Baby bookworm

Our summer book exchange: fun with Elmer the Elephant

Elmer bookIt’s been a very busy few weeks, so we’ve not read anywhere near as many books as usual. In case you missed it, there’s a new man in our lives… the lovely Little Mister was born on 1st July (you can read more about him here!). But while we were eagerly waiting the late arrival of our second bundle of joy, Little Miss and I did manage to take part in the Love Books Summer Exchange.

Love Books Summer Exchange badgeHosted by US blog The Educators’ Spin On It, this fab exchange sees parent bloggers paired up to send each other’s child a picture book and accompanying activity. We were teamed up with Adventures of Adam and it was great to also discover a new blog I hadn’t read before that’s full of toddler play ideas – I’ll definitely be a regular reader from now on.

Little Miss was thrilled when our parcel, complete with rainbow-coloured tape on the box, arrived. I’d forgotten it was coming as well and given how heavily pregnant and tired I was at the time, it was a very welcome distraction!

Book exchange parcel arrives

Inside we found the original Elmer book by David McKee along with everything we’d need to make and decorate our very own milk bottle elephants for the ‘Elmer’s Day’ parade that’s part of this much-loved story. We’ve read a couple of different Elmer books in the past, so Little Miss was vaguely familiar with the character, but we’d yet to read this one which is the very first story about the colourful patchwork elephant. First written in 1968 and published since 1989 by Andersen Press, the book has been celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and has sold millions of copies around the world, being translated into many different languages.

Elmer activity kit

Little Miss loves elephants and painting so the package was an instant hit with her. And that was before she realised there were also stickers included. She absolutely cannot resist stickers!

I’ve always had a soft spot for Elmer too so was very pleased we’d now have the original Elmer book at home. I love the message behind the story – that it’s ok to be different and changing yourself to fit in with the rest of the herd isn’t the way forward. The book sees the brightly coloured Elmer paint himself grey to try and fit in, only to find it’s not much fun when the other elephants no longer recognise him. It’s not long before Elmer’s vibrant personality bursts to the fore again and his true colours are revealed once more when rain washes the paint off. The other elephants declare that this day will become known as Elmer’s Day and every year they decorate themselves for a special parade in his honour.

We read the story one night before getting started on our Elmer activity the next day. Emma, the mum behind the Adventures of Adam blog, is a trained primary school teacher and the activity she shared with us used to be a favourite for her classes. She’d sent us two plastic milk bottles to make our elephants from – a big six-pint one and a little one-pint one to make a cute baby. The baby was already cut out for us and I just followed the lines on the big bottle to cut out an elephant shape. As you can see from the pictures, it’s really simple to do – these bottles just happen to be the perfect shape to make elephants from, with the handle of the bottle making the trunk!

Little Miss was intrigued to see the big elephant taking shape and then couldn’t wait to get her hands on the paint brush to decorate him. We added a bit of glue to the paint, as instructed, to make sure it stuck to the plastic.

Elmer activity collage

As you can see, she initially went for a multi-coloured effect, similar to Elmer himself, although as more and more paint went on a dirty-purple became the dominant theme. This amused me since our elephant became closer to the standard elephant shade that Elmer tries to achieve in the book before realising he’s better off as he is in all his technicolour glory – of course, the irony was lost on a toddler!

We left the paint to dry overnight before letting Little Miss loose with the fab foam stickers included in our package. I hadn’t seen these before but quickly tracked down another pack in the supermarket as they proved so popular. Adventures of Adam had also included tissue paper as another decorative option, which could be stuck on in a collage effect. As you can see from the picture below that we were sent with our activity instructions, the artistic scope is endless!

Elmers Day Parade elephants

With the stickers on, we decided our two elephants were complete. We didn’t get around to it but you could also add eyes, either using some boggle-eye stickers or by just drawing them on. You also have the option of adding ears and could paint a layer of glue over the top of the finished elephant to make it smooth and a bit waterproof.

Finished elephants

We had a great time taking part in Love Books Summer Exchange – it’s such a simple idea but so rewarding. I really enjoyed putting together the package we sent, based around the Big Yellow Digger book, and you can visit the Adventures of Adam blog to see how they got on. And, of course, it’s always lovely for a child (and this big child too!) to get a surprise parcel to open and play with.

The milk bottle elephant is a great activity, so easy to do with a toddler, and one I’m sure we’ll repeat in the future. I’m a bit of a fan of making animal models from those simple household items that otherwise just pile up in the recycling – you can also see our forays into the world of toilet roll tube creatures here!

To see some of the other book and activity ideas from the swap visit the Summer Exchange Pinterest Board.

Categories: Baby bookworm, Toddler activities | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

300 Picture Books Challenge #24 and 25

I’m playing catch up with this post! This last week we discovered Jez Alborough’s highly entertaining Duck in the Truck series of books, which Little Miss loved – to the point that I had to hide Ssssh! Duck Don’t Wake the Baby, having been begged to read it three times in a row before 8.30am!

Predictably enough, there’s another Maisy Mouse book added to the list which, as always, went down well and I Love My Daddy has also been very popular, much to my hubby’s delight!

On a personal note, I enjoyed rediscovering the classic fairytale Puss in Boots, having completely forgotten the story – and Little Miss was very amused by the fact that it stars a cat wearing boots since she’s always had a shoe fixation!

So our current total now stands at 223 different books read so far this year. You can see what we’ve been reading and follow our latest progress on our Pinterest board.

300 Picture Books Challenge Weeks 24 and 25

Find out more and join in with the 300 Picture Book Challenge over on the Child Led Chaos blog.

300 Picture Books badge

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

300 Picture Books Challenge #23

Another week, another Maisy mouse book! It’s definitely been the favourite this week – although, quite inexplicably, Little Miss decided to show her appreciation by tearing one of the pages out. And, of course, it’s a library book so I had to get handy with the sellotape.

It’s been a bit hectic these past few weeks, hence the lack of blog action, but reading is one thing we have managed to keep up – Little Miss wouldn’t let it be any other way. We’ve also been, somehow, managing to get to the library once a week so have had a steady flow of new books to enjoy – including a handy freebie in Super Duck to celebrate National Bookstart Week,

So our current total now stands at 214 different books read so far this year. You can see what we’ve been reading and follow our latest progress on our Pinterest board.
300 Picture Books Challenge Week 23

Find out more and join in with the 300 Picture Book Challenge over on the Child Led Chaos blog.

300 Picture Books badge

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

300 Picture Books Challenge #22

After finally passing the 200 books read mark last week, Little Miss has suddenly been much more receptive to new titles again – typical toddler! We’ve added another seven to the list this week, with Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose by the ever-popular Julia Donaldson the most read. She’s also been keen to revisit The Monkey Puzzle too. Both combine the classic ingredients of animals and brilliant rhyming text. And thankfully they’re ones I’m very happy to read over and over again!

300 Picture Books Challenge Week 22

So our total now stands at 208 and you can see what we’ve read so far and follow our latest progress on our Pinterest board.

Find out more and join in with the 300 Picture Book Challenge over on the Child Led Chaos blog.

300 Picture Books badge

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

300 Picture Books Challenge #21

We’ve finally done it! After a few weeks of hovering tantalisingly close – and my tease of a toddler seemingly deliberately keeping it at arm’s length by rejecting anything new – we have at last passed the 200 books read landmark! Our total for the year now stands at 201 to be precise!

300 Picture Books  - 200 read

OK, so I’m a little late with this last week’s post but I didn’t want to let this one pass without a little bit of personal celebration and a slightly fancier than usual picture!

By far the favourite book from the latest crop is Two Little Aliens by Sam Lloyd, which I’ve read on average three times a day since we acquired it from the library last Friday! Thankfully it’s a quick, entertaining little read with simple but bright and quirky pictures. The story sees two extra terrestrial friends land their rocket in a playground and get upset when they get everything wrong. Luckily they make friends with two helpful children who show them how to enjoy the sandpit, ice creams and see-saw. Little Miss loves it and knows most of it by heart now!

You can see what we’ve read so far and follow our 300 Picture Books progress on our Pinterest board.

Find out more and join in with the 300 Picture Book Challenge over on the Child Led Chaos blog.

300 Picture Books badge

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: