Carve Out Some Time For

Reading!

We shouldn’t teach great books;
we should teach a love of reading.
– B.F. Skinner

I love doing dynamic learning activities, using all different senses, textures, materials but the one thing that all of us must be doing with our children is reading. I am not talking about teaching letter recognition or phonics right now I am just talking about instilling a love of reading, and the wonderful places books can take you! After a busy week a friendly reminder about how important turning off the tv, closing the laptop and snuggling in with a few books is exactly what I need. Here are a few books that are favorites of mine.


“Something from Nothing” by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old yidish folk tale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem!


“Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes is a favorite of mine, the author has real talent for identifying with children’s emotions and he doesn’t skip a beat with this book. Wemberly is a little mouse who worries all the time, everything makes her sick with worry and nothing as much as the first day of school! What I love about this book is how her parents seem so supportive and caring about her anxiety, and how it still takes a little time for Wemberly to warm up to school, it’s realistic. Also check out the details in the illustrations, my favorite is grandma’s high top sneakers!


“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz . You may know Karen Katz from her very popular board books, but she has written a number of great picture books too! Lena is learning about mixing colors with her artist mom when she announces that “brown is brown” her mom knows better though. On a walk around her neighborhood she sees that all the people she knows are all different and all beautiful shades of brown. What I like about this book is that it recognizes that we are all different, kids , especially little ones can be really confused when we tell them “We are all the same” they don’t understand what we mean because they can SEE that we aren’t. This book celebrates the diversity while also celebrating the beauty of each color of us.


” the alphabet tree” by Leo Lionni is a stunning book and the first time I read it to a class , at the start if the Iraq conflict was rather poignant. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.

Football Craft

 

When I celebrated my first American Thanksgiving I discovered that pilgrims and Indians may be the historical symbols of the holiday but football is the down home one. So during a play date with a fellow football fan we made these fun footballs.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1 brown paper grocery bag, some newspaper, a stapler, some white paper, glue , scissors and brown paint or markers.
  2. Draw two footballs on the grocery bag, do not cut out.
  3. Have your child color or paint the foot ball brown. Let dry.
  4. While they do that , cut out 2 thick stripes , one think line and 6 short rectangles out of the white paper . These will be the laces and bands on the ball. I have a bunch in the photo because I had two little men making footballs!
  5. Hand your child some newspaper and start crumpling it into balls. Both boys were not into crumpling the paper, which surprised me, maybe they are still young, older kids love it, just watch out a few newspaper balls normally end up in the air!
  6. Time to glue, I usually put the glue on so my son knows where to put the laces and bands.
  7. Cut the football out and start stapling, don’t staple it all the way though.
  8. Stuff the newspaper in
  9. Now staple it all the way!

Books!

” Touchdown : My Football Book” by David Diehl is a short, to the point and completely entertaining little book. It explains so much about football in the absolute easiest ways. My son has started to show a love of football, helmets and tackling and this book is a great injury free way to harness that love!


” T is for Touchdown : A Football Alphabet” by Brad Herzog is a beautiful book that will delight even those of us who are never happy to see football season start. I admit even being an anti fan this book was fun and really full of information that even a football scrooge like myself can appreciate. Also it’s easy to read simply the letters and look at the pictures for little ones and has genuinely interesting blurbs for each page for older children.

Potato Print Turkey Craft For Kids

 

potato print turkey craft for thanksgiving

 

I thought I had had my fill with turkeys for this year until I thought of this, and I had to do it! Feathers are not the easiest art material to use, especially for little fumbly fingers, this craft fixes that! Who needs feathers when you have a good ole potato? If you don’t like potatoes you can try sponges instead, both make cool feather like prints.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, one piece of white paper, 1 potato, paint, scissors , a plate, a knife, a marker and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a turkey body shape ( think of a bowling pin) .
  3. Cut the potato in 2 lengthwise.
  4. Have your child paint the turkey using the potato. Let dry.
  5. Next get out some pretty colors and using the fresh half of the potato, I had to cut my potato into a spear because it was too big.
  6. Start printing in a ark to make the feathers, my son at this point only wanted to do markers , but I can tell you if he had done it it would have been much more abstract, which is perfect! Let dry.
  7. Cut the feathers out, here is where you can shape them into feathers if your potato prints were all over.
  8. Draw a face on the turkey and cut out.
  9. Glue the feathers onto the 2nd piece of construction paper.
  10. Glue the turkey body on and add some legs with a marker.

 

Parent and Tot Project !

Holiday Card
Holder

Picture cards are adorable, economical but very hard to display , so here is a fun way to make something with your child that you can use as well. I used cupcake liners because I have always had a horrible time making snowflakes from regular paper, cupcake liners are a perfect fix! Do not be put off my the sparkles, they aren’t a necessity, but if you do use them get bigger ones , they vacuum up way easier than the fine stuff!
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cupcake liners, I am using 2 sizes in both white and silver foil. Crayons- blue and silver, glue, sparkles , ribbon , clothes pins and a hot glue gun.
  2. Have your child draw on the white cupcake liners. My son said to me when he started “Lippy Lippy” which translates to his liner was slipping, if you have a really little guy tape it down with painters tape to keep it from “Lipping”.
  3. Next fold the liner into a triangle and make small cuts to make a snowflake. Older children can do this , but you will need sharp scissors so a parent should do this step for preschoolers .
  4. Next grab the glue, my son was very pleased to have full control of the glue .
  5. Sparkles! I like to use a paper plate to sorta keep him contained. It worked reasonably well too.
  6. For the foil liners we skipped drawing on them and just turned them into snowflakes added glue and of course added sparkles.
  7. Let your snowflakes dry. For reference my son colored all the white liners and added the sparkles to 5 or 6. Don’t expect toddlers to do this whole craft, if they do it’s a bonus but it’s too long for most.
  8. If you don’t need a card holder you can stop here and just have fun snowflakes to decorate your house! While the snowflakes dry add the clothes pins to the ribbon by hot gluing it to the underside. Alternate the direction the opening is in.
  9. Next add the snowflakes to the ribbon , I used hot glue .

10.Hang up and wait for all your cards in the mail !

Books!

“The Biggest Snowman Ever” by Steven Kroll is a cute winter book that holds a fantastic message inside. The book tells the story of a snowman making contest in Mouseville, two little mice work so hard by themselves but it’s just not enough until they join forces. Competition is not a bad thing but sometimes cooperation is even better, I really like this book.

“Snow Party” by Harriet Ziefert is a magical book that celebrates the biggest holiday for snow people, the winter solstice. I wish I had had access to this book when I was teaching because it’s a perfect way to read a story about celebrations without focusing on one tradition, or leaving out another. The illustrations are beautiful and the idea of snow people eating and dancing in the middle of the night is delicious!