As an educator and parenting blogger – I get asked all the time from other parents, “How can I help my kids at home?”
Parents… I promise, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Play. Read. Enjoy your evenings together. Don’t stress about it, and find ways to simply have fun. Find what your kids are interested in and use it to your advantage.
Here are my favorites this month that can help celebrate small moments as well as help support what is happening in the classroom.
Inchworms by Ravensburger: Measurement is hard. It’s not something that kids do on a regular basis until they have to do it in school. By then, if they haven’t been exposed to the idea of measurement, it is a hard concept to wrap their brain around. This game was so fun for my two boys. Not only did it help with color identification for my younger one, it also helped with comparing different object lengths and measuring out their worms. There is also a version that uses numbers instead of colors (on the flip side of the spinner) if you kids are ready for that version of the game. It grows with them.
This is a three-year-old counting and comparing. Love it!
A Piglet Names Mercy by Kate DiCamillo: Ever feel ordinary? Like everything is exactly the same and predictable? Now imagine if a piglet landed on your doorstep. How do you handle change? How do you handle people complaining about your change? How would your kids feel about finding a piglet on their doorstep? Along with the beautiful illustrations from Chris Van Dusen, you will absolutely fall in love with Mercy (the piglet)…
Fancy Nancy- Find Your Fancy Board Game : I love when characters can be found multiple places. TV, books, games. If you have a reluctant reader… find a character they can fall in love with and become invested in. They will more likely devote time to working through reading a book about that character if they feel a personal connection with them.
This game does just that. Your child can be creative, have fun and become friends with Nancy. It’s sneaky but it works!
I don’t care how old my kids get, I still find value in board books. They travel really well, hold up under almost all #boymom situations and have colorful bright pictures.
Both of these are non-fiction but not intimidating. Because they have illustrations as opposed to pictures they are much more approachable from younger readers. What I love the most though is that the vocabulary hasn’t been watered down. This creates great scientific conversation at home.
Bee – Tales from Nature: My parents have bee hives in North Florida and this book was a perfect introduction to bees and how they make honey.
Ladybug – Tales from Nature: Discover how a ladybug helps farmers, hides from birds and lays their eggs. Yes, my toddler enjoyed every minute of it…
Small Voice by Mike and Mackenzie Morrison : I can’t tell you how important this book is for parents and kids to read together. Read it and TALK about it. The small voice is all about your inner voice.
When something happens and you don’t feel right about it. That nagging feeling that follows you around after you have done something or said something. Use this book to help your kids handle and understand their emotions and their ‘small voice’.
Heads Talk Tails Walk by Think Fun: This was a great game to get the boys up, active and using their background knowledge on animals. It’s also a memory game. I thought this could be a great classroom brain break game or indoor recess activity for primary grades. It moves quickly especially after they got the hang of it. The cards feel like a board book does, so they are quite durable.
In Blossom by Yooju Cheon : This book is beautiful in how simple it is. There are pages that your children will simply read the pictures to examine the character emotions. I love this book for prediction what characters will do, and having a conversation with your kids about character feelings and motivation. Speaking of characters… there are only two. Cat and Dog. The story is of their interaction together under this beautiful tree.
Baby Bird by Andrew Gibbs : OK… so this one reminds me of a few other stories but the only one I have read recently with birds as the characters. Baby, the main character, is a bird who has a wing that simply doesn’t work. It is twisted and shrunken. The first half of the book documents his many trials and many failures to fly, like all of the other birds he knows. He finally meets another ‘monster’ bird that teaches him just because Baby is a bird it doesn’t mean he has to be exactly like all of the other ones. It’s OK to do things differently. The last page says – You don’t need strong wings to fly. – I’m sure you will see that quote pop up on my Instagram feed soon. 🙂
Love Big by Kat Kronenberg: This book reminds me so much of our trips to Animal Kingdom. It is a mythological fable about how animals came to be… but more than that each animal teaches a lesson about being kind, sharing, listening and loving BIG! This was better for my older son, it was a little too long for my younger one. This is a great book to read when you have a little more time as the illustrations are amazing too…but perfect to go back to when your kids might be struggling with one of the lessons in it. It is a great way to talk about the ‘animals behavior’ and what they might do to change it. Then your child might be able to reflect on their own behavior without feeling defensive.
Brio Smart Railway Workshop: We are such a big Brio household. Hands-on building and play is such a valuable skill for kids to have a chance to develop. To create their own imaginary world. Brio has a vast selection of toys and tracks that lets them do just that. They have also added on smart tracks to their collection which when used with smart track railway engines…makes noise!
And on the rare not so hot Florida day, sitting out on the porch drinking tea and watching the boys create and play with one another is one of my favorite things to do.
This is also another way to help them with their fine motor skills (get their hands gripping and moving small objects) this helps with their writing and cutting stamina.
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