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  • I’ll have the burger – with a book on the side

    I was interested to see that in December the restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s ran a ‘No Phone Campaign’ to make family meal times more sociable. They invited customers to pop their phones into a box on the table during their meal, with the incentive of free kids’ meals for diners who took part. It was a brilliant idea, I thought, and one that I’d love to see other restaurants take up – not just as a one-off campaign but as a permanent thing.

    It got me thinking about other ways to keep kids away from their phones and iPads during a family meal out. It would be great to have a book corner – a small space in a restaurant or cafe where kids could choose a book and take it back to the table. It can be tricky to entertain kids in restaurants, which is why it’s tempting to plug them into a screen – but it would be so much easier if there was a selection of exciting new books to grab their attention. Between courses, kids could read to their parents – or for younger children they could look at the pictures while their parents read to them. Discovering new books and characters would provide brilliant conversations with your burger and chips!

    entertaining kids in restaurants, book corner, reading corner, eating out with kids, How to entertain kids in restaurants without a screen. Picture credit, Family Nation

    A book corner would be easy to put in. The Tidy Books bookcase holds up to 85 books but its super-slim design means it takes up very little space. It’s also been designed so the books face forwards, making it simple for kids to spot the one they want to take off the shelf. Then there’s our book box – it also has a front-facing design, with enough room for 40 books. It’s portable, too, so it can be moved around to wherever there’s space as well as taken outside – which is pretty handy for summer evenings in the pub garden.  

    While it’s on my mind, a book corner would also be really useful in waiting rooms to keep the kids occupied while you’re hanging around for a GP or dentist appointment. And wouldn’t it be great for a book corner to keep your kids entertained while you’re having your hair or nails done? Some child-friendly salons have TVs and DVDs but I like the idea of kids getting away from the screen and absorbing themselves in a book. You get a lovely new hair cut, your kids get an exciting new world to explore between the covers – sounds like a win-win situation to me!

    How do you entertain kids in restaurants?  

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • Giving the gift of reading. Why a book is extra special at Holiday time

    I love getting books at for the Holidays. My husband, Matthew, and I always buy each other books so I purposely don’t buy any in the lead up to the festivities – then when I undo the wrapping paper I get really excited to see which one I’ve got. I feel like a big kid really.

    I love giving the gift of reading, too – knowing the recipients are going to get so much pleasure from opening up their book and immersing themselves in the story inside.

    giving the gift of reading, kids books, gift of reading, tidy books, book box, book storage box Unwrapping books this Christmas. Credit @tthese_beautiful_thingss

    Giving the gift of reading is a great way to get children into books. It makes books feel extra-special when they’re wrapped up as a present and given with love. And the Holidays are the perfect time for children to snuggle in and enjoy their new books. They can visit exotic countries, join in exciting adventures and discover new things to learn – all in one place.

    In Iceland, they’re as enthusiastic about reading at Christmas as I am. They have a tradition there called Jolabokaflod, or ‘The Christmas Book Flood’, where around November time every household is sent a book catalogue and people order books as gifts for family and friends. Then, on Christmas Eve, when it’s traditional to exchange presents, people stay in to read their new book, accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate or glass of jólabland, a mix of fizzy orange and ale. It’s brilliant that books are such a big part of their life, and that at Christmas time parents and children can spend time together reading.

    If you like the idea of having a book-filled Holidays, our Book Storage Box is a great way to keep all your kids’ books in one neat and tidy place. It’s portable so you can take it into the living room during the day then pop it upstairs ready for bedtime reading. It’s like a little moveable library so your children always have their books near them and they can dip in and out to read whenever they like. When my kids were younger, we used ours all the time.

    My two children may be in their teens now, but I still love sharing our reading. Later I’ll be popping into a book shop to buy my daughter a Christmas present. She’s into crime thrillers, which isn’t a genre I read, so I’ll have fun browsing the shelves, checking the reviews and finding out more. Who knows, I may discover a fascinating new world we can explore together this Christmas.  

    * Are you doing a Secret Santa at work this Christmas? A great idea from Beanstalk, the national literacy charity that we support, is to give one of your books as a gift and donate the money to them. Find out more

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furniture

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

     

  • Literary days out the kids will love

    I love literary destinations – so much so that when my partner, Matthew, and I tied the knot earlier this year we had our honeymoon in Yorkshire so I could visit Brontë country. It completed our love story, really, because the first book I read when I moved from France to England was Jane Eyre – a gift from Matthew when he discovered my love of 19th-century literature.

    Visiting literary destinations can be a brilliant way for kids to connect to reading, too. What better way to spark their interest in books than by taking them to places where writers have created characters and magical worlds from the inspiration around them. There are also some great museums and visitor centres where kids can learn more about their favourite author through interactive exhibits and activities.

    You might like to try these...

    tidy books, literary destinations, literary days out, days out with kids, getting kids reading, literary places, literary tour The books that inspired literary days out, on a Tidy Books bookcase

    The World of Beatrix Potter

    Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tittlemouse – you’ll meet a whole host of Beatrix Potter’s characters during this tour. You can pop into Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s kitchen, see Tom Thumb hiding under the floorboards and get a photo of Mr. Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat. There’s also a short film that introduces you to the author and her stories. While you’re in the Lake District, take a trip to Potter’s house, Hill Top, which has been kept exactly as she left it when she died in 1943. http://www.hop-skip-jump.com/ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

    The Gruffalo Trail

    At Thorndon Country Park in Essex, kids can use a map or app to find the cast of characters from The Gruffalo – which, by the way, is my favourite business book.   Just follow the clues and you’ll discover hand-crafted carvings of mouse, fox, owl, snake and, of course, The Gruffalo himself.  http://www.visitparks.co.uk/education/gruffalo-trail/

    Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

    You’ll find the fantabulous world of Roald Dahl in the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden, where the writer lived and wrote for over 30 years. The galleries are packed with things for 6-12 year-olds to see and do – like creating a character, making up a gobblefunk word, smelling chocolate doors and finding the mouse in the gobstopper jar.  http://www.roalddahl.com/museum

    Pooh Country Tour

    It’s a real adventure tracking down the places that inspired author A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books. A map will help you find the East Sussex locations for Roo’s Sandy Pit, The Heffalump Trap and Where The North Pole Was. A favourite for kids is Poohsticks Bridge, where Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore had fun racing their sticks in the stream. http://www.pooh-country.co.uk

    The Harry Potter Experience

    At the Warner Bros studio tour Harry Potter fans can step into the Great Hall, marvel at the Forbidden Forest and see the Hogwarts Express on  Platform 9 ¾. There’s also chance to view props like the Puking Pastilles dispenser and a whole range of movie costumes. Plus you can find out more about the special effects used to bring Harry’s magical world to life.   https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/experience

    These are some of the best literary destinations in the UK, but do you have a favourite literary destination where you are? Tell me in the comments below

    tidy books, kids bookshelf, kids storage, kids furnitureGeraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

     

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