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The Bright Stuff: Playful Ways to Nurture Your Child's Extraordinary Mind [Paperback]

C.J. Simister
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 Oct 2009 0273728172 978-0273728177 1

Teach your child the real secrets to success in life.


There is so much your child will learn at school. But there are other, vital things that are all too frequently absent from a busy school’s syllabus, yet which are increasingly recognised as just asessential to your child’s future.  These secrets of success include qualities such as curiosity, independent thinking, perseverance, determination, individuality and a willingness to weigh up risks and solve problems.


In The Bright Stuff, leading child education expert C J Simister takes one secret of success at a time and offers a treasure trove of imaginative, playful and above all fun activities, games and exercises that you can use to preserve, nurture and enhance your child’s extraordinary potential, making sure it does not remain untapped. 


All are designed to fit in with everyday family life, involving little or no preparation. Appealing to a wide range of ages, they are ideal for keeping children amused in spare moments — over a meal, in the car, even when stuck in the queue at the supermarket.  And while they are enjoying themselves, your children will be developing crucial qualities such as initiative, alertness and an investigative spirit.  They will also be learning to form innovative ideas, to discern sense from nonsense and to use failure as a useful springboard for progress.


With this ground-breaking book, you can make sure your children have the skills they need to thrive in the real world, while helping them to become happy, successful and well-rounded individuals.


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Frequently Bought Together

The Bright Stuff: Playful Ways to Nurture Your Child's Extraordinary Mind + How to Teach Thinking and Learning Skills: A Practical Programme for the Whole School (Book & CD Rom) + Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential
Price For All Three: £52.01

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Product details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Life; 1 edition (9 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273728172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273728177
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


 "If my parents had had this goldmine of a book, I'd be a brighter and happier person. Buy it, read it, and sprinkle your child's life with its wisdom"- Professor Guy Claxton, Co-Director, Centre for Real-World Learning, University of Winchester.

"C.J. Simister's The Bright Stuff provides a really excellent resource for parents looking for imaginative ways to illuminate young minds. Lots of simple, easy things to do with your kids in one handy package. I will be using it with my own children." - Dr Stephen Law, Editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy's journal: THINK

“Many of those I most admire have few formal qualifications, but do exhibit all the qualities that are the focus of C. J. Simister’s book.  As a parent and a risk-taker, I applaud her work.” - Luke Johnson, entrepreneur, columnist and Chairman of Channel 4 and the RSA

From the Author

Having spent 15 years teaching children of all ages, in both state and independent schools, if I could give you one message, it would be this: that, as parents and teachers, we can make the most amazingly positive difference to the way our children grow up - probably vastly more than most people realise.
And it's got almost nothing to do with grades! As no doubt you'll have heard, exam results and university entrance figures are improving every year - on the surface, things are looking good. However, my concern is that this isn't telling the whole story - that if we look a little deeper, our kids are in need of a very different kind of help.
At school, children soon learn that they can pass their exams by repeating what they are taught without bothering to think for themselves. They're spoon-fed and it works. However, teachers, colleges, employers - and most recently, parents - are realising that, even with 'A' grades, something is missing. That something is real thinking - independent thinking. And it's real-life qualities that underpin this. Things like persistence, curiosity, initiative, originality and flexibility of mind are the hidden ingredients that can make a world of difference to how a child gets on in life.
Over the years, I've tried all sorts of ways to help the children I teach to learn to think for themselves. I've gathered and developed hundreds of games and practical activities that encourage kids to think critically, to sort out sense from nonsense, to solve unforeseen problems, to come up with their own ideas, to persevere - and not to be set back by failure. These children are going to have a huge head-start in life - a level of self awareness and an understanding of how they can shape their own potential that most of us probably never had at their age. And they'll need it - because they're looking ahead at a very different world to the one we faced, one that will require very different attributes and skills.
Along the way, I've always been struck by how many parents have asked me for advice about what they can do at home to help. This is when it gets really exciting. Because there are all sorts of easy little things that parents can do - things that will radically affect how children grow up, how they look at the world - and how the world looks at them. Parents are, in fact, in a far better position than teachers are to make this difference. So that's where this book comes in. In it I've gathered together the best of the playful games, quick activities and practical advice that I have figured out - all in a format that, I hope, busy parents will find interesting, reassuring and tempting to dip into.
We can't imagine the changes that lie ahead - all we can do is help our children as much as possible to develop the sort of mindset that will enable them not only to cope, but also to adapt, to flourish and to shine. This guide can put you, the parents, in a powerful position to change your child's future.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic book! 27 Nov 2009
By Steph
This book is great. It's not filled with academic jargon like some parenting books nor is it preachy or judgemental like others. The author clearly sets out what she's trying to do and presents it in a very accessible and readable way.

The main idea behind the book is that while school is generally about the acquisition of facts and knowledge, children also need to be able to think independently and creatively to enjoy a successful life. The author explains all this and then explains a series of games you can play with your child, designed to help them develop these skills and learn good thinking habits.

The games are wonderful, I have tried some on my 6 year old and we have both had a great time playing them - she doesn't even realise she's exercising her brain, she thinks we're just having fun together, which of course we are. Not all the games are suitable for her at the moment, as the book is aimed at children from 4 to 16, but that just means that we should get good value out of it over the years!

What I thought was particularly good about the games was that they were actually do-able, other books I've seen have what look like good suggestions but turn out to be impossible to put into practice. These ones actually work, how wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love this book! 28 Nov 2009
By Jacqui
I'm delighted to have found this fantastic book. It's absolutely packed with activities that parents can do with their kids to develop their thinking skills (and that teachers could do with their students if they had the time!). The book is very easy to read, but there are useful ideas on every page. One of the big advantages is that the majority of the activities take little or no preparation and require no equipment (or possibly just a pencil and a piece of paper). This is great because most of the activities can be introduced 'on the spur of the moment' so the kids have fun and don't realize you're actually teaching them to develop important skills. I also loved the fact that you didn't need to read the book from cover to cover to find real gems for your own particular child. From the outset you're given suggestions of activities to try for particular kinds of kids (e.g. those who are hesitant and unsure about making decisions, or those who have heaps of energy but find it hard to concentrate). Although the games, questions and activities are all great fun to do, they actually encourage children to think at a very deep level. For example, my daughter is now quite capable of understanding and explaining why some short arguments contain fallacies. I teach this to gifted students studying A level Critical Thinking, but it hadn't crossed my mind that she would be able to grab the basics at the tender age of 9 and actually enjoy it!. I think the main thing I'd stress about this book is that it helps you in a very easy, non-stressful sort of way, to bring out the best in your child. It's not just for children who everyone thinks are really bright - it shows simple ways in which any child (whatever their IQ) can be encouraged and stimulated to reach their potential, and have fun on the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious message -fun solution! 23 Nov 2009
This important book addresses a serious issue - that our education system is failing to meet the needs of many of our children. If today's children are to thrive in tomorrow's world, they will need to develop personal qualities and skills that currently get very little attention in most schools.
The good news is that a solution is at hand. "The Bright Stuff" provides parents (and educationalists) with an invaluable tool for helping children of all ages to discover the "secrets of success" - qualities such as persistence and creativity, and skills such as problem solving and the ability to learn from mistakes.
The best news of all is that "The Bright Stuff" will provide fun for all the family. If no one had told you that its numerous games and activities are underpinned by a serious intention, you might have thought their purpose was purely to entertain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ever 3 Sep 2010
I almost a collector of child-improvement type books but this is so good that I am moved by it to write my first ever review. It is full of brilliant suggestions, very easy to carry off, which always get the thumbs up when I propose them to the children - only screen time gets similar enthusiasm. It is a really excellent book and every thinking parent should have a copy.

Jane Andrews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading! 17 Nov 2009
This is a super book, managing to distil our best understandings in the field of learning into accessible, very readable and easily implementable form. Because it's so steeped in good-quality research, yet wears this provenance lightly, it manages to avoid many of the pitfalls that might otherwise have beset it - no sweeping and misplaced generalisations, easy assumptions or join-the-dot-type presecriptions - just damn good advice and ideas. And as with the world-renowned work of Prof Carol Dweck, to which this book owes a good deal, not all of these ideas and suggestions are "common sense" - not by a long shot - some of the best advice for parents (and teachers) is counter-intuitive! Well worth reading!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing read! 6 Dec 2009
By Geoff
The Bright Stuff is full of creative and fun mind-developing ideas that take only moments to prepare and are easy to present. I have already introduced some of Janes' activities to a group of children and their response was nothing short of engaging, with much laughter and imagination filling the room. The book is written in a straightforward manner, and caters for all levels of thinkers. Parents will love the ideas they can share with their child/ren. In today's world, it's not so much a case of what you know or who you know that gets you ahead, but rather, how you use your knowledge and work with others. This book will help give children the learning experiences they need to become such a person.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
All good. There really is nothing to add.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Anita L Couchman
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clever
Lots of wonderful ideas for supporting children's learning - strengthening positive learning traits and enhancing those characteristics which could do with a little support. Read more
Published 7 months ago by alphabet
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD
Published 13 months ago by Craftymummyto1
5.0 out of 5 stars Never mind children's minds, what about adults'?
I bought this book for my children about two years ago and we love dipping into it all the time. As a parent who doesn't always find the usual kids games particularly stimulating,... Read more
Published on 18 July 2012 by Andrew Hobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars The Result of Some Really Great Work
I came across Jane's work several years ago as she was running the thinking skills programme at my own school. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2011 by EagerBeaver
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
As a head teacher of 3-7 year old children, I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers. Parents at my school constantly ask me how to support their children's learning at... Read more
Published on 23 May 2011 by Karen
5.0 out of 5 stars A great source of ideas
After a rather old fashioned education myself, this book has opened my eyes to some smarter ways to inspire my children and get them thinking. Read more
Published on 14 May 2011 by Mon cher colonel
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of really good ideas that go down well...
My 5 year old daughter was so excited coming up with ideas of what might be through a secret door in the garden to what is now talked about in our family as "my land". Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2009 by Helen
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