Thanksgiving Crafts Galore!

Thanksgiving is just days away so here are some of our favorites, old and new to get you in the thankful spirit!  Making one of these Thanksgiving kids crafts with your child can become a fun family tradition. Click on the pictures of the projects to see the original post and full instructions.

A World of Thanks Wreath

A World of Thanks Wreath

Bubble Wrap Indian Corn

Bubble Wrap Indian Corn

Thanksgiving Craft

Thanksgiving Garland

Native American Headdress

Native American Headdress

Thankful Box Craft

Thankful Box Craft

Shape Turkey

Shape Turkey

Check out even more  Thanksgiving Crafts

Holiday Book Sneak Peak

guess_whos_coming

Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola is a funny book about the classic family gathering. I don’t know about you but our family Christmas dinners were more comical than Norman Rockwell and I related so well to all the different family personalities, and quirks. My son thought the fact that one of Santa’s friends brought a polar bear was hilarious, but was perplexed by the absence of any elves.  I like that Santa is exhausted by his family but in the end happy he hosted such a large family gathering.  My son liked it, and loved the illustrations  but it is a longer book so take a flip through it to see if your child is ready yet.

cockadoodlechristmas

Cock-A-Doodle Christmas by Will Hillenbrand is a really unique Christmas story. A little rooster is at the center of this book, he is so little that his cock-a-doodle doesn’t wake anyone up.  He is very sad about his inability until that night he finds himself in the manger with Baby Jesus and finds his voice. It’s a simple book, with profound meanings. This is a great book for a Christan family or to read at Sunday school.

Latkes

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story by Naomi Howland is a Hanukkah story about kindness repaid and how things can go awry. Sadie is a kind young woman and after she offers her fire wood to an older woman who is cold the older woman repays her with a magic frying pan. This pan magically makes latkes , as many as you want if you say the magic words . Her hungry brothers are overjoyed, their bellies are full but as often happens, they get greedy.  See the frying pan will keep cooking and cooking unless you know the magic words to make it stop, and her brothers didn’t hear those words. Mayhem ensues but the family and village find a way to make the mountains of latkes into a celebration. Beware you will be craving latkes after reading this, luckily there is a recipe.

han

A Confused Hanukkah: An Original Story of Chelm by Jon Koons is a delightful story about the village of Chelm, known by some as the village of fools.  The people of Chelm aren’t the brightest and when their Rabbi is away they have no one to guide them about Hanukkah. So they send a villager out to find out how to celebrate it, only he misses the nearby village and ends up in the big city where there are Christmas trees.  After he returns the village gets ready for Hanukkah with a dreidel covered Christmas tree, and they select the biggest fattest villager to be dressed as their version of Santa. Luckily the Rabbi returns , and gets the village back on course , explaining the proper Hanukkah traditions and the reasons behind them all. I love this book, I think it’s a great comical look at Hanukkah while really teaching much about it as well.

Bear Stays Up

Bear Stays Up for Christmasby Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep.  They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!

Bundle Up Books !

Book Reviews by Carrie Anne

When school started up again we all knew that summer was behind us, but sometimes it’s hard to let go. It takes great effort to convince my kids that they need to wear socks and undershirts again, that a hoodie isn’t the same as a jacket when they go outside and that hats and mittens are now a dressing staple. Now that November is here and the cold is setting-in I think my kids are starting to understand the importance of dressing for the weather. In case you have stubborn summer kids, here are a few books about cold weather clothes that might get them in the mood.

longjohns

Longjohns

written and illustrated by Kit Allen
published by Houghton Mifflin Books
board book
This is a wonderful book consisting of simple single word vocabulary (hat, mittens, longjohns) on one side of the page and wonderful stick illustrations opposite. Even as a board book consisting on single words, it manages to tell a delightful story. A child gets dressed to go outside to play in the cold weather then comes back inside to enjoy a warm cocoa before bed. I love that the book shows the child layering clothes on before going out and is dressed so you only see eyes peeking out. The illustrations cross the center of the page keeping them nice and big but without cluttering up the words. There are three other books in this wonderful series: Galoshes, Swimsuit, Sweater.

under hood hat

Under My Hood I Have a Hat

written by Karla Kuskin, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka
published by Harper Collins
picture book (age 4-8)
Based on Karla Kuskin’s original poem ‘Winter Clothes’ published in 1964, Fumi Kosaka’s pastel illustrations have turned this into a wonderful book for kids to enjoy. The child comes in from outside and takes off layers of outdoor clothes. After enjoying a hot drink and cookies the layers go back on for another outside adventure. The story consists of simple sentences and the page structure encourages kids to guess what comes next. Kosaka’s illustrations focus on just the child and avoid cluttering up this easy-to-read story with extra background images. This and the repetitive text makes it an ideal story for beginner readers.

jacket

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

written by Shirley Neitzel, illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker
published by Greenwillow Books
rebus picture book (baby to preschool)
Similar to the story structure and rhyme of ‘The House that Jack Built’, this story builds with each layer of clothes. As a new article is added, it’s given extra emphasis on it’s own page, then beside it lists the other clothing elements already included. The repetitive text and the rebus images make for a consistent and predictable story, great for beginning readers. Children will be able to read parts of the story and enjoy predicting the clothing that comes on next. This is a great way to introduce winter clothing vocabulary too. Be warned, you kids may take to repeating all or parts of the rhyme when getting dressed to go out.

Thomas-Snowsuit

Thomas’ Snowsuit

written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
published by Annick Press
picture book (age 4-8)
This is the most copy heavy of this month’s book picks, but you can’t go wrong with a Robert Munsch book. He writes with kids in mind, repeating text and adding sound effects. Thomas refuses to wear his new brown snowsuit. When his mother insists he puts it on they have a big struggle. The snowsuit is on but Thomas’ mom looks frazzled after the ordeal. Thomas’ behaviour is repeated at school when his teacher and principal ask him to put his snowsuit on. A struggle ensues and the teacher and principal end up in their underwear. In the end Thomas wants to go out and play with his friends so he puts his snowsuit on without any trouble. I’m sure kids and parents alike will relate to this woes of winter dressing, but in the end, in order to enjoy the outside and friends, the winter gear needs to go on, and Thomas realizes that.

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Carrie Anne is a regular contributor to No Time For Flash Cards, she is a mom of 3  who knows a thing or two about bundling up, and writing! You can find her every day at her blog Another day. Another thought…or two.


Books Every Family Needs

I love books and my goal was to break it down to 10 books every family should have. 10 was really hard to stick to but I still think every family should have these books.

baby book

The Baby Book: (Revised and Updated Edition)by William and Martha Sears. Words from this book were more often read to my son than the next 3 books combined in the first few weeks of his life. Hey I was a nervous mindful first time mom and this book was my go to companion for everything related to his health and development. Although Dr.Sears has become a popular figure head for the attachment parenting style of parenting even if you are not practicing it’s tenets ( co sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing among others) this book is a great all around book about your baby. If you know someone expecting, this book is a fantastic gift for them too!

goodnight_moon

Goodnight Moonby Margaret Wise Brown was an hands down favorite in our house from birth. We read it to my son every night and it became part of his bedtime routine so much so that on planes, or while fussy if I recited the text he’d noticeably calm down. At almost 3 years old he still loves this book and when we read it we purposefully change words and he laughs and corrects us. A wonderful bedtime book!

one-duck-stuck

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book , but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is another book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite!

goonight gorilla

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann was consistently chosen by my son to read for the first 2 years of his life. The book is largely free of text but the illustrations are so rich there is no need for extra words. The zoo keeper says goodnight to his animal charges, only to have them follow him home to bed. It’s a sweet silly book that even the youngest readers know is silly and older ones can easily relate to wanting to climb in bed with their caregiver. A fantastic book !

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

corduroy

Corduroyby Don Freeman was a childhood favorite of mine and my son loves it too. The story is about a lonely bear at a department store who despite being a little disheveled finds a forever home with a kind little girl who needs him as much as he needs her. There are so many levels to this book, as a child I remember being awed by the thought of toys coming alive in stores when the doors are locked and the shoppers leave. As an adult I see this as a touching adoption story . My son loves the escalators Corduroy travels on in the store ! This is another book that has lasting power and can be read for years in your home.

Alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was another childhood favorite that I have enjoyed sharing with my own son. This book is beautiful, even though it may take a few reads to soo it’s not a story about a whining little boy so much a lesson that sometimes things do not go our way. Days can suck. It’s just the way it is. As a child I related to Alexander’s feelings of frustration and things being unfair. How often to you hear a child say “No Fair!” probably a lot. This book taps into that feeling, being little is hard but just because you are mad, or your day was bad doesn’t mean you get your way. Great book to talk about anger and frustration with your child, and it’s funny too!

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak needs no introduction especially with the current film adaptation. However I can’t ignore that it’s my son’s favorite book. We read is often and my son randomly quotes the book throughout the day. Telling me to “Be still” just like Max tells the Wild Things. If by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with wild Things and freedom. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I couldn’t leave this book out even though I would be shocked if there was a single reader who has never heard of this book. I won’t wax poetic, although I could. I will say that it is an amazing teaching tool, the days of the week, nutrition and the life cycle of a butterfly are all covered in this classic book.

I love you stinky face

I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt is a wonderful mushy book that will still appeal to kids that aren’t so into mush. A little boy in his PJs asks his mom if she will still love him even if he was a series of terrible monsters. It reminds me of “The Runaway Bunny” but less saccharine and creepy. Sorry if I have just called your favorite book creepy but I’ve never been a fan of “The Runaway Bunny”. Back to this book and why I like it, I love that the little boy in the book keeps trying to find ways to make him unlovable and the mom keeps finding ways to love unconditionally. There is a deeper meaning here and moms will see past the fun illustrations to the real heart of this book, which is no matter what we love our children. When I found this in a thrift store and read it quickly, I couldn’t look at my son in his stroller throwing puffs on the floor without tearing up.


Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it , and he’s consistently reached for it ever since.

Ordinary Amos and the amazing fish

Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes is a funny book that turns the tables on humans , Amos gets caught by a family of fish and they keep them as a pet. This book was a favorite of all my classrooms, children love to imagine other worlds and one where they are the pet is both a little scary and really silly too! I love the message of empathy, and kids grasp it. They see that Amos once caught is sad and depressed in his bowl and that it’s no fun being caged up !

alphabet under construction

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but my son would sit for this book well before he was 2.

Julius, the Baby of the World is such a funny book that I actually called my mom the day I bought it to read it to her over the phone. The book is about Lily who is adjusting to her new role as a big sister. The thing is Lily isn’t adjusting well, and it’s hilarious because it’s so true ! So often books depict older siblings happily welcoming babies into their lives and that just isn’t always the case. Lily is not happy, she unlike her parents do not think this baby is special and she is openly hostile to Julius. I laugh out loud every time I read this book, I particularly love when Lily tells a passing pregnant mouse that she will regret being pregnant. I think this book opens the floor for a real talk about feelings when a new baby comes, it’s important to remember just because the big people are excited doesn’t mean the little ones are too!

whoever you are

My last but certainly not least loved book is Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. I had the absolute pleasure of writing a unit of study for Itty Bitty Bookworm using this book as the base. I often feel sick of the books we use for curriculum after reading it thousands of times, brainstorming lessons and activities. Not this book, every time I read it I get goosebumps. The book is simple and talks about the differences of little children all over the world, but focuses on what they all have in common. Children of various cultures are shown , smiling, laughing, crying and the reader can see that even if the clothes , or houses or food is different the insides are the same. I always choke up reading this book because it’s so beautiful and a great reminder for all of us that while we so often focus on what we see as different most of what we have is in common.


2009 Holiday Gift Guide

Santa hit the jackpot with this kitchen!

Santa hit the jackpot with this kitchen!

Buying gifts for children is a tricky business, you never know what will be a hit and what will fall flat and never get played with. I wasn’t planning on doing a gift guide this year, there are so many lists out there, I figured I’d pass and stick to my regular glue and glitter. Then I got email after email asking me for advice. I admit I always worry when I get those emails because I don’t want to lead you the wrong way. Kids are so variable.  So I decided instead of doing a wish list gift guide listing all the toys I think are cool, I am doing a parent to parent it’s worked for me guide based on experience, including a reader suggested list. I have not been paid for any of these endorsements, nor have I contacted any of the companies to include their products.  Please feel free to add your child’s favorite toy in the comments. This guide is about sharing and helping other parents!

We have 3 parts to our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide.

My Favorites

Reader’s Favorites

Books Every House Needs

From now until January 1st the gift guide will be on the main menu bar for easy access.