As some of you may know, prior to having my human child, I was the proud mom to a pack of fur babies... including two dogs. Our dogs are our children, too. They are a huge part of our family, and that didn't change when our human child arrived. Our love for them has only grown as we've seen them bond with our sweet baby.
Needless to say, we are dog people.
I am also a cognitive scientist. So it stands to reason that my reading preferences would include some intersection between the my professional and personal interests!
Below is a list of some of my favorite nonfiction books that I know dog parents will absolutely love.
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Gregory Berns' How Dogs Love Us perfectly fuses memoir and science text into a compelling look at just how incredible the mind of a dog is. You will never look at your fur baby the same way after reading this book. As a neuroscientist, I was amazed at just how similar the dog and the human minds are, in ways I never would have expected. I know you will love this book as much as I do! It is also available on Kindle.
Alexandra Horowitz is a cognitive scientist specializing in canine cognition at Barnard College (which just happens to be located at Columbia University, where I study and work!). Her book Inside of a Dog is a New York Times Bestseller. I thoroughly enjoyed this scientific review of canine perception and cognition, as well as Horowitz's anecdotes about her own dogs. It is a bit more dense than Berns' book, but still an excellent read.
Anyone who has spent time with a dog likely already knows that a canine's dominant sense is smell. In Being a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz dives deep into the dog's olfactory sense. I've just begun reading this text, but thus far, it is just as good as Inside of a Dog.
Okay, so this title can't be a surprise. John Grogan's memoir has been on dog lovers' must read lists for years. It too has been on the New York Times Bestseller list. But it is worth mentioning all the same, because what list of great nonfiction for puppy parents would be complete without it? If you saw the movie, I'm sorry. Okay, it was a great film (in my opinion), but as is often the case, the book was so, so much better. Marley and Me is heartwarming, tear jerking, and will remind you of how precious the bond is between humans and their fur babies. If you haven't read it yet, you really should. Even if you saw the movie first (there are lots of little details the movie missed).
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence-and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
Okay, so this one isn't about dogs. But if you love reading about canine cognition, you will likely find this memoir/science read just as interesting. Alex the African Grey Parrot may be one of the most famous birds in history; upon his untimely passing, Alex received obituaries in such publications as The New York Times and The Economist. Alex helped us cognitive scientist learn that the phrase "bird brain" should actually be a complement. No, really! Alex may have been one of the smartest birds on record, but his intelligence isn't unique. Pepperberg's discussion of her deep relationship with this loveable soul will pull at your heart strings, and absolutely merits its status as a New York Times best seller.
The following are books that I am adding to my reading list, and look like promising candidates to add to this list once I've completed each. Have you read one of these titles? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!
Love pups as much as we do?
Be sure to comment below with stories about your own dog, or book recommendations. Know someone who loves dogs? Be sure to share! And be sure to follow our pups on their Instagram account @shepherd.sister.squad!
In honor of my upcoming literacy pack and "The Big One" birthday theme release, I've curated a collection of excellent books and games to complement my carefully designed content. Many of these are products my child or my students love, but some are highly rated products that I believe would be a good fit for your home (and mine). Quite a few also offer high educational value (including building color concepts and fine motor skills).
Be sure to stay tuned to the blog, as I will be adding additional activities to pair with these products!
The Round Up
Disclosure: The following contains links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here.
Fish Puzzles for Little Hands
Fish Books for Toddlers and Children
Fish Themed Toys for Infants
Fish Toys for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Fish and Ocean Themed Toys and Other Gifts for Children
Disclaimer: This post contains links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program helps support this blog and has no added cost or strings attached for you. Click here to learn more.
What kid doesn’t love a dirt cup? And just in time for beach season, here is a perfect take on this classic dessert. Use the ingredients and instructions below, or just get creative and have fun!
What you will need:
Click on images to view product pages. We've not used these items in our own home, but they have great reviews on Amazon and would be great additions to this project.
You may also like the following products for this activity:
Click on images to view product pages. We've not used these items purchased from Amazon in our own home, but they have great reviews on Amazon and would be great additions to this project.
In three easy steps your child can create this adorable and delicious beach themed dessert.
Love this? Be sure to share!
Planning a first birthday party, a general kids birthday party, or looking for new fun activities? This post has ALL of that, and MORE.
Above: Image of a menu card with a fishing pole and three bobbers. Menu reads "Goldfish, Swedish fish candy, Pretzel "Fishing" Rod, Lifesaver/Gummy Ring Life Preservers, Sand Cups, Veggie Rods with Dip.
Be sure to check out the following cake topper options on Amazon to recreate the looks above! Just click on the images to navigate to the product pages.
Above: Clickable image link for cake topper; It is a brown "The Big One" sign with a green fish clipped to it.
Above: Clickable image link for a cake topper. It has two sticks (each topped with a bobber) with colorful fish hanging from a line, and a brown sign in the middle that say "The Big One" and has fish and a bobber on it.
Above: Memory Cards. These cards have a blue border and a white center with the shape of a wave. The top of the card has a fishing pole with a yellow and red fish, and three bobbers. It also has a section to write the birthday child's name. The bottom of the card has a section for guests to write their names.
Above: Memory Poster. The poster has a blue border and a white center with the shape of a wave. The top of the card has a fishing pole with a yellow and red fish, and three bobbers. It also says "The Big One" in red and a space to write the birthday child's name.
Above: Clickable image showing red and white bobbers available for purchase from Amazon (accessible text link available in the above section)
Above: Printable bobber tags.
Above: Clickable image that brings you to the Amazon Product page for a banner that says "The Big One". The banner has four fish (red, yellow, green, and blue) and three bobbers, each with a single word (the, big, and one). Click here to view product page
Above: Printable poster available in the Big One Printables Kit. Poster says "The Big One" in red in the center of the image. The top right includes a fishing pole and a single bobber. Blue fish are shown in the center. Three bobbers are located in the bottom left corner.
THANK YOU BAGS AND CARDS
We gave out goodie bags (available in the nautical themed first birthday kit here) containing candy, as well as letting our guests bring home their own fish (see below for the product we purchased).
You can also use the bobber tags from the printables kit and/or the printable thank you notes. Either use a hole puncher and ribbon to affix the tags to the bags, or handwrite thank you messages on the notes for your child to mail/give to your guests.
Above: Three images showing three different thank you card options.
The top thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red at the top, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a square in the center that says "Insert Picture Here". The background is white with light blue fish. The bottom left thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red at the top, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a background that is white with light blue fish. The background is white with light blue fish. The bottom right thank you card has a blue border, says thank you in red in the center, has a fishing pole and three bobbers in the top left corner, and has a background that is white with light blue fish.
We ordered an adorable Big One onesie and a crown from Amazon. And, the choices turned out adorable, if I do say so myself!
Taking this theme beyond the party: Resources and links to fun and educational thematic content
Be sure to check out the following content:
And coming very soon.... Literacy Kits!
The Big One - Printables Kit
- 4 different bobber tag/photo banner options.
- 1 "The Big One" Poster
- 1 Memory Template Card for Guests to Fill Out
- 1 Memory Poster for Guests to Paste Bobber Tags with Memories On
- 1 Menu Card - Blank
- 1 Menu Card - Filled with Sample Menu
- 3 Thank You Card Options
- 1 Pin the Tail on The Fish Set (1 poster, 2 pages of tails)
- 6 Pages of Photo Booth Props/Decorations
- 1 Page of Multisized Fish Tags
- 1 Decorate Your Own Fish Template
- 2 Pages of Fish for Decorations or Fishing Activity
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But my fur babies? They are a different story. We have framed pictures of our pets. We take them on vacation. They have memory foam mattresses in our home. Long before I became the mommy to my little human, I was a proud fur baby mama to a growing menagerie of dogs, cats, and other little beasts. We’ve had hamsters we rescued from a home where they were being bullied by their cage mates, a gold fish we found in a broken bag outside a street carnival, and more. Before I decided to be an educator, I wanted to be a veterinarian. My family volunteers with animal rescues (mostly the amazing Friends with Four Paws… if you are looking for a new family member and live in the New York Tristate Area, be sure to check them out!). Needless to say, we love our pets.
So I was super excited to receive these adorable socks with my dog Basil’s face on them. Basil was the first fur baby I adopted as an adult. Sure, I had dogs growing up, and I became the mama to my husband’s dog when we started dating. But Basil was my first. While I love all my fur babies, she holds a special place in my heart.
When I took them out of the packaging they looked huge; I am normally a shoe size 7.5-8, so I ordered a medium. Fear not; they fit just fine! The socks bunch some at the ankles, which gives a cute, retro look. The fabric was a bit shinier than anticipated when looking at them close-up, but I also am super picky with fabrics. If you are wearing them, no one is going to be able to tell they have a bit of a sheen, and the images printed on them are totally Instagram worthy!
Overall, I was very impressed with PrintsField’s overall operation, and love the socks. I should also note, they make a wide variety of products other than socks; they create custom mugs, laptop cases, notebooks, and more. I’d absolutely recommend their products to any animal lovers, or people looking for a fun novelty gift for another occasion (Father’s Day, which just passed, comes to mind!). I look forward to showing these socks off the next time I volunteer with the animal rescue I work with!!!
I was excited to see this distance learning camp option relies on certified teachers to implement small group projects each week. Even cooler, this camp offers a STEM based curriculum. By now most of us know that STEM curriculum teaches critical 21st century skills. And as a scientist myself, I'm always passionate about finding ways to help children develop these skills. Camp Mave is designed to help your child develop these critical thinking skills while having fun. You can see the entire schedule below. I was also happy to hear that Camp Mave is donating 10% of proceeds to COVID-19 relief.
Camp Mave is targeted for children ages 11-14 and runs week by week through the month of August.
You can read more about this amazing experience below, on their website, or learn more by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to use code erinm2020 to receive 5% off your purchase price!
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