Young Ballymun

Things to do at this time

A Squash and a Squeeze

This is one of Justyne’s favourite books. Another great one from Julia Donaldson. If you haven’t got the book, we’ve linked it here.   Remember to hug your book. This is a great way to get the children interested in books. So show it lots of love. 

This is a lovely story to practice our gratitude muscle. Talk to children about being grateful, what does it mean. The old woman had a house, and all her animals but still, she wanted more space. She was not grateful for all that she already had. Talk to your children about what you are grateful for and ask them what they are grateful for. The practice of gratitiude is a really hopeful act especially now in the current crisis. We are grateful for all you lovely parents in Youngballymun.

Write a letter to someone you are grateful to telling them why you are grateful to them this could be your nana, granny, mam, dad, uncle, auntie etc this will really cheer them up. You could then ring them and read your letter out to them over the phone, now that’s a lovely random act of kindness.

The Happy Jar is another great way to encourage your children to practice gratitude. Write down on a piece of paper-one thing you are grateful for everyday. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be anything. Your favourite song, a chat with your Mammy, your favourite biscuit after dinner etc. Pop it in the jar, or a box, even an envelope will do. And once a month, or when you feel overwhelmed/sad read the happy thoughts. The best part about The Happy Jar is that the whole family can take part. 

If you didn’t already know- one of our favourite authors, David Walliams is reading one of his books online everyday at 11am. You can watch him here https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com. Now that really is something to be grateful for!

Let us know one thing that you would put in your happy jar for today. 

Love Lána & Justyne 


Grumpy Monkey

This is a gorgeous book to talk to our kids about recognising our feelings, naming them and accepting them. For example, this is how I feel right now but my feeling wont last forever it will change in a little while. If you haven’t got the book, there is a link to it being read here. Give it a big hug if you have it. Show it some love. 

The story talks about monkey’s eyebrows being furrowed and his back being hunched and that’s how his friends knew he was in a bad mood. Practice different body language and making faces with your children to name emotions. This is a really fun activity. You could play a word game too, how many other words can we use to say happy, sad, angry etc.

Our friends at Happy Talk from HSE, Cork have some great resources to get your children reading, writing and talking with you. Their resources can be found here.

We are looking forward to seeing you all when this is all over
Love Lána & Justyne 


Giraffes Can’t Dance

Hi Everyone,

This is one of Lána’s favourite stories. In case you don’t have the book, here is the audio link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZjsLK5vwNU 

Hug it tight if you have it, show it lots of love! 

Gerald the Giraffe feels so sad because he thinks he can’t dance. But with a little help from a friend, he realises it’s ok to be different and dance his own way, to his own beat. Talk to your children about all the wonderful ways we are all different and what makes us all unique. Make a list with your children of all the things that make them wonderful, include yourself in that list, you are wonderful too. 

Finding something you love to do, like Gerald and his dancing is a great hobby. This could be a good time to think of new hobbies to do while we’re all staying at home. Dancing is one of those hobbies that can be done at home. 

Here is a link to Zumba dancing for kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP0wgVhUC9w

What about baking? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7D7-HtaTLo

We can use this time at home to practice new and exciting hobbies. 

Just remember-always dance to your own beat! We will be back on facebook on Monday, watch out for our new post!

Love Lána and Justyne 


The Selfish Crocodile 

Hi everyone. We wanted to share another one of our favourite books with you all. The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles.  If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can find the audio link to it here-  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-NhjfJ_RZI . We’re sure the narrator hugs her book before reading- we just didn’t see her. (winky face) So don’t forget to show your book some love too. We LOVE our books!!

This book provides lots of opportunities for talking with your children. For example-the mouse was very brave, can you remember a time you were brave? Can you think of anyone who is brave in your life? This could be an opportunity to talk about all the doctors, nurses and healthcare staff in the hospitals working to combat the pandemic… And the retail staff keeping the shops open so we can get groceries, the delivery trucks, the bakers etc. 

Help your children to write a list of all the different animals that live in a jungle. What do they look like? What words could we use to describe the animals? What kind of skin do they have? Is it scaly like a lizard or furry like a lion? Parents don’t have to have all the answers that’s why the internet is our friend!

This book shows how important it is to be kind to each other so let’s be kind to ourselves today, parents need hugs too! You are all amazing parents and are in our thoughts every day. We are sending you lots of virtual hugs and hope to see you soon. 

Love Lána and Justyne 


Chocolate Cake 

We love Michael Rosen here at YoungBallymun. He is the Author of  the book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” He tells short stories in such a funny and entertaining way, that he’s sure to capture the attention of your little ones. 

There is a great video on youtube of him telling a story about chocolate cake. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BxQLITdOOc&t=121s. Give it a watch, we’re sure you’ll love it as much as we do. 

Baking is a great way to spend some time with your child, keep them occupied and enjoy all of the goodies afterwards! It is also a great way to look at numbers in a fun way. Just think of all of the ways you will be talking about numbers when you bake with your child-weighing the ingredients, looking at the temperature, dividing the mixture or the cake when you slice it, counting how many buns you have made etc. 

Baking gives us lots of things to talk about with our children too. Some ideas are:

  • Look at all of the baking equipment you could be using- a mixing bowl, a spatula, a whisk, icing bags etc maybe these are all new words for your child. 
  • Don’t forget to describe what each piece of equipment does for example if I am beating the mixture. For example: Beating is the process of stirring or whipping with a spoon, electric mixture, to create a smooth mixture of ingredients. Or if I am combining my ingredients I am mixing two or more of them together with a spoon or whisk. 

There are lot’s of lovely new words and lots of ways for your children to be learning while baking and you get to eat the lovely cakes afterwards- now that is fun!

Maybe you can all invite us to have afternoon tea with you soon! 

You can find baking words here. https://www.partselect.com/JustForFun/Baking-Terms-An-Online-Glossary.aspx

You can find more from Micheal Rosen here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7D-mXO4kk-XWvH6lBXdrPw

Recipe for chocolate cake here 

https://www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/recipes/easy-chocolate-cake-recipe/1o3ld6ar

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Love Lána & Justyne 


Smartest Giant in Town

One of our favourite books in Youngballymun is “The Smartest Giant in Town” by Julia Donaldson. If you don’t have a copy of the book there is a video and audio link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfiPrA8E3qEhe’s quite good just doesn’t hug it but we can do that if we have a copy and if we don’t we can hug another book. Books need hugs too! 🥰🥰

Here are a few suggestions for you after the book reading:

• Talk to your children about random acts of kindness. This is so easily explained to your children through this book and the Giant’s random acts of kindness. What acts of kindness can you do with your children today?
• Play a memory game, these are fun for all ages. Who did the smartest Giant meet first? What item of clothing did he give away first? Who did the Giant meet second? What item of clothing did he give away? Ok you get the idea!

Our colleagues in NALA have a fabulous website you can access here http://helpmykidlearn.ie. It has lots of activities for 0-12 years so there should be something there for everyone. Reading is a fantastic way to spend some time with your children. As we all know there are so many activities we can do before, during and after reading a book. Lána and Justyne will be sharing some ideas to extend activities with your children through reading, writing and talking which will help to keep them engaged. Here are few ideas to get you started today:

Before reading

1. Hug your book! Show that book some Love!
2. Don’t forget to talk about the cover of the book. Ask children to use their prediction skills to see if they can they guess what is going to happen in the book? Even if they know what will happen in the book this is a good way to get excitement for the book started, they can pretend they haven’t read the book before and guess.
3. Discuss with your child the author and illustrator, ask questions like: I wonder where the author lives? How much money does an Illustrator get paid?
4. Read the book – remember to act out words and have lots of fun.
5. After reading the book talk about favourite characters, illustration, funniest part, saddest part.
6. Ask your children to come up with a different ending to the book. Ask them to write a story on what happened next or for younger children draw a picture.

Remember reading books is fun! You can go anywhere with a book and become any character you want so have some enjoy reading fun with it and your books