Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

On the 25th December 2015 I get to share my little boy’s first Christmas with him. I could not be more excited about Christmas this year! Because he will be just under six months old he won’t be having chocolate Christmas calendar this year, but I didn’t want him to miss out on any of the Christmas magic so instead I have created a Christmas Book Advent Calendar for him. 

We will start our Christmas Book Advent Calendar on Sunday 13th December – 12 days before Christmas. I have bought 12 new Christmas themed books. Eleven books are wrapped separately and are under our Christmas tree. Every night after we’ve had dinner and Luke has had his bath we will unwrap a new story and read it together. The twelfth book will be in his special Christmas Eve box. I plan to use these same stories year after year as part of a family tradition, but will buy a new Christmas story to put in his Christmas Eve box each year.

Here are 12 books perfect for your own Christmas Book Advent Calendar

1. The Twelve Days of Kiwi Christmas 

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a meat pie from the local dairy!" Sing along with iconic entertainer, Pio Terei, counting the twelve days of (Kiwi) Christmas! - Fishpond

2. Pooh's Christmas Letters 

Winnie-the-Pooh is enjoying a wintry stroll in the Hundred Acre Wood when he has an idea. A CHRISTMASSY idea. Not long after, mysterious letters arrive in the Hundred Acre Wood, leading all the animals on a festive adventure. But where is their dear friend, Winnie-the-Pooh? - Book Depository 

3. Duck and Goose: It's Time for Christmas

Our feathered friends are getting ready for Christmas. The only problem? Goose is more interested in skating, sledding, and making snow angels than in helping Duck decorate their Christmas tree. While Goose has the time of his life in the snow, it seems poor Duck will be left to do all the work. . . . - Amazon

4. Father Christmas (Usborne Touchy Feeling Book)

This is a new edition of this popular title and the perfect present for a very young child. This enchanting book follows Father Christmas as he puts on his boots, loads up his sleigh and sets off delivering presents.

Full of touchy-feely patches, sparkly foil and a wide variety of textures, this book provides babies and toddlers with important first sensory experiences. -Fishpond 

5. Five Christmas Penguins

Get ready for some counting fun with five spunky penguins as they prepare for the best Christmas party ever! Whether zooming through the snow, decorating the tree, wrapping presents or singing, artist Steven Lenton's adorable, playful penguins will get kids in the holiday spirit and help them improve their counting skills! Perfect for holiday gifts, "Five Christmas Penguins" features a foil and embossed cover treatment with shiny foil throughout. -Mighty Ape

6. Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Christmas Book

A delightful Christmas board book with high contrast illustrations and touchy-feely patches perfect for sharing with the very young. Each festive picture has a simple description beneath, to help babies learn to associate words and pictures, and a different material to feel, helping to develop important sensory skills. The last two pages show a montage of all the pictures in the book with new descriptions to help children learn their first colours. This padded 'soft touch' hardback is perfect for sharing or can be propped up for babies to see by themselves. - Book Depository 

7. Santa's Reindeer 

Hunt for Reindeer's squeaky nose in this hilarious Christmas adventure. It's Christmas Eve and Santa and Reindeer are about to deliver the presents. But then Reindeer loses his nose! Polar Bear, Seal and Penguin haven't seen it. Can Reindeer find his missing nose before it's too late? A fun and festive gift for young children. - Book Depository 

8. Baby's Very First Noisy Book - Christmas

Introduces the sounds and tunes of the Christmas season with accompanying sound effects and color illustrations of the subjects. On board pages. - Book Depository 

9. Dear Santa

A letter to Santa asking for a Christmas present starts off a merry chain of gift-wrapping, but nothing seems quite right and each time he thinks better of his choice. Lift the flaps to unwrap a present and find out how Santa chooses the perfect gift. There's a special surprise at the end! - Book Depository

10. Jingle, Jingle, Little Reindeer

Wiggle the cute reindeer puppet to help it get to Santa's sleigh on time! - Book Depository 

11. Peppa's Christmas Wish 

Join Peppa Pig and her brother George as they get ready for Christmas. First there's Santa's grotto, where Peppa and George tell Santa what they would like for Christmas. Then Granny Pig has an important festive job for them and Peppa gets to make a very special wish. Will her Christmas wish come true? - Book Depository 

12. That's Not My Reindeer

A touchy-feely book with simple, repetitive text, bright, colourful illustrations and textures to touch and feel on every page. Suitable as a Christmas present, it can help very young children develop language and sensory skills. - Book Depository 

Our Christmas Book Advent Calendar will become a family tradition, as well as buying a St John’s Christmas tree to decorate, a Christmas Eve box, making Christmas treats and of course food for the reindeers. What are some of your special Christmas traditions that you share with your family? 

Tomorrow is the 11th Day of our Christmas blog collaboration. Make sure you head over to Outdoorsy to get some gift idea inspiration. Merry Christmas everyone x 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Baby Massage

Last week we went to a baby massage class. Learning how to do baby massage is something I wanted to learn how to do so that I can make it part of Luke’s bed time routine. We've decided to introduce it after Luke has had his bath at night, but you can do it whenever you want. Some of the benefits of baby massage include: an opportunity for time just for the two of you, relieves physical and emotional stress in your baby, as well as possibly helping your baby to sleep better at night.

Here are a few videos of techniques we learnt at our baby massage class, as well as a couple of new techniques. I highly recommend going along to a class if there is one available in your area. It's helpful to see someone demonstrate in person and it's a nice, relaxing way to spend time with your baby. 

6 Tips for Massaging Your Little One at Home

* Massage your baby when they're relaxed and you're relaxed too. It's a lot more tricky if your baby is trying to squiggle and wriggle everywhere. 

* Make sure the room is warm and that there's no draft. You may also want to dim the lights if you're doing it before bed. 

* Put your little one on a warm towel or blanket while you massage them. (We warm Luke's towel up in the drier for a few minutes while he's having his bath). 

* Use an oil that's suitable for putting on your baby. I use almond oil, but you could use olive or sesame oil too. You only need to put a small amount into your hands to start with. Add a little bit more as you need it. 

* Let your baby or toddler know that you are going to start massaging them by talking to them or providing them with some visual cues e.g. rubbing your hands together while you warm up the oil so that they can see. Always start and finish by gently resting your hands on the area you are massaging e.g. arm. This provides a cue that you are starting or finishing massaging. 

* At the end of the massage give your little one a big cuddle and dress them quickly so that they don't get cold. If you're massaging your baby before bed after a massage is also the perfect time for a couple of bed time stories. 

 Happy massaging! x

Excuse the messy hair. It was pouring with rain as we walked into the baby massage class! x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Rainbow Fun

This week our sensory theme was ‘Rainbow Fun’. Luke loved playing under the rainbow fabric, listening to one of our favourite stories, singing and exploring toys that are visually stimulating. Here are some different rainbow sensory activities that you can do with your little one. 

Playing Under the Rainbow

We set the scene for our rainbow themed activities by spreading out a rainbow coloured sleeping bag on the carpet and pegging a piece of rainbow fabric between two pieces of furniture so it would hang above Luke’s head. I gave Luke time to do some tummy time, but also to lie on his back. This enabled him to explore both pieces of fabric by looking and touching. If you can't peg the material safely to a piece of furniture you could drape it over your baby's play gym instead. See the photo below.

What Makes a Rainbow by Berry Schwartz

What Makes a Rainbow is one of my favourite children’s books. Little Rabbit asks his mum what makes a rainbow. Instead of telling him she encourages him to go and ask his friends. Little Rabbit visits Ladybird, Fox, Little Chick, Grasshopper, Bluebird and Butterfly. Each creature tells Little Rabbit one colour that helps to make a rainbow. Each time Little Rabbit finds out another colour a new ribbon magically appears in the book and is added to the rainbow. This is a really cute book and a fun way to learn about colours.

Homemade Rainbow Ribbon Toy

You will need:

x7 one metre lengths of ribbon - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet
An ice cream lid or other plastic lid (I used a coconut oil lid)
A hole punch

Cut the plastic lid into the shape that you want. Cut a handle into the lid, but make sure that there are no sharp bits left behind. Punch seven holes into the lid. Thread a different coloured ribbon through each hole and tie it in place. Use a lighter to heat the ends of the ribbon to stop it from fraying.

Always supervise your baby when playing with their rainbow ribbon.

It's a Rainbow Song

If you’ve been to SPACE you’ll know the It’s a Rainbow’ song. I sang this song to Luke, while moving the rainbow fabric up and down over his head. He loved the bright colours and movement that the fabric made. When we sing ‘It’s a Rainbow’ at SPACE we have rainbows made out of ribbon that we let our babies play with and explore. Luke loved his one so much that I made a second one at home. See below to find out how to make your own rainbow out of ribbons. 

Lamaze and Hape Rainbow Themed Toys 

Here are a couple of cute rainbow themed Lamaze toys that we love.

Lamaze Toot Toot Toucan - The toucan squeaks when you squeeze his beak, has crinkly wings, different textured fabrics and lots of bright, colourful ribbons. The bright contrasting colours and patterns stimulate baby's vision, while the different textures help to develop motor skills.

Lamaze Tilly Twinklewings - Tilly Twinkle wings is a pink unicorns that adds some sparkle to baby's stroller. Featuring crinkly wings, clip clop hooves to make trotting noises and a colourful mane and tail. 

Lamaze toy descriptions from Baby City website. Click the Lamaze toy names to be taken directly to their website if you wish to purchase one of these special toys for your little one. 

Hape Rainbow Rattle - The Rainbow Rattle is a colourful, German made wooden rattle that can be manipulated into different patterns. It's perfect for babies that are teething and little hands that are learning to grasp. The perfect cute, colourful and eco-friendly rattle.

Coming Soon... 

Check back next week for a new sensory theme and another smorgasbord of fun activities. Lots of creative Christmas themed activities and ideas coming soon too! x