I like to move it move it

OK, now you’ve got that tune stuck in your head all day! But I can’t look at this book cover without starting to sing.

The fact that it’s written by professional movement coach and award-winning author Darryl Edwards of the excellent TED Talk “Why working out isn’t working out” is very obvious. His childhood reminds me of my own – outdoors until called in for dinner, and more likely to fall out of a tree than bed. So I knew I was going to love My first animal moves. And I do. I really do.

One of the online gym classes I did during lockdown (with Sarah Liebelt, not Joe Wicks) started every session with bear crawls. By the way – do you remember when WHSmith confused me and Joe Wicks and the tweet went viral with lots of people admiring my beard 🤣! If you missed it, here goes …

Anyway, back to the book, I can see an author visit using this book being fantastic, energetic, fun. After all, as he demonstrates in the talk, exercise should be fun. Focus less on working out, and more on playing out.

Win!

If that sounds good, you could win a signed copy of the book and a fitness cards deck by entering here. (UK only)

Blurb

Nathan loves to play, but he loves his video games more. Can a trip to Animal Moves land convince him there’s more fun outdoors? 

Best-selling author and speaker Darryl Edwards has created this fun adventure inspired by his passion for encouraging kids to move in an ever-increasing sedentary environment.

MY FIRST ANIMAL MOVES

Discover the joys of animal moves with your little cubs in this first book of movement. Join Nathan and his cute, but sometimes lazy, dog as they crawl, jump and balance their way through the animal kingdom re-enacting moves designed to emphasise fun. It’s all in this exercise for kids book that focuses on family fun boredom busters.

HELPING KIDS MOVE AND GETTING KIDS OFF SCREENS THROUGH FUN ANIMAL PLAY

✓ Do you want to make physical activity for kids fun?

 Are you looking for ways to help your children develop strength, coordination and balance?

✓ Do your children love learning about animals?

 Are you worried about too much TV and screen time? 

✓ Do you want to teach young children about the importance of physical activity?

✓ Would you like easy and fun fitness games to include in your day?

My First Animal Moves is your answer. Play along together, keeping everyone healthier and happier, promoting physical, mental and emotional well-being. You’ll all release more mood-enhancing hormones as a result, which help you feel good every day.

My First Animal Moves distils the ideas in his bestselling Animal Moves book and Animal Moves Fitness Decks into a colourful picture book for children.

A Children’s Book to Encourage Kids and Their Guardians to Move More, Sit Less and Decrease Screen Time.

This unique story takes a different stance to many popular titles in this arena, with a fun activity that encourages children’s active play while aiming to get families moving and reading together. It takes the humour and colour in kids’ yoga books such as Breathe Like a Bear by Kira WilleyYoga Bug by Sarah Jane Hinder, and You Are a Lion by Taeeun Yoo to a whole new energy level with active play for the entire family.

Get My First Animal Moves to help your family thrive through movement today.

About the author

Darryl Edwards is a Movement Coach, author of the best-selling books “Animal Moves” and “My First Animal Moves”, and a thought leader in the area of creativity and innovation in fitness and health. 

Darryl developed the Primal Play Method™ to inspire others to make physical activity fun while getting healthier and more robust in the process. 

Hedgehoggy snuffles

I loved Mrs Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter and remember my dad reading it to me often. So a hedgehog book is always going to make my heart melt. But first, have a confession. I have never seen a hedgehog. In fact it’s on my bucket list. Preferably not one squashed on the road. Anyway, when I saw Hoglets’ Christmas Magic I invited the author Lynette Creswell for a chat about books and everything hedgehogs.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)

Hi, I’m Lynette and I’ve been writing for over thirty years. Having suffered a dysfunctional childhood, I was compelled from an early age to write stories that took me to another place. I created new realms and magical creatures influenced by stories such as The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, written by Enid Blyton.

Years later I wrote stories for my own children. It gave me such a buzz to see their eyes light up when they realised they were one of my crazy characters. My husband could see how much joy writing gave me and bought me a laptop. He told me it was time to live my dream and write something substantial. I couldn’t wait and in 2012 published my first YA book Sinners of Magic

When I’m not writing I tootle off to my static caravan in Chapel St Leonards, Lincolnshire. It’s a wonderful seaside town and my ‘happy place’. We’re situated right by the sea. I enjoy long walks along the prom, eating ice cream and paddling in the sea. I get inspiration for writing new stories there. 

2. Is this your first children’s book?

Yes. Hoglets’ Christmas Magic is written for children aged 5+. It tells the tale of Prickles and Primrose, two adorable hedgehogs.

3. What or who inspired you to write this book?

I actually published Hoglets’ Christmas Magic for my blog a couple of Christmases ago and the response was phenomenal. I received a mountain of messages and emails from parents and grandparents enquiring when the story would be published. I can’t deny it’s taken oodles of blood, sweat and a pandemic to get the book published. Yet, now the hoglets are here, I’m glad I listened to my readers and took the plunge.

4. List three interesting facts about yourself.

  • I’m scared of Daddy-long-legs.
  • I’m partially deaf.
  • I gave birth in 1985 to my eldest son in Berlin. The room was right above the medical bunker of Herr Hess, Adolf Hitler’s Deputy-in-Chief. 

How to help wild hedgehogs

Once I started raising money for Happy Hogs Hedgehog Rescue Centre, I realised I wanted to do more to help hedgehogs in the wild. I went online and bought a hedgehog house which I placed in a sheltered part of the garden. It has a slate roof and two rooms inside and I filled the bedroom compartment with barley straw, (straw is better than hay as it doesn’t get too damp). Next, I surrounded the hoggies new home with a few plants to make it slightly hidden from view. I also turned the entrance of the house towards the fence so that it made it harder for cats to get their paws inside. 

Once the house was secure, I needed to make a feeding station. This is because you mustn’t put food inside a hedgehog house, this must be separate. 

Here’s how to make a feeding station of your own…

1. For the structure of your hedgehog feeder, get a plastic see-through box at least 30 cm (12 inches) wide and 45 cm (18 inches) long.

2. You can turn the box either way but make sure you weigh it down with a heavy object so it doesn’t blow away. I used part of a broken patio paving slab.

3. Cover the floor with newspaper and acquire two small bowls. One for food and the other for water.

4. In the side of the box make an entrance hole. Usually the size of a CD disk and use thick tape to smooth the edges to make sure the hedgehog doesn’t hurt itself.

5. Place the bowls inside and away from the entrance. Use specific hedgehog food such as Brambles hedgehog kibble and/or soft wet cat meat (non-fish). Cat food is high in protein which hedgehogs need to survive. Remember NEVER give hedgehogs milk. They’re lactose intolerant and you could cause the hedgehog harm.

6. Keep it safe. Place the feeder a hand’s length away from the wall to prevent cats getting in and stealing food.  

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a feeding station and you’re helping hedgehogs in the wild.

Tips for keeping hedgehogs healthy

A hedgehog’s natural diet mainly consists of slugs, ground beetles, caterpillars and worms. Please don’t use slug pellets in your garden. Hedgehogs eat these and can die.

Get more involved!

If you’d like to learn more about hedgehogs you can join the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. You’ll find them on Twitter under @hedgehogsociety or you can visit their website: http://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk. The society’s great for sharing valuable information about hedgehogs and if you need help you can contact them directly.

As a parent or teacher who would like more information, there’s a great website People’s Trust for Endangered Species (ptes.org) have information on hedgehogs and on their site you’ll also find a link to Hedgehog Street. This is a website where you become a Hedgehog Champion. If you visit Hedgehogstreet.org you’ll find free downloadable resources, a photo gallery and forum.  

Thanks Lynette. Now I’m off to look into building a hedgehog house. Watch this space!

Delightfully different, totally terrific

Dilly the penguin has one leg, so she hops rather than waddles. Some penguins are fine with this, others not so. Approaching the topic of “difference” often feels like a potential parental minefield, but I promise you can’t go wrong with Delightfully Different Dilly. There’s a learning here, obviously, but many stories which cover this scenario feel uncomfortably forced or contrived. Not so here. This is a classic adventure set-up, with courage, teamwork, and friendship shining through, and it’s flawlessly done.

Stunning illustrations (see the pic), tons of drama, great characterisation, and an important message that is not rammed down your throat – this is an absolute must for every home bookshelf and classroom book box.

Not only are there great talking points leaping from every page, but I was so impressed with the linked sensory activities done by @rascals_and_rainbows that I have to highlight them here. Check it out!

Blurb

When Dilly is born, her parents think she is perfect – from the top of her head to the bottom of her foot. The other babies notice that she is different but soon accept her, and love her different way of doing things. They even try  to copy her – in the funniest ways! Their mummies and daddies aren’t sure, though – someone different makes them anxious, they like everyone to be the same. Can their babies convince their parents to accept Dilly – and to understand that it’s actually brilliant to be different?

Author bio

I began writing magazine fiction and have sold thousands of stories all over the world, but when my daughters were born and I started reading to them, I was reminded just how wonderful children’s books are, and decided to try writing them myself. They are the most fun of all and I have had over eighty books published from picture books up to novels for up to age 12. 

Some of them deal with issues I have faced with my own children such as a pet dying – Scrumpy (Andersen) or an over-adventurous hamster – Hammy (Orchard), others cover issues common to many children, such as being scared of monsters – Nothing Can Frighten a Bear (Nosy Crow), being different – Delightfully Different Dilly (Quarto 2021) and being small – Billy and the Balloons (Salariya) and Off to Market! (Frances Lincoln -a runner-up in the Dundee Picture Book Award and based on my journey on an over-crowded minibus in Uganda filled with villagers, furniture and animals! 

Book box birthday party!

It’s flown past but the book subscription box business I run, The Book Dragon Club, is one. If you haven’t already seen the boxes then clearly my social media presence needs some attention, so here is a little teaser.

At the start of the pandemic I turned my after-school book clubs into a range of carefully curated book boxes and themed activity packs. The monthly boxes save parents’ time and effort in ensuring their child has access to a high quality, diverse library, and are specifically designed to encourage cross-curricular learning. Plus our regular book club meetings (online) are a great way to encourage a love of reading.

The book boxes are designed to inspire a lifelong love of reading with an emphasis on diversity by both genre and author. Each box includes an exclusive themed activity pack designed by experts to encourage cross-curricular, immersive, learning. Our boxes are suitable for all abilities, from reluctant readers to bookworms, although of course we call them book dragons. 

If you aren’t a member already, I’d love to see you there.

You can find out more about the book boxes at www.bookdragon.club

PS – prices will be going up in the summer for new members, so join now to lock in the current bargain!

Hopping corn science experiment

I just had to share this cool science experiment from the fabulous Suzie at StemSpark. Is it just me, or is this like making your own lava lamp? Love, love, love it!

Anyway, here are Suzie’s easy peasy instructions …

You’ll Need a clear glass container popping corn water baking soda white vinegar food coloring (optional)

Instructions 1) Fill your glass container with water and add a couple drops of food coloring.

2) Add your baking soda and stir well until it is all dissolved.

3) Add a small handful of popping corn kernels.

4) Add the vinegar and watch the corn start to hop up and down!

Hopping Candy science experiment

The corn will hop up and down repeatedly in your container for over an hour.  It’s so much fun to watch (mesmerizing would be the best word to describe it). The experiment creates a great opportunity to talk about gases, liquids, and solids with your child.

Basically, the science behind the activity is that when the baking soda and vinegar combine, they react to form carbon dioxide (CO2) gas.  The gas forms bubbles in the water, which enclose the corn kernels.  The bubbles lift the kernels up to the surface, and when the kernels get to the surface, the bubbles pop, and the kernels sink again.