Happy summer, friends. We wanted to offer a quick and easy summer freebie for our readers. I created these printables for my preschooler who loves to spell new words. The activity is now available to download for your own little spellers!
My son tends to appreciate handwriting practice when the subject is interesting so I used a few sea creatures to capture his attention. He got creative with the images, then wrote the animal’s name underneath.
Handwriting practice is an excellent complex motor activity and is important for brain development. Handwriting activates the brain and advances cognitive skills.
It also contributes to reading fluency because it activates visual perception of letters. Studies show that writing improves memory, and that students retain learning better when working with new ideas through handwriting instead of typing.
For more on the importance of handwriting in a world that seems to be moving very quickly to the keyboard, click here.
The Sea Creatures Printable bundle includes each sheet below!
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We all know that the first day of school can be an emotional time for parents and kids alike. This year brings its own challenges, with virtual learning, social distancing requirements, and block scheduling planned for students across the country.
This is new territory for everyone, and children are not immune to the uneasiness surrounding reopening schools. However, by staying positive and proactive, it’s possible to carve out an optimistic outlook for the upcoming school year.
One of the best ways to ease a child’s anxiety is through literature. By introducing characters with feelings and situations resembling their own, they are able to ascertain insight and expand their perspective.
And by forming character connections through literature with your child, you will be able to affirm their feelings and create open dialogue on topics of concern or excitement.
Below we have listed some of our favorite first day of school books you can read to prepare your child for the new year. With comprehensive subjects such as first-day jitters, meeting new friends, learning the new school rules; we’ve listed a book for it all.
You will also find some post-reading activities to stimulate follow-up conversations and engage your child even more with some of the characters and topics.
See Our List of Favorite First Day of School Books and Activities Below!
Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.
Have you child create a bucket of their own by thinking and writing down the things that make them happy and placing them in their bucket.
Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. First Day Jitters is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated a first day of school.
Have your child make a “Jitter Juice”. Cut out all the emojis that your child feels about starting school and put them in the jitter juice. You can also make a “Jitter Juice” of your own with Hawaiian Punch and Sprite!
It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and he’s not too happy about it. Still, he trudges along and makes his bed, brushes his teeth, and eats his breakfast.
But once he arrives at his classroom — with so many new faces, new names, and new games — little Llama doesn’t know what to do. And when Mama Llama leaves, the little guy feels even more shy and alone. What will this lonely llama do? Will Mama ever return?
With two paper plates, make an outline of Llama Llama’s head, ears and scruffy hair. Cut out the eyes, color and glue together to create a Llama Llama mask!
In this sequel, young David heads off to school for the first time and David’s teacher certainly has her hands full! From running, yelling, and pushing with abandon to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each day with trouble. David’s unruly romp through school is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the best-behaved reader. Read along as David learns the school rules.
School rules are very important. See if your child knows the difference between good school behavior and what is not allowed with this “Yes, David – No, David” activity.
As a parent with progressive values, raising kids with big hearts, open minds, and critical thinking skills is extremely important to me. I didn’t learn the true meaning of allyship (and I will always be learning) until I finished college, and for my kids, this simply will not do.
As they go through life in its many phases, I want them to understand what it means to be an ally, so they can best support their friends and others who are not treated fairly in society, simply based on who they are.
I believe most parents/teachers/caregivers grapple with when to start having difficult conversations about societal inequity with their kids.
Yet research indicates that starting from a very young age, children are taught who has power and who is valued in society, through media, interactions with family members and friends, etc. Knowing this, it is never too early.
Want to learn more?
Let’s first define an ally as a partner who works in solidarity alongside members of marginalized communities to correct the systems that obstruct them from advancing in society. Allies work for everyone to be treated fairly regardless of race, ability, sexuality, socioeconomic status, etc.
Anyone can be an ally if they put in the work. Some of us are born with benefits specific to the groups we belong to. For example: A white woman can be an ally to indigenous groups, a straight person can be an ally to LGBTQIA members, a man can be an ally to women.
Most importantly, being an ally means working hard to move everyone forward.
Why is this work important? Let’s dive deeper. Download our Printable!
I created this printable guide to help kids do just that. Dive deep! The goal is for them to feel adequate in their understanding of the terms and concepts that accompany allyship work, and to learn to celebrate diversity, which provides them a more worldly perspective.
In doing so, my hope is that overtime, they will acquire the skillset necessary to recognize injustice when they encounter it, and the confidence to challenge intolerance when it presents itself.
Help Kids understand the importance of social allyship with this inclusive parent/teacher/caregiver resource on how to become an ally in solidarity with marginalized communities. Together we can make the world a brighter place.
The topics of race and racism can be difficult to broach with children, and deciding when and how can be complex. It is a firm belief of mine, as a mother to white children, that my work to cultivate positive change needs to start at home. So I’ve decided to talk to my kids and read them stories about race, and find books that feature characters who look different from them.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. All proceeds accrued from the links in this article will be donated to Color of Change, the Nation’s largest online racial justice organization. You can read more about their mission here.
My hope is that, in having these conversations early, future discussions about discrimination and white privilege won’t feel uncomfortable. I want them to be able to identify covert and overt racism, and call for justice when they see it.
I have found books to be one of the best ways to convey messages to children, with brains that are wired for stories and narrative. And because their age plays a large factor in what they should consume and retain, I’ve broken it down into groups.
If it’s time to update your classroom or at home library, here is our list of 2o of the Best Children’s Books about race and racism, broken down into 3 age groups
Studies show that babies recognize differences in skin color and hair textures. Even before it is possible to have conversations with your children, teach through through stories and actions. In addition, do your best to expose your child to a diverse environment and media that represents people of color. It’s important for kids to see their parents interact with people of other racial and ethnic groups.
When children become more vocal, it’s normal for them to spontaneously start talking about skin color. Help your child work through their curiosity by having a conversation about race. It’s also fine to bring up people’s physical differences before your child does. The goal is not to teach them to be “colorblind” but to love and respect people who look different than they do. Correct racial and cultural insensitivities when you witness them, as it is critical to model allyship.
When kids start school, their circle of exposure widens, which means that they may need more explicit guidance about race and racism. Kids this age are already receiving messages from TV and media about who has power and who is valued in our society. We must start teaching them to be critical readers and viewers.
This is also a time when we can begin to teach kids ways to combat racism and prejudice. But to do so, parents may have to first introduce them to the idea that some people get treated unfairly based on their skin color, culture or religion. Kids in this age group can also comprehend contextual examples of their privilege, like living a life without fear of experiencing racism.
We hope you love this list of Children’s books about race and racism and have selected a few to read to your own kids! To foster kindness and help kids discover the value of empathy, check out our Simple Methods for Teaching Kindness and Empathy.
Give the gift of sensory stimulation for baby’s first Christmas with this brightly colored and super durable toy! Babies will love poking and grabbing the colorful silicon bubbles while developing fine motor skills. Easy to take on the go and a fascinating attention keeper, this Dimpl is a wonderful gift for baby’s first Christmas!
You can’t go wrong with a classic! This multi-purpose radio flyer is a gift for babies and parents alike, as it is fun to ride in and easy to pull. It’s compact design folds for simple storage and it includes the UV protective canopy (for rainy days too). Plenty of room for 2, the radio flyer 3-in-1 can also be used as bench for seating. Buy it now!
It is never too early to instill a love for reading in a child, which makes this board book boxset the perfect gift for baby’s first Christmas. These brightly colored reads cover all the basics, including numbers, the alphabet and animals. Great for language development and an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of literature. Baby needs this set like yesterday!
Just look at this adorable spike the Hedgehog in all of it’s colorful, fine motor glory! Watch as baby’s skills grow with this super cute peg-in-the-hole toy. The quills are easy to grasp and simple to store when play time is over. Spike is highly educational with it’s sorting, counting and color recognition building features. Exceptional!
What’s not to love about this interactive learning baby walker that features a removable toddler play panel and pretend telephone handset? Help babies learn to walk with this light up, musical push toy that sings songs and spouts fun phrases. Durable wheels work on carpet and hard floors. Intended for babies and toddlers from 9 months to 3 years old, it is also available in pink!
Bath time just got more fun with these awesome waterproof books and squeeze toys! This gift is not only educational but unique and guaranteed to keep baby entertained. The first page even squeaks when you press it! Tough but bendable, the books’ smooth edges are safety checked and mold resistant. Great value for everything included. Blub Blub gift these bath toys for baby’s first Christmas and enjoy some fun in the tub!
Personalized learning, 40+ melodies and lullabies, and night time soothing are just a few of the incredible features to this multi-faceted, educational cuddle toy. Sync with a smartphone or tablet, and Scout will say your child’s name and favorite things. Bedtime just got a lot easier!
A beautifully crafted childhood classic, the Battat wooden activity cube is a must have for babies and toddlers. With 5 sides of fun and rounded corners, this child favorite will keep baby safely entertained. Playtime with this toy encourages hand-eye coordination, imaginative play and cause-and-effect. Winning gift right here!
What can’t we say about Melissa & Doug? Their products are amazing. Get back to the basics with these stackable blocks with eye catching alphabet letters and animals. And when baby is finished they store away seamlessly. This toy is an incredible value under $10 and is guaranteed by Melissa & Doug. Talk about a no brainer!
Kids have a mental, emotional and physical need to learn how to explore by investigating their physical environments. What better place to do it than in this stimulating and safe ball pit? They can learn depth perception and to differentiate colors. It folds up quick and easy and comes with a handy storage bag so you can take just about anywhere!
We hope you found the PERFECT Baby’s First Birthday Gift!
We’re going all DIY this year for Father’s Day because nothing says “I love you,” like a homemade gift for the Dad’s who deserve much applause and appreciation! This DIY Block Photo Holder for Father’s Day is an easy, fun and nostalgic way to bring a smile to any Dad’s face. It’s the perfect memory holder and keepsake to display on a shelf or as a desk accessory.
Pull out the paint, blocks, some old photos and let the creativity flow. Everything your child will need (with some adult supervision of course!) and more is below!
Paint the blocks and decorate them as desired. Kids can use the paint pens linked above to write messages or use stickers, photos, etc. Anything that represents how your child feels about Dad will work just fine. On the cube that will be used as the top block, drill a small hole to place wire.
Once finished and dry, seal the cubes with acrylic sealer, also linked above. Once dry again, hot glue cubes together, slightly off-center to create the block tower look.
Cut wire about 6in. long, then wrap the tip around a pen or paint brush a few times (pictured below) to create the wire holder. Place inside the hole that was drilled into the top block.
I had my son write a little note to stick in the wire holder and it came out really sweet. A second idea would be to place another photo or a Father’s Day card in the holder, whichever your child prefers! We can’t wait to give it to him on Father’s Day in a few weeks.
And with that, the DIY Block Photo Holder for Father’s Day is complete! We hope every loving, giving, hard working Father enjoys their day to the fullest.
For more fun DIY projects for kids and boredom busters, check out our Learning activities tab!