Saturday, March 30, 2013

Books for Babies Spring 2013

There are many benefits to reading with babies. It's important to look for books for babies that build on these early reading skills. When we read with babies and toddlers, they are able to:
- hear language patterns and build vocabulary
-learn concepts
-build problem solving
-bond with parents or caregivers
-learn concepts of print (ie. how books open/ close, turning pages, moving left to right)
- examine books in a tactile manner

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One of my favorite publishers for young children (birth to 7), recently sent us a box of new board books for Spring 2013. Tiger Tales has many new board books for babies this Spring. These books were provided to me free in exchange for an honest review. I was thrilled to realize that the books built the early literacy skills that babies and toddlers need.

books for babies, early literacy, It's Spring Time, Elizabeth Bennett, ready set read, ready set read 2 me It's Spring Time by Elizabeth Bennett. A group of animals explore the Spring season.
This book will allow babies to hear wonderful rhyming patterns and also hear the vocabulary that accompanies the Spring season.

books for babies, early literacy, Splish splash splosh,  ready set read, ready set read 2 me Splish, Splash, Splosh by David Melling. Darling ducks dressed in swimwear, dive into pools as the book counts up from one to ten! This book will expose babies and toddlers to concepts of numbers and number sense.

books for babies, early literacy, Peek-a-boo, Ben Mantle, ready set read, ready set read 2 me Peek-a-boo by Ben Mantle. Animals play peek-a-boo with the reader. This book will help babies and toddlers build problem solving skills. Each page shows an animal partially covered by a tree or a bush, the child turns the page to reveal the entire animal. This book also has magnetic arms that cover the sweet bunny on the cover-- which makes this book fun for playtime as well.

books for babies, early literacy, That's my mommy,  ready set read, ready set read 2 me That's My Mommy   books for babies, early literacy, That's my daddy, ready set read, ready set read 2 me That's My Daddy by Ann Hodgman
Both of these books show animal babies and parents and focus on all the great things moms and dads can do! Books like "That's My Mommy" and "That's My Daddy" help children to bond with parents as they snuggle closely and hear the reassuring words of the story.

books for babies, early literacy, Hug, Ben Mantle, ready set read, ready set read 2 me Hug by Ben Mantle
If a child needs to bond with a different caregiver other than a mommy or daddy, Hug would be a great choice. From the very first page it affirms, "there's a hug for everyone." It continues to showcase different types of hugs, big and bouncy or small and snug. Of course, this book would be great to read with mom and dad but could be read with anyone who loves your baby! This book also features magnetic closure arms around the cover.



books for babies, early literacy, My first touch and feel Pets, ready set read, ready set read 2 me My First Touch and Feel Pets books for babies, early literacy, My first touch and feel farm, ready set read, ready set read 2 me My First Touch and Feel Farm
Babies need to explore books in a tactile manner. All of the books in this post are board books. This allows babies to mouth the books without destroying them. It also allows for chunky pages that little hands can turn. My First Touch and Feel Pets and Farm, adds a tactile element. Each page shows a clear photograph of an animal. A part of each animal's body has a unique texture for the baby to feel. Parents can grow a baby's vocabulary by using words like soft, rough, bumpy, smooth, etc. while the child feels the textures.

Disclosure: The links in the post are Amazon affiliate links.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

April Fool, Phyllis


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Much of the United States is buried under snow this first week of SPRING. I feel like we got punked by the groundhog that predicted an early spring this year.Snow isn't unheard of in these parts in March, but it is rare. Snow is a strange sight when daffodils have already popped up and birds have already started building nests in bird houses, only to be covered in snow.  If you are experiencing the same weird weather, then you might want to check out April Fool, Phyllis.
april fools, april fools book, april fool In April Fool, Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill, the weather groundhog Punxsutawney Phyllis predicts a blizzard for April 1st. Phyllis's family decides it is an April fools joke. No matter how much Phyllis tries to convince them to cancel a treasure hunt planned for the day, the family won't listen. Instead, they reply with their own pranks. Pete spreads confetti to trick the other groundhogs that it is snowing, while Phil Jr. ices his paws to prank the family into thinking the temperature is dropping.  Phyllis's predicition is no joke, though. When the family is out on the treasure hunt, a blizzard does arrive. Phyllis needs a plan to save her family from the weather and help them find the treasure.
This book has a nice flow to the story and cute illustrations. I like how the illustrator, Jeffery Ebbeler, placed many weather instruments into the pictures. You'll be able to locate weather maps, weather vanes, windsocks, thermometers, barometers, and more. If you study weather in early April, this book is a great addition to any weather unit.
In the book, the family has to read written riddles to find a treasure on April Fools day. After reading the book, we went on a reading treasure hunt. I got this idea when I was shopping at my local teacher store. The employees there are super helpful. When I was purchasing some early reader books, the checker started explaining an activity she did with her son when he was first starting to read.

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To have your own Reading Treasure Hunt. Write "clues" on slips of paper. These will be activities for your child to complete. You might write, "Go get a red hat." These are all words I know my son can read. The focus here is making meaning out of what the child reads.
Give the child the direction, have him complete it, and the return for more directions. I know it sounds super simple, but kids love it. You'll love seeing all that your young reader can read independently.
By the way, we haven't given up on spring entirely. We built "snow castles" in the snow with buckets and spray bottles filled with colored water. As the boys built,  I may have imagined I was relaxing on a beach...
activities for kids, april fools

Looking for other holiday themed books? Check out my books by holiday page.

Today's book is featured as the Picture book of the Day on my facebook page. Like my facebook page for daily picture book recommendations provided by a group of children's literature bloggers!


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Easter {Day 5- Little Peter Rabbit}

Nursery Rhymes are frequently used by preschool teachers in the Spring because so many of the themes in the nursery rhymes fit well with the themes of Spring. We've been exploring some of our favorite nursery rhymes here for the past 5 days. I've saved the best for last as we are talking bunnies today!!
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Today's nursery rhyme is Little Peter Rabbit. We had fun retelling this book with props. We also enjoyed making a bunny cake. My mom always made this cake when I was a kid, so it was fun to make with my boys.
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 I had promised to do a free cut and paste book for Little Peter Rabbit. I always try out my activities with my kids before I publish them. To be honest, my activity was terrible. After a lot of fretting over how to improve the lesson, I had to just scrap it. If I come up with something that all of you fab teachers would find worthy to use in your classrooms, I'll add it to the post later. For now, I'm going to be a reflective teacher and not post it. sorry! (You can snag a freebie if you visit the A Tisket, A Tasket post).
Little Peter Rabbit lyrics, nursery rhymes, bunny cake, image, easter activities, easter crafts for kids, easter ideas, ready set read

After learning the nursery rhyme, "Little Peter Rabbit", we acted it out with some props. Logan had made these bunny ears, nose and whiskers at preschool. We added a fly that I hand drew (super simple) and glued to a popsicle stick. The boys can put the fly on the nose or take it off as they sing the nursery rhyme.
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Tyson is practicing prepositions, so we also altered the verse of the nursery rhyme and sang, "Little Peter rabbit had a fly above his ear." or "Little Peter rabbit had a fly behind his back." Then we tried to figure out where to put the fly.

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Our bunny cake is super simple to make. I used 2 round cake pans. After I made my two round cakes, I cut one round cake to form the ears of the bunny and the bunny's bow tie. I iced my pieces with white icing. Here's the best part-- it can be super sloppy! You are going to cover the cake with coconut anyway, so don't worry about it being sloppy. Cover the cake with white coconut-- except for the middle of the ears and the bow tie. Cover those pieces with pink coconut. To dye coconut, add a few drops of food coloring to a few teaspoons of water. Put coconut in a small zippered bag and pour a little of the colored water in. Shake, shake, shake-- or have your three year old shake, shake, shake. We assembled the bunny cake on a tray and surrounded with green coconut grass. This will cover up any of your sloppy parts! We used chocolate chips and icing writers to decorate. My mom often uses jellybeans in place of the chocolate chips which is super cute-- but doesn't taste as good (to me). You can also use licorice for the whiskers and mouth. You could put a fly on Peter Rabbit's nose, but food with flies on it, isn't overly appealing to me. I'm just sayin...


We've enjoyed our nursery rhyme activities this week. If you missed any of the nursery rhymes, you can find the entire series on the nursery rhymes for Easter page. Also, The Good Long Road featured an awesome Nursery Rhyme activity for the Itsy Bitsy Spider this week. Jennifer, from The Good Long Road, shared how to use this on our google + hangout on Playful Storytelling last week. This nursery rhyme will carry you right through into April Showers, so it is a great one to add in at this time of the year!

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Easter {Day 4- Baa Baa Black Sheep}

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Nursery Rhymes are great to explore in the Spring. This week, I am sharing lots of favorite Nursery Rhymes along with Easter ideas for kids. If you missed the first few days of the series, you can find all of the Nursery Rhymes in this round up post.
Today I am sharing Baa Baa Black Sheep. Springtime is a fun time to explore sheep, but this activity would work well for any time of year!

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We made these black sheep paper plate craft to retell the nursery rhyme. We began by bubble wrap stamping our paper plate. We just painted bubble wrap black and stamped it all over the paper plate. Speaking of bubble wrap painting check out the awesome one on my facebook page. If only I could master that kind of artistry!

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When that dried, we attached the ears, puff of hair, nostrils, and bow. I had precut the ears (ovals), and the puff of hair (cloud shape) and 2 circles for the nose. We added the bow (2 triangles) later-- after I convinced the boys that their sheep would look cute with bows. They weren't too sure at first.

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To make eye holes, I held the mask up to my face and pushed in on my eyes. This creased the paper a little so I knew where to make eye holes. Then I flipped it over and traced a milk cap and cut the circle.
We taped a popsicle stick to the sheep paper plate to make it into a sheep mask.
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This is perfect for retelling the nursery rhyme. I hope you are enjoy these Nursery Rhyme activities.  You can find the 5 day series of Nursery Rhyme Activities right here at Ready-Set-Read!



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Friday, March 22, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Easter {Day 3- A Tisket, A Tasket}

Welcome back to Nursery Rhymes for Easter. If you missed Days 1 and 2, you can find activities for Humpty Dumpty and Hot Cross Buns. These nursery rhymes can be used any time of year but they fit very nicely with Easter themes of eggs, baskets, lambs, etc.

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This week we've been enjoying the sing-song verse of a favorite nursery rhyme,  "A Tisket, A Tasket, a green and yellow basket..."

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Of course, we had to make a green and yellow basket. We decided to go tiny on our basket making. We made mini-green and yellow baskets. These are super simple for preschoolers to make.
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To make your own green and yellow basket, you'll need small plastic cups. We used the 3 oz size. You'll also need green and yellow sticker dots, found in the office supply section of most stores. You'll need about 1/2 a pipe cleaner for each basket and some easter grass. If you want to put a snack (like jellybeans) in your basket, you'll need to gather that too.
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Let your preschoolers put green and yellow sticker dots all over the baskets. Then help the children to bend the pipe cleaners and tape into place. Kids love to fill up the baskets.
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The entire time my boys worked, they sang the nursery rhyme. Well, whenever they weren't stuffing jellybeans in their cheeks.

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Another fun thing we did was to write a letter to a friend. Don't worry. We didn't drop it.

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I made these fun Spring themed stationery pages to encourage my boys to write. When kids have fun papers, stamps, stickers, markers, they are more likely to explore writing! I am offering these Spring stationery pages for free. Simply click the image below to download Free Stationery from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. I'd love if you'd follow my store for more freebie notifications.

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My oldest is very concerned about having it "right" in his writing currently. My three year old is much more willing to take chances with exploring writing. He's very proud of his scribbles and hangs them up in a very secure fashion.
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Consider having your child write a nice note to a friend or family member and deliver it along with the green and yellow basket!

Here are more basket related posts you might enjoy:

A fun Easter game for toddlers.

easter books, picture books,  easter activities for kids, easter crafts for kids, easter ideas

Stuff your Easter basket with good books.



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