Author-Illustrator Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas is one New Frontier‘s most celebrated author/illustrators – and rightly so.  His quirky illustrations and touching story lines warm the hearts of children and parents alike.  Four of his much-loved picture books have been re-released as Little Treasures.  These mini books come complete with an envelope ready for posting, and you can purchase them for $9.95 each, or all four for only $29.95! What a gorgeous gift to send to a child this Christmas. Continue reading

Outdoor Chalk Boards

An outdoor chalkboard is another project I have had on my to-do list for a while. I love the idea of children having lots of writing and drawing opportunities outdoors.  I often find that writing naturally flows outside without the pressure of a classroom environment or the constraints of A4 paper.  Chalk is inviting too, because of its non-permanent nature and its accessibility for little hands. (In fact, Mr 2 drew his first “people” pictures on the chalk board! See bottom left picture.) Continue reading

Fairy Fun

I spotted these popstick-girl-shapes in a craft store, and grabbed a packet immediately.  I just knew they would come in handy for… well, for something!  When Miss 5 was recently at home sick they provided wonderful entertainment.

I put out any sparkly collage materials I could find, as well as some fabric and PVA glue.  I also had a few leftover precut felt butterfly shapes which proved perfect for wings.  My daughter didn’t need any help (or any encouragement to get started)!  She busied herself for most of the day creating different families of fairies.  Water fairies, tree fairies, dirt fairies, vine fairies.  It was one big sparkly creative mess!!

The next day we were able to take the fairies outside into the garden.  The paddlepop sticks pushed easily into the ground, and also proved useful as handles for when the fairies wanted to flutter about.

It was wonderful to hear Miss 5 make up her own stories using the fairy families.  We were able to talk about what makes a good story, and the need for a “problem” to be resolved.  We even whipped out the iphone and recorded some of the stories.  They will be fun to look back on one day!

I’m so glad I kept my hands out of the making process, and let my daughter do it her way.  No end product to copy.  No “do it like this” moments.  No adult interference.  And I think her fairies are rather beautiful.  Don’t you?

Backyard Letterbox

I have long had the idea of putting an actual letterbox in the backyard for the kids to use.  FINALLY I got around to it.

Letter writing is such a great, purposeful literacy activity.  It provides a reason to write, and an incentive to write well because you want the recipient to be able to read their letter when they receive it!

I picked up this letterbox from our local (big green) hardware store for around $12.  It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job perfectly and we don’t need to worry about it being able to withstand the conditions outside.  We simply screwed it to a low, existing sleeper wall beside the dirt kitchen.

It has already been more than worth the money!  The kids have written so many letters to each other, to Mummy and Daddy, and to friends who have come over to play.  Writing them is fun, reading them is fun, checking the mailbox is fun, and delivering the mail is fun. Of course, everyone participates at their own level.  Miss 5 has been doing some great early writing, using her sound-letter knowledge to have-a-go at writing independently.  She has also worked hard to decode the simple letters I have posted to her.  Mr 2 has enjoyed being the mailman, and posted some excellent scribbles to his sister!

If you are looking for an inexpensive, non-permanent, interactive addition for your backyard or playspace… try a letterbox!  It provides a lovely way for siblings or parent-child to communicate, promotes early reading and writing, and gets kids outside. Ticks all my boxes :-)

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National Simultaneous Storytime: Feathers for Phoebe

This week thousands of Aussie kids across the country heard the fabulous story Feathers For Phoebe by award winning author/illustrator Rod Clement.  National Simultaneous Storytime has become an annual event, and one that is warmly embraced by librarians, early years educators, parents and children alike.  My two year old and I enjoyed the activities and reading at our local library. Continue reading

One Stitch At A Time

My friends at Black Dog Books sent me a copy of One Stitch At A Time, a beginner’s guide to making soft toys.  While I am not the world’s best sewer – I have to admit that it is gorgeous.  Author, Gen West, has collaborated with Postman Pat puppet maker Laura Clempson.  Needless to say, the softies in the book are impeccably stitched!  The complete toy making kit contains everything you need to make your first softie, plus patterns and instructions for other soft toy animals.  (Lots of great literacy skills involved in reading instructions and working with patterns.) Continue reading

Samuel's Kisses Book Review

What an absolute delight it was to be at Karen Collum‘s book launch today to celebrate her debut picture book, Samuel’s Kisses (New Frontier Publishing).  A truly heart warming tale, Samuel’s Kisses is an early childhood story beautifully illustrated by Serena Geddes.  Samuel blows kisses to unhappy shoppers with surprising, and entertaining results.  The uncomplicated plot makes for a feel-good story that is sure to be a hit with preschoolers, and Mums!  There are obvious opportunities for interaction between parent and child when reading, and the book also lends itself well to simple innovations on the text.  I predict Samuel’s Kisses will become a bedtime favourite.

At the launch today, we…

Caught up with Karen (author) and Serena (illustrator).

Made sure our book was autographed.

Listened to Karen read Samuel’s Kisses.

Enjoyed activities and explored the grounds of the gorgeous Marks & Gardner cafe gallery

(with the real Samuel!)

Gave kisses to Karen too!!

Oh, and one more thing I did was to ask Karen and Serena to sign a copy of Samuel’s Kisses for YOU.  Yes, one very lucky SquiggleMum reader will receive a signed, hard cover copy of this delightful picture book.  To enter, leave a comment below sharing how you let your kids know you love them. Do you blow kisses? Have a special saying? Write them notes? Sing to them? One entry per person please. Aussie residents only. Comp closes 6pm Saturday 19th Feb, Qld time.

If you’d like to hear more from Karen, you can find her on facebook or twitter.

*I received a copy of Samuel’s Kisses courtesy of my friends at New Frontier Publishing.

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THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

Congratulations to the random winner: Trish.

Everyone else… go and buy a copy!! Karen & Serena’s book is gorgeous.