Books Kids Will Love

If you’re struggling to find books your kids will love to read, check out these great resources.

Read Kiddo Read!  Author James Patterson hosts a website with great recommendations for children’s books. You can search age and genre to find the perfect picks for even your most timid readers: http://www.readkiddoread.com/home

Guys Read, Too! Here’s another one of my absolute favorite resource sites for books my son will like: http://www.guysread.com/ This site is geared for parents of boys who just can’t find anything they really want to read.

Or…They Listen! We all know some kids process auditory information better than visual. That’s one of the many reasons it helps children to hear us read aloud to them. But…even the best days don’t always allow as much time as we’d like to read aloud to our kids. That’s where this great site comes in: http://library.booksontape.com/guyslisten.cfm. Here,  you can listen to a huge collection of online library audiobooks for free!

Try letting your reluctant reader listen along as s/he turns pages of the book you’ve actually checked out from you own local library. Don’t let this replace quality family storytime, but it’s a great reinforcement activity to build your kids’ interest in literacy.

Cheers,

julie

*Photo Source: http://www.afprovidence.org/

Earth Day for Kids

Help little ones celebrate our beautiful home on Earth Day, April 22, and beyond.

  1.  Sing songs such as, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” or “Deep and Wide” and talk about God’s amazing creations.
  2. Let younger children act out different animals. One fun way to do this is to spread out a sheet on the ground and let them all stand on the sheet. Pretend you are in an elevator going up and down to different floors. When you reach the destination, announce “Elephant Floor!” Everyone gets off the elevator and acts like an elephant for a minute or two. Then call “All Aboard!” and move on to another floor. Try tigers, ants, puppy dogs, and monkeys. Tip: Before ending the game, transition by entering the whispering floor, the tiptoeing floor, and finally, the napping floor.
  3. Older children can spread a large sheet of paper and draw or paint the rain forest. Learn about endangered animals such as sea turtles, bald eagles, and manatees.
  4. Don’t forget to encourage your family to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.” – Psalm 111.2  (NIV)

Quick and Easy Craft Fun

Out of money, time, and ideas to keep those little hands busy today? Grab a stash of pipe cleaners or a roll of aluminum foil and encourage your little ones to create balls, angels, monsters, animals, or any imaginary creature they can design.

Foil can be folded, crumpled, drawn on, etched into, or torn into a wide array of structures. With a few bends and twists, pipe cleaners are the ultimate art tool. Get creative. Have fun. And see what you can create as a family with these common, inexpensive household items.

Happy Creating!

j

To Speak or Not to Speak

I’ve been quiet lately. It’s hard for those who know me best to believe it, but it’s true. In recent weeks, I’ve been blessed with a few spare moments of time to be alone. Not lonely. But alone. And it’s been an incredible gift.

I’ve had time to examine my life and my priorities, and I’ve had time to get to know myself again in a way I have missed for years. Most mothers are just like me. We run from one responsibility to the next, taking care of everyone and everything except ourselves. Not only had I been driving with my gas light on, my tank was beyond depleted. My engine had stalled, and it was time to make some hard choices. Some doors were closed. Some opened. And I ended up right where I needed to be.

Now, after catching up on peace and quiet and prayer and oh-so-sweet-and-sacred sleep…I feel rejuvenated and renewed. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

The transition was complete yesterday. Our daughter was baptized and confirmed, and we all joined the church…our first time to make that committment since college years. While we have visited many and have even been very involved in some churches, we never took the jump. There was always something holding us back.

During the service yesterday, Claire Dobbs referenced St. Francis of Assisi with one of my favorite quotes. I thought I’d share it with you today, and then….I’ll go back to being quiet.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” – Francis of Assisi

Meaningful Easter Gifts

Looking for a last-minute Easter gift that will send a positive, inspirational message about faith?

God is with Me through the Day and God is with Me through the Night are ideal for kids birth through third grade.

 Order signed/personalized copies from Square Books, Jr. in Oxford, MS. by calling 1.662.236.2207, or order from your favorite online book retailer.

Happy Easter!

Five Fabulously Fun Ways to Bond with your Kids in Five Minutes or Less

Got five minutes? Then you’ve got plenty of time to give your little ones pure, undivided attention – and have fun doing it!

1. Poke holes in the bottom of an empty margarine/butter tub using an ice pick. At bath time, help your child fill the tub with water and make it rain in the tub! Sing the family favorite: “It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed with a bump on his head and didn’t wake up until morning.”

2. Snip several drinking straws into various lengths. Keep them in a Ziploc bag and when you’re stuck in a doctor’s office waiting room, help your child organize the straw pieces from shortest to longest. Remember to start slow. Toddlers may need to start with three pieces. Increase level of difficulty by following your child’s lead.

3. Turn on some fun music and have a dance party. There’s nothing any child loves more than seeing mom or dad get silly. Sing along at the top of your lungs, even if you do sing off key. And whatever you do, just dance! Kids will have a blast and cherish those memories forever.

4. Get down on your hands and knees and see the world as your child sees it. Point out all the wonders you can find as you explore your home together. You might be surprised at all you’ve been missing by not getting down on their level.

5. Get nurtured by nature. Take a walk…and take time to share your child’s wonder. The best time to walk is after a rainstorm. Jump in puddles, help earthworms find their way back to the garden, listen to the birds and see if you can find them in the trees. Count new spring flowers (early crocus blooms are already popping up in my neck of the woods). Collect treasures. Smell various flowers and trees (did you know some pine trees smell like vanilla?). Savor the day.

Don’t forget tickle fights, pillow fights, stories, and snuggles. Hugs, high fives, and happy smiles. Even a simple thumbs-up can make all the difference in a day.

Whatever you do, try to take time to look your child directly in the eye and really listen when they talk to you.  Turn off the computer, tv, cell phone. Let your little ones know that they matter most to you. This holds true for children of all ages — as we all know that even tweens and teens really do want your undivided attention. Give them every reason to believe, without a doubt, that you are on their side in this world.

Peace,

julie

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Celebrate the imagination of America’s favorite children’s book author, the incredible Dr. Seuss (whose birthday is March 2)! One of my favorite Seuss books is Horton Hears a Who. I found this very simple craft online, and it would be an ideal way for kids to engage in meaningful roleplay activities after reading the book (and perhaps watching the movie).

 

Use hot glue to attach a pink pom-pom to a green pencil or popsicle stick. Then glue a tiny white pom-pom (or portion of cotton ball) to the pink clover. 

Now, help your children pretend they are Horton. The entire fate of Whoville rests in their hands. Be careful not to drop the clover! 

Give them daring challenges. Cross the bridge – a row of pillows on the floor; Jump the ravine – from one hoola hoop to the next; Don’t let the sharks get you – climb on outdoor play structure without letting your feet hit the ground, etc. etc.  Be sure to keep the activities child-friendly and age-appropriate with adult supervision at all times…and whatever you do, don’t drop the clover!

Visit you local library or bookstore for other fun Dr. Seuss reads. While younger children may prefer the simpler books, you may also want to try some of my personal favorites:

  • And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street
  • Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go
  • Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!
  • Great Day for Up!
  • Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him!
  • In a People House
  • Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now!
  • The Butter Battle Book
  • The Lorax
  • There’s a Wocket in My Pocket

Also visit www.seussville.com for fun online activities.