By Chrysta Naron It’s fall, y’all! Time for the weather and the apples to get crisp, the pumpkins to plump, and the holiday season to get rolling. People from countries and religions around the world observe a wide variety of fall traditions that celebrate the harvest, change of seasons, and love of family and friends. To help you bring reading into your favorite fall celebrations or learn about those that are new to you, we’ve curated a list of a few favorite picture books for fall . . .
By Maya Payne Smart Earlier this week during a school supply drop-off visit at my daughter’s school, I was struck by how much preparation must have gone into coordinating 60 minutes of activity for the hundreds of students and families in attendance. As we approached the school, the principal and staff members welcomed us, ushered us toward classrooms, and answered our questions. Once inside, vibrantly decorated chalkboards, doors, and walls greeted us. And we thoroughly enjoyed the chance to . . .
By Laila Weir Little kids love crafts, and they love dressing up. That’s probably why making beaded jewelry is so popular with the preschool and kindergarten sets. It also builds important fine motor skills, but guess what--with a simple adaptation, you can also use this fun activity to teach early reading and spelling. The seeds to literacy are planted long before kids start school, so it’s crucial for parents to introduce key knowledge to kids early on. And the best way to do it is to . . .
By Chrysta Naron “Plain paper is boring. I don’t know what to draw!” Hayes whined. My little friend wanted a coloring book—a Paw Patrol coloring book, to be exact. I understood his point of view; coloring books can be a lot of fun. But here’s the thing about standard coloring books. They don’t allow children to create their own ideas. And children naturally are wonderfully and wildly creative, even when they doubt themselves. So I devised a plan. “Let’s make a surprise book!” I said to . . .
By Laila Weir Raising little readers and writers means providing plenty of reading and writing material, which in turn can mean a whole lot of pencils, pens, and markers trailing around your home (or your kid’s backpack). Get organized with these cute DIY pencil cases that your child can make in just a few easy steps from common household items. These crafts offer an eco-friendly and fun way for kids to bring their own flair to personalized holders for use at home or on the go. . . .
By Courtney Runn You have likely spotted one on a neighborhood walk: a small, wooden house perched at the edge of someone’s yard filled with books and a little sign reading, “Take a Book, Leave a Book.” Since the founding of the nonprofit Little Free Library organization in 2009, these mini book havens have sprung up in more than 100 countries and can now be found on all seven continents. While simple in concept, these free libraries have long-term impacts on local . . .
By Sydney Moninger, COTA/L Kids love to make a mess. So much so that even the most painstakingly arranged craft can quickly turn into demolition time! Sometimes, the best way to hold their attention is to use the mess productively. This simple and free tactile letter activity lets kids make a controlled mess while learning essential reading and writing skills. The key is using a multisensory approach. A multisensory activity uses a combination of the five senses: touch, taste, smell, . . .
By Andrea Hunt For story lovers, podcasts are a treasure trove of high quality, original, and often free narrative audio entertainment—and there are many shows that will delight even the youngest listeners. Kids’ story podcasts (the most popular category of podcasts among children, according to a recent survey) are a fantastic opportunity for toddlers and preschoolers to discover stories. Plus, they also offer a valuable chance to hone early reading skills along the way. If you . . .
By Courtney Runn One of the best ways to engage children in reading is to share books about topics they're interested in. When kids are excited to cheer on their favorite players or love to play sports themselves, books by and about athletes are ideal to capture their attention. Like all sports, baseball offers countless life lessons about teamwork, discipline, perseverance, and having fun. Plus, its history will spark important conversations with your kids about racism and equity in . . .
By Chrysta Naron As summer begins to wind down, all I can think is, “I want s’more!” S’more fun, s’more sunshine, s’more time by a campfire, and definitely s’more of the delectable dessert of the season itself. In that spirit, and to keep up the summer learning, we’re going to create a fun s’mores spelling game that teaches tricky consonant blends. This activity will evoke the fun of toasting marshmallows, but with a lot less gooey mess. (Or for an extra-gooey edible option, see the end of . . .