Category: Books

On our bookshelf…Childhood Classics

I like to keep a well stocked bookshelf for the children full of fun, quality, colourful books for the children to enjoy. Amongst our favourites are these two books which I remember fondly from my childhood.

Childhood Classics

Both books are by the wonderful Janet and Allan Ahlberg with the most beautiful illustrations. The first is Each Peach Pear Plum and the other is Peepo. Opening the pages of these transports me back to my own childhood and I love having the opportunity to read them to a whole new generation.

See which other books we enjoy reading –

School Readiness: Starting School

This time last year I was nervously preparing for my son starting School. His first year has flown and I am so pleased he has settled in extremely well. This September sees one of my mindees start School too.

One of the things I did, both as a Mum and a Childminder, was to read lots of books with them about starting School. Children can identify with characters in the book and have the chance to explore different feelings and emotions they may feel when they first start.

Here at Aston Childcare our favourites are:

  • Topsy and Tim Start School by Jean and Gareth Adamson
  • Starting School by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Goat goes to Playgroup by Julia Donaldson
  • Starting School by Franzeska G. Ewart

All available to buy on

Books for Starting School to be School Ready

On our bookshelf: Elmer’s Friends by David McKee

Here at Aston Childcare, we love our books!

We have a wide range of books to appeal to all children. Here we are having a closer look at what is on our bookshelf.

I’ve recently been reading Elmer’s Friends to the younger children – aged 22 months, 2 and 4 years old.

It’s a fantastic story about a colourful, patchwork elephant. Elmer’s Friends is a lovely, fun book about how we are all different but worth the same. I think this is a lovely message to give to children and is at the heart of Aston Childcare.

Read more about the author here:

Buy the book here:

Chinese New Year

Today, Tuesday 5th February, Chinese New Year begins.

This year is the year of the pig.

In nurseries and schools up and down the country today, children will be celebrating and learning about Chinese New Year in lots of fun and exciting ways. With just two little ones aged just 16 and 19 months however, we kept it simple with this fab Peppa Pig Chinese New Year book. Because, if there’s one thing all my mindees love it’s Peppa Pig!

Only half of pre-school children being read to daily

I came across this story today in The Guardian which states that only half of pre-school children are being read to daily.

It is such a shame that this is the case but I completely see why. Working parents work long days. I am a Mum of just one and don’t have a long commute either side of my day which affords me quality time to spend with my son reading, which, quite frankly, if I worked elsewhere I would be pushed to get given his 7pm bedtime.

Although I know my mindees all have literary rich environments at home, it reinforces the need for us as early years carers to ensure all children in our care, whatever their age, have access to age appropriate reading material.

Our village pre-school is excellent at reading to the children and fostering a love of books  in children too.

Do you find time to read to your pre-schooler?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Whilst stocking up on new craft supplies in Poundland the other week, I came across this fantastic Very Hungry Caterpillar ‘Create a Scene’ sticker book which the children have really been enjoying.

It’s an A3 laminated picture scene and comes with lots of lovely colourful vinyl stickers to create your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends action scene. The stickers are reusable so the children can change the scene again and again. There are lots of stickers including sunflowers, a cow, a horse, a ladybird, a duck, a bee, a butterfly, a spider, a sunshine and of course a caterpillar!

I first sat down to do it with one of my 2 year old mindees and we had a lovely time as she sat and placed all the stickers in her chosen place and called out all the animals, insects and plants.

“We’ve got TWO caterpillars!” she exclaimed  and then  – “I love these stickers”

She sounded out the animal sounds as she placed each sticker down –  “Moo”, “Neigh”, “Quack”

“Wheres the pond?” she asked me as she laid down the duck sticker.

We have also been enjoying the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which is a lovely story and great for counting. They have also been using their fine motor skills and enjoyed creating collages by gluing and sticking with some great Very Hungry Caterpillar picture cut outs which really help bring the book to life and they’ve learnt new words such as “cocoon”

Next year I hope to do one of these fantastic ‘Caterpillar kits’ from Insectlore which would be such a lovely activity.

they are also available at Argos –

Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Literacy, Mathematics, Arts and Design, Physical Development (Fine motor skills), Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development



What a hoot!

The children have been enjoying the lovely ‘Owl Babies’ by Author Martin Waddell recently. Owl babies is a lovely tale of three baby owls who wake up one morning to find that their mother has gone. They sit on a branch and wait wondering when their mother will return. It’s a charming, reassuring book for any child who has ever worried about Mummy leaving them alone and the beautiful illustration seems to really capture their imagination.

To extend their interest in Owls, we have made some fab Owls in our Arts and Crafts sessions and enjoyed sticking with some cute Owl stickers. We’ve read more Owl related books including “Wow! said the Owl”. I still have some lovely Owl drawings an older ex mindee did which I just love.

Books Glorious Books!

Today (2nd March) is World Book Day.

I love seeing the children up at the pre-school and primary school all dressed up as characters from their favourite books, anything that celebrates books and instils a love of reading is fantastic.

Here at Aston Childcare we love our books! I do my best to provide a wide range of books to cater for all different ages and interests. Of course I have a never ending wish list of books I would like to buy.

I loved reading as a child and would like to instil a love of books in both my own son and my mindees too. I know from chatting with the parents that all the children are keen readers at home and I love it when they bring in their favourite books to sit and read with me.

Here are just some of the books available here at Aston Childcare:

  • For babies: First fabric sensory books, Board books, Usbornes touchy-feely books such as “That’s not my badger!” Slide and Find window books,
  • For toddlers and pre-schoolers Pop up books, sound books, Children’s favourites such as Rabbits nap, Foxes socks, Where’s Spot, Tickle Monster,Nursery rhymes, Fables, First Fairytales, Audio CD books, Books on Starting school
  • Books celebrating and exploring diversity: Susan Laughs, Handa’s Surprise, Handa’s Hen, Whoever you are, All kinds of people, All kinds of beliefs, Mama Panya’s pancakes, The skin I’m in
  • Books about the world: Books on Money, Recycling, Time, Energy, Food, professions, bugs, bats, snakes, Seasons, Weather
  • Books about us: Our bodies, Books on feelings, All about me
  • For older children: First poems, Early Readers, Wonderwise Collection, First Thesaurus, First Dictionary, First Science Dictionary
  • Special Interest Books: Books on Trains, Dinosaurs, Costume Design
  • Festivals and Celebrations: Christmas, Chinese New Year, Easter, Diwali
  • Children’s Classics: The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiger who came to Tea, The snail and the whale, Paddington

I also make use of story sacks from time to time. Books are stored in the playroom at Babies height so they can pick and choose their own and we have a much wider selection in the living room in a large bookcase on the floor. The kids pull up a cushion and sit and choose books to read or climb on to the sofa and we read together.