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Have a micro-adventure and camp in your garden, spot birds or trees out on your daily walk, create a bug hotel, bake or find a constellation at a star-gazing night.
Once the lessons are over there is still a lot of time in the day to fill and kids want a break from their studies. We have gathered together a selection of books and ideas for activities to keep you and your children busy whilst we are all unable to travel far from home.
Through June The Wildlife Trust is encouraging us all to do something wild! 30 Days Wild is a nature challenge to do one wild thing a day: study a minibeast or make your own binoculars. There is a brilliant pack to download full of ideas - craft activities, wildlife to spot or you can watch a wild webcam from your front room. Sign up here wildlifetrusts.org
The Scouts #TheGreatIndoors has an abundance of ideas for actitivites to keep kids busy, from craft and creative fun to adventures indoors. scouts.org.uk
50 Fantastic Ideas for Supporting Children's Wellbeing by Rebecca Gordine is published by Bloomsbury and is packed full of easy-to-follow activities to calm busy minds and bodies and develop young children's self-esteem through engagement with their senses, nature and the world around them. Here's a taster - a simple guide to yoga for young children.
The National Trust have lots of suggestions of activities you can do in your back garden with their top 50 things to do before you're 11¾, with ideas for embracing nature in your own back garden. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
For garden inspired crafting ideas visiting The National Garden Scheme website which has easy to follow videos - make a child’s apron, flower bunting or plastic bottle plant pots! ngs.org.uk
And of course, here at LoveReading4Kids we read dozens and dozens of books every month.
Here are a great selection of non-fiction books and activity books that we'd like to bring to your attention. Now is a perfect time to dive into them and give the kids a rest from their screens and their homeschooling. There are tons of adventures to be had whether they have a passion for art, cookery, nature or the stars!
And don't forget to visit our Kids Zone for activity downloads, videos, polls and competitions - we regularly update our content so do keep coming back to check what's new!
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash - with thanks.
Follow The Very Hungry Caterpillar on a journey through nature in this book packed with sticker scenes, puzzles, colouring-in and games. Discover wonderful weather, glorious greenery, colourful creatures and lots more - all without leaving the pages of this book! Big stickers make this the perfect first activity book for little nature explorers everywhere.
Eleven little children, the ‘Yoga babies’, are shown doing different yoga poses, always with a parent or adult nearby, and the benefits are clear: yoga is just right for stretching, developing physical skills, calming and relaxing – and it looks great fun too. The text is in rhyme, perfect for reading aloud, and the illustrations are full of details that little children will recognise, while also clearly demonstrating ten different yoga poses. Fearne Cotton clearly finds yoga hugely satisfying and helpful and the book conveys her passion very well indeed.
From the author of Seeing Stars which detailed all 88 known constellations for older children, this stylish and sturdy book introduces just six of the most familiar and recognisable constellations to the very young. Young children like nothing better than books which invite them to guess what is under the flap and here each constellation is introduced by the line-connected star cluster sparkling against the deep blue background of the night sky. As you read aloud the verbal clues, children are asked to guess the creature and the answer is revealed, with more lines filling in the details of the animal, under the flap, alongside more information about the constellation and its major stars. Flaps can be quite flimsy and often considered unsuitable for classroom use but, in this case, it is a solid full-page fold-out that will withstand multiple uses. Children will definitely be inspired to do their own star gazing and to investigate further. Personally, this has helped enormously to understand how constellations got their names and to see the animal properly revealed. I still wonder, however, at the imagination of the Ancients that first connected those dots!
This unusual interactive picture book is full of interesting lessons on the natural world for very young children. Each spread features a different natural habitat, from the back garden to the mountain top via meadows and deserts. Four lines of rhyming text set each scene and issue a challenge, then it’s up to the reader to lift the large die-cut flaps and see what’s growing underneath. The illustrations are mostly in muted mono-colours, but the stylised plants, berries and insects underneath the flaps are represented in vibrant colour. This will be very satisfying for young children, and is a visual feast for grown-ups too. ~ Andrea Reece
July 2019 Debut of the Month | A trip to the natural history museum with Grandad fills George with a passion for bugs. He determines to build up a collection and though it’s not easy at first slowly learns the best ways to catch them, filling jars with butterflies, beetles, worms, moths and spiders. It’s satisfying, but something’s not right. Grandad notices it too: with no bugs, everywhere is too quiet, dull and sad. Together they release the bugs and transform their garden into an insect sanctuary. The story is filled with action and movement and the pages are packed with detail. I love the way George chases after his bugs with such a loping stride and the relationship between him and his grandfather is tender and convincing.
A mindful fall-asleep book | How to calm down at bedtime is a regular problem for busy children and their parents. The words and pictures of this beautiful book link relaxing sleep exercises with an introduction to the wonder of the stars shining in the night sky. Good yoga exercises and breathing techniques are the foundation of this helpful preparation for bedtime. The book also provides a wealth of scientific and mythological facts about the stars which tie in with the yoga poses. Presented partly in words and partly in pictures these provide the perfect support for learning how the exercises help falling asleep.
August 2019 Book of the Month | Inside this sturdy and pretty little box, children will find the story of Alice in Wonderland, but told via 20 double-sided puzzle pieces (and with some thoroughly modern twists – the White Rabbit sports a natty baseball cap and unlocks flamingos from what looks a lot like a bike docking system). It’s up to readers to put the pieces of the story together which, of course, allows for endless new and different versions. The illustrations by Anne Laval are bright, lively and attractive, and surely Lewis Carroll would have thoroughly approved of the concept. Great fun for children who enjoy reading and creating their own stories.
This is a superb example of an information text, ostensibly for younger children, but with multi-age and multi-curriculum uses. It is also a thing of beauty, printed on high quality paper doing full justice to the stunning illustrations, with the author’s expressive brush work, clever layout and a palette filled with watery blues and greens and the white and grey of rain, fog and snow. A little girl notices the role of water all around her—a sprinkler, a tap, a stream, a lake. She also notices that water sometimes tries to hide, or change state, and that water is part of every living thing including her. The book concludes with four pages of beautifully clear explanations of water forms (liquid, solid and gas), the water cycle and the all-important conservation of water. There are some excellent suggestions of how to play and learn about water and true or false questions to check understanding. These are very well suited to older children too, as indeed the book is, as a model of writing and the effective use of figurative language. Poetic descriptions make this an enjoyable read-aloud and the larger font labels that identify the source of the water on each page (including Zoe the narrator) are perfect for vocabulary building for the youngest child. A really well thought out and brilliantly executed early science picture book that deserves a place in every school.
Make-and-do with Maisy with this great big beautiful book, now in paperback! With seventeen simple, exciting and fun craft ideas, from making a shoe box house to a magic wax painting, every spread is a feast for the eyes! The book blends together easy-to-follow instructions, classic Maisy illustrations, and spectacular photos of the finished crafts - all made by the inimitable Lucy Cousins herself! And with wipe-clean pages, this title is perfect for messy hands!
What fun to discover colours with Elmer, everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant! Each colourful page in this new book shows off a different colour and is packed too with Elmer’s friends and the his distinctive jungle flora. There are so many things to spot and count including eight bright little teddy bears. There’s no-one quite like Elmer and this is a lovely first-learning book.
With the Easter holidays on the horizon, this is a particularly attractive and appealing activity book. Children will find over 100 different things to do, including drawing and colouring in, word games and look and find, as well as some simple craft activities. All of the activities are themed on the UK countryside and wildlife so while having fun, readers will also learn about the animals, plants and insects around us, and even the sky above our heads, and will feel inspired to go out and see things for themselves. The illustrations by Debbie Powell are stylish and eye-catching while the text is engaging and direct. Interactive, educational and lots of fun too.
A delightful addition to the Little Dolly Dressing series. Follow Ruby the Rainbow fairy as she flutters around Fairyland in search of colourful fairy dust. Use the stickers to dress the fairies and decorate the pages. Scenes include a garden filled with red flowers, an orange orchard and a yellow meadow and lots more.
The third book from highly talented newcomer Fifi Kuo, this is an irresistible tribute to the joy of drawing. On each page a group of lively little boys and girls have fun with different types of illustration – finger painting, using felt tips and paints, making collages, even sewing. The message is clear – everyone can draw, creativity and self-expression are for us all, and it’s fun. The compositions are different on every page and there are separate little stories to follow throughout. A joyful read certain to inspire creativity.
Meet the Magic Dolls Grace, Lily and Holly. They live in a cottage in Dolly Town, always ready to help the magical inhabitants of the Enchanted Isle. In this adventure, a unicorn is in trouble – can they calm her down before she hurts herself or others, and why is she so upset? Young readers will love the sense of teamwork and friendship between the three as well as the idea of an island full of magical creatures. As an added treat, the book includes pretty colour stickers so that you can dress up the dolls ready for their adventures. An undemanding but satisfying read.
This little paperback does much more than it says on the tin. It encourages young readers to explore the outdoors (whether that’s via a ramble in the countryside, a trip to the local park or picnic in the garden) and shows them how to make the most of it by using their powers of observation and imagination. It asks you really look around and note what you can see, whether plants, insects or birds, and then to make sketches or maps of where you are. More, it encourages readers to make up stories and also includes short descriptions of famous people who found inspiration in the outside world, from Beatrix Potter to Claude Monet. It really should make young people see and think differently about the natural world around them, and packs in a great deal of information and stimulation.
This bright, inspiring information book shows just how fascinating bugs are and will convince even the most die-hard creepy-crawly-phobe that they’re lovable. Lively double-page spreads feature a range of familiar insects including bees, worms, ants, spiders and grasshoppers and then via attractive cartoon-style illustration and integrated text tells us all sorts of facts about their bodies and lives. Some of it is vital statistics-stuff but there are some amazing facts too. Did you know that worms have up to five hearts, or that snails are deaf? Children will absorb a great deal of information and the bugs themselves are given real character by Matt Robertson in his illustrations. Fun, informative and a great introduction to non-fiction books.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | From cave paintings to drawing with an iPad, this history of pictures talks about art with enthusiasm, simplicity and clarity. Presented as a conversation between two highly knowledgeable and passionate artist friends, this book offers a wonderful lesson on art.
This is an absolutely visually beautiful book. It teaches, in short verses, about the wonders that we can find when we go exploring outdoors. One main theme is the respect that we should have for all living things and their environment. The illustrations are in gorgeous watercolour, what a talented artist! There is so much to look at and discuss and easily relates to the child's experiences when out and about. Fun verses encourage the reader to match the rhymes. A superb follow up to the previous book 'What Wonders Do you see when you Dream?' Chris Woolfenden, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
September 2015 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month This excellent book is full of fun activities for children that will not only keep them entertained for hours, but will also give them a really useful introduction to the world of science: there are hands -on demonstrations of numerous scientific concepts including gravity, friction and photosynthesis. New photographs and illustrations make the fifty-plus different projects look extremely appealing, the instructions are clear and very easy to follow, and you should be able to assemble all the materials without too much trouble too. A book that will spark a real interest in science in children of all sorts. ~ Andrea Reece
A spin-off from Andrea Beaty’s and David Roberts’s inspiring and ground-breaking Rosie Revere, Engineer this eye-catching activity book will get children themselves thinking and creating like real engineers. While it tells them exactly how to create contraptions such as a catapult and a solar oven, more importantly it explains how engineers think, and challenges readers to ask questions, test things and imagine how the world around them could be improved. Most crucial of all, it reveals that failure is nothing to be ashamed of but in fact – along with persistence – a crucial part of success. Creativity is essential to engineers, the book says, and there are lots of pages on which children can draw and note down ideas; fun and empowering. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2020 Book of the Month | ‘Colours are great, let’s celebrate!’ is the message of this big, quirky and really rather gorgeous book. Otto a little cat and his friend Leon the chameleon guide us through colour themed pages – grey, black, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, green and brown – all of which are packed with objects and characters, all in the relevant shade. You’d be hard pushed to find more eclectic collections: yellow submarines juxtaposed with cheese, emojis, pots of Tandoori and fishermen in yellow oilskins. Everywhere you look there’s something unusual and surprising, as well as intriguing facts and lots of jokes too. Children will spend hours poring over the pages and still find something new, while grown ups will be fascinated too.
Wherever we live, there are birds all around us and this beautifully illustrated book will enable readers to identify them and is also full of facts and information about the way our native birds live. It features 140 different birds, each one is illustrated in colour and alongside a paragraph of text are fact boxes with bullet point information on size, habitat, food and the bird’s song. It’s a good size to pop into a bag on a trip to the country or local park, or even to take out into the garden, but will make for many happy hours of browsing indoors too. Just the sort of book to inspire a life-long interest in birds. Congratulations too to Kate McLelland whose screen print illustrations of the birds are stunning.
This is one of those books that does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s full of recipes for dishes that really will freak out your friends, from ‘cat poo in the litter tray’ to ‘severed fingers’. Disgusting as these dishes sound and look however, they’ll taste very good; they’re all made out of regular, tasty ingredients just cleverly arranged to look like something revolting. Hidden among the recipes however are notes on some of the (to us anyway) bizarre or gruesome foods that are eaten in different parts of the world, e.g. witchetty grubs, fruit bats, fish eyeballs and duck embryos (in the shell). Part cookbook, part information book, this happily puts the yuk into cookery. ~ Andrea Reece
Wally-watchers will find lots to entertain them in this pocket-sized puzzle-packed volume. As well as search and find challenges, there are quizzes, mazes, memory games and even the odd page of jokes all of them stamped with the unmistakeable images of Wally, his friends and his world. As an extra treat, a fold-out board game is tucked neatly into the back cover. Just the thing to give the brain a work-out over the summer or to while away a long journey. And for more Where's Wally activity fun check out Where's Wally? Across Lands Activity Book!
Kate Pankhurst’s picture information books celebrate the lives of some of the world’s most inspiring women and they fill the pages of this excellent activity book too. You can cut out and make butterflies while reading about 17th century naturalist Maria Merian; dream about travelling the world while colouring in balloons and learning about pioneering aeronaut Sophie Blanchard; and detail your characteristics while discovering DNA with Rosalind Franklin. It’s fun and informative, each page offering something different to do and a new history to enjoy. At the back, just before the pages of pull-out stickers, there’s a chance to make a list of all your own hopes and dreams for the future – readers should have no trouble filling the page after what they’ve read. A great activity book for girls and boys too.
Unleash your creativity and lose yourself in this beautiful colouring book bursting with Nick Sharratt's inspirational illustrations of Jacqueline's larger-than-life characters. Get those pencils at the ready! The wonderful world of Jacqueline Wilson is waiting for you to colour it in!
With the school summer holidays approaching, thoughts turn to activity books and this one will have them dreaming of space even while stuck in the back of the car. There are all sorts of activities and challenges, some based on the solar system, some on our means of discovering it – one particularly lovely spot-the-difference for example features Herschel’s telescope, and readers are given the opportunity to design and draw their own telescope and spacecraft. It all looks absolutely gorgeous, no wonder given that the illustrations are by Christopher Wormell, and will keep them occupied for hours while conveying information that will last a lifetime.
November 2019 Book of the Month | Prepare to explore ten of the most haunted places on Earth in this striking book, and then to learn their secrets ingeniously with the help of coloured lenses. With the naked eye, the huge colour illustrations are just a jumble of lines; enticing, but baffling. View the same pages through one of three different coloured lenses, and suddenly a whole new vista springs into life. The red lens shows the people who inhabited these special places (ranging from Bran Castle, Romania to San Juan Chamula Cemetery, Mexico), the green lens shows us the place and its surroundings in detail, while best of all the blue lens magics up the ghostly and supernatural beings that haunt it. Short, sharp snippets of information accompanying vignettes on the following page tell us more about our discoveries. It’s a treat to explore, deliciously spooky and the illustrations are super stylish.
Stuff to write! Pictures to draw! Puzzles to solve! And so much more . . . Grab your Treehouse passport and jump into the crazy world of the bestselling Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. In this activity book, join Andy, Terry and Jill for an adventure like no other as they combine animals, create magical kingdoms, time-travel, solve crosswords, search for words, colour and scribble, spot the difference, find the odd one out, crack codes and so much more!So what are you waiting for? Come on up!
Creativity meets curiosity and critical thinking in Iggy Peck's Big Project Book for Amazing Architects, the new hands-on STEM project book from the #1 New York Times bestselling team behind Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist.
Informative, accessible and visually very appealing, this book is perfect for any young child who gazes up in wonder at the night sky. Via short blocks of text and colour illustrations it explains what stars are, describes the constellations and tells readers how to recognise planets and even satellites. It’s also full of practical information for young star-gazers, with advice on what to look for in the night sky, when and where. Our guide is Felicity, a friendly and knowledgeable cat, named in honour of the first cat in space, an added treat which makes the story even more reader-friendly.
This informative armchair guide will have readers on their feet and itching to try new activities. It features more than 60 different sports, in nine different sections: ball sports, racket sports, athletics and gymnastics, plus water sports, motor sports, target sports and combat sports, with a final section on sporting events rounding up anything left out, such as cycling, skiing and show-jumping. Entries tell you everything you need to know, with general descriptions, explanations of the rules, kit and positions, plus interesting facts. Bright bold illustrations, rather than photographs, fill the pages with life and movement making each spread really attractive to look at. It explains why humans value sports so much for being about play, teamwork and taking part. It reminds us too that sport doesn’t discriminate, something born out in the text and illustrations, which feature men and women from all backgrounds, able-bodied and Paralympians alike. Champion!
What is art? How does art tell stories? Where do artists get their ideas from? Open this fascinating book to discover explosive ideas, wild colours, unexpected views and amazing works of art by world-famous artists. Includes Usborne Quicklinks to specially selected websites where you can take a virtual tour of a gallery, look at famous paintings up close and much more. Published in association with The National Gallery, London.
We all want our children to be happy and resilient, but may not realise that they can be taught skills to make them happier people. Written by a psychologist with the charity Action for Happiness, this book explains ten keys to happier living and sets out practical, fun activities for children to do that will make a real and lasting difference to their lives. The text is friendly and reassuring, broken down into easily accessible paragraphs or charts while bright graphics with animated characters make it attractive to look at too. Each of the ten chapters has tips for children to use in their everyday lives, including a section on developing mindfulness. Happiness really matters, and the more children and adults who read this book, the better. ~ Andrea Reece
Children fascinated by TV cookery programmes will learn just what’s involved in being a chef from this book, as well as lots about nutrition, hygiene and even kitchen equipment. The introduction explains that being a chef is not just about making delicious food, though obviously that’s important, but is also about managing a team of cooks, buying the best ingredients and making sure that your restaurant is a success – leadership skills and an understanding of maths and science are all part of that. No wonder then that the book is so varied, full of all sorts of interesting information presented over appealing, colourful pages. Children are invited to observe what’s in their own kitchens, as well as given write-in challenges to complete. There are a couple of simple but tasty recipes to follow too. Fun and informative. ~ Andrea Reece Every country has its own different kinds of food. Download a map of the world featuring some of the most popular dishes across the globe. How many have you tried? One of a number of titles in the Academy series. To go to our special Academy series category click here.
Invent 100s of games with friends and family | Featuring over fifty stylishly rendered boards, this is an interactive doodle book with a difference, and certainly takes the lingering trend for adult colouring-in books to the next level. Most of the book comprises unfinished boards for users to transform into their own tabletop games – twenty designs in all, followed by twenty-five sets of rules for players to choose to follow, each of which encourages creativity with suggestions for fashioning your own versions of classic board games. There’s also plenty of options for users to invent their own entirely new games, with a superb “Stuck for Ideas?” section that suggests fun themes and mash-ups, among them “Throne of Crowns” and “Uninvited Ghost”. There are suggestions specially devised for younger players too (for example “The Magical Maze” and “Lost Pets”) making this a compendium of creativity for all ages. Taking an average of half an hour to create each game and a further half an hour to play, this provides a plethora of opportunities to exercise one’s cerebral muscles while having a whole lot of fun.
Colour in some very special rabbits in this gorgeous colouring book inspired by the animation of Richard Adams' Watership Down. First published in 1972, the classic animal adventure story has been made into an animated television mini series by the BBC and Netflix. This charming colouring book version of the story, illustrated with black line images and decorations drawn from the animation, and with captions from the script, will provide hours of delight for fans of the story, as well as for those who enjoy beautiful colouring books. Published in Macmillan's hugely successful colouring book format, this epic tale of a band of intrepid rabbits led by Hazel and Fiver, has a firm place in the hearts of millions of people, and this book, with its engaging images and delightful designs, Watership Down: The Colouring Book makes a wonderful keepsake for all fans of the programme.
Every Harry Potter fan worth their salt will know their wingardium leviosa from their expelliamus, but this handsome book takes a really close look at the myriad different spells cast and warded off in the books, using stills and images from the Warner Brothers films as illustration. There are quotes and anecdotes from the actors too together with behind-the-scenes information on how the spells were created on screen. It all makes for fascinating stuff, and added extras include stickers, pull out posters and, best of all, a set of special Patronus cards for characters including Harry, Ron and Hermione. Guaranteed to keep Harry Potter fans spellbound for hours!
Listing one hundred exciting things to do before you get bogged down in adulthood, this is a book packed with inspiration: Anna McNuff’s enthusiasm for exploring the world is catching and she makes the idea of pushing yourself to do something new or even a bit scary really appealing. The one hundred different adventures to try range from the big, e.g. go on a long-distance cycling adventure, visit a volcano, to the open to everyone – tell spooky stories, go foraging, go on a flip a coin adventure. There’s the same level of useful, practical how-to advice for each one and the same sense of fun to be had. McNuff’s voice and friendly illustrations by Clair Rossiter make this a book to inspire dreams and it will start who knows how many journeys of discovery.
We all want our kids to be happy, but media stories about rising levels of anxiety amongst young people are everywhere; it’s worrying. This book therefore should prove really useful to many. It looks and is very accessible, and is full of practical tips and activities that will help young people feel more content, confident and in control. The authors explain that happiness comes from making yourself happy, and teaches you how to achieve that, through exercises and simple challenges. It also emphasises the positive effects of making others happy, or of contributing to a better world. The tone is friendly throughout and there are lots of charts to complete, plus frequent notes explaining why the activities work. Easy and fun to use, it places the happiness ball firmly in readers’ hands.
The hot (cool) new cook book for 7 - 14 year old children who love food and want to understand more about where it comes from and how to create amazing real meals. Empowering (and with no rice crispy cakes in sight) the 50 easy-to-follow recipies in this guide will teach basic skills and be the springboard for a live-long love of real food.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Free to Be Me is a LGBTQ+ journal that joyfully celebrates the power of being yourself and loving who you are. It is written and illustrated by Dom & Ink, whose passion, voice and experience make this such a welcome addition to the genre of journaling.
Explore Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in this intricately illustrated black & white gallery of characters and scenes from the film and designs used in its making, which is officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Delicious receipes inspired by the author's favourite works of fiction this cookery book will make a wonderful addition to your cookery bookshelf or an amazing gift. Paddington Bear's marmalade, a Neopolitan pizza with Elena Ferrante, afternoon tea at Manderley and even more, this beautifully presented, well written cookery book with mouthwatering pictures combines literature and food in the most delicious way possible. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
Are you addicted to your smartphone? Phones are fun and useful but online life can be overwhelming - often leaving us feeling anxious, sad or lacking in confidence. Brimming with clever activities, puzzles, life hacks and relaxation techniques, this interactive journal is the ultimate remedy!
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.