Picture books are fun. They also present a wealth of learning opportunities for children. By reading with our children, we are helping them to develop a greater sense of self as well as promoting skills in language and literacy.

Click on the links below for suggested follow-up activities for you to do at home. You can watch the activities too on my Youtube channel and on IGTV.

How to Catch a Star Play Prompt

How to Catch a Star

Teach perseverance and problem-solving with a focus on fine motor skills, language relating to shape, colour, size and pattern, using ‘How to Catch a Star’ by Oliver Jeffers.

Rhyme inspired #picbookplay to help children learn to read

Oi Puppies

The greatest skill you can teach your child is the ability to read. Imagine a world where you were alienated by words – everything from menus, timetables and of course books, would be horribly out of reach. The ‘Oi Frog’ series by Kes Gray is much loved for its humour and rhyme. In this quick and adaptable #picbookplay activity, we use rhyme to introduce simple spelling patterns and encourage careful listening to the sounds of words…

Growth mindset prompts

The Dot

Developing a growth mindset is a vital skill that will help our children to build resilience, improve their self-esteem and reduce helplessness. Knowing that they possess both knowledge and skills, understanding that mistakes are okay and believing that practice helps to take us a step closer to perfect, will support them in overcoming many of life’s challenges. A central theme in Peter H. Reynolds’ delightful picture book, ‘The Dot’, is encouraging self-belief. The follow-on activity below can be used to help your child improve their confidence (as demonstrated here) or, you could adapt it to help them learn specific skills – multiplication tables or spellings perhaps. Be as creative as you like – after all, as ‘The Dot’ highlights, there really is a creative spirit in us all.

Boy Blowing sponge boats - Number matching activity

Grandad’s Island

Most children love bathtime; the water adds a new dynamic to their play. My boys are no exception, so for this week’s activity we have chosen to include water, bubbles and some handmade boats. Inspired by ‘Grandad’s Island’ by Benji Davies, we had fun playing an early maths activity – though as I will explain below, it can be adapted for literacy too and to suit many different ages and abilities. Once completed, the boys enjoyed ‘messing about with boats’ and we also threw a few sea-creatures into the water too. Imaginative role-play can stimulate conversation and language learning and is great for all ages, from babies to grown-ups!