Summer Reading Calendars – FREE PRINTABLES

summer reading calendar

Summer reading is vital. Children can lose many of the literacy gains they have made over the year at school when they aren’t reading daily. Just because reading is something they MUST do doesn’t have to mean it has to be boring or feel like a chore. These free printable summer reading calendars keep summer reading fresh and fun from June 1st- August 31st!

Each day has a reading prompt, some are themes to read about, some are locations to sit and read, and some are other related activities. All are fun!

summer reading calendar

Summer reading isn’t just for “big” kids. Summer reading should be for all kids including picture book readers. These summer reading calendars are geared towards children reading picture books but could easily be used for any child at any level.  For very young children choose picture books and follow the calendar day by day. For older children reading longer books that might have too many pages to read in one day pick and choose 15 – 20 days to follow each month. Print these calendars out and use stickers to mark each day complete!

Print the calendars out here. Click on the link under the image.

june calendar image

 

June

july calendar image

July

august calendar image

August

 

If you want to have even MORE fun this summer with reading check out our popular Summer Reading Bucket List  <— click on the link for a plain text list of what’s on this super rad reading bucket list!

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18 Caterpillar & Butterfly Activities For Preschool { and Books too! }

butterfly and caterpillar ideas for preschool We are in the MIDDLE of learning all about bugs in my class and by FAR the favorites have been caterpillars and butterflies. They’re my daughter’s favorites too. I think that the fact that you can learn all about the lifecycle at such a young age has something to do with this. I like that as a teacher of really young children I can connect science, literacy, art, music, and movement into one theme so easily.

Here are my favorite caterpillar and butterfly activities for preschool.

paper plate butterfly with jewels

Easy Paper Plate Butterflies
egg carton caterpillars for kids

Clear Egg Carton Caterpillars

easy toddler crafts

Toddler Butterfly Craft 

caterpillar craft for kidsSize Order Caterpillar 
alphabet activities for kids

Alphabet Butterfly Garden Activity

monarch butterfly craft

Wooden Peg Monarch Butterfly 

butterflydyedpastasensorybin

Butterfly Sensory Table

easy caterpillar craft for kids

Paint Stick Caterpillar 

spring crafts for kids

Coffee Filter & Colored Glue Butterfly 

butterfly life cycle

Fill in the Blank Life Cycles 

butterfly-craft

Handprint Butterfly 

color and match color matching activity for kids

Color Matching Butterflies 

Butterfly Cereal Necklaces

Cereal Butterfly Necklaces

caterpillar c

Caterpillar C Letter Craft 

rp_butterfly-009-e1362553882290.jpg

Fall Leaf Butterfly 

butterfly pasta

Pasta Butterfly Collage 

Bandaid Butterfly Craft

Band Aid Butterflies 

egg carton caterpillar classic craft

 

Classic Egg Carton Caterpillars

 

Books About Caterpillars and Butterflies For Kids

All book lists include affiliate links.
very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a butterfly it also is useful for a lesson about the days of the week and healthy eating. Children love relating to the caterpillar who eats too many treats and ends up with a belly ache before eating one more healthy leaf and spinning a chrysalis.

rp_BobandOtto.jpg

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earthworm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

the crunching munching caterpillar

The Crunching Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan Cain is another story about a caterpillar who is not happy with his lot in life. There is a fair bit of language that some parents would object to. This caterpillar is often reminded that he is too fat to fly- so that poses a few challenges to parents like myself who are trying to instill healthy body images as well as using respectful words with others in our children. I have dealt with this book in two ways, first by saying that the caterpillar is getting fat but it’s a good thing because he will be sleeping for a long time in his chrysalis and needs that fat to live. Also, I have simply replaced fat with big, a word that is much less ugly to many people’s ears.
From Caterpillar to Butterfly

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heligiman is part of my favorite non-fiction for kids series ” Let’s Read and Find Out Science”.  I always grab these books at garage sales and thrift stores. In this edition, you follow a classroom of students observing a caterpillar as it metamorphosis into a butterfly. A classic spring activity for preschool age children to discover and learn about life cycles. Also a perfect match for your own Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden which I highly recommend and will be doing this year with my son. Reading non-fiction with your preschoolers is important as it teaches them seamlessly that writing and reading are not just for stories but for information too.

butterfly colors

Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horaeck is such a wonderful book! I love the simple text and engaging story about a little girl who is trying to find the butterfly that she saw the day before. In her attempts, she finds many other colorful bugs in her garden. At the end of the book is a beautiful pop-up butterfly that will delight your little readers. I read this to a class of 2 and 3-year-olds who were glued to every page and both my kids who are 3 and 7 loved it as well.  Great book!

Dear Teacher, You Made A Difference! Teacher Appreciation Special!

dear teacher bigThank you. Thank you to new teachers anxious every day before their students arrive, thank you to veteran teachers who have wisdom that isn’t always recognized, thank you to music teachers fighting to keep the arts in schools, thank you to classroom teachers everywhere who fight for our kids, for their jobs, and aren’t valued as they should be.

We see what you do and how you put your heart into it.

Thank you.

Instead of gathering materials for a craft or activity today I gathered like-minded bloggers who wanted to thank a teacher who made a difference in their life. I’d love for you to read each and every letter linked below mine.  These letters aren’t just for the teachers named in them, they are lessons we can all learn about dedication and love.

1983 Allie School Pic2

I wrote this letter to my first-grade teacher Madame Obadia in 2002, days before I was set to start my bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  I had not kept in touch but I knew her husband was a professor at a local university and I sent it to him to forward. Unfortunately, Madame Obadia had passed away four years earlier. He did send my letter to her children and they wrote me back expressing their own thanks. I hope this demonstrates how important gratitude is and that it’s never wasted.

______________________________________

Madame Obadia,
Although you taught me in french and it has come in handy on my many travels throughout Europe, especially in Geneva when my passport was stolen, I will write this in English.

You were and still are my favorite teacher I have ever had, you taught me grade 1 at Hillcrest Elementary in the 1983-1984 school year. I hated school and was scared of going.  As far as I remember my mother Vonna was at her wits end on how to get me to go to school because I flat out refused to go. It was your plan to reward me every day with a stamp which I could collect or trade in for prizes. You made me love school, despite whatever anxiety I had about going.

I continued with french immersion through to high school , graduated from the University of Calgary in 2000 with a degree in history and in a few days I am heading off to Thunder Bay to start my B.Ed program in elementary education.

I am sure that you have had thousands of students and are hard pressed to remember one from 20 years ago, but more importantly I remember you and you left a lasting and positive impression on me. Whether it was the letters to Santa that came back to us…I think in your son’s handwriting, or that I can still draw a swan that he showed the class how to draw, or that it was the little caterpillar bookmark I traded my stamps  in to get…something you did made me love school so much I want to teach.
Thank you,
Allison McDonald.

___________________________________________

wormy

Now 13 years after that first letter was written I think of all the things I didn’t mention. Like the time Madame Obadia asked me to befriend Miles a boy in my class that needed a friend and how she just laughed while my new puppy ran around the room peeing when I brought her for show and tell. She cared for us as a mother does, knowing when to push, having high expectations, and meeting each child right where we were.

In a few months, I will start a new chapter in my own education, graduate studies in early childhood and family development at Missouri State University, and without Madam Obadia I would never have made it this far. What she did was so much more than bribery, she made me feel safe even though I felt scared. She rewarded me for facing my fears. I keep the bookmark I earned so many years ago in Madame Obadia’s classroom to remind myself that I can do hard things.

teacher facebook

Check out more than a dozen other heartfelt letters of thanks to teachers who made a difference. Better yet write one of your own and share it with me or try to track that teacher down and send it to them!
Thank You, Miss Swett by Carrots Are Orange
Thank You, Mr.Blanchard by Not Just Cute
Thank You Mrs.Goetz by Thriving Stem
Thank You, Mrs.Ulrich by JDaniel 4’s Mom
Thank You, Ms.Austin by MultitaskingMaven
Thank You, Mr.Spencer by Education To The Core
Thank You, Mrs.Anderson by Mac-N-Taters
Thank You, Mrs.O’Neill by Encourage Play
Thank You, Mrs.Fox by Simply Kinder
Thank You, Third Grade Team  by The Educators Spin On It
Thank You, Mrs.Johnson by Mrs.Jones Creation Station
Thank You, Mrs. Ratto by Sparkling Buds
Thank You, Mrs.Powell by elemenopkids
Thank You, Mr. Brant by Bare Feet On The Dashboard
Thank You, Ms.Barry by Inspiration Laboratories
Thank You, Mr.Rouland by Clever Classroom

The best way to appreciate a teacher this Teacher Appreciation Week is to just say thank you. Go one grab a pencil and write a teacher who made a difference in you life or in the lives of one of your children and say thanks.

Egg Carton Caterpillar Craft

egg carton caterpillar craft We love egg carton caterpillars, they are possibly the most classic of all crafts. We decided to make a fresh twist on an old favorite. Our egg carton caterpillars are a little different. No glue or paint means your child can play with their creation right away or if you are a teacher your students can pack them up and take them home that day. This is a fast craft that can fit into pretty much any schedule. So next time you are picking up eggs grab some in a plastic carton and make some egg carton caterpillars.

egg carton caterpillar craft for kids

Gather your materials. You will need a plastic egg carton, sharpies, scissors, adhesive googly eyes ( our friends at craftprojectideas.com sent us these!), and some pipe cleaners.

egg carton crafts

Start by cutting the carton into caterpillars. Take a second to check for sharp edges and use your scissors to round any you find.egg carton craft for kids

Get out the Sharpies and color. The eye shadow and facepaint are optional. My daughter and our little friend who is three both took great care with the “big kid” markers. They were careful and loved being given the responsibility of something for older kids. sharpies in preschool age crafts egg cartonsYou may still want something to protect your table.

egg carton caterpillar craft for camp

After that, it’s time for the eyes. egg carton caterpillar craft for childrenThese adhesive googly eyes rock- the kids popped them on themselves easy peasy!

egg carton caterpillars for kidsThe antennas were my job, poking it through the plastic was really hard when I tried to do it through the bottom, but the side of the carton was super easy to poke through. If you can’t just poke through with your pipe cleaner try a thumb tack to make a small hole then thread it through.egg carton caterpillars arts and crafts

Play!

Books About Caterpillars

All book lists include affiliate links.

 

percival the plain caterpillar

Percival the Plain Little Caterpillar by Helen Brawley is one of my son’s favorite books right now, due to the fact that there are shiny and shimmery pictures throughout! The story though leaves something to be desired, as the message seems to be that being plain is bad and the only fix for poor Percival is when he turns into a beautiful butterfly! When reading this to my class I would often interject with questions to my students about what they thought was cool about Percival, and that combated the undesirable message that you have to be beautiful to be worthy.

 bob and otto book

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earthworm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

the crunching munching caterpillar

The Crunching Munching Caterpillar by Sheridan Cain is another story about a caterpillar who is not happy with his lot in life. There is a fair bit of language that some parents would object to. This caterpillar is often reminded that he is too fat to fly- so that poses a few challenges to parents like myself who are trying to instill healthy body images as well as using respectful words with others in our children. I have dealt with this book in two ways, first by saying that the caterpillar is getting fat but it’s a good thing because he will be sleeping for a long time in his chrysalis and needs that fat to live. Also, I have simply replaced fat with big, a word that is much less ugly to many people’s ears.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a caterpillar/ butterfly it also is useful for a lesson about the day of the week and healthy eating! It was a childhood favorite of mine and if the fact that he fell asleep holding his ” Pillar” is any indication it is already one of my son’s favorites too!

From Cateroillar to Butterfly

From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heligiman is part of my favorite non-fiction for kids series ” Let’s Read and Find Out Science”.  I always grab these books at garage sales and thrift stores. In this edition, you follow a classroom of students observing a caterpillar as it metamorphosis into a butterfly. A classic spring activity for preschool age children to discover and learn about life cycles. Also a perfect match for your own Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden which I highly recommend and will be doing this year with my son. Reading non-fiction with your preschoolers is important as it teaches them seamlessly that writing and reading are not just for stories but for information too.

caterpillar and polliwog

The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent is a sentimental favorite. I remember being read this book in elementary school when learning about life cycles. It’s more than just about life cycles of butterflies and frogs, it’s about becoming comfortable with who you are. I remember thinking it was hilarious when the caterpillar tells the turtle that she will be changing into something else not just getting bigger and bigger and he replies with ” I don’t blame you.” It made me snort as an adult too. Good for preschool through the early elementary years and if like me you read it as a child there is, of course, the sentimental factor. I love sharing books from my childhood with my kids.

25 Mother’s Day Gifts Kids Can Make

cheap mother's day gifts kids can make I have to be honest with you all the years I have been blogging I have kind of loathed making Mother’s Day crafts because it’s just been me making them with my own kids who turn around and give them to me. This year I am SUPER excited because my students are making a super cute craft that I can’t reveal yet… I don’t want to wreck the surprise and I know at least a few of my students parents read the blog ( Hi!). Instead, let me share with you some of the wonderful Mother’s Day gifts kids can make mom, grandma, or other special caregivers they want to celebrate on Mother’s Day.

mother's day gifts kids can make

Button Pendants
Tinted Mason Jars by Hands On As We Grow
Recycled Picture Frame
Book Order Bead Necklace
Grandma’s Brag Bag

mother's day crafts for kids to give to mom
Newspaper & Button Flowers
Love Bomb
Make Your Own Kissing Hand Necklace
Finger Print Flower by Nurture Store
Recycled Vase

mother's day crafts for toddlers and kids
Vibrantly Colored Coffee Filter Flowers by Fun At Home With Kids
Napkin Rings
Handmade Stamp Prints by A Mom With A Lesson Plan
Toddler Made Recycled Necklace
Twizzler Necklace

mother's day crafts kids can give to mommy
Milk Plug Ring
Pool Noodle Flower Bouquet
Art Magnet
Sequin Suncatchers
Sandpaper Printed Dish Towels by Toddler Approved

mother's day ideas
Flower Magnet For Mom
Recycled Paper Hearts
Dried Lentil Flowers
Salt Art Jar
Family Flowers