Posts Tagged “library”

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.

Cozy Light, Cozy Night 2Pic

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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How To Encourage Children To Read

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August Moon 2012If reading is fundamental, then why the heck is it one of the most frustrating and difficult things for parents to engage their children in?  UGH!!  Seriously, parents everywhere are having the “put that down and pick up a book” battle.  Gizmos of all sorts have stolen the time that once was occupied by magazines and/or a great novel (and if really lucky, perhaps a newspaper).  My son, an avid reader – which sprung out of nowhere one day several years ago… has been sucked into the Netflix unending streaming of commercial free episodes of almost everything.  What ever happened to watching ONE episode a week and flipping thru magazines during commercials?

Here are twelve suggestions to help the kiddos engage in reading.  Try a few and let us know how they go, or perhaps leave us a suggestion or two of your own.

1.  Play game directly related to a story book. (Ex: Green Eggs and Ham has several games and puzzles, Fancy Nancy Game, etc)  Follow up by reading the book another night and remembering the game play fun.  Tie the two experiences together.

   

2. Start the weekend with a book.  If your child is slow to wake in the morning, take advantage with Saturday morning early story time, then breakfast, dressing, etc.  Makes for excellent cuddle time as you ease into your day together.

Start the day with a story

Start the day with a story

3. Keep books everywhere… children recipe books in the kitchen, easy-readers in the bathroom & bedside with picture books at coffee tables.

4. Find small pockets of time for reading… this includes picture books and reading the captions.  Five or ten minutes between activities adds up over a day… over a week.

5. Read to your children in the tub.  If your kids are anything like mine, staying in the tub til lips are blue, take advantage and read while they play, soak and bathe.

6. Encourage reading through song.  (Ex: The Cat’s Pajamas album Reading Rocks has two specifically good songs for this – “I’m A Bookworm” and “Read To Me”)

7. Make time for your own reading – yes this works as you set an example.  You can claim a “reading hour” or play soft music to further encourage the environment.

8. Keep books accessible for little ones – sturdy books in a play area, while treasured family favorites reside on a book shelf until shared together.

9. Register each child for their OWN library card.  Teach them the rules of the library but also care for books.

10. Dress up as characters.  Go all out with costumes or keep it simple with hats and accessories.

Cinderella: Getting into character

Cinderella: Getting into character

11. Act out favorite parts.  Use different voices and props as you read aloud.  For those really serious – combine 10 & 11 and make your own movie with dressing up and acting out the story.

12. Puppets are an effective way to tell a story.  (Here I’m using CuddleUppets Green Crocodile to tell the story of Five Little Monkeys Sitting In A Tree)

Using puppets and props for storytime

Using puppets and props for storytime

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Second Hand is a Helping Hand… Consignment Blessings

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Sale, Discount, Bargain… Consignment

Easily these signs get me excited because like most, I love a good bargain. Finding toys, books and clothing at a fraction of a price, just makes my day. Naturally, I jumped at the invitation to a presale event with Just Between Friends Consignment earlier this week. Check out my video below for a peek at my sale finds.

Consignments sales are perfect for building your personal library of resources. Creating a lesson plan around animals or pirates, multiplication practice or chemistry… definitely check out the treasures to be unburied at these sales. I like to look for educational puzzles and games, items for teaching geography, tools for learning states & capitals, and period costumes. I picked up some items to round out our Adventure Series: Horsing Around lesson, including an American Girl riding outfit – cap, boots and all. I also grabbed a toddler Renaissance outfit and a microscope, among some other toys and shoes for everyday events. Beyond the learning toys I found, I also came across larger sizes of Renaissance dress-up wear (girls and boys), pirate costumes, 20’s Flapper Dress, arts & craft supplies, science experiments, and building kits. There was such a variety!

Microscope found for $5

Tables and tables of games and toys

Just Between Friends makes shopping (and consigning) easy with two fall events:

JBF Western Main Line (Oaks)

Thurs, Sept 13 – Sat, Sept 15

Greater Philadelphia Expo Center – Hall C

AND

JBF Reading Fall Event

Thurs, Sept 27 – Sat, Sept 29

Greater Reading Expo Center

Saturdays at both sales are Half Off Days!!

You must check out these articles on this event with excellent tips for shopping on consignment and the advantages of becoming a consignor.  Super Exhausted with Sherry and Delco Deal with Kelly and A Life In Balance with Barb.

Disclosure:  I was invited to a presale blogger event at JBF Consignment and given a shopping credit in exchange for this post.  All the opinions and tips expressed here are strictly mine.

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How to Beat Kid's Summer Boredom

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Sure there are so many things to do for the summer, and every child anxiously awaits the last day of school.  But nonetheless, they experience days of total summer boredom and with that comes nothing good, including the messiest play, mischief, migraines for parents and constant whining.  So here are a few simple suggestions to shake those days up and avoid the pitfalls of overly boring, super hot-n-sticky days of summer.

1.  Catch the sunset.

Sunset on the Delaware River

 

Catchin The Suns Rays

We are fortunate to live close to a park situated on the Delaware River… making an amazing backdrop for the day’s end.   The playground provided plenty of entertainment while we waited for each stage of the sun setting.  For my toddler is was a great lesson in colors as well, as we watched the sky transform from blues and greens to oranges and purples.  Just an amazing summertime thing to do.  We didn’t stay long after, but you could certainly take advantage of the light evening darkness for catching fireflies.  For more educational ideas, look for shapes in the distance and clouds.  For us, the bridge provided angles and triangles.  Talk about the different types of clouds, fresh water vs salt bodies of water, and perception of objects (like will that barge fit under the bridge when it looks too large?)  Test your little one to find the best angle to go down the slide or why sneakers might make you go slower.  And be sure to just sit back and enjoy nature’s beautiful daily artistry. 

Pillow Tower Fun

2. Build a tower of pillows.

Pillow Tower Tumbling

Almost like building blocks but bigger and softer.  Bed pillows, sofa pillows, even the decorative throw pillows add a different dimension to your child’s creative structure.  How high can they stack?  How about tunnels or geometric shapes?  Of course they are fun to climb and topple on top of.  The bravest moms might allow sofa cushions in the mix and/or pillow tosses and fights.  (Confession – I wasn’t that brave mom!)

3.  Themed play… in our case it was Star Wars.

These light sabers totally distract kids (and big kids) from unpleasant storms, heat waves or any boredom.  Part of the charm is that these toys rarely get played with, especially for the young one… so I encourage parents to dig deep for something that the kids rarely get to lay their hands on.

Everything Barbie

Another suggestion: clear a play area and pull out ALL of something for a huge focused playtime activity.  By example, we’ve done this with Barbie… lots and lots of Barbies, furniture, clothes, pets, etc and had one big community of Barbie.  Same idea with Little People making a large platform with all the different pieces arranged to create an interactive community (city, farm, circus).

Catching Some Quiet Time

4. Take a trip to your local library.

We enjoyed a variety of picture

Quiet Time At the Library

books and then had some quiet reading time to ourselves.  Unfortunately we missed the children’s story hour by 30 minutes but now we know better.  Be sure to check out the schedule of events at your library since most have programs for families, especially during the summer.

5. Break away from routine.

Find an opportunity to break your schedule.  Enjoy your breakfast outdoors or perhaps an informal dinner on the deck.  Put on a bubbles parade with music and dance.  Consider summer rain showers as natures sprinklers… and dance in the rain.

Picnic With My Brother

Picnic With My Cousins

6.  Create a Fort.

Sharing Our Fort

Pillows, blankets, cushions and large stuffies enable some cool creations.  Once complete, grab your flashlight for some shadow fun.  Pick out some favorite books and read by flashlight in your new cool hiding place.  Challenge your kids to build a tunnel, multiple entrances and hideaways within the structure.  For added educational fun, consider discussions around the pyramids and ancient castles that were cleverly designed with tunnels, secret spaces and defense in mind.

For more ideas visit Kelly Whalen’s article “25 Frugal Ways To Keep The Kids Busy This Summer” at blog.ableBanking.com.  She includes handy tips like finding free camps, discount museum admission, garden tours and so much more.  Share with us:  What’s your coolest boredom buster?

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Reading Rainbow – A Family Favorite is Back as an App

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The fondest memories of my childhood include dancing in the summer rain with my Dad, holding summer “camp” with my siblings and cousins in the backyard, taking day trips with my family and always story time – many times cuddled up with my Mom on our couch, or sometimes shared sitting on the floor of our local library, and often watching Reading Rainbow on PBS. Yes, my brother, sister and I were quite fortunate to have engaged parents, passionate about giving us nontraditional learning experiences and exploring with us through literature, discussion, art and hands-on activity.

Season after season, Reading Rainbow remained a “staple” program in our family’s television viewing. And this was true for millions of viewers as the television series was broadcast from June of 1983 to November of 2006. The program focused on literacy for children and introduced a wide variety of books to engage the young readers’ imagination and love of reading.

All smiles with his Reading Rainbow App

Well that beloved program is back – in a digital format to best relate with our youngest generation of readers.  On the 20th of June, RRKids relaunched Reading Rainbow as an iPad App. The Reading Rainbow App holds all of its original program’s charm and characteristics simply in a new format – a preferred method for our highly digital world. Below please check out an introduction to the App by Co-Founder and Host LeVar Burton.

Reading Rainbow Intro Video

Posing with LeVar Burton, Co-Founder

“Reading will never go out of style, but the tools used for learning are changing.  I am excited to bring Reading Rainbow back so that parents who watched the show can now share that same feel-good experience with their own children but on a platform that resonates with today’s digital kids.”  LeVar Burton, Co-Founder


This iPad App showcases several clever islands with themes such as Genius Academy, Animal Kingdom and My Family. Each of these islands hold a large variety of digital books based on the theme, age and interest of your child. Books are brought to life with some animation, activities and audio celebrity storytelling include LeVar Burton. In addition to the library of books of over 150, the App maintains the real-life exploration from the t.v. program with 16 exciting video field trip adventures built into the themed islands. This reinvented Reading Rainbow App truly captures the essence of the original television series I grew up with and loved as a child.

Posing with Mark Wolfe, Co-Founder

“Throughout its more than two decades on television, Reading Rainbow enjoyed an exceptional reputations for children’s quality programming. That same focus – bringing together the best, most enriching, content for children, all in one place – is what the RRKisz is all about; now with the Reading Rainbow App and in the future with a wide array of new projects.”  Mark Wolfe, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer


But Parents – there’s more… with the subscription option an online parental resource and dashboard is included to keep track of the books your child read and give you updates on how many hours your child is reading, suggestions for books and summaries to aid with family discussions on the lessons in the books. As parents, we don’t necessarily read every book our child does but with questions and hints made available to us, we can engage in a more interactive experience prompting creative thinking, dialog and literature concepts.

Asra Rasheed, RRKidz CEO

“We’ve created an easy-to-use subscription service for parents, allowing then to unlock the extensive Reading Rainbow library books and videos without the worry of approving and purchasing each item separately.”  Asra Rasheed, RRKidz CEO


The Reading Rainbow iPad App is free to download with access to the library of books, field trip videos and the islands, however, books are limited to one download at a time. The subscription for the iPad App includes multiple book downloads and the parental dashboard/complimentary website. For a limited-time the subscription is offered at an introductory rate of $9.99 monthly or $29.99 for a six month package.
Screen shots of the iPad App:

With the privilege of attending a preview of the App, I was also fortunate to meet the team responsible for this reinvention of Reading Rainbow, including the beautiful and talented Ms. Tina Fabrique, the original voice behind the Reading Rainbow theme song. And who can forget the creative and tasty cake by Carlo’s Bakery, as seen on TLC’s Cake Boss.

Posing with the ever-smiling Tina Fabrique

Cake by Carlos Bakery, as seen on TLCs Cake Boss.


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