Organize Your Books with a DIY Book Crate

by Allison McDonald mod podge book crate craft for kidsI have been on a spring cleaning kick and when I was given the opportunity to make something for a sponsored campaign with  Mod Podge Washout  and Apple Barrel Paints I knew just what I wanted to make. While cleaning I was astounded by how many books we have. There are stacks everywhere and out shelves are full too. I wanted to make something useful that could help me teach my daughter to care for her books and that could make spring cleaning more fun. Now when my kids see the crate they are much more apt to put books back in it then back on the pile on the carpet. Having my daughter help me make this was really an important part of her taking ownership of keeping her books in good condition and so far it’s been working great. Here is how we made ours.

  1.  Gather your materials. You will need a wooden crate , Apple Barrel paint, some foam brushes, drop cloth Mod Podge Washout , some scissors , a dish for paint, and an old book you don’t mind cutting up.book crate mod podge
  2. Start by choosing which color to paint with . book crate box
  3. Paint your crate. One thing I love about acrylic paint is how fast it dries. I am so used to kid paint which takes forever. If you have an older child while they paint you can cut out the letters. But if your child is going through the “Let ME decorate the house aka draw and paint on things” stage wait until they are done. book crate 4I had to put the camera down too because she got too much paint on her brush and it splattered on me narrowly missing the camera. It washed off me no problem!book crate
  4. I doubled up the pages and drew the letters in pencil. book crate 7Cut and use the bottom letter so there are no pencil marks. book crate for book organization
  5. When the crate is dry it’s time for Mod Podge! The great thing about this Mod Podge Wash Out is that even if it’s dry it will come out in the wash. I have ruined plenty of clothes while crafting so it’s exciting to find a product that my kids can use and I don’t have to be right behind them wiping things up and off them. book crate organizer for children's books
  6. Start with a thin layer on the section where you are going to add the letters.book crate organizer for kids Add a letter and go over with more Mod Podge. Repeat for each letter.  As my daughter was doing this she was very angry that her initials were not being used. At 2 she can not read and while she recognized the letters she didn’t know why I’d chosen those. I felt terrible. In all my prep I didn’t explain to her what the letters said. So we took some time talking about it. book crate organizer kids room ideas
  7. After the letters are on add a layer or two of Mod Podge all over the crate. This gives the crate a finishing touch and helps smooth out any rough parts.  Let dry completely ( overnight is always a good bet) and add some books!book crate 1
  8. Since we made this our book crate has not budged from the hearth. She picks out books to look at alone, ones for me to read and my favorite ones for her brother to read to her after dinner. book crate for kids

Need books to put in your book crate? Check out our long list of book reviews .

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50 Ways To Teach Your Child To Read

by Allison McDonald

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50 ways to teach your child to readLearning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.

  1. Read to your child.
  2. Play rhyming games.
  3. Sing the alphabet song with them.
  4. Label things with their names from an early age.
  5. Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
  6. Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
  7. Tell stories.
  8. Have books all over your house.
  9. Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
  10. Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
  11. Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
  12. Make play dough letters.
  13. Play the alphabet game on road trips.
  14. Read the mail together.
  15. Make a reading nook.
  16. Clap out syllables.
  17. Make letter crafts.
  18. Make reading play time .
  19. Notice letters in the environment.
  20. Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
  21. Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
  22. Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
  23. Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
  24. Make your own books.
  25. Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
  26. Give your children books as gifts.
  27. Make up silly songs together.
  28. Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
  29. Play library.
  30. Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
  31. Play with word families.
  32. Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
  33. Let them see you reading for fun.
  34. Read nursery rhymes.
  35. Explore and trace tactile letters.
  36. Play listening games.
  37. Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
  38. Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
  39. Read books at lunchtime .
  40. Take books with you when you travel.
  41. Build with letter blocks or make your own.
  42. Do word searches.
  43. Play sight word games.
  44. Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
  45. Read comics and graphic novels with them.
  46. Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
  47. Read them poetry.
  48. Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
  49. Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
  50. Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.
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15 Fun Writing Activities For Kids

15 writing activities for kidsTeaching kids how to write doesn’t have to be all about repetition. There is absolutely a time and a place for that while learning to form specific letters but these writing activities are less structured, more creative and a good compliment to the drill that comes with learning to write.  Some of these activities are drawing which is often the key to making practice fun . Let them draw , encourage them to draw and provide tools for them to draw as much as possible. Many kids who aren’t fans of writing aren’t as unhappy with drawing so use that as your door to making them love writing too.

Letter Rainbowing
Dry Erase Mazes
Count & Write Fire Trucks
Mini Chalkboards
Name Bugs
Kid Designed Valentine’s
Write and Trace Place Mats
Sandpaper Letter Tracing
Counting Around The House
Fill In The Blank Stories
Art Cards
Journal Writing For Pre-Writers
Heart Chalk Boards
Dry Erase Doodle Mats
Catalog Drawing Prompts

For more writing ideas do not miss our Reading & Writing Readiness board on Pinterest. Along with other bloggers I share my favorite reading and writing ideas from all around the web.

Long & Short Vowel Sorting with Snakes

by Allison McDonald

early learning literacy activityGetting kids to learn after school can be hard. Bribery, delayed rewards even punishment seems futile because we want them to WANT to learn. Making it a game or using some novel tools for learning are my son’s favorite ways to learn after school.  These little slimy snakes are favorites around here . I find them all over the playroom so I decided to use them for a quick lesson in long and short vowel sounds. Learning to distinguish these sounds is an important skill for reading and spelling.  Have fun with learning after school activities and remember that these aren’t in place of homework they are in addition to. Use them as you see fit . My kindergartner usually does 2-3 a week and they are all pretty quick lasting between 5-15 minutes.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, scissors and plastic snakes you can cut. **If you don’t have access to these try gummy worm candies, ribbon, or yarn.early literacy activity
  2. Start by writing out pages of simple words with long and short vowel sounds . Remember that long vowels say their name (o- open , a-grape, i- bite) . I would work on one letter at a time.early literacy activity 2
  3. Invite your word detective to the table and ask him or her to help you cut some of the snakes into short pieces . My son thought I was joking and was excited to be doing something destructive. Is it a boy thing?early literacy activity 3
  4. Use the short pieces to indicate a short vowel sound and a full snake for the long vowel sounds. He was pretty into it. It was sorta silly but that worked in our favor because he loved it. The combination of a concrete object to show a concept that is not concrete can really help some kids grasp these tasks better than just saying words and having them listen and decide.earlyliteracyactivity4
  5. You can see how he was sounding the words out as he read them. Teach your child to read the words slowly exaggerating the vowel sound. He liked to stretch the sound the same time he stretched the snake. early literacy activity 5Make multiple sheets but don’t worry if they want to work on them one or two at a time. earlyliteracyactivity6
  6. Clearly he was having too much fun to be learning! At least that is what he thought. earlyliteracyactivity9

If this Learning After School activity isn’t exactly what you need but you want to keep learning with your school age kiddo check out our other posts in this series here.

Spin & Rhyme

by Kim

Title Pic

Rhyming is such a crucial part of reading. Not to mention it can be plain out fun and silly at times. Banana-nana-fo-fana (you now have that stuck in your head, sorry). Here is a super easy activity that encourages rhyming, word families, and practices breaking down words to read.

Supplies

Supplies:

  • Paper towel roll
  • Dry cleaner hanger
  • Scissors
  • Marker

Cut your paper towel roll into sections.

Cut tube

Write the ending sound of a word on a section. You can write another word fragment on other sides, too. I wrote “an” and “at” on this one.

Rhyme 2

Rhyme 1

Now write letters or the first sounds of words on another piece of cut tube. You can throw in some weird ones that will not make words to get some giggles, too.

First sound

first sound 2

While I was writing, I had some help. Little sister loved helping out with writing all over her piece. She is actually a lefty, so this is photo is hilarious to me. At least she is interested. ;)

Playing

Pull out one end of the hanger from the bar.

Remove bar

Slide your tube pieces on and replace the hanger end back inside the bar.

make a rhyme 2

Now your child can spin the first letter (or sound) of the word to make different words.

make a rhyme

You can practice rhyming as you go through them. It is fun to sing out the words and maybe dance a bit, too. But we are pretty active around here and I am sure your house is just as wild spirited.

On the go

My favorite thing about this is that it transports so easily. I know we can grab it and take it to another room without messing it up and causing a meltdown. It hangs easily on the toilet paper roll holder so we can play while we take our extra long potty breaks. It keeps my kids engaged while I do things in the kitchen and even can hang on the back of mommy’s seat in the van for playing while we run errands.

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as we do.

 
Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, a first grader and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.