Summer Fun for Kids from Crayon Box Chronicles

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Heather of Crayon Box Chronicles beautiful baby girl Savannah Hope was born earlier this month, after two in-utero surgeries. She has had a third surgery since birth for CDH, and she and her family are taking life one day at time. I’m joining a group of bloggers who are showing support through donations, fundraising, and by highlighting Heather’s blog. Crayon Box Chronicles is a delightful, sensory-rich blog featuring art and play-based learning for little ones. I have highlighted three of my favorite posts from her blog below, and hope you will drop by her blog, and, if you can, add a donation to the Prayers for Savannah Hope Fund.

fabric loops geo board from Crayon Box Chronicles

DIY geoboards are all over the blogosphere, but I love Heather’s use of fabric loops instead of your classic rubber bands – much gentler for little hands! She has also written up a very easy to follow DIY geoboard tutorial.

aluminum foil painting from Crayon Box Chronicles

Foil painting is another activity I have seen quite a bit online, but Heather shares a secret tip for getting the paint to stay put – using a very common household item! Click through to her foil painting post to find out what it is!

Rainbow sensory collage and printable from Crayon Box Chronicles

Once again, Heather takes a classic activity and gives it a fun twist using a delightful range of sensory materials! Her rainbow sensory collage printable is pretty cute, too!

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This list includes all of the blogs who are participating in this blog hop. Click through for more fun features from Crayon Box Chronicles !

Toddler Fun: Discovering Animals

Toddler fun - discovering animals

Eric Carle is this month’s author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids, and his frequently animal-themed books have led Anna and I to do a lot of fun toddler activities about discovering animals! We adore Eric Carle’s classics (affiliate links) – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Anna received the very sweet Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? as a baby present, and I am personally partial to Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?

Eric Carle makes some fun coloring pages and games that go along with his books. I’ll probably do those with the older kids later this month, but so far Anna and I have been using the books as a jumping off point to talk about animals.

learning about animals with books and stickers

I recently discovered that Melissa and Doug’s reusable sticker sets are actually vinyl play sets! The “stickers” aren’t actually sticky at all; rather they are vinyl clings that will stick to any smooth surface – temporarily. Since they aren’t sticky, you don’t have to worry about peeling them off of furniture, windows, or anything else. I bought the animal habitats set for my kids, and it has been the perfect complement to reading Eric Carle’s animal books! The animals don’t match up with the books, but that didn’t matter since we were using the books as a jumping-off point to talk about animals. Anna is particularly fond of the ducks (or “gucks”, as she calls them). We clearly need to get a copy of Eric Carle’s 10 Little Rubber Ducks.

I also need to print out a copy of my ducks coloring page, which would also go nicely with that book!

Using books pictures and stickers to learn about animals

I was a little surprised when Anna went from the vinyl duck clings to finding the duck card from our Baby Einstein Language Discovery Cards, which I like because they translate all of the words into seven languages. They are marketed as a baby product, but eight-year-old Emma is the one who usually uses these cards! Eric Carle makes his own flash cards that go along with the books, but we haven’t invested in those.

You don’t need cards or vinyl clings to talk about these books – it’s just the approach we took because they are the things Anna is particularly interested in right now. You can sign the different animals (Anna does enjoy that as well), use stuffed or plastic animals, make them out of play dough… the possibilities are endless!

Do you have a favorite Eric Carle book? How about a favorite activity?

VirtualBookClub

The virtual book club is cohosted by Toddler Approved- The Educators’ Spin On It- Rainy Day Mum- 3 Dinosaurs- Learn~Play~ImagineCrafty Moms ShareReading Confetti-Inspiration LaboratoriesMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasKids Yoga StoriesEnchanted Homeschooling Mom- Ready-Set-ReadBoy Mama Teacher MamaPlayDrMomFantastic Fun and LearningGrowing Book by Book- Royal BalooThe Outlaw Mom® BlogKitchen Counter ChroniclesTeach PreschoolMama SmilesCoffe Cups and CrayonsJuggling With KidsHere Come the Girls. Click through the links below for more posts about Eric Carle’s books!

Books that Help Parents Connect With Their Kids

Books that help parents connect with their children.

I like to read books about parenting and education in my free time. Here are a few recent favorites that contain wonderful advice and ideas of ways to help parents connect with their kids. From my point of view, connecting with my children is the richest gift of being a parent – the piece of the puzzle that makes parenting the world’s most rewarding job.

Links are affiliate links to Amazon – thank you for supporting this site!

I started reading this book after I received it in a giveaway package from lovely Mia at Pragmatic Mom, and it’s the book I’ve been recommending to my family and friends! I love Dr. Laura Markham’s approach to parenting! Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids is a must-read for any parent who wants to have a close relationship with their child – throughout their lives – and I believe that the approach she recommends is also ideal for raising emotionally intelligent children. This book is a parenting philosophy rather than specific parenting steps, and it’s designed for the imperfect people that all parents (and children) are.

Dr. Markham’s book is all about the importance of connecting with your child; Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking provides fun and engaging activities that make connecting with your young children (her target age range is 2-5 years old) easy! Author Vivian Kirkfield sent me a copy of this book to review after we connected on Google+, and I am really impressed! The book picture books with activities – perfect for reading your way through summer! If you’re on a tight budget, the Kindle edition is a very affordable $2.99! My eight-year-old is helping me run a home summer camp this summer, and she has been going through this book picking out books and activities she wants us to do together – the book makes planning very easy, and even includes a sample schedule for your day.

The Curiosity Cycle: Preparing Your Child for the Ongoing Technological Explosion is a great read for parents who want to raise critical and creative thinkers. Author Jonathan Mugan (who sent me a digital copy to review) thinks that modern technology will make critical and creative thinking more important than ever for getting an enjoyable job as our children grow up. I think he’s right, and I also think that being able to think critically and creatively is part of living a happy life. Mugan’s book is a little bit intense to read, but it’s a great source of information and also provides many concrete examples of simple ways you can inspire your children to think critically and engage creatively with the world around them.

What are your favorite ways to connect with your kids? Do you have a parenting book that I should add to my summer reading list?

Update: Here are the book recommendations I have so far from readers, both in the comments here on this blog and from social media:

Have you read any of these? What do you think of them?

Playful Preschool Learning Ideas for Home or School

Over 25 playful learning activities for preschool aged children

I love hands-on, play-based learning – particularly when it comes to learning activities for preschool-aged children! I was thrilled to contribute to the new Three to Five: Playful Preschool ebook (affiliate link) with several of my favorite bloggers! This ebook is full of wonderful activities you can download and complete with your child using household materials. It’s perfect for homeschoolers, and I’ll be using it with my four-year-old this summer. Actually, my eight-year-old is using it to run play preschool for my four-year-old this summer. It’s a great way to keep both girls learning and playing together, all summer long! This $8.99 ebook, (just like the Zero to Two ebook I contributed to along with several of the same bloggers earlier this year) includes several printables, and all of the activities and printables are original – you won’t find them on our blogs. Here’s a fun preview:

Cathy James of NurtureStore created a list of topics that we then signed up for, so the book covers the full range of topics you would expect a preschooler to learn about – from art ideas to pretend play to math, literacy, and science. My preschooler loves to keep busy, and I was looking for some sort of a playful curriculum we could use to give her summer some structure. This ebook is exactly what I needed – and so beautifully photographed! Here are a few of the art activities:

playful preschool learning ideas - art, math, science, and more!

Science activities:

playful preschool learning ideas - science, art, math, and more!

And Math activities:

Math is fun! Playful ways to introduce your preschooler to mathematics

Plus my favorite of the printables – a  fun city scape!

Pretend play and playful learning ideas for preschool aged children.

Does this look like something your family would enjoy? You can download your copy here:

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What are your favorite activities for 3-5-year-old children? Painting is a big favorite in my house right now – such a delightful sensory art activity!

Our Favorite Books by Mem Fox

Favorite Mem Fox Stories

Mem Fox is this month’s author for the Virtual Book Club for Kids, so today I thought I would share our favorite books by this author! Links to the books are affiliate links – thank you for supporting this site!

Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! is a story that any parent of a toddler will identify with. I love that it models a parent being patient, a parent losing it, and a parent apologizing. This is a wonderful book to read with toddlers through early elementary school aged children.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is my favorite baby/toddler book by Mem Fox. I love that this book shares drawings (by the talented Helen Oxenbury) of children from all over the world. You can also get a bilingual English-Spanish version of this same book.

Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! is a fun parent-toddler (or sibling-toddler) bonding book. Search for the ladybug on each page! I love the playful title, and how much personality is given to a tiny little bug.

Whoever You Are is the Mem Fox book that first got me interested in this author several years ago. I like this book enough to have written about it twice before on this blog – here and here. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is a wonderful world culture read for toddlers; this one is perfect for preschoolers and elementary school aged children. There is also a English-Spanish bilingual version of this book.

Goblin and the Empty Chair was a new discovery to me, thanks to looking up as many Mem Fox books as possible this past month – and it is a new favorite of mine! A goblin hides because he finds his own reflection so fearful – until he sees a much deeper pain and reaches out to help. This unusual tale is a beautiful story about internal beauty, healing, and the kindness of strangers.

Do you have a favorite Mem Fox story that we should read? Eric Carle is the author for June – which of his books is your favorite?

VirtualBookClub

The virtual book club is cohosted by Toddler Approved- The Educators’ Spin On It- Rainy Day Mum- 3 Dinosaurs- Learn~Play~ImagineCrafty Moms ShareReading Confetti-Inspiration LaboratoriesMom to 2 Posh Lil DivasKids Yoga StoriesEnchanted Homeschooling Mom- Ready-Set-ReadBoy Mama Teacher MamaPlayDrMomFantastic Fun and LearningGrowing Book by Book- Royal BalooThe Outlaw Mom® BlogKitchen Counter ChroniclesTeach PreschoolMama SmilesCoffe Cups and CrayonsJuggling With KidsHere Come the Girls. Click through the links below for more posts about Mem Fox’s books!