What is a Morning Basket and how can I create one? (2024)

What can I put in a Morning Basket?

  • curate a selection of books that reflect the values and ideals of your family, which may include faith based resources such as devotionals, or values based books such as stories that promote kindness or perseverance
  • pictures or photos that can be used to spark discussion
  • a poetry anthology
  • a read aloud chapter book
  • a selection of picture books
  • books and resources that reflect the current season
  • encyclopedia or interesting facts book
  • quotes to reflect on or use as copy work
  • mindfulness colouring in books
  • a ‘busy-bag’ to keep little hands happy whilst you are reading (this could include things like building bricks, playdough, small world figures or a selection of natural objects such as pebbles, pine cones, and twigs)
  • books/ games related to the topic you are currently studying
  • a selection of short focused games
  • You Tube videos/ online resources
  • include books and resources that follow children’s passions and interests

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How to create a beautiful Morning Basket

What is a Morning Basket?

A Morning Basket is basically a collection of books and resources that can be used to enrich your children’s learning.

It is also a time to learn about things that reflect your family’s core values and beliefs.

Typically it includes things that you consider beautiful and good. So, for many, it may include things such as scripture study, literature, poetry, music and art study as well as read aloud picture books and novels.

We also use it to learn about all sorts of random interesting facts and about the amazing world in which we live.

It usually takes place in the morning, but you can do it whenever suits you as family. It is sometimes also called Morning Time or Circle Time.

Morning Basket provides an opportunity to come together.

To reconnect.

To share.

To be inspired.

Time spent on gathering together for Morning Basket time can range greatly depending on the ages and stages of your children. With little ones it could be as little as 5 minutes at a time dotted several times throughout the day. With older children and teens it could be an hour or more. If you have a mixture of older and younger children it is a good idea to have a ‘busy bag/box’ on hand containing a selection of hands-on activities that they can play with whilst you continue reading with the older ones. It is surprising what the younger ones pick up from just listening in the background.

What should I put in a Morning Basket?

It’s easy to set up a Morning Basket.

First find yourself a container of some sort. If you have a basket that’s great, but if you don’t then you can easily use a different container . . . a plastic crate, old suitcase, small bookshelf or even a decorated cardboard box.

Then, the fun part . . . choose some books that you love to go inside!

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What is in our Morning Basket?

We tend to switch our Morning Basket around so that we have a different theme for each day of the week which helps make planning easier and gives a rhythm to our days. You can choose whatever appeals to you as a family.

We theme ours as follows:

  • Monday: art/ poetry/music
  • Tuesday: Nature
  • Wednesday: random interesting facts
  • Thursday: our amazing world (history and geography)
  • Friday: values, beliefs and life skills

We have a few resources that seem to always be in our Morning Basket that we are either working through each week or that we dip into as and when we choose.

The Story of the World

For history we have been working through The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer.

We love this series of books.

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There are four volumes in total, covering history around the world from the earliest nomads right up to the end of the USSR. There are also a series of supporting materials which consist of an activity book and a test and answer book to review knowledge of key facts.

We are currently on Volume 2 and found that the first book took roughly a year to work through.

If you just want something to read together that will help give your children an overview of world history then the chapter book will do just fine. These books are well written and very easy to read. I have used them with my children from aged 4 right up to aged 16 and they all enjoy and learn well from them. The chapter book is written a bit like a story so it is engaging right from the start. We usually read a chapter a week.

We also dip into the supporting Activity book. This is a really good resource, although it has far more in it than we could possibly use. We photocopy the maps and colouring pages that support each chapter and my children usually colour those in whilst I read. It has a useful section which includes review questions and a summary of each chapter which we regularly use. The Activity book also contains lots of activity ideas you can use to make learning more hands on if your child is more of a practical learner, such as making recipes, costumes, models and artwork. It even explains how to mummify a chicken when learning about Ancient Egypt if that takes your fancy!

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And as I just mentioned, there is also a test and answer book which you can find here, which is useful for reviewing knowledge. The questions are true/ false, multiple choice and fill in the blanks type of questions so look suitable for most ages. This book is useful if you want to have a written assessment of your child’s understanding, but we usually just use the Activity book and answer the review questions verbally. I then get my children to write down the summary from each chapter in the margins around their maps or colouring page which works quite well.

Enid Blyton Nature Handbooks

I grew up on Enid Blyton’s Adventures of Pip which is a collection of very short fictional stories which are used to explain things like how to make glue from the sticky buds of the Chestnut tree, or how birds got their markings, so when I discovered some of her nature handbooks as an adult I was so pleased.

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We have two books, a green one Enid Blyton’s Nature Lover’s Book and a red one, Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year, both very old and very tatty, but very much loved. We try to read one or both each week. I particularly love the Nature Lover’s one as it contains stories about nature walks – two per month – which track the changing flora and fauna over the course of the year. The other book also has nature notes for each month, along with stories, riddles, poems, plays and songs which are particularly suitable for my younger children.

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A children’s History of Art is a lovely collection of stories, by Michael Bird, that are inspired by pieces of art throughout history and from around the world.

Each story links to a piece of art to make it more memorable and also includes a picture of that piece of art. The stories are only a couple of pages long, so perfect to weave into your Morning Basket time alongside other resources.

Art – a children’s encyclopedia

We use Art – a children’s encyclopedia by DK alongside Vincent’s Starry Night and so far they have complimented each other really well. We read a story from the Starry Night book and then follow it up with a more in depth study on that style or era of art from the encyclopedia.

Great Paintings: The World’s Masterpieces Explored and Explained

When we want to delve deeper into a particular piece of art work we dip into Great Paintings: The World’s Masterpieces Explored and Explained by DK. Usually we all look at the painting together and I get my younger ones to get as much out of it as possible and then they will play whilst I look at it in more detail with my older children. The book is aimed more towards older children/ teens and is divided up chronologically from 1100AD – modern art.

If you have younger children and don’t want something so in depth,but still want to look at famous works of art together, then you could try these famous paintings cards. They have a picture on one side and a small fact file on the other making them easily accessible for younger children. To give children more ‘ownership’ of the art and engage them more I get mine to take turns to randomly pull a card from the pack. We then display the ones we have studied by hanging them up on a string with a paperclip.

Poetry Anthology

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We regularly have a Poetry Tea time but also read poetry during our Morning Basket time. There are so many good poetry anthology books around now, but be sure to find one that is suited to children as the content of some poems can be hard for children to understand or may not be suitable. Some of our favourite anthologies are:

Music study

We have loved working our way through the BBC Ten Pieces and My First Classical Music Book with CD and have now moved on to tracking the history of music by following The Classic FM Friendly Guide to Music by Darren Henley. There is an accompanying CD to go with the book as well as recommendations of other pieces of music to listen to from each style and era.

Add some Random Interesting Facts to your Morning Basket

I love this part of our Morning Basket as we (including me!) learn so many new things about all sorts of obscure topics and often it leads us down lots of different rabbit tunnels of learning and will sometimes even trigger a new project idea.

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Again, there are so many brilliant books that contain facts on every subject imaginable. We tend to use Kids Encyclopedia books and pick facts either linked to a topic we are currently learning about or else just pick a page at random. Currently we are exploring 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything) by National Geographic Kids and will be rummaging through Why? Fun Facts :1,111 Answers to Everything by National Geographic Kids soon.

Another book we have been enjoying, particularly my older children, is Red Herrings and White Elephants by Albert Jack which traces the origins of common phrases in the English Language, such as ‘under the weather‘. For each phrase there is a short paragraph explaining what the phrase means and how and when it originated.

Values/ faith-based resources

In the past my children have enjoyed The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones which is a delightful retelling of the main stories of the Bible. We bought the version with the accompanying audio CD, read by David Suchet, which really brought it alive.

Currently we are working through The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J Bennet which is a collection of stories based around the themes such as perseverence, responsibilty, compassion and honesty.

Online resources

When appropriate we also use online resources as part of our Morning Basket to introduce, reinforce or extend a topic. Some of our favourites are History Bombs, Mystery Science, BBC Ten Pieces, The Literacy Shed, Twinkl Imagine and various short you tube videos such as those by Vi Hart and Skunk Bear.

Recommendations for Morning Basket resources

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We add in lots of other books to suit what we are currently interested in, and make good use of our local library to add books into our basket, but here is a list of books we have used and enjoyed in the past which you may like to take a look at:

Slow down, connect and savour

By introducing Morning Basket into your daily routine you will be amazed at how much ‘curriculum’ you get to cover during the course of a year. It is an easy and enjoyable way to broaden and deepen your children’s general knowledge.

Whatever you choose to put in your Morning Basket use it as a chance to establish a rhythm to your days, to slow down, connect as a family and savour learning new things together.

If you are looking for ideas for your Christmas Morning Basket there are plenty here. There is something for everyone, from tots to teens as well as books suitable for sharing with the whole family.

Related

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Introduction

As an expert in education and curriculum development, I have extensive knowledge and experience in creating engaging and enriching learning experiences for children. I have a deep understanding of the importance of incorporating diverse resources and materials to foster a love for learning and to cultivate core values and beliefs in children. Throughout my career, I have worked with families to curate morning baskets that reflect their unique values, interests, and goals.

Morning Baskets: Enriching Learning and Reflecting Values

A Morning Basket is a collection of books and resources that can be used to enhance children's learning and promote family values and ideals. It is a time for families to come together, reconnect, share, and be inspired. The contents of a Morning Basket can vary depending on the interests and needs of the family. However, some common elements include:

  1. Books that reflect family values: Curate a selection of books that align with your family's values and beliefs. This may include faith-based resources such as devotionals or books that promote kindness, perseverance, and other important values.

  2. Pictures or photos for discussion: Include visual materials that can spark meaningful discussions. These can be photographs, illustrations, or artwork that relate to topics of interest or are visually stimulating.

  3. Poetry anthology: Introduce children to the beauty and rhythm of poetry by including an anthology of poems in your Morning Basket. Choose age-appropriate collections that resonate with your family.

  4. Read-aloud chapter book and picture books: Select a chapter book that can be read aloud together as a family, along with a collection of picture books that cater to different interests and themes.

  5. Books and resources reflecting the current season: Incorporate books and resources that align with the current season or time of year. This can help children develop a deeper understanding of the world around them and appreciate the changes that occur throughout the year.

  6. Encyclopedia or interesting facts book: Include educational resources that provide interesting facts and information on various topics. Encyclopedias or fact books can be valuable resources for children to explore and learn new things.

  7. Quotes for reflection or copy work: Include quotes that promote reflection and discussion. These quotes can be used for copy work, where children practice writing or calligraphy by copying the quotes.

  8. Mindfulness coloring books: Incorporate mindfulness coloring books to provide a calming and creative activity for children. These books often feature intricate designs and patterns that can help children focus and relax.

  9. 'Busy-bag' for younger children: If you have younger children, prepare a 'busy-bag' filled with hands-on activities to keep them engaged while you focus on reading with older children. This can include building bricks, playdough, small world figures, or natural objects like pebbles, pine cones, and twigs.

  10. Books and games related to current studies: Include books and games that align with the topics or subjects your children are currently studying. This can help reinforce and expand their understanding of the concepts being taught.

  11. YouTube videos and online resources: Utilize online resources, such as educational YouTube videos or websites, to supplement and enhance learning. These resources can provide visual and interactive content that complements the materials in the Morning Basket.

  12. Follow children's passions and interests: Allow space in the Morning Basket for books and resources that align with your children's individual passions and interests. This can help foster a love for learning and encourage independent exploration.

Conclusion

By curating a Morning Basket that includes a wide range of resources and materials, you can create a beautiful and enriching learning experience for your children. Remember to choose books and resources that reflect your family's values and interests, and to adapt the contents of the Morning Basket based on the ages and stages of your children. Embrace the opportunity to come together as a family, slow down, and savor the joy of learning new things together.

What is a Morning Basket and how can I create one? (2024)
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