Young Ballymun

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Language & Literacy – activity tips


I always talk about how we can support our children’s language development through everyday activities that they enjoy! Here are some activities and games that you can play together that will help your children learn lots more language!  When playing these games; keep in mind all the other ideas from before: Owling (Observe, wait and listen); taking turns, copying what your children say, interpreting their messages and adding language.

  1. Making category pictures  When children are learning new words it can be helpful for them to think about the category or group that words belong to.  You can help them understand categories by playing sorting games/making category pictures. You could do this by cutting and sticking pictures from old magazines/ grocery shop catalogues and sticking them on pages together. E.g. you could do a farm animal picture and a water animal picture. You could make one picture with all the fruits you can find and one with all the vegetables! A great use for old aldi/lidl/supervalu/argos catalogues.
  2. Guess what I have!  This game can really help children develop their skills in describing! Take it in turns to describe something that the guesser can’t see. It can be fun to make and decorate a special bag/old shoe box to hold the hidden thing.  Encourage your child to describe; what it feels like, what it’s used for; what size it is; what shape it is etc. Then swap roles; you describe and let your child guess.
  3. Who can name the most: This is a good one to play if you are out walking or in the car. Challenge each other to see who can name the most of something in one minute? You can ask about things that belong in a category e.g. the most vehicles, a place e.g. “name all the things you find in a bathroom” or that match a description e.g. “think of all the things you can that are yellow”
  4. Treasure hunts: Hide different toys around your house and describe to your children where to find them.  This is a great way for young children to learn words that describe where things are.  E.g. “I have hidden something under the table” or “the next clue is hidden behind daddy”.  Why not let your children have a go hiding things and describing them to you. First, they might get very excited and show you! That’s ok; encourage them to tell you modelling the sentence they should use. 
  5. Funny stories: I know all of you are already doing lots of telling and reading stories with your children. Amazing!  When your children are really familiar with a story it can be fun to change a word and see if they notice e.g. if telling the story of The Gruffalo, you might meet uncle Thomas instead of the fox!  Kids love when we’re really silly and it gives them an opportunity to use their language.
  6. Headbandz is a game that you can buy in toy shops but you can make your own version by writing words or drawing pictures on post-its and sticking them to your head. Depending on their age, you can play it by giving your child clues (easier) or getting them to ask questions (harder) to try and guess what you’ve put on their head!  Make sure you have a go too- more learning will come when you’re having fun together!!

Best wishes


Megan is available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday.

Adding new words (part 2)

I hope everyone had a great week! Last week I talked about adding words. Did you notice anything when you talked about what your child was interested in? Did you find it easy to support your child to take turns by waiting and matching your turn to your child’s age and stage? Maybe you heard your child use a new word that you repeated it many times.  Here are some more great ideas for adding words:

Asking only a few questions:

 We can often think that we’re really helping our children learn by asking lots of questions. Questions can be a great way of helping our children think and problem solve but if we ask too many questions our children can miss their chance to take their turn.  I like to think of the hand rule (one thumb and four fingers) to remind me to ask:

One Question to four:

Comments (Say something about what your child is doing)

Repetitions (Say what they said again)

Expansions(Make their sentence a bit longer or more interesting)

Explanations (describe why something is happening)

This dad might ask a question e.g. “who lives in this house” He could make a comment e.g. “This is a cool ladder”

 If the little girl said “I’m going to put dolly in her bedroom” dad could repeat what she said e.g. “oh you’re going to put dolly in her bedroom” or expand on what she said e.g. “you’re going to put her in her bedroom because she’s tired”.  Or he could explain something e.g.  “she needs to climb up the ladder because her bedroom is upstairs”

Talk about different types of words

When our children already know the names of things we can add lots of different types of words:  In this picture, the little boy knows the words ‘car’ and ‘horse’. Mum could add words to tell him about:

Parts of words: e.g. wheels, handles, eyes, back, mane 

Describing words: “my car goes fast” “your horse is rocking

Explaining “I can move forward because my car has wheels”

Pretending “I’m going to drive my car to granny’s house, do you want to come”

Talk about the future “We can play with these tomorrow when your cousin comes”

Talk about feelings “I really love your horse” “You really like playing on this!”

When dad uses the hand rule and waits after each thing he says he encourages his daughter to listen, learn and develop her own amazing ideas!! When mum uses different types of words her little boy has many more opportunities to learn.  What games/activities might you use to try these ideas this week?

The Children Who Love Books by Peter Carnavas

Thank you to Laura Jane for sending us this picture of her two girls enjoying reading on their trampoline! It goes to show you can read anywhere! Books will bring you to far off lands without having to leave the couch, bed or trampoline!

Todays story shows us how reading can really bring the family together. There is an important lesson in this story-you don’t have to have lots of material possessions to spend some quality time together and enjoy each other’s company.
If you have the book at home, give it a big hug; show its lot’s of love. If not, we’ve linked it for you here:
We’ve also included some activities after reading that we hope, will suit most children’s interests.


Like Angus and Lucy, you probably have lots of books at home. They have some interesting uses for their books. What are some of the ways they used their books when they weren’t reading them?

The libraries are back open, so why not take a trip like Angus and Lucy. Make a plan together to visit the library and pick some new books. Are you going to walk there? What might you see on the way? What types of books will you look for? Fact or fiction? Don’t forget to talk about the blurb as you look at the back of the books to choose your next favourite.


Do you or your children love books? Help your children to make a list of all the books they have read; we bet it’s more than you would think.

What about where Angus and Lucy lived? What would be fun about living in an RV/caravan? You could write a list of the differences between your home and the RV/caravan. You could also write a story about the adventures you would get up to if you had an RV/caravan. Where would you travel to first? What would you see there?


The pictures in this book are so colourful. You could draw one of your favourite places to read. Is it outside? On your bed? Do you like reading alone or being read to? We’d love to see your art and stories if you want to share them with us.

Whatever you do, enjoy it together.

Take Care

Lána and Justyne



Megan’s Monday tips!!💡 ADDING NEW WORDS💡
We’re so pleased to say that we have paired up with Princess Megan, the speech and language therapist you all know from Breakfast Buddies to share some fantastic information and tips that will support you to encourage your child’s language and literacy development.
Today and every Monday, Megan is going to share some of her top tips with us.
Have a look below.
Megan is available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday.
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.
Lána, Justyne & Megan 🥰

Adding new words (part one)

I really hope everybody had a lovely weekend and heard and saw lots of amazing new turns that your children took when you copied them and interpreted their messages. This week we’re going to think about adding new words.  Children’s vocabulary grows when they hear and read new words. We know that children who have bigger vocabularies do well in school, they find it easy to think and learn about the world. You are already helping your children’s vocabulary grow with all the beautiful books that you are reading together. Here are some more tips on how to best add words. 

Talk about what your child is interested in

It is more likely that your child will listen to and remember the words if you are talking about something that has caught his/her attention- In this picture, the little girl is interested in the yoghurt on her spoon- if her mum talks about the yoghurt saying something like “You’ve got lots of yoghurt on your spoon” “I have a raspberry on mine too” she is following this little girls lead and it is more likely that these words will stick!  

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Children need to hear a word lots and lots of times before they try to use it.  This can feel a bit strange for us as adults but children really love and learn from repetition- think about how funny they think it is when they throw their toy out of the pram over and over!  Repeat specific words again and again and try to avoid words like “it” “that” or “thing”. E.g. for the dad in this picture, the little boy is really interested in the ring- dad could help his son learn the word ‘ring’ by using the word lots of times when they are playing e.g. he could say something like “you have a ring  and  I have a ring, I’m looking through the ring”. When we’re talking to other adults we probably wouldn’t say the word ‘ring’ so many times but kids need to hear it to learn it.

Match your words to your child’s age and stage

We want our children to hear lots of words but we don’t want them to feel overwhelmed by us talking too much.  Remember all the tips from the previous weeks, it’s still really important to OWL (Observe Wait and Listen) to help your child take turns.  It’s a good idea if your turn is the same length or just one word or idea longer than your child’s turn. When playing with these cars:

A baby might just move the cars without any sound- we could copy the movement and say a single word like “cars” or “beep beep”

A toddler might say “crash” –we could help them learn some new words by saying “the cars crashed!”

A pre-schooler might say “big truck”- we could help them learn words to describe where things are by saying “yeah, the car is on the big truck”

A school age-child might say “the red car’s stuck”- we could help them understand why things happen by saying “yeah the red car is stuck because the yellow car is in the way”

After all the things you say, at all ages…wait… you might be surprised by what your child comes up with next!!

I’ll have some more tips about adding different words next week!!

Megan’s Monday tips!!💡 (On Wednesday this week because of the Bank holiday)😅
We’re so pleased to say that we have paired up with Princess Megan, the speech and language therapist you all know from Breakfast Buddies to share some fantastic information and tips that will support you to encourage your child’s language and literacy development.  Today and every Monday, Megan is going to share some of her top tips with us. Have a look at Taking Turns below.

Megan is available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday.
Hope you all enjoyed your bank holiday.

Lána & Justyne 🥰

 Taking Turns

Last week we talked all about OWLing-(Observing, Waiting and Listening). Maybe during the week you noticed lots of things that your children say and do that you might not have seen before!  This week we’re going to talk about Taking Turns.   Sometimes we can get so excited with all the amazing things we can tell our kids we forget about how important it is for them to take their turn!  A good conversation is like a see-saw ride, it only happens when each person takes their turn! You’re already helping your child take their turn by OWLing but here are other ideas to help!


What your child says or does…then wait.  You might be copying an action (e.g. your little boy throwing his hands up in the air when he’s happy) a sound (e.g. your daughter saying ‘beep beep’ as she moves a toy car) or something your pre-schooler says  (e.g. if they say ‘kitty’ you say ‘Ah a kitty!’).  Nothing catches our attention like a mirror! Act like your child’s mirror and copy what they do and say.  Then wait and see what they do! Copying is helpful for all children, especially small babies, children who are not yet using words and children who’s sounds are not yet clear.

 Interpretthen wait

Interpret means “say it as your child would if they could” this helps your child know that you are trying to understand them and helps them learn the words that they need. 

Interpreting is so helpful for children who don’t yet know all the words they need to communicate; In this picture we can see that the little girl is pointing to the flowers. Her dad could interpret her point by saying it as she would if she could “look, flowers” and then …waiting to see what she says or does.

Sometimes children can find some words tricky to pronounce- we can help them learn how to say the word clearly by interpreting their attempts.  In the picture below the mum and the little boy are playing with paint.  Let’s pretend that the little boy says “taint” mam knows that this is a tricky word for her son so she interprets his message by saying “Paint” and then waits to see how he responds.

 This week notice how your child takes turns when you copy what they do/say and interpret their messages. 

I hope everyone has a lovely sunny bank holiday!

We’re so pleased to say that we have paired up with Princess Megan, the speech and language therapist you all know from Breakfast Buddies to share some fantastic information and tips that will support you to encourage your child’s language and literacy development.

Today and every Monday, Megan is going to share some of her top tips with us. Have a look at OWLing below. Megan is available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday…

Book Of The Week

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

This week’s book is a gorgeous follow on from Megan’s Monday OWLing Tip.  If you have the book at home, give it a big hug. Show it lots of love. 🥰If you don’t have the book, we’ve linked it here for you to watch and listen to.

We have some lovely activity ideas to go with this book that suit all ages and many different interests.
Sarah, Percy and Bill are anxious when their Mummy leaves. They don’t know where she’s gone, or when she’ll be coming back. They just know they want their Mummy.!

Before reading, ask your child to predict what might happen. Look at the cover of the book, who are the characters?
💡Talk to your child about all of the reasons Mummy’s have to leave sometimes. What could Mummy Owl have been doing while she was away?
What about the Babies? Do they think they know which Owl Baby is the eldest/youngest? There are some lovely words in this book, like swooped, brave, branch and wished. Talk about these words and their meaning. Can you use these words in a sentence?
💡Write a story from Mummy Owl’s perspective. Where did she go? How did she feel leaving her babies for a little while?


Can you draw a picture of the owls? You could collect materials on a walk, like twigs and leaves to make a 3D picture.


Can you write a list of facts about owls? What do you know about owls? What kind of foods do they eat? Where do they sleep?? What is a baby owl called? Do you know the names of other baby animals?


Do you know anywhere local to you, where you might find an owl or other animals? What is different about the forest in the daytime compared to night time?

There are lots of fun ideas to go with this and every book. This is one of the reasons we love our books! 

Love Justyne & Lána ☺️

Monday 25th May

Observe, Wait & Listen (OWL)  

You will often here Speech and Language Therapists talking about OWLing- we use this cute animal name to help us remember; Observe, Wait and Listen. This is so important for language development as we know that language develops through our interaction with our children. When we play with them and remember OWLing we are supporting their language development in the best possible way- at all ages and stages!

Observe: simply means watch; watch what your child is doing, see what is interesting them, wonder what they might be thinking, watch the look on their face.  Remember that we can observe with our eyes (what we see) and our ears (what we hear).  Notice the sounds and words that your child uses.

Wait: Exactly what it says; wait! This one can be tricky for lots of grown-ups!  We are so keen to play with and talk to our children. Little brains are just learning how to send messages, they need a little longer to think or plan what they are going to do. You might need to wait up to 10 seconds and your child might surprise you with something they do or say! We often talk about waiting ‘expectantly’, leaning in, smiling and showing your child that you are interested in them and are giving them time to respond.  You can see examples of parents waiting in the pictures below. Remember you are waiting for your child to do or say something new, when they do- it’s great to respond to them warmly and enthusiastically so they really know how much you’re interested.

Listen: The best way we can know what is on our children’s minds is by listening to them. Again, listening can be with our eyes (what we see them do with their body and face) or our ears (the sounds and words that they make).  When we really listen to our children it allows us to connect with them by following their interests. Then, when we respond warmly and enthusiastically, the language we use is more supportive to our children’s development.

This week- keep OWLing in your mind and notice all the amazing ideas you see your child come up with. It might be fun to make a picture of an owl with your child and put it up on the fridge to help you remember!!


The Ugly Five

Wednesday, 13th May

Hi all,

We are absolutely delighted to say that Princess Megan, the Speech and Language Therapist from Breakfast Buddies is helping us with our posts. Megan is also available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 01 8467074 or text on 086 7967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday.

The Ugly Five is a gorgeous story by Julia Donaldson, with a very important message.  If you haven’t got the book, we’ve linked it here. If you have it, give it a big HUG, show it some love. This really helps to show your children that you love your books and you love reading. The animals weren’t speaking very kindly about themselves. Their children described them so nicely at the end, proving that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. What is lovely about you, or your parents/brother/sister? Can you list some words from the story and find their opposite?  For example, the opposite of Ugly is Beautiful.

Can you choose one of the animals in the story and write a detailed description of it. How about drawing a diagram and labelling all of the animal parts? Get as creative as you like. We would love to see them.

How about playing a game? Where in the world do you think these animals live? Parents you could name some animals and have your children guess where the animal lives. You could even try making it a matching game, by making two lists of animals and places and helping your child connect the right animal to their home in the world.

Lána & Justyne are also available with any queries you might have regarding your children’s learning, text us on 0879236239 or email and we will get back to you.

Whatever you do, have fun. And remember the lesson from The Ugly Five’s children. It is what’s on the inside that counts the most.

Thinking of you all,  Lána, Justyne and Megan.


Squabbling Squirrels

Monday, 11th May

Hi all,

This is a really funny story about two squabbling squirrels. We really love how the narrator reads the blurb at the start! We’ve linked the story here  If you have the book, give it a big hug.

Cyril and Bruce set out as rivals, both wanting the last pine cone to store away for the Winter. They soon realise, after lots of disasters that they need to become allies & help each other. Can you think of a reason why they might want to store food away for the winter? Make a list of all the things you might store away if you were to hibernate for a season.

There are lots of lovely words in this story to talk about. For example, ‘nook’, ‘cease’, ‘spontateous’. See how many new and interesting words you hear! Could you help your child think of another way to say these words and then use these exciting words in a sentence? Google is our friend, we don’t have to have all the answers use the online children friendly dictionary

Do you like to be spontaneous like Cyril or plan ahead like Bruce? What about the word ‘squabble’? I’m sure we have seen plenty of those, either at school, or at home. Look at the facial expressions of the characters in the illustrations. How are they feeling? Can you draw a number of self-portraits that portray different emotions? You could even make a mask of your favourite expression.

Have you seen squirrels in your local area? Find out about wild animals that have homes where you live.  Lots of animal homes have special names.  Use Google or the online children friendly dictionary to help your children find out what they are called.

We are absolutely delighted to say that Princess Megan, the Speech and Language Therapist from Breakfast Buddies is helping us with our posts. Megan is also available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday. Lána & Justyne are also available with any queries you might have regarding your children’s learning, text us on 0879236239 or email and we will get back to you.

Thelma the Unicorn

Wednesday, 6th May

Hello everyone!

We love unicorns! A unicorn is a very special and very rare creature. Do you know someone who is as special and rare like a unicorn? If so, give that unicorn you know a big hug, if you aren’t together right now give them a text or a call! Through the years, we’ve met lots of Parents who are unicorns-special, rare and magical.  We’ve linked the story here if you haven’t got it.  If you do have the book, you know the drill, show it lots of love.

Thelma the Unicorn is a funny book about a horse called Thelma who has dreams to be a unicorn and her dream comes true! However, Thelma didn’t realise all the fame and fortune that comes with being a unicorn and misses her friend Otis.

Why don’t you make a list of things that are the same about horses and unicorns and things that are different? What are the magic powers that a unicorn has? You can make these up and write a list of unicorn’s special powers. I like to think that unicorns are funny, beautiful and do kind deeds for their friends, like make chocolate cake and deliver them to their friends. You can imagine lots of different magical powers for unicorns and write a story about them. What kind deeds have you received from a friend? Or have you done a kind deed recently for someone? We’d love to hear them.  If you had magical powers like a unicorn, what kind of fun things would you use them for?

We are absolutely delighted to say that Princess Megan, the Speech and Language Therapist from Breakfast Buddies is helping us with our posts. Megan is also available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday. Lána & Justyne are also available with any queries you might have regarding your children’s learning, text us on 0879236239 or email and we will get back to you.

We miss all of our unicorns.

Lána, Justyne & Megan.

The Bravest Fish

Hi everyone and Happy Wednesday! 

We are absolutely delighted to say that “Princess” Megan, the Speech and Language Therapist from Breakfast Buddies and HSE Ireland is helping us with our posts.

Megan is also available on the phone if any parents have any questions, they can contact her on 018467074 or text on 0867967531 and Megan will call you back Monday to Friday.

Today’s story is all about The Bravest Fish

This fish is so brave, he is faced with a new experience, all alone, and manages to keep calm and find his way to his friends. The Bravest fish is on an epic adventure and meets lots of other fish on his way. Can you write a list of all the fish and plants you might find under the sea?
What other things might we find under the sea? What about playing an odd one out game; name 3 things and your child must figure out what you wouldn’t find under the sea e.g. “a shark, a submarine, a sausage” make it as funny as you can think of!
You could write a story about the new adventures of the Bravest Fish? Where will he go and who shall he meet on his way? Or what about your own epic adventure? Where would you go, what would you see?

Don’t forget to send us a photo of your story we love reading your stories.

Love Lána, Justyne & Megan. 

Drop Everything And Read!!

This Friday 24th of April at 12pm, we are going to join the challenge by dropping everything we’re doing to read for 20 minutes, or as long as you like. You can read a book, a magazine, an e-book, read to your children, or be read to. Wouldn’t that be lovely?

Click here for full details

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Hello everyone, we love this story here at YoungBallymun. If you haven’t got the book-we’ve linked it here.  If you have the book give it a big hug. Show your children that you love your books. They will too. 

Wouldn’t it be a great idea to get dressed up like the Witch in your old Halloween costumes for today or every day, whatever you and your children feel like! Why not make every Wednesday dress up day? We can dress up as our favourite book characters, make costumes, paint our faces etc. Just to mix the day up a bit & make it more fun. You could spend time creating a costume to act out the Room on the Broom story! A theatre in your living room imagine that fun!

We love this story, the Witch is so kind. All of the animals the Witch allowed on her broom rescue her from the dragon and they all fly off together. I wonder where they went next? I wonder who else they might have met on their journey? Where do you think the Witch lived? These are questions you could ask the children & enjoy hearing their imaginative answers or you could get them to write a story about one of the characters. What about the creature in the swamp? Could they make a swamp creature with different animal parts. Labelling the creatures different parts could be a fun idea too. The snout of a pig, with the hooves of a cow etc. Let their imaginations do the work. 

We like the words in this book also related to the Witch -like broom, wand and cauldron. You could also ask your children to think of equipment that other people need to do their jobs for example a Fire Brigade team would need a hose and an oxegyn tank etc. What would a Doctor need? Or a Chef? 

We hope you enjoy this book today. If you want to send any of your pictures/stories to us, just pm the YoungBallymun facebook page. 

Love Lána & Justyne. 

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 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- 

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.

What about baking?

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- . 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: 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.

You can find more from Micheal Rosen here

Recipe for chocolate cake here

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’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 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