Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sensory Storytime: Spring Garden

With the sun shining, the air fresh and the trees beginning to bloom, a spring themed story time session is sure to get little ones at one with nature. We based our recent spring garden themed sensory story time session around two Barefoot Books titles, ' Who's in the Garden ' and ' What's This '.

Our session began with a round of nursery rhymes and spring themed songs, as well as a few children's favourites. Good spring songs include, 'Baa Baa black sheep', 'Mary had a little lamb' and 'Mary Mary quite contrary' as well as the ever popular sleeping bunnies and 'dingle dangle scarecrow'.

Once our little book worms had danced off a little energy it was time to move on to our stories. 'Who's in the Garden ' is a fun peep style book that introduces featuring animal that the children can recognise and emulate, which allows for great interaction. ' What's This ' will get children on their tip toes as they try and grow as high as the sunflower in the story.

After our stories had finished, it was time for a bit of exploring. We created a simple worksheet that encouraged the children to search the sensory garden for sights,sounds and textures.

Our garden were made up grass, plants and flowers from the garden along with shredded paper, toy animals and slug slime ( a pot of goo!). For some pretend play, we had two trays for vegetable planting, one containing real soil and another filled with rice, stained with red and green food colouring, and both filled with toy vegetable and a variety of pots and garden tools. Lots of messy fun was to be had!

With play dough out for creative, squishy fun and paper flower making, there were lots of activities to keep everybody entertained. Our painting with twigs was particularly popular and resulted in a bath to two at home time. The list of activities to accompany a spring story time is endless but we finished off our session with planting sunflower seeds that will bring lots of smiles as they grow,

Monday, 14 April 2014

Vegan and Vegetarian Children's Books

An increasing number of children are being raised on a vegetarian or vegan diet and there are some great vegan and vegetarian books for children out there. Whilst these books will not appeal to many people, they do play an important role in telling stories that vegan and vegetarian children can relate too. Here are the best children's books about being vegetarian or vegan

Herb The Vegetarian Dragon

This Barefoot Books classic, is a favourite amongst parents, children and teachers all over the world. Meet Herb, a dragon who knows how to stay true to his values even in the stickiest of situations. When he is captured by the castle's knights in armour, vegetarian Herb is faced with a difficult decision: will he eat meat in order to save his own life? A fun tale that is great for all children, no matter what their diet. 

That's Why We Don't Eat Animals

A colourful and insightful book by Ruby Roth. In the books we are introduced to a wide array of animals living in their natural environment, with explanations of how they are at risk of living in poor conditions to feed the food industry. The books introduces talking points for vegan parents to explain how they can live a more compassionate life, in terms of food, clothing and appreciation of animals as a whole.

V is for Vegan

Introducing three- to seven-year-olds to the "ABCs" of a compassionate lifestyle, V Is for Vegan is a must-have for vegan and vegetarian parents, teachers, and activists! Acclaimed author and artist Ruby Roth brings her characteristic insight and good humour to a controversial and challenging subject, presenting the basics of animal rights and the vegan diet in an easy-to-understand, teachable format. Through memorable rhymes and charming illustrations, Roth introduces readers to the major vegan food groups (grains, beans, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruits) as well as broader concepts such as animal protection and the environment. Sure to bring about laughter and learning, V Is for Vegan will boost the confidence of vegan kids about to enter school and help adults explain their ethical worldview in a way that young children will understand. 

Steven The Vegan

On a field trip to a local farm sanctuary Steven's classmates learn that eat is a vegan. Steven proceeds to explain to them what that means and why animals are his friends, not his food. The story teaches children where their food comes from, and why Steven has chosen not to partake of foods that come from them.It is a lightweight tale that teaches one aspect of a vegan lifestyle, and help vegan children learn ways of explaining their lifestyle to others

Vegan is Love

A controversial book from vegan writer Ruby Roth, Vegan Is Love introduces young readers to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action. Broadening the scope of her popular first book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Roth illustrates how our daily choices ripple out locally and globally, conveying what we can do to protect animals, the environment, and people across the world. Roth explores the many opportunities we have to make ethical decisions: refusing products tested on or made from animals; avoiding sea parks, circuses, animal races, and zoos; choosing to buy organic food; and more. Roth’s message is direct but sensitive, bringing into sharp focus what it means to “put our love into action.” Featuring empowering back-of-the-book resources on action children can take themselves, this is the next step for adults and kids alike to create a more sustainable and compassionate world


Friday, 11 April 2014


Inspired by our Book of the Month for April, 'What' This?', we decided to hold sunflower themed storytelling sessions this week. In 'What's This? ' we learn the basics of how plants grow in this bubbly, springtime story. When a young girl plants a seed, she learns she must be patient to achieve results. She is rewarded by a beautiful sunflower, and brings her flower to school to share the seeds with her entire class. It may not be quite the weather for sunflowers yet, but there is plenty of sunshine at the moment and we need to get sowing our seeds so that we have a blooming garden at summertime. 

If you have younger toddlers or babies, you may want to start your storytelling sessions with some classic nursery rhymes. The new Clare Beaton Garden Rhymes from Barefoot Books is an ideal collection of short rhymes that get you in the mood for spring and summer stories. In ' What's This?'  you will find a relaxed, slow paced story with lots of opportunity for children to step inside the story. Ask the children to stretch and see how tall they can grow, just like the flowers in the story or make it an educational session by asking what flowers need to grow or what they grow at home. You can also hold a handful of seeds to show the children as the book describes what they seed looks like and if you are telling the story in summertime, you can have a sunflower at hand for when the flowers finally spring to life in the story.

Once the story is over, why not have a go at planting your own sunflower seeds. All  you will need is some little plastic plant pots, compost/soil, seeds, a trowel and lots of little hands to help plant the seeds. Follow the instructions on the seeds, sing a little song as you sow and water the seeds, then wait until summer to see your smiley flowers come into bloom.

Another great story, to extend your sunflower story session, is The Sunflower Sword. This books is a lighthearted and warming story about a boy who uses a sunflower instead of a sword, to slay a dragon and bring world peace! A children's book that challenges gender stereotypes and one that will have boys and girls up on their feet, mimicking the actions of the little boy as he befriends a dragon and runs through the village proving that fighting is not necessary.

All the swishing and swooshing in The Sunflower Sword made us want out own flower to wave about and bring peace. As we will have to wait until summer for real sunflowers, we went off in search of sunflower craft ideas and came across this fabulous giant sunflower craft, over at Crafts for Kids blog. Don't worry if you don't have materials for a large sunflower, you can easily adapt so that you make smaller flowers from toilet roll holders and lolly pop sticks or any size card you have.

A bright, fun, flowery storytelling session, to get you in the mood for summer!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review: The Prince's Breakfast

A distraught king and queen take their fussy prince on a global adventure in search of foods that he will eat. The Prince's Breakfast is a vibrant tale of parents trying to overcome the problem of their child being a fussy eater. If you are a family struggling with mealtimes, you will sympathise with the king and queen, who are in search of what to do next with their son.

Like many Barefoot Books titles, The Prince's Breakfast uses engaging rhyme and vivid illustrations to allow children to have fun as well as learning a few life lessons. Having struggles with tasting certain foods and moving away from ' go to  ' foods, is a common experience for most, so having fun tales, that may reduce anxiety for parents and children is such a great tool to have. The book takes readers on a jaunt around the world, in the hope that the prince will tempted to eat foods from different cultures.

The book ends with the prince being introduced to tomato ketchup by a man in Zambia . From then on, the prince adds ketchup to all types of food and, for the king and queen, the problem is solved. I have to say that I am not 100% comfortable with the idea of adding processed ketchup to things, to help disguise flavour but it may help some families as a short term measure. What I do love about this exploration of food, is the idea of trying new things, being creative with the foods we offer our children and offering them choices ( we can't put a banquet on every time, like the king, but we can put different options out). I also love that children can learn about what foods people eat in different countries, which can lead on to discussions around origins of food, i.e meat in Africa, tea in China, spices in Mexico. Here at Little Scribbles, we love books that will inspire crafts and activities, something that this book offers in abundance.A fun, educational and encouraging approach to cooking food and eating food, for me, is what works best. Here at Little Scribbles, we love books that will inspire crafts and activities, something that this book offers in abundance. After reading the book, you and your family can have a go at at rolling your own dosas, creating around the world food quizzes, writing your own poems about food from your favourite country or simply painting your favourite meal book is not just for picky eaters, however, this is a fun and engaging story for all the family and is sure to put a smile on everyones face.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Multicultural dolls

Dolls are often top of the list for a lot of children whenever birthdays or Christmas is on the horizon, or indeed whenever we see a craftily placed toy advertisement on TV. I still have fond memories of my first doll, that was only thrown away a few years ago when the damage was a little too much to treasure any longer. Typically, my favourite doll was a blonde haired, blue eyed piece of plastic that could be found in every toy shop. Growing up, I cannot recall seeing much in the way of diversity when it came to toys and dolls and sadly, despite some effort, multicultural dolls are still hard to come by. Multicultural dolls can definitely be found online but their is often limited choice and high pricing.Stocking multicultural dolls was always at the top of our list when we were looking for storytelling accessories for our business. A puppet or a doll can really help bring stories to life and can enhance imaginative play, during and after storytelling sessions. There will be some stories in which the use of dolls would not work or are not necessary, but where a story can be enhanced with the use of props, it can add another dimension to the story. We use the excellent range of Wilberry Fun Dolls in our story and play sessions. They are a great size, very cute and very diverse.


In order to encourage diversity and inclusion,we must provide an environment in which our children can be accepting of others. Stories, books, activities, crafts and role play, that allow children to immerse themselves in different cultures will help to build conversations around difference and acceptance. If children are only given toys and tolls that are familiar to them or look similar to them , then it may be difficult to embrace differences as they grow older. Equally, if children do not own any dolls that look like them, with the same hair colour, skin colour etc, they may struggle with their own self esteem. Choice and variety are essential when it comes to children's toys and play. Dolls can often be a child's best friends and we need as many friends in life as possible.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Book of the month: April

As we burst into spring,our minds are focused on bringing adding a little colour to our wardrobe, putting away the casserole dishes and sprucing up the garden. April is a lovely time of year to bring out those green fingers and there are some great gardening activities to get children in touch with nature. Our book of the month for April is What's This? , published Barefoot Books.

A great book for children aged 3-7, you will learn the basics of how plants grow in this bubbly, springtime story. When a young girl plants a seed, she learns she must be patient to achieve results. She is rewarded by a beautiful sunflower, and brings her flower to school to share the seeds with her entire class. Includes notes about roots, shoots, flowers and seeds. The book is full of wonderful colour, simple language and, most of all, it is held together by an engaging take that will want children to plant some seeds themselves.

The book is great for use in schools and nurseries or for simple outdoors sessions at home. There are lots of opportunities to educate children on how seeds grow, which you can put into practise by holding your own planting session. Little Scribbles' Stories will be out and about reading this book throughout the month and we will be helping little green fingers plant their very own sunflower seed. We cannot wait to see how big all our sunflowers grow and we are very much looking forward to lots of outdoor storytelling sessions, surrounded by fresh air and flowers.