World Book Day 2021: Top ten best books for both babies and toddlers

World Book Day 2021: Top ten best books for both babies and toddlers

It’s World Book Day, one of our favourites! Reading to little ones, even if they don’t quite understand them yet, creates a bond between you and implements a ritual and routine.

Once they’re older, reading together is great for developing imaginations and storytelling skills. What’s better, lots of local bookstores have signed up to ‘Bookshop’, an online collection of stores that you are able to purchase books through. It means that you can still support local businesses that are currently unable to trade on the high street, so we’ve included these where we could!

Best books for babies 0-12 months

Baby’s Very First Black and White Little Library

Baby’s eyes focus really well on black and white images, so this selection of early learning books uses only a splash of colour to illustrate familiar moods, feelings, animals and people.

Jellycat Jungly Tails Book 

This book is suitable from birth, with soft and squishy tails for your babies to play with and explore animals in the forest. It is full of stimulating colours and textures. 

Baby Touch: Busy Baby

This large and bright touch-and-feel book aids language development with rhyming words and repetitive phrases throughout.

Orange Pear Apple Bear 

From the award-winning author and illustrator Emily Gravett, this thick board book uses simple and repetitive wording to get your baby’s attention. This is available to purchase online through Chorlton Bookshop and avoids the other shopping giants!

Look! Look! 

Another simple and stylish black and white book to help capture your baby’s attention. An old classic with great reviews and perfect for little eyes to wonder over.

Baby Touch: Playbook

Go on an adventure with this touch and feel board book, designed to encourage interaction and play. Order it through Warrington’s local Forget Me Not Bookshop.

Who?

Who’s that? That’s who! Join Dada, Mama, Doggie, Gramma and Grandpa in this carefully thoughtout book.

Baby’s Very First Big Playbook

This bright, colourful and large book is brought to life with a sound panel and touch and feel patches to accompany the illustrations. Great for attention grabbing and encouraging interactive learning.

Where’s Spot?

Find Spot the Dog around the house in this cute and classic lift-the-flap book by Eric Hill.

Teddy Bedtime

Repetitive, rhyming and perfect for reading aloud before bed. Snuggle up with teddy and friends in this humorous and heart-warming book.

Best books for toddlers (aged 12+ months)

Colourful books and reading aloud ahead! Settle down, let them pick which one to read from the pile and enjoy interaction and learning together.

Giraffes Can’t Dance

A bold, funny and touching tale which explores the theme of self-confidence and belief.

Maisy’s Bus

Join Maisy and her friends on their big day out, encouraging learning of first words with simple sentences and big bold drawings. It is also wipeable, ideal for messy hands!

Talking Toddlers: Vehicles I Love 

Another one great for speech development, this book is packed with matching pictures and words to encourage recognition.

Splash, Anna Hibiscus! 

Join Anna on a day out to the beach, splashing in the waves with her family. This one helps to support a small business, too.

Rosa Loves Dinosaurs

Another from Mirror Me Write bookshop, this tale explores inclusivity and is a feel-good story for reading aloud.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

A look at babies around the world all with one thing in common – having ten little fingers and ten little toes! An introduction to ‘people like me’ and great for number learning.

Guess How Much I Love You

A heart-warming children’s classic ideal for bedtime, beautifully illustrated with a family of hares.

Help! My Dinosaurs are Lost in the City! 

A Where’s Wally style book to encourage interaction, thinking and problem solving together. Help spot Roxy, Dingo and Dash in a range of locations around the city.

Roald Dahl’s Colours

This giant ‘lift the flap’ book helps tots begin to learn all the colours of the rainbow and is of course fabulously illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Roar: A big-mouthed book of noises

Get vocal with this noisy book which explores loud animals – the sound effects are down to you! Great for interaction and encouraging copying to make learning come alive.

 

We hope you enjoy our list and we would love to see your pictures with your little ones and their favourite books with you can share on our Facebook pages! 

Things to do during lockdown with your little adventurers

Things to do during lockdown with your little adventurers

We’ve rounded up our favourite indoor activities for learning and play at home with your little adventurers, including some ideas to help you get out into the garden for some fresh air too during this latest lockdown. Of course, we’ve added in our favourite Netflix picks as well, for when you really need them!

Quick Boredom Busters 

Puzzle Hide and Seek: Combine two classic games in one! Hide all of the puzzle pieces around a room, adding extra fun and learning. A great way to ‘up the ante’ and increase game time. Puzzles are a great tool for logic, reasoning and problem solving.

Indoor bowling: All you need is a ball to play this. For the ‘pins’ you can use other simple household items, such as toilet/kitchen rolls, empty bottles, or even lightweight toys that can be stood up. This one is great for motor skills.

Musical Statues: The classic party game at home. Freeze when the music stops and don’t move until it starts again!

Easy mug-cake: A quick alternative to a whole afternoon of baking if you don’t have the time, and a nice treat too. We like the chocolate one!

Balloon tennis: If you have them! Paper or plastic plates make good ‘rackets’ too.

Roll the dice: Each number on the dice represents a different action (such as a clap, jump or word to shout out) that you have to try and remember!

Rainy days

Pen pal day: Spend some time together writing and decorating letters or postcards to send to friends and family, who’d love to receive one.

Armchair travel: Pick a country to “visit”. Learn all about what food they eat, which animals live there, what the weather is like and draw and colour their flag. Where in the World is a great online resource from CBeebies where you can watch videos about children from other countries.

Epic fort fun: Enjoy a rainy day indoors and grab blankets and sheets to create your own fort. Perfect for watching movies or listening to a story podcast. This one can also be used to create an indoor camping experience- just add s’mores by microwaving marshmallows in between your favourite biscuit for around 10 seconds.

Open Mic: Even if you don’t have a toy microphone (you could try and make one out of rolls/cardboard too) then just searching YouTube for songs and karaoke videos is great for this.

Fashion design: Got an old (plain-ish) t-shirt? Fabric markers are ideal but you could use what you already have at home. Plain tote bags are also great for decorating. What about putting the craziest outfits together for a fashion show?

Musical parade: Still got those empty bottles? Fill with different dry foods such as rice or pasta and experiment with the sounds they make. Complete the band with some box drums!

Pizza making: Lay out a few bowls with a range of toppings to put onto a plain base, tortilla wrap or pitta bread. Go fully loaded or make a funny face with your ingredients.

PE at home: Have you tried Joe Wicks’ PE videos yet? Watch them back here or catch them live every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9am (Friday is dress up day!)

Garden adventures

A quick round up of fun things to do if you have a garden and need some time outdoors.

  • Stone painting
  • DIY bird feeder: Cheerios threaded onto string or pipe cleaners or this great recipe
  • Got guests? Identify which bird it could be with the RSPB’s bird identifier quiz
  • Twig round up: find a small collection of different sized twigs which can be glued onto paper or card to create a woodland themed picture later
  • Mud-pie making with an old bucket or plastic bowl
  • Nature noughts and crosses
  • Chalk games or drawings
  • Pick up some seeds and begin a small gardening project- here’s the best ones to sow in February
  • Hot chocolate and star-spotting on a clear dry evening

Welly-boot walks

(Check your local coronavirus restrictions before travelling to walk anywhere)

For added fun, create your own ‘bingo sheet’ filled with things you might spot on your walk (complete with drawings) to tick off as you go…

Kersal Wetlands is a 3.1km set trail loop just off Littleton Road, and allows you to enjoy lots of local wildlife and views of the River Irwell whilst staying away from the busy city and loud traffic. Dogs should be kept on a lead for this one, though!

(Littleton Rd, Salford M6 6GZ)

Clifton Country Park situated in the Irwell Valley brings the countryside to the heart of the city. There’s a range of open woodlands, meadows and lakeside walks to enjoy, as well as a play area and picnic site.

(Clifton House Rd, Clifton, Salford M27 6NG)

Buile Hill Park is the largest and one of the most popular in Salford and features a children’s play area and a tree trail.

(Eccles Old Rd, Salford M6 8GL)

Our top Netflix picks – U rated 

 

Grab the popcorn! 

Films

  • Secret Life of Pets
  • The Lorax
  • Trolls
  • Ponyo
  • Over The Hedge
  • Madagascar
  • Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang
  • The Nut Job
  • The Angry Birds movie
  • Puss in Boots

TV series

  • Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Peppa Pig
  • Pocoyo
  • Charlie and Lola
  • Noddy- Toyland Detective
  • Fireman Sam
  • Hey Duggie
Getting up and out in the fresh air – the best walks with kids across Greater Manchester

Getting up and out in the fresh air – the best walks with kids across Greater Manchester

We’ve taken all the hard work out of finding the best and most beautiful walks for you and your family to enjoy, whilst also keeping little legs in mind. Here is a handy roundup of ideas near you.

 

Salford

 

Kersal Wetlands is a 3.1km set trail loop just off Littleton Road, and allows you to enjoy lots of local wildlife and views of the River Irwell, while staying away from the busy city and loud traffic. Dogs should be kept on a lead for this one, though!

 

Check out the scenery here: https://youtu.be/h_c1FsJbSVc

 

(Littleton Rd, Salford M6 6GZ)

 

Clifton Country Park situated in the Irwell Valley brings the countryside to the heart of the city. There’s a range of open woodlands, meadows and lakeside walks to enjoy, as well as a play area and picnic site.

 

(Clifton House Rd, Clifton, Salford M27 6NG)

 

Buile Hill Park is the largest and one of the most popular in Salford and features a children’s play area and a tree trail.

 

(Eccles Old Rd, Salford M6 8GL)

 

Rochdale

 

Greenbooth Reservoir off Greenbooth Road in Norden offers a slightly longer 6.3km circular loop walk around a lake and is perfect for spotting nature, but isn’t great for pushchairs. This one is ideal for longer legs. It can get a bit muddy too, so wellies are definitely recommended!

 

(Greenbooth reservoir car park, Rochdale, OL12 7TL)

 

Hollingworth Lake is great for a stroll and is buggy friendly. Up for a challenge? Take a longer walk in the surrounding hills and refresh with a drink from their cafe afterwards, which is still offering a takeaway service.

 

(Hollingworth Lake, Littleborough, Rochdale OL15 0AQ)

 

Wigan

 

Pennington Flash Nature Reserve is home to over 230 species of birds and offers a range of footpaths around the lake and woodlands, with a variety of short and long walking trails to choose from. Car parking is £1.50 and the site also includes a play area.

 

(Leigh, WN7 3UG)

 

Mesnes Park is a ‘jewel nestled on the edge of Wigan town centre’! This site offers pretty gardens, fountains and a play area- great for young families to explore.

 

(Mesnes Park Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TU)

 

Bolton

 

Queen’s Park is only a few minutes walk from Bolton Town Centre. Stroll along the River Croal or through the woodlands. There’s also a play area and a café.

(Chorley New Road, Bolton, BL1 4RU)

 

Moses Gate Country Park is a large nature reserve with miles of scenic woodlands and walks along the waterside. There is also a bird hideout, so shhhh… and get spotting!

 

(Hall Ln, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 7QS)

 

Jumbles Reservoir is an easy and flat route ideal for pushchairs and is also recommended for dogs too. It has a small but free car park that you can make use of.

 

(Bradshaw Road, Bolton, BL2 4JS)

 

Take a look around here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNAxFJynZ-0

 

Bury

 

Burrs Country Park is located near the banks of the River Irwell and is home to a variety of different wildlife habitats. Park up for free and take a woodland or riverside walk, or spot the trains pulling into East Lancashire Railway station!

 

(Burrs Country Park, Woodhill Road (bottom end), Bury, BL8 1DA)

 

Stockport

 

Etherow Country Park is located in Compstall village. Park up for £1 every 2 hours or £3 for the day. The site is home to lots of birds and geese that often hang around the park (probably waiting for crumbs from the café).

 

(George Street Compstall, Stockport SK6 5JD)

 

Woodbank Memorial Park & Nature Trail is ideal for a leisurely stroll in wide open spaces. There are footpaths at the park but the trail walk gets a bit muddy and is around 2.5 miles long. Two car parks are also available at the site.

 

(Turncroft Lane, Offerton, Stockport, SK1 4JR)

 

Tameside

 

Hyde Park has something for all ages and is located near Hyde Town. There’s a good mix of woodland and footpaths which are more ideal for buggies, as well as plenty of open areas and benches.

 

(15 Clarendon St, Hyde SK14 2EL)

 

Daisy Nook Country Park sits on the border of Tameside and Oldham and boasts 40 hectares of woodlands, meadows, waterways and a lake. The canal towpath offers pushchair access in some areas. This one makes a great day out. Download their walking guide here.

 

Check out some highlights from the park! https://youtu.be/fDyHj2bn81U

(Daisy Nook Country Park, Off Stannybrook Road, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 9WJ)

 

Covid safe things to do over Christmas and New Year with the kids in Salford and across Greater Manchester

Covid safe things to do over Christmas and New Year with the kids in Salford and across Greater Manchester

We know that things are looking a little different this year, but the excitement of Christmas will always stay the same. To help you out over the holidays, we’ve rounded up some of the best activities that you can still enjoy as a family to keep the festive spirit alive!

Getting out and about 

Salford 

Take a stroll around the twinkling MediaCity UK as it’s lit up into a winter wonderland throughout December and grab a takeaway hot chocolate at one of the many cafes situated around the plaza.

Pay a visit to the pop-up Christmas craft market in Eccles Shopping Centre on December 19 for unique gifts and local treats. Car parking for the centre is free to encourage visitors.

Spot the Elves on a special trail through Walkden Town Centre up until December 23. Grab a free map from The Dispensary or Clouds shop and answer festive-themed questions for a chance to win locally sourced prizes.

Oldham  

Look out for the Reindeer Parade Trail situated around Oldham Town. Each sculpture has been specially designed by a local community group and will be hanging around for you to spot and snap up until January 4.

And while you’re there- check out the Winter Wonderland project which has transformed café and shop windows into magical galleries. It’s an art exhibition not to be missed!

Meet Santa and friends in his Grotto at Lancaster Park and Animal Farm for a specially adapted outdoor experience running up until December 24. Children will receive a gift and a letter to write, as well as being able to enjoy all the fun on the farm, such as mini quads, swings, and zips lines. Tickets cost £6 for adults and babies under one and £8 for children and must be booked online.

Bolton 

Get exploring at Moss Bank Park in Bolton. Find much loved Christmas Characters using a map to navigate your way around. Children will win a certificate and a cup of hot chocolate on this Covid-safe outdoor adventure, which costs £3 per pack. Wellies recommended and four-legged friends allowed!

Book onto a Steam Train ride and enjoy some mince pies on East Lancashire Railway. Hop on at Bolton Street Station and take a full tour of the line on December 26, 27 or 28. Adults £13 and children £8.50.

Manchester 

Pay a visit to Santa’s Post Office and let the kids send their letters off at the special post box set up in the Manchester Arndale shopping centre. Print your letter template here and post them up until 12pm on Christmas Eve. Note that letters sent will receive an email reply.

Lightopia has returned to Heaton Park. Enjoy magical trails and immersive light installations after dark. The new route has been adapted to accommodate social distancing. Adults pay £20, children aged 3-16 pay £13 and under 3’s go free. Tickets run up until January 10.

Park up, get the popcorn out, and enjoy a film at the ChristmasCity Drive-In Cinema. Slots cost £40 per car (plus booking fees) and tickets run up until December 31.

 

Cheshire 

Wonder beneath the Christmas light trail at Dunham Massey and discover giant colour changing luminescent sculptures twinkling after dark. Tickets run up until January 10, but are selling fast.

Or embark on a special Peter Rabbit winter adventure activity trail through the grounds. Which friends will you spot? Find items and solve clues to earn a special badge and certificate. Extra £2 on admission to the grounds.

Staying in and get cosy- activity and craft ideas 

 

  1. The Lowry may be closed but they’re offering online downloadable activities for older children. Faina and The Snow Beast audiobook blends storytelling and science and costs just under £6

  1. Jingle all the way! Thread bells onto thick ribbon and tie or glue them onto lolly sticks and make some noise

  1. Write and decorate a special letter to Santa or craft handmade cards to pop in post for family and friends

  1. Create some fake snow sensory play using only baking soda. Add small quantities of water until you get the right consistency. Put into a big tray or box and add toys to dig up. Feeling messy? Why not add some glitter too!

  1. Create your own festive window display at home. Why not cut out some classic paper snowflakes using scissors (the ones we all know and love)

  1. Easy toilet roll and tissue paper trees can be crafted out of items you may already have at home. Here is a slightly easier version.

  1. Set up a DIY magical reindeer food station. Grab oats, seeds, sprinkles… whatever you can find, and let the kids create their own pot to leave out on Christmas Eve for Rudolf and friends

  1. Bake your own cookies (inspiration here) or decorate biscuits with icing and marshmallows to create melted snowmen

  1. Take the most festive family photo that you possibly stage! Pop on your best jumpers, wrap up in tinsel and create some memories. Self-timer comes in handy here!

  1. Track Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. Norad and Google Santa Tracker will both show where in the world he is… and of course, he comes back later if you’re still awake…
Outdoor Education – why Kids adVentures has invested in Forest Schools and Woodland Wellbeing

Outdoor Education – why Kids adVentures has invested in Forest Schools and Woodland Wellbeing

We launched our first Kids adVentures Forest School in February 2017. At the time we were increasingly looking to use the outdoors for education and were really starting to see the benefits of it.

We run a community garden called Garden Needs and decided to turn half of the site into a forest school centre.

When we first opened the site we planned for our Prestwich Nursery pre-school to visit the site a few days a week for sessions. However, these sessions were so popular we quickly turned the site into a full time pre-school provision.

This was no small task – we had portacabins on site with water and heating but we only had a composting toilet. To turn the site into a full time provision we had to get connected up to the water mains and build a toilet block. We also turned half of the large cabin into a classroom and added a separate entrance for the nursery.

We held an opening event on a cold drizzly day in February 2017 and were pleasantly surprised with the support we got – lots and lots of families came to visit! We had outdoor crafts, forest school games, chilli in mugs and luxury hot chocolate – it was a busy day for all!

Since then we have expanded to offer forest school holiday club and home education sessions.

Additionally, we have started running forest school sessions at our other nurseries where we utilise any park or green space that we can easily walk to.

We have employed our own forest school trainer and can now offer Level 3 Forest School Leader training to all staff free of charge.

In October 2019 we achieved an Ofsted Outstanding rating for our Prestwich Forest School Pre-school provision.

The benefits for children have been massive. Teachers report back that when our forest school children start school they are more ready for school having increased confidence and lateral thinking skills.

In the last 18 months we have also extended these services by providing free Woodland Wellbeing sessions for adults utilising our forest school knowledge. We have found this to have real mental health benefits both in reducing social isolation but also in using nature as a mindfulness tool.

To find out more about our wider forest school offering contact us at hello@socialadventures.org.uk

Kids adVentures – How we helped our communities during Covid

Kids adVentures – How we helped our communities during Covid

The Kids adVentures and Social adVentures teams have been really busy during the coronavirus pandemic from delivering out of hours keyworker childcare to delivering food parcels and combatting social isolation.

The Kids adVentures parent company, Social adVentures, is a public health provider who usually operate around a programme of bringing people together to improve health and wellbeing. However, in 2020 we have had to do things a little differently.

During the national lockdown we provided keyworker childcare for frontline workers including extended hours and bank holidays. Our nursery teams were dedicated during this time to providing a safe and welcoming space for the children of keyworkers in a difficult time.

We also provided emergency food packages to vulnerable families in Bury and vulnerable individuals and families in Salford. We also provided extended support to our local school during the school holidays.

At our community hub in Salford, The Angel Centre, our team supported people through local telephone support services dealing with everything from loneliness to arranging medication deliveries.

At our community garden, Garden Needs, the kitchen was turned into a busy food hub cooking 600 hot meals a week to feed the front line NHS staff at A&E, Covid Triage Centres and at the testing Centres.

As national lockdown ended we have continued to support people. We have opened a food club and are delivering lots of online support and postal packs including Neighbourhood Boxes and Art packs to help tackle loneliness and isolation. Additionally, we are helping people back into work and training through a package of online 121 work coaching.

In our nurseries our teams have worked hard to provide an environment for the children which is safe and welcoming and we are extending the amount of outdoor education that we carry out.

To find out more about any of the services we provide email hello@socialadventures.org.UK