Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Gift Guide: Books and gifts for Under 5's

With trees almost bare and woolly hats aplenty, December is fast approaching and shops are full to the brim already. If you are just starting with your Christmas shopping or want to tie up the loose ends by shopping online, here is the first of our Christmas Gift Guides. Over the next few days, we will share our ideas on what we think will make great presents for little bookworms. A book is a lovely present for Christmas; one that will last long past the time when the batteries run out of those noisy toys that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Barefoot Books have a great selection of gift anthologies for children of all ages, including Playtime Rhymes for Little People, lovely collection of stories for babies and toddlers

For toddlers, who sing traditional rhymes off by heart, why not try out Barefoot's singalong books. With lots of titles in the series, including the bestselling The Animal Boogie, you are sure to find a book to suit every little personality. If you are looking for a more substantial present, there is a great selection of ' Dazzling gift sets', featuring this cool ' Shiver me Timbers ' set.

If it is a traditional winter book that you are looking for, there is a great selection of books over at Barefoot, such as 'Babushka' and Cleo in the Snow. There is also small collection of Christmas books over on our Little Scribbles' Stories site. Our favourite is this beautifully illustrated 'Christmas at the Toy Museum', in which the toys in the museum learn the true value of Christmas, aaahhh.

If your bookshelves are piled high with books ( you can never have too many) then you will love the selection of bookends over at Little Scribbles' Stories. Add a little organisation and a whole cuteness, with these bus bookends

To complete your storytelling session, this lovely fox cushion is great for little bottoms to get comfy on as they settle down with their favourite book, a gift with a funky difference.

Of course, no Christmas would be complete without games. With a selection of co-operative boardgames available over at Barefoot, you can introduce children to family games and have a little fun yourself. This fishing game is also a great idea for very young children

If you are new to Barefoot Books, just enter TWENTY13 at checkout to get 20% off. For new Little Scribbles' Stories customers, enter NEWSCRIBBLES to get 20% off. Happy Christmas shopping!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Barefoot Book Club : The Mother of Monsters

Mischievous Ntombi, the Chief’s daughter, isn’t at all afraid of the fearsome Ilunge River. But when she goes to swim there, she enrages the Mother of Monsters, with her gigantic head, bulging eyes and thick, slimy scales, causing more trouble than she could ever imagine!

'The Mother of Monsters' was the book of choice for our Halloween themed October Book Club at Big You, Little You. Suitable for ages 6 and up, ' The Mother of Monsters ' is the second book in Barefoot's monster series, ideal for young readers. 

The start of our book club sessions, sees us delve into the fantastic Barefoot Atlas, to find out more about the country our book was set in. This is a great way for the children to share their geographical knowledge and share stories or facts about what they know about the country. None of the children,in this group, had visited South Africa but the great illustrations by Sophie Fatus really help bring the story to life.

With a discussion about what life may be like for people living in a South African village, the scene was set to start read our favourite exerts from the books, with each child reading aloud if they felt comfortable to do so.  Listening to children read aloud and discover new words for the first time is one of life's great pleasures. I love how much attention and support the children in the group give to each other. It was also great to hear the children express their own opinions of the book, what they liked and disliked, without believing that there was any right or wrong in their understanding of the book. With themes of parental rebellion, trust, independence and arranged marriage, the 'Mother of Monsters' certainly provoked lots of debate, on an appropriate level for the age group.

Once we have read and discussed the book together, it is time to move on to a small activity whilst enjoying a snack. Snacks are usually connected to the country of origin but as it was Halloween we decided to make our own cheeky monster cupcakes and ate them whilst completing a monster themed word search, to keep those brains ticking over. A task at the end of book club is an ideal way to wind down the session and to give those who may want to ask a question to do so in a relaxed manner, particularly if they were shy to ask in the group. With lots of themed music playing in the background, the session finished with the children going away happy, after deciding on December's book choice.

If you would like to start up your own Barefoot Book Club, get in touch and we can provide books and activity advice. If you are in the North West, get in touch and we could come and facilitate in a venue of your choice.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Barefoot Book of the Month: November

As much as the sunshine is lovely, especially on relaxed summer evening when the BBQ's are blazing and children are running about by the paddling pool, I must say that the season I enjoy most is winter. I just love going for walks on cold, sunny days when the air is fresh and you can snuggle into a big woolly hat and scarf. Of course, we are all different and perhaps spring or autumn is your favourite season. As we move towards winter, after the blustery blow of autumn fun, we can take the opportunity to explore the new season, with lots of activities, crafts and stories. I have chosen ' Skip through the Seasons' as my Barefoot Book of the month, as I think it is the perfect way to introduce children to the changes happening around them.

Jump into January and dance all throughout the rest of the year. This rhyming, seek-and-find book of months features plenty of seasonal objects on each page for readers to point out. Educational endnotes include facts about different calendars, seasons and days of the week.  This book is the Practical Pre-School Silver Award Winner and is Recommended by the National Literary Association.

Creative children will have lots of fun designing crafts related to the book and there is also a handy lesson plan, in Barefoot Books ' For Schools ' section. Find the ' Skip through the Seasons' lesson plan here 

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