There are some blogs I absolutely get lost in, Dollar Store Crafts is one of them. I adore this blog . The crafts are not just inexpensive and made with things from dollar stores and things around your house , they are incredibly creative and really hip. There are crafts for all ages, and all abilities featured . My favorite feature is that you can search by cost $1 and under, $5 and $10 and more. In this economy it’s awesome to have someone break it down for you like that before you end up at the store adding everything up and second guessing if you can afford a new crafty creation! If you haven’t visited before – check it out!
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington is another favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.
Mr. Cookie Baker was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.
SQUEAKING OF ART, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington is a fun book to read before and even more fun to read after a visit to a museum. This book follows a group of mice that all explore the museum, and the art on it’s walls. Each page is a different theme and the text is a dialogue between the mice and their Cat guide about the art displayed. The art itself are the author illustrator’s versions of art you will probably recognize. There are multiple paintings on each page and if you are like me and like to quiz yourself on your ability to name the painting and artist this book is for you. There is a guide at the end of the book for every page. I think I like this book even more than my son for that reason. My son likes it because he can recognize some paintings, but thy are redone in bright vibrant colors and have a more cartoon look, which I think appeals to my son even more than the originals. When we “read” this book we often skip the text and simple look and explore the art. No matter how you read it this is a fine addition to any library for those who love fine art.
I love wreaths, they are the perfect way to decorate and although I made a Halloween wreath last week I wanted to share how my son got in on the fun too. We actually made this one weeks ago. This Halloween craft was fun for both of us I love the organic look to it. If you don’t have a paper plate to use any cardboard cut into a circle will do!
- Gather your materials. You will need dried black beans, dried orange lentils, a paper plate, orange ribbon, white glue, bowls to mix , a spoon and scissors.
- Start by having your child mix the black beans and orange lentils. It was at this point that I got the idea for this sensory tub. My son loved this step.
- While they play with the beans and lentils add glue, lots and lots of glue.
- Add the beans and lentils. It was hard getting photos of this because I was helping him drizzle them on.
- Keep going until all the glue is covered.
- Let dry – I popped it outside in the sun to dry faster!
- When it’s all dry cut out the middle.
- Shake off any loose lentils and beans.
- Add an orange ribbon.
- Hang up !
Halloween Books from Carrie Anne
Carrie Anne is a monthly contributor to No Time For Flash Cards, she shares fantastic book reviews and today she is sharing her Halloween picks! Catch up with her on her blog Another Day , Another Thought…or two!
Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey. The kids love Dragon. Actually I love Dragon too. He’s such a lovable character. He has a few books out . The Halloween book has 3 mini Halloween stories. Dragon’s personality and natural innocence is so childlike , I think that’s why we all love him so. Dragon is written by the same author as Captain Underpants, which explains some of the humour.
Pumpkinheadby Eric Rohman. I love, love, love the artwork in this book, all printed from carvings. The story is cute too, about a boy with a pumpkin for a head. One day he looses his head and adventure follows. Same author / illustrator as My Friend Rabbit .
I am often asked how I can chill and not worry about the mess my son makes, but I have nothing on Filth Wizardry. The creative messes here abound, with amazing results. I loved the Freaky Scarecrow and her Playdough Dinosaur Island is simply amazing. If you haven’t found her blog you need to , trust me your kids will thank you!
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner is a good book for little ones interested in bugs, but not ready for a full non fiction science book. Various bugs are introduced with a fact about them, and the coolest part of the book is the page with the life size illustrations of all the bugs. The illustrations are bright and fun and the length is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.
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 earth worm 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 Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is more than a cute book about a crabby bug. The Lady bug is looking for a fight and each hour she finds a bigger and bigger animal to fight with until she is unintentionally slapped by a big whale’s tail! I loved using this book to teach telling time, as there is a picture of an analog clock on each page. I would use a play clock and as I read each page ask one child to come and set our classroom clock. Also don’t be put off by the fact that the lady bug tries to pick fights, no animal takes her up on her offer and you can spin that into a great lesson about not giving into people who are trying to pick fights.
The Very Busy Spider was a favorite of my son’s from the get go. We have the board book edition and what I love about it, is that the spider web in it is raised and offers a sensory element to reading the story. This is a story of hard work, persistence and also helps reinforce animal sounds. Perfect for toddlers !
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle is one of my son’s favorite books to read before bed, not so much because of the story but because the board book version has flashing lights at the end ! The story is all about a firefly looking for another firefly but mistaking all different light for a friend. Toddlers love this book because it gives them a chance to be bossy and say ” No that’s a flashlight” to the firefly. The text is the right length for little guys but not boring for older kids , and I need to mention the little lights are really quite magical in a dark bedroom, especially if you are in a place that doesn’t have fireflies!
Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin is a very clever book with some pretty funny bits of humor . Older preschoolers will love it. The overall theme is that spiders aren’t all nasty and that they have fears too. What a great lesson for kids that are at the age where they are not as eager to share their fears because they don’t want to look weak or unable to handle things themselves.
Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming is a beautifully illustrated book with a melodic rhyming text and fantastic descriptive words. The pages are saturated with color and the pictures are all done from a bugs perspective so feet, birds and lizards all seem huge to the reader and you start to see what it might be like to be so small! It was very reminiscent of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids My son loved this book and so did I !
Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg is a very interesting story of two ants who decide not to return to the colony and hang out in a sugar bowl eating instead. Of course nothing is as it seems and they have quite an adventure trying to avoid all the dangers of a kitchen, realizing in the end that being a part of a colony isn’t so bad! This is a cute book for preschoolers who will love trying to guess what each new adventure the ants face really are- they include a toaster, hot coffee and an electrical outlet.
I Love Bugs!by Phileomon Sturges is a rare find. It is listed as fiction but I would consider it as non fiction, as it really is a great factual book about bugs for older toddlers/ young preschoolers. It is really hard to find simple, short books that include facts and this one is perfect. It doesn’t go into the life cycles of butterflies or how lightning bugs light up, but it does use descriptive words with bright and charming illustrations. Great for the under 3 crowd, and useful for older kids too!