It is one of life’s greatest questions. Who is God? Many around you may already know him and perhaps you struggle to see or feel him in your life. The fact is, God comes to everyone in different ways. We all have our own unique relationship with him and sometimes it is in the little things we take for granted. The book, A Boy and His Elephant, is for kids and adults, too.
It is a conversation between friends that tackles this question. In the end, we will all be reminded how simple it is to find God all around us. Young and old, we all can use the reminder this book offers.
A Boy and His Elephant book is available now on Amazon. Learn more about the Author, Ethan L. Watson and his plans to continue writing with hopes of creating a series of books addressing some of life’s more complex questions with the simplest and sincerest answers.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
In the picture book, Nutshell Regatta, a young girl and her beloved grandmother spend an afternoon exploring a pond and the many creatures and plants living in and around the water. Through their interaction, and using imaginative play, their experience transcends what most people might see when looking at a similar landscape. The animals take on unique roles, the plants play their special parts and the little girl and her grandmother transport themselves to a whole other world whereby they share a unique adventure and create their own story. This is imaginative play.
When we engage in imaginative play, we engage all of our senses. Observing a scene is very one-dimensional. Creating the scene, however, is multi-dimensional. All creative people and great problem solvers use imaginative play. At its core, imaginative play, is “thinking outside the box”.
There are those who might worry they are not creative or don’t know how to start. The great thing about imaginative play is there is no wrong way to do it! Start with a simple plan. Next time you take a walk with a child, try to engage with your surroundings.
Collect pebbles or leaves. Think about how you could arrange them in a vase or picture frame.
Take a walk with a child in silence. When you get back home, take turns sharing what you saw, smelled, heard and felt.
The fun part is there is no wrong way to do this. Creativity really has no boundaries- you just need to start. In keeping with that vein, let children color outside the lines. Encourage creativity and story-telling. Keep as many supplies around as you can manage including empty boxes, old fabric, old costumes, catalogs, crayons, pencils, paint. All of these types of items are a treasure trove for imaginative play. And remember, it’s the process of imaginative play that’s important rather than what is created!
Ideas For Imaginative Play:
Have one person start a story. Then, each family member or friend adds the next sentence or two. Round and round the story goes, often ending up in very unexpected places. This is a great boost for memory skills, and a source of delightful silliness for everyone!
Take out any board game. Collectively reinvent the rules. An example of this activity: a word tile game, like Scrabble, could expand to accept made-up words as a long as a pronunciation and a definition is given and the word is used in a sentence.
In this variation of charades, take out a stack of blank index cards. Each person draws or writes out instructions for whoever pulls one of their cards from a stack.
Create an entire new and zany rule book for a familiar game – this works well with strategy board games.
Flip the script. Rewrite or retell the endings of favorite shows or movies. To be able to deconstruct and reconstruct a familiar storyline is a prime example of imagination meets critical thinking skills.
The most important rule of imaginative play is …. There really are no RULES!
About the Author:
Nutshell Regatta in many ways is an homage to author Jonna Laster’s grandmother. The person that championed and introduced her to imaginative play. One of her favorite memories of imaginative play involves her visits to their home. “My grandmother would turn on any random soap opera and then turn the volume off. We would then make up the story for the actors. I would play dramatic chords on an electric piano and we would make up the dialogue for all the actors… we would create a lot of drama, it was so much fun. And also such a great learning exercise. “ Nutshell Regatta is Jonna’s first children’s book.
I wanted to share about 2 new toddler books that are both interactive as they teach colors, counting and shapes. These 2 books from Chronicle Books publishing are available now.
Animal Friends 1 2 3 by Christophe Loupy
This is a counting book with fun animal illustrations that include Seek-and-find flaps on every page turn. You will find a row of dots at the bottom to reinforce counting and adding skills. This book is for ages 3-5. Available on Amazon.
SURPRISE! Slide and Play Shapes by Elsa Fouquier
This shapes and colors book will have your child twist a green square, push a yellow star, or wiggle a blue triangle. There is a a surprise pop-up ending! This book is for ages 0-3. Available on Amazon.
A few months back, we brought you a review of a great children’s book, Under the Barnyard Light(see it here). Author, Carla Crane Osborne wants to engage your children in their love of reading by inviting them and the family to her You Tube channel. This read along and listening channel is called, Gonas Reading Ranch.
There are a few videos to get you started and more coming soon!
Read The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen with Carla
Meet Daisy, a Ranch Calf in an adorable Farm Babies video
Carla introduces her grandchildren and some pets as she reads, Under the Barnyard Light
See then at Gonas Reading Ranch on You Tube! Immerse your children in the love of reading and farm animals! It is a safe, family-friendly site you can subscribe for them to access anytime. For more about the Author, visit her website, Carla Osborne Books. Also visit Amazon to purchase Under the Barnyard Light! Her new series Go Gona Go! and will be released this fall!
Enter to win! 2 readers will win a copy of Under the Barnyard Light book! See below to enter! Ends July 29,2021.