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Tidy Books US

Putting books at the heart of your child’s world

  • Why writing a journal is great for kids

    Wondering what to put in the kids’ Holiday stocking this year? Well the National Literacy Trust is encouraging everyone to buy a  journal or a diary as a gift. They believe writing a journal is a great way for children to explore language, express themselves and build emotional resilience.

    With daily writing, children can practise their handwriting outside of school. And according to one report, schoolchildren who kept a journal were nearly twice as likely to write above the expected level for their age as those who didn’t.

    The beauty of a journal is that kids can write about whatever they like. It might be what they’ve done that day, how they’re feeling or their hopes and fears. This, say the NLT, gives children the chance to build emotional resilience because writing things down lets them process their thoughts and express their feelings.

    Writing thoughts down is pretty handy for adults too. I have a personal notebook that I write in every evening. It’s somewhere for me to unload or reflect on what I’m immensely grateful for.

    " Journal or diary writing is a brilliant idea for children, because it helps them organise their thoughts and express themselves. "

    Sue Townsend, author of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

    When it comes to your kids, they may need a bit of encouraging – otherwise it might feel like another task they have to do rather than something they can enjoy. A handy tip is to read your children a book where the main character keeps a diary – like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Younger kids could be encouraged to start a diary by using pictures instead of words, or writing with colourful pens and pencils.

    bunk bed buddy, diary, tidy books, bunk bed storage, book shelf, journal Perfect place for a journal: the Tidy Books Bunk Bed Buddy. Photo credit: Would Like to be a Yummy Mummy  www.wouldliketobeayummymummy.com

    Of course a diary is personal so it’s always handy to have a secret place to keep it away from prying eyes. I love the idea of a child scribbling away in their diary then hiding it behind their favourite things on their Bunk Bed Buddy . Their diary is safe in their own little territory – and it’s close at hand whenever they want to write in it.

    And who knows – one day that diary might become a best-selling book!

  • The A-Z of alphabet learning

    Do you remember learning the alphabet? I do. At school we got to know the letters by singing them to our teacher. It was such a fun way to learn and really helped me to become familiar with all the different letters.

    kids bookcase, kids book storage, front facing book display, alphabet bookcase, learning the alphabet Every opportunity to explore the alphabet: credit: Maman Floutch

    When it came to my daughter’s turn to learn the alphabet, she had a bit of extra help thanks to my Tidy Books bookcase. I designed the front-facing bookcase to make it easier for Adele – and other kids – to find the books they wanted.

    It also struck me that having colourful A to Z letters on the bookcase would help kids to learn their letters at the same time, so I added those as an option if customers wanted them.

    As a mum, it was lovely to watch Adele with her bookcase. She was able to build up her vocabulary gradually and casually by pointing to the bright wooden 3D letters and saying them out loud.

    When I designed the bookcase in 2004 it was an instant hit with Adele – and today it’s one of our best sellers. I did make one adjustment along the way, though. To begin with, the alphabet letters were in capitals but then I got chatting to a schoolteacher who told me that kids start by learning lower case letters. If you think about, with books that’s the letters kids see most and are the ones they become familiar with – so of course it made perfect sense for me to change the bookcase letters to lowercase.  

    Learning the alphabet is so important for the development of children’s reading and literacy. Once they’ve mastered the different letters and their sounds then they have the building blocks of language – and the wonderful world of books awaits them!

    I like the idea of making learning fun, so my bookcase can also be personalised. It’s a great way to get kids into the alphabet when they can learn how to recognise the letters of their name. And it ties in beautifully with my ethos of growing children’s independence and giving them their own domain in which to learn. I mean, what could be better than your own personal mini-library with your name on it?

    How do you help your kids learn the alphabet?

  • Is September the real New Year?

    What’s that sound I hear? Ah yes – it’s a collective sigh of relief as the kids go back to school after the summer holidays. It’s time to return to normality, or the nearest we can get to it anyway.

    While kids are bound to be sad that it’s the end of their holiday, there’s usually a bit of new-term excitement about going back to school as well. They’ve got their shiny new shoes and pencil case and they’re ready to go! I have to say I’m feeling rather the same way.

    I love September. It’s a great time of year when the sun is still shining (well, maybe!) and you have the beautiful colours of fall to look forward to. And post-holiday, I feel refreshed and ready to refocus – on friends, family, work, life. There’s a real sense of new beginnings and opportunities.  September is the new New Year !

    toy storage, toy box, sorting box, tidy books The Tidy Books Sorting Box is toy storage to blend with your living room

    And my house has been the first to benefit from my renewed attention. Over the holidays, with my children and their friends around so much I wasn’t particularly strict about them tidying things away. Now that they’re back at school, this laissez-faire attitude has been replaced and – while I can’t say that my home is perfectly clutter-free – there’s definitely more of an ordered calm.

    My secret weapon has been my Sorting Box. I designed this toy storage box to store things away in an orderly fashion – it has three compartments so you’re not just chucking everything into one big toy box then rooting around trying to find what you want. I made them for kids so they could separate their Lego bricks and toys and stuff, but they’re equally handy for older children and adults – in our house we use the Tidy Books Sorting Boxes to store magazines, books, DVDs, scarves, belts... you name it. So now, I’m happy to say, everything is back where it should be.

    And the beauty of the Sorting Boxes is that they don’t clutter up the place. I didn’t want a product that screamed ‘kids’  toy storage’ so I made them chic enough to display in your living space. You can have the boxes dotted around the house and they blend in beautifully. I’ll be honest, if my teenage daughter is happy to have a toy storage box in her room I know I must have done something right.

    So that’s me, basking in that ‘back to school’ glow and loving my new, less-cluttered – for now anyway! – home.   Are you planning to declutter this September?'

    The Tidy Books Sorting Boxes will be available in the US soon.

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