For anyone who follows our social media accounts you’ll know that Floss hasn’t been well this week. The shelfie update we did last week has been perfect with books and resources about feelings and activities for calming, quiet time. We’ve enjoyed it so much that it’s an area we’re going to keep going in our home and look to tweak with different books, puzzles and mindful activities every couple of weeks. The understanding of emotions and being able to develop strategies to help support and strengthen mental health is so important in the world our children are growing up in.
So, we’ve hijacked another shelf from elsewhere in the house for our standard shelf. Two is still the magic number for Floss and she gets real pleasure from playing with two of the same thing. Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins is a great book for learning about the number two and I’ve also used it in school as a maths resource for learning to count in twos and the two times table. The Ark and animals are Lanka Kade and the stacking tower is Melissa & Doug.
One of the concepts we want to explore with Floss is about things being the same and different. We use Makaton with Floss and I love this video from Woodfield School which shows you basic Makaton signs. I’d definitely watch all of it, but if you don’t have much time – different is at 34 seconds and same at 3 minutes 11 seconds. Floss has mainly been saying two when she has the same two objects, for example two socks, two shoes, two identical animals. My hope is this cube will help her explore the idea that things can be the same and different. For example they are both sheep, but one is a ram and one is not painted all over. They are all dwarfs and red, but they are different reds and one has a beard. Flip Flap books are a firm favourite right now, the pebbles are Grimms and the puzzle is part of a set of travel puzzles from Melissa & Doug.
This cube definitely has more to do with the fact she loves her lion, monkey and crocodile from Eric & Albert Crafts. The Sahara stacker, Grimms pebbles and forest I’ve chosen for counting and as small world scenery. There is a small table next to the shelf, which usually ends up with bits from each of the cubes as a play scene for her animals. The Jungle Flip Flap book always makes us laugh and we love the descriptive language used to tell us about the animals.
We definitely weren’t quick enough at taking the photographs. This has the Bajo pebbles, which are so lovely to hold. Just as we love the texture on the Grimms pebbles, we love how smooth these ones are to touch. It was supposed to be a stack of 1, then 2, then 3 and finally 4 pebbles – but I’ve just noticed there are now 5 pushed in! A couple of our Julia Donaldson rhyming favourites Tiddler and The Snail and the Whale we’ve added too. Do you have books that you read every day or every week? These are on our every week list.
The pet animals cube has a Lanka Kade Rabbit, Grimms pebbles, Bajo pebbles, Grapat bowl and Sahara stacker. Dogs by Emily Gravett is a firm favourite that we’ve showed you before. It’s a book that I have six copies of as I used to use it for guided reading sessions when teaching. I found it a text that children who are learning phase 3/4 phonics can actually read lots of the words in and it’s much more enjoyable that a lot of the early readers. The Great Pet Sale by Mick Inkpen is a fun read and one that is lovely to use when learning about money – we’re not there yet!
Every section on the shelf has animals on, but they are grouped into categories, jungle (OK the lion doesn’t really live in a jungle – so we added a bit of Sahara for him), ocean, farm and house (pets). Floss knows the names of many animals now, so we thought it was a good time to look at grouping them into where they live using the Melissa & Doug travel puzzles. Each shelf has a section from the puzzle and on the floor by the shelf is a bowl of the puzzle pieces for Floss to match to the right puzzle board. As she does this we narrate what she is doing – “you’re putting the whale with the animals that live in the ocean”. I’d love for you to comment below with any favourite animal books that you and your little ones enjoy.