of the blue at a friend’s house we took our first tiny steps across the room between mummy and daddy and we were so thrilled at our own achievement we practiced for the next two hours continuously, then nothing again for several weeks. Then we began to test the water with the walker and realised it wasn’t as bad as first thought and gradually our confidence built. Finally, this last week or two saw more tentative steps on our own before we launched ourselves across the room and decided not to stop and not to look back!

It’s an amazing thing to watch my little girl take her next bold move in the world, I’ve waited for so long! Now I am told I’ll be wishing I hadn’t urged it and will need eyes in the back of my head and that’s probably so! Just the other night after getting my daughter out of the bath my husband turned to lift the towel of the radiator, only to turn back and realise there was no child in front of him! A glance to the left saw a little naked bum running off across the landing towards her bedroom! Need I say any more… What have we let ourselves in for! Would we change it? Never!!!!

To find out more about development and developmental milestones why not visit some of the following links that I found helpful:

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