Archive For The “Reading” Category

FlipaZoo 2 In 1 Stuffed Animal Plush Toy Holiday Gift Guide Review

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Flipa Zoo
Disclosure: While we were provided samples of the FlipaZoo plush, the opinions expressed herein are strictly our own. We only provide honest reviews and feedback. Thank you Jay at Play for the review items. #sponsored This article may include affiliate links.

 

FlipaZoo – cuddly animal plush toys that are actually two toys in one. Each FlipaZoo converts into a second zoo animal. Simply flip the back or the body of the animal over its head and it transforms into another pet. These super soft pets will easily become a favorite sleeping buddy, tv watching companion and travel friend.

 

This holiday season consider pre-purchasing zoo tickets or a family membership and attaching it to a FlipaZoo, giving both an experience and a toy in one.  We enjoyed talking about our recent trip to the Cape May Zoo when these guys arrived for review. Turtles are a family favorite, so it was easy to get attached to the turtle one.

These zoo buddies are perfect for cuddled storytime. We decided to read about elephants, tigers and turtles… given those are the FlipaZoo friends we received.

FlipaZoo is available at Walmart and Amazon for approx $20 making them a very affordable gift idea.  Grab a couple of these cuddle buddies for the cuddle bugs in your lift and enjoy the snuggles.

With the holidays coming… children’s lists are created and “hot” toy guides are everywhere. We’ve got one too and you can find all sorts of excitement for the young at heart on your gift buying list. Check ours out below.

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Scavenger Hunt Reading Game

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Partnering with companies like uKloo afford us the opportunity to bring honest reviews of learning games to our readers. This is a #sponsored post whereby we were provided a complimentary copy of uKloo. The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own. This article contains affiliate links.

ukloo

We know teaching our children to read is essential but it doesn’t have to be painful. UKloo is a scavenger hunt game that encourages children to read, as they go from clue to clue. The game features 3 reading levels and a word chart to assist them in recognizing words on the clues. Kids are so busy moving from clue to clue that they don’t realize that they are reading in the process. In the end, children find a surprise, which could be anything parents desire: chocolate chip cookies, tickets to the movies, a new coloring book. UKloo is designed to take your children on a house-wide scavenger hunt and is suggested to use 5-7 clue cards.

We liked that blank cards were included for personalizing the game. Just write a clue in dry erase marker and later wipe clean to use over and over again. Great game to get your kids up and moving while still strengthening their reading and comprehension skills. Check out our brief video review below.

 

 

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The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles

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This is a #sponsored whereby we were provided a sample copy for purposes of this review. All opinions expressed herein are strictly my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Seekers Profile Pic

Children’s books come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. Some about princesses, while others about frogs. Easy readers, designed to capture a child’s interest while enhancing their reading and vocabulary skills.

The Seekers the Secrets of the TurtlesAnd then, my favorite… lap books, where cuddling is a prerequisite. Sometime I refer to these a “Granny reads” because I imagine my mom sitting close to the grandchildren, sharing these stories. Different from the “Granny reads” are those chapter books for reading aloud together. These are the kind that you crawl in your kid’s bed to read and leave on the nightstand for the follow evening.

That’s the kind of book The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles is, authored by Cece Younger. It is just heavy enough, or wordy enough to be tricky as a read alone book, but with an adult’s inflection and perhaps interpretation, this story can best be enjoyed. We need these kind of stories… those that remind us that even though our little sprout is learning to read, or can read alone… they shouldn’t always be left alone to read. Again, different from those cute “message” books that I consider perfect Granny material… books like The Seekers: The Secret of the Turtles, allow children to express their inquisitive nature and expand their vocabulary.

Be sure to visit Behind Your Dreams, Within Your Reach’s website, where you can purchase your child’s nightstand copy.

This is an adventurous tale of a princess, her magical gift, an incredible journey and a message of friendship. Like any journey, there are challenges and obstacles that Princess Isabeau and the Seekers must overcome and in doing so, characters are introduced and friendships bond. Guided by a mermaid and accompanied by a whale, Princess Isabeau is on the adventure of a lifetime while discovering herself and exploring the seas.

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Diary of Autistic Girl Provides Lessons for Us All

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How To Be Human

Wow – just wow… I was so taken back with How To Be Human: Diary of an Autistic Girl effectively demonstrated some of the differences between how other folks might perceive things and how someone with autism might. The little book did a lot to open my eyes. 15 year-old author, Florida Frenz, describes step-by-step the mannerisms to finding her way through the complex world of emotions and perspective. She diagrams her decision-making process outlining areas of following the school rules and making friends and many other life skills.

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I’m no medical practitioner and fortunately don’t have immediate family connections to autism… so as an “outsider” on the topic, I found How To Be Human to be very insightful. I particularly enjoyed the diagrams as it made the material visual for understanding better. I can only imagine how helpful this book might be for parents struggling to understand their autistic child or even a sibling. Children with autism might find relief in knowing that someone was successfully able to articulate many of the emotions, processes and sensitivities they too are experiencing.

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This is one worth sharing… so please mention How To Be Human among your friends, social media groups and definitely with those families impacted with this challenge.

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Cozy Up With a Fantastic Story of the Seasons

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This is a #sponsored post whereby we were offered a sample copy of Cozy Light, Cozy Night book as a review. This post may contain affiliate links. The opinions expressed within are strictly my own.

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There’s something very cozy about Cozy Light, Cozy Night by Elisa Kleven in that the illustrations have so much texture. Scene by scene, you are really drawn into the season. The rhyming text flows so nicely from page to page, allowing you to pause as needed to take in the scenes. We read this aloud… it’s one of THOSE kind of books.

It’s a grandmother’s lap, kinda book… where you want to snuggle up and listen aloud as the seasons change in rhyme.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night Pic

Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall… the colors of the pictures are all the same but the technique really make each season its own. It is very interesting actually because my books about seasons uses more whites in the winter and jeweled tones for autumn… but here every page just flows into the next and the season blend as they do in the real world. The textured techniques really caught my eye as well, for instance the lacy pattern on the winter snow was so delicate but not to be missed. And of course, I loved seeing the Singer Sewing machine in the Summer scene being an antique collector of sewing machines.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night winter

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Soak Up Last Days of Summer with Nature Explorer’s Handbook

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Although this post contains affiliate links, the opinions expressed herein are honest and my own.

Nature Explorers Handbook Profile Pic

In the Nature Explorer’s Handbook, youngsters will be enticed to explore the outdoor world of their backyard with the colorful and easy to read pages, checklists and varying activities. Encouraged to get dirty, get close to the ground and up close to nature… Science has never looked so accessible and fun!

Nature Explorers Handbook 2This handbook is tabbed with five sections:

Awesome Bugs

Garden Critters

Birds and Bats

Woodland Adventure

Plants

Splashes of tips and trivia make this resource engaging and cool. The spiral bound handbook is easy to carry and keeps the page open while your child is busy exploring on their own.

Nature Exporers Handbook 3

Other features include Safety Tips and “Do It” suggestions, 60+ stickers and a fold out calendar for seasonal exploration. I love that Nature Explorer’s Handbook has thought of clever ways to draw children into scientific discovery using checklists, activities, journalist techniques and showcasing year-round exploratory advantage.  Part journal, part workbook, this Nature Explorer’s Handbook is designed for taking notes, doodles, and on the go discovery… and it couldn’t be done better! Be sure to have a pencil in hand with this book.

Checklist allows children to track their progress and really zero-in on the details of their findings.

Superb resource!

Nature Explorers Handbook

PS – The blue Para’Kito Mosquito Repellent band on her ankle was previously provided as a review product… and we truly love it. You can read our review of this outdoor necessity item HERE.

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Puppets in Pasola Park with Lady Hawke Storytelling

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NJ Parks: Fasola Park

by Deborah McMaster

NJ Parks: Fasola ParkLady Hawke Storytelling jumped off the page to me from the Gloucester County Freeholders’ 2015 Park Events Guide. New to the area, this brochure was a welcome surprise in my mailbox. I grabbed my Sharpie to circle interesting ideas for my daughters and me to do with the four youngest grandchildren this summer. Several possibilities on every page – what a great family-oriented place to live!
Friday, July 24, 2015 I took off work for five of us to have some Family Fun at Fasola Park (Where’s that?…Answer: Deptford, and easy to find). A beautiful hot summer day, Laura Kaighn (Lady Hawke) was telling her stories under the pavilion. The children sat on the floor at her feet as she told us about the mischievous Raven Child. Next a story about holding up the sky – the favorite of all three of my grandchildren. Lady Hawk in Fasola Park, NJThen my favorite about a special grandmother gift to Laura when she was a child. Remarkable was that there were no children neither wandering around nor running. Of Cherokee and Celtic heritage, and with a degree in education, Lady Hawke has been capturing children’s attention for 20 years!
After the stories Laura allowed the children to see and touch various artifacts such as shells or rocks, puppets, and the “grandmother gift” itself that she brings to display. Alissa and Marissa especially liked the bunny fur. Some books were available for purchase so we got the one with Lady Hawke’s collection of short stories. Marissa began reading it as soon as we left the storytelling area.
As you can see upon visiting the website http://ladyhawkestorytelling.com, Laura is passionate about “getting the word out” in many forms, especially enhancing education in children and young adults. Her affinity for Native American culture, nature and positive messages came through in her choice of stories for this event. We certainly hope to hear more of her!

NJ Parks: Fasola ParkI must add a few words about the Fasola Park – we love it!! There is a water-sprinkler area. Restrooms are inside a building. There are swings, including a larger plastic one with rubber padded ramp underneath for a handicapped or wheelchair-bound child! There are colorful things to climb on and in, made of a plastic or rubber material that doesn’t feel hot to touch even with the sun beating down! Better than monkey bars for smaller fry, some pieces are wide with foot-holes and more solid surface space to climb on. Most with the rubber padded surface underneath.  All in all, this is a top-notch family play spot in South Jersey.

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Beautiful Rainbow World – Closing the Year with a Colorful Perspective

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Beautiful Rainbow WorldBeautiful Rainbow World – a photo book by Suzee Ramirez & Lynne Raspet

In all the hustle and bustle the holiday season and year end brings, this delightful and playful picture book and song bring it all home.  Beautiful Rainbow World – reminding us to appreciate one another, well beyond the holiday ho ho ho’s but to truly take a moment to take in all the beauty in diversity.

With each page, each photo there is a warm familiar feeling of belonging.  The colorful and artistic pictures draw us in with those wonderful, everyday children from around the world, doing wonderful everyday sorta things all children enjoy doing.  This brings us all a little closer to one another.

What a delightful discussion piece around teaching differences, tolerance and acceptance.  Beautiful Rainbow World 2Education is so much more than reading and writing.  A solid appreciation for world cultures and a healthy perspective on diversity is equally important, if not more so.  Beautiful Rainbow World offers a fantastic lesson on diversity and inclusion. It showcases the globe in a unique way, one that children of all ages can relate to and enjoy.  I highly recommend Beautiful Rainbow World as a unique resource for discussion around cultural awareness and inclusion. Children everywhere play, laugh, ponder and dream.  Opening our hearts and homes to embrace such awareness will only open their eyes to possibility and a Beautiful Rainbow World.

You may enjoy reading our review for a children’s CD: “Someone Else’s Shoes” by Recess Music, also an excellent resource for celebrating diversity.

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