Summer Reading For School Age Kids

Sent In By You!

Reading these reviews made me long for an extra few hours in my day to read these books! Series are a great way to encourage further reading for your kids who are thinking more about tv , and leaving learning at school over the summer. They will get hooked and be begging for the next book. I also love Rachel’s suggestion below about using the audio book as an incentive.

“Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist :Lunch Walks Among Us” By Jim Benton

Don’t let the cover of this book scare you! I read this book to my 5 year old daughter and we LOVED it! Franny K. Stein, mad scientist, just wants to fit in at school. After using her scientific powers of observation, she changes herself into a cute little girl in a frilly dress. But when a monster threatens her classmates and teacher, she must revert back to her mad scientist ways to create a likely opponent to save the day. You’ll never guess out of what! The story offers lots of laughs and lots of important lessons – like being true to yourself! It’s a refreshing change of pace to the usual choice of pink princess girly books out there. The action moves quickly. And with fun illustrations at every turn of the page, this is a great read aloud chapter book for the PreK and Kindergarten set. With the exception of “The Fran That Time Forgot,” we have LOVED every book in this series.

Review by Jean-Marie

“Magic Tree House Series “ by Mary Pope Osborne

I have a remarkable 5 year old who is just starting to read chapter books. He is currently in love with the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. When he starts losing interest in the book I entice him with a reward of listening to the audio book on CD once he reads most of the book. The books are great for beginning chapter readers and they get the kids interested in the topic discussed in the book (i.e. tornadoes, dinosaurs, wild west, knights, etc.).

Review by Rachel

“Nate the Great “ by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

“Nate the Great” is the first book in a series of 25 Nate the Great chapter books for young readers. Although the reading level is 2.0 (Beginning 2nd Grade), these books are perfect for advanced kindergartners as well as older and reluctant readers. Nate the great is a young detective. He loves to solve mysteries for his family, friends and neighbors. Annie is Nate’s neighbor. She painted a picture of her dog, left it on her desk to dry, and later when she returned to her desk the painting had disappeared! She called Nate for help, who wasted no time putting on his detective suit and heading her way! Nate asks questions and gathers all the facts. It’s exciting and even suspenseful to follow along as he works to solve the mystery. The storyline is truly interesting. Even as an adult, I was drawn in immediately. I felt as though I was solving the mystery with Nate! The illustrations are captivating and took me back in time. (1970’s) I just adore illustrations in older books.

I hesitate to mention two characteristics of Nate the Great that I don’t particularly care for, but I believe that if I am going to wholeheartedly recommend this book series, I should let you know about two things. First of all, at times Nate the Great is prideful. When he is overwhelmingly prideful and my boys act completely astonished by his pridefulness, I take advantage of that time by discussing the differences between pride and humility. Secondly, Nate does not like girls. This is either clearly stated or implied in each of the books we’ve read so far. I really do not like this part of the storyline. My boys have friends that are boys as well as friends that are girls, and I don’t want them to think it’s o.k. to decide to not like girls.

To see more great reviews like this one check out Marietta’s blog The Bookworm’s Booklist !

Sent In By You – Parents Only

Cooler than Tie Dye!

This project was sent in by Scott over at 360KID. This uses bleach so this is not a project for when kids are around however for a crafty parent it’s awesome. Make sure you are in a very well ventilated area- like outside and you use gloves when dealing with bleach. I plan to do this for my son with a cut out of an upright base- for some reason I can’t find shirts with that instrument in a 3T! Thanks Scott for sharing this and your blog!

  1. Gather your materials. Scott used an old black tee-shirt, some doilies, twigs, scissors, newspaper , spritzer bottle, bleach , water and gloves.
  2. Start by mixing 2 parts water and one part bleach in your spritzer bottle.
  3. Lay out the newspaper and tee-shirt.
  4. Cut your doilies, and paper into shapes. You could also use plastic letters, rocks… the sky is the limit. Place them and the twigs on the shirt.
  5. Spray with the bleach mixture. Wait. Scott said that it started turning almost immediately!
  6. Pop it in a cold wash – dry and you are good to go!

If you are interested in kids , learning and technology pop over to Scott’s blog 360KID , you’ll end up reading for hours!

Sent In By You – Re Made By Us !

Peek – A- Boo – Eggs !

How cute are these? If you think these are cute you are going to be falling all over yourself at the photos on Katherine Marie Photography’s site. Wow. Beautiful and she is crafty too. To see more of this adorable spring craft pop over to her site Katherine Marie Photography. Here is how we tried ( tried is the word to focus on ) to recreate them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard, paint, glue, paper in yellow for the chick, and pastels for the dots, a paper fastener,marker, scissors, a feather , googly eyes or buttons and some tape.
  2. Start by drawing an egg on the cardboard with a zig zag break in it.
  3. Have your child paint this. Try to stick with light colors, we used pretty dark ones and it made our egg look more dinosaur than Easter… Let dry.
  4. While they are painting draw a simple chick on the yellow paper.
  5. Add eyes a beak and a feather – I taped the feather on.
  6. Cut out small circles for decorating the egg- I used scrap card stock.
  7. When the egg is dry cut out
  8. Add your glue for the card stock dots
  9. Add the dots, let dry.
  10. Poke holes in both the top and bottom egg shells and thread the fastener through.
  11. Add your chick, again I used tape.
  12. Open
  13. Close

Thanks to Katherine Marie for sharing this wonderful craft !

Book !

“First The Egg” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is the perfect book to introduce life cycles to young kids. It doesn’t go into great detail, but it doesn’t have to it is perfectly effective just the way it is. Each page shows one stage like a seed and the following the result of a flower. My son loved this book and I think older children would too, it’s simple but isn’t infantile. I think the Easter bunny may be bringing this to our house for keeps in a few weeks!

Sent In By You !


Who doesn’t love finding something fun? Well these nifty little bottles hold more than just rice and toys, they are a great quiet time activity for you and your child to make together and use over and over again. Next time I am on a plane I am packing one of these!

Jump over to The Entertaining House to “spy” the how to!

How Do I Love Thee?

Let Me Count The Ways !

Using things like candy for math activities is a fun and novel way to get your children interested and learning. Jennifer over at Ramblings of A Crazy Woman shows us how to make this perfectly lovely Valentine’s counting game using heart candies! For the full how to and a million more awesome ideas head over to her blog:

Ramblings Of A Crazy Woman