Best blocks and play structures for open ended creative play.
Gift guide for artistic kids (and adults). I’ve steered away from arty kits towards more open ended high quality materials and interesting toys with an artistic twist.
Best educational math, science, STEM toy gift guide.
Toys to keep kids active this winter and all during the year. This gift guide includes tricycles, pogos, sleds, luge sleds and more.
These toys, books, games and devices help make reading fun. They make great birthday gifts too!
I am starting to buy into this idea of teaching and really connecting material through games and apps. I was sort of on board with this concept, but since playing around with The Elements (a Harry Potter version of the Periodic Table) that my brother-in-law turned me on to, I am now a believer as I saw, with my own eyes, how captivated my kids were with the Periodic Table, an otherwise dull chart.
My brother-in-law turned me on to the Golden Apple Toy Awards, from GreatSchools, which are really great educational but fun toys vetted by kids, parents and teachers. I added a few more time-tested toys that we’ve used over and over for the last decade at my house.
Dragons and aliens and dinosaurs, oh my! And for girls, there are interesting slightly mischieveous girls to meet as well as cousins who are really sweet. Short chapter book series can often have repetitive plot lines about nothing or language that is neither rich nor interesting. There is something special about each of these book series for the child AND the adult reading along.
Every summer I stress out about what books to get for my kids that they will like but are also exposing them — as only books can do — to the wide world all around them both past, present and future. This summer, we are going to take a trip around the world by reading these multi-cultural books. What is great about this list is that it covers all the ages of my kids: from preschool through elementary school. I will be sneaky and check out these books for them and leave them strewn about the house for them to examine when they are bored. I will keep you posted on what books my kids actually liked because that is a whole ‘nother list! See you at the library!
I found this list of math apps from TouchReviews.net that I didn’t know about. You know me, I love math and apps so it’s a match made in heaven particularly if my kids will play them thinking that it’s fun. And one day, when I review enough great math apps, I will do a Top 10: Math App list of my own!
I wanted to do a boy version of the 20 Gentle Books for a Young Girl at the request of a reader. I tried not to duplicate books but there are many on the girls’ list of 20 Gentle Books that would also be great for boys.
In making this list, I tend towards more old fashioned books but gentle books for boys can also be modern. What are your favorite gentle chapter books for a young boy? Please share! Thank you!
20 Gentle Chapter Books for a Young Boy
10. Frindle by Andrew Clements
A delightful early chapter book that every boy in 3rd grade seems to love at my elementary school. Nicholas Allen invents the word “frindle” to replace the word “pen.” For him, it not really an act of rebellion, it’s more an outlet to explore the power of ideas. Frindle catches on much to the consternation of his Language Arts teacher, but is she really upset? [ages 7-10]
Multicultural Children’s Book Day
January 27, 2014
Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.
Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom have teamed up to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, Jump into a Book and Pragmatic Mom will be presenting the first ever Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.
Do you have people in your life that are difficult to shop for? My husband fits that category. He’s a minimalist but luckily he collects a few items relating to golf. He’s particular but he collects certain golf books (I have to run them by him to make sure they make the cut) and Scotty Cameron head covers and putters.
The Life Magazine featuring Ben Hogan is highly collectable. I found one in a used bookshop years ago for a Father’s Day gift. He’d love a few more to gift to his golf friends. Read more…
My mother is Buddhist and I grew up going to mostly weddings, funerals, and remembrance ceremonies at Buddhist temples in the Los Angeles area. Years later, when I attended UCLA for business school, I ended up in West Los Angeles’ Little Japantown a half block down the street from the Buddhist temple that my grandparents went to.
Most the Buddhist services that I attended were in Japanese which I did not speak so it was a blur of strange sounds and an occasional joke while I squirmed in my seat, bored. I’d nudge my mom for a translation but it was often too complicated to be whispered to me right then and there. So you might say that I got very little by way of Buddhist philosophy despite my mother having taught at her Buddhist temple before she had us.
My parents let me attend any place of worship I was inclined towards. I went to Mormon church class with my best friend in 2nd grade and Catholic masses with my friend Natalie in college. I went to Baptist church camp and took communion with best friend from Junior High.
But the local Presbyterian church was my favorite. I went to Sunday School there because of the neighbor kids but stayed because of the Old Testament comic books that were handed out after class. Those stories always ended on a cliffhanger!
Yet, as I get older, Buddhism resonates the most for me. The idea of karma just seems logical. The circle of life makes a lot of sense too. For my pick of The Picture Book of the Week, I chose one with a circle of life theme by Caldecott author Mordecai Gerstein. I hope you enjoy it.
What picture books that explore religious or philosophical questions do you read with your kids? Please share!
Circle of Life Picture Books for Kids
The Mountains of Tibet by Mordecai Gerstein, with a commentary by Sogyal Rinpoche
Gerstein says of The Mountains of Tibet, “I’ve come to believe that during the course of our lives, we can live many lives. … At one particularly momentous new beginning, I looked back at all the choices I’d made that had brought me to that point. That was when this book began.”
I’m proud to be an ambassador for the National Center for Learning Disabilitites (NCLD) and even though my three children are typicals, I think that all kids benefit from a deeper understanding and empathy for their classmates with special needs. For my kids, diversity no longer means skin color or whether their classmates have two moms. These are non-issues for them (and what wonderful progress in terms of Civil Rights!).
Instead, they will benefit immensely from a deeper understanding their classmates with learning disabilities that may not be obvious to them. This is the new millennium diversity issue and helping everyone succeed will make us a stronger community.
I wanted to share the great resources they have in the hopes that it helps parents. Here are four examples of the information they provide.
National Center for Learning Disabilities Resources
What’s the difference between ADD and ADHD?
The biggest difference is that kids with ADHD are hyperactive—they can’t sit still and are so restless that teachers quickly notice their rambunctious behavior and begin to suspect there might be attention issues involved.
Kids with ADD might fly under the radar a bit longer because they aren’t bursting with energy and disrupting the classroom. Instead, they often appear shy, daydreamy, or off in their own world. More here.
Why bring a child into this world?
Did you ever wonder that when contemplating parenthood? Or worry that the world is terrible place to bring a child into? Or a place with depleted resources presenting a grim future for our children?
Unilever’s Why Bring a Child Into This World? is a film created by Ogilvy London and David Latin America to invite us all to think about a more sustainable future. Why? It’s our children, research says, that motivates adults to make changes for a more sustainable future.
Unilever‘s film is part of an initiative called Project Sunshine that will create 2 million “acts of sunshine”, providing children with school meals; clean, safe drinking water and improved hygiene. To achieve these goals, Unilever is working with Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Food Programme.
Project Sunshine goes back to Unilever’s roots. Founder William Lever started the company (then called Lever Bros) with its first brand, Sunlight soap, in the 1890s. His revolutionary new product helped popularize cleanliness and hygiene in Victorian England with a mission ‘to make cleanliness commonplace; to lessen work for women; to foster health and contribute to personal attractiveness, that life may be more enjoyable and rewarding for the people who use our products’.
This post is sponsored by Unilever:
Because there has never been a better time to create a brighter future, we are launching Unilever Project Sunlight . We believe in a world where no child goes to bed hungry, where every home has enough water to drink, wash and clean, where preventable diseases are prevented, and where every child lives past their fifth birthday. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we are inviting you to join us on the journey. Take action to make a difference at projectsunlight.us
Unilever reminds me to think about a more sustainable future as we head into the holiday season. How about you? I’d love your ideas on sustainability that you’d implemented. Thanks!
My son is just 9-years-old and in third grade and I’m trying to keep track of the books that he’s read as a third grader. This is his list so far, as of November 2013. I’ve included his rising 3rd grade summer reading as well.
During my parent teacher conference, his teacher told me that my son was reading well and had a good vocabulary. I had a confession for her. (This is a little embarrassing!.) Every night, my son insists on bedtime reading and it works like this: I read aloud to him while he plays on his DSi or a (non educational) video game on the iPad.
I do find this irritating, so periodically I ask him what a word means as I come across it in the story or ask him what has just happened in the chapter book. If he can’t give me a reasonable answer, I shut down his game. If he answers my question reasonably well, he keeps on playing. Perhaps this is giving him multi-tasking skills? I’m not sure. We do take turns reading though I do the bulk of the reading at home. He gets reading time at school and takes his book back and forth each day which helps us move through the book.
We’ve made our way through every word that Rick Riordan has ever written in this manner. Now, we are working through Harry Potter and after that, we’ll finish the last four books of the Half Magic series. I hope we will read some Roald Dahl this year as well.
Here’s my son’s book list with his reviews. He highly recommends all of these books!
Graphic Novels and Graphic Novel Hybrids for 3rd Grade Boys
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
I think it’s very funny and it’s a very good book because he kept failing at life and being a detective but he thought he was the greatest detective in the world.
I just got the lastest Red Knit Cap Girl picture book, a sequel with an environmental message and this inpired me to create this list. I had hoped the first one would win a Caldecott but alas no. It did win a New Times Best Illustrated Book award but here’s hoping that Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue gets a Caldecott nod this year!
What are your favorite chapter books, picture books, folk tales, graphic novels or non-fiction books about the moon? Please share!
5 Multicultral Moon Themed Books for Kids
5. Red Knit Cap Girl To the Rescue by Naoko Stoop
Red Knit Cap Girl is back and when she finds a young polar bear cup, she asks the moon how to get it home. She and White Bunny go on a charming adventure that speaks to our fragile eco-system. Stoop uses found materials to illustrate using both paint and collage work which supports the eco message in subtle and beautiful way. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
I am just not good at crafts. I wish I was but I’m not. This is why I am so excited for a Christmas Crafts for Kids book. I can really use it. I’m also excited that the author is a fellow blogger, 123 Homeschool 4 Me, Beth Gorden. Her eBook contains more than 100 activities, crafts and recipes based on children’s books (which makes me deliriously happy!). But more than that, it is a labor of love that took Beth more than one year to write.
Christmas Craft eBook for Kids Giveaway
She has wonderful books, crafts, activities, recipes and and ideas for celebrating 24 days of Christmas. If you wanted to use some of her ideas for Advent, she also has them organized by the day. Her book makes me want to move in with her for the holiday season!
If you are looking to start a holiday tradition (or two) for your kids, this is a wonderful place to get ideas.
Day 1: Elf on a Shelf
Day 2: J is for Jesus
Day 3: The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Higgs
The Pine Tree Parable tells the heartwarming tale of a farmer and his family who nurture tiny seedlings into fragrant Christmas trees.
When the trees are tall enough to offer to their neighbors, the farmer’s wife plans to keep the most beautiful pine tree for her family, until one snowy December night when a child teaches her the true meaning of Christmas.