That’s Not My Babybear…

…her face is too sparkly clean without  chocolate and tomato sauce all over it!

Since Babybear was only a few months old we’ve been big fans of Usborne’s ‘That’s Not My…’ series of touchy feely board books, written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells. These are fabulous books to share with younger tots with their bold pictures and different textures to feel.

There is such a vast collection of ‘That’s Not My…’ books now that, whatever your wee one’s current passion, there will be something that appeals. Babybear has a definite love of ‘That’s Not My Dinosaur…’  (a gift from her lovely Auntie) and we are now on advanced level reading of this book in which we name the dinosaur on each page – that’s not my Stegosaurus…!

However, my favourite has to be “That’s Not My Robot…”.  I even designed and had coasters made inspired by my favourite robot in the book – check them out:

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Get Crafty

Feeling creative? How about trying this craft activity inspired from the books, perfect for older toddlers. We’re yet to try this our but I’ll be sure to post some pictures when we do. Take your favourite book, in my case ‘That’s Not My Robot”, and get your wee one to draw some pictures of the characters or their own characters. They can then take a variety of different textures of material/paper/card/any other suitable stuff and cut and stick them on to a part of their picture so, with tin foil for example, they could have their very own “That’s Not My Robot…His Body Is Too Shiny”. The pictures could even be stuck together to form a homemade “That’s Not My…” book. Give it a go and post your creative endeavors below to inspire us all!

-Find “That’s Not My…” titles and a whole lot more in your local library or independent bookshop – if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask, they may be able to order it in for you.

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Burns Night Bedtime Story: The Belties of Curleywee Farm

In honour of Burns Night, Babybear’s bedtime story tonight was ‘The Belties of Curleywee Farm’ written by Jayne Baldwin and illustrated by Pauline James. With the story being about Belted Galloway calves Finlay and Flora on a farm in the Galloway countryside, it felt like an excellent Scottish themed choice.

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‘The Belties of Curleywee Farm’ is a very sweet tale of Finlay waking to find his sister gone from the barn and him tentatively venturing out into the noisy and unfamiliar farm to find her. There are large, clear illustrations of each scene in the story and I love that they really bring across how nervous wee Finlay is when he ventures out on his own and the joyfulness of him finding his sister again.

Babybear delighted in pointing out the ‘moo moo’ and ‘twoo twoo’; that’s the cows and owl, of course.

Robert Burns for Wee Folk!

Burns for Wee Folk!

Babybear and I love the books, written in Scots, ‘Katie’s Ferm’ and ‘Katie’s Year’ by James Robertson with the fabulous illustrations in both by Karen Anne Sutherland.

So, I was thrilled to discover ‘Rabbies Rhymes’ – a collection of the first lines of some of Robert Burns’ most well known poems, illustrated for wee ones in the same brilliantly vivid style as the ‘Katie’ books. It takes me right back to my school days of learning a Burns poem by heart for the class Burns Night poetry competition; this proves to be a real advantage when reading ‘Rabbie’s Rhymes’ with Babybear as though each page of the book only has the first line or so for each poem, I can still remember the rest for a few of them!

‘Rabbie’s Rhymes’ also has flaps for wee ones to lift, which Babybear loves as it makes the book more interactive for her; she takes great delight in peeking at the pictures below over and over again! I’m not actually sure if it’s me or Babybear that enjoys this book more, it’s a real winner for both wee ones and those not so wee!!

  • Find ‘Rabbie’s Rhymes – Burns for Wee Folk’ by Robert Burns and illustrated by Karen Anne Sutherland in your local library or independent bookshop – if you can’t find it, just ask, they may be able to order it in for you.

The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

With Burns Night coming up on the 25th of January I thought I’d give this week’s posts a Scottish theme. Today, I’d like to share with you a favourite song that I often sing with Babybear (well, I sing and she claps appreciatively!) . I find singing a wee tune to be a great activity when her dinner is just out of the oven or off the hob and I’m trying to distract a hungry BabyBear!

The Jeelie Piece Song (originally by folk performer Adam McNaughton) is a real childhood favourite of mine, which I loved to watch being performed on my ‘Singing Kettle’ (Scottish children’s performance group – www.singingkettle.com) video over and over again. It tells the tale of ‘weans from castlemilk’ who are missing out on their dinner because their ‘pieces’ are ‘skyting oot the winda’ of twenty story flats – that is, for those not versed in Scots, the children from a housing scheme in the south of Glasgow are missing out on their lunch as their sandwiches are being thrown of windows of twenty story flats, to them playing below.

Have a listen to The Singing Kettle’s performance, so you know the tune, and below are the words so you can sing along! Can you figure out what it all means?!

The Jeelie Piece Song (Skyscraper Wean)

I'm a skyscraper wean, I live on the nineteenth flair,
But I'm no gaun oot to play ony mair,
Since we moved to Castlemilk, I'm wasting away,
'Cause I'm getting one less meal every day.

O ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-story flat,
Seven-hundred hungry weans will testify to that,
If it's butter, cheese or jeely, if the breid is plain or pan,
The odds against it reaching earth and ninety-nine to one.

On the first day my maw flung out a piece o' Hovis brown.
It came skyting oot the winda and went up insteid o' doon,
But every twenty-seven hours it comes back into sight,
'Cause my piece went into orbit and became a satellite.

One the second day my maw flung me a piece oot once again.
It went and hit the pilot in a fast, low-flying plane.
He scraped it off his goggles, shouting through the intercom:
`The Clydeside Reds have got me wi' a breid-and-jeely bomb!'

One the third day my maw thought she would try another throw.
The Salvation Army band was staunin' doon below.
`ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS' was the piece they should have played,
But the oompah-man was playing a piece-on-marmalade.

We've wrote away tae Oxfam to try and get some aid,
And a' the weans in Castlemilk have formed a ``Piece'' brigade;
We're going to march to George's Square, demanding civil rights,
Like `Nae Mair Hooses Over Piece-Flinging Height!'

Why not have a think back to your childhood and share with your baby one of your favourite songs or rhymes. Babies and young toddlers love the rhyme and rhythm, it will build their vocabulary and listening skills and most of all singing with your baby is a great fun, interactive activity.

I ‘heart’ Libraries!

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One of my favourite activities with my daughter, aka Babybear, is a trip to our local library, she gets so excited when we near the library door so I know she loves it too! Libraries have so much to offer babies and toddlers and regular trips to the library is a great habit to get into when they are young. Here are my top reasons to love your local library:

Rhyme time – Many libraries offer free sessions (like ‘bounce and rhyme’ and ‘Bookbug’) for babies, toddlers and their carers. It’s a great opportunity to learn some new songs and rhymes to sing with your little one at home but also to spend some time focused on and engaging with them. This benefits the literacy development of even the youngest tots and can be a great opportunity for you to meet other parents in your local area.

Lead by example – Toddlers love to copy, only today Babybear was busy cleaning her highchair while I got her lunch ready! So, if your little one sees you borrowing and enjoying library books they will want to do the same so they can be just like mum/dad/granny/grandpa!

A space away from home – Libraries are especially wonderful on those freezing winter days or when it’s bucketing with rain, they give you a child friendly space to get out of the house. The children’s sections in libraries will usually have little chairs and tables toddlers can sit at to look at books or draw/colour in.

Did I mention the books? Of course, the best part of the library is all the wonderful books you can borrow! Babybear loves to leaf through the baby/toddler books and pick out ones that catch her eye. Its never too early to read with babies and show them the pictures in books; it can help them understand the rhythm of language and begin to build their vocabulary. With a mass of choice of children’s books to borrow, all for free, there is nothing to stop your little one being a baby that loves books!

how the story began…

There are books everywhere in my flat, my 14 month old daughter loves them. She looks at her books more than playing with any of her toys and brings me her favourites to read to her again and again. The love affair began when she was only a few weeks old, amongst the many gifts of clothes, teddy bears, booties and hats, she received a couple of carefully chosen baby books. What wonderful gifts they were! Inspiring me to read with her, tell her stories and rhymes, explore the children’s sections of the local libraries and encouraging her to enjoy the wonderful world of books. So, might I suggest, if you’re getting a gift for a baby, what about a book? Not only a change from the masses of clothes that newborns are given but you may find you inspire another baby who loves books!

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