Saturday, 6 April 2013

My One Year Old's Top 5 Reads and how to take them Outdoors

This is a book list with a difference, in that my one year old chose the books.
Ok, so as grown ups we have provided his book collection and ultimately chosen what goes into it but this list is based on the books he likes best. The ones he goes to on a regular basis and plays with, turns the pages, presses the buttons and generally interacts with.
I've also popped in some tips on how to take these books outdoors and use them to connect with nature, because ultimately that's what this blog is all about.
1.  My Quiet Book

This book is just beautiful. Little man's Aunty Ni Ni bought this for him and it is an absolute keepsake. He loves feeling all the different textures, pulling at all the attachements and turning the lovely thick fabric pages. He even cuddles the book and uses it as a pillow.

Tips for connecting it to nature and the outdoors

This book has some lovely illustrations about mums and babies which would be great for use in the spring time when visiting the local farm (although even I wouldn't want to get this book muddy!!)
The seasons illustration is a brilliant starting point for going out and finding signs of the seasons, collecting them where possible and even using them to make your own seasons diagram.



2. In the Night Garden: Happy Friends

 My son absolutely loves this book. He enjoys the bright colours, pointing at the things he find interesting and most of all turning the pages. The shape of the pages and the fact that this is a board book makes it really easy for him to use. I'll often find him flicking through it mumbling to himself and pointing to things as if he is reading it. 

Tips for connecting it to nature and the outdoors

One of the themes of this book is making music so pick up all those noisy toys you've got and take them outdoors, then try and replicate the sounds you can hear in nature. Alternatively, you can find natural things to make music with, such as tapping twigs on trees, rustling leaves or clicking two stones together to sound like a Wren.
In this story one of the characters, Makka Pakka, enjoys washing stones. Why not collect some stones and use them in water play? Experiment with which ones make the biggest splash, or simply enjoy seeing them change colour as they get wet.

  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 Who doesn't love this book? Our little one loves it so much we used it to theme his 1st birthday party, something which it lends itself to really well. When he was tiny and we were still in hospital with him he used to love the pages with the sun and the butterfly, he would stare at them for ages. Now he's a bit bigger he loves poking his fingers through the holes and because this is another board book it is really easy for him to turn the pages.

Tips for connecting it to nature and the outdoors

If not this year, then definately next year, I am going to buy some caterpillars and home grow them so that we can release the butterflies in our garden. You can buy kits on the net and it's something kids love. It provides a real hands on experience and gives kids a close up view of the caterpillar/butterfly lifecycle. It's a lovely project for spring and summer.
Another activity is the much loved minibeast hunting. Get out into the garden with a clear pot and a soft paintbrush and see what you can find. Whatever the weather there will be something out there, from slugs to beetles and the younger the kids are the less fear they seem to have. My little monster will quite happily sit mesmorised while a spider crawls across his hand.

4. Wish Upon a Star (Night Light Books)

This is a lovely bedtime story where the little bear goes hunting for a star. He can't reach one so goes home feeling rather sad until his Dad comes to the rescue. He has found him one and put it in his bedroom for him. Our little man loves to press the star and hear the song while we read it to him. This is another book with really easily turnable pages, which is something my little muchkin loves to do.

Tips for connecting it to nature and the outdoors

This book provides the perfect opportunity for Dad to get out there and go star hunting with the kids. If they are slightly older get them out at night and do some stargazing, grab some binoculars and see what you can spot up in the sky. There are some great phone apps which tell you what stars and planets you are looking at. During the day get them to try and touch the sky using a stick, experimenting with different heights. You could use hills, climb trees or the local park climbing frame to gain height.
You could also go looking for star shaped flowers, grasses and leaves or go to the beach and see if you can find some starfish (not to take home of course!) Another book with a similar storyline, which I would highly recommend is 'How to Catch a Star' by Oliver Jeffers. It doesn't have the same interactive elements as this book but the story is lovely and it will quickly become a favourite.

5. Dear Zoo

I think of all the books this has to be my little boy's favourite. You can get this book in lots of different versions but this one has the noisy buttons which make the sounds of each of the animals. He loves to lift the flaps and hear the animals make the noises at him. He giggles at the monkey sound, likes to try and copy the snake's hissing and the elephant always makes him jump. We have a couple of the 'noisy button' books as we call them and they are always popular.

 Tips for connecting it to nature and the outdoors

Go to the Zoo!! See the animals close up. Make the noises together and do the actions. Kids love to pretend and this gives them the perfect excuse to act like monkeys!

I hope you found this list useful. I'd love to hear what your kids favourite books are and what activities you have done that link with the book. I'm looking forward to trying some out some of your ideas


  1. This is a great list. We already have a couple but the Wish Upon A Star one is new to me and sounds quite magical. I love looking a stars so will add it to my 'to buy' list x

  2. Thanks farfromhomemama. It is a lovely book, I would definitely recommend it :-)


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