We love… Books about wildlife 

Like most young children, Frida is fascinated by wildlife. Mammals, birds, insects, fish – you name it, she loves it. Because of this we read a lot of books about wildlife and animals (“ana!”), and these are probably her favourites (as well as her ever-growing collection of Mog books and Lynley Dodd books). 

We do a lot of talking and pointing when we read wildlife books. We are constantly amazed by how many animals she recognises when asked. At 15 months I genuinely think she might know more animals and birds than my husband! Moorhens, coots, blackbirds, great tits, owls, herons, geese, ducks, buzzards, goldfinch, bullfinch – the list just goes on and on. Children really do have an absorbent mind. 

Frida also enjoys getting out her collection of Holztiger animals at the same time to do matching and play. 

Some of our favourites include:

Wild animals.

This is probably her all time favourite. A beautifully illustrated book containing images of British wildlife. I think some of the appeal is that we can often spot animals we have seen on our outings or in our garden, such as squirrels, foxes, magpies, ducks, starlings… 

Outside your window.

A beautiful book which has illustrations from around the year, as well as some practical ideas for fun things to do in nature. Lots of rabbits and birds and sheep cover the pages of this pleasant book, and I can really see it growing with Frida.

Beautiful birds.

“A is for albatross, the admiral of the sky. B is for bee-eater, beware any bug that flies…”

We love this book. Bright drawings, rhyming, and a fabulous selection of birds make it so much fun to read and look at. My husband and I almost know it off my heart and have been known to recite it on difficult car journeys!

Animalium.

A classic. This is still a little bit big for Frida – physically, it’s a huge book! The gorgeous drawings make it an enjoyable read for her now, but it has so much information that I can see it being on her shelves for years to come.

Animals.

This is a similar layout to the wild animals book, but include animals from around the world. It also has pages dedicated to each colour, and animals are grouped by characteristics which makes it  a fun read because all the pages are so mixed. 

Mog (or, on being child-led)

“Follow the child”. 

I love this concept, and it forms the core of how we choose to parent. We try hard to follow Frida’s interests, providing her with opportunities to explore and play and learn which are guided by her likes and desires.

Enter Mog. Frida is obsessed with the Mog books by Judith Kerr. Since she started to speak, all cats have been “muh” and the object of much delight and fascination. My husband and I have read the books to her over and over again, and she never tires of them.

Last week I took Frida to a Bach to Baby concert (which was brilliant) which went brilliantly until Frida spotted a little girl with a Mog soft toy. Although the little girl kindly let Frida have a look at it, she was so sad to have to give it back and seemed really distressed to have to leave the “muh” behind. 

I am not an enormous fan of soft toys. Frida already has a lot of them – in fact, she already has a lot of toys full stop. But I decided that if I was really going to be child led then maybe I should listen to the fact she would get a lot of joy from having her very own Mog.

I took to the internet to look for one, where I was horrified to see them being sold for £75! Eek! Happily my wonderful friend Cara came to the rescue, sending us one, and Mog had hardly left Frida’s side since she arrived. 

As you can see she’s pretty happy about it.



Vauxhall city farm

Frida is a child who loves animals. And I mean really loves them. If she’s sad and a bee flies past – wham, smiles. A cat walking down the street? Best. Thing. Ever. Don’t get me started on ducks and geese…

Because of this love of animals there is no better place for Frida at the moment than a city farm. We have taken her to Deen City Farm by Morden Hall Park (our favourite place) a number of times, so I thought we’d try a different one, and we headed to Vauxhall.

When going to a farm it’s very important to wear appropriate clothing, in this case a dress with ducks on. This dress gets chosen a lot, perhaps unsurprisingly! 

Now Frida can walk independently she is able to interact with spaces so differently. She seems much happier to potter off and do her own thing.
Vauxhall City 

Her absolute favourite activity was hand washing, and we stayed at this sink for a good 10-15 minutes. Every time I asked her if she was finished she would say “no!”. 

Vauxhall City Farm is brilliant. There are: goats, alpacas, sheep, all of which you can feed. Donkeys, horses, pigs. Chickens, a turkey, and lots of ducks. Small mammals such as rabbits, hamsters, degus. 

Frida very bravely fed a goat and now will hold her hand out to you flat if you ask her to show you how to feed a goat. 

It also has a great, pleasant cafe, with good coffee and delicious gluten-free cakes, as well as tasty looking proper meals. Because entry is free I don’t begrudge paying for tasty snacks. 

I really recommend the farm for toddlers; in fact, we’ve already been back once with friends.

Grass soup: sensory toddler play 

It’s a beautiful day today in London, and we have spent all morning in the garden. Frida was starting to get a bit grumpy so I thought that I would offer the one thing that usually cheers her up immediately – water play! 

We had not made grass soup or potions before so I thought I’d see how she liked it. 

It’s the simplest activity to set up ever; all you need is a bowl or pan and a spoon. Just fill the bowl with water and your toddler can add “ingredients” from the garden (maybe gently steer them towards grass, leaves and weeds rather than precious roses!). 

This kept Frida entertained for a long time, and her soup was delicious😉

Montessori entrance hall 

Continuing the slow work of making our whole home child-friendly, we have updated our entrance hall with Frida in mind.

We added a low mirror with a built in shelf and pegs (we chose this one – from IKEA, where else!) so that she can hang her cardigans, hats, and coats up.

Frida is still not quite tall enough to see in the mirror so I added a simple step which she uses to see herself. This also has an added bonus of providing her with climbing / stepping practice.  

We have left a space for her shoe basket right between ours so she always knows where they are. 

This set up means that she has access to her scooter at all times. She currently loves to go over to it and spend five minutes just ringing the bell over and over again. Good for her fine motor skills (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself). 

Just a few simple changes make the space feel very child-centred and encourage independent dressing and self-care, I think. 

Down the stairs! Montessori stair climbing

Frida has been able to climb the stairs in our house for a good month or two now. Like almost everything else, it required no active teaching from us, just letting her have the space and time to try – and standing very close behind her in case she fell! Until quite recently she showed no interest whatsoever in learning to go down them. 

A couple of weeks ago she suddenly seemed more interested, and without us having to show her what to do she can now go all the way down, safely (and heart-stoppingly fast). We still stand quite close by her in case she slips but so far she seems quite stable. 


We haven’t used stair gates in our home at all. We were undecided as to whether or not we should use them, decided it might be a good idea to use one at the top of the stairs, bought one which was faulty, and then decided not to buy another.

This works for our family because at least one parent is always able to supervise Frida actively, meaning she’s never really out of our sight. Our house is not very big which makes this easier! 

I like the fact that she has been able to learn how to safely navigate them at a young age, as I feel this means she will be safer in spaces without stair gates. I also love that she can freely navigate around her space. However when Frida moves out of our bedroom and starts moving around on her own at night then we may reconsider putting a gate at the top of the stairs; we’ll have to see what feels right.