Category Archives: Creating Stories

Valentine poem for my daughter 2016

I realise it’s very late but I completely forgot to post this year’s valentine poem to my daughter.

In previous years (Easter Poem, Valentine poem 2013, Valentine poem 2012)  I’ve written slightly longer ones but this year I decided to write a shorter one on a piece of paper folded over so that she would read each line one at a time. It was silly and fun but what do kids like more than something that is silly and fun!?

Poem from a dad to his daughter

Dear Daughter

You fill my life with joy,

I’m so glad you’re not a boy!

Your laughter and smile

Make my life worthwhile



I took two things specifically into consideration when I wrote this:

  1. She had been asking a lot recently what I’d do if she’d been a boy. There have been several conversations about this while we’ve been driving about and I don’t think I managed to get to the bottom of why she was asking and I also don’t think I’d managed to successfully answer whatever question it was she had but wasn’t asking.
  2. Now that she’s reading really well, I wanted to write the poem in such a way that she could read it without help and really understand what it meant, why I’d folded it up line by line and also acknowledge that I’d thought about our conversations about what if she’d been a boy.

If you’ve got poems you’ve written for your kids, do share them with me – I’d love some more inspiration and there’s really no need to wait for special occasions to write to your kids!

Story Cubes – Creating stories with your children

Story Cubes – Have fun creating and telling stories with your kids

Reading children’s stories from books or even reciting them from memory are both excellent ways of sharing stories and making the most of story time but I recently came across a wonderful tool for making story telling a brilliant joint activity for my daughter and me.

I also thought that they’d make excellent Christmas presents for anyone with kids in the 5-10yr old range.

Using Story Cubes to create a children's story on-the-fly and with your kids.

This is my daughter and I creating a story together using the story dice.

Flying back from a business trip to Dublin where I had spent a month working with an insurance company to map their business processes, I had to switch off my iPad for take-off and resorted to picking up the in-flight magazine for the airline.

Flicking through the magazine, I inevitably came across the section for the stuff that you can buy for ridiculous prices while on-board the aircraft. My eye was drawn to a headline piece about an “Irish Success Story” and a whole page dedicated to Rory’s Story Cubes.

A great Christmas gift - Rory's Story Cubes

I was genuinely really excited! The name of the product and the picture alone told me at once that I should buy some (though I must confess to being a cheapskate and taking a photo with my phone so I would remember to buy them from somewhere cheaper than the aeroplane).

What are story dice?

The premise is you have 9 dice each with a different image on each face (making a total of 10 million possible combinations). You roll the dice and start a story with “Once upon a time…” and use the face up images to prompt you with ideas to create a story from scratch.

This will be amazing to share with Olivia! I thought.

Creating a story with my daughter

A week later and I’m sitting down with O to have a go at creating a story. Now, technically, Story Cubes are for ages 6 and up but O has a great imagination and I was keen to have a go at creating a story with her.

The instructions are plain and simple : tell a story based on the images that come up on the cubes. Every story starts “once upon a time…”

So, I roll a dice and immediately Olivia wants to tell a story about a princess called Olivia…

Fair enough.

The first cube shows a flower, so I start talking about how Princess Olivia was walking in her garden in at the palace among all her favourite flowers…

Now it’s O’s turn to roll a cube, and it comes up with the image of fire. Of course this meant that the flower was on fire and the princess was devastated!

What fun and now we’ve had more practice together using the Story Cubes to create fun stories, she’s starting to get the hang of embellishing the story beyond the short and literal interpretation of the image that is displayed.

What’s great is that she really loves playing with them and it’s something that we do together and not only is she learning how to create and tell a story, but we have a laugh about it and I’m getting to practice shaping the stories we make so that they have a better self-contained structure (ie beginning, middle and end).

Experiment and develop your storytelling

For some reason, O and I have taken to rolling one dice at a time and telling the element of the story that corresponds to the image. We end up creating a linear stack of the face up dice along the table and we can look back at the images we used to progress the tale.

So far, we’ve only told stories that last for a single roll of all 9 story dice but there’s nothing to say that we won’t start wrapping around and creating stories that are longer.

This last weekend, Olivia even started adding events and characters outside of the dice and I have a suspicion it won’t be long before we’re wiling away car journey spinning yarns and making up wild and wonderful adventures.

I can’t wait and I can certainly recommend anyone with kids or who has friends with kids to get some of these. Rory has even produced additional sets for different scenarios :


Start your stories with “Far, far away…”

The Voyages set of Story Cubes


Depictions of verbs allowing real adventure stories to be made. Why not combine it with drawing or acting out the story at the same time

The Actions set of Story Cubes
Just before I wrote this article, I rolled the dice and took this photo. What story would you tell from it?

What children's story would you create from this?

Once upon a time…


Using Bloom’s Taxonomy with stories to help children develop cognitive skills

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy with stories to help children develop cognitive skills

I heard about Bloom’s Taxonomy a while ago and I decided to look into it to see how I could apply it to reading stories with my daughter and try to devise ways of helping her develop her cognitive skills.

I am hoping that this article will give you an insight into what Bloom’s Taxonomy is and provide some simple ways you can use it when reading children’s stories with your kids. Essentially, I’m hoping that by the end of this article you will :

  • Have an idea of what Bloom’s taxonomy is and why it is useful
  • Have some ideas on how you can help your kids build their cognitive skills by using some simple questions when sharing a children’s story together.
As a parent, I want my daughter to be able to think for herself, form and defend opinion and forge her own path in life. Understanding what is involved in performing that kind of attitude and thinking and knowing how to help her develop those abilities is another way I reckon I can do my best as her Dad.

What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Bloom’s Taxonomy is one of the most widely used references in education and, over the years, has even been translated into 22 different languages and is in use around the world.

Psychologist Benjamin S. Bloom was known for contemplating and extensively studying the process of how things worked and this included the process of “thinking”.

He believed that there was specific behaviours that could be noticed and were important in the in the process of learning and in 1956, Bloom’s Taxonomy was created.

There are actually three different domains that make up Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Cognitive – Mental skills and Flexibility (Knowledge);
  • Affective – Growth in Feelings or Emotional capacity (Attitude)
  • Psychomotor – Manual or Physical skills (Skills).

Each domain is then segmented into different levels for educational goals and objectives.

The Cognitive Domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy

The “Cognitive” domain is what is focused on when helping children learn how to read and think and this is what teachers put a lot of emphasis on in schools.

It is also the focus of this article and, if people would like to know more, I might follow up with the other domains in separate articles (so please do let me know in the comments).

Bloom’s Cognitive domain focuses on the knowledge, comprehension and critical thinking that a child uses or displays during reading time.

Bloom created six different levels of cognitive learning and suggested that each level must be mastered before the child can move onto the next level.

In the 1990’s, a former student of Bloom’s revised the Taxonomy which brought it into the 21st century and it was again updated in 2001.

The only thing altered in the revision is the names of the levels which now look like this:

Reading childrens stories is an ideal opportunity to explore the concepts and cognitive skills they'll need to develop. Using Bloom's Taxonomy, you can easily structure this development

Every child’s critical and cognitive thinking starts with the lowest level and gradually works up to the highest level

There are definite signs that a child shows when they have mastered each level and there are specific questions that you can ask of your kids which will encourage the mental stimulation needed to obtain the next level.

Here is a quick guide for each level that shows the signs a child might exhibit when they have mastered it and example questions that can be asked to encourage mental growth.

By noticing the child’s reactions and answers you will be able to tell when the child has reached a new level in learning and reward accordingly.

To give us a children’s story base line, I am using Little Red Riding Hood as the example book we’re reading. It is important to note that this applies throughout childhood and adolescence and arguably, we never stop developing these levels, so if you have a 4yr old, a 10yr old or even a stroppy teenager, you can and should still apply all of these idea.

Bloom’s First Level : Remembering

In this level the child will be able to recall basic facts about the book through memorising and be able to answer general questions about the book or objects that are in the book.

Help your kids master the remembering level by asking questions like :

  • Who is Red Riding Hood going to see?
  • What is little Red Riding Hood wearing?
  • What did she have in her basket?

If you were reading the Gruffalo for example, you could encourage them to remember the rhythm and rhyme of the story.

Bloom’s Second Level : Understanding

At this level, our kids will be able to understand the main idea of the book, recognise characters and organise the facts.

Ask questions such as :

  • Why was Little Red Riding Hood walking through the woods?
  • Why did the wolf put on Grandma’s clothes?

These questions will help your child master understanding of the situation and concepts in the book.

Bloom’s Third Level : Applying

At this level, our kids should be able to show that they can use the knowledge and facts acquired from the book and apply it to other situations.

Ask questions such as :

  • Besides going through the woods, how could Little Red Riding Hood have made it to Grandma’s house?
  • Why is it dark in the woods?
  • What would happen if Red Riding hood had gone with a friend?

These kind of how and why and what if questions will encourage your kids to apply what they have learned from other aspects in life equipping them with the ability to do it at any time.

Bloom’s Fourth Level : Analysing

This level encourages the mind of the child to examine the facts of the book, distinguish differences and gather evidence to support what they think.

Questions around the ideas of :

  • Why is walking through the woods alone dangerous
  • If you were Little Red Riding Hood what would you do?

These kind of questions make your child concentrate on the scenario to gather important facts which will lead to a conclusion.

Classroom debates at school are specifically designed to develop this analysis and reasoning ability and having constructive discussions from different positions on a topic is a skill that’s well worth encouraging.

Make a game of it and challenge your kids to argue a counter position to an opinion they hold dear – Why Pop music is a bad influence, or why mobile phones should be banned from use at school for example. Make it fun and tongue-in-cheek (this is very important).

One of the many anti-bullying techniques used in schools in the uk is to have kids arguefroth for and against the motivations of a fictious classroom bully.

Bloom’s Fifth Level : Evaluating

In this level the child will learn how to evaluate the evidence that they use to draw their conclusion and justify or defend their opinion on the story.

To encourage the development of this cognitive skill, ask opinion questions such as :

  • Do you think it was wrong for the wolf to try to trick Little Red Riding Hood?
  • Do you think it what the wolf tried to do was fair?

Get your kids to justify their opinion by asking them why they think it was wrong or fair etc.

For older or moore developed kids: ask them whether they think there were any mistakes or assumptions made by the author (or screen writer if discussing a film). Where there any inconsistencies in the opinions or actions of the characters or story?

For those at exam age, these kinds of critical evaluative discussions often take the form of English or Science homework.

Bloom’s Sixth Level : Creating

In my opinion, this is perhaps the most fun level and because of that I think it’s actually easier than some of the earlier ones.

At this level, our children will be able to gather the information they have learned and create an alternative ending or construct a new scenario for the story.

Encourage the child to write a poem or song from the story or maybe have Little Red Riding Hood on the moon.

It is up to the child’s imagination what they develop from the story because the basis has already been set up through the original story.

I just want to point out that while there are 6 levels, it is in fact a sliding scale and kids will develop different skills at different levels at different times, and you will also notice how each level stacks on top: requiring our children to use the skills developed at the lower levels in order to be able to develop the new ones.

Other bonuses of asking questions about a children’s story you’re reading together

As my daughter and I have discovered, there are all sorts of other bonuses from making this part of story time!

We have great little games where I ask question after question until she makes a big dramatic show and goes “Daddy, enough questions!”.

We make up alternative stories from scratch which leads to all sorts of adventures and games. It also gives me a chance to guide the story to deliver other morals or lessons.

Boring books and stories suddenly become more interesting as you explore possible made up back stories to the characters’ and situations and believe me : your kids will come up with some weird and wacky ideas!

A good Google session will reveal all sorts of articles and resources on this, but don’t get bogged down with trying to learn all there is to know. The best thing you can do for your kids is to learn a little bit and give it a go with them. If you want a quick reference guide, then chthout this PDF which gives both hints at the kinds of words to be using as well as suggested questions and outcomes to aim for when following the taxonomy.

Whatever you do, enjoy story time. It should be fun and not “work” or a chore or else our kids won’t enjoy it. They’ll soon tell you they’ve had enough!

An interview with first time children’s author and illustrator Luke Carr

An interview with first time children’s author and illustrator Luke Carr


An interview with a new children's book author Luke Carr - he illustrated, wrote and published the book himself

I met Luke mid way round the Tough Mudder course covered in mud and dressed as Luigi from Mario Brothers. It wasn’t until a month later as I discovered that not only is he a very talented illustrator, but he’s also just written and self-published a children’s book!

Luke’s book, Eric the Dragon (remember your manners), has been illustrated and written by himself from scratch.

I caught up with Luke on a Skype video call earlier this week and asked him a few questions about his book, how he came up with the idea (and why) and how he went about getting it printed and into the hands of parents at a local school open day.

Luke is 20 something, lean and obviously goes to the gym regularly. The view of his office/room that the Skype video call gives me shows a large-ish room with the same Ikea furniture that I have and walls covered in drawings and scribbles from the world of comics and his own imagination.

I get the feeling that he and I are going to get along very well.

After a bit of a catch up and discussion about our respective Mudder experiences and whether we’ve been foolish enough to sign up for another (I’m doing one in July and Luke’s probably doing one in November, so : yes we are foolish enough), we start talking about the book (or books as it turned out).

Luke works part time at a local stationer (handy for discounted pencils and art materials!) and part time producing illustrations for a company in Holland along with a bit of graphic design, in  which he has a degree, for companies wanting logos etc.

Ben : So tell us about the book.

Luke : So the first book is finished and that’s gone to print and it’s about Eric the Dragon. And the whole series of books is about kids and bite size lessons. Throughout the story [and indeed all the series as Luke showed me], none of the characters are coloured in.

The idea is to get the children to interact with it and get their colouring pencils out. The way I see it, the more interactive it is, the more likely it is they will remember the lessons.

Ben : Did you do the story as well as the illustration?

Luke : Yeah, I’ve done all of it myself. That’s why it took so long to do!

Ben : How long did it take?

Luke : I’ll be honest, the first picture of Eric the Dragon that I drew wasn’t for the book, it was for a T-shirt design.

Eric the Dragon is Luke Carr's first children's story character and appears in his first self published book "Eric the Dragon"

Ben : So how did Eric get from T-shirt design to the book?

Luke : He was going to be the spear for a load of canvases about three years ago. All about staying young in the head and try to be young and youthful. Life’s a bit too serious sometimes and [Eric] was a split second idea that kind of popped into my head.

Ben : So did [the book] start out being about manners?

Luke : When I put him in the book, I straight away went to “how can I put him in a book? What would be the theme?” It was always going to be for children, but it probably came from my Granddad : My Granddad always used to say to me “manners maketh the man” and in this day and age you’ve got so many kids out there that don’t really get taught and end up as little toe rags. I just thought if I could get the book out to just a handful of children and they learnt something, that’s good.

Ben : Where did you get the inspiration for the books?

Luke : I have a Tips4Tots book [Luke’s own brand for his children’s books which can be found at]. This is where I put everything : Brainstorming, logo ideas… If I start  talking about it and people start giving me ideas, then I start putting them in here. It’s nice to look back and see ideas.

A good bit of inspiration came from the Mr Men books. I think that’s what urged me to make them square. I know it’s like a tiny detail but I used to work at Wilkinson’s and we had a stand full of the Mr Men books and it was really cool to see all the Mr Men books lined up on this spiny turnstyle thing and there was something really cool and it made you want to collect them all.

So the idea for the book is each book is going to be colour coded. So the first one’s green and the next one, along the top, will be “Oliver the Crocodile” and the paint splat behind will be a different colour. So they’ll all be colour coded but they’ll keep the same set up. I drew that from the Mr Men books as well. For me the Mr Men books are very popular. Still! So I wanted to mimic that in a way as well.

When I got the first prints I went into Wilkinson’s and propped them up on the shelf just to see how it looked in the environment it’s going to be in and yeah… It worked. I could just imagine a series of books all different colours but all kind of had the same style. It put a big smile on my face. A big smile on my face!

Ben : What kind of research did you do?

Luke : I was very nieve about it. I just jumped in the deep end and said “let’s make a book.” And then I learnt lessons as I came to the obstacles. Like when I came to the printers to get quotes : they were like “we deal in multiples of 24” or something etc. Then I did some test prints and the bleed line wouldn’t set up properly so pages would be cut off and stuff.

I was like a kid : you give ‘em paints and they don’t stand there putting their apron on and stuff, they jump straight in and get involved! I’m still learning now.

I’ve got little nieces and they did my little trials : I’d FaceTime them and show them stuff and they’d give me a response because I branded the series “Tips4Tots”, so anything I did, I put it past those two and they were awesome they just… Ah children’s English is just different at feedback. They’re better at that, very simple : If they don’t like something they say “nah, no” or if they like something then they want it broken down.

It’s my first book and things will change, but I need to keep that child mentality. The artwork, the artwork is very simple : children look at artwork like that. They like it, they like the little details.

I draw all the time and with the book it’s nice to… It’s not just a picture on the computer : I have a book I can hold now. I have a book I can hand to people and like I said : if it works, it works if it doesn’t, at least I’ve tried.

Ben : So if you don’t mind me asking, how much did it cost?

Luke : For the first set of fifteen books for the [school] open day it was just over fifty pounds [about £3.50 per book] and that was a bargain ‘cause I got quotes on line from different companies and online, the cheapest quote I got for the same amount was just shy of two hundred pounds! When I got the quotes back I was like “£200 for 15 books!!?”

I start thinking in the long run like if I want to mass-produce these things… But then shopping around I found a local printers in Nottingham called John E Wright.

Ben : How did you end up promoting your book at a local school?

Luke : It was all from the stationary shop actually, where I work. A teacher kept coming in and I got talking to her and I managed to get a place on this open day. So I went down, set up my stall and promoted my book. The feedback I got was awesome. Really good.

Ben : What sort of feedback have you had so far?

Luke : I was told by one of the teachers [at the school open day] not to use the word “naughty” in my book. That’s apparently not good. I didn’t know that and to me, its… I don’t see a problem with it.

Ben : Wow that’s a classic word! What do they use to describe a naughty child now!?

Luke : She said “You’re not being sensible”. That was one of them. I can’t remember what the other was.

Ben : So what would you do differently for the next one?

Luke : Again, I’m going to wait for the feedback from the first book. The best thing about it this time is that because the layout’s all set up so it’s 7” by 7” squared, so when I do all the artwork and stuff it’s very much… it’ll be faster, which will give me more time to focus on the quality.

Every two page spread I do, I’ll take that to a group of children rather than just rely on my two little nieces just to get feedback.

At the end of the day, I’m not in it to make a load of money. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t in it to make a bit of money but it would help future projects. I like the idea of… I wouldn’t say “helping children”… but giving them a product that maybe helps them in an area. Not like life changing things, just… I don’t know, if they read the book and colour it in and then parents start hearing their kids saying “please” and “thank you” more then that’s mission accomplished. That’s wicked and that’s what I’m all about. And if children brush their teeth more because they’ve read the second book…

Ben : So what’s next?

Luke : It’s getting super busy at the minute, holding a job down and doing this book and doing all the graphic design and illustration for this company in Holland it’s very hard to find time to… take a bit of time to research more. I’m not on a timeframe and I don’t have anybody saying “this book has to be done by this time”.

Maybe that would be a blessing in disguise because the other companies I work for give me deadlines to get it done and because it needs to get done; it gets done. The book and the other one is on the backburner.

Book number two is Oliver the Crocodile (Look After Your Teeth), teaching kids how to look after their teeth and the third book will be the Big Bear, remember to share. Nothing too deep and then the other ones that are big at the moment like recycling.

The thing that pushed me to really get it done is the teacher who got me a spot at this promotion day the other day. It was a couple of months ago and she said “I’ve spoken to the committee and they want you to come and promote your book.” I was like Wohaa! Right! Two months, so let’s do it! And I spent a lot of time drawing and

Ben : Thanks a lot Luke and good luck!

Luke : It’s been a pleasure and I’ll speak to you in the near future.

Luke is working on making online purchases of Eric the Dragon available, but in the mean time, if you’d like a copy, head over to and send him an email and he’ll let you know when the next batch are being printed and what it will cost you for a copy.

Telling Children’s Stories Using Storysacks

Telling Children’s Stories Using Story Sacks

In this article about story sacks (also known as “storysacks” without a space), we’ll look at what they are, why they help us tell stories, what is in one and how you can make your own!

I don’t think anyone viewing this website will disagree that one of the most important gifts children receive is a love of stories and reading.

Young children often find it easier to relate to stories and concepts if they have something concrete in front of them that help them understand what’s being discussed or told.  This is one reason picture books and books with plenty of simple illustration are so popular for this age group.

Use storysacks to help illustrate the themes and lessons in a children's story and to help get kids to engage in storytelling Continue reading Telling Children’s Stories Using Storysacks

A Free Children’s story with a lesson – Perseverance

A children’s story with a lesson about Perseverance

The following story I wrote for my daughter to help her with learning to stick at something and keep trying even if it is extremely frustrating and difficult.  I wrote it because my daughter is being taught to write at school so we’re practicing at weekends though she’s struggling to find the ability to keep at it and it’s turning into a bit of a battle.

We actually started this story together and the two young fairies were named by my daughter. She loves it when we tell stories together and she’ll often suggest which direction the story should go or what the characters are doing or what they’re like. It’s a great storytelling technique and I’m constantly amazed at where my daughter’s imagination takes us!

Creating stories for and indeed with our kids isn’t really that difficult and can be both educational and fun not to mention the closeness that imagining together fosters between us. Continue reading A Free Children’s story with a lesson – Perseverance

More ways to memorize a story for bedtime storytelling

Memorizing Children’s’ Stories

The ability to tell a great story, one that captivates listeners and keeps them on the edges of their seats, is a great talent.

Thankfully, memorizing stories is a talent that any parent can learn!

Memorizing children’s’ stories is much easier than you’re probably thinking.

With this second set of tips and tricks below (checkout the first ones here), you can tell your children a bedtime story…no book included…as early as next week!

In addition to giving you some great memorization tips, we’ll clue you in to some great books filled with stories sure to capture kids’ imaginations.

Continue reading More ways to memorize a story for bedtime storytelling

How to Memorize Children’s Stories for bedtime storytelling

How to Memorize Children’s Stories for bedtime storytelling

We’ve all (well at least if you’re a parent I hope you have) read stories to our children before bedtime.

While these quiet moments with our kids are a great way to spend some quiet time together, sometimes the mad dash to find a storybook can take longer than reading the story!

While nothing will replace reading books to children, memorizing stories is a great way to put some spontaneous fun into their bedtime routine.

In addition, having a cache of stories in your memory is a great way to pass the time during long car trips, while stuck in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or any other place or situation which can be boring for young children.

Here, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to memorize stories and be able to recall them at a moment’s notice.

In addition, we’ll give you some ideas for books full of short and easy-to-remember tales that will delight children of all ages.

Continue reading How to Memorize Children’s Stories for bedtime storytelling

Positive Langauge in storytelling to achieve action and change

Don’t don’t, do do

We all get frustrated on telling our kids not to do something the first thing they do (or continue to do) is to go and do it!

Storytelling is a great way of helping you with this particular challenge. This particular post is about one aspect of creating a story: The use of language.

Not just any old language, but specifically positive language.

It turns out this is because in order not to do something, our brains have to process the idea of doing it before not doing it.

Don’t scratch your nose in a minute

I bet you thought about scratching your nose. Or if you haven’t you may realise you’ve done it in a minute after you’ve stopped thinking about not doing it.

As adults, we’re (mostly – and I think we all know at least one adult who will always do the opposite of what they’re told to do) able to process that very swiftly and get on with the job of not doing it.

Children on the other hand, aren’t so lucky. Their natural desire to learn and explore (which should totally be encouraged btw) simply filters out the “do not” bit and they quite obediently go and explore whatever it is you’ve asked them not to.

There is a simple trick to getting this right:

Don’t say “don’t do abc”. Do say “do do xyz” instead

Instead of telling them “Don’t climb on the furniture” try saying “Let’s stay on the floor”

Instead of “Don’t run into the road” try “Wait for me at the curb”

Instead of “Don’t throw stones” try “can you find any red ones?”

You saw how complicated it is to explain how this works, so just imagine all the extra processing that a brain needs in order to not do something and why children find it so easy to (apparently) misbehave…

Build this positive language into the stories that you tell your children and you’ll be able to deliver very strong lessons and achieve fantastic results from surprisingly short stores.

Frameworks and Boundaries for kids

Painting with my daughter gave me a great example of how, as a parent, my best intentions are not always what she needs.

In this case it was the idea that I had that she might like to paint a house on a blank piece of paper. I was thinking to myself that I wouldn’t try and influence or force her to draw any particular kind of house, instead I would let her draw whatever kind of house she liked. Maybe it’d be a rabbit’s house or her granny’s house or maybe something completely different.

What actually happened was quite a surprise and a fantastic learning opportunity for me.

Of course you could argue that “a house” is perhaps a too open question for a child… Maybe asking what Mr Rabbit’s house looks like would have been better (it isn’t – I’ve tried it). Looking at the reams of drawings and paper that are nothing but different coloured swirls where she’s just gone round and round and round where I’ve not had a hand in helping her direct her imagination, I can’t help but compare them to how much more enjoyment she gets and the (relatively) well shaped art work that she and I have done together where I’ve helped her with an outline of what to do (I’ll add a photo of my favourite piece soon).

It seems that while I might like to think that by keeping out and letting her explore the world in her own way would be good, it actually turns out that a bit of gentle guidance is essential. No wonder our kids (nearly) always turn out like their parents…