Tuesday’s Challenge and Rhyme Time

“There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”

Beatrix Potter

Tuesday’s Challenge!

For today’s challenge, children should draw a scene, it can be under the ocean, at the zoo, in space, a pirates ship or a mystical magical land….any where they want. They can draw a few characters (maybe a fish with 3 heads, a mermaid with 2 tails or a weird alien…anything they can imagine!) and then tell you about the picture and characters. You can make up stories together starting “One day (name of character)…..”

And now for a little rhyme I hope you enjoy:

An Adventurous Day Out
By Kirsten Allen

We’re going on an adventure, adventure adventure
We’re going on an adventure and the best is yet to come!
We’ve packed our jam sandwiches, jam sandwiches, jam sandwiches 
We’ve packed our jam sandwiches. Yummy yummy scrum!

We’ve packed our rainy day wellies, rainy day wellies, rainy day wellies, 
We’ve packed our rainy day wellies in case it starts to rain.
We’ve put on our nice warm jackets, nice warm jackets, nice warm jackets
We’ve put on our nice warm jackets and we’re off to catch the train!

We’re choo-chooing to the zoo, to the zoo, to the zoo
We’re choo-chooing to the zoo – I wonder what is there?
I can hear a roaring noise, a roaring noise, a roaring noise.
I can hear a roaring noise – is it a noisy bear?

NO IT’S NOT A BEAR!!!!! It’s a hungry LION and he’s escaped from his cage!!!!! HEEEELLLPPP!!!!!!

We’re running back out of the zoo, out of the zoo, out of the zoo!
We’re running back out of the zoo – it’s the only thing to do! 
We’re now all safe and sound, safe and sound, safe and sound
We’re now all safe and sound – BIG BIG PHEW!!!!!! 


Book review and Rhino Rhyme

Today’s classic book review is one I read a lot as a child. We even went to see the play. Very happy memories of this one!

Wind in the Willows – by Kenneth Grahame

If this one isn’t a classic then I don’t know what is! The opening chapter is where Mole meets Rat. Mole is fed up with the spring cleaning and heads off out and discovers a river. He befriends Rat and here’s about Badger (a grumpy old Badger set in his ways) and Toad (who likes fast cars and seems to get into various manic scrapes which his friends need to get him out of) There are so many adventures and of course the obligatory baddies (stoats and weasels). It’s a lovely old fashioned book. The reading age is 8+ though I think children as young as 5 would enjoy having it read to them. Be warned – you might not want to put it down! I can still read this book and enjoy it today!

Now going back to Tuesday’s Challenge – it was to shut eyes, open then make a rhyme or story from the first 3 things you or your child see. Oliver is 2 and George is 8months so needed a little help! However, sitting in the living room we saw a rhino (footstool but we pretended it was real!), a cookbook and leaves (through the window outside). Hope you enjoy!
The Hungry Rhino
by Kirsten Allen

In his chair a rhino sat,
Stroking his fluffy Persian cat
And wondering (as rhinos do)
How on earth one cooks tasty leaf stew.

Does one fry it or boil it, grill it or simmer?
The rhino was desperate for stew for his dinner.

Does one chop it or mix it or slice it in half?
Wash it in a basin or dunk it in the bath?

What to do? What to do?
He wanted his stew!

His eyes fell upon a big book on the shelf.
Titled: “Are you a Rhino? How to feed yourself!” 

He clapped his hooves and laughed with glee.
For there he found the recipe on page fifty-three:

“Delicious homemade leaf stew for your tea!”


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Something interesting and a Bear rhyme!

I was really interested to find out why children love the same books over and over and over and over again. So I did a bit of googling. Turns out there’s been an experiment done on 2 groups of children. The first lot got the same book with a few made up words and had it read to them repeatedly. The second group had different books but the same made up words e.g. “Sprock” appeared in all of them. The group that had the same book repeated remembered the new words more easily. Think this will give me more patience when reading Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone (a lovely bedtime story about a bear going on adventures on various modes of transport) for the gazillionth time!!!!


And here’s a bear story for the day:

Brave Boris and the Bear

Kirsten Allen

Brave Boris woke up one dawn
And thought about adventure on this bright morn’.
He put on his trousers and favourite old shirt.
Found socks and shoes and got on his horse – Bold Bert.
With a whinny and neigh they went off on their way!
Through fields and forests they galloped and rode.
Through mud and rivers the gallant horse strode.
Now tired and hungry, Brave Boris sat down to rest
And eat his scrummy picnic – (he liked cake the best!)
When all of a sudden he heard a roar and a yowl!
Suddenly came a screech and a howl!
Brave Boris realised he was picnicking near a cave…
And all of a sudden he didn’t feel so brave!
But then he felt curious, he wanted to know:
What was making that noise.
Should he look?…Should he go?
He paused for a minute to try and decide
What he should do – investigate or hide?
He heard another loud “ROAR!” 
And “Someone help! I’ve hurt my paw!!!!”
Soon followed by a very big yelp! 
So Brave Boris went right in to help.
He looked inside and saw a bear crying.
“Please help me!” He said “I’ve been trying and trying!”
“What’s the matter?” asked Brave Boris, (who was still not too sure.)
“Please help!” said the bear “I’ve got a thorn in my paw!”
“A thorn in your paw? No wonder you cried!”
The bear said “It won’t come out – I’ve tried and I’ve tried!”
Brave Boris looked and scratched his head.
“I’ll get it out for you. First sit on your bed.
Now hold out your paw…be brave! Just a little bit more…”
With a heave and a ho
It came out in one go!
“As a thank you” said the bear.
“I’d like you to take 
A very big slice of my honey cake”.
Brave Boris was happy as happy could be and gobbled the honey cake up for his tea!


Tuesday’s Bear Challenge and bear book review!

We seem to have accumulated a lot of stories about bears in our house. Bear on a Bike, Bears on Chairs, Going on a Bear Hunt, Paddington, Winnie the Pooh….just to name a couple! So this week is getting a bear theme. Starting with a book review:

Kiss Goodnight, Sam by Amy Hest
This is such a sweet story for pre-schoolers about a bear called Sam who lives on Plum Street. It’s time for bed. He has everything he needs… favourite story, milk, all tucked in. However something is missing…His mum has to work out what. I’ve been made to read it as a bedtime story a few times this week but it’s such a cute, gentle book I really don’t mind! 

Tuesday’s Challenge!
For this week’s challenge with your children think of as many bear related words as possible and put them into a story or rhyme! To get you started, what do they eat, what do they look like, what are the sounds they make etc. Have fun!!! 

Helpful link and a rhyme for the weekend 

Hello again! Thought I’d share this interesting article I came across:

Meanwhile this weekend has been a crazy with teething and potty training but somehow managed to find time to have fun with this poem. My two year old enjoyed zooming around the room like a demented rocket and looking for treasure (I could see the pound signs in his eyes when he found some money that had fallen out of my pocket – oops!!!). Reminded me of when I was little my mum would do a big shop on a Thursday night so Dad would look after me. I was obsessed with playing treasure hunt and writing clues an leaving them around the house to lead my dad to the treasure (usually a half eaten lolly or something 😂)

Anyway hope you enjoy it!

Anything Anywhere
By Kirsten Allen 

We can be anything you and me.
Just close your eyes and count to three 
We can be pirates in a ship off to sea.
Eating ship’s biscuits for our tea.
Searching for treasure – maybe gold!

We can do anything in our little den.
Let’s blast off in our rocket –
Count down from ten!
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 BLAST OFF!!!
See the stars.
Fly past Mars.
Zoom around the moon
And back again!

The world is our oyster don’t you know?
Just shut your eyes to dream and off we go! 


Wednesday’s review and a little poem….

Well I ummed and ahed about which book to review today……Far too many childhood books to choose from. In the end I went with one (or in fact a series) that I used to read in bed, in the car (travel sickness allowing), at breakfast, at lunch and dinner (parents allowing!) It’s a great series of books and one I’d forgotten about until thinking of childhood books this week.

The Brer Rabbit Collection – By Enid Blyton

So this collection is by one of my favourite childhood authors. It’s based around the stories from African-American and Native-American folklore. The main character is a cunning rabbit (Brer Rabbit) who gets himself into (and out of) lots of situations and plays tricks on others using his cunning and wiley ways. Other characters include Brer Fox and Brer Bear. Would probably say children the age range is 6-8 but they may enjoy having the stories read to them from about 5. I really loved this series!
As we’re covering childhood this week thought I’d add my own short verse of how I remember some of mine and hopefully how my boys will remember some of theirs. (This was pre-phone/tablets/computers so we’ll see!!! 😂) Hope you enjoy x


By Kirsten Allen

Climbing trees
Scraping knees
Riding bikes as quickly as we can
Running after the ice cream van
Twizzling, twirling
Rolling, whirling
In the park 
Playing out until dark
Jumping in puddles 
Bedtime cuddles


A little Thursday rhyming time..

Do you or your kids have any favourite children’s rhymes? One of Oliver’s favourite rhyming books at the moment is  The Giant of Jum by Elli Woodward. A very entertaining book about a giant who looks for a boy called Jack -to eat him! On the way he meets lots of children who he unwittingly helps and then befriends. Not to give too much away but of course it has a happy ending. It’s perfect for ages 2-6 and another one that we’ve had to read over and over.

If your kids are into silly poetry (and these are for slightly older maybe 6+) I can recommend my personal favourite Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl -not for the faint hearted but imaginative, gruesome  based on classic fairy tales. The other one I loved as a child would say age suitably from about 4+ is An Imaginary Menagerie by Roger Mcgough. Oh my goodness this is a book i would read over and over again as a child. A-Z poetry about an Allivator, a Catopillow, Badgers and Goodgers, Anaconda in a Honda….this book is the stuff that (very weird!) dreams are made of.

And on that note here’s a little (not so weird) poem. My fiercest critic has just made me read it 5 times to him! All names have been changed to protect the not so innocent 😂

The Tale of the Naughty Monkey 

Kirsten Allen 12.07.17

Naughty monkey, naughty monkey!
Where on earth can monkey be?
Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Is climbing up the coconut tree!

Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Picks a coconut without a sound.
Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Throws the coconut on the ground!

Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Has a thought and picks another.
Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Then throws it at his little brother!

Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Made his little brother cry.
Naughty monkey, naughty monkey
Said it fell out of the sky!

Mummy Monkey crossly said
It wasn’t nice to hurt his brother’s head!
Little brother was very sad
And naughty monkey felt quite bad.

Sorry monkey, sorry monkey
Said he was as sorry as could possibly be.
So his brother then forgave him
And together they played in the banana tree!



Happy Wednesday! So as well as book reviews and just for fun challenges I thought it might be useful to post info and tips on encouraging children to read and story-write etc. This is entirely based on my personal opinion and  trials and errors with my own kids. I can by no means claim to be an educational expert or a genius science boffin who’s studied the minds of kids since time began. I just think it’s important to learn to read and encourage using their imagination. Who knows where it can take our children? Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, biographies, magical lands…it’s all there for the taking! My husband through his work met with someone (I think it was the dean) of one of the top universities and after telling him we’d just had our first born the dean told him that the single most important thing parents can do is read to babies from birth. One of my 7 month old’s favourite (I mentioned it in a previous book review) is Toddle Waddle by Julia Donaldson. My 2 year old loves it, my niece enjoyed it and now baby George loves it too. Wonderful pictures and simple sound words which you can have lots of fun with. So below are a couple of links which I found helpful for tips:

Here’s a useful article about reading to babies:


and below (slightly different topic and off track but handy none the less) is another one for helping children who may need encouragement with reading. As a diagnosed dyslexic (mild but attended the Dyslexia Institute once a week as a child for tuition) I can identify with some of the methods suggested. Particularly the phonics and shapes. I learned to read out loud and recognise words from an early age (I struggle making sense of context rather than specific words) and one of the methods I remember naturally using was picturing the words in my head. It’s a bit weird to explain but essentially  I saw the shape of words as pictures in my head to help me remember them and reproduce them in spelling tests (my handwriting is shocking though!)


And after a bit of random rambling here’s today’s book review:


Another favourite of ours (particularly mine!) This is the first in the Hairy Maclary series. A dog and his friends on an adventure where they encounter Scarface Claw “the toughest Tom in town.” (Product warning: be careful when making the cat noise…during one reading I was a little overzealous and scared the living daylights out of Oliver…oops!) It’s wonderfully written in rhyme with a fab rhythm and seems to be easy for children to remember. Oliver knows exactly when to say “Hairy Maclary” on each page. Brilliant vocabulary too. Could read it over and over. There are others in the series I’d love to get too. Don’t know who loves this more – the kids or me!









Ok so every Tuesday I will post a reading and/or writing challenge for parents and children. Some of my fondest memories are of my mum’s made up bedtime stories that I’d get her to tell me …until she fell asleep! Then there was a random hippo poem (I promise I don’t have an obsession with this animal!) that I made up together with my now sadly late father on holiday. For years every holiday we tried to finish it and even now I can only remember the first bit….”When you’re lying on your tummy and you haven’t got a dummy, or a hippopotamus from Timbuktu…..” Didn’t make sense then and doesn’t now. Answers on a postcard! Anyhow, for years I haven’t written anything. At some point work, life, adultness got in the way. When you’re knackered and have all the grownup stuff to think about, it’s easy to put imagination and the childish fun stuff to one side – splashing in puddles, making dens with sheets and pretending you’re on safari, twizzling until your dizzy…  Or even looking at half a raisin and imagining it’s a snail (My 2 year old – it did actually resemble one!)

So in keeping with a bit of an animal theme, the challenge this week is to make up a story or a poem with your child(ren) using their favourite animal, colour and place. A blue giraffe at soft play? A red monkey at Grandma’s? Stomping, roaring, squeaking, screeching, hiding, scurrying?  Flying in a plane? Riding on a train? It doesn’t have to be long or rhyme or even make sense. It’s just for fun! Would love to  read them so please feel free to add yours to the comments or email them to me at kidsstoryworld.abc@gmail.com. I’ll put a few of them up on here next week. Enjoy!

Jungle Mix-up
Kirsten Allen 10.07.2017

Marvin the Monkey walks like an elephant.
Stomp, stomp, stomp!
Leo the Leopard eats leaves like a giraffe.
Chomp, chomp, chomp!

Polly the Parrot swims like a fish.
Splish, splash splosh!
Tommy the Tiger wades like a hippo.
Slosh, slosh, slosh!

Frankie the Frog hoots like an owl.
Twit-twoo, twit-twoo, twit-twoo!
Jacob the Jaguar munches bamboo like a panda.
Chew, chew, chew!

Lots of animals as you can see.
Which one would YOU like to be?


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