Wednesday 22 July 2020

Summer book ideas for the kids that will get them doing things

Learning motor-skills with our Gruffalo Terrible Tusks fruit kebabs

Books are great for many kids including those with autism.  They are great because they can give kids a starter for their imagination and they often provide the security of a routine - a story is the same each time you read it. So how can we use books to create more activities to expand their use during the holidays?

Kids Recipe books 

By this point in the year, we would usually have spent a good deal of time at a local theme park going on a Gruffalo river ride.  But not so much this year.  Still this much kids short has got the kids having fun.

Jane got the Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes cookbook last year, and it's been out a few times, most recently to make Gruffalo tusk fruit kebabs.   This recipe book is great and we've been happily creating recipes and new ones using it's fun ideas. We particularly enjoy Gruffalo Childs' pancakes by adapting a recipe from the book.

Most cooking involves motor skills and this kind of activity also involves some imagination and possibly a bit of team work which is great practice for kids with autism and other conditions too.  It's a great back-to-school motor skills activity.

Make a scrap book

If you can think about it then you can scrapbook about it and get the kids motorskills and their imagination going. Scrapbooks can cover everything from things you've done or are planning to do,  telling a story or indulging in a recording a special interest.

It needs kids to plan what they are going to do.  Planning is a skill that's easily missed and it's really challenging for many kids.  Thinking about what you want to include on a page and where things might go is good practice for many bigger parts of life.

Kids can then use them as reminders for when they go back to school to help them with all the questions about what they did. The first task back after summer was so often 'write about your summer break'.

Jane nearly always adds gems to her pages and as I mentioned she loves using the pretty paper to make a border too.  Patterned tapes are also a great way to make an easy border to a page or to link pages together - Jane like extra fold out parts!  She's often very proud of the scrap book pages and this is benefit all in itself.

Books with puppet sets

We've got so many of the puppet sets that go along with the Julia Donaldson books. We've definitely for the actual puppet sets for the Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo.  But I know you can also get them for the Giraffes can't Dance and A Squash and a Squeeze puppets too.

We then also made a puppet set for Stickman.   Making your own puppets is of course a great imagination and motor skills activity in itself.

What will the Stickman look like; what will we make them out of?

Also with learning a play routine, puppets can be used to put on a show or make up a new story. They are a great way of making reading a book into an activity.

Books with mindfulness built in

There are a lot of pressures on kids and my daughter Jane seems to feel them soo deeply.  They haven't always been able to access the same things that they did before because many kids haven't been back at school - or at least not back properly.  Mindfulness activities is great for their mental health.

The Sleepy Pebble and Other Stories  is a soothing collection of stories co-written by sleep specialist Alice Gregory and children’s book writer Christy Kirkpatrick, who have crafted tales to incorporate mindfulness and other techniques that can aid relaxation.

We love them and since reading all the beautiful stories, Jane still asks me to talk her through the simple steps that repeat in each one so that she feels ready to say goodbye to the day or the thoughts she's having.  She loves the interaction between what's happening in the story and what she's thinking about and doing to relax.  Older kids will be able to read the stories and do the exercises by themselves.

Mindfulness colouring books for kids are great too for relaxing but as an activity kids can also try making their own.  Either from scratch or by taking an existing colouring book and breaking the drawings into different parts.

Books that make them think

Some kids, like mine, are different from other kids.  They don't seem to follow the norm with many parts of their lives and need support in being who they are, a square peg in a round hole.  But there are also many 'round pegs' out there who can benefit from knowing that it's ok for others to be different especially when we've been isolated from others for a while.  We've found some books like this that may get the kids 'doing' things but in a different way.

In What Wesley Wore, all the weasels in Westburrow Wood are supposed to follow the rules and fit in. Did you know, a group of weasels is called a confusion? Well, imagine their confusion when they meet Wesley, a wacky weasel, who is obsessed with clothes! That's not very weasley is it.  As the other weasels plot and protest against Wesley, readers will be eager to find out what happens, in this heart-warming story about acceptance.

Our son Anthony is amazing. His memory is truly astonishing and he tries his very best. He's so determined and fearless with physical activities like climbing and racing. But he doesn't see that. He sees everyone else doing well and can't see that what he does is unique.

The Brownest Mouse in Town invites you to pay a visit to the Polka Dot Pet Shop... ...where every pet is marvellous, magical and unique. Every pet that is, except a plain, brown mouse who doesn’t feel special at all. This heartfelt story of self-confidence teaches young readers not to judge by appearances, to be proud of their uniqueness and to believe in their own strengths.

These are just a few ideas, if you've got any, I'd love to hear them.


  1. Yes books are so important ... we actually used our daughter's cookery book from when she was very small for several years after. Some great things in it! #KCACOLS

  2. I'm a huge fan of mindfulness colouring books. Some great suggestions here. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  3. I loved my kids cook book when I was younger and making scrap books is also a great suggestion. I am forever buying books and filling our house up with them - both for my daughter and myself! #KCACOLS

  4. We are avid readers in our house but don't have many 'action' books- I like the idea of a children's cookbook!

    Katrina x

  5. Great ideas...any cooking or crafting is great...We used to make life sized trains out of boxes and paint them into Thomas, and then once dry, turn it into Henry or James (more painting). It doesn't really matter on the end result - it's the doing that counts. #KCACOLS

  6. You have some excellent ideas to help seek inspiration X #kcacols


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