Zara is an incredibly curious little girl. She loves learning about how things work and her super smart Gran is always on hand to answer her questions.
When they go for a walk to the shops Zara sees lots of interesting things which spark some in-depth conversations. How do lifts work? How can cranes lift such heavy things? How do roller coasters stay on the track when they go upside down? How do escalators run? What is wi-fi for? Her gran patiently answers each question with lots of detail to satisfy the little girls curiosity.
Gran also tells Zara about some famous engineers who have helped shape the world we live in, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Rahman Khan. Zara is particularly interested in the story of Alicia Boler-Davis whose childhood was very similar to hers. She loved problem-solving and fixing things as a little girl and went on to work as an Engineer at the General Motors car company.
It’s never too early to get kids thinking about the little things we can all do which make a difference to our planet. This lift-the-flap board book from Pat-A-Cake is perfectly pitched to teach your little ones the basics of key environmental issues.
Each double page spread tackles one issue and then introduces you to small child who wants to help. We then learn three ways in which they can effect change and see which option they choose. As an example, Harry learns that vehicles pollute the air but he wants to help jeep the air clean. His Mum explains that instead of using the car for their trip to the park they can walk, cycle or scoot. Harry considers each of the options and then decides he would like to walk.
Little Sophia Sparks is a brilliant inventor who creates wonderful things out of items she finds in her home – like rockets and robots and even a house with legs! She wears a bright blue bow in her beautiful curly hair and she’s pretty sure that this is the source of her creativity. With the bow in place she comes up with idea after idea.
When her teacher announces to the class that they are going to work together to transform an old bus into something exciting, Sophia is over the moon – until she realises that she has lost her precious blue bow. As the other children get to work Sophia’s tummy starts to churn and her mind goes blank. No bow = no inspiration!
Whilst we were playing in the garden yesterday Ivy noted that there are more animals around than usual, and she’s right. Over the last few weeks we’ve spotted lots of birds, a family of squirrels and even a baby fox venturing in to our little patch of South London. The current situation means that, with fewer cars on the roads and fewer people in the streets, the animals are starting to claim back their territory. And it’s wonderful!
I jumped at the opportunity to have a little chat about how humans have encroached on the natural world and later we grabbed this book off the shelf and explored the subject further. She’s only 4 so she’s a little young to grasp the enormity of climate change but Neal Layton has done a fantastic job of breaking down the science so that it’s easy for childen to understand.
Ivy and I have spent all afternoon in the garden so this feels like a very appropriate choice for today! This beautiful non-fiction book celebrates plants from around the world and it has taught us lots of fascinating facts.
Split in to four chunky chapters, this illustrated compendium looks at all aspects of plant life. In the early sections we learn everything a child could possibly need to know about what plants are, how they grow and why they matter. But it was the second half of the book which completely captured Ivy’s imagination, as here we discover how plants sustain our everyday lives. She was amazed to discover there were plants in her toothpaste, in her clothes and even in her medicine!
As an added bonus there are 12 DIY projects included. We’re planning to try them all over the coming months but I think we’ll start by making a plant maze and and a wild weed bottle garden. The invisible ink project looks fun too!
If you’re looking for a simple but effective way of teaching your child about germs then I highly recommend this book! It uses a mixture of cute characters and photographs taken under a microscope to show how germs spread and where they live.
On the first page we meet Min the microbe, a little blue creature with an enormous grin (who is actually an e-coli).
The reader is encouraged to take Min on an adventure by touching the page to pick him up. You are then asked to transport him to a variety of places, including your teeth, your top and your belly button! In each instance we see photos taken under a microsocope of the surface Min is standing on, as well as the other microbes he meets along the way (Hello Rae the streptococcus, Dennis the fungus and Jake the corynebacterium!).
Jakob lives on a space station at the very edge of the galaxy with his granny and a robot chicken called Derek. Life is good, but deep down Derek really wishes he had some friends to play with.
One day, whilst exploring one of the empty decks, he finds an enormous abandoned space rocket. He shows it to Granny and her whole face lights up. This is the space train which she used to ride when she was a young girl! Once upon a time it streaked across the universe carrying star explorers and comet chasers to the 2,747 stations in the star network.
Jakob’s mind starts to whirr. If he can get the train running again then he can travel to other planets and meet other children! Granny rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Can they work together to fix the train and head off on an intergalactic adventure?
Technically this book is a little old for Ivy – the publisher recommendation is 6 to 8 years – but she’s had so much fun with it this week that it really doesn’t matter!
Our World by Isabel Otter and Hannah Tolson is a fantastic book of facts with an interesting interactive twist. It takes five different habitats – desert, rainforest, polar, savannah and sea – and teaches you about the flora, fauna, animal life and indigenous people.
Despite the slightly older age bracket, Ivy has shown lots of interest in what the book has to say. Her favourite section is about the arctic and antarctic and she has learned that penguins and polar bears actually live on opposite sides of the world (something i’m ashamed to say I didn’t realise until I was in my twenties!)
Benny the robot is a little bit different. All of his robot friends have lots of shiny buttons which do fun things, like flash lights, blow bubbles and play music. But poor Benny only has one button. It’s bright red and says ‘Only Press In An Emergency’.
The other robots make fun of him and call him ‘One Button Benny’ and this makes him sad. He doesn’t really know what an emergency is but he secretly hopes one will happen so that he gets to press his button and find out what it does.
One morning Benny wakes up, eats his breakfast and brushes his teeth, unaware that outside his house an actual emergency is unfolding. The evil Collectors have landed on his planet and they are planning to gather up all of the robots, crunch them up and turn them in to teapots! The Collectors are small hairy aliens with green bums and they mean business!
We love this series of books by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Ada Twist is the best of the bunch in our opinion but this one comes a close second!
Shy little Rosie Revere dreams of becoming a great engineer. Like a magpie she collects gizmos and gadgets that other people have thrown away and in her bedroom at night she turns them in to amazing inventions – including a hot dog dispenser and some helium pants!
Her favourite uncle is a zookeeper so she makes him a special hat (made of parts of a fan and some squirty cheese) to keep the snakes off his head. She proudly hands it over but her uncle laughs! He says he likes it but poor Rosie is mortified and vows never to invent anything again.
But then one day she discovers that her very clever aunt (who used to build aeroplanes) dreams of being able to fly and she begins to wonder if she could make this happen. Can she use all of her ingenuity and help her aunt take to the skies?