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 

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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.

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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!

Paper Doll Sticky Wall

sticky wall paper doll activity Paper dolls are a ton of fun but if you think back to when you were a kid you might remember that they were also tricky to keep clothed. Their outfits are kept on by folding the paper and inserting a teeny tiny tab into the doll. I remember having a lot of naked paper dolls. My mom picked up this super cute paper doll set for my daughter when she went on an Alaskan cruise but after playing with it once the frustration was more memorable than the fun. Then I devised a way to play frustration free!

paper doll activity

Gather your materials you will need some paper dolls, painter’s tape, and contact paper.

sticky wall activity

Start by mounting your contact paper on the wall with painter’s tape. Don’t forget to have the sticky side on the outside.

paper doll activity

Next trim your dolls a little. I hated doing this because I liked that the girls were such normal proportions but if we want the clothing to attach to the contact paper we’ll need to trim.

paper doll wall ready to play

Add the dolls, their clothing and accessories to the wall. I put the clothing for each doll on a separate side and had the dolls in the middle.

paper doll wall playing

Invite your child to come play.

paper doll playing

Play.

paper doll wall playing with the dolls

I love paper dolls as a play item because they encourage storytelling so naturally. My daughter started making up stories about these two little girls immediately. I loved hearing the story she created for them, but best of all, I loved that she could play frustration free.

Link & Learn

kids-crafts-preschool-blogHappy Mother’s Day!

I hope all the mom’s out there are enjoying something they love today! I told my kids all I want is them to wait on me hand and foot when I return from my long run this morning. After that many miles, I may just pass out and they will get a free pass until next year!  One thing I will be doing is checking out what you are up to, so leave a link or two and share.



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.