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 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 . . .
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 Chrysta Naron The winter holidays are often marked by delicious treats and cooking traditions passed down from generation to generation. By sparkly decorations hanging from trees, windows, and fireplaces. And, all too often, by frantic holiday shopping for relatives, teachers, and neighbors. This holiday season, combine time together in the kitchen with a little light reading practice with your kiddo … all while creating some adorable decorations that also happen to make sweet . . .
By Mikee Mapalo What child doesn’t love Christmas? This craft takes advantage of seasonal enthusiasm to build your child’s vocabulary and help them learn to recognize, read, and spell new words. Fun holiday words, that is, of course! With our free Christmas alphabet printable, you’ll make an adorable flipbook to keep or gift. (Tip: It makes a super-cute stocking stuffer or a fun present from an older child to a younger one.) The flipbook is easy to make, you can use it time and . . .
By Mikee Mapalo Before we learned how to read and write, we were introduced to the 26 letters of the English language. For most of us, our first encounter with the alphabet was singing the ABCs. But the truth is kids need to learn a lot more than to slur letter names together in song (adorable as that may be) to prepare for kindergarten and beyond. They need to learn what letters look like—and which of the 56 uppercase and lowercase shapes actually indicate the same letter, among other . . .
By Penny Leigh Sebring As adults, many of us understand that gratitude is an important element of our mental and emotional well-being. Practicing gratitude and appreciation in our lives makes us happier as people. It reminds us to keep our eyes open to the wonders of the world and it helps us to be more resilient individuals. Expressing words of gratitude can improve our relationships with friends, family members, peers, and ourselves. And the benefits of gratitude can be seen just as . . .
By Laila Weir At MayaSmart.com, we’re all about supporting parents to raise readers by fostering literacy from day one—and all the days afterwards. Parents are uniquely positioned to help their kids build reading and writing skills that are best developed little by little over many years. Plus, the research shows that caregivers are an absolutely crucial part of the literacy equation. And a central tenet of the Maya Smart approach to raising readers is helping children learn through what . . .