Highly Rated Valentine's Day Books for Kids
Looking to add some new seasonal books to your little library? I've put together a list of highly rated Valentine's Day themed books your kids are sure to love!!! Do you have any favorites on this list?
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and commissions earned helped support my small business. You can learn more here.
Valentine's Day Books for Babies and Toddlers
It is never too early to start reading to your children! If you are looking for ways to share Valentine's Day with your infant or younger toddler, the following book is highly rated and has Valentine's day concepts presented in a developmental appropriate manner.
Valentine's Day Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers
My preschooler is obsessed with Daniel Tiger, and I'm not complaining. Emotions, social skills, and life skills are HARD, especially for little ones, and Daniel Tiger's lessons have been super helpful for my child's social emotional development and independence (really; we use the songs and concepts to manage big feelings and situations throughout the day!). We have tons of great Daniel Tiger books, so between that and the ratings, this book is sure to make your toddler or preschooler happy!
The Little Blue Truck books have been favorites in my home for awhile now, so of course The Little Blue Truck's Valentine would make an appearance on this list!
Valentine's Day Picture Books
Picture books are a fun way to share a love for literature with young children, starting as soon as their attention permits. My child has loved reading longer books since he was an infant, but by age 2-3 most children are able to sit for long enough to enjoy books like the ones below. When are kids too old to read picture books? Many younger elementary students continue to love family and teachers reading picture books, even once they can read on their own. Picture books can also be wonderful for early readers who aren't ready for chapter books. Some benefits of reading aloud for elementary students include the opportunity to model prediction, fluency, and decoding skills!
Harvey The Heart Had Too Many Farts: A Rhyming Read Aloud Story Book For Kids And Adults About Farting and Friendship
Looking for a silly Valentine's read? This book is highly rated, and while it might seem a little gross, what kid doesn't like laughing about bodily functions? Plus, the book rhymes, which is great for promoting phonological awareness.
Valentine's Day Books for Elementary Students
Just because many seasonal and holiday books are geared towards younger children doesn't mean you can't find great options for slightly older kids, too. Junie B. Jones and Amelia Bedelia are both beloved series for elementary school students, and both offer Valentine's Day texts!
Valentine's Day Activity Books
More Great Valentine's Day Content
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The Best Christmas Books for Kids
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support my small business, and my participation in this program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here.
One of my family's favorite ways to welcome any season is with books. My child is an avid "reader" (I write it that way because he is working on preliteracy skills and loves to read with anyone willing to share a book with him), and with all the excitement of the Christmas season, it is no surprise he has some favorite holiday books this year.
If you are looking to share the spirit of the season with a child in your life, check out these highly rated and family favorite book options!!!
Favorites from Our Home
My child is going through a serious Santa phase right now, but also is beginning to appreciate the story of Jesus' birth. With that in mind, here are his favorite reads this year!!
You can also find location specific versions, including for US cities, states, and even Canada and specific providences!! Here are a few of the ones available:
A few of the other MANY available versions include:
This classic is an obvious candidate for inclusion on any kids Christmas book list, and for good reason! The poem has been a staple in homes during this season for generations now, and the illustrations in this specific book are stunning. If you haven't added it to your Christmas list, I definitely recommend doing so!
My preschooler absolutely loves this board book. It offers an account of Jesus' birth in a simple, easy to understand format, and is short enough to easily keep a toddler's attention. It also has great sensory elements for babies and younger toddlers. If you aren't a Christian family but like to learn about other religious beliefs (maybe you are Unitarian Universalist, an interfaith family, or appreciate world religions and sharing that with your child), this book is great because it isn't too religious. However, it is religious enough to be great for Christian homes, too!
This fresh take on the classic Gingerbread Man story is paired with Jan Brett's typical gorgeous illustrations. A definite favorite for pairing with baking our Christmas cookies and making our gingerbread house each year!!
We love Jan Brett in our home, so it is no surprise that her work is appearing twice on this list. The Wild Christmas Reindeer is about one elf's journey to prepare some rowdy reindeer for their big Christmas flight.... and how she grows as a result!!!
Recommended by Other Families
Because I can't read every book, I've scoured the internet to grab a short list of recommended kids reads. Each of these books is very highly rated from other families (and some I've read myself, too!). Whether you are looking for a classic Christmas book, a secular option, or a religious option, you are sure to find a new book your child will love on this list!
Classic Christmas Books
This book is on our gift list, and we look forward to recommending it next Christmas. This perennial family favorite is a must include on any Christmas book list for its popularity!! It is actually rated #1 for kids books about trains on Amazon!!
PS: While not yet one of my child's favorite books, I do love The Polar Express and can genuinely recommend it to other families!
Like The Polar Express, this best seller isn't just a movie! Dr. Seuss' seasonal classic is a must have in any kids Christmas library.
PS: While not yet one of my child's favorite books, I do love Dr. Seuss books (including this one) and can genuinely recommend it to other families!
Popular Secular Children's Books
My child has a book from this series, and absolutely loves it. If you have a truck obsessed child, Construction Site on Christmas Night is a great inclusion for your library.
Religious Christmas Books
If you are a Christian home looking for scripture based children's books, here are a few highly rated options to consider this year.
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Traditions and Ideas to Make Santa Even More Magical!
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Santa is a fun part of many families' Christmas celebrations. A prime example of the magic of childhood, Santa is a great way to build excitement for the season. Many of us have Santa traditions from when we were young, but as I've learned from being a parent, there are always ways to make things even more amazing for our children.
Here is some inspiration for how to make the Santa tradition even more magical and exciting this year!
1. Use dedicated wrapping paper for gifts from Santa. Print labels or disguise handwriting on tags.
I remember wondering why Santa used the same wrapping paper as my parents when I was a child. Today, I make sure that Santa sends all gifts with special wrapping paper, and when relevant, tags. You can also use plain brown paper and decorative twine to wrap gifts, which gives a classic look. While younger children won't know the difference, the small details matter a lot in making Christmas all the more magical!
2. Bake cookies for Santa, and leave one or more by the fireplace overnight with milk (or a milk alternative). Make sure to take a bite, or eat it and leave crumbs for Christmas morning! (Bonus: leave carrots for the reindeer)
We started baking cookies for Santa with our child last year, and can't wait to do it again in 2021! Last year we made and decorated fresh gingerbread men on Christmas Eve, and made sure to leave one for Santa. This is a tradition I didn't have as a child, and it is one I've loved bringing into my home. We didn't leave milk out overnight, of course, but we did put some out while our son was awake!!
To make things even more special (remember those details that matter so much?) we have a special Santa cookie plate, and a dedicated mug to leave his milk in.
3. Never give big gifts from Santa; leave small, meaningful gifts that kids will still appreciate.
If you are getting your child the hottest toy or a big/special gift, don't let Santa take the credit. You worked hard to afford that gift!!! Your child will find magic in, and appreciation for, Santa... whatever Santa brings. That said, Santa always sends our children something they will love, not just practical gifts. We just make sure the present is something smaller. Stocking stuffers also come from Santa, which means fun trinkets, tasty (and allergy safe) treats, meaningful mementos like ornaments, and sometimes practical items, too. These gifts only arrive Christmas morning, making the surprise extra special.
4. Write letters or send cards to Santa
My little one was too young to send a letter to Santa last year, but this year he is excited to send a picture! There are tons of ways to make this tradition special, and have it be developmentally appropriate. If your children are very young, letter templates or coloring are nice ways to write to Santa. Older children may want to handwrite a note or create a card. Get creative, and have fun!
Looking for a great letter template? You can also grab your free letter to Santa template here.
5. Start reading Santa books and doing seasonal craft/activities early in the season to build excitement
We usual start with Santa and Christmas everything on Thanksgiving, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (though this year an early arrival of a Santa book from a family member and missing out on so much last year has lead us to doing a bit of Christmas even earlier). Santa books, Santa and Christmas activities, Christmas movies, decorations..... it is all Christmas, as much as possible!!
Highly Rated Options
6. Focus on your child's heart, not good or bad behavior.
And, Santa watching us when we are sleeping? Well, that is just plain creepy. Okay, we sing the song, but in explaining it? We make sure our kids know that it is just a song. Santa won't be spying through any windows at our home!
7. Visit Santa (in person or virtually), but don't force it.
Visiting Santa can be an exciting tradition, but for some children, it feels more scary than fun. If your child doesn't respond well to strangers in character, or is very shy, consider whether visiting Santa would be less magical and more upsetting. With recent events, virtual Santa visits have become a great alternative to in person!! And, in Westchester, we also have a chance to see Santa at a distance at our local drive through light show. Many other communities offer similar events, so be sure to look and see what is available near you. These distance events are an excellent way to see Santa while not upsetting young, stranger adverse children (and while being safe if there are high case rates in your area).
8. Track Santa on Christmas Eve.
If you aren't already doing so, make sure to track Santa on Christmas Eve! NORAD has an awesome feature allowing families to see where Santa is on his epic journey, so if you haven't used it yet, definitely check it out.
Love these ideas? Be sure to check out my entire Christmas Guide!
And don't forget to make sure you are prepared for holiday shopping with my 2021 holiday shopping tips!
Be sure to save and share these ideas with other families!!
Ghost Themed Activities, Free Printables, Crafts, and More!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in the program supports my small business, and comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more here.
We have a new addition to our season library: Ten Timid Ghosts, by Jennifer O'Connell. This book tells the story of 10 ghosts in their haunted house, and an unwelcome visitor. It is perfect for teaching little ones counting skills, and unlike many number books, counts backwards.
We have enjoyed reading it again and again. To keep the fun going, here are some great activities to pair with the book! Whether your are looking for a homeschool learning unit, a preschool class theme, or just a way to keep your child occupied and learning during days at home, this list has something for everyone!
Tissue Paper Ghosts (On Paper)
This activity is simple, easy, and perfect for little hands (though big hands can help make it even flashier of a project). Using construction paper, glue, and white tissue paper, have your child form "ghosts" and glue them to the background. You can also use child friendly paint and more construction paper to put together a background scene!
3D Ghosts (Coming Soon!)
Using a plastic bottle or milk jug, tissue paper, a hot glue gun, and black paint, you can easily create a spooky ghost! Or, use a milk jug and a permanent marker. You can add battery operated lights to either, making them fun evening decorations for Halloween!
Stay tuned for the entire craft, with detailed instructions!
Ghost Sensory Activities
Shaving Cream Ghosts
Print the free instant download (below), laminate it, and grab your shaving cream.... it is the easiest sensory activity you can find!
Ghost Sensory Bin (Coming Soon!)
Use dried black beans, some small toy pumpkins (easy to find at the Dollar Store or online), and add large, stretched cotton balls for your "ghosts" (you can also create more elaborate ghosts by gluing a few together and adding googley eyes). Throw in some cups, tongs, and serving spoons, and you have a great sensory activity)
Play Dough Ghosts (Coming Soon!)
Use white and black play dough to create adorable ghosts. Add googley eyes when dry (using a hot glue gun) for even more fun!
Free with Subscription for a Limited Time!
Grab your free 10 Timid Ghosts PDF today, before this offer disappears!
This activity book has 16 pages of fun and learning for your preschooler! Coloring pages, puzzles, counting activities, same/different activities, vocabulary tracing, and more! But don't wait to subscribe! This activity book is being added to my upcoming storefront soon, and will be removed from the free library.
Available for Instant Download
Use this free printable as a coloring page, laminate for use as a sensory mat, or laminate and use to practice tracing and coloring again and again!
More Great Book Recommendations!
If you love 10 Timid Ghosts, check out my list offavorite seasonal books for preschoolers!
More Seasonal Content
Also be sure to check out these great seasonal activities this fall!
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Grab my little one's recommendations for awesome fall books for preschoolers (and toddlers/early elementary students), plus corresponding activities,. here!
The books discussed in this post were gifted to me by Jolie Canoli for the purpose of review. All opinions are entirely my own!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. Commissions earned help support my small business, and my participation in the program comes at no added cost to you. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
The school year is dragging on, and yet, it is almost over for many students. Virtual learning is just not quite as effective as in person learning, is it? Even if your child is going to school in person, they may be missing quite a few days due to the current circumstances. Especially for very young children, reinforcing the basic foundational skills they learn at school has become all the more essential.
Enter Jolie Canoli Phonics!
If you are looking for a supplement to school based reading instruction for your preschooler, kindergartener, or even early elementary student, these books are an amazing resource. They are also great for families looking to give their children a head start on the foundations of fluent English reading. As I’ve previously shared, literacy science indicates five critical areas of reading instruction, and phonemic awareness and phonics (together making up the larger category of phonological awareness) are two key areas to focus attention on early during reading development (National Reading Panel, 2000). I’ve also noted that many kids’ books and programs do not adequately promote development of critical phonological awareness strategies. Given this fact, I am happy to add Jolie Canoli texts to the list of books that I can enthusiastically endorse as using effective letter sound mapping strategies. Plus, these books have the added benefit of promoting decoding/carry over of skills.
Each text starts with an introduction for parents and caregivers. Essentially serving as a crash course in the basics of how to use the text and concepts of reading and reading instruction, these brief instructions are in simple language that even those without a degree in education can easily retain. But they don’t just focus on speech sounds. Both books in the phonics series offer prompts for how to write each letter. This is the only widely available phonics/alphabet book series I’ve found with that feature, setting them apart from competitors.
About the Alphabet Book
In the alphabet book, the text is presented in rhyming form, and ties the grapheme characters into the story seamlessly. Onomatopoeia is used as a device to help children further understand the sounds that letters make. Phonemes are repeated multiple times in different words, as well as different places within the words. The author also provides fun rules for letters that have multiple phonemes to help children understand where a letter might make one sound or another (my noting this inherently means she also spends time focusing on the fact that different letters can make many different sounds in the first place; one example is the hard and soft G that many books neglect to explicitly address).
Periodic check ins provide an opportunity for children to practice blending/decording using the phonemes and graphemes they have just reviewed. As I’ve previously noted, decoding/word segmentation is a critical skill associated with later reading fluency (eg. Muter, 1998; Hjetland, et al., 2017). While it is not the primary focus of the text, the introduction to blending/decoding practice is a fantastic addition that many children’s alphabet books neglect.
About the Vowels Book
The vowels book pairs with a song by the author, available for download on her webpage. Like the alphabet book, the vowels text reviews the multitude of sounds each letter can make, in a variety of places within the words, and introduces phonics rules in rhyming form. The characters each letter becomes also helps indicate to readers what sound each respective letter makes (e.g. up vs. unicorn for the letter u). Like the alphabet book, the pages are colorful, fun, and interactive.
While there are no major drawbacks within these texts, there were two areas where I could see some minor room for improvement. Both were in the alphabet book, and the first can easily be addressed by using the vowels text in addition to the alphabet book. This was that the letter A was not addressed using one of the most common sounds it makes; a as in apple. Instead the author uses the word ant for the short a sound, and a in acorn for the long a sound. As a former educator training in the Wilson school of phonics instruction (a methodology supported by extensive research), I would much prefer the boring a for apple over a for ant. [Note: I am not in any way sponsored or affiliated with Wilson; I am simply a major proponent of their method). That said, this is not something I see as a major problem with the alphabet book given the audience is parents and their children rather than teachers involved in early reading instruction, and the vowels text does address the matter further. The second critique I had of the alphabet book was that one of the blending practice words used a double e (which makes a long e sound), despite not explicitly covering this concept. However, this is a children’s book we are discussing here, not a curriculum package (reference my audience comment prior). I am not horribly concerned as a result!
These books get a definite recommendation from me! I am pleased to add them to my child’s library, and would certainly encourage other parents to do the same! They are fun, engaging, and importantly, have content presented in a way I believe would aid in the development of early reading skills*.
Where can you find the books?
Other books by the author
*I say believe because, as a scientist reviewing a program not supported by science, I am incapable of drawing causal claims. That said, these are children’s books, not a curriculum program, and as such, there is no necessity to support the books with scientific studies.
Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, check out these great books and activities! They are perfect for both homeschooling families, and those just looking for themed activities.
Classic Handprint Turkey
If you grew up in the United States, you almost certainly have memories of doing handprint turkeys around Thanksgiving. The concept is simple; trace your hand, then add a beak and some legs. Voila! You have a turkey!
As a mommy blogger, of course I have to give my own take on the project!
The core concept remains the same, but I've added a few flairs of my own. Here is my take on the classic handprint turkey craft!
What you will need:
How to make your turkeys:
And that's it! Want to elaborate on this activity, or dress it up some? Try these great modifications:
No subscription needed for these great coloring pages!
Create a family gratitude list or journal! You can do this in several ways. One is to use a nice journal or notebook, and add entries each day with what each family member is grateful for. Younger children can add drawings to the book. Another option is to create a scrapbook of collages with what each family member is grateful for. An alternate form of this activity is to have your child create a gratitude collage by printing pictures of things that symbolize what they are grateful for, and gluing them on paper. Older children can also add captions or printed words to their collages. Finally, you can also use my gratitude journal printables and put them in a binder using page protectors or just a 3 hole punch.
If you are a newsletter subscriber, be sure to check out the Thanksgiving folder for some great new printables! Included are some velcro activities (I used them to make a Thanksgiving binder book game; you can get instructions on how to make one here), a counting worksheet, and gratitude journaling pages for the entire family!
Great Read: I am Thankful
I am Thankful is a new seasonal favorite in our home this year (both me and my child love it!). Featuring a diverse cast of characters, this relatable story discusses the many things children may experience as Thanksgiving traditions, and the many things (and people) they may be grateful for. The book also contains a variety of activities you can do.
Other Highly Rated Thanksgiving Books Your Child Might Like!
Create Your Own Parade Floats
Using materials of your choice (boxes, plastic bottles, paper, pom poms, sequins, toys, balloons, etc.), create parade floats and put on your own Thanksgiving Parade around the house!
Baking is one of my favorite activities to do as a family, and Thanksgiving baking is no different. Check out some of my favorite recipes, or use your own!
I'll be sharing even more soon!
Even More Ideas!
I love this turkey building activity from Beary Sweet Home. There are also tons of recommendations for other activities, books, and printables!
I also love this turkey weaving activity from The Growing Creatives (you can also find it pinned on my Pinterest).
You can also find a bunch of great activities on Amazon. Here are a few highly rated options your kids may love!
Want even more ideas? Be sure to check out my Pinterest account! I have tons of Thanksgiving and autumn ideas from other bloggers across a number of different boards. And stay tuned to my blog; I will be adding more activities soon!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more about my participation in this program here.
For our homeschooling letter W theme, I picked the seasonally appropriate word 'witch'. And what better book to celebrate Halloween and discuss the concept of witches than 'Room on the Broom'. This adorable picture book discusses the themes of kindness and friendship, as a witch is helped by a series of new pals, who she (in return) allows to join her and her cat on their adventures. But that is just the start of how these new friends help one another on a particularly stormy autumn evening! I'll not give spoiler, but I will provide you access to some of the awesome activities I developed (or in some cases, collected) just for this book!
Room on the Broom Velcro Activity
As you read the book, you can use this velcro activity to help children track what is happening in the story. Have your child pick out the appropriate pieces, removing them or adding them to the velcro board. The activity is a great, hands on, visual aid for comprehension.
You can find this activity in my free subscriber's resource library.
Room on the Broom Videos
My little one has been enjoying watching this cute Room on the Broom cartoon on YouTube. It pairs imagery with the classic book text, read out loud. (Please note, the following video became unavailable. I am searching for a new version, and will add that when I find one!)
VIDEO UNAVAILABLE TEMPORARILY
A second fun version reads the book outloud as a song, with video graphics!
Witch Themed Coloring Pages; Letter W Coloring Page
I'm making a few of these pages available for immediate download. The rest are available in my subscriber's only resource library.
For immediate download:
And for those who have subscribed to the library, check out the newest addition to coloring pages! The letter W page is already uploaded there.
Witch Matching Velcro Activity
Another subscriber's resource library exclusive, I added this activity to my busy book for independent play and learning. Simple laminate two copies, cut out the shapes from one copy, and add velcro to make your own. You can also have your child color the pages prior to laminating (for extra fun).
Witch's Hat Craft
What you'll need:
This activity is super simple! Just cut out a witch's had shape (use the stencil below)- use one plate/piece of paper for the triangle shape, and one to make a flattened oval. Glue them into the shape of a hat, and then decorate!
If you want to make a band, simple place the hat on your child's forehead, use the paper or twine and measure the circumference, and then tie or glue to the hat! Make sure to leave room for your child to pull the hat on and off, though.
Magical Mud Sensory Play
Making magical mud is easy. It is just ooblek! If you've not made it before, the recipe is easy, and uses ingredients you probably already have in house:
That's it! You'll need a 2:1 ratio, so 1 cup of cornstarch for 1/2 cup of water (or whatever sized batch you'd like)
Want to make it extra 'muddy'? Just add food dye; you'll want to add all the colors to make a nice, gunky, brown color.
Then, let your kids play! If you'd like, you can let them cover animals in the ooblek, too (just like the animals cover themselves in mud in the book).
The great thing about ooblek is it really does seem magical. Defying the boundary between solids and liquids, this amazing activity is bound to get your kids thinking.
Witch's Brew Sensory Play
This one isn't my activity, but head over to Tot School Resources for their Spooky Witch's Brew Science Experiment. It is a perfect complement to my Room on the Broom activities!
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Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. You can learn more here.
Pumpkins might be one of my favorite parts of fall. So I've had a lot of fun designing pumpkin activities for my little one!
Since I've been doing an alphabet themed month this September, I fit the pumpkin activities shared here in with the letters C (counting), F (fall), J (jack o lantern), P (pumpkin), O (orange), S (shapes) and T (teal.... we are a food allergy family, after all!).
10 Little Pumpkins
Counting/One to One Correspondence Activity
For our 10 Little Pumpkins activity we read 10 Little Pumpkins, and each time a new pumpkin was discussed in the story, added a pumpkin to our velcro board. At the end, when the "10 little pumpkins [roll] out of sight" we removed them all. You can find the printable for the velcro activity in the Resource Library, and the book (plus supplies to make the velcro activity) using the links below.
Older children can also use the velcro activity for counting; just ask them to place a specific number of pumpkins on the velcro board.
Jack O Lantern Faces
Shape Activity and Craft
What you need:
Before doing this activity, we watched a great musical video from Sesame Street about all the shapes you can use to make a jack o lantern face. You can find that here.
Start the craft by painting the paper plate orange. Once dry, your child can glue shapes of their choice onto their 'pumpkin'. To make this a shape recognition activity, you can do the following:
Letter P for Pumpkin
Letter Recognition Activity and Coloring Pages
You can find these activities in the Resource Library! To create the velcro activities seen above, be sure to check out the supplies recommended for the 10 Little Pumpkins activity above.
Teal Pumpkin Paper Plate Project
What you need:
Cut out a stem from one paper plate. Paint brown. Paint the remaining two plates teal. Allow all pieces to dry. Then staple or glue two paper plates together, and then add the stem to the top.
Add a Teal Pumpkin Project message if desired (you can even have your children write why the Teal Pumpkin Project matters to them and glue it to the center).
Baking Pumpkin Muffins
What toddler doesn't love helping with baking! To celebrate the first day of fall, we baked pumpkin muffins using one of my favorite recipes (you can find that here). Baking helps children develop motor skills (pouring, mixing), teach about measuring and following directions, and helps teach cause and effect.
We also used it as a sensory activity by taste testing some of the ingredients (specifically the pumpkin puree, a tiny bit of sugar, and the orange juice, since my child doesn't drink juice yet).
Pumpkin Activities We Have Planned For Later This Fall:
Pumpkin season has just barely begun! We have tons more pumpkin activities planned for this fall. Here are a few:
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And be sure to check out other great activities here!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn on qualifying purchases. My participation in this program comes at no added cost to you, and helps support this blog. If you want to learn more about my participation in this program, click here.
As I noted inmy post about our first week homeschooling, sometimes everything doesn't get done when we want, or how we want. And that is perfectly okay! But because I didn't want us to fall behind with what letters I was planning to review each week, I made the choice cover a few letters at a time throughout the rest of September, and into October. Since I know I'll be covering the alphabet repeatedly, this felt like a good modification to make sure I could get through content I wanted to review while also being able to do other activities in October
Here is a breakdown of each of the activities we did for the remainder of the alphabet!
You can find our letter A and B activities here.
Calendar and Story Time - Daily (Mostly!)
Our calendar and story time routine doesn't vary much! Therefore, it has looked pretty much like what we did the week before. Be sure to check that out here. You'll also find a link to our daily circle time book, Shadow Boxes. We read the page related to the letter(s) of the day!
Why does the header say "mostly", by the way? Because we didn't do the calendar daily. Between early intervention therapies, doctors appointments, general life, and refusing to enforce calendar time rigidly (my kid is a toddler, remember?), it didn't happen every day. And that is okay! While I always try to do fun homeschool activities with my child daily, I never want to give the impression that I have it all together, and things run seamlessly. That isn't fair to you, the reader. That isn't real life. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!
Book: 10 Little Pumpkins
Activities: 10 little pumpkins velcro activity, Fall Numbers Binder Book Activity (from the subscriber's library)
You can learn more about the 10 little pumpkins activity here.
Letters D, E, and F
Nat Geo Dinosaurs 101 Video
Many kids love dinosaurs, but given they are something no human being has or can experience in person, they are also a highly conceptual topic to cover. As such, I wanted to find ways to make the content more accessible to my toddler.
The video I'm sharing with you is geared towards slightly older children and contains larger vocabulary, but my toddler loved it! It is never too early to start exposing your child to more advanced academic content, so long as it is in a developmentally appropriate way. In this case, the video was just over 3 minutes (so, short), contained exciting imagery, and was presented in a way that made my child more interested (I played the video on my phone after reading a book about dinosaurs, and he normally doesn't have access to my content via my phone). From the time I was a small child, I loved National Geographic and PBS documentaries. I hope to instill the same sense of academic curiosity in my child!
While I try not to use screen time as a way to teach, in this case, it made a lot of sense to provide video content.
Dinosaur coloring pages:
These coloring pages can be found on the Subscribers' Library!
Dinosaur Spikes and Spots Shape Activity
We added spikes and spots to the dinosaur template from my subscriber's library (or any dinosaur coloring page). While doing so, we discussed shape and color.
This activity is easy. All you need is a dinosaur shape, a glue stick, some colored construction paper, and scissors. Cut out circles and triangles for your child using different colored paper. Then, let them have fun decorating their dinosaur however they want!
Letters D, E, and F letter tracing/coloring pages
Letters G and H - Ghosts and Halloween
Craft and Sensory Activity: Tissue Paper Ghosts
Making tissue paper ghosts is easy! Just grab some white tissue paper, crumple, and glue to a piece of black construction paper (though you really could use whatever color you want)! Then add eyes with black paint or marker. If your child is a bit older, they can paint a Halloween scene on the paper first (like I did on mine).
Literacy/Letter Activities: Reading Halloween books, as well as about the letters G and H in our Shadow Boxes book. We then colored the letters G and H, and did ghost and halloween coloring pages from the resource library.
One of our favorite Halloween books is "When the Goblins Came Knocking". It is a great social emotional story for young kids who may find costumed trick or treaters scary of overwhelming. The protagonist tells of last Halloween, when he was scared and hid, but also, of how this Halloween he is able to wear a scary costume. The last page shows the child with his scary dinosaur hood off, letting little readers know that behind those costumes are other kids. It is a sweet story that you'll love sharing with your child.
I believe the book is out of print, but there are tons of used copies available for less than a new hardcover copy!
Letter I - Ice
For the letter I we painted with ice cubes and colored the letter I (see coloring pages in the resource library). We also discussed the concepts of cold, and melting (while my little one likely didn't take in everything I told him, it is a great idea to share ideas with your toddler. They are sponges, and as long as you aren't giving lengthy explanations of high level concepts, the only thing it can do is get their little minds working!)
J - Jack O Lantern
For Jack O Lantern we made pumpkin faces out of paper plates and black construction paper shapes (you can find that activity here), and watched Sesame Street's Making Pumpkin Faces Video. Just like all Sesame Street content, this cute music video is educational, talking about shapes and family.
Letter K - Kitten
We didn't spend a lot of time on letter K, but we did do the letter K coloring page from my library, and spent a lot of time with our own cats. We also did the same animal finding activity with easter eggs (see the Letter E section), but this time searched for different kinds of "kitties" (big cats).
Letter L - Leaves (did along with letters O, R, and Y for orange, red, and yellow)
For the letter L we collected and played with leaves (sensory), watched a Nat Geo video about leaves changing, as well as doing the leaf matching activity in the resource library. We also did the L for Leaf and fall finds velcro activities from the resource library. We also did a number of velcro activities I put together sorting the colors we see in autumn, and discussed letters R, O, and Y for the brilliant colors our leaves turn this time of year. You can find those velcro activities in the Subscribers' Resource Library.
Letters M and N - Moon, Monsters, and Night
Letter Activities: M for Moon Velcro Activity, coloring/tracing pages for letters M and N.
YouTube Video: Moon 101
Craft and Literacy: Making a Monster (from subscriber's library)
This activity is simple! Just print the pages and let your child mix and match bodies, arms, legs, and other add ons for their monster. Want to expand on the activity? Have your child tell or write a story about their monster. What is their name? Where do they live? What do they eat? Do they have a family? A job? A hobby? Are they friendly or scary? Your child decides! There are two worksheet pages (not shown) to get your child started with writing in the printables kit.
Letters O and P - Orange and Pumpkins
I did an entire blog post about the great pumpkin activities we've done. You can find that here.
Letter Q - Quiet
We did letter Q along on the same day as letters O and P. How to help a young toddler learn about the concept of quiet? We practiced! We tip toed around the house, and then practiced being loud by stomping and roaring before going back to trying to be quiet.
Letter R (did along with letter L, plus reviewed O, and skipped ahead to discuss letter Y): Red, Leaves, Orange, and Yellow (Autumn Colors)
See the section for L above for more!
Letter S, skipped ahead to letter X - Spiders, Six
For the letter S we discussed spiders, and the difference between spiders and insects. One great way to tell them apart? Insects have six legs, while spiders have eight!
I'm putting up a separate post about the spider activities we did soon, so keep an eye on the blog! I'll link that here once it is live.
Letters T and U - Ten, Up, Teal
We came back to 10 little pumpkins for the number ten, danced and practiced being up and down (through dance and song; we sang the Wheels on the Bus and did If You're Happy and You Know It (jump up, put your arms up), and painted Teal Pumpkins for the Teal Pumpkin Project.
You can find the 10 Little Pumpkins Activity and the Teal Pumpkin activity here.
Letter V - Volcanos
We didn't spend much time on letter V, but we did do a bit of learning about volcanos. I look forward to returning to the letter V and doing a volcano unit in a few months, when my child is a little older!
Nat Geo Volcanos 101:
Letter V coloring pages (see resource library)
Letter W - Witch
I did an entire post about our letter W activities. You can find that here.
Letter X - See Letter S
Letter Y - See Letter R
Letter Z - Zoo
We were initially planning to take our little one to the Bronx Zoo for this unit, but weather and responsibilities got in our way. Instead, we focused on doing a lot of learning about animals that might be in a zoo!
I added wild animals you might find in a zoo to my child's sensory bin, and he had a blast playing with and labeling the different animals he found. I also gave him some salt dough I'd made, since he seemed to have been craving the smooshy texture.
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May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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