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I Needed to Entertain My Toddler

Lisa Forsythe

Lisa Forsythe Author Interview

Simple Activities For Toddlers provides parents with lots of fun and educational ideas that will keep their kids engaged. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Last year (2020) was challenging for many families. In March Spain, along with many other countries, went into lockdown. We were confined to our apartment with an almost 2-year-old. Suddenly, I needed to entertain my toddler all day long whilst making sure I offered a variety of activities and physical exercise while cooped up in an apartment. I drew on my experience as a primary school teacher to create play-based activities to engage my son whilst ensuring he was developing holistically. I started an Instagram page, @simpletoddleractivities, to share some of the activities we were doing with friends and family to offer activity ideas if they needed them. Then, it became something to keep me sane during that challenging time.

Throughout this journey, I realized parents wanted some inspiration for play-based activities to keep their toddlers busy whilst giving them the best start in life. Being a primary school teacher and parent, I wanted to use my teaching expertise to create simple activity ideas that are attainable for other parents and yet achievable for their toddlers. I try to use resources that are easily accessible, like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies. Furthermore, I want to help reduce overconsumption that plagues many families and in turn, has negative impacts for the environment.

The activities were so fun and easy to follow. What is your favorite activity from the book?

Modern art. The activity allows kids to enjoy the process of creation as opposed to creating a finished product. Creating a space where children can freely experiment with colour mixing, different brushes, lines, and materials encourages the use of the child’s imagination and ‘out of the box’ thinking. It is a type of art that they can be totally involved in and requires little assistance.

What advice would you give to parents who are struggling to engage their kids in different activities?

Start with something simple that is based on your child’s interests. For example, if they are into dinosaurs, choose a dinosaur related activity. As a parent it is important that we are playful and get down to their level. Remember your child wants your time, your undivided attention – YOU are enough. The activity does not have to be what you would consider amazing, your presence and engagement is sufficient.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on another book for slightly older children. As we are not in lockdown, I would love to write a book that incorporates more outdoor learning.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Do you find yourself repeating the same activities with your toddler and are looking for new innovative ideas on how to keep them amused whilst making learning fun? If so, Lisa and Thomas have lots of great ideas to help you.

The activities in this book are of high educational quality that maximizes the best use of your time, resources, and space. These play-based activities help your child thrive and ensures that they get a head start in life. All the activities have been ´toddler approved´ or field tested by Thomas.

Lisa Forsythe has over 15 years of experience as a teacher across Australia, NZ & UK. Since becoming a mother to Thomas she has focused her time on developing simple activities that develop foundational skills toddlers need to learn before engaging with more complex concepts and understandings. This is a practical guide for parents that creates opportunities to bond with your child and make beautiful life-long memories.

The activities predominately require things like recyclables, household items and common craft supplies; so, saving you money whilst being kind to the environment. There are a range of activities from sensory play, imaginative play, STEAM, crafts and games. They spark curiosity, enjoyment, motivation, deep learning, and creativity. The hard work of planning and ensuring that your toddler is equipped with the foundational skills they need for life has been done for you.

Simple Activities For Toddlers

It can be difficult to find activities to please a moody toddler and even more challenging to find something to do with only what you have on hand at home. In addition, if activities are too involved, require oddball materials, or take too long to complete, things can go downhill for a frantic parent very quickly. Fortunately, Lisa Forsythe offers parents, caregivers, and teachers of children ages 2-5 a fantastic how-to guide on quick and easy activities that hold interest and provide important lessons at the same time.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe, is a real lifesaver for families as well as teachers and caregivers. Cover to cover, the author has filled this handy book with step-by-step instructions for engaging projects and quick activities to keep toddlers’ little hands busy in a constructive and not-so-scary-for-parents manner!

This book is a gold mine for things to do on weekends and rainy days. I was especially taken with the format of the activities. Forsythe leaves no parent guessing–she lays out every activity in very simple terms, includes easy-to-access materials, and shows it all in lovely photographs that further excite kids as well as adults. I think my favorite activity is the Sea Creature Craft–so easy and just classically cute.

As a teacher, I can’t say enough about Forsythe’s attention to detail with reading, math, and writing skills. The more parents and caregivers can do at home with toddlers, the better off their children will be once they start kindergarten. These activities are rich with opportunities for little ones to practice those skills side by side with their parents–and none of it will feel like work to the toddlers.

Simple Activities for Toddlers: A Practical Play-at-Home Handbook for Parents, by Lisa Forsythe was written with 2-5 year olds in mind. I can see many of these activities fitting smoothly into elementary classrooms as part of thematic units. From cardboard boxes to noodles and muffin tins, the author keeps it simple and stress-free. Forsythe has given parents and teachers a true treasure!

Pages: 158 | ASIN: B08YS62P5Q

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The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack by [David Bush, Jack Zarb Adami]

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack by Jack Zarb Adami and David Bush, is a collection of short stories containing thirty-five unique characters. Each story reflects difficult situations the main characters are caught up in where Whizzojack comes to the rescue and ends up saving the day as best he can, while at the same time helping his town flourish. As stated in the foreword, the characters are meant to represent immigrants trying to find their place in a town, and does this well.

The imagination behind these stories is fantastic and the authors have done wonders in how they divide and tell each story. Written in easy to follow terms, you get a real sense of the creative mind that created this world, and the way the situations are described throughout which were added by the authors, add to the overall appeal and charm of how each story is told.

Immigration is a sensitive theme to have running throughout the short chapters, and I think in the majority of the stories this has been handled well howeveris some stories such as ‘Stiltman’ or ‘The Can Man’ they are portrayed as the villains because they are different. The characterization of the town, which is overall very engaging, is also shown to have corruption as suggested in a few stories such as ‘The Lineman’.

I enjoyed the aspect of recurring secondary characters like ‘Ma Mollie’ who I felt kept tying each story together. Furthermore, the illustrations created to accompany the plots in each chapter were wonderful and really help the reader to visualize the story. I think these stories would do well as a series of children’s books, especially due to the underlying educational tone of how people should be treated, even if they are different.

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack is a charming children’s story that teaches life lessons while also using some unique creativity to keep things consistently fun throughout this adventurous collection of entertaining kids stories.

Pages: 169 | ASIN: B09514222J

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Baku: The Not So Angry Dragon

Baku: The Not So Angry Dragon by [Lisa Alfrey, Caner Soylu]

Baku is a young dragon who had his first day of school and is nervous to go back. He’s so nervous that he has butterflies in his tummy and all his huffing and puffing is burning up the house. His mother provides Baku with a coping mechanism for his anger and sends him off to school where he uses his new coping skills to get through a second day of school.

Baku: The Not So Angry Dragon is a delightful children’s picture book that provides readers with some very good ways to handle stress and anger in their lives. This wonderful book is filled with charming grainy comic art that has surprising depth in each image and a soft color palate that makes each illustration very appealing. This story takes the standard dragon traits; flying, fire breathing, etc., and maximizes the cute factor. I really enjoyed the detail in each image, which will certainly bring children back to this book again and again.

Author Lisa Alfrey gives parents and teachers a brilliant kids book that teaches mindfulness through a fun and interactive story that any child will be able to relate to. I would recommend this picture book to any family with a child that is going through a lot of change and would like to introduce simple mindfulness techniques that can really improve their lives.

Pages: 18 | ASIN: B08P5Q4HGL

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Parenting in a Pandemic

If we said 2020 was anything less than an incredible strain on all of our lives, we would be deemed as liars of the worst possible kind. Parenting in 2020 changed in what, quite literally, felt like an instant. Overnight, parents across the world were suddenly tasked with educating their children, finding ways to provide social interactions for them, and explaining to them why their world had turned upside down. Life during the pandemic of 2020 has impacted parents everywhere in ways most cannot sufficiently put into words. Despite the mania created by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are ways for families to cope and move forward with life–ways to create a new, and hopefully, temporary normal.

Liz Bayardelle, author of Parenting in a Pandemic: A Parent’s Guide to All the Roles We Have to Play in the Era of Covid-19, takes a closer look at the impact the pandemic of 2020 has had on parents with school-aged children and the multiple roles they have assumed. While providing examples along with hints for successfully addressing their children’s many needs, the author uses well-intentioned and appropriately proportioned humor to lighten an otherwise somber mood and dense subject matter.

As a teacher and parent of a 2020 high school graduate, I more than appreciate Bayardelle’s candor. From the practical advice for staying healthy and following suggested health guidelines to ideas for time management, the author covers all necessary bases and provides solid, easy-to-follow advice that can be instantly applied in the home.

Not enough can be said for Bayardelle’s use of humor. There has been very little opportunity for smiles and laughter over the last year. It has been difficult to find moments of levity when trying to balance fear with daily routines and the barrage of changes with a craving for normalcy. Bayardelle’s willingness and efficiency with lighthearted moments placed strategically throughout the text helps readers face the challenges of our new reality with a little less grimness.

Parenting in a Pandemic is the book we all needed and for which we never dreamed we would have to search. Bayardelle breaks down a tremendous amount of information in a short, well-organized, and engaging read. I highly recommend Bayardelelle’s guide to any parent looking to navigate the waters of parenting in this pandemic while waiting patiently on a return to what may be our new normal.

Pages: 148 | ISBN: 1950328813

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Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge *Children’s Edition*

Tiny Tim and The Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children's Edition - Narrated with Audio Christmas Carols) by [Norman Whaler, Voxillustrations, Esther Randell, David  Deighton (UK)]


Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge: The sequel to A Christmas Carol (Children’s Edition) by Norman Whaler, with illustrations by Voxillustrations, is a picture book intended for children aged 4 through 10. Set in London, Tiny Tim is now grown up. He loves Becky, but her parents will not allow a marriage between the two of them. After many years pass, Tim has started to forget the lessons he learned from Ebenezer Scrooge. He forgets the hardships of his childhood–and appreciating the simple joys of life. After Mr. Scrooge passes away seven days before Christmas, Tim is visited by Scrooge’s ghost. Will Tim finally remember the true spirit of Christmas?

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a perfect story for parents to share with their children this holiday season. It has a good lesson about generosity and kindness, and a message of faith through trials and struggles. Quotes about kindness at the beginning of the book, including from scripture and literature, reinforce the message of the story. This book can be enjoyed even if a reader is not familiar with the classic Charles Dickens’ story, since there is a quick overview of A Christmas Carol in the first page of verses. The rhyming verses are fun and young children will enjoy looking at the pictures as the story is read to them. I liked the change in font to indicate strong emotion in the dialogue, and I enjoyed the happy ending. I wanted to know more about Becky and her son, Jimmy.

I loved all the vividly colored pictures with bright pinks and greens and beautiful scenery and landscapes. My two favorite pictures were the scenes of the bedroom at night and in the morning. The glow from the candle was very realistic. It actually appeared as though light was shining out of the book in this picture, and also the one where the sun was shining through the bedroom window the next day. The illustrator’s use of perspective was very good and many pictures had an impressive three dimensional look.

There are nine Christmas carols at the end of the story with lyrics and sheet music, which are a wonderful addition to this book.

Pages: 95 | ASIN: B08MKJT2YH

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The Addicted Child

The Addicted Child: A Parent's Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse by [Richard Capriola]

During these difficult times of rampant substance abuse, all parents must be vigilant. Behavioral changes can be a big indicator of substance abuse. How do you differentiate between simply using drugs and being addicted to said drugs? How do such drugs change the physiological and neurological structures of a child? How many types of addiction are there? How do you, as a parent, get out in front of it? The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is an excellent educational book that will be immensely beneficial to anyone seeking answers to these questions. It’s a succinct information resource on different types of drugs, the effects those drugs have on the brain and substance abuse in adolescence.

It is so much easier now for children to access drugs. With parents getting busier trying to make ends meet, it is also harder to keep track of the kids. This guide is therefore not only relevant but also written by an expert with vast experience and a world of knowledge on the subject. Richard Capriola’s knowledge on the subject is evident and I felt comfortable with the knowledge presented. It’s broken down into easily digestible bits of information, with easy to understand headings for each topic followed by a concise summarizeation of the topic. This makes the book handy as a reference guide as well as a primer on the subject.

This book hooks you right from the acknowledgment. The author tells a poignant story describing why he decided to write this book and goes on to share stories of parents who were surprised by underlying mental illnesses. This personal touch gives the book a human quality that puts the rest of the information into perspective.

The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is a book that goes as far as touching on the common and most popular drugs available to the adolescent and teen population. This book bravely tackles such a sensitive and often swept under the rug issue. I really appreciated the impeccable presentation of the message as well as its simplicity. Any parent would benefit from this book. Curbing this scourge is a collective responsibility and being well informed is key, and The Addicted Child gives you that key.

Pages: 125 | ASIN: B08KJHJYBY

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The Adventurous Life of Dogs

Julia Seaborn Author Interview

Julia Seaborn Author Interview

Butterball Gets Lost follows a fun-loving poodle who gets lost while looking for fun and can’t find her way home. What were some influences that guided this books development?

All of my books have a general theme about the adventurous life of dogs. My aim is to incorporate a fun and happy story with some learning opportunities.

My favorite scene from the book is when Butterball gets stuck in the rabbit hole and the lizards are watching. What is your favorite scene from the book?

My favourite scene is when Barny the Owl helps Butterball find her way home because it gives the book a happy ending.

What were some educational themes you wanted to focus on with this book?

The story gives young children information about the characteristics and behaviours of some animals. Also basic number skills.

What can readers expect in book three in your Butterball the Poodle series?

Book three in the Butterball series will be a Christmas book.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads

BUTTERBALL Gets Lost (Butterball the Poodle Book 2) by [Julia Seaborn]

Butterball is a curious fun-loving poodle who doesn’t like being left home alone. She is looking for fun and digs her way out under a fence, but Butterball wanders too far.

How will Butterball find her way home?

Join Butterball on her adventure and meet Binky the bunny, JillaRoo the kangaroo and Barny the owl. This easy-to-read picture book features cute illustrations, supports the development of literacy and numeracy skills, and includes some fun activity pages.

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