For those of us who have been asked to dress our little ones up at school or nursery, we'll know that World Book Day is upon us again falling this year on 3rd March 2022.
Dressing up as characters from our favourite books is a really great way to encourage our babies and children to get excited about reading, but ... it got me thinking... what other ways are there to get children really into reading? And are there any plastic-free and eco-friendly ways to do this, too?
Here are some ideas for activities to inspire our little ones to engage with reading, get excited about books, words and language, that are also eco-friendly at the same time!
1) BOOKS IN MOTION
Try acting out a book that you are reading together, to really get into the story and learn all about the characters and to explore dialogue and storylines.
A great way to do this is to use a toy or figure from the book (or a toy similar to the one in the book, you don't need the exact one!) and use it to reimagine the words on the page together.
And here's a totally plastic-free example of this! ... you could use a natural rubber polar bear by Green Rubber Toys and couple it together with the story book of Hunter's Icy Adventure Book by Ellie Jackson / Wild Tribe Heroes to explore the inspiring story of climate change through a friendly polar bear character and figurine. It makes the messaging yet more approachable than reading it without the toy!
2) IN A FLASH
I used to love flashcards when I was little and learning how to read... I vividly remember using them with my Mum and my Nan, and I found them so much fun and didn't think of them as 'learning' at all! These lovely plastic-free Montessori resources from Little Coach House include flash cards which are a great resource for learning new words and are also a great way to gently engage with concepts and ideas which can be explored with your child.
These Emotion Flashcards are eco-friendly and are designed and made in the UK, and have been designed with gentle learning in mind; each emotion is described with a lovely hand drawn sketch with a very clear word under each face. Lovely! Talking about how children are feeling and for children too have the confidence to express their emotions is such a valuable life skill and one that is rightly being heavily promoted in schools.
3) SING ALONG
Talking, singing and reading all help to develop your baby's brain... as 75% of baby’s brain development takes place in the first 2 years of life, then any amount of talking, singing and reading with your baby will help stimulate your baby's brain.
Your voice is precious to your baby, and it's a completely eco-friendly resource... it comes for free and is zero-waste ;-). But seriously, it is a really important natural resource which we can use to help our baby with speech and language and development, but also to feel confident and connected.
Try finding some easy-to-remember nursery rhymes about animals to sing when you come across certain creatures in books. Point to the animals, and sing!
For example, maybe if you were reading this book about Marli, you could point to the fish and sing "5 Little Fishes" or "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I caught a fish alive". You don't have to be the best singer or even a good one, your baby will be the most appreciative audience!
4) WORD PLAY
Playing games with words for language development, especially when your child is beginning to learn the alphabet or learning to read their first words, is a fun way to learn and engage your little one.
When my son was about 2 years old, we went outdoors and collected stones together, and painted the alphabet on them in bright painted colours. My son painted the stones, and I wrote on the letters. They are in a basket still to this day and fuel lots of different kinds of word games!
These Scavenger Hunt Wooden Discs by Green Earth Learning are another great game to play together to encourage a love of the natural world, at the same time as acquiring knowledge of first words. They are nature inspired toys and make for lovely learning resources, to allow children to develop their knowledge and appreciation of our planet, to make positive connections to the world around them and, as they grow, show a desire to learn more and make positive changes to the environment in which they live.
Well, there are just a few ideas for eco-friendly reading & learning resources / activities that are good for the imagination too!
What are your child's favourite books? How do you enjoy them together?
Have a great week,
Plastic Free Baby founder