Book Club – Yes Bébé Monthly Subscription Box

Rainbow book shelf with June Book Club books
Selection of June 2020 Book Club titles

Book Club Monthly Subscription

Subscription boxes have increased in popularity, especially during 2020 where we have all found ourselves at home more. The idea of a surprise product or activity popping through your door each month has been a welcome one for many families. Back in 2019, here at Yes Bébé, we launched our Book Club; a monthly book club subscription delivered to your door especially for your children. These aren’t disposable subscription boxes to be used once, these are beautiful books that your family will treasure.

If you want to dive straight in to having a look head to our dedicated subscription site here.

Since Book Club was launched its popularity has grown every month. We are excited to have recently made some changes and added new subscriptions to our range. We’ll be letting you know more about our subscription options and changes below.

Lots of book examples from Yes Bebe monthly book subscription
A selection of some of our wonderful Book Club titles that have made their way to families this year

What is Book Club?

Book Club is for children from birth through to teenagers. You can choose to add just one or multiple subscriptions to build up your own unique parcel of surprise books for your children each month. You pay one postage and packaging charge. This remains the same regardless of how many books you order. There is even the option to add on one of our popular toy subscriptions such as Lanka Kade, Holztiger or T-Lab to your box too.

The Books

You can choose from a range of categories when building your monthly book subscription including Fiction, Non Fiction, Activity, Waldorf inspired and Book Club member inspired books.

Original Book Club Subscription

Kaya's Heart Song book published by Lantana surrounded by flowers
Fiction Book Club title

Our original subscription started as a fiction book in the age categories of 0-18 months, 18m+, 3 years +, 5 years +, 8 years +, 11 years + and 14 years +. This has now expanded to include non fiction and activity books for many of the age ranges. To look at options click here.

Fiction

Little Turtle and the Sea fiction books with small world play scene
Fiction Book Club book with small world play scene including Black’s Toys ‘The Wave’ and ‘The Glacier’ and Tender Leaf Toys Ocean Animals.

For our fiction titles we hope to bring you books you may not have thought to buy yourself. Hidden gems, books that will bring pleasure, richness and discussion to your homes and families. For example Little Turtle and the Sea is a beautiful adventure story book, yet can open discussion around plastic waste and pollution in our oceans.

Non Fiction

Creature Feature Oceans books with felt ocean animals
Creature Feature Ocean book with Black’s Toys ‘The Wave’ and Koseli felted sea creatures

For non fiction titles our aim is to bring you beautiful books, packed full of facts ready for you and your children to discover. We carefully consider what titles have been sent out previously to ensure that you are getting new, exciting books in a variety of themes.

Example Book Club Titles

If you’d like to see example of the books that went out for July you can view them here. Click on each book cover for more information about that book. Please note this is before changes and additional subscription options were added ready for August 2020.

Usborne options are dependent upon what customers have already received. You can see more information about these towards the end of this post.

Waldorf Inspired Books

Waldorf Book Club titles for Yes Bebe
Previous Waldorf Inspired Books Club books

We love our selection of Waldorf inspired books on the website. We now have two Waldorf inspired book subscription options in Book Club. This includes an Early Waldorf and a Picture Waldorf category.

Here are some examples of the type of book you would receive for Early Waldorf. They would predominately be board books, some with no words, some with short stories. As you would expect from Waldorf inspired books, they are all beautifully illustrated.

Three Waldorf inspire books from publishers Floris
Early Waldorf

For our Waldorf Picture category you would receive books similar to below. They would be picture books, again stunningly illustrated, with stories.

Three Waldorf Inspired picture books from Floris
Picture Waldorf

Waldorf books are ideal for families who love to observe and be part of the cyclic, seasonal changes in our world. Families who enjoy taking time to appreciate and care for the natural world. They’re perfect to pair with your wooden toys to let your child continue the stories into their imaginative play.

In the Land of Merfolk book by Floris with Black's Toys The Wave and Ostheimer Mermaid
Waldorf Book Club Title with Black’s Toys ‘The Wave’ and Ostheimer Mermaid

Picture Story Book Subscription

We’ve introduced this option from August 2020. A Book Club member inspired subscription thanks to lots of feedback. This subscription is ideal for anyone who enjoys picture books from 0 to 100+ years old. What to expect? New release, paperback titles each month!

Picture story book paperbacks
Examples of the types of books you might receive in Picture Storybook subscription

To find out more information on this subscription click here.

Early Chapter Books

Early chapter books

Again, this is a Book Club member requested subscription beginning August 2020. These books are early chapter style books. They will fill that tricky stage between picture books and chapter books. Giving children more story, but with gentle themes and pictures throughout to bridge that gap. Perfect for you to read to your child or for a child who is becoming a more independent reader. Having pictures in these types of books help to engage the reader, but crucially helps to support the comprehension of the story as they begin to explore more challenging texts. To discover more click here.

Other Book Subscriptions

Finally we have several Usborne Books subscriptions you may like to consider – click on the links for further information.

Dedicated Book Club Facebook Group

Once you are a Book Club member, come and join us in our dedicated Facebook group – a great place to chat to like minded people about books galore! We keep you up to date with new releases and news from the book world.

Big Book of Blooms titles by Yuval Zommer and Animalphabet

Book Club 15% Discount

As a Book Club member you receive 15% off full priced titles across the site. Shop books here.

FAQs

You will find a FAQs section on the subscription site here. This is a great place to answer lots of the questions you may have. There are some handy videos too.

If you are looking to build more than one book or subscription into your own custom package, be sure to add all of your choices and check out at the same time. This will ensure you only pay once for postage.

The Whale the Sea and the Stars book from Floris with Tender Leaf whale and Black's Toys The Wave on blue scarf

You have total control over your subscription. You can manage it from the dedicated site. Want to change to a different category next month? You can. Need to pause your subscription? You can. You’d like to set up the subscription as a gift to some else? You can. Just add their details and you can then cancel after whatever time you wish. Changes must be made before the 5th of the month. If you’d like to sign up for the current month, ensure you do so before the 5th of that month. For example, to receive a book in August ensure you have set up your subscription before the 5th August.

Is your little one starting nursery or school soon? Find our blog post on books and tips for starting school here.

If you’d like to get in touch with Charlotte or myself (Lisa) from the book team head to our Facebook Page or email books@yesbebe.co.uk.

Play Prompts – Learning at Home – Dinosaurs and the Prehistoric World

Dinosaur Play Prompt

Each week at Yes Bebe we explore a different play prompt to help generate ideas from the the Yes Bebe community and team for you to enjoy at home. This week is Dinosaurs and the Prehistoric World. There are simple, quick set ups to more advanced science ideas; something for everyone and spanning so many ages. If you’d love to get inspiration on ways to play with your children then do keep up to date with the blog and join our friendly Yes Bébé Facebook group – Babble.

Last week saw an incredible week of play on the theme SPACE. If you’d love some inspiration then head to the blog post of ideas shared here. If you are sharing your ideas then use the hashtag #YesBebePlay so we can find your ideas. Our aim is to give you ideas anyone can do, they don’t need to be Pinterest worthy, inspiration not aspiration is our motto. We hope that whenever you need some ideas for a topic then you’ll be able to head to the blog and find lots.

You can find lots of book and toy dinosaur and prehistoric world resources on the site here. So let’s dive into some of the amazing ideas that have already been shared this week.

Dinosaur Play

How lovely is this play set up from Charlotte? We love the Holztiger dinosaurs teamed up with so many other loose parts play items. So inviting! When looking to buy toys it’s really useful to think about how many ways they can be used. This is how you can get real value for money from the toys you select.

Here’s a great set up from Simone. The use of fabrics are great for making a cosy play area for little ones to explore.

Look at this creative set up from Marie. Marie is incredibly crafty and a member of out Arts and Crafts Facebook group. Marie frequently posts her amazing crafts in the group. If you’re into crafts definitely worth joining for her inspiration and ideas.

Loose Parts Dinosaur Play

Freedom – that’s what loose parts gives to your children. Loose parts are items that can be moved, transported, ordered, lined up, split, combined. The play is limited to the imagination of the player. How roarsome does this cute little dinosaur from Sophie and family look? Grapat, Grimms and TickIT are great places to start your loose parts journey as well as natural treasure found outside. Here’s the loose parts section on the site if you’d like a closer look.

Dinosaur Saltdough

Dough is a great way to explore lots of topics. It’s brilliant for strengthening the muscles in the hand, fingers and arms as well as developing control and co-ordination. These skills are essential for being able to write. Heather and her family have used salt dough so they can keep their fossil creations. You could use playdough or clay too.

The Prehistoric World

At Yes Bebe HQ Charlotte and family have been transported back in time to the Stone Age with this great little invitation to play.

Thanks so much for all the lovely inspiration so far – we’ll be adding more of the wonderful ideas being shared with us through out the rest of the week so be sure to pop back and see what’s new.

Play Prompts – Learning at Home – Space

Space Play Prompt

We’ve been having a great time exploring Play Prompts over the last few weeks. This week sees the start of our theme SPACE. If you’d love to get inspiration on ways to play with your children then do keep up to date with the blog and join our friendly Yes Bébé Facebook group – Babble.

The wonderful Babble community have been sharing their brilliant ideas each week for their take on a specific play prompt. So far we’ve had the prompt colours, safari, food, minibeasts and oceans. You’ll be able to discover a plethora of ideas with the hashtag #YesBebePlay.

You can find lots of book and toy space resources on the site here.

Exploring Numbers through Space

We’ll be adding to this blog as the week goes on, but first up numbers. Space topics are a great way to explore number. If it’s for little ones then learning to count backwards from 5, 10 or 20 is so much more fun when you get to blast off your rocket at the end.

We love the nursery rhyme song Zoom Zoom Zoom we’re Going to the Moon and Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer to get young children joining in moving and counting. For slightly older children you could get them to write down the corresponding problems for Five Little Men in A Flying Saucer – 5-1=4 etc. SumBlox is a brilliant resource for using alongside songs to help visualise what is happening and the magnitude of each number. Giving your child the block 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 and then asking them to order them for a count down support them in understanding how a 6 for example is bigger than a 5.

For older children you can look at bigger numbers. How far away different planets are from the sun? Would it be quicker to get to Venus or Mars? How long would it take to get there? How many days does it take for a planet to orbit the sun?

Shape and Space

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Katy shared her glitter hand print rockets. Such a great idea to explore shape if you’re looking to get a little maths learning in too. We stock a range of eco glitter on the site here.

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Are your Nins ready to take their maiden voyage into space?! Love this simple idea from Christine using junk modelling supplies.

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If you’re looking for a little 3D shape modelling Han shared their rocket making. You really need to make sure you are in the Babble Facebook group so you can see them launch their rocket using an empty milk bottle – looks so much fun. Not only that the family made an incredible stop motion rocket launch video and their own ‘powdered space meal’ (cocoa, icing sugar, custard powder…mix in milk!).

Sensory Space Play

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Here’s what Charlotte at Yes Bebe HQ and her daughter Emma have been exploring for space week. Sensory bins are a great way to let little ones explore the world around them. Helping hands fine motor tool kit and squeezy tweezers are a big hit for exploring and great for fine motor strength and co-ordination – very important precursor skills for mark making and writing.

Space Books

Book shelf full of books about space and the moon

Those of you who know me in Babble or on the Yes Bebe social media will know I’m a total bookworm. I couldn’t possibly explore a play prompt without books. What are your favourite space books?

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What an amazing stash of space books Simone’s family have – I’m spotting some of my absolute favourites in this photo. You can find lots of the books here.

Space books Penguinaut

Christine shared their morning space set up with a couple of great space books. Charlotte, Yes Bebe owner, said – “Penguinaut is one of our absolute hands down favourite books.”

tuff tray with space themed invitation including number SUmBlox, space letters books and loose parts play items

Christie has gone out of this world with this fabulous little set up. You’ll find several of the resources she’s used here.

Discovering the Planets

Handmade planet mobile

Christie shared their planet making project with us. This one would be great idea for lots of different ages as older children could look to ensure the planet sizes are to scale. Victoria suggested making planets from play dough – something she’s done at home before.

Space Mark Making

I always love mark making activities and Laura and her children have been busy using chalks outside for their space play. We’re going to have a go at some space alien finger print painting later this week.

Mark making with chalk space style

If the weather is a little wet, it certainly has been by us, then you can use your chalks inside like Emma and family have.

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We’ve added some gorgeous new chalks by Moulin Roty to the site. You get all 20 in the set and they are a chunky size and come in a carry case – you can find them on the site here.

Moulin Roty Floor Chalks

Loose Parts Space Play

loose parts from Grapat and SumBlox to make a space rocket and moon scene

One of the many brilliant things about loose parts is how versatile they are. You don’t need specific ‘space’ items when you have them as they become anything your imagination can dream up. Look at this lovely space scene from Charlotte. What would your space rocket look like?

Galaxy in a Jar

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A brilliant sensory activity from Charlotte in our babble group. Here are her instructions to make your very own galaxy in a jar!

  • 1. Mix paint into water, as many colours as you’d like (I measured the water by pouring it into 3 from the jar).
  • 2. Pour in the first layer of water/paint and add glitter. Sequins etc could be used too for more detail.
  • 3. Pack with cotton wool balls to soak up water and stop all the colours running together. You could unravel cotton wool too for more detailed swirls.
  • 4. Repeat until complete.
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Space Walk

Marta and family turned their Dena people into astronauts and their houses into these cute little rockets. Kitpas crayons are great for using on lots of different surfaces and Marta says they wipe of really easily.

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If you haven’t discovered Dena before let me tell you a little more about these incredibly versatile toys. They’re suitable from 10 months plus so make ideal sensory baby toys to explore. They are made from platinum silicone which is ‘soft, strong, bacteria resistant, hypoallergenic and BPA-free material and 100% safe.’ You can put them in the freezer as they can cope with temperatures from minus 60º C to 220º C. This means you can use them in the oven for baking and are dishwasher safe too. Perfect for messy, outdoor and water play. Colours come in a rainbow of bright and pastel.

Upcoming Play Prompt Themes

If you’d like to join in and get prepared here are the themes for June and July 2020.

  • 15th June – Space
  • 22nd June – Dinosaurs and the Prehistoric World
  • 29th June – Weather
  • 6th July – Traditional Tales
  • 13th July – Flowers
  • 20th July – Jobs
  • 27th July – Magic and Mythical

Play Prompts – Inspiration for Learning at Home with Children – Colours

Play Prompt Inspiration

For those of you in our friendly Yes Bébé Facebook group – Babble you’ll be aware of our Play Prompts. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been sharing these with you to help give you ideas of what to do with your children during lockdown and beyond. We know lots of you have been enjoying joining in and we want to help share ideas to get more people involved whether you are in the Facebook group or not.

We will be running themed weeks, however our hope is that these Play Prompts will form a bank of resources that you can draw from at any time. They may support a theme your little one is interested in or a topic at nursery or school.

Play is the most wonderful form of learning and we’re strong believers that there are very few things children can’t learn from play, whether that be social skills, phonics, maths, science and more.

To make things simpler to join in, from this week we will have a play prompt for a whole week. Each day we’ll add some fresh ideas around the same theme and share the wonderful ideas you are sharing too.

Inspiration not Aspiration

Our hope is that these ideas will inspire you and not make you feel like they need to be social media perfect – inspirational not aspirational. I love an elaborate set up that might take me half an hour, but equally often need to pull something out of the bag in 30 seconds. Which let’s face it can be all the time we have!

We’ll be sharing all-sorts with you. We’ll also be looking at ideas for a range of ages, including how to support learning through play with children of varying ages in the same house!

Play Prompt Plan

We want to make sure you know themes in advance – for those of you who would like to do a little planning and gather resources. However, feel free to fly by the seat of your pants and just dip in on a day.

Each theme will start on a Monday through to Sunday

  • THIS WEEK – 11th May – Colours
  • 18th May – Safari – with a special Elmer Day on Saturday
  • 25th May – Food
  • 1st June – Minibeasts
  • 8th June – Oceans

Use the #YesBebePlayPrompts if you are posting, commenting or sharing on other social media platforms so we and others can find you and share your inspiration.

If you’re looking for toys, resources or books to accompany a theme we’ve set up a specific place on the site to give you some ideas – Play Prompts.

Play Prompt this week is COLOURS

This post will get updated throughout the week so be sure to pop back and see what else we’ve added. You are a very inspirational bunch!

Use #YesBebePlayPrompts when sharing on social media so everyone can find your ideas. Don’t forget we want to help give you inspiration, it doesn’t need to be social media perfect.

For toys, resources and books for Play Prompt Colours head here.

Play Prompt Simple Ideas

To start us off, here are two very simple ideas that are perfect if you are feeling a little under the weather or just want five minutes to have a cup of tea!

  • Colour hunt – You get to sit down! You say a colour and they have to go and find an object with that colour from around the house and bring it back to you. For older children challenge them to find trickier colours such as magenta/ dusky rose or look at materials too – find something with metal that is also red.
  • Colour sort – have you got a box of unsorted toys? Or maybe a collection of animals? Whatever it is it’s time to colour sort. Just pop the toys down and away they go. If there is more than one colour on a toy, which colour is most prevalent? Which colour do you have the most of/ least of/ fewer of? Count each group and add a SumBlox or other numeral to the set. For children who are just beginning to learn words and put them together if they have say a red car, when they pick up the car you can say ‘car’. If they are at the stage where they know and say ‘car’ you can then add ‘red car’.

Play Prompt Update

Wow wow wow – what an amazing start to the week sharing your colour play ideas and activities. Don’t forget to keep using the #YesBebePlayPrompts so we can all see your wonders. Here are some of your fabulous ideas and set ups below.

Next let’s think about artists – what artists scream colour to you?

I love Mondrian with his primary colour compositions, Kandinsky and his medley of colourful shapes, Yayoi Kusama and her amazing dots oh and the bold beautiful colours of Esther Mahlangu. Don’t forget you can do anything on any day for the prompt, the ideas of artists to look at are just a little inspiration for you and can be any day.

Check out this Jackson Pollock inspired creation from this little lovely.

Here’s another fabulous round up of your inspirational play for the Play Prompt Colour. You’ve gone all arty!

Experimenting with Colours

One of our Babblers, Rebecca, gave some instructions for a colour milk experiment that you can do at home. I’ve put her instructions below. Thank you Rebecca.

  • Check out this simple STEM activity. We call it Magic Milk. Mine love it. And the best part….it’s mess free.
  • Fill a shallow dish or plate with some milk (we used coconut as we are dairy free)
  • Add a few drops of food colouring.
  • Give child a cotton bud
  • Let child move the drops of food colouring around, mixing and swirling as they go. They will create a beautiful milk masterpiece.
  • Give child a straw and let them slurp up their creation.
  • Voila fun and a snack in one!

Colour and Number Play

There’s been some more lovely colour play today and lots of you have chosen to incorporate National Numeracy day into your play too. Here’s some ideas you’ve shared.

SumBlox has been popping up all over and works so well as a learning resource alongside loose parts such as the Grapat Mandala pieces.

Colour by Numbers Activity

You don’t need a special book for these. Either use a standard colouring book, or I just draw my own pictures. Then, depending upon your child’s maths needs, add suitable problems. So for my daughter we’ll be having the numerals 1-10 to match up with different colours. For older children you could use bigger numbers with a key to which colour they represent. If they are working on addition, subtraction, division or multiplication you could have one of those problems on a segment and then depending upon what the answer is they colour a specific colour eg. you have 3×5= and if your answer ends in a five you colour it red.

A Rainbow a Day

Rainbow Window

How magical is this beautiful chalk painted window of colour from one of out Babble mums – Sara. It certainly brightened up the Babble group this week.

Colour Experiments

Sophie and her gorgeous little one have been sharing so much inspiration this week. Take a look at these science themed ideas. How cool is this idea using coloured, transparent blocks and drawing objects of matching colours. So cool!

They also had great fun with rainbow clouds of colour using Learning Resources droppers, watered down paints and shaving foam. I hope Sophie has inspired you to have some science fun!

Emilie and her lovely daughter have been busy experimenting with colour mixing this week too.

Colour Book Inspiration

There’s been lots of book inspiration this week – do head over to Instagram and make sure you are following #YesBebePlayPrompts where you can find the wonderful accounts sharing their inspiration.

More Colour Inspiration

Yet more wonderful colour play inspiration from out lovely Babblers. We agree it’s totally acceptable to make a ginger bread house any time of the year! Thanks so much for everyone who has shared their inspiration this week.

What ideas will you be sharing next? #YesBebePlayPrompts

Next week the Play Prompt will be Safari – here’s our Safari section on the website.

Let us know what else you’d like to see – together we’ve got this lockdown and beyond play covered!

Gardening: Learning at Home with Children

This week marks National Gardening Week, the biggest annual celebration of gardening from Monday 27th April until Sunday 3rd May this year, 2020. Whatever the weather and even if you don’t have a garden you can still get children enjoying gardening. Young children love getting involved in the practical side of gardening. But also love as understanding how and why things happen. If you have an inquisitive little one there’s some lovely books to help you with their questions – you find them in our dedicated Gardening Week section on the website here.

Gardening – What We Eat

It’s a valuable skill to learn and have an understanding of the life cycle of plants. Knowing where our food comes from and what it takes to nurture and support its growth gives children a bigger appreciation of the food that they eat. Children who get involved in growing their own fruits and vegetables are often more likely to try these and other new foods.

Children love taking on responsibility. Tending to a plant and ensuring it has everything it needs to grow is an incredibly rewarding pastime. My daughter has been checking her bean plant daily. She likes to ensure it’s in a warm, sunny spot and always reminds me daily that we need to water it – it’s a good job she does! Beans have not been something she’s wanted to try eating. However, at the weekend, she actually tried a French bean as she wanted to see how her bean might taste when it’s fully grown!

Home Learning Garden Ideas

Are you looking for home learning opportunities for maths and literacy? Then growing can be a great way to incorporate these skills in a contextual way. Young children to keep a bean diary documenting either in pictures and/ or words and sentences the growth of the bean. Introducing new vocabulary to them such as root, leaf, stem, shoot etc. incorporates science too. To bring in a little maths you could count how many leaves are on a stem each day. How many more was that than yesterday? You could use blocks or a ruler to measure your plant and track its progress. Learning can very much be active and should definitely be fun.

Growth to children is like magic; especially if you choose the right sort of plants. You can quickly see the impact of your dedication and care. Planting a mixture of plants that will grow at different rates is very useful. This mixture of faster and longer growing times help to keep children interested and involved.

No Garden?

There’s an ever increasing range on the site of child friendly gardening tools, plants, and other resources. All designed to explore the world of the garden through real experiences or play. Even if your ‘garden’ is a pot on your kitchen window you can still enjoy the pleasure of growing with your child. Check out the range here.

Creating Memories

One way to keep the memories of your garden alive is to take clippings and press them. As a child I would press flowers and then make them into bookmarks for friends and family. A lovely creative little craft. You could make leaf and flower collages or check out our arts and crafts range and get journalling your gardening efforts together.

Please do come and join our friendly Yes Bebe Babble group on Facebook. We’d love to see what gardening you’ve been up to with your little ones.

Getting a Little Rhythm while you’re at Home

The landscape and rhythm of our lives could well be about to change dramatically over the coming months. Social distancing and self isolation are now commonplace phrases that appeared overnight into our vocabulary!

Every Cloud

Many of us are finding that we will be at home with our children a lot more than we normally would. For some this is exciting times and for others a little daunting. If I can, I always like to find the positives in any situation. For now, time is slowing. For many of us this may be the first time since childhood. Make the most of this precious time you have been given together.

Looking for learning through play ideas? You might be interested in this blog post – Brilliant, Screen Free Play Ideas for being at Home.

Home Rhythm

Before having my daughter I was an early years and primary teacher and I want to assure you that if your children are going to be at home for a couple of weeks or more you do not need to replicate school. If you’re worried about how much ‘learning time’ there should be, check out this blog post. I’m not saying it’s 100% accurate, but having taught in schools I don’t disagree with most of what is said.

Being at home is different. Children are naturally inquisitive learners and will absorb so much from being at home with you. Learning through play isn’t just a catchy caption, it’s absolutely true. Children of all ages need to play, it’s how they make sense of the world, test out theories and solve problems. That being said, many of our children will be used to some form of routine from their settings and being able to give them and you some structure to your days will be beneficial for all.

Rhythm and Flow

Routines are often quite rigid. Times are allocated to them. It can feel quite restrictive and give you a sense of falling behind. In our home we adopt a more flowing idea of structure, a ‘rhythm’ inspired by Waldorf philosophy. Eloise Rickman, a prominent advocate of rhythm, peaceful parenting and home schooling spoke to the BBC yesterday on coping with self isolation together – you can find the article here. Well worth a read.

Putting in place a rhythm for your family during this time doesn’t need to be Pinterest worthy. It’s a flow of how your day will go, what it will look like and most importantly for children, what happens next in my day. If you already have set wake, bed, meal and snack points in a day you may want to have a more loose idea of a rhythm as these events are already anticipated. It could be that every Monday you will do baking, on Tuesdays you will go on a nature exploring session in the garden. These activities in a week help your children to know where they are. However, if on Monday no one wants to do baking that’s fine, change it to something else. Above is an example of a simple weekly rhythm.

Waldorf Inspired

You’ll notice if you search for rhythm that Waldorf inspired rhythms associated each day with a colour. Many choose to use these colours to depict each day on their rhythm charts. Do what you feel is right for you. We often go for a seasonal tone to ours or a rainbow.

If you don’t already have some of the food and rest points mapped into your child’s day then it may be useful to be much more intentional in your flow. Below shows a daily rhythm with key points of the day written down. Again, if things need to change that’s fine, just pick back up your flow when you can. Gradually, over time, this rhythm you live becomes invisible, woven into your being.

You’ll notice there are no times to this. It doesn’t matter if lunch is 12 or 1 or playing outdoors goes on much longer. However, after lunch, for us is rest time – whatever time lunch was. Just knowing what comes next is incredibly comforting to children normally, yet especially now in these unprecedented times.

Making your Rhythm

Getting your children involved in forming your rhythm will help them feel much more a part of the day. Very little ones could help with painting backgrounds while you draw pictures. Older children may be able to help you create the rhythm and even write/ draw/ type it up.

Resources

  • First you’ll need some resources. You could type up your rhythm or draw/ write your rhythm down. Below are some background you can print off if you’re looking for inspiration. However, you could paint yourself a background together. We use Stockmar liquid watercolours or Tiny Land wood stains for our backgrounds.
  • Next, think about the start of your day and the end. Are there tricky points in there such as teeth brushing. If so make sure to put them down. A big part of having a rhythm is forming good habits.
  • Add in snacks and meal – these can have their own micro rhythms (such as helping to lay the table, washing hands, clearing away etc.)
  • Then add in your intentional activities. If you are choosing to do some structured learning with your children add it on. It could be that during the day you need to get some work done. Add it on, ‘playtime – Mummy/ Daddy working’. For some children it may need to be a specific activity than just playtime such as playdough.

Get Them Involved

  • Get children involved. What would they like to do in a day? In a week? A movie afternoon? Clay modelling? If they don’t readily have ideas, give them a list of ideas that they could choose from.
  • Add it to your rhythm chart. It’s just for your home. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Try as much as possible to stick to your rhythm initially, this will help form gentle habits in your day and week. It’s surprising how quickly you get into the flow. If something really isn’t working change it. We often change our rhythm seasonally, or if there is a change that happens such as working days.

Share your Rhythm

We’d love to see your rhythms that you already have in place or ones you have done after reading this post. Do head over to our Yes Bebe Babble Facebook Group and share them there. It’s a lovely, friendly space where you can get lots of ideas for play and learning at home.

You may have heard other terms such as morning time and poetry tea time. These are more focused/ intentional times and each have their own little micro rhythms. If you’d like to know more about these or any other aspect leave a comment below or in the Babble group.

Did you know we have an ever increasing selection of books being added to the site? Over on the Yes Bebe Book Page we’re sharing lots of fabulous books with ideas of activities you can do and different questions you can ask your children.

Brilliant Screen-Free Play Ideas for being at Home

Whether you’re looking for some holiday entertainment or having to self isolate this Spring, here’s a little guide full of brilliant, screen-free play ideas to keep everyone busy.

Books

Curled up with a book or ten. Have you noticed that we’ve started to stock an incredible selection of books? There’s something for everyone on the site from birth to adults. Books are an amazing way to lose time, whether getting lost in an author and illustrator’s world of splendid fiction, digging in deep to non-fiction or getting busy with an activity book. There are just so many options. Snuggled up on the sofa, or sat in a tent in the garden, books are the perfect boredom busters.

If you’ve got a more reluctant reader then exploring a book alongside props is a great way to get them engaged. Lots of our small world play toys can be used as story props for your favourite tales.

Love books as much as we do? You’ll love our monthly book club subscription. From birth to 14 years + categories, with options for fiction, non-fiction, activity and Waldorf inspired. An exciting monthly surprise direct to your door. Now that’s something worth waiting in for!

Spring Box

We have some incredible Spring Boxes available right now, with everything you need to get in the Spring mood at home. You can choose what style of box you would like from under 3s, early years, Montessori or Waldorf inspired.

These are the perfect topic boxes to have hours of fun with this Spring. Each box will give you several play ideas to explore with your child.

Jigsaw Puzzles & Games

Does anyone else remember ‘wet playtime’ at school? Well in our school that meant the jigsaws came out, to great excitement from all. The perfect rainy day activity. There are so many skills being developed when children complete jigsaws. Check out this blog post from Usborne on the ways Jigsaws help child development. There’s a huge selection of jigsaw puzzles on the site for all ages.

Have you discovered Orchard Toys yet? We stock a brilliant range of Orchard Toy such as the classic Shopping List, to First Times Tables and Rainbow Unicorns. Fun is at the heart of their range, with a strong emphasis on learning through play. Each game and puzzle has a suggested age range, yet older children get lots of enjoyment out of guiding younger siblings in how to play. A great way for older children to be able to explain concepts such as their mathematical reasoning.

Arts and Crafts

Our selection of arts and craft media, materials and guides are ever increasing with kits available for complete beginners to resources for the experts. Why not try a new craft to pass the time? We have a vast choice of paper mache projects that are suitable for a wide age range, new in are these gorgeous eggs perfect for your creative little ones this Spring. Maybe you fancy having a go at crafting alongside your child and giving crochet, weaving or needle felting a go.

Gardening

As the saying goes, there’s no such things as bad weather, just wrong clothing. If it feels like you’ve been stuck inside then heading outside in your garden can be a welcome relief, especially as Spring is coming along and the weather more mild. If you don’t have a garden then bring the outside in with pots and window boxes.

Children love hands-on, real experiences; especially experiences that allow them to do what they consider ‘adult work’. If they’re at home, getting them involved in household jobs can be really rewarding. Helping out with cooking and baking are very popular, yet exploring the outside and gardening is often high on the list of favourites. We’ve got a lovely selection of child-friendly tools and other gardening resources.

Child sized tools are perfect for little hands and to get them as involved as possible. We’ve also got some lovely little kits such as grow your own carrots and sunflowers to botanist kits. If you are looking for some Spring gardening tools, plants and topical books make sure to check out our Spring Boxes which give you a carefully selected box of Spring time goodies just for your little nature lover.

While out tending to your garden you’re sure to spot some creepy crawlies. We love the new Usborne books Creepy Crawlies and Bug Homes. They’re the perfect companion to find out more about minibeasts. We’ve also got bug pots and explorer kits so you can carefully observe little creatures before returning them to their homes.

Outdoor Play Play Ideas

Our top choices for outdoor play this Spring include this superb little sand and water table that comes with a lid. There are two sections that sit within the table where you could choose to add sand, water, soil or leave empty for small world play or storing your craft supplies. The lid fits securely on to turn the sand and water area into a perfect little picnic table. We’ve also just introduced a range of scrunchable sand and water play tools. Not only does this mean they are light weight, but can be stored easily inside the table.

Budding artists will love this outdoor easel. The painting screen is easily washed so that it can be used over and over again. The ultimate way to explore messy play!

Loose Parts Play Ideas

Loose parts are an incredible open ended play resource. Whether using to make beautiful pictures and mandalas or using them to represent food, coins, magic objects the possibilities really are endless. You can collect natural resources from outside as well as there being wonderful toys made just for loose parts play. We love Grapat loose parts and these natural resources.

Home Gym

Need to burn off a little excess energy? Then balance and rocker boards are ideal. They come in a range of styles, sizes and colours with something everyone will love. Why not add a pillow for the perfect relaxing rock too!

Looking for a little more challenge then put together your own combination of climbing greatness with the stunning range from Sawdust and Rainbows. Supporting development of both fine and gross motor skills through active play.

We’d love to hear what your top recommendations are for staying at home play. Do leave a comment with your play ideas.

If you’re not already a member of our Yes Bebe Babble Group on Facebook, do come and join us. We’re a supportive, growing community who are happy to help out with play ideas and recommendations to keep you entertained through holiday and if you’re having to self isolate.

Dragon Boat Festival

Simple Dragon Boat
A simple dragon boat starring a Lanka Kade Dragon, wading through a play board made with Tiny Land Sea Wood Stains, backdrop is a Grimm’s Giant Rainbow.

Today is Dragon Boat Festival 龙舟节直译 (in China 端午节 or Duanwu Festival). For most this means it is time to make zongzi (粽子), but around the world it is better known for the dragon boat racing. I’m going to show you how to fold a quick boat that you can then craft into the more elaborate boat shown above.

What you’ll need:

1. An A4 piece of paper or card
2. Some glue, we recommend Tiny Land Natural Paper Glue
3. Some paint, we recommend Tiny Land Wonderpaints
4. Scissors and paintbrushes.

Part 1: The body of the Dragon Boat

Simple Dragon Boat
Creating a simple Dragon Boat

Dragon Boat 1
Start with a piece of A4

Dragon Boat 2
To make your A4 paper square, fold a triangle and then fold the remainder over. Serrate the edge to make it easy to tear off.

Dragon Boat 3
The remainder tears off

Dragon Boat 4
We are left with a square. This is a great trick as a lot of crafts need a square piece of paper!

Dragon Boat 5
Fold the paper in half

Dragon Boat 6
With the fold on the bottom, fold it in half again.

Dragon Boat 8
Open the fold and fold the bottom corners in.

Dragon Boat 10
Fold the first layer of the top corners in.

Dragon Boat 11
Flip the paper over.

Dragon Boat 12
Fold the top corners of the paper down.

Dragon Boat 14
Fold the layer of paper down.

Dragon Boat 15
Turn it over and fold the other down. At this point you can glue the paper if you wish to make it sturdier, but it’s not essential.

Dragon Boat 16
Et voila! A simple dragon boat that you can decorate.

Dragon Boat 18

Part 2: Decorating and Creating Oars

Dragon Boat 19
Remember that bit we tore off earlier? We can use it to make oars.

Dragon Boat 20
Roll the paper over, then cut a bit off. It isn’t important to keep them round as we will flatten to glue.

Dragon Boat 20
Roll the paper over, then cut a bit off. It isn’t important to keep them round as we will flatten to glue.

Dragon Boat 21
Spread glue along one edge and flatten to dry. Repeat to make 6 oars.

Dragon Boat 22
While we wait for the glue to dry, we can start decorating the boat. Dragon scales are traditional as there is usually a dragon head on the boat. But why not be more elaborate?!

Dragon Boat 23
After the glue is dry, we can round the oars again and make slits. With the leftover paper cut into 6 squares/rectangles, then these slot into the slits. You can glue to stabilise them.

Dragon Boat 24
To glue the oars to the boat, I’ve folded back the top and flattened. You can temporarily hold the oars to the dragon boat with a paper clip or peg while the glue dries.

Dragon Boat 25
And there you go, 6 oars on the dragon boat, 3 on each side. this will help the boat freestand.

 

For the love of wood

 

An introduction to wooden toys (part 1)

Grimm’s, Grapat, Ostheimer, Black’s, Peepul, Lanka Kade, Sum Blox

The United Kingdom lost its roots with Wooden toy making during the plastic boom.  The General public was told plastic was better and more educational if a toy ‘did’ something.  This is changing a lot as more and more people look into wooden toys for both enviromental reasons and for educational theories such as the Waldorf/Steiner movement.  This sometimes means, as consumers, we don’t always know what to expect, especially with toys that are not only handmade but using plant based natural oils and finishes.

Wood is a natural and living substance. It can be easy to forget this when we are presented with packaged, shaped and brightly coloured toys. It is because of this that no two wooden toys will be identical, the wood’s  structure and fibres are different across species and even within the same tree. This means each item is truly unique whether handmade or machine made.

 

What’s this mark?

The most common wood markings are knots.  Thes are created as a tree with branches grows larger and the base of the branch becomes part of the tree. Knots come in all shapes and sizes and each knot tells the story of how that tree grew.

Some knots are purely aesthetic, they are just as solid as the surrounding timber, other knots can be loose and sometimes the wood can develop a hole where the knot has dried out. By the time timber is ready to shape into toys or furniture any changes in the wood have stabilised and knots that affect the structure of a product can be eliminated. Any that are left should be purely a visual reminder of the life of the tree that provided it.

Tiny knot in a Grimm’s rainbow

 

 

Of the countless markings that can be seen in wood, my personal favourite is spalting.  Spalted timber is in very high demand in furniture and musical instrument making due to the uniqueness, beauty and rarity of such markings.  Spalting is actually created by a fungus in the tree when it was living, but don’t worry it isn’t harmful.

Spalted Lime Wood

A second favourite is the mineral streak.  You guessed it, this is a line in the wood created as the tree absorbs and deposits minerals from the soil.  These lines run straight along the grain and can be dark and striking or very subtle. These are more common in lighter coloured woods especially in Birch, Maple and Lime.

Lanka Kade Rubberwood featuing mineral lines.

 

Even if the above are not present the grain of any wooden toy will vary.  The age of the tree and the section of the wood the toy was cut from will produce different grain patterns.  Each tree species has it’s own grain pattern and, like snowflakes or fingerprints, every pattern is unique.

center wood from lime

Hand made toys although all made of wood come in a variety of styles and variations.  To love or not to love?

Beech wood common markings

Ostheimer Squirel

Spalted Lime Wood

International Dot Day – mark-making with your child

Mark-making is your child’s first step towards handwriting and drawing. It’s important for motor skills but also for creativity and imagination – with a pencil in their hand a child is no longer limited to the realms of reality, and anything is possible!

mark-making crayons

Mark-making can begin as soon as your child is able to sit up in a high-chair unaided. Early mark-making ideas include hand-prints using finger paints, encouraging your child to draw in yoghurt on their high-chair tray, and drawing in sand, in a sand pit or on the beach. Mark-making activities can be great sensory opportunities, as a child explores the squidginess of finger paints, the graininess of sand, the scratchiness of chalk on a pavement, the sweep of a paintbrush on an easel, the swoosh of a marker pen on a whiteboard… Try:

FIRST MARKS

  • Using fingerpaints tomake handprints
  • Drawing patterns in yoghurt in your baby’s high chair tray and encouraging them to copy

TODDLERS/PRESCHOOLERS

  • Dot painting, using fingerpaints to create a pattern or pictures – leaves on a tree are always beautiful, or dots on a dalmation, patterns on a butterfly’s wings… you draw the outline and let them fill in the colours
  • Once your toddler has a fist grip they can use crayons or even pens, pencil crayons or paintbrushes, under supervision, to create art.
  • Encourage them to paint both on flat surfaces like the table and upright surfaces – an easel is great, but if you don’t have one, tape paper onto a window or door (if your paints are non-washable tape newspaper underneath first).
  • Chalk pavement drawing is always a hit.
  • Paint splatters can be made by dipping scraps of fabric into paint and throwing them onto a piece of paper on the floor.
  • Screwed up waste-paper can be used for printing.
  • Carve shapes out of halved potatoes to make simple prints (we did this with our preschoolers to tie in with dinosaur and wild animal topics, which they loved!)
  • Blow art is very popular with children who are old enough to understand the importance of not sucking paint through the straw! You can drop poster paints onto paper and blow them outwards, or add watercolour paint to washing-up liquid in a shallow container, blow bubbles then print the image onto paper by laying it on top.

PRESCHOOLERS – INTRODUCING LETTERS

  • Fill a tray with rice or lentils and encourage your child to use a finger to draw letters.
  • Easy-grip pencils are both practical, encouraging them by making it easier to hold the pencil, and exciting, as they are pencils of their vey own.
  • Encourage them to label their art with their own name.
  • Copying simple words to describe their art is also a good way to introduce writing.

AUTUMN FRUIT MARK-MAKING

Autumn is a great time of year to look to nature for mark-making resources. On the simplest level, you can collect blackberries or elderberries, place them between two pieces of fabric or paper, and squash or even hammer them to make fruit splats.

You can also squash berries with a little water to make paint, which can be painted with brushes or fingers.

Food-based activities are great for both weaning children, as they also encouarage them to explore texture, and “mouthers” of any age, as they can mark-make without worry if any finds its way into their mouths!

RESOURCES

Yes Bebe stock a fabulous range of art resources including my favourites, Crayon Rocks!