Readers: Home Grown BooksPIN IT

Every once in a while I come across a book that takes my breath away, with illustrations or words that speak to me on a level beyond just the text on the page. From the moment I saw the Home Grown Books Little Reader Series, which bring art and reading for children together, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them and it needs to be said – these are the most beautiful readers for kids I’ve come across. Ever.

As part of my little literacy series, earlier in the week I shared three of our favourite alphabet books, then yesterday we made some playing cards for learning sight words. The next step in the learning to read adventure for children is to begin enjoying readers. Readers are short books based on the level of reading ability of the child, which allow them to practice their sight words and learn new words while reading at an educationally appropriate level. The readers that I’ve come across at school and the library have always had cartoons or photographs accompanying the text, so when I saw that Home Grown Books were bringing in artists for their readers, I had to take a look.

Readers: Home Grown Books The Adventuring PackPIN IT

My Littlest here at the tiny & little household is very creative and artistic, so I was interested to see how he would react to these books which are so different to his usual readers. I quickly noticed that he engaged with the books, looking closely at the pictures, discussing them and in some instances creating his own story of what he thought would happen next. With the readers from school, there’s normally quick page turning once he’s read the text but with these books, he slowed right down. That, for me, is the perfect reading experience.

If you’re looking for a beautiful reader for your little one – or a gift for a special friend because these would make a lovely present! – I recommend stopping by Home Grown Books to take a look through the collection. Home Grown Books is an independent publisher based in New York that believes in the power of art and creativity to engage children’s minds. They publish board books for toddlers and book packs for beginning readers, all featuring stunning artwork and printed in such a lovely way that you’ll want to keep them out on the coffee table.

The Little Reader Series are themed packs of seven books, each with fantastical watercolour paintings. I chose The Adventuring Pack – which has Submarine, Flying, What Comes Next?, A Place to Live, A Collection of Characters, Maps and Let’s Play a Game – and Littlest and I have been loving reading them.

Before you dash over to check them out, join me for a quick peek inside these readers…

Readers: Home Grown Books The Adventuring PackPIN IT Readers: Home Grown Books The Adventuring PackPIN IT Readers: Home Grown Books The Adventuring PackPIN IT Readers: Home Grown Books The Adventuring PackPIN IT

 

tiny & little makes every effort to undertake reviews fairly and transparently. We received a copy of this book pack for review purposes. This review was not paid for – the views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and we only write on tiny & little about things that we genuinely love.

DIY Sight Words Playing CardsPIN IT

We’re continuing our little literacy for kids series today with an easy DIY – sight words playing cards. If your little one is at the stage of learning to read, you’ll most likely have heard of sight words. These are the words that are used in high frequency in reading and, as a result, kids are encouraged to learn to read them on sight. It’s words like the, and and I.

Sight words are often broken up into groups with children learning between ten and twenty on one list before moving to the next list. When looked at on the page as a whole list, it can be a bit daunting for the child, so here at tiny & little we learn using a little deck of sight words playing cards. We start with a small set of cards featuring the first list of sight words and then as they learn the words from each level, I add the next one so the deck of cards continues to grow. As for why we use them, it’s simply because I’ve found my little ones learn faster when I make learning fun.

Today I’m going to share how I make our sight words playing cards, along with three ideas for games you can play with them.

How to make your sight words playing cards

DIY Sight Words Playing CardsPIN IT DIY Sight Words Playing CardsPIN IT

What you’ll need

– a computer with a program for creating a table, like Word / Pages, PowerPoint / Keynote or Photoshop
– a printer
– coloured paper*
– jac paper*^ (this is a double sided sticky film for paper craft that you can pick up from a craft shop)
– white card* (I use 185gsm thickness, and it’s near the jac paper in the craft shop)
– scissors
– bone folder (optional)
– storage jar or box

* I buy these all in A4 size so that they are the same size when it’s time to assemble the cards.
^ You can use glue for joining the coloured paper and cardboard. I use jac paper because it’s a dry material so I don’t need to worry about the paper warping after it becomes wet with glue, and also because it holds together well.

What you’ll do

Step one: create a table with a border in your chosen software program and type the sight words your child is learning in. You’ll need one word per box and two of each word. Once it’s all typed up, print it out on the white card.

Step two: peel one side of the jac paper and stick it to the back of the printed card. Smooth out any bubbles until it is flat – I use the flat side of the bone folder to make this step easier.

Step three: peel the other side of the jac paper and stick it to the back of the coloured paper. Smooth out any bubbles again. You’ll now have a thick piece of paper + card, with the words on one side and the coloured design on the other.

Step four: cut out your playing cards, using the borders of the table as your cutting guide.

Games you can play with your sight words playing deck

DIY Sight Words Playing CardsPIN IT DIY Sight Words Playing CardsPIN IT

Memory

For this game, put all the sight words cards face down and take turns turning over two at a time. As each card is turned over, say the word out loud, and if it’s a match the person who turned the pair over keeps the cards. If they don’t match, turn them back to face down. Keep playing until all pairs are matched. This game can be played alone or with another player.

Go Fish!

These cards are terrific for a game of Go Fish. The cards are shuffled and each person is given five cards with the rest placed face down in a pile between the players. The first player asks another player if they can match a card in their own hand, “Do you have a the?” and if they do, the card is given to the first player who lays down a pair. If they don’t match, the first player picks up a card from the deck and adds it to their hand. Keep playing until all pairs are matched. This game can be played with two or more players, though in the early stages of learning you might need to limit it to two players or have less cards each because there won’t be enough cards to go around.

Snap!

This popular game also works a treat with the sight words playing cards. Divide the cards between the players and, holding them in a pile with the words facing down, take turns placing a card on the centre pile, face up, saying the word out loud as you put the card down. When the top two words match, quickly pop a hand on them saying “Snap!” and add the cards to your hand. Keep playing until one person is holding all of the cards or until you’ve gone all the way through the cards in your hand. This game can be played with two or more players, though in the early stages of learning you might need to limit it to two players to have a few cards each.

Happy creating!
If you make a deck of cards too, we’d love to see them! You can tag us on Instagram at #tinyandlittleDIY and we’ll stop by for a peek!

 

alphabet booksPIN IT

I am a huge fan of language and literature and adore watching little ones as they learn literacy. Being a part of the experience as kids learn the alphabet letter names and sounds and to read is a highlight of the parenting gig for me. The way their little faces light up with pride as they recall a letter or learn how to read a new word is a beautiful sight.

With that in mind, I couldn’t resist having a little literacy for kids series here on tiny & little. For the next few days, I’m going to share with you some of our favourite things for kids learning to read. There will be books and apps for learning to read as well as some fun activities and games for kids at different stages of their learn-to-read education to enjoy.

As part of their literacy adventure, kids learn how to name the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that letters make individually and in blends. So, today we’re starting at the beginning with three alphabet books that we absolutely adore and we hope you will enjoy them with your little one too.

Alphabet book, Winnie-the-PoohPIN IT Alphabet book, Winnie-the-PoohPIN IT

The Winnie-the-Pooh ABC board book is a great introduction to letters for toddlers. Each page is simply laid out with the capitalised and lower case version of the letter, an illustration from Winnie-the-Pooh and a single word starting with the letter. It’s an adorable book that little ones love reading time and again.

Alphabet book by Alison JayPIN IT Alphabet book by Alison JayPIN IT

For us, the next step from recognition of the letters of the alphabet is phonics – the sounds that the letters make. For that, we love Alphabet by Alison Jay. Each letter has its own page, or double page spread for some letters, with a simple sentence introducing the letter. One piece of added fun in this book is that pages lead to each other, for example the giraffe pruning is on the cover of the book next to the frog. The other added fun, and the bit that little learners really enjoy, is finding other things on the page that also start with the same letter. F is for frog, but it’s also for fish, fishing rod, flower, farm and so on. Each page has extra imagery that helps the little ones practice sounding the letters.

Alphabet books: One Upon an Alphabet by Oliver JeffersPIN IT Alphabet books: One Upon an Alphabet by Oliver JeffersPIN IT

The final book on the list of alphabet books we love is by one of our most favourite authors, Oliver Jeffers – Once Upon an Alphabet. This book features 26 fun stories, complete with beautiful illustrations. The stories are funny, quirky and conversation starters, making this a book that’s terrific for pre-schoolers and primary schoolers looking for a fun read about the alphabet.

Do you have a favourite alphabet book? Please share it with us in the comments!

separatorThese terrific books should be available at your local bookstore and we encourage neighbourhood shopping to support local businesses. If you don’t have a local bookshop or prefer to shop online, you might like to consider buying through the links below. These links are to Book Depository and are affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to purchase tiny & little will be eligible for a very small commission that will go towards the costs of running our website. Thank you for your support!

Winnie-the-Pooh ABC | Alphabet | Once Upon an Alphabet

  • HopeMay 16, 2015 - 12:22 pm

    A simply gorgeous collection of books! I’m a big fan of the Usborne books for little fingers and early readers, but it’s nice to see a collection of new-to-me books that are as equally impressive. Will definitely be keeping these in mind for the next birthdays! xxReplyCancel

DIY Necklaces by tiny & littlePIN IT

Today’s post has been a while in the making and I’m rather excited to be sharing it at last. Whether you love accessories for yourself and would like to make a little something special to keep, or are looking for a last minute Mother’s Day gift, this DIY will have you whipping up a stylish accessory.

Littlest and I recently used dyed pasta to make an edible pasta necklace, if you like pink and purple pasta… It was a simple and fun activity but not something I’d be able to wear for a long time which inspired us to make necklaces with different materials. That led to us making five necklaces, and today we’re sharing three of those styles as Mother’s Day inspiration. As for the other two styles, they’ll be in another necklace post that is coming soon.

Making these necklaces was lots of fun and I’m pretty thrilled I get to keep them all for myself. I hope you enjoy making them too! We’ll go left to right in the photo above, so let’s begin with the…

1. DIY abstract wooden bead necklace

DIY abstract wooden bead necklace by tiny & littlePIN IT DIY abstract wooden bead necklace by tiny & littlePIN IT

What you’ll need

– wooden beads
– paint; we chose peach, gold and white
– paintbrushes
– mod podge
– disposable containers
– skewers
– string; we used a piece of leather string

What you’ll do

Step one: thread the beads on to the skewers and hang the skewers over the disposable containers so that the beads are suspended in the air. This lets you paint the beads without much touching and you can rotate them to paint all over by turning the skewer.

Step two: paint random swashes over the beads until they’re covered and leave to dry.

Step three: paint mod podge all over the beads and leave to dry. This step seals the paint so it doesn’t wear off.

Step four: once it’s all dry, thread your beads on to your string and tie off.

Next up in our necklace collection is…

2. DIY clay bead necklace

DIY clay necklace by tiny & littlePIN IT DIY clay necklace by tiny & littlePIN IT

What you’ll need

– polymer clay
– disposable latex gloves
– skewer
– string; we used embroidery thread which was plaited to create a thicker string
– clear nail polish

What you’ll do

Step one: preheat the oven according to the instructions on your polymer clay* and line a tray with baking paper.

Step two: pop on the latex gloves^ and knead the clay until it’s soft and malleable. You’re then ready to start rolling beads into the sizes and shapes you’d like. Once you’ve achieved the shape you’d like, use the skewer to push a hole through the bead for stringing then place each bead on your baking tray.

Step three: bake your beads in the oven, keeping an eye on them so that they don’t overcook and discolour or crack.

Step four: once your beads have cooled from the oven, thread the string through and tie off.

Step five: apply a dab of nail polish to the ends of the string where you tied it off to help keep fraying at bay.

 

* I used Sculpey polymer clay, the oven was at 130C (275F) and I baked the smaller beads for about 18 minutes and the largest one in the middle for 25 minutes.
^ latex gloves are optional – I use them so I don’t leave fingerprints and marks from my palms on the clay as the beads are rolled.

We’ve saved the easiest for last and the final creation in our necklace collection is…

3. DIY wool pompom necklace

DIY pompom necklace by tiny & littlePIN IT

What you’ll need

– wool in different colours, we used 4 ply wool in black, grey, pink and beige
– cardboard ring for making your pompoms / or a fork if you’re wanting to make little pompoms really quickly
– wool for the necklace string; we used a bamboo cotton
– tapestry needle
– clear nail polish

What you’ll do

Step one: make your pompoms.

Step two: thread your string through the tapestry needle and thread the needle through the middle of each of the pompoms until they’re strung together.

Step three: tie off your string and apply a dab of nail polish to reduce fraying at the ends.

DIY Necklaces by tiny & littlePIN IT

Happy creating!
We’d love to see your fabulous new accessory if you make a necklace! You can tag us on Instagram at #tinyandlittleDIY and we’ll stop by for a peek!

splatter painting kids abstract artPIN IT

pssst. Dads, partners of mamas and lovely friends planning to make a little something for a special mama this Mother’s Day, I have a question. Have your little ones created their gift yet? If they haven’t, fear not! Today I’m sharing a quick and easy painting technique that will see your little one create an abstract masterpiece while having a bucketload of fun – a lovely gift for Mother’s Day! This painting technique is summed up in two words – splatter painting – and kids absolutely love it!

Before we get into the how to, this art activity comes with a warning. It’s messy, and I mean MESSY. When the kids get into making their masterpiece, the paint will fly, and I mean FLY. I would suggest you pop down a decent sized drop cloth, like an old double or queen sized bed sheet, to catch the mess and have the little ones pop on an art smock or clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on.

splatter painting kids abstract artPIN IT

Splatter painting is a technique where you throw paint at the canvas without the brush actually touching it and the paint moves in its own way as it hits the canvas. It’s great fun for kids who will love seeing how big a splat they can make or how far they can get paint to splatter across the canvas. Naturally all of the paint won’t stay on the canvas as it bounces on impact, and those splatters when they’re trying to shoot across the canvas are when you’ll be especially glad if you popped that drop cloth down!

What you’ll need

– paint in different colours; we chose peach, pink, gold, black and white
– a palette for mixing, if your little ones like to make custom colours
– a container of water
– canvas
– paintbrushes; we used a big one for the background and a smaller one for the splatters

What you’ll do

Step one: paint the background of your canvas – we used the larger brush for this and painted with all colours except for black in a criss-cross pattern until the canvas was covered.

Step two: dip the smaller paintbrush in a paint colour then dip it into the water. Without squeezing or tapping any of the excess water out, bring the paintbrush over the canvas and splatter the paint. To do this you can either tap the brush with your free hand, do a quick flick of the wrist or throw the colour like you’re casting a fishing line.

Step three: repeat step two using different colours until you’ve reach the desired effect. For our painting, we splattered gold, white, black and two shades of grey made using the black and white paints.

The final step is to stand back and admire your artwork as it dries. Fun, right?!

splatter painting kids abstract artPIN IT splatter painting kids abstract artPIN IT splatter painting kids abstract artPIN IT

Happy creating!
We’d love to see your little one’s masterpiece, so feel free to use our Instagram hashtag #tinyandlittleartists to share and we’ll stop by for a peek!