Mikey’s Blog

Mikey’s Blog enables him to share his ideas and experiences with you throughout the year … whatever the weather!  Click on the relevant season above to see what he has been up to.

Where oh where, oh where is Mikey?

A key part of the Growing Talk Programme is “Mikey” our special Talking Partner. Mikey has become a very loved and special friend with our families at Growing Talk – in fact many children have their very own Mikey at home.
Mikey is always busy ….enjoying new experiences inside and outside - He has also noticed that children are often much more chatty when outside and why wouldn’t they be….. there is so much to chat about and it never stays the same!
Mikey Pancakes
Mikey animals
Mikey Hot Cross Buns
Mikey’s Blog enables him to share his ideas and experiences with you throughout the year … whatever the weather!
Simply click on the relevant seasonal pictures above to see what he has been up to.

dscf5674Our Advent calendars are ready which means the festive season is here!  For many of our children this will be the first time they experience "Christmas"  an exciting time, but with so many new words and changes in routine it can also be a bewildering time. We will use this opportunity tohelp them  "Grow" their Chatter and vocabulary.

Think carefully about the the many multi sensory ways you can share these new words with the children so they are meaningful and easily understood. Then ensure the children have the opportunity to use them.

See the list below for some of the words that may be new to your children


Mikey plans to hide a new object in his Christmas box/bag/tin every day!

"What have I got in my tin today shall we see?"

Over the next few days all his objects will relate to the Christmas tree. We always have a small tree the children can decorate. Putting the baubles on the tree and taking them off again is lots of fun!!dscf3575

Silver, gold, red sparkling tinsel is a wonderful resource to explore and talk about

Create a  Chatter Basket with a carefully chosen selection of Christmas resourcesdscf5665

Watch and Listen carefully to hear which words the children use, and which are new

Name the objects as the children explore them

Help them understand and store the words by talking about the  special features

"It's a bauble"

"A special Christmas decoration"

"We can hang it on the tree"

"It's a round bauble"

"A red bauble"

Collect together a basket of Christmas themed books. One of our favourites is Little Owl and the Star- A very simple nativity story where a little owl follows a sparkling star that takes him to the stable. dscf2392

But what is a stable, a camel , a donkey ,shepherds and Kings! Who is Baby Jesus?

A great excuse to play with the farm animals, baby dolls and  dressing up clothes. The children may enjoy dressing up as shepherds and kings and maybe Santa too! Do they have a sack for Santa?

What word will you use for the wonderful bearded man dressed in red?

What  do the children's families call him?

Father Christmas, Santa, St Nicholas......

What simple Christmas songs and rhymes will you share?

Please share your favourites and have fun this Christmas Growing talk Together!1514952_742452639163854_1041179093206644160_n


Following Easter Bunny & Easter Egg Hunt activities the children continued to enjoy Hide & Seek Games with much chatter about rabbits including Peter Rabbit. Some of the children have received the Peter Rabbit book as their first Imagination Library Book.

We have shared the book , chatted about the Pater Rabbit  TV programme on CBeebies and followed their book inspired interests which have lead to some of the following activities

peter-rabbit classic


 Some of the children have rabbits as pets so we chatted about the food they like and where they live and whether they live in a hutch a cage or a burrow!



Where oh Where oh Where is Peter?

We played hunt for Peter and hid our toy rabbits around the house and garden

We sang our "Where is Mikey" song and changed the words to Peter!

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We have started sowing seeds in the garden and all the children have been successfully growing cress in egg shells! More egg chatter!

The cress grows so quickly which has really engaged the children,  leading to lots of chatter about growing and planting seeds and the need to keep the birds away from the seeds outside.


cressmikey and cress

small world peter rabbit

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This natuarlly lead to chat about Scarecrows, and the scarecrow in the Peter Rabbit Book made out of Peter's clothes!

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Many of the children know the song "Dingle Dangle Scarecrow" but few knew what a scarecrow was.

We have now made our own scarecrows to put outside in the garden, we have been scarecrows and had fun singing the song enjoying the actions, particularly the jumping up!

We changed the words to include the children's names

"When Thomas and Sophie were sleeping

and the cows had gone to bed.........Up jumped the Scarecrow and this is what he said"Peter_Rabbit_Image_-_Preferred_Image

Then we talked about Peter eating too many of the carrots in Mr McGregor's garden, he was very poorly, nearly as poorly as Humpty Dumpty had been !

Role Play the Doctors of course! And another opportunity to sing

"Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick"

But of course we then changed the words

"Thomes had a rabbit who was sick , sick sick

So we called for the Vet to come quick, quick, quick !!

Now the Doctors has been changed to a Vets!

Let us know any activities you have introduced as a result of sharing Peter Rabbit 🙂

poorly peter

collage humpty Simple Easter Holiday activities with Humpty Dumpty to engage and develop Attention, Listening & Language Learning ! Much more than just a  Nursery Rhyme!

Listening and Attention- These are really important skills for our young children to develop

 Let you children listen to the rhyme and when they are familiar with it let them fill in the missing words !

Humpty Dumpty sat on the .......!

Humpty Dumpty had a great .......!

Can your children build a wall for Humpty to climb up onto? With bricks/blocks/shoe boxes? How high can it be?

Once on top of the wall can Humpty WAIT until the "GO!" Ready...Steady...Go and then fall off 🙁

Young children will love to just play this again & again Listening carefully for the Ready Steady Go !! 1,2,3 ......

Play and chat to support understanding of what happened to Humpty?

Chat about what happens to Humpty when he falls off ? Did he hurt himself 🙁 So now what should we do?

We phoned the Doctor, went to hospital in an ambulance, met Miss Polly and her poorly Dolly  which then lead to  playing "hospitals" for many days since! All the children have shown us their plasters and wounds!

After all this play the children now really understand that Humpty was hurt when he fell 🙁 As any egg would be!

Until we chatted about Humpty many of the children had not realised he was an egg! IMG_0224                            IMG_0225 IMG_0227 IMG_0228

Learning & using  new words- Chat about Humpty being an egg! We have looked at broken eggs, noticed the yellow of the yolk, tried hard boiled eggs, dipped our "soldiers"( buttered bread) into the egg yolk and then looked at the difference between chicken eggs and Cadbury's Cream Eggs and discussed where eggs come from, they don't all come from the Easter Bunny Rabbit!!!

dippy eggsphoto(80)bunnies and eggs Some children will be familiar with Easter Egg Hunts, Treasure Hunts or Hide and Seek Games . We have been having Egg Hunts inside and outside and for our older children we even had clues! Last year we had to play Egg Hunts for many days during the Easter holidays! TOP TIP  Don't limit an Egg Hunt to just Chooclate Eggs, have a variety of eggs ready to hide- Plastic eggs, wooden eggs, paper eggs all that can be used again and again!! And hidden "in"  "under", "behind " and "in front"

What a great way to  understand and use all those positional words!

photo 3the fish 059Easter bunny And then after all the Egg Play share an Egg/Chick/Rabbit Related Book and enjoy all the Book Chatter all of which will provide you with some precious moments together where Talk can really Grow!!

Have Fun Growing Talk Together and please SHARE any simple, fun activities

that your children have enjoyed this holiday!

cbc-website-banner-738x255px-v2.ashx 9086634 With just a week to go to ..... we are now ready for the ICAN Chatterbox Challenge 2016. We have used our ICAN #Chatterbo12643034_10153952421038466_310326338483787460_nx Challenge pack to help us plan a fun family Party session suitable for our very young Chatterbox Baby and Toddlers 🙂 To register for your pack visit  www.chatterboxchallenge.org.uk Any party is a great excuse to share simple, short party games,  sing some special songs and rhymes and of course party food!  If we keep the activities SHORT and interactive, they will be fun whilst enhancing our young children’s early listening and communication skills in an engaging way. Download our TOP TIPS for Sharing Songs Together at www.chatterboxchallenge.org.uk photo(66) For our children who have started to enjoy dressing up they can join us in their Elf or Fairy accessories! Mikey, our special Talking Partner will have his Party Hat and Wand ready to help us share some games! Our Talking Tin will be full of a few Party Goodies to share - A Party Hat, a present, some party food (Pizza, cakes, currant buns and maybe some jelly) and of course a teapot 🙂 Mikey loves to bake, always a good time for Chatter so he may have prepared some cakes for us to enjoy together!photo(79) Mikey loves Jelly!  "Jelly on The Plate" is one of our favourite action rhymes  and a  good opportunity to wibble and wobble! original_jelly_square Like our very young children,  Mikey has a short attention span, so with Mikey's cakes we will sing a shortened version of just Three Currant Buns! See the full version at https://wordsforlife.literacytrust.org.uk/songs/five-currant-buns We will change the words to suit our children

3 Currant buns on Mikey's plate

Big and round with a cherry on the top

Along came Thomas to the party today

He chose a currant bun and took it away 🙂

Our big people love a Cup of tea so we may get active and sing "I'm a Little Teapot"

And our babies love a tickle and a giggle which goes well with this "Pizza Rhyme"

"Pizza, pizza


This little girl loves a tickle"


As all parents of toddlers will know they are busy people , they need to move and be active, so we will have a wiggle and jiggle, move and groove 🙂 A party is a great excuse to dance and move so either with our music makers or some lively music we will play a  "Stop-Go Musical Statue Type Party Game"

When the music STOPS we will try and STOP ! This fun game helps our young ones to listen , to wait and understand words key words like STOP !

Another game we will play with Mikey is described in the Chatterbox pack ( page 11)  "Nanny Plum says" another great way to listen and hear new words  "Mikey says ...."

Mikey says "jump up and down"

Mikey says "stand still"

Mikey says "touch your toes"

Mikey says "have a cuddle"

Mikey says "It's time to go home ":(

We hope you have lots of fun at your Elf and Fairy party whilst raising awareness for ICAN , the Charity that supports children with communication difficulties

photo(79) 384886_285367688169082_888412074_n 390939_285367718169079_468823153_n We have been keen supporters of ICAN and the Chatterbox challenge since 2004.  Having supported many families and children with speech and language difficulties over the last 30 years and having a daughter with complex speech and language difficulties who benefited greatly from her placement at an ICAN school, we are always keen to support the work of ICAN and Chatterbox Challenge and this year will be no exception! Chatterbox challenge provides the perfect annual event to highlight and share the many ways we can all support children, across the UK, who are struggling to communicate. photo 1(6) Mikey, our “Talking and Listening partner” and all the team at Tots on Tour love a party and so we are particularly excited about this year’s ICAN's Chatterbox Challenge  #CBC Ben and Holly’s Elf and Fairy Party. We have been busy and enlisted the help of some fairy friends to help plan lots of engaging, magical activities for our Chatterbox Challenge Activities that we will be sharing with you all in our “Growing Talk Together” family groups and at training events across the country. An Elf and Fairy Party theme will provide us with a great excuse to play lots of party games, have fun dressing up, sing some special songs and rhymes and of course we will need to do lots of baking!  All these activities will enhance children’s early communication skills in a fun and engaging way. photo(66) All good parties require planning so we are delighted to personally invite you all to book the date in your diaries NOW and join us in planning and hosting a Magical Elf and Fairy Party  8-14 February 2016 To ensure you don’t miss out on all the fun - Register NOW for your Chatterbox Challenge 2016 Pack  https://www.chatterboxchallenge.org.uk/ Follow us on facebook and twitter: Tots on Tour and Mikey’s blog www. growingtalktogether.co.uk to receive our FREE Growing Talk Together- Special “Elf and Fairy Party songs and activities”. A really fun way to enhance your children’s communication skills, grow their talk and confidence whilst raising awareness and pennies for ICAN The children’s communication charity and the many many ways they “help children develop the speech, language and communication skills they need to thrive in a 21st century world" www.ican.org.uk
photo(37) Our Pumpkin Play started with a shopping experience! Which pumpkin would we choose? Which are pumpkins and which are not?   IMG_0795 We love these Munchkin Pumpkins! A great word to try and say! IMG_0824 IMG_0820 So many orange fruit and veg!  Try this great colour song where colours are talked about in a meaningful context! "What is Orange?  Tune: Frere Jacques What is Orange? What is Orange? Pumpkins and Satsumas, Pumpkins and Satsumas Scrummy, juicy oranges, scrumy , juicy oranges Yum , Yum, Yum! Yum, Yum, Yum! 2013-10-26 12.19.56-1 2013-10-26 15.37.07  1399480_10151733458861033_1118267042_o We settled for a "Big, round, heavy one"  Helping to carry the pumpkin meant we really understood and could use the word "heavy" ! "It was really heavy!" 1377205_10153376310840268_1078702376_n Our Growing Talk Pumpkin Song - Tune: I'm a Little Teapot See the orange pumpkin, big and round It's very heavy and rolls on the ground It was a little seed and then it grew Bigger and bigger just for you! Scooping out a pumpkin takes a long time and is a fabulously multi- sensory and mucky experience! The children were so focused , their attention and concentration to complete this task was incredible as was the awe and wonder when we lit the candle and looked at the finished , flickering product! NB LED Candles are a safe alternative and still flicker light a candle. a pumpkin play      B pumpkin playphoto 1(11) We had fun trying to make eyes,  a nose and a mouth. Definitely worth investing in a pumpkin carving kit for next year! We loved singing this rhyme ! "Eyes, nose, cheeky, cheeky chin  Cheeky, cheeky, chin, nose , eyes Eyes, nose, cheeky, cheeky, chin Cheeky, cheeky, chin , nose, eyes" But what other faces could we carve? The children didn't want a scary face, so we googled alternatives and chose the cat , the moon and stars 🙂 DSCF2116    Hey-Cat-–-Halloween-Pumpkin-Carving-Ideas     pumpkin_moon

We  have decided next year we will grow our own pumpkin!photo 1(10)

The interest in pumpkins has led to chat about other vegetables and the vegetables the children like and don't like!   So many different vegetables to be found at any local supermarket it's worth going out on another shopping trip just to look at the veggies!


If you don't have your own garden or nursery garden perhaps you could visit an allotment or friendly  gardener?

We love this short story about a pumpkin who feels lonely because he is growing all alone and not like the other vegetables. Guess what special skill he has that he shares with all his veggie friends?!

This simple story inspired us to chat and play with other vegetables , naming them, discovering which were round , which could roll and which could not!

October Book Of The Month - Pumpkin Feels ... - YouTube

Video for lonely pumpkin story you tube
How about using an orange as they did here @ www.intheplayroom.co.uk https://intheplayroom.co.uk/…/orange-jack-o-lantern-fruit-c…/ We had a go with lots of fun & chatter , it doesn't look very professional but we are not an arts & crafts blog ! photo 2(8) We have enjoyed these books but would love to know if you have any favourites? photo 1 photo 2 photo 4 See below some other activities we have enjoyed Roll a pumpkin game - We love this idea! ( A little like the Beetle Game) Get the printable here: https://happyhomefairy.com/2011/10/24/roll-a-pumpkin-free-printable/ HALLOWEEN SENSORY PLAY Spooky slime, bins and more. READ it here: https://www.iheartartsncrafts.com/25-creative-and-fun-hallo…/ We hope you enjoy lots of playful pumpkin fun ! photo(68)
12072554_10153708403343466_7118422711899227878_n Following on from our last Autumnal post we have been out and about on lots of Autumn adventures and leaf hunts. Last week in our Growing Talk groups Mikey shared all the different sorts of leaves he had found some had long stems, some had none. There were wet leaves , dry leaves, crunchy, scrunchy leaves, real leaves , tissue paper leaves and laminated leaves! Big leaves , little leaves, orange and yellow leaves, just like in the book we shared "Leaf Man" - A fabulous book that inspires so much creativity and imagination. Attachment-1(1) The children brought in the things they had found and together we shared many new discoveries. For our older pre school children it was the acorns, squirrles and conkers that caused the most chatter, new words for many . The children loved discovering the acorn , pulling it out of the "cup" or as we called it "his little hat". Our little friend Sammy Squirrel was very popular especially when we collected all the acorns and pretended to eat them! We then talked about how he likes to hide all his nuts and we played a hiding game which was lots of fun! NB- Not to be played with little ones who are still putting objects in their mouthes - for the younger children the acorns and conkers were put into empty water bottles and carefully sealed! autumn in gtalk tin   Acorn squirrel To help us listen to the sounds of the acorns and conkers falling and to enable us to use our new words we made up a new song which we sang with real conkers and acorns  - "Acorns and Conkers"  to the tune of   "Hot Cross Buns" -

Acorns and conkers

Acorns and conkers

Can you hear them falling down

Acorns and conkers!

When Sammy squirrel hid all the acorns we had to sing Mikey's song ! "Where oh where?"

"Where oh where , oh where are the acorns ?

Where oh where, oh where are the acorns?

Where oh where, oh where are the acorns?

Where have the acorns gone?

We borrowed some of these wonderful books from our local library- "Squirrels Busy Day" is a wonderful story about a little squirrel who is so busy collecting acorns and nuts he doesn't have time to play with his friends 🙁Attachment-1 Attachment-1(2) Attachment-1(1) Many of the above experiences and words have been new to our children this season. Having discovered these new finds, explored them, sung about them and shared them in stories, they are now using them spontaneously.  In order to celebrate this and the words the different children are now using we created this handout. It is also a reminder of other expereinces and words we can continue to share. For those of you who are Associate Members it can be downloaded for FREE on the members page. photo(3) Please share any  books or songs you are enjoying this Autumn      


Scrunch, Crunch, Crackle !

What an amazing season for "Growing Talk"  Who can resist  jumping and kicking in the leaves ?  What else will your children notice when they are out and about? Will it be sticks and trees, the amazing colours, the leaves, discovering a Horse Chestnut tree and cracking open conkers, or finding tiny acorns underneath an ENORMOUS Oak tree.

DSCF2103 - Copy

Into the Woods ...!

Where are the nearest trees to you?

In the park, on the side of the road or is there somewhere you can go on a woodland walk or an adventure into the forest?  Maybe you will go on a Bear Hunt!

Take a bag or box for your children to collect things that interest them, an egg box is great for tiny hands, can your children find something for each section?


 6 different leaves, 6 different coloured leaves, 6 different items?

A conker,  pine cone, acorn , twig, apple, berry, blackberry, red leaf, yellow leaf, orange leaf, green leaf.......

         Will they choose to collect leaves , will they select all one colour, or a mix?

Our little ones chose only the red leaves 🙂

We needed help with tree and leaf ID and found this ID sheet from naure detectives at the Woodland Trust an invaluable resource  www.woodlandtrust.org.uk



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The children sorted all the leaves into different piles; dry, crunchy leaves, wet, soggy leaves, leaves of different colours    (A fun and natural way to learn the difference between colours red, yellow, orange and green)

Then of course we had fun jumping, in them!

autumn with logo

             We had a competition to see who could throw them the highest, and then we watched them float and flutter as they fell back down !

    The children were really creative making pictures with leaves and leaf crowns - by sticking leaves onto a cardboard strip = Lots of fun with glue! 🙂

                              And of course we made up our own song to help us remember and practice all these new words!

             Autumn Leaves are Falling Down (Tune: London Bridge)

All the leaves are falling down, Falling down, falling down, All the leaves are falling down, It must be Autumn.

 NB: Leave pauses to let your children fill in the gap with their choice of word

eg It must be ......( windy, blowy, Autumn)

All the leaves are turning red ( yellow, brown, orange) turning red, turning red, All the leaves are turning red, It must be Autumn.

Hear the Conkers falling down, Falling down,falling down, Hear the conkers falling down, It must be Autumn.

Conker fun! Conker collecting is an annual favourite at Mikey's house, but it's much more than just the traditional conker fights!

NB : Be careful if sharing conkers with very young children they must not be swallowed or eaten!

Conker counting  -Who collected the most?      Who can carry the most!

Conker number strings  - a natural abacus!

                       Conker caterpillars, worms and trains!  How many creative things can you find to do with conkers?

Make sure you have all the necessary tools at the ready and lots of string!

    Listen to the sound of conkers falling... onto the ground,     into different containers, into water.

          Make a shaker by filling plastic drink bottles with leaves, conkers or acorns .

Always seal the top securely with strong parcel tape

Then, when you have had lots of fun, hide the conkers and autumnal findings in the sandtray

so they can be rediscovered !


collage conkers


 Conkers are definitely not just for stringing! For more great ideas visit Woodland Trust - nature detectives Check out their new #NatureDetectives weekly challenge! They have a brilliant autumn challenge for you this week - Kooky Conker Models!! Get instructions here: https://ow.ly/SSRj1

Have fun  🙂 and please share in the comments section any activities you have enjoyed and as always any new words used!

I wish, I wish.... all started after we shared a fabulous book Starlight Sailor by James Mayhew and Jackie Morris

It's been a busy summer for Mikey and his friends! New experiences with lots of giggles and squeals.

Do you remember discovering and playing with your shadow for the first time?

We have been watching the story of our tiny caterpillars unfold in front of us by growing our very own butterflies here at home 🙂

The Big Butterfly Count - Mikey has been out this week helping to spot and count different butterflies.

The Summer holidays are finally here! 6 weeks can feel like a long time!

Mikey was very excited to find these windmills at Epworth Children's Centre this morning , and they really did go round and round!

Another perfect day for spontaneous shadow exploration Where did my shadow go?
The rose wilted but the "talk" grew! The petals on the Lycra were fabulous as was the perfume & chatter! The children are much more imaginative than we may be, what might your children do with flower petals like these?
Fun Friday & strawberries for tea for everyone today. I wonder who has been eating Mikey's strawberries?
Amazing to watch all 4 butterflies emerge today , we saw them tasting with their feet & saw their "proboscises" curling up , new words and magical moments!
National Bookstart week and Our Hero is.....? Who is your hero?