What's Your Favorite Bug?: inspiring a love of art and reading

What's Your Favorite Bug?: inspiring a love of art and reading

When I think of picture books my thoughts always go to the story, which is funny considering we call them ‘picture’ books. But the artwork has a huge impact on our emotions and impressions when reading a picture book, adding depth and feeling. Talking about the artwork is so useful for developing emotional intelligence

ages 2 to 10

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Petra: an endearing tale of optimism

Petra: an endearing tale of optimism

ages 2 to 8 My kids have a thing for rocks. Our house is full of ‘cool rocks’ that have been picked up nearly every time we go outside. They use them as a phone, a pet, a magic crystal and everything in between. I’m still trying to work out what exactly it is that makes some rocks ‘cool’ and others just a rock. I think in the end it comes down to perception – the potential the kids see in each rock, and there’s an important life lesson in that.

It’s a lesson that is taught in a gentle way in Petra by Marianna Coppo.

Petra may be a rock, but she’s not ‘just’ a rock.

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24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

Fun is ambiguous don’t you think?  One person’s fun is another person’s special agony (I’ve heard there are people who really enjoy cleaning the oven—never met one, just heard), but most of us find that there’s nothing quite as fun as giving our brain a workout ... here's a collection of things-to-do that work your brain at any age—with links to books to cement, inspire and connect that wonderful work.

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get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

get ready for a fun and noisy chain reaction of calamities!

ages 3 to 8 years
When I was in my early 20’s I was privileged to teach English in China, an amazing experience filled with people, culture and experiences. And I got to visit the Beijing Zoo.

I had no real interest in the zoo itself, but I’d always wanted to see a panda. So in 42-degree heat and what felt like 110% humidity I made my way across Beijing. And … it was rather disappointing. The panda WAS cute, but

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'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.

During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it

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bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

As you can probably tell from some of my other posts, we LOVE making/creating/experimenting at home. Besides being great fun, our crafty times educate, strengthen relationships and encourage communication and vocabulary—plus they're great for fine motor skills.

I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration and, although there are millions of activities on offer on the internet, I prefer to use books.  ..... this one is chock full of boredom busters, crafts, games and simple science—there's no end of inspiration

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reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

ages toddler to 5-years
Ridiculously, 4 of our grandchildren (including newborn Ezra) live in Cairns and 2 are in Tasmania. That’s pretty much opposite ends of the country and at least a two hour flight each way.  So weekly or even monthly visits just aren’t an option. But Samantha suggested this great app—Marco Polo. It’s probably not the original intention, but it works really well for reading stories.

I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes.

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