By Chrysta Naron It’s that time of year. We’re packing our suitcases, putting on the sunscreen, and eating Goldfish crackers aplenty! But all that time in cars or planes can be tedious for little ones, so how do you keep them occupied? Games, of course! Here are a few of my favorite educational road trip games for kids, to keep your children engaged and learning while you travel. All of them are free or cheap, require little to no prep work, and fit into a backpack or purse. Happy . . .
By Chrysta Naron Henry was a Go Fish shark. He was a legend among my Pre-K classes: The best Go Fish player you’d ever seen under the age of five. He played it every day in class. He played it to the point where none of the other kids wanted to play anymore. But Henry refused to play any other games. It happened to be April—aka National Poetry Month—and our class was focusing on rhyming. So I decided to freshen up Go Fish and make it all about rhymes. The result was this awesome free . . .
By Carlene Murray As a mother of three young children and an early childhood educator, I’m always looking for ways to help my charges learn about other cultures and traditions from around the world, as well as explore their own heritage. I’m fortunate to live in an area where my kids see faces of many colors everyday, and nothing warms my heart quite like seeing a group of children from different backgrounds bonding and playing together. But no matter where you live, reading a wide variety of . . .
By Laila Weir Who says Easter baskets have to be filled with all sweets? Lighten up on the sugar a bit and add some enrichment to your child's Easter with a few fun and literacy-supporting Easter basket gifts. Below you’ll find links to tutorials for three Easter-themed recycled art projects. They’ll teach you to make totally free, eco-friendly, and easy DIY Easter basket stuffers! What’s more, they’re educational: All three projects support oral language development and key early . . .
By Karen Williams Who among us can resist an adorable puppy? For many kids, dogs are their first loves and best friends. Dogs, and puppies especially, have an incredible ability to connect with us and teach us about unconditional love, joy, and empathy. If your little one adores pups, try these sweet picture books about puppies for your next story time. And did you know that dogs can be comforting, receptive audiences for children who need practice reading aloud? Furry friends make great . . .
Teach a person to read and you open a door—not only to an unparalleled world of wonder and entertainment—but also to independence, freedom, and success. Yet those doors are remaining closed for too many: In 2019, the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that two-thirds of the nearly 294,000 fourth- and eighth-grade students who took the test couldn’t locate information that’s stated in a text, infer the main ideas of an article, explain the theme of a story, or evaluate a . . .
By Karen Williams I’ve always been proud of the fact that my daughter loves to drink water! Ava is a teenager now, but from the time she was young, I instilled in her the value of this essential resource and talked about how vital water is for not only our bodies, but also our planet. We all know that our bodies are largely made of water, but did you know that 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water, as well? March 22 is World Water Day, a day to celebrate and reflect on the . . .
By Michelle Luke Rhyming is a fun and effective way to support early literacy. It familiarizes children with the sounds that make up words, highlighting ending sounds in particular—and fostering phonological awareness, or the recognition of discrete sounds within a word. It creates a fun way for children to remember stories that they create through the pairing of common endings. And it also plants in youngsters an innate sense of syncopation, beat, and rhythm that they can later transfer to . . .
By Michelle Luke Easter. It’s a time of eggs and sweets, beautiful bonnets and celebrations with loved ones, and ... So. Many. Plastic Easter eggs! If you’d rather keep them out of the landfill but have way too many for future egg hunts, turn some of them into literacy-supporting maracas that kids can shake along to nursery rhymes and favorite songs. In this super-easy, two-step craft, you’ll upcycle old plastic eggs into colorful musical instruments to welcome in the spring with a vibrant . . .
By Laila Weir Easter is coming, and that means egg hunts and baskets full of goodies. Chocolate and jelly beans are fabulous, of course, but if you’re like us you may be seeking additional ways to celebrate that involve a little less sugar. (And dying eggs can only get you so far.) Don’t worry! MayaSmart.com has you covered, with various enriching activities and DIY gifts that offer plenty of Easter fun and build literacy skills at the same time. We love DIY storytelling dice to get the . . .