Parenting and lifestyle blog

Monday, 3 July 2017

#bloggertakeover - 3 top tips for bringing books to life


Welcome to the third of Winging it With Two Boys #bloggertakeover series. This blog has been written by Jenny Rumney at Rabbit Ideas.  She's written a blog with her three top tips for bringing books to life.


Sometimes, day-to-day life gets in the way of things which we know are important in the long-term, but are not immediately urgent. Parents with toddlers might be going through so much else at the same time; other children to look after,pregnancies, miscarriages or infertility, work, childcare or financial pressures mean that it is difficult to plan ahead. Sometimes, thinking about long-term projects such as helping a toddler with their early literacy seem overwhelming and it is difficult to know where to start. 

Sadly some parents also face pressure from family or friends surrounding boys and literacy: “He’s a boy, he won’t want to sit still and do that.” “I took my daughter to the library but there was no point in taking my son, he wanted to run around. Yours are just the same.”

Given all this, what I have found helpful as a parent, are hands-on ideas for introducing reading and early writing skills to my toddler boys, on a budget. That’s why I started the Rabbit Ideas blog- to try to collect these ideas in one place, try them out and share it with other parents and Early Years workers.  

-Go outdoors- 

When I first looked into outdoor learning and forest school I was thinking in a two-dimensional way. “Okay, we’ll read The Gruffalo under a tree in the park.” Whilst that is a lovely thing to do, there really is so much more to outdoor learning than one-off activities. Every gnarled tree we find, every mouse hole we discover, every slug trap we design and engineer, is an opportunity to develop crucial speaking and listening skills and imagination which prepares toddlers to become future creatives, readers and writers. 


-Let them choose

Children love to choose for themselves, this has probably always been so, but increasingly, with choice at our fingertips through technology, we see choice as our right. The easiest and cheapest way of giving children free-reign in this is to enrol them at the library and take them often, giving them time and space to choose their own books. At this age, all reading is good reading. If it is the same book 10 weeks in a row, fine. If it is any book to do with animal poo, fine. We have borrowed at least one book about dinosaurs every library visit for the last four years. They get to choose and, as a result, they love it.  


-Build a habit

Lots has been written about the Bookstart#bathbookbed initiative, and many of us read bedtime stories to our children, but there are other habits which can work, too. If you regularly take a journey by public transport, have a doctor’s appointment or end up waiting in the car for 5 minutes, could that be a chance to regularly read together? If your toddler has a fairly calm 15 minutes straight after a meal, could that be a good chance to replace the lunch plates with some crayons and paper for a daily mark-making activity? What habits might work for your family? 

Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying: “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Some people argue that with the growth in technology and the internet, books are increasingly irrelevant and out-dated. Perhaps so, but the principle remains the same; if you cannot read, you cannot access the internet at all. Our children need the tools to be able to gain information, teach themselves, communicate clearly and contribute in the world. Literacy is vital; perhaps even more so than it has ever been.

Enjoy sharing it with the next generation. 


Jenny blogs at Rabbit Ideas - literacy Ideas for toddlers, on a budget.  You can also follow her on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

If you'd like to take part in Winging it with two boys #bloggertakover series email me at

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