Spelling Activity

spelling practice activity for kids Spelling is a hot topic at our house these days. My son loves to spell and now his sister has started requesting to sound out and spell simple words as well. One day when he had a day off school I put together this spelling activity for him giving him a challenge while working on his spelling. This activity cost me nothing but if you don’t have a dowel on hand you could use a pencil in a pinch! Have fun with spelling and your kids will think it’s fun too.

Gather your materials. You will need some empty ribbon spools a dowel and a sharpie to make the spinner and then paper and a pencil to write down the words that are created.spool spelling supplies

Start by writing letters on the spools. I tried to have a mix of vowels and consonants on each spread out then as I played with it I added more when I realized I was off by one letter to spell something. spool spelling activity for kindergartenPlay round with it because only then will you also see if you can spell any naughty words. I missed one and our lesson included a lesson in the power of words and when and where they are appropriate. I actually didn’t mind getting a chance to talk about this issue at home but if you are doing this with a class or a child that isn’t yours it’s best to make sure no naughty words can be made.spool spelling activity for kids

Pop them on the spool and write a prompt. Ours was simply how many words can you spell but then together my son and I came up with other challenges :

How many words can you spell?
How many verbs can you spell?
How many names can you spell?
How many foods can you spell?
How many Pokemon types can you spell?
How many numbers can you spell out?
How many adjectives can you spell?
How many country names can you spell?

The list could go on and on.

Have fun and spell! spool and spell

This was my real goal for the activity… writing. My son loves so many things but the physical act of writing is not one of them. Any time I can get him to write anything is a win for us. spool spelling game

He loved the spelling which made the writing a non issue. See how sneaky I am? He’s totally hip to my groove but if it’s fun enough he doesn’t resist. I want to keep it fun at home as much as possible because I know he works hard at school. spelling activity for kids spool Kids need downtime, they need time to rest their brains so even when they have something ( like writing) that needs work we can make it more fun and less work so they will never get anywhere near burning out especially at 7! For more activities like this for school age children check out our Learning After School series. fun spelling activity for kids

Paper Plate Easter Baskets

easter basket craft This is a classic craft that you may have even done in preschool or at church as a child. I am not sure when I first made this craft but I made more than one as a child and dozens of paper plate Easter baskets with groups of kids over the years. Often I forget to do these old favorites with my own kids but when my daughter was pretending to use the silverware basket from our dishwasher as a purse it brought back memories of this craft and I knew what we were going to do. Here is how you can make your easy paper plate Easter basket.

Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, some ribbon, tissue paper, scissors, glue, a paint brush, small dish, hole punch and stapler with staples.easter basket supplies

Start by cutting your tissue paper into manageable pieces and pouring your glue into the dish.paper plate easter baskets for kids

Cover the plate in glue spreading it thin if possible.easy easter basket craft for easter

Pop the tissue paper on. tissue paper easter basket craft for kidsYou can glue on more than one layer adding on more glue as needed.tissue paper collage easter basket for kids

Let dry.

Cut in half.easter basket craft for kids an toddlers

Staple the two sides together and punch a hole on either side adding ribbon for a handle. This basket isn’t big enough for plastic eggs but is perfect to search for little ones and it can’t hold too much so you can keep it simple for little ones. I like using them to pop little encouraging notes in leading up to Easter.easter basket craft for kids

Easter Crafts { Add Yours! }

kids activities

Pinterest is on fire with adorable spring and Easter activities for kids so I know that you have a bunch to share.  We have a fun Easter craft coming on Monday so swing back to check it out. Until then browse the fantastic ideas from everyone else and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more ideas or kids and other random things I think are rad.

Let’s see what you have! Link up and share. Oh and as always the title is just a suggestion. Please feel free to share all kinds of activities!



40 Must Read Bedtime Books

bedtime book list for kids

Establishing a routine for reading every day is important and one of the easiest ways to do that is to read with your kids every night. No ifs, ands, or buts just grab a book or 10 every single night.  I have shared a lot of books over the years and some of the reviews below are from me but I wanted to widen the horizon a bit with this post and include favorite bedtime books from other education minded blogs. So below is a list of must read bedtime books to freshen up your go to pile on the nightstand. All our book lists include affiliate links including this one.

hug book

Hug by Jez Alborough
This simple book is great for my boys to read to their baby sister before she goes to bed. It has been a favorite in our house for every child. Review by Lemon Lime Adventures

greek myths

Usborne’s Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery
One of our favorite myth books, the binding is already breaking apart. My boys are 3 and 4. Although often criticized for being a bit too violent, these mythical tales draw them in each night. There is something about these stories that captivate and hook my boys to want more and to ask insightful questions. Hands down, this book is one of our favorite myth anthologies. The stories ignite a sense of awe and wonder about the world and provoke a desire to learn that I never imagined was possible. The tales are colorful and written well. This book is great from preschool on up with older children able to read them on their own. Review by Carrots Are Orange

looking for sleepy

Looking for Sleepy by Maribeth Boelts is a perfect bedtime book. I really think it’s brilliant. I was gifted it and it probably wouldn’t have jumped off the book shelf to me if I had been browsing at the book store but I am so glad it ended up in our hands. The book is about a little bear and his papa bear getting ready for bed. They go through their bedtime routine, starting by looking for sleepy hiding under toys, in the bath , in his pajamas, in the bedtime stories etc… I love the dad in this book. I love how he’s patient and kind and the illustration on the page where they are reading in bed and his toddler’s hand is awkwardly on his head cracks me up. My favorite part though is that when the toddler asks Papa to stay a little longer while he falls asleep Papa does. I enjoy books that are reassuring and provide a sense of security for young children at bedtime and this does that with ease. Awesome book!

pajama times

Pajama Time! (Boynton on Board)by Sandra Boynton
We love books by Sandra Boyton. One of our all-time favorites is Pajama Time! I love the sing-song way she tells this cute story about how the fun characters get ready to go to bed with a pajama dance song. Everyone can pajammy in whatever they’ve got – fuzzy, striped, red. Perfect for toddlers but still loved by my 6 year old too! Review by Fun Handprint & Footprint Art

Margaret_Wise_Brown_Big_Red_Barn

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her.  The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s  calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons.  A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.

goodnight moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups I admit I was wrong, this is a gem ! The rhythm and rhymes are perfect to go from a busy day to a calm night. My son chooses this book to read to us often since he knows it by heart and when he’s having trouble sleeping I can lay with him and simply recite it to bring him back down. I say that is pretty great proof of the power of this classic.

 

sometimes i like to curl up in a ball

Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In A Ball by Vicki Churchill reminds us all what it is like to be little–and to want to run, stomp, twirl, and jump to our heart’s content–but at the day’s end it’s great to cozy up with our loved ones. Review by teachmama.com

llama llama

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Little Llama turns bedtime into big drama! Just one more drink? The rhyming text and familiar theme is sure to make this a favorite bedtime story for all young children. Review by Pre-K Pages

time+for+bed

Time for Bed by Mem Fox is a sweet, rhyming book that shows animals putting their babies to sleep. The kids like naming the animals and I like that it ends with a sweet picture of a mama putting her own child to bed. Review by LalyMom

corduroy

Corduroy by Don Freeman
Corduroy is a bear who longs for someone to take him home and one day it almost happened, but who would want to buy a bear with a lost button? That evening, Corduroy goes on a search for his button…. My 3 year old daughter loves to create the sounds of him yanking and pulling what he thought was his lost button. In the end, Corduroy finds a home “better than the palace in at the department store.” Review by School Time Snippets

kittens first full moon

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
What a night! The Moon is full and kitten is feeling brave and hungry! He goes on a full moon adventure trying to reach that big bowl of milk he sees…in the sky! This is a wonderful night time book for children of all ages. Review by Sugar Ants

bed times

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill is an absolutely fantastic story about a little girl who needs to count sheep to get to sleep but there is one big problem the sheep are too tired to jump. They promise her to find  replacements but animal after animal is just not working out. I laughed out loud at many pages of this book  ( especially the chickens) and my daughter loved it even if she didn’t get all the layers of humor. Very sweet book .

bedtimes

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban is a classic. Frances and her very loving mom and dad are struggling with bedtime. She goes to bed but then keeps getting out of bed with reason after reason as to why she can’t sleep. The start of this story is really sweet and her parents were kind and gentle with her trying to alleviate her fears without fixing  everything for her. As the evening wears on and her parents go to bed themselves their patience is tested. Now I am not a fan of spanking and I have never spanked my kids so I had t explain to them what a spanking was and why Frances didn’t want one. I don’t think that you should avoid this book if you are ideologically against spanking I think it’s a great opportunity to talk about different discipline techniques and a chance to talk about frustration and sleep when you aren’t frustrated because your kids can’t sleep.

if you were my baby

If You Were My Baby: A Wildlife Lullaby (A Simply Nature Book) (Simply Nature Books)by Fran Hodgkins
This is a fun book for little animal lovers. It captures gentle and playful moments between baby animals and their mothers. The Pleasantest Thing

the dream jar

The Dream Jar by Lindan Lee Johnson
When my daughter was having trouble with bad dreams this book was a big help. In The Dream Jar the main character has a very vivid imagination. Her older sister helps her use that imagination to shift her dreams. I love the sibling cooperation. The artwork is also fantastic and we had a great time making our own dream jars. Review by A Mom With A Lesson Plan

mama papa board book

Mama Mama/Papa Papa Flip Board Bookby Jean Marzollo
This book is two books in one. Read it one way for all of the ways mamas show love and care, then flip it over and read it the other way for all of the ways papas show love and care. The illustrations are beautiful – this is the perfect book to give new parents. Reviewed by Creative With Kids

favorites

You’re All My Favorites by Sam McBrattney is a favorite bedtime book of ours because the three little bears ask their parents questions our three little kids have asked us time and time again: ‘Who is your favorite?’ Mama Bear answers the same way I do! Review by teachmama.com

I love you stinky face

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt.
This tender story puts a fun twist on the traditional “I Love You” bedtime story. My kids giggle all the way through! (And I love that the book isn’t overtly “boy” or “girl”, just plain great!) review by Not Just Cute

where is the poop

Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes
I’m afraid to admit this but my daughter’s favorite books are about poop! We love potty humor in our house! This book is a bedtime favorite here. She especially likes to open and shut the door on the last page where the little girl is on the potty to give her privacy! review by Still Playing School

goodnight touch and feel

Good Night {A Touch & Feel Bedtime Book} by Melanie Mitchell
Good Night is a delightful bedtime story for little ones. Children are taken through the days and evenings of various fuzzy animals, culminating with a young child heading to bed in her soft blanket. A wonderful, snuggly rhyming book for young ones. Review by Wildflower Ramblings

mortimer

Mortimer (Classic Munsch)  by Robert Munsch is a fun bedtime book, it’s not the calmest and is pretty funny so you may want to read this one before some more chill books, but it’s so cute I couldn’t leave it off my list. I can’t remember the first time I read this book, but whether reading it to a group of preschoolers or to my son I have never had a child not sing along with Mortimer who is driving everyone bonkers by not going to sleep! Instead he is singing and making noise and not even the police can stop him!

otto goes to bed

Otto Goes to Bed by Todd Parr is a really fun and positive book. Otto is a dog who doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play, chase his tail and a bath and brushing teeth don’t help. Instead he figures out that there is something he likes about bedtime, dreaming! I like that this book addresses that going to bed feels like missing out on things for kids, I know I felt like that for years. Instead of blankly saying “Sleeping is great” or “You have to go to bed” this book finds something positive about going to bed . The illustration of Otto as a super hero dog makes my son howl with laughter every time.

goodnight gorilla

Good Night, Gorillaby Peggy Rathmann
I admit that I didn’t love this book at first. I was an English major; I like words! This book is mostly pictures. But when my 20-month-old started narrating the pictures for me, I knew it was a keeper! It’s always good to find books that truly engage young toddlers. Review by Nothing if Not Intentional

Goodnight-Goodnight-Construction-Site

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker
Who would have guessed that bedtime rhymes and cement Mixers, bulldozers, and excavators would mix so well? Each of the vehicles settles in to rest at the construction site after a busy day, making it the perfect bedtime book for your construction vehicle lover! Modern Parents Messy Kids

steam train dream train

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Dusky Rinker
Steam Train, Dream Train is another wonderful bedtime book from the author and illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. The text rolls along with a rocking, lulling rhythm as the gorgeous illustrations follow an animal railroad crew from work to bedtime through a dreamy, vivid night. — Play Trains!

Bedtime-for-Mommy

Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Bed Time For Mommy is a great book about a girl that is putting her mommy to bed and the fun routine they go through at bed time. It is fun and cheerful and was fun to see what things my girls do a bed time. Review by 3 Dinosaurs

who will tuck me in tonight

Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight?by Carol Roth

In Who Will Tuck Me in Tonight? Woolly the lamb is ready for bed but his mother isn’t there to tuck him in. Many other animals on the farm come to try and help Woolly get to sleep, but nobody can do it just right. This book brings a lot of giggles at bedtime, especially when we help sing the “lullaby” in our loudest duck voices. And it’s a story that has been requested over and over and over again by both of my kids. Fantastic Fun and Learning

All the world

All the World by Liz Graton Scanlon
A simple rhyming story that follows a few families and how their lives intertwine on a run of the mill summer day. All the world is a favorite because it speaks to all the commonalities in humankind: love, peace, hope, etc. My kids loved this from 18 months on. Your Kid’s Table

russell the sheep
Russell the Sheepby Rob Scotten
One of our favorite bedtime stories is Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton. Russell is having a hard time getting to sleep while the rest of the flock is snoozing. He tries all sorts of things to fall asleep and eventually finds a clever way to fall asleep just before the sun rises. This one is requested time and time again in our house. Recommended by Growing Book by Book

Dinosaur Vs Bedtime

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea is such a great book for toddlers. Dinosaur is a tornado full of energy much like a 2 year old and attacks each event in his day with serious gusto. When it’s time for bed he roars through bath and toothbrushing and then just roars like mad when it’s time for bed. Much like my little dinosaurs he eventually gets sleepy and unlike the rest of the day bedtime wins and he falls asleep. My kids love all the Dinosaur Vs. books and I do too. They are fun , simple and if you can manage a really loud gruff voice it’s that much more fun to read.

good night animal world

Good Night, Animal World: A Kids Yoga Bedtime Story by Giselle Shardlow is a favorite at our house. It is the perfect way to help my active child wind down for bed, as he moves through the gentle, engaging poses of this beautifully written book. – Leanna @ All Done Monkey

Good Night Dinosaurs

Good Night, Dinosaurs by Judy Sierra is a tongue twister and I love it! I have a hard time pronouncing dinosaur names, but the cute little rhymes she writes to go with each really help. The book is simple, parent dinosaurs tucking in and getting their little dinosaurs ready to fall asleep. Your child will love the catchy “Good Night Dinosaurs, Sleep Tight Dinosaurs, Good Night Dinosaurs, Goodnight!” I know I did.

 

10 wriggly

Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars by Debbie Tarbett
Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars is a fantastic counting book for preschoolers. It’s one of our favourite books appearing at first to have a sad ending as we count down the number of caterpillars as they disappear from view (enhanced by the model caterpillars used) but ending with a bright and beautiful pop up feature. With rhymes and counting it’s a great combination for preschoolers and you to read together at bedtime. Review by Rainy Day Mum

time to sleep my love

It’s Time to Sleep, My Love is my favorite book by Nancy Tillman. It has a nice lulling rhyme to it and a sweet pictures to go with it. I actually sing the words to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! LalyMom

harry and horsie

Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp
A wonderful and simple short bedtime story about a little boy and his best friend, a stuffed horse. Read about a great adventure they have together and the love he has for his horsie before finally settling in for bedtime! review by Little Bins For Little Hands

voyage to bunny planet
Voyage to the Bunny Planetby Rosemary Wells
Who hasn’t had One of Those Days before? You know the kind where everything goes wrong. In the three sweet books in this little series the bunnies have a bad day that is made right by a voyage to The Bunny Planet. Reading them feels soothing like a warm bath and a cup of cocoa. Creative With Kids

ouch in my pouch

There’s an Ouch in my Pouch!by Jeanne Willis
This is a book we all love reading together because of the wonderful rhythmic language. Willaby Wallaby is grumpy because there is an ouch in his pouch so off he hops to try to find a new home. He approaches Mummy Wombat and Mummy Possum but their pouches are no good and then he bumps into scary Ma Dingo. Luckily, Willaby bounces back to his mum and finds out that the ouch is just his new little sister. Mum explains that there’s always room for them both in her pouch but Willaby realises that he’s a big boy and he doesn’t need a pouch after all (he likes being free to do bounces and hops!) so he doesn’t mind sharing it with his sister. It gives you the opportunity to talk about Willaby feeling pushed out, how his mum still loves him and how he can do more things now he is a ‘big boy’. Simple enough for toddlers to grasp. Review by Cat from Yellow Days

bear snores on

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
It’s about a bear who is hibernating in his cave during the winter. Lots of animals find their way into the cave and essentially have a party while Bear sleeps. But what happens when Bear wakes up? Review by Inspirational Laboratories

goodnight mr night

Good Night, Mr. Night by Dan Yaccarino This is another wonderful and calming bedtime book, Mr. Night quiets the animals , closes the flowers and gets the world ready to go night night! I love this book- I keep meaning to pick up the board book version! Like ” Goodnight Moon” there aren’t too many words, but the illustrations are perfect! My son likes to say “Come here Mr.Night” while getting into bed when we read this one.

how do dinosaurs say goodnight

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
by Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night is a fun rhyming book that teaches good bedtime behavior. Both of my kids absolutely love the fun dinosaur illustrations and giggle through the entire book as the dinosaurs stomp, roar, and pout over bedtime. In addition to showing a variety of dinosaurs on every page, this book also includes a variety of families making it easy for children to relate this story to themselves and their families. The reinforcement of good bedtime behaviors makes this book or go to bedtime story. At the end of the story, it takes a big hug, and then one kiss more- then I’m hearing good night from my dinosaurs. If you are looking for a fun bedtime story that will help make your families bed time routine run smoother that I would strongly suggest checking out this book! Review by Parenting Chaos

Did we forget one of your favorite bedtime books ? Tell us all about it in a comment and we can keep this list growing!

Easy Easter Activities For Toddlers

easter crafts for toddlers Toddlers are a special blend of curiosity ,new found independence, kindness, and chaos. That is why I adore this age group and am amazed at how many wonderful things they can create and learn if given the chance. These easy Easter activities give toddlers that chance to explore their curiosity and creativity as well as work on important skills like hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, pre-literacy and pre-math skills too. Activities with this age group ( 1-3 years old) tend to be quick. That is age appropriate so don’t force kids to keep going when they are done. One trick I loved using while teaching was to offer more materials as the activity goes on … ” Do you want glitter? I just found pink paint do you want some? ” I would never require it but offering options in smaller doses lets them process it all carefully and sometimes it stretches out the activity, sometimes it doesn’t. Have a basket of Easter themed books ready to extend the activity further. You can check out some of our favorite Easter books here.

Bubble Wrap Easter Egg Painting
Simple Cotton Ball Bunny
Sandpaper and Felt Carrot Shape Matching

Alphabet For Starters
Easter Egg Letter Discovery
Bunny Ears Hat
Torn Paper Collage Carrot

q-tip easter egg fine motor
Q-Tip painted Easter Eggs
Easter Egg Color Match
Easter Egg Letter Match

painted easter eggs
Rock Easter Eggs
Easy Easter Egg Collages
Bunny & Egg Color Match
Easter Egg Letter E Craft

kids crafts for easter
Marshmallow Painted Easter Bunny
Opposite Texture Easter Egg