Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Songs linked to Wow said the Owl.....

The following songs were used to link to the story:

1. Little Owl (to the tune of  - This Old Man)

Little Owl in the tree,
He is winking down at me.
With a wink, wink, wink, wink
All through the night,
Little Owl is quiet a sight!

Little  Owl in the tree,
He is hooting down at me.
With a hoot, hoot, hoot, hoot
All though the night
Little Owl is quite a sight!

2. If you want to be an Owl (to the tune of - If you're happy and you know it)

If you want to be an Owl,  shout - who who!
If you want to be an Owl, shout - who who!
Then you get to sleep all day
And at night you get to play
If you want to be an Owl, shout - who who!

3. Owl in the Oak tree (to the tune of - Skip to my lou)

Owl in the Oak tree - big and strong
Owl in the Oak tree - sings his song
Owl in the Oak tree - all night long
Who, who, who- come sing along

Who, who, who - me and you
Who, who, who - what will we do?
Who, who, who - all night through
Singing our song - who, who, who

Wow said the Owl part 2

Wow said the Owl

Part 2:

Were going on an owl hunt

A really simple activity linked to the story is to go on an owl hunt.  The families taking part in the session were encouraged to look for  the hidden owls around the room using prepositional language such as behind, on, in, under etc.  

For this activity I printed off different pictures of owls and laminated them and then hid them around the room before the families came in to the room.

You could also make some owls with the children to use for this activity or you could use soft toys.

Here are the owls I used:

Bilingual colour book

This simple book was made with the families within the session to highlight the different colours in the main story book.  Simple pictures for the children to colour were printed off in line with what items were found in the story and then English and Welsh words added for the different colours.

Painting a rainbow

This was a simple activity used in the session where the families made rainbows to link to the story.  We used paper plates cut in half.  Next we painted our rainbows and once they had dried off we attached tissue paper strands to float in the breeze.

This one I attached to my board last week to show.

Owl  babies 

This popular story linked nicely to the theme of the book and so we used this with the props included in our story sack to tell the story and to use for role play.

I have added a You tube link for you to follow the story if you haven't come across it before.

For the songs that were linked to the book see the next post : )

Owl Babies - Picture Book Animation

Wow said the Owl....

Wow said the Owl:

WOW! Said the Owl

by Tim Hopgood

Everyone knows that owls are nocturnal but one curious little owl decides to take a long nap at night so she can stay awake during the day.

What she sees, from the warm, pink glow of dawn through to a day filled with the bright colours of green leaves, blue sky, grey clouds and, finally, a stunning rainbow, makes her exclaim 'WOW!'.

But despite the beauty of the daytime world, the little owl decides that the night-time stars are the most beautiful of all.

Simple text and an endearing character experiencing colour for the first time give an original slant to a first colours book.

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

This book was used over two sessions with the families that I work with to promote the use of books and stories to develop children's early language skills through play.  

The overall learning goals using both books were:

  • To encourage sharing books and giving opportunities for exploring a variety of books
  • To introduce the Bookstart books and develop parents / carers confidence in using them by bringing the stories alive with the activities on offer
  • To encourage parents / carers to instill a love of books in their children

Bookstart research shows that an early start with books helps to develop motivation, concentration and attention that are all necessary for learning.

The story was shared with the families in the group.  They all had a copy to follow the story and have a cuddle at the same time.  

Making cosy nests

One of the main activities linked to the story for the families was making cosy spaces for them to share the book.  We used a range of different textured materials,  including cat baskets.  These are perfect cosy spaces for children to sit in and made perfect nests.  

I added some bird cuddly toys that also sang when squeezed......

Tissue paper leaves which also made a fantastic rustling sound and some feathers....

Bookstart Cymru

Last week I was pleased to have been asked to run some mini workshops for the Bookstart Cymru annual event based on the Bookstart books found in the packs that are given out by Health visitors at the health checks.  

Bookstart offers the gift of free books to all children at two key ages before they start school to inspire a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life and to help families enjoy reading together every day.  

This pack for toddlers in Wales is gifted by Health visitors at health checks when the toddler is 18 to 30 months old.

This pack for babies in Wales is gifted by Health visitors at health checks when the baby is 7 to 9 months old.

To find out more about Bookstart click on the following link:

The workshops I ran included activity ideas, songs and links to other books and stories based on the two books from last years toddler pack.  These books were:

                                                                 Wow said the Owl

In a previous post you will find a YouTube link with the story being told.


Rwyn'n dy garu di mor fawr ar byd: I love you as big as the world!

The next few posts will give you information about the activities and songs I used linked to the books.....

Wow said the owl. Children's short story. Story about colours.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Out and about

Children enjoy looking at things when they are out and about.  But how many of us when we are out with our children are always in a rush to get somewhere?

By taking things a bit slower they can learn so much more through talking, discussing, touching and listening.  The noises in a town will be completely different to the noises in the country.

When we go to town or if you live in a town there are lots of everyday learning opportunities:

  • Traffic - saying the names of what we can see (cars, lorries, vans, buses, motorbikes, bicycles etc)
  • Look at your reflection in the hub of a parked car
  • Look at the different shapes around you on the buildings in the form of windows, doors, roofs etc
  • Where are the buses going or the trains?
  • If you pass by builders on sites or roadworks, what are the people doing?  Lots of open ended question opportunities 
  • Road signs have different shapes and pictures as well as numbers
A community card picture list can be used with children when you go into town or for a walk in the country with them.  (You can cut the pictures out or keep as one board).  This can be personalised to your own community.  The point of it is that you can match the picture to the item or place as you go on your journey.  Lots of opportunities for speech language and communication.

In the country you will usually have more opportunities to listen to some of the quieter sounds which may get drowned out in the town such as birds singing.  You may see sheep, horses, cows etc.  A perfect opportunity to sing songs such as Old MacDonald and to hear the noises the animals make.

Whether in the park in a town or in the countryside children love scavenger hunts.  This time of the year in Autumn there are many treasures to find.  Here is a simple one I have put together: different coloured leaves, acorns, pine cones, stones, twigs....the list goes on.  Laminate the sheet and you will be able to use it again and again with a whiteboard marker that will clean off easily.

Please bare with me, I have been trying to link word documents to the blog so you can download these, but to no avail at the moment......if anyone knows how to do this, please get in touch.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A few copying and clapping games....

Encourage your child to join in the clapping or pat your baby's hands to the words....

Pat a cake:

Pat a cake pat a cake baker's man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Prick it and pat it and mark it with B

Put it in the oven for baby and me

Do the following actions as you say the words:

Clap clap hands, one two three

Put your hand upon your knee

Lift them high to touch the sky

Clap clap hands. away they fly!

Clap your hands:

Clap your hands,  clap your hands

Just like me

Touch your nose, touch your nose

Just like me

Shake your head, shake your head

Just like me

Clap your hands, clap your hands

Then let them quiet be!

I hear thunder:

I hear thunder, I hear thunder (clap your hands in time)

Hark don't you

Hark don't you

Pitter patter raindrops (tap on the table in time)

Pitter patter raindrops

I'm wet through (wriggle your body)

So are you!

How do toddlers communicate?

Children at this stage learn very quickly.  At this time, speech really begins.  Your child at this stage will not only be watching you but also trying to copy you or other family members such as siblings and trying things out.

By the time your child is two he will be able to use about 50 words, although they understand much more than they can say and may know as many as 200.

Usual first words include: people or things that they know well, no or bye bye.

After first words, children start joining two words together such as 'all gone'.  They will also maybe look for things or point to them if you say there name as well as follow simple instructions such as 'bring it to me'.

It's really important that we listen to our child's first words so that we can respond appropriately.

So how can we help them?

  • Listen carefully
  • Respond to them
  • Show that we are interested in what they say
  • Talk to them in short sentences
  • Ask simple questions such as 'where's your cup?'
  • Ask them to do simple hings such as 'say goodbye' or to fetch something
They don't need fancy toys either, simple things to play with and develop language and listening skills are:

  • Old mobile phones or similar (as they love to chat and talk).  You can play with them and pretend play
  • Cuddly toys (children usually have quite a few cuddly toys).  Brilliant for pretend play, singing with, using as the main character for a story....the list goes on
  • Boxes.....children love boxes!  Big, small, medium size.  Imagination, creativity, language sills and lots more!
  • Toy cars, farm animals
  • Plastic tea set
  • Posting box for shapes (this is more about praise and encouragement to develop the child's self esteem)
  • Picture books to share stories (they love stories including them)
  • Lots of singing too.....remember it doesn't cost anything and children don't care if you sing out of tune...they don't judge!

Did you know?

Children' s brains are like sponges.  From the minute they are born, they are ready to take on new experiences and learn from them.  The earliest months and years are the most important in a child's development. 

From this early point children are able to soak up language and so this is an important time when there is more than one language within the home environment as children at this time find learning more than one language easier than adults who can find learning more than one language difficult.

The sooner children hear their home languages, the quicker they are to pick up words and understand.

By the age of five years (which isn't very old when you think that some of us can live up to be one hundred years of age), 95% of children's spoken language has been acquired through talking, playing, singing songs and rhymes and by having books and stories shared with them.

Children who have had lots of books and stories shared with them, generally find reading easier.

Children who know lots of songs and rhymes can feel more confident to join in at song time at nursery and school.

We are our child's first educator and role model...... we don't have to be perfect, (there is no such thing), just being ourselves while reading, playing, talking, listening and singing with our children and having fun with them, is the best thing we do!