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Apr 172012
 

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 »

Dec 132011
 

Choosing bedtime stories and books to read with your kids

With almost 20,000 new children’s books published in the UK every year, it’s no wonder that choosing the right book can be a difficult or overwhelming task.

Faced with shelf upon shelf of bright, shiny titles in the bookshop or library, where do you start?

Perhaps your confidence has been dashed because you bought a book and found that your child just wasn’t interested in it.

Perhaps your child won’t sit still for five minutes to read with you.

Or perhaps you just think that your child doesn’t like reading?

But remember that finding the right book to share will reinforce your child’s love of reading and will also help strengthen the relationship between the two of you, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right.

Continue reading »

Sep 122011
 

The tales our children tell us

Back in June, I posted this video about the story that a picture that my daughter had drawn for me.

I would recommend that you check it out before going much further as this re-visit is an update comparing the previous picture and the story it told with the new picture and the story it tells about mine and my daughter’s relationship.

This last weekend Olivia drew several new drawings for me and I chose one that she was very proud of and talked me through at length.

In the video below, I briefly talk through the new drawing and compare it to the original she did as a comparison of how things have changed between us. Continue reading »

Jun 172011
 

I’m a big fan of taking what people say and do literally. I believe what we’re thinking and feeling inside finds its way out through any and everything we do.

As far as children are concerned this goes really quite a long way and there’s loads I could talk about on this front, but what I wanted to focus on specifically this time is a picture Olivia drew for me at the weekend of her and me.

As you can see, the clear themes of control and separation/connection in the picture mirror what’s happening in her life very closely.

Should I or can I do anything about it? Olivia doesn’t think so, but that’s not to say that I can play empowerment and connection games with her to at least try…

May 262011
 

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…