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!
This craft was inspired by a follower on twitter, her son has a visual disability and she asked me if I have any crafts for children who had similar disabilities. I was embarrassed to have to say no. I started gathering supplies , brushing up on my early childhood special education and brainstorming crafts. I will be including more crafts and activities specifically geared towards children with special needs in the coming months. I would love to hear from other parents with requests! When a child has lost some or all of their vision the importance of other senses becomes heightened. Today we focused on touch but also sound with this Halloween craft.
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of sand paper, we used one very fine sheet and the other was large and rough. Orange and green paint, a black marker, scissors and glue.
- Start by drawing or having your child draw a pumpkin on the sandpaper. We made a separate stem but you don’t need to.
- Finger paint the pumpkin. My son was shocked to feel the sandpaper. ” This weird paper mama, it tickles.” You can imagine my happiness hearing that , that was the point. To feel , describe it and explore.
- While they finger paint draw the jack-o-lantern face on the 2nd piece of sandpaper.
- Hand your child the black marker and have them color the face . My son did not like this at all, it wasn’t easy to color on the sand paper and it’s roughness jiggled his hand.
- Cut the face pieces out.
- Cut out the pumpkin.
- Add glue
- Spread the massive amount of glue wher eyou need it! Pop on the stem on the pumpkin
- Glue the eyes , nose and mouth on.
- Let dry.
Reader Book Reviews !
“Shy Mama’s Halloween” by Anne Broyles sent in my Lynn. This book tells the beautiful story of a Russian family that recently settled in the United States and experiences its first Halloween. The mother, a naturally shy woman, speaks little English and is understandably hesitant about the idea of mingling with goblins and ghosts. She helps to make her children’s costumes, but leaves the task of trick-or-treating to her husband and the children. When her husband is too ill to take the children, Mama leaves her fears behind and takes the children out… read the complete review.
“Ten Timid Ghosts” by Jennifer O’Connell sent in by Janelle . The favorite Halloween book this year at our house is definitely Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O’Connell. Seriously, I’ve read the book so many times, I can recite it by memory. Everything Halloween is included in this read: A haunted house, ghosts, a witch, skeleton, bat, ghoul, cat, owl, vampire, monster, spider, rat, mummy and trick-or-treating. Really, you can’t ask for more! But wait, there is more… read the complete review.
Thank you Lynn from Chronicles of an Infant Bibliophile and Janelle from Brimful Curiosities for sending in these reviews and allowing me to share them with my readers. If you haven’t seen their blogs, please pop over they are two of my favorite for books!
Now that October has arrived, thoughts of pumpkins and candy and spooky things are swirling around in my kids’ heads. And let’s not forget monsters. Monsters have always fascinated kids. They’re both exciting and scary. Here are a few not-so scary monster stories to share with your little monsters:
Rosie Monster looked like the perfect little monster. Her only problem? She had terrible manners, terrible monster manners. She was too friendly, too polite, too nice. Rosie asked her friend Prunella to teach her how to be a better monster. Prunella shoes Rosie how to make monster faces, how to order in a restaurant, even how to behave when visiting friends, but Rosie’s manners don’t improve. Then something occurs that only Rosie’s not so monster manners can solve and her parents realize they’re lucky to have her, just the way she is. Children will enjoy this mixed-up manners tale and the delightfully rude lessons taught by Prunella. There’s a page of fluency words at the end of the book for young readers.
Carrie Anne is a contributing writer to No Time For Flash Cards , mom of 3 , and writer. You can find her at Another day. Another thought…or two
Super Easy Stencil !
This craft doesn’t take long to do but if your child is like mine you’ll make multiple ones. My son loves using this roller brush I picked up for under a dollar, so I thought it would be fun to make some Halloween stencils and roll away! Also we had no black paint so we mixed all the colors we did have and made our own “almost black” paint. Don’t miss the reader submitted book reviews after the craft!
- Gather your materials. You will need some orange paper, black paint ( or the colors needed to mix some), a roller brush, container for paint, scissor, marker and paper for the stencils.
- If you need to mix the paint go for it, my son loves mixing paint so I am glad we were out of black paint , this was a highlight for him.
- Sit down and together with your child decide on some designs for your pumpkins. If your child is able have them draw the pumpkins.
- Cut them out.
- Carefully place them on the orange paper.
- Paint over them, cover the whole paper with the paint.
- Peel the stencils off and marvel and the magic !
- Let dry.
Reader Suggested Books!
“Franklin’s Halloween” by Paulette Bourgeois sent in by Trisha who says : We read it all year round. The story has a nice arc, from getting reading for Halloween to the big night itself. We especially like how worn out Franklin is by the end of the night and has to be carried home.
“Behind the Mask “by Yangsook Choi sent in by Anya who says: This is a story about a little Korean boy who is trying to figure out what to be on Halloween, and discovers he wants to be his grandfather!
“Goodnight Goon” by Michael Rex sent in also by Anya Becker who says : This book is a parody on Goodnight moon! It is really cute and my son’s all time fave right now… he makes up read it about 20 times a day!
Thank you Trisha and Anya for the book suggestions!
Do you have a Halloween book you love and would like to suggest to other readers? Send them in with a short description and I will happily add them to an upcoming post.
I’m so excited to do a guest post for Allie at No Time For Flash Cards. While I run a Licensed Family Daycare and do lots of crafts, many of which I get from Allie’s blog, my own blog Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is mainly about breastfeeding so I have never posted a story or craft project before. This has been a really fun project for me and my daughters, so a big thank you to Allie for this opportunity.
I love using puppets to act out a story. And I love how mesmerized children become while listening to puppets. They are great tools for getting children to listen intently and interact.
I have adapted the following story from a story by Carolina Sherwin Bailey. You can change up the characters to suit the types of puppets you have. For instance, we have a number of animal puppets we like to use sometimes. Alternatively, if you don’t have any puppets you and your child can act out the story together. This also makes a great story on its own.
To do this story as a puppet play you will need the following: four puppets (a boy/girl, mother/father, neighbour/friend and a wise old woman), an apple, a knife (a dull one is safer and works fine for cutting the apple), and a tree branch. I also like using scarfs to make a landscape, and leaves since it is an Autumn story, but these are not necessary.
The Little House with No Windows and No Doors and A Star Inside.
Once upon a time there was a boy who was tired of playing with his toys and wanted something new to do.
So he asked his mother, “What should I do?”
His mother thought and thought. Finally she told him, “Go and find me a little red and green house [use the same colours as your apple] with no windows or doors and a star inside.”
This really made the boy wonder. His mother usually had good ideas but this one sounded very strange.
“Which way shall I go?” he asked. “I don’t know where to find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside.”
“Go down the lane, past the farmer’s house and over the hill,” she said. “And then hurry back and tell me all about your journey.”
So the boy put on his jacket and went outside. It was a lovely Fall day and the leaves were starting to change colour and float down to the ground [children may blow around the leaves if you have any].
He hadn’t gone very far up the lane when he saw his neighbour who was working in his yard.
“Hello neighbour!” called the boy. “Do you know where I could find a little red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?”
Well, that’s a mighty strange thing to be looking for!” the neighbour chuckled.
“Why don’t you walk up the lane, past the farmer’s house and ask the old lady who lives at the top of the hill. She’s a very wise woman. I bet she would know.”
So the little boy set off up the road. Soon he came to the house and he knocked on the door. [Knock knoock knock!]
The wise woman answered the door and smiled sweetly at the boy.
“Hello,” she said.
“Hello,” answered the boy. “Do you know where I could find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?” he asked. “My mother wants me to find her one and bring it to her.”
“Oh my!” said the wise woman, the lines in her face crinkling with joy. “I would like to find such a house myself. It would be so warm when the frosty nights came. You should go to the orchard and ask the wind. The wind listens at all the chimneys and knows many secrets. I think the wind could tell you. Now off you go!” she said shooing him out the door with a smile.
“Grown ups sure are strange sometimes,” thought the boy. But being a good listener and wanting to please his mother, he went to the orchard.
When he got there he stopped and sat underneath a tree. “Wind,” he called,”could you please tell me where I can find a red and green house with no windows and no doors and a star inside?” [Have children blow like the wind and rustle the tree branch]
He listened for a reply but heard nothing. But then the wind started to blow.
It blew through his hair and through the leaves and suddenly an apple dropped from the tree and fell right into his lap! It was red and green and he could see a little worm inside it.
“Why, this apple is the worm’s house!” he thought. “And it is red and green and there are no doors and no windows!” He lept to his feet. “I think this is what my mother wanted me to find!”
He ran home as fas as he could.
When he got inside he cried, “Mother! I found a red and green house with no windows and no doors, but what about the star inside?”
His mother took the apple from him and smiled. “Watch,” she told him, and she cut that apple in half width-ways and showed him.
“There’s the star inside!” said the boy. “I think it is too pretty not to look at before we eat the apple, don’t you think mother?”
“Yes, indeed,” replied his mother, and they sat down at the table and shared the apple.
It is a nice treat to sit down and eat your apple with your child, but you can also make apple prints with your apple halves.
Apple Print Craft
What you will need: red and green paint, white paper, a shallow dish, apple halves.
Squirt some paint into the dish and press an apple half into each paint blob. Swirl it around a bit to cover the whole apple.
Your apple should look like this:
Press the painted apple onto the paper.
It’s okay if the colours mix a little. It’s all about experimenting and having fun.
The finished projects.
What kinds of stories do you know about fruits or vegetables that you could do a print craft with afterwards?