Winter is here and you know what that means. (Or may I say, you snow what that means?) It’s time to help your kids make some seasonal crafts and decorations! And because we’re all about raising readers at MayaSmart.com, we’re going to throw some literacy practice into the mix, too. In this educational winter craft, we’ll make word family snowmen that teach kids reading skills and make cute decorations for your home. All you need for this easy activity is 15 minutes and some basic . . .
By Mikee Mapalo If you’re looking for a cute and inexpensive stocking stuffer, you can make your own Christmas bookmarks for kids using our free printable template. These color-your-own bookmarks make a sweet little gift to encourage children to read and a fun holiday activity to do with them on Christmas eve or the big day. They’d make a creative addition to a family Jolabokaflod celebration (an awesome Icelandic Christmas “book flood” tradition we’re trying this year). And they’re also a . . .
By Maya Smart What does Santa Claus really look like? Nancy Redd’s new children’s book, The Real Santa, features one boy’s quest to find out. In today’s video, I chat with Nancy about this beautiful Christmas tale, the importance of representation in kids’ stories, and the behind-the-scenes process of creating a picture book. Watch the video of our conversation, or scroll down for the transcript. https://youtu.be/BK7DSYnmPts Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon. I'm so . . .
By Laila Weir When the holidays and school vacations roll around, they bring family time for many of us. Not just time with the members of your household—visits with extended family. Big gatherings and family meals. Going to stay with relatives, or hosting them at our homes. Grandparents visiting or coming to stay. Cousins, aunts, uncles. So. Much. Family. Gathering and reconnecting with loved ones near and far, within and across generations, is a source of great joy. It can also represent . . .
By Chrysta Naron Many kids can sing the ABC song before they can speak in complete sentences. This is great—children should be exposed to the alphabet and will eventually need to know alphabetic order. However, singing the alphabet only teaches letter names. Unless you’re pointing out written letters one by one as you sing, the alphabet song is just a song. Kids aren’t learning anything about what the alphabet indicates in print. And the song doesn’t even teach all the letter names . . .
Thanksgiving—it’s not just the day before Black Friday. So, if you’d like to cultivate more than your family’s appetite this year (though we fully support that, too!), we’ve curated some of our best articles to help you build gratitude, kindness, togetherness, and love this season. Now there’s something to be thankful for! Read Stories Together to Build Empathy and Kindness These days, understanding and being sensitive to others’ feelings and perspectives is seen as a new . . .
By Penny Leigh Sebring Kids often think of heroes as big, powerful people doing monumental deeds. True heroes, however, come in all shapes and sizes, and not all heroic acts are monumental. These 10 picture books about animal heroes feature a diverse group of creatures, including dogs, a mule, bees, and even a brave little koala bear. Heroic traits such as kindness, cleverness, and acceptance are highlighted, along with more conventional heroic traits such as bravery and . . .
By Chrysta Naron You know Dasher and Dancer and Comet and Vixen. But do you recall the newest Christmas character of all? I mean, of course, the Elf on the Shelf. This little magical Christmas elf has found its way into millions of American homes and sparked a modern-day Christmas tradition. The concept behind the Elf on the Shelf is simple. It’s a small toy elf that arrives at your home a few weeks before Christmas to watch the children of the house and see who's being naughty or . . .
By Chrysta Naron With the holidays approaching and shopping lists and letters to Santa getting longer every day, it’s easy to get stressed looking for the perfect gift. So we’re making holiday shopping just a little bit easier. We’ve compiled a list of 14 terrific educational gifts for preschoolers that will become household favorites the whole year through. These fabulous gifts spark early learning and a love of reading in your child. And best of all? None of them sing or have flashing . . .
By Andrea Hunt Tempted to write off empathy as a “soft” skill? Think again. Today, understanding and being sensitive to others’ feelings and perspectives is seen as a new “superpower” across fields from education and business to science and technology. And it’s credited with everything from increased personal satisfaction and creativity to better leadership and negotiation skills. As Barack Obama put it, “Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” But empathy is on . . .