Homeschoolers Can Plan Their Own Garden Unit Study

 

How Does Your Educational Garden Grow?

One of the most rewarding ways to learn about a whole range of subjects is to focus in on one topic and create a unit study from it. 
Unit studies are one of the most rewarding ways to incorporate all of the curriculum into a fun project.

This group of activities creates a break from dull workbooks and tiresome drills ( as necessary as those sometimes are).

This article takes you all the way through how to plan and implement this form of curriculum to specific topics to explore. Included are convenient links to books on Amazon.

Steps To Teaching Core Subjects Through Garden Unit Studies

How-To

  1. Plan the overall unit, write down which projects you wish to accomplish. Plan the reading for literature, with writing projects such as how to keep a journal, writing an expository essay,etc.
  2. Make a list of books to purchase or borrow from the library. Obtain them. buy your folders or journals.Create math projects from cost lists, geometry problems from garden layouts, etc.
  3. Make a supply list of everything you will need to do the projects and then go shopping! Scavenge around the house for everything that will be used instead of purchased. Get pots, soil, seed starting supplies, or whatever you think you will need.Add a history lesson on tools and the materials they are made from as a way to measure the advance of civilization (stone, bronze, iron) . Or compare societies that were hunters and gatherers with those who farmed. Or create a lesson on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.
  4. Begin your unit study with seasonal appropriate activities, field trips, and science experiments. Surprisingly, a gardening unit study can be done at any time of the year.Use science projects on weather, soil testing, botany, etc.
  5. Grow things!

A Garden Topic Covers Every Spectrum of Curriculum

Why is this one of my favorite group studies?
I spent a lot of time and effort in the pursuit of gardening, and have always tried to include my childrenin gaining an appreciation of nature. For their homeschool studies this included lessons in the satisfaction of working outside.

Let’s Run Through a List of Subjects
  • History
  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Art
  • Character Development

History Outside, For Example

Gardening is one way to include indoor and outdoor pursuits. The history of gardens is so interesting that it can encompass whole eras as well as many famous people who had interests or stories somehow related to the garden.

For instance, did you know the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ involved the transport of breadfruit plants in the great plant exploration era of England? Or that Josephine Bonaparte had a well known rose garden?

The opportunities for garden math, horticulture, chemistry, and journaling are plentiful in the garden… come see.

History in the Garden

Gardens in history
Gardens in history

Plants in Garden History
Plants in Garden History

Penelope Hobhouse is one of the premier garden writers in my book. she tackles the task of presenting plants throughout garden history. She will make it interesting for you, I promise.

History Topics

Investigate the School Garden Movement

  • How did children make a difference in their communities?
  • Henry Lincoln Clapp, a teacher at the George Putnam Grammar School in Boston, MA, established the first school garden. And the idea spread from there.
  • What does the Edible Schoolyard Movement look like today?
  • Make a specific era your focus for art, history, and science. Find out about the gardens of that time, the plants common to them, and how they were used in the medicines and manufacture of clothing.
  • Make a scrapbook page of dye plants. Learn about which plants to avoid eating, or explore the history of the tomato…. where did it originate ( the New World) and what did Europeans think of it ( it was feared to be poisonous)
  • Plant hunters and explorers- who were they and how are our gardens different today?
  • OR why do we have plant transport and import laws? Why are there no more American Elm or Chestnut trees in our gardens?

These are just a few of the topics to chose for your own garden unit study.

Hidden Stories in Plants
Hidden Stories in Plants

Plants are exciting when viewed from the perspective of the mysteries they hold, instead of a compilation of dry facts.
Let them tell their stories, and children will be intrigued.

Geography in the Garden

Where does that plant come from?
China

China

Plants From All Over The World

Plants in our gardens are rarely native, and with a  Horticultural Encyclopedia

or any plant book which describes the origination of the plant (many do) it is s simple task to locate the geographical location where the plant originated.

A study of a great plant explorer like E. H. Wilson can combine fascinating history with a geography slant.

 

Teaching Unit Studies

One of the best ways to engage your child’s interest in learning, there are many great guides available and even the planning work of the unit study all plotted out beforehand.

Language Studies and Writing

 

What Type Of Writing Will You Learn?

Expository writing is the type of writing you create for term papers, essays,etc.

Narrative writing is a type of writing that requires you to tell a story that describes an event or relates a personal experience.

Persuasive writing argues a point and is often called argumentation.

All three can be used in the Garden Unit Study.

Expository: Write a paper about why improving the soil is important, or a biography of a famous plant explorer.

Narrative: Relate a funny or interesting thing that happened while making the garden, tell a story from a bugs point of view!

Persuasive: To spray or not to spray, that is the question… choose a controversy and argue why your opinion is the right one.

Include How-To Books for Success

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children

Hands on how-to is what makes this unit study so much fun.

But how do you make learning and working in the garden seem more like fun and less like work? And how to best present gardening to children? Find your ideas in this nicely illustrated guide.

Keep Nature Journals

The best writing exercise for young children is a garden journal with pasted pictures of the plants and projects and words.

Garden catalogs, hardcopy or digital are a rich supply of pictures and information – just print out or cut out and paste into the journals. Seed packets can be saved and used, too.

Nature journals, garden journals, lapbooks about plants, can be worked into your homeschool curriculum and are especially useful in studying with the unit method. They are lasting items for school portfolios.

gardening issue of good housekeeping magazine
Use pictures cut out from magazines on the topic of gardening and plants.

 What is a “Lapbook”?

Lapbooks are a system of file folders in which the student stores creative summaries of their work.

Lapbook creation is a lot like notebooking,  another alternative way to keep and showcase your child’s Garden Unit Study projects and papers.

“An educational learning tool made from a folder and meant to take the place of worksheets.” AKA “shutterbooks, graphic organizers, fold books, presentation books, flap books, and project books”.

To find out more about the concept and difference between lapbooks, notebooks, and scrapbooks, “To Lapbook, Notebook, or Scrapbook– that is the question”.

Basic Supplies for a: Lapbook
  • Folders (regular or legal size)
  • Various types of paper (construction, cardstock, index cards, etc.)
  • Writing tools (markers, pencils, pens, crayons)
  • Stickers, Rubber Stamps , Clipart -for illustration and accents
  • Glue

Why Bother to Create These Projects?

The beauty of such projects are the physical keepsake results of your schoolwork endeavors, and the motivation it provides for your child to see that their schoolwork matters and is not just a bunch of vain or repetitious effort.

Organize Your Lapbooks

Lap books store easily in the plastic, up-right, magazine holders on your bookshelf.

Make a Nature Lapbook

 

Look at these informative links

 

 

Science and the Garden – it is all about science…

Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on "Plants and Pollinators".
Photo from the Smithsonian lesson on “Plants and Pollinators”.

Beneath the garden soil and above it, it is all about the science of growing things. From botany to chemistry, there are a myriad of topical experiments and learning exercises in gardening.

  • Find out about the pH of the soil and test your garden soil.
  • What are the ingredients of common fertilizers and what do their numbers stand for? (Nitrogen, Potassum, and Potash)
  • How are flowers pollinated? What is the life cycle of a plant?
  • What about microorganisms, how important are they in soil health?
  • Discover more about the garden than meets the eye. Take a lens ( a real lens) out into the garden to spy on bugs, look at leaf veins, inspect pollen in flowers.

 

68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps – Science fun

An easy science experiment for small children is to grow a plant from a kitchen scrap. Old carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes… many will grow roots and sprout a plant.

Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam

Don't Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps
Don’t Throw It, Grow It!: 68 windowsill plants from kitchen scraps

Learn how to grow vegetables, fruits, and nuts, even herbs, spices and Asian vegetables. Lots of projects to make exciting plants from a trip to the grocery, great way to get across the lessons on how what we eat comes from the earth, not the store shelves. Humorous and informative, this book will teach you more about growing plants and have more fun doing it.

More Garden Unit Studies Help

Field Trips

Visit public gardens like those listed in Gardens of Ohio. Many educational events are to be found!

 

Math by the Yard

The opportunities for math skills multiply in the garden

Example of Garden Math problems.

“Gardens are a source full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers that provide for and sustain life. But did you know a garden, from its creation to harvest, is rich in mathematical concepts and connections as well?” so says Gardenmath blog and gives us one very helpful post of diagrams and examples.

You can think up all sorts of ways to apply math within the garden unit study including the suggestions included here. Measurements, accounting, and ratios may all factor in the making of a garden.

Classic and Topical Books – for young gardeners

A Child’s Garden

by Molly Dannenmaier

 

A guide for parents to nurture their children’s sense of wonder and curiosity within the garden with projects and lots of information on how to give a sense of imagination and play to learning

Great book to use for one of the most exciting unit studies right in your own backyard.

The longer you garden the better the eye gets, the more tuned to how colors vibrate in different ways and what they can do to each other.

You become a scientist as well as an artist,with the lines increasingly blurred.

The Arts

The Garden and Art – Many artists depict garden subjects

Millet

Millet

Art History

Whether you chose Millet, Renoir, or Monet, Fragonard or even Gustav Klimt, the historical time or genre can be explored as well as the gardens or garden related work depicted. An entire tour of the life of Monet, Impressionism, and the garden at Giverny yield rich discoveries within a garden unit study.

Jean-Francois Millet painted many works of people busy in the fields.

A Little Garden Music

Ketelbey: In a Monastery Garden

THE COMPOSER: Albert W. Ketelbey was born in Alma Street in the Lozells area of Birmingham, England, the son of George Ketelbey (written with no accent), and Sarah Aston. At the age of eleven he wrote a piano sonata that won praise from Edward Elgar. Ketelbey attended the Trinity College of Music in London.

The Ballet, ‘The Firebird’ has scenes in a garden.

Character Development

 

My Family, Hard at Work

Raking is a good team project
Raking is a good team project

in the Garden – Character Building: Diligence and Teamwork

One of the lessons that a garden unit study can teach is the value of being diligent and working together as a team. This is something that will be naturally absorbed in the garden work, but can be formally instilled through underlining within the teachable moments and with written assignments geared towards thinking about these characteristics.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

We used this nature character study through all grades. Interesting facts about many animals integrated with Bible studies and lessons.

  • The Bible points to the ant as an example of diligence, and there are usually plenty of ants to observe in the garden. It is easy to perform experiments in how easy it is to get a job done when working as a team and this could also be useful for civics or social studies lessons.
  • Many maxims, quotes, and poems originate in the act of gardening, ever heard of “a hard row to hoe”? That makes literature and language arts easy to incorporate.Many have to do with exercising diligence and working together to create a garden.A classic book like “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a famous one.
  • Diligence in following directions can be gained from the directions on the backs of seed packets. Plant a few in contrary conditions and note the difference between plantings

— Marjorie Harris

For Little People – Children younger than 8 yrs old benefit from their own sized tools

A colorful garden tote filled with tools will give a sense of fun and play to any garden activity. Real garden tools, but in a small size useful for light garden projects for children. Use any sharp tools, such as secateurs, with care.

Garden Outfitters

For a range of ages, tools that will stand up to digging in the dirt and a handy wagon for playing or hauling garden supplies around.

 

Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon
Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon

I had one as a kid, my children had them, and I used them in the garden. This is the classic all purpose wagon.

And after years of hard use, when the wagon rusted out from being left in open weather… my Dad scavenged the wheels and made two wheeled garden carts, one for me and one for him.

The only caveat I’ll give you is that these tough little wagons last better if they are put away when not in use (another “do as I say and not as I do” piece of advice.)

I’ve used the plastic kinds, but nothing is as good as the Radio Flyer Classic.

 

  • 5 Tips
    useful tips for getting kids interested
Ilona has gardened actively for most of her life, and been a writer and webmaster online since 1998. Homeschooled all 10 of her children.

Adorable Diaper Bags

mommy and baby photo
mommy and baby prepared for all contingencies.

 

Feel Adorable While Carting All That Baby Gear

Diaper bags have really grown up. They are fun and fashionable and made by the best brands. Here is your ticket to finding the best travel with baby diaper bags – you will look and feel fashionable and organized with these gorgeous diaper bag choices.

Nothing helps more than a great diaper bag that is all packed with the essentials – you just pick up and go anywhere with your baby, knowing all the important things are covered for your outing.

Featuring The Cutest, Most Fashionable Baby Gear Bags

Roomy backpack style
Roomy backpack style to free your arms for baby and to redistribute weight more evenly.

 

The Adorable Diaper Bag Gallery

(For convenience, affiliate links to Amazon)

Look for some of these brands when out shopping…

Timi and Leslie

Why choose a diaper bag by Timi and Leslie? Well, you could because Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman, and Faith Hill do; or maybe because you want something stylish that has all the necessary pockets for everything to make your life easier.

Either way it is a good choice.

Maman Stylish Designer Tote


Roomy with pockets for everything. Waterproof with multiple ways to carry: hand held, strap, and attach to stroller.

 

Kate Spade Designs Are Gorgeous.

 

 

Carter’s Zebra Diaper Tote with Green Accent

The Bumble Collection All in One

When I started having grandchildren join the family circle, I was amazed at how darling all the baby things are that my daughters and daughter-in-laws have in their nurseries. The diaper bag selection is just mind boggling in both style and choices.

These make wonderful baby shower gifts.

Storksak

There are so many, many fabulous diaper bag choices that I don’t envy anyone having to choose, but one brand stands out in the reviews and that is Storksak, because it looks great, carries all the gear, and is lightweight. All good qualities of a diaper bag that will make mommy happy.

…and you know what they say about the importance of that!

What to Stash Inside

What's in my bag?

WHAT GOES INSIDE A DIAPER BAG?

  • all the baby diaper essential,
  • extra clothes,
  • feeding paraphernalia,
  • special things for breastfeeding,
  • a burp cloth,
  • a receiving blanket,

Play keys (so you don’t end up giving your yucky set of car keys to quiet them)

Most of today’s bags come with changing pads included.

Sometimes I felt like I was moving half my nursery items everywhere I went. But a a well stocked diaper bag can mean the difference between a successful shopping trip or a happy outing and the alternative.

Now, all that roominess is stylish- no more blocky bags with the drab vinyl prints.

Pack It

Great Gift For A Mom

Great Gift for a Mom

 

Designers Make Diaper Bags Look Chic

And you look absolutely adorable

Everyone wants to create diaper bags, it seems, and some of the best designers have put their talents towards stylish bags to make taking baby out and about a fashion affair.

A Lineup of Cute Diaper Bags

Kate Spade in Adorable Black and White – Take it Everywhere!

Her name is known for fun, modern, and chic design. No one will think this is a frumpy diaper bag. Instead it looks like a fashionable tote, but with all the room you need for special baby gear.

Go Artsy

 

What To Look For In A Diaper Bag

It depends on you

  • One of the features of a diaper bag is the way you can just grab and go- without thinking about what to pack and perhaps forgetting an important item. You don’t want to run out of wipes, or that extra binkie when you need it.
  • Consider a versatile style, one that goes with most of what you wear.
  • Lots of use=lots of wear, is the material your diaper bag is made of up for the task? You will give it more wear than usual.
  • Washable? Hard wearing, constructed well?
  • Throwing lots of gear over your shoulder should not get you down. You will also be carrying your baby. Maybe you just want room for essentials in your every day diaper bag, and a second larger bag for travel.
  • Got nice shoulder padding? Wide, non-slip shoulder straps
  • Do you really want to carry both a diaper bag and a purse? Not really.
  • Look for a place to stow your cell phone, and attach your keys, a place for your organizer and wallet as well as insulated bottle holders

Don’t Leave Daddy Out – Mommy Likes This

 

Well, that’s my wrap up of some of the best looking diaper totes out there, did you like them? Was this helpful?

The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Children

 

Of all the many things lobbed at us as parents, we are told a long laundry list of what we should give our children. From the esoteric to the practical, it is promised that if we but give our child … time, morals teaching, discipline, music lessons, the right school, no school, good examples, the best *you name it*… if we only give that, our child will be happy and successful.

We all want our children to be happy and successful. And it is there that we are hooked into the method, the gift, the lifestyle, whatever it is that has promised us this holy grail of parenting.

But the harder truth is that it is a recipe of many things, that translate as love and guidance, which become tools and guideposts for the hardest truth of all: that each child must make his/her own way through life. Just as we all must.

Are There No “Must-Have” Gifts?

That is not to say that some tools and ingredients in life are not imperative. Just because people may compensate and manage without a good start in life does not mean it is fine to ignore their inclusion.

What Should We Give Our Children?

Here is the short list:

  • Love and Security
  • Training in life skills and good character examples
  • Education, love of reading, love of learning

The methods are many, and none of these requirements in life demand lots of money.

If we give these things to our children, to the best of our ability, they can face the world well prepared. Even if we fail in some of the most important  ways, the resilience of the human race shows that often they can make up for the lack. For children, it is very important to see that the parents made the effort: that they tried their best on behalf of the child.

Is This A Secret Shortcut?

I wonder if instilling a love of books isn’t a secret shortcut to the twin efforts of training and having a love of learning? After all, great literature is a way to pass on important values, cultural traditions, and an appreciation of good character through the power of storytelling. It also teaches the ability to think about the big questions of life and engage critical thinking patterns.

All this starts at an early age with reading.

I’m Biased

As one who loves to read books, I have to say I am biased about their impact. Literature has always spoken so much to me, and certain fiction has molded my thinking in life long ways. I believe in its power to do so for others, including our children.

If we want to change the culture, providing time tested writings is surely one powerful and efficacious way to do it.

What Books Ought To Be On The Shelf?


Start with a list of classic children’s selections I collated. (That page includes info on why reading is so important, creating a reading nook, and the best of the classic books that my own children loved).

These are 20 great character-building books

For various age groups:

  1. Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney -very young readers
  2. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats-very young readers
  3. James Herriot’s Treasury For Children, by James Herriot -very young readers
  4. The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  5. Stuart Little, by E.B. White – 3rd to 4th grade
  6. Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink – 3rd to 4th grade
  7. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  8. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 3rd to 4th grade
  9. Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Marguerite Henry – 3rd to 4th grade
  10. Treasures of the Snow, by Patricia St. John – 3rd to 4th grade
  11. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery – 5th to 6th grade
  12. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell – 5th to 6th grade
  13. Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  14. Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  15. Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  16. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  17. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  18. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott – 5th to 6th grade (especially girls)
  19. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 5th to 6th grade
  20. The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books), by C.S. Lewis – 5th to 6th grade

 

15 Important Books for Older Children to Adult

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
  2. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
  3. Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
  4. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  5. Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace
  6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
  7. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
  8. The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
  10. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  11. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  12. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
  13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  14. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  15. 1984 by George Orwell
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Holidays: Thanksgiving Coloring Pages

vintage thanksgiving card

Bring children into the the celebration of Thanksgiving with one of their favorite activities, coloring. If you have a printer these simple pictures can provide a quiet time in the midst of meal preparations.

How did Thanksgiving become a National Holiday?

Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday. Source: Richards Free Library
Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday.
Source: Richards Free Library

A woman named Sarah Hale, editor of the famous Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, spearheaded a move to enshrine observation of thankfulness in the nation. She wrote to five presidents and numerous governors in her campaign for a Thanksgiving Day.

Hale is largely responsible for the idealistic, somewhat fictional view that Americans today hold in regards to interactions of these first New England colonists and the native peoples. Her picture of this feast with tables laden with turkey, stuffing, many dishes and gravies caught on with Victorian readers.

Godey’s Lady’s Book menu suggestions outlined what we consider a traditional holiday menu, today. How-to and recipes were provided to complete the celebration.

In keeping with her vision of this holiday, pictures here include those that represent parts of the meal, the idea of what the meal was like, how the English and Indian guests were believed to have dressed, and of course, the fat turkey.

Many of this things are now known to have little historical basis, but they are icons of the American Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you will have fun coloring the ones you download and print.

 

Themes

Centering around food, family, and gratefulness, Thanksgiving has ready-made themes. American Indians, native foods of pumpkin and corn, turkey and trimmings, pie…. it is a cornucopia of fun coloring with a bit of history.

Food Concepts of Hunger and Plenty

cherry pie pic
Pie is the American idea of a dessert dish served at holidays. This is a cherry pie, but pumpkin is the most popular choice.
corncob
Corn, a native food staple helped the new Colonists to survive.

 

cornucopia coloring picture
Cornucopia is symbol of “plenty”
download a PDF coloring page

History, Pilgrims and American Indians

The story changes depending on who tells it and when, but certain facts are undeniable. One is that without the help and instruction of the Natives of the land, the Pilgrims were likely to fail. They greatly suffered from lack of food, and the Indians corn was a Godsend.

Pumpkins, maize, and wild turkeys were some of the bounties of this land where the Pilgrims landed.

The sharing of a feast is a symbol of the peaceful meeting of diverse people and cultures.

peacepipe

indian canoe

puritans

Who Were The Pilgrims?

In their native England they were dissenters against the prevailing religious establishment. Braving a journey to an unknown land was worth it to be able to practice their beliefs freely.

When traveling to the new world they came in the company of those wishing to settle for different reasons. The fellow travelers were called “strangers” by their more religious comrades.

Who Were The Wampanoag?

This was the Indian tribe which interacted with the Pilgrims in the original feast. Also called the Massasoit, they had a tradition that all the male leaders should be invited to village feasts. Thus 98 surprise guests turned up at this all-male meal. No worries, though… they came with plenty of meat to supply the tables.

The original celebration lasted three days.

The name means “People of the First Light” since they were situated at the eastern coastal region of the continent. This was a large confederation of tribal villages.

deer coloring pic

The Wampanoag later came into conflict with the English and suffered great loss from disease with the remnants of their people being sold into slavery, many to the Caribbean islands; but their early relations with the colonists were helpful and supportive. The famous “Squanto” was part of this tribal group:

Tisquantum and other Wampanoag taught the non-native newly arrived Pilgrims how to cultivate varieties of corn, squash and beans (the Three Sisters); catch fish, and collect seafood.(1)

Thankfulness and Gratitude

As first conceived, this was a religious holiday, observed with piety and solemnity. Modern times sees it as a family time with parades, watching football games, and overeating as all part of the day.

What remains is the idea that we should take time to be thankful for our many blessings. Remembrance of the bounty of the nation we live in, gratitude for freedoms and for friendship and family. For religious and secular alike, it is time to recall the good things we enjoy the rest of the year.

thanksgiving coloring picture
Source: Buck Denver

Fun

If you liked this page, you may enjoy more coloring, history, and thankful thoughts on this page. 5 Kernels of Corn scarecrow

turkey-47753_1280

Child’s Play Kitchen For Serious Fun

Kids learn through their play, and love to gravitate toward the play kitchen with pretend foods, miniature pots and pans. Hours of fun for little children as they spend time in their own kitchen.

Imaginary play never gets old


Do you remember your favorite imaginary ways to play as a child? Did it include play food, utensils, and maybe even your own play stove, refrigerator, and sink? Our Church and Kindergarten always had these play spaces, and I made sure to have the same for my children.

There is something that fascinates children as they role play activities, and it is a way they work out the important job of growing up and handling everyday chores and responsibilities. Of course, for them it is just lots of fun, but important fun! Maybe there is really no other kind?

I couldn’t resist putting together a collection of the colorful and delightful play kitchens along with their many accoutrements. One thing that always bothered me about many child’s toy dishes and utensils were the ones that were so flimsy they didn’t last more than a short time. I grew to appreciate the better quality ones and I think a child has more fun with them, too.

Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Sink w Moving Faucet
Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Sink w Moving Faucet

I concentrated on finding the better choices to help put together the best in child’s play 🙂 because as parents we ought to take fun as seriously as our children do, don’t you think?

Jonti-Craft 2079JC, Toddler Contempo Stove
Jonti-Craft Toddler Contempo Stove

Jonti-Craft Kids Playschool Classroom Kindergarten Toddler Contempo Refrigerator
Jonti-Craft Kids Playschool Classroom Kindergarten Toddler Contempo Refrigerator

Plan To Make Your Own? – Plans for a custom made play kitchen

Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Cupboard
Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Cupboard

Source: blog.craftzine.com via Kate

Could you picture a space in your home for a project like this? It really doesn’t take much more space than a play bench, and yet stores the playthings and provides a great features for your child’s imagination and role play. If using the plans below for a crafted child play kitchen, you might well be creating an heirloom that even your grandchildren will be happily “cooking on” in years to come.

Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Wood Cook Stove Plan

Are you handy with a saw and hammer? Maybe you can create your own custom made child’s kitchen play area.

Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Wood Cook Stove Plan

Toy Kitchens Make Great Playtimes – eBay For Child’s Play

Keep your child happily occupied using imagination and roleplay with a toy kitchen and accessories just the right size. Kids like to socialize around food and cooking just like grownups do!

Goplus Wood Kitchen Toy Kids Cooking Pretend Play Set Toddler Wooden Playset New

Beautiful and Durable Play Kitchens – All-In-Ones Save Space, Separate “Appliances” Are Flexible

Colorful Essentials 4-in-1 Play Kitchen Color: BluePlay kitchens that are durable and sturdy are important investments in children’s furniture. They don’t have to have lots of bells and whistles and they don’t have to be expensive, but a toy that will withstand real play, and a little banging around is quite important.

Looking for smooth corners and the right height are a couple points to keep on your checklist.

Good, sturdy play kitchens come in both plastic and wood types, and it is more a personal preference than anything else that might weigh in the favor of one over the other. White play appliances and the more colorful ones are likely to be of plastic material.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

My Little Chef Deluxe Faux Granite Play KitchenA dream kitchen for little girls is one made of a fashionable trompe l’oeil granite look. Moms often like large pieces of play furniture to match up with the general décor of the house. This might be just the style for your own child’s room or corner of the rec-room.

Toddler Contempo Wood Play 4 Piece Kitchen SetOne kitchen I like for its good design is the Contempo brand. It has engaging appeal, is made of wood and of the right size for toddlers. Fill up the doors with play food and few pots and pans and young children can play for hours just imagining their own meals and snacks that they can serve their dolls and teddy bears. Four separate pieces means the arrangement is customizable to the play space.

Colorful Essentials Four Piece Play Kitchen Color: YellowSunshine yellow is a fvorite color for a cheerful little play kitchen. Toddlers will discover how much fun it is as they mimic the important work of cooking and serving. Convincing a child to eat right is more fun when using the play in their own kitchen to talk about making good food choices, learning to keep food preparation clean and tidy. Much better than nagging or lectures. Living healthy and cooperatively is better “caught” than taught and when setting up a play space with their own little kitchen that is exactly what we are providing: ways for child to find the fun in living well. This beats television by a mile, and the many facts of play can be part of your child’s play day.

Kidkraft Pink Retro Kitchen and Refrigerator Play Set

Stores like Walmart or Target are convenient places to find your child’s play kitchen and they are bound to have lots of the accessories, too. If you want play dishes, fake food, and even a small tablecloth… this is a great place to shop to make your little kids happy! There is usually convenient pickup if you decide to have it delivered to the store.

I also find cute play kitchens and accessories at IKEA and Pottery Barn.

Play Dishes in Just The Right Size – Cups, Saucers, Plates and Utensils

I always had lots of play dishes for my kids, and then got completely new sets for the grandkids (we were pretty hard on the toys of this type in our household). I liked to use the play dinnerware of this size for little snacks of real food just for fun.

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Dish Set

Bright, fun colors to make a festive play dinner for favorite friends. High quality and substantial playware.

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Dish Set

If you decide to buy a play kitchen for your child, why not round out the experience with a set of good quality pans. Those cheap plastic ones often break in no time, but those made of metal are easy to clean and stake lots of serious playtime.

Children's Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan *Perfect Gift Idea*
Children’s Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan Perfect Gift Idea

Beautiful high quality stainless steel is durable and looks like Mommy’s real kitchenware!

Children’s Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan *Perfect Gift Idea*

Check These Two Things

  1. Make sure the “work surface” will be a good height for the child.
  2. The more solid the construction, the better

Source: tumblr.com via Haley

Little Tykes Tough – Kitchens That Can Take It

The rough and tumble of real kids having lots of fun, that is. When my children were little I got tired everything breaking, until I discovered brands that were made for real play and could take children playing with their toys on more than occasional Sundays. These toys are tough and can take daily play with your children and their friends.

Little Tikes: Side-By-Side Kitchen

Tough Little Tykes quality and room for two to share in the playtime.

Little Tikes: Side-By-Side Kitchen

Tea Parties

Every child likes to play tea party- it has never been just for little girls. Although little girls are truly in their element with all the girly colors like those on this rug. With a rug and the play kitchen setup, with perhaps a child’s set of table and chairs, an area can be set aside in a family room, play room, or any place that has a five by five foot area for playing. The child play kitchen furniture usually has lots of storage and cubby holes for keeping the toys neat.

Kitchen Play Accessories – In Bright, Playful Colors

There are so many fine play sets of dishes, utensils, and play cookware available to go with your child’s new kitchen imagination center, that it may be hard to choose! In the important work of role playing adult activities and duties such as cooking foods, serving others, and engaging in the teamwork of taking care of daily chores, children take real joy in outfitting their play kitchens and serving special meals to their favorite bears and dolls…. as well as siblings and friends.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

Repurpose and Make Your Own

Example of play sets that create loads of pretending and role playing fun

Whether a child has realistic or imaginary styles of play dishes and pots and pans does not seem to matter as much as the fact that they are of high enough quality to endure lots of handling and have durability.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

Play food is always fun, remember the Beatrix Potter story of “The Two Bad Mice”? When a pair of mice come to enjoy the dollhouse, the artificial food looked so real that one determined mouse was frustrated in trying to carve a particularly delectable entree.

Sometimes children like to take their play dishes outside, whether you think that is a good idea will determine the strength and toughness of the play set. A play kitchen helps to keep the play utensils inside where they aren’t as likely to be lost or broken. But you can set up an outdoor kitchen, all the same. Be creative!

Source: trainupachildlearnaswego.blogspot.com via christina on Pinterest

The creativity of Moms and Dads in making wonderful play kitchens for their children is just amazing

On A Budget? Economical Choices – Wide Variety Of Style And Colors

When looking for lower costs, the materials are usually plastic. Colorful and fun for little cooks. These are all in one choices which will also save space.

DIY Child Play Kitchens

Re-purposing to build your own child’s play kitchens

Here are super cute ideas for repurposing or making your own d-i-y versions of play kitchens. There is no price tag on the amount of fun these play furnishings provide. Just a little scavenging around for materials, or even a small trip to the hardware, and even basic carpentry skill will give a great result.

There are lots of great tutorials online, but most of these ideas can be copied without too much experience. Even newbies can put together really cute play kitchens with just some paint and a few refurbishments.

Source: a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

Source: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.ca via Cassie

I think the simple beige play sink above is one of my favorites and looks easy enough for someone as UN-handy as me could finish it in a day or so. I bet my husband could get ‘er done in a couple hours, including paint drying time. The simple lines are elegant, too, with just those easy to hold handles and a little shelf for important play foods or dishes.

Source: flickr.com via Rachael

Or maybe you are planning to? Which will you choose, a DIY project or one of the nifty new ones you see on this page?

Source: thebooandtheboy.com via Julia

More For Your Creation Of A Kitchen Play Space

ALEX Toys Tin Tea Set

Wonderful tin tea set for serving a high tea to V.I.P. dolls and teddy bears. A great kit to take to Grandmother’s house, too.

ALEX Toys Tin Tea Set

List Of Great Books That All Children Should Read

International Children’s Book Day

SPEND TWENTY MINUTES A DAY READING TO YOUR CHILD

International Children’s Book Day is always celebrated on April 2nd. Why April 2nd? Because that is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday! And what better day to choose for celebrating children’s books than the birthday of the beloved collector of fairy tales, which so many of us read as children?

There are more days set aside for reading and books, including Library Week and numerous Book weeks, but this celebration is just for children’s books.

What a wonderful way to revisit old favorites and discover new books for children:

A day to inspire a love of reading.
Discover
  • What makes a book a classic
  • Why parents should read to their kids
  • Lists of great books according to age groups
  • Short reviews of recommended books for children, with convenient affiliate Amazon links.

Classic Children’s Books

Don’t miss these beloved books

Before I had my own children there were many books that I loved as a child: Dr. Seuss Stories,The Secret Garden, Oliver Twist, Nancy Drew Mysteries. But after having children I found myself reading many I had somehow missed.

When looking for quality books for my children I discovered Good Night Moon, Ping, Lyle the Crocodile, Amelia Bedelia, Anne of Green Gables, The Laura Wilder stories, The Boxcar Children, The Girl of Limberlost, and so many more classics. I hope as you journey through this page you will find your own favorites to share with your children.

What Makes A Classic?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Meg, Jo, Beth and… Poster at Allposters.com

Why a book should be on a must-read list for children? What makes it a classic? This involves a certain recipe of factors, not unlike those for “big people”, the same basic ingredients are baked into memorable children’s books.

  1. Great characters. Just like any great book, it starts with characters that reflect the inner life that humans experience in some way, a complete picture of personality with hopes, dreams, fears, and quirks. We ought to be able to identify them, even if not identifying with them.
  2. There should be action, plot, and purpose. Even if the purpose is just a time to enjoy silliness, a great book has momentum that holds our interest.
  3. Pictures. For some children’s books the secret ingredient is the illustration.
  4. Ability to capture the imagination and affections. The best books capture our imagination and make us love the characters and the stories. Inspiration to dream and do, to believe we understand better than before we were immerse in the pages.
  5. Longevity. Something that lasts from generation to generation. Some messages, characters or events carry through many generations. They touch our humanity. Classic literature does this very well.

Great Children’s Books Should Be Accessible

You can go to the library, and you should, but nothing replaces the home bookshelf of well loved favorites. They are ready for reading anytime 🙂

A reading nook, a shelf of beloved books, encourages parents to read to their children. It places reading in a place of importance, and makes the books themselves accessible to kids.

Why Read With Your Children

Experts Give Their Advice On The Subject

According to experts, if you read to your children regularly it will help develop their own love of reading, help them master language skills and learn to think logically. They will experience reading as something fun! It will also foster their relationship with you and encourages communication skills.

Reading together builds an academic foundation with basic speech skills and basic knowledge in how to read a book. Children are likely to do better in school, later on.

The Children’s Reading Foundation recommends 20 minutes a day

Reading to children fosters the habit of reading, it will encourage a lifelong love of reading books and helps to build a superior vocabulary. It can take only minutes a day, but what important minutes those can prove to be. Reading Is Fundamental website

link:10 reasons from the Early Moments website

My ‘Great Book’ Choices

FOR OLDER CHILDREN

  • Oliver Twist
  • Little Women
  • The Phantom Tollbooth
  • The Hobbit
  • The Last Of The Mohicans
  • Treasure Island
  • At The Back Of The North Wind

FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
  • Runaway Bunny
  • Beatrix Potter Books (The Tale of Peter Rabbit)
  • Corduroy
  • Cat In The Hat

This is my short list of books for Child Book Day.

The Silver Skates
Hans Brinker

 

 

Not on many lists today, but it is ideal reading for celebration of an International Children’s Book day. Filled with Dutch cultural information and a heartwarming story. ‘The Silver Skates’ is one of those great books that has fallen from the reading lists of many. That should not be. It is a story that has important lessons, as many of the old classics do, creates a time and place which weaves understanding into the fabric of today’s world. Many of the earlier works of children’s literature attempted to give children a window into other cultures, along with universal character traits that make up the best of our humanity.

That is why they still make worthwhile reading today.

A Good Book

Makes the Best Gift

 

Are you familiar with some of the old favorites like “Wind In The Willows”? An English tale set on the banks of a river in England, all the characters derive from animals one might find along the Thames.

With much of the charm found in “Winnie The Pooh” or the Beatrix Potter stories, but for a child a few years older, this is one of the books I discovered in the quest of building my own children’s exploration of good literature.

Wind In The Willows is perhaps better known to the children of England, but it is a classic tale of camaraderie and quirky personalities that children on this side of the pond have come to love.

The Wind In the Willows
The Wind In the Willows

Delightful, wonderful characters who lead a long line of adventures on the river. You will love the wild, oddly lovable, Mr. Toad …and Rat, Mole, Badger… the entire gang.

GO AHEAD AND BUY A SET

You can’t go wrong to start your home library with series sets of books for your children. When an author, and their illustrators, get the formula right expect clamor for continuing the series.

This extends the pleasure of reading about favorite characters, or delving into new adventures. So look for a series of books by an author and work your way through them, savoring the details. This makes these books ideal for birthday and Christmas giving, stretching the discovery of fine writing year after year.

Look For These Authors, And Their Collections

FOR TOTS:

Five beloved Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss includes ‘The Cat in the Hat’, ‘One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish’, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’. Children love these rhyming texts, silly stories, and humorous drawings.

There is a reason Dr. Seuss has been beloved for generations of young readers and listeners. Made for reading aloud and for beginning readers.


Peter Rabbit, Et Al

Beatrix Potter animal characters and the engaging stories are illustrated with beautiful and memorable watercolor pictures. Just recently a son of mine mentioned how he had remembered some of the plots and scenes well into adulthood.
I, personally, have always considered these books to be top notch reading entertainment for children.

Beatrix Potter Story Characters

 

Books for Very Young Children – Beautiful pictures and edifying text.

The Runaway Bunny
The Runaway Bunny

 

 

Books that appeal to the very young have lots of illustration, but they are also books that comfort or entertain them.

Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon are both books with beautiful illustrations which follow the way a child thinks to provide a comforting end to the day. They make great night time reading.

‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ is so well loved it has spawned an entire set of similar books, but the original is always my favorite. As a parent, and now a grandparent I never tire of reading it. Droll illustrations and the cutest story line of slippery slope events makes this a book you and your children will have fun reading together.

 

 

More Than Fifty Years Old, But Still Modern

Cat In The Hat and Corduroy are two books that have stood the test of time. I remember them in my own library as a child and reread them often to my children when they were small. That makes them classic, doesn’t it? I’d say so, when joined by millions of readers spanning several generations who also love these books!

Goodnight Moon Big Book
Goodnight Moon Big Book

 

 

Harry the Dog

A Harry the Dirty Dog Treasury: Three StoriesA Harry the Dirty Dog Treasury: Three Stories

This collection of fine books were some our family enjoyed over and over again. Winnie the Pooh is loved for the tender and humorous stories and characters, and I prefer the original drawings over the Disney renditions. I own the hardback collection of stories and carefully brought it out for reading together, while another copy of stories was for the rough and tumble handling of everyday.

Harry the Dirty Dog is a darling book that isn’t so well known nowadays, but well worth the purchase. You and your children will love Harry.

Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (Classic Books With Holes) is an interactive book, and I find that young children are delighted with this type of reading entertainment.

Clifford doesn’t need to be introduced, does he? A super popular series of many books starring the huge red dog.

The Very Best “I Can Read” Books

You will adore Frog and Toad

Wittily written, Frog and Toad have engaging illustrations and delightful little stories.
Frog and Toad Book Set: Frog and Toad Are Friends; Frog and Toad Together; Days with Frog and Toad; Frog and Toad All Year
Frog and Toad Book Set: Frog and Toad Are Friends; Frog and Toad Together; Days with Frog and Toad; Frog and Toad All Year

Arnold Lobel is one of those authors who “gets it” that children deal with real emotions and understands how important friendship is. Frog and Toad are two of his most delightful characters, who draw you into their circle while they tackle situations together, from fears and scary things to a day of being down in the dumps.

 

Elementary Age Readers Will Love These Mysteries

The Boxcar Children Bookshelf (The Boxcar Children Mysteries, Books 1-12)

Book 1-12 in a cute case makes a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift for a young reader.

Boxcar Children

How cute! A boxcar bookcase with twelve of the Boxcar Children mysteries. Room for 32 such books, The Boxcar Children have adventures that early readers are eager to follow through a series of mysteries. There are educational materials created for these books=great for Homeschoolers.

Get Your Boys To Read Books: Encyclopedia Brown to the Rescue!

Girls and boys love these books! Because there is an age when they can’t get enough of these mystery style stories, this is a great choice for ages 8-10. Books that center on ideals of equality and justice, with a dash of ingenuity and fun.
Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)
Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books)

A set of four mysteries.

Boys will find themselves identifying with the main character and seem to especially enjoy the Encyclopedia Brown Mystery books. These are early reading books, so you may read to them or find they pick them up on their own.

For Pre-teen Girls

The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside)
The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside)

My girls and I loved these enchanting stories full of imagination and life! Anne is spirited and always getting into scrapes, but she manages to win her way into the hearts of those around her…including us.

The characters, particularly of Anne, make for a cult following. Fans take treks to her house in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island to see the real farm and home that inspired the beloved stories. That is the power of good writing!

This book centers around the life of Prince Edward Island in Canada, and manages to take readers back in time while still holding onto the struggles and joys that real teens still encounter. No wonder generations of girls have come to love Anne.

Complete boxed set of L.M. Montgomery’s books- don’t miss this! Young girls are entranced by such stories as ‘Rainbow Valley’, and all of the Anne of Green Gables stories.

Two More Collections Loved By Fans

Movies, TV shows, and lots of related showcases for the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder and C. S. Lewis tells the story of how attached the readers become to these examples of excellent children’s literature.

The characters and plots draw the reader into history, fantasy, and clashes of good and evil. All the makings of what makes a book draw readers for generations.

The Secret Garden

There is something transcendent about the lives of the two unhappy children who find friendship, inner confidence, and the beauty of life in the romantic surroundings of a big Victorian mansion and its secret garden that still speaks to children today. I think that transcendent feature lies within the healing power of nature … no matter what our age or circumstance.

Yes, there are movies, and inexpensive cut-down versions of the book, but this is a book that is best in its original form, with real pages to turn and with enough time given to allow the words to create the spark in the imagination that all great books seem able to do.

Every bookshelf should hold this story of how a long neglected garden opens up the lives of three children with different challenges and stations in life, bringing a love of nature to them and by way of their experience, to us.

An evocative book you will enjoy reading and discussing with your child, which will build a love for gardens and a new appreciation of the wonder of plants. Many gardeners cite this book as being instrumental in their childhood fascination with gardening.

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen understood the fun and fascination of the fairy tales told to children. He is famous for his collection of folk tales that we have been familiar with, as children, for generations.

Another beloved book by this author is ‘The Little Princess’. Young girls enjoy the tale of trials and triumph of Sara Crewe. A Cinderella story set in Victorian times, Frances Hodgson Burnett writes with delightful grasp of what makes a story grab our heartstrings.

The Little House Books For All Ages

The Little House Books (2 Volume Set)
The Little House Books (2 Volume Set)

Laura Ingalls Wilder

We wore through our set of Little House books. A wonderful way to develop a fascination with American history and a love of reading. Laura Ingalls Wilder created books filled with warmth and feeling.

C.S. Lewis

The complete Chronicles of Narnia in one finely illustrated, hardcover book. Every child should have the chance to enter Narnia and make friends with all the wonderful characters of these C. S. Lewis books.

International Children’s Book Day

For The Home Library – Beloved Books

At the Back of the North Wind (Everyman's Library Children's Classics)
At the Back of the North Wind (Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics) A fantasy which, like the Narnia books, has spiritual messages and looks at the conflict of good and evil.

 

The Railway Children
The Railway Children

The triumph of family love and justice as children struggle with the unjust imprisonment of their father, but his final vindication, has been a well loved classic book

Translated

Many of the classic books for children are translated into different languages- making them truly internationally celebrated!

Celebrate A Day For Children’s Books

This day is a perfect opportunity to discover high quality reading books which have stood the test of time. Books that build character, that widen horizons, and engage a child’s imagination. Embark on an adventure of discovery that can result in a full year of reading fun.

Make reading a celebration and help encourage the development of the habit of sitting down with a book.

A special day for emphasizing reading can help offset the modern tendency to ignore book reading in favor of the clamor of electronic entertainment.

This Observation Celebrated

~since 1967

Things To Do – – to observe the day

  1. Why, read a child’s book of course!
  2. Go to the Library with your child
  3. Make a gift of a book to your child today
  4. Make a “children’s hour” to read your child’s favorite books to them.
  5. Don’t have a child? Adopt one for the day and give them a book

More Reading Adventures

There are so many great classic children’s books.
Fantasy Worlds

Besides Narnia and The Hobbit, there is the world of “The Borrowers”, the tiny people who you just know live in your house and account for the little items that always go missing!

Ozma of Oz is less well known than The Wizard of Oz, but it was my favorite of all the L. Frank Baum series. In a Kindle edition with the classic illustrations of John R. Neill. Who does not love the idea of a new head and personality to match whenever one feels like it?

Certain Settings

Where the Red Fern Grows takes place in the Ozarks, and follows the story of a boy and his beloved dogs. The bond between man and dog, the reality of life and loss, are eloquently dealt with in this fine story.

Don’t Miss These Great Children’s Books

Some of the Best Book Choices to Fascinate Older Children

 

The Phantom Tollbooth is filled with play on words and fun characters for concepts that intrigue an older child (age 9-12).

The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition
The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition

For intermediate readers, this is a witty and fun book to read. It hones a child’s sense of humor and the ability to see things from more than one perspective. Word play abounds, which incites a reader to develop a love of language.

A Wrinkle in Time is mystery, love, and time-travel all rolled into one! What is not to love about this adventure of Meg and her brother in finding their scientist father, who has somehow disappeared? And meet Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which….

 

 

Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Boxed Set of 4 Books
Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Boxed Set of 4 Books

Eventually you will want the entire set of Tolkien’s classics. Exciting adventure fantasy books. Loving the movies is no excuse to skip the books! This is a case of there being so much more inside the literature than could possibly be included within a movie. But even so, the film versions of the stories create an interest to know more and continue the discovery of the creatures, world, and exciting plots of Tolkien.

 

 

A Girl of the Limberlost [Annotated]
A Girl of the Limberlost [Annotated]

This is not only a touching book, but one that introduces us to a particular time and place. The Limberlost swamp of Indiana is the background for a story of love and relationships.

The Last of the Mohicans (Oxford World's Classics)
The Last of the Mohicans (Oxford World’s Classics)

This is one of my own top favorites, it embodies the noble characters and the villains of early times with a historical background illuminating the complex conflicts of Indian tribes, The English, and the French.

More Than One Day To Celebrate Reading

…because it is so important

There are many special times set a apart during the year, the world over, to encourage reading and a love of books.

A few others, besides the International Children’s Book Day:

  • World Book Day
  • Many different “Book Weeks”, includingAustralia’s
  • Library Week
  • National Read A Book Day

Wyeth: Treasure Island

Discover What’s New In Children’s Literature

Fine books are being written all the time

We all love the classics, but every day new books are being written and published and they might well be a classic some day. Discover exciting new additions to children’s literature.

Amazon has a list, “New Books for Children”, that is categorized for discovery of what’s new and what’s great.

Check the list of Caldecott Winners from 1938 to the present year.

Read the New York Times reviews of new children’s books.

 

A GUIDE GIVES AN OVERVIEW

Because there are so many books which appeal to a wide range of ages, it is not possible to cover all of them in even a book, although there are guides that I found very helpful, especially Honey for a Child’s Heart.

Book Guide to All The Best Books – A huge help for parents who care about their children’s reading habits

Reading the right books, which capture a child’s imagination and inspire their hearts and minds, begins a lifetime of reading adventure.

“Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever” will inspire and guide you to include reading time with your child.

Early in my homeschool endeavor I was looking for great books to give my children and use in their reading program. This guide was priceless! It categorizes books by their appeal to specific age groups and reading ability.

Honey for a Child's Heart
Honey for a Child’s Heart

An entire book dedicated to revealing the great Children’s books to purchase and read with your children, all the way through the high school years when they may be guided to pick up and read the greatest and most wholesome books. You, as I did, may find yourself engrossed in books that you missed as a child from the extensive lists of quality children’s books.

Make a Reading Nook – Create a special space just for reading

Take notes from your favorite bookstore memories, and get a cozy big chair (big enough for two, you and your child) a small bookshelf or two, and a reading lamp. It can be in your child’s room, in a corner of the living room, or anywhere that a quiet space is reserved for those 20 minutes of reading time together.

HOW TO MAKE A READING NOOK

Cute Allposter.com wall art

How To Create A Cozy Reading Nook

  • A small table and chairs,
  • a large comfy chair for reading together,
  • a good lamp for reading by,
  • and a small bookcase are all ideal (as mentioned above),
  • but what about a comfy window seat?

 

IKEA has inexpensive modules that connect to create a low seat and nearby bookcases, snap-on reading lamps and cushions for comfort.

A place free from the distractions of TV and video game is probably best, and you might be surprised to rediscover life outside of electronics.

Even an area on an outside, screened-in, or all season porch may be the place you and your children most like to spend reading time for many months of the year.

Peter Rabbit And Friends, Beloved Beatrix Potter Characters

Who hasn’t heard of Peter Rabbit? For those who love the many faces of the charming animals who people her stories, Beatrix Potter left a legacy of her stories and their illustrations for generations.

A happy moment for Peter and his Robin friend.

The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is one of my personal favorites

Familiar with the adventures of Peter Rabbit? Does chamomile tea conjure up memories of this story of a bad little rabbit who ate rather too many lettuces and fell in with Mr. McGregor and his cat? Then possibly you have as much love for these tales as I.

Would you like to know more about some of the protagonists of Beatrix Potter’s endearing writings?

Having a great love for these little books of the nursery set, it seemed that sharing the beloved, charming characters of the Beatrix Potter books would be an enjoyable endeavor. Come along to visit the denizens of the English countryside, and the visitors to the Victorian dollhouses, as well as those who might be found in gardens or behind the wainscoting! Their cute little clothes and daring adventures still entrance us, as we read their stories to yet another generation of enthralled children.

Peter Rabbit

The World of Beatrix Potter: Collectible Peter Rabbit by Kids Preferred
The World of Beatrix Potter: Collectible Peter Rabbit by Kids Preferred An adorable stuffed Peter who is very true to his character. Loveable in his little blue coat.

I will tell you a secret: I would love one of these to put on a shelf because I have never really outgrown stuffed animals or Miss Potter’s stories.

A bad mouse?

Miss Potter’s Pet Character

For Beatrix Potter, personally, this was her favorite of all her many story books. Inspired by the story she had heard of a poor tailor, John Pritchard, Potter sketched the actual shop of local lore. The finished story, illustrated with watercolors, was given to Freda Moore, daughter of her former governess and companion Annie Moore.

Interestingly the legend of the local tailor happened during Potter’s lifetime, but for the story she set the time and costuming in the 18th-century. This story was published in 1903.

For us, once we began collecting the Beatrix Potter tales we wanted the entire set. Each illustration is so charming and the tales are full of surprising insights and humor.

Peter Rabbit First Edition

original bookcover

A Set of Peter Rabbit and Friends Books

For loads of good reading

The World of Peter Rabbit (The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-23, Presentation Box)
The World of Peter Rabbit (The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-23, Presentation Box)

Twenty three of your favorite little books of Beatrix Potter tales in a keepsake box.

Under The Gate and Into MacGregor’s Garden

The naughty rabbit is at it again, but will he learn his lesson this time?

Lovable, Memorable Characters Prove Popular – They have been collectible in many forms

I like reading books to my children that I enjoy, too. There are so many great classics that we don’t need to be bored!

Many modern children’s books bore me. I don’t see any reason to waste time with those when there are so many fantastic choices. Of those, Beatrice Potter’s rate highly with their witty writing, detailed and artistic illustrations and flights of fancy into a world where animals are very like you and I.

We  started out with the ‘Peter Rabbit’ storybook, just like many, do. The stories don’t patronize children, and the illustrations that Miss Potter created continue to charm today’s crop of children. There are insights, just enough misbehavior for the story plots to move along and bring in the humor.

These stories proved to be some of the best loved bedtime stories in our house.

It wasn’t long before other stories, and then whole collections of her character’s adventures peopled our bedtime story hour.

Miss Potter

Miss Potter
Miss Potter

Renee Zellweger does a great job in a lovely film. I liked the inclusion of the quirky illustrated characters she interacts with. I imagine that the very Victorian Miss Potter did the same.

The Life Of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter had no children of her own, having married late in life, but she sent letters to the young children of a former governess with the engaging characters of her stories and drawings that became the beloved books read for night times, naps and during reading hour. Generations of children have loved the stories for their inclusion of real risks,dangers, and admonitions,as well as the amusing responses they might well identify with.

A VICTORIAN DAUGHTER

Beatrix Potter was born July 28, 1866 as Helen Beatrix Potter into a privileged British family. Her parents were well to do Middle class merchants, and her father was a barrister. She and her younger brother were educated privately with governesses, and they managed to collect quite a menagerie of small animals, from which her drawings and observations later lead to the realistic creations of her stories.

Like many wealthy British families of Victorian times, Beatrix Potter’s vacationed in Scotland, where she and her brother freely roamed the countryside. This was in contrast to the very restricted home life revolving around her parents and her mother’s demands.

Always drawing, Beatrix Potter developed her art and became expert in drawing fungi, she also sold a few of her imaginative drawings, and was convinced to submit her children’s drawings and stories to a publisher. A ladies companion and former governess who remained in her friendship was Annie Carter Moore, to whose children Beatrix had sent some of her letters with the characters and their escapades. It was Annie who convinced her to publish her children’s stories.

Potter did not receive immediate success in her endeavors, either as a mycologist or as an author, but she had determination and grit, which continued to inspire her to submit her work until she received a certain measure of success. Her drawings of imaginary animal creatures and her amusing stories caught on and she began to find a return of success and income for her efforts.

LOVE COMES LATE

Beatrix Potter was not to so easily find happiness in her personal life. She and her publisher had fallen in love, but her socially upwardly mobile parents, especially her mother, sought a better match matrimonially; one which would leave their middle class beginnings behind. Though Beatrix held her ground, and was informally engaged, her beloved Norman Warne died of leukemia only one month after they had begun their unofficial engagement.

Potter became increasingly successful and independent, publishing many books and merchandising them cannily. She later in life would meet her husband, William Heelis who was her solicitor (lawyer), and passionately involve herself in sheep farming with the focused determination she used in all her endeavors in life.

THE COUNTRY LIFE

She continued to write, to create art for her own pleasure, and keep quite busy with her country life of farming and becoming a respected leader in her community.

She died December 22, 1943 at Castle Cottage.

About Her Gardening Life

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children's Tales
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

Detailed and Humorous

peterboot
motherrabbit

The Best Known Characters: Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Among other beloved animal personalities

PETER RABBIT

Probably the best known, and maybe best loved of all Potter’s storybook characters.Many toys, books, and children’s items celebrate Peter.

BENJAMIN BUNNY

Peter’s relative and sidekick in getting into scrapes and eating too many onions.

PETER’S MOTHER AND FLOPSY, MOPSY, AND COTTON-TAIL

Peter isn’t alone in the hearts of those who have read the stories, who can forget his caring and practical mother and well behaved sisters?

 

NUTKIN

From a picture letter that Beatrix Potter sent Norah Moore, comes the lovable and impertinent squirrel who tangles with the quite serious Owl, Old Brown. Before getting the full story ready for printing, (which combined an earlier story letter about squirrels with this one), much time was given to drawing squirrels including her pet squirrel kept in a large birdcage.

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle – A terribly tidy hedgehog

MRS. TIGGY-WINKLE

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle was based on real characters: both the persona of a real washerwoman, and Beatrix’ own pet hedgehog.

Of her washerwoman, Katie MacDonald, Potter writes,

“Kitty MacDonald, our old washerwoman … Kitty is eighty-three but waken, and delightfully merry … She is a comical, round little woman, as brown as a berry and wears a multitude of petticoats and a white mutch. Her memory goes back for seventy years, and I really believe she is prepared to enumerate the articles of her first wash in the year ’71”

  • A mutch is “The close linen or muslin cap of an old woman.”

Cushion - Tapestry Fabric, French, Elegant & Fine - (Artist, Beatrix Potter) - Mrs. Tiggy Winkle
Cushion – Tapestry Fabric, French, Elegant & Fine – (Artist, Beatrix Potter) – Mrs. Tiggy Winkle

On of the funniest and leaving an impression for her caricature of a washerwoman who rather disconcertingly turns into a normal hedgehog and runs away. A wonderful mix of the real and the fantasy in this story. It has an Alice in Wonderland quality to it.

mice
by Beatrix Potter (1866—1943) – Internet Archive scan of The Tale of Two Bad Mice, image taken from this PDF version

Making Away With Lucinda’s Pillow

mice thieves
Internet Archive scan of The Tale of Two Bad Mice, image taken from this PDF version, the relevant text for this illustration is “With Tom Thumbs’s assistance she carried

A Bad Mouse

niece
Warne’s niece and her dollhouse.

 

HUNCA MUNCA

She was one of a pair of mice who moved into a doll’s house one day. They prove a bit destructive, and the tale is, thus, of “Two Bad Mice“. Dressed up in skirts and apron, this delightful mouse and her story originated in a real life encounter with mice who had been trapped within a cousin’s home.

Inspired by her publisher’s Christmas gift of a doll’s house for his niece, this popular story was born as she wrote about the two rescued mice over the winter of 1903.

The development of the illustrations were from drawings of actual objects, Warne’s constructed doll house (from photographs), his niece’s policeman doll, and two dolls that Warne made a gift of to Beatrix.

Tale of Mr. Tod, Tommy Brock

Tommy Brock
Tale of Mr. Tod, Tommy Brock

Jeremy Fisher – A Gentleman Frog

The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher was originally written as a letter to a child in 1893 while Potter was summering on the River Tay. “I should like to do Mr. Jeremy Fisher … I think I can make something of him”

Biographer Linda Lear writes that Miss Potter “wanted to do a frog story for some time, because it was amusing and offered the opportunity for the naturalist illustrations she delighted in ”

miss potter
Miss Beatrix Potter

Her Letters Tell Tidbits

Her Character Products Are Everywhere

Darling illustrations

From her bright mind and observing eye came the charming illustrations for her books, and Beatrix Potter created numerous characters that impress with their lack of pretentious Victorian manner and detailed with her astute eye and somewhat irreverent humor.

From the sweet rabbit sisters to the more sinister Mr. Tod, the characters all have the talented hand of Beatrix Potter unfailingly giving them life and personality. They make wonderful decor for children’s rooms and baby nurseries (but I doubt we ever really outgrow them).

Know All of Them? – How big of a fan are you?

Who is this?
Who is this? Remember his name?

Are you familiar with all the Beatrix Potter story characters?

Are you familiar with all the Beatrix Potter story characters?I know and love them all

Beatrix Potter Character Christmas Ornaments – Festive Decor with Cute Beatrix Potter Characters

Beatrix Potter Hanging Christmas Ornaments (A20954)
Beatrix Potter Hanging Christmas Ornaments (A20954) Such a darling set of ornaments which could begin a fairy tale theme or add to a pink and blue color scheme.

Jemima Puddle-duck

The World of Beatrix Potter: Nursery Jemima Puddle Duck by Kids Preferred
The World of Beatrix Potter: Nursery Jemima Puddle Duck by Kids Preferred Jemima- she is lovable, but a silly goose…don’t you think?

Charming Nursery Characters

The watercolor palette, endearing drawings, and beloved stories make Potter’s animals ideal for decorating a baby nursery. There are so many items emblazoned with Peter and all his friends.

It is easy to find gifts for birthdays or Christmas, combining books and stuffed animals, and so many other types of things. Figurines, even cupcake stands, or a salt and pepper set! No matter what our age, if we love her characters we can find gifts to treasure.

What Item To Decorate?

That is the only question!

Beatrix Potter illustrations are darling on all sorts of products, from T-shirts to plates and children’s banks and fabrics.

Stamps

Stamps and many other products have Potter’s illustrations and characters created at Zazzle.

Desire baby clothes and nursery decor? Target has offered a complete line in the delicate colors, with beloved protagonists of the tales. I saw them there, and thought the set was a darling way to do up a baby’s room.

But don’t forget the books! As sweet as the watercolors are, it is the memory of the funny little stories that give this childhood set of nursery friends their long lived popularity

The Lake District – Hilltop Farm

potterhouse

Her Home At Hill Top

Hill Top was purchased by Beatrix Potter in 1905 with royalties from her first few books.

Scenes and details of her books were inspired by the family’s visits to the Lake District. She visited her new home as often as she could, but never for more than a few days at a time due to her busy life, nevertheless she produced sketches of the house, garden, countryside and animals for her books.

Visit Hill Top Farm, see the home which is now a museum in the National Trust.

Another View of Hill Top and Jemima!

hilltop
Jemima is dressed up for her adventures in front of Hilltop House

 

I Spy, A Book Of Picture Riddles

good books for children

Entertainment In A Book

This was one of those extraordinary discoveries that lead to as much enjoyment for the parent as for the children they are intended for- makes reading time a real joy. Great gift for a child.

I Spy picture book
photo of the original I Spy book

How many roadtrips did you take as a child? And did you prevent boredom with games of “I Spy”, trying to find something red or gray with white stripes? Well, that is exactly the idea used creatively to expand the I Spy books into a brainteaser game that manages to entertain both adults and little children. There are clever, gorgeously photographed pictures filling this immensely popular set of books for playing I Spy with your children (which you will want to do, even though they could do it on their own).

One of my sisters sent the first “I Spy” book to our family many years ago as a Christmas gift. We had so much fun that I was soon collecting all the editions I could put my hands on. There are versions for holidays and for special themes.
I Spy Fun House: A Book of Picture Riddles
I Spy Fun House: A Book of Picture Riddles
All these books have a similar format, but the genius of them is in the detailed work of composing extremely beautiful and detailed photographs, charming rhyming clues and a range of challenges along the lines of very different themes. I guarantee you will not tire of them and will begin to want to collect them all. All these books have a similar format, but the genius of them is in the detailed work of composing extremely beautiful and detailed photographs, charming rhyming clues and a range of challenges along the lines of very different themes. I guarantee you will not tire of them and will begin to want to collect them all.
I Spy Fun House: A Book of Picture Riddles

I had as much fun as my children

 Quality time with the little ones never was so entertaining
Quality time with the little ones never was so entertaining

When my sister sent us the first “I Spy” book, I sat down with the little ones, then ages four and six, and we opened up the pages to the full color, gorgeous and detailed photographs. Visually the pictures are so rich and such a joy to scan through!
We took our time with the riddles, and some of the clues were obvious and easy enough for the little ones to feel joy and surprise at finding the objects from the cute rhymes.

Some of the challenges were tough enough to perplex even me, but most were just fun for the kids, and we had such a good time!

The first time through a book is always most exciting, of course, but all my children liked not just finding the answers to clues, but examining the interesting collection of things that made up the themed pages. We got addicted to this series of books and they made great gifts for birthday and Christmas for a couple years.

I actually use the same books with my grandchildren, now!

I Spy

…with my little eye…

What Makes The Eye Spy Books So Enjoyable?

  1. They are expertly photographed.
  2. Beautifully arranged, artistically chosen objects are fascinating in themselves.
  3. A range of easy to difficult challenges within each page. Enough successes, and enough to puzzle over, each page of challenges keeps children and their parents engaged.
  4. Everybody wins!
  5. A picture speaks a thousand words, so just looking at the photos makes for an educational experience- one that is lots of fun.
  6. There are plenty of book editions to keep interest high.
  7. These are riddles, and children love riddles, one of the easiest ways to exercise our powers of logic, reasoning, and creative thinking.

A Delicious Christmas Theme – Just the right book for the Christmas season

I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles
I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles

Get in the holiday mood and spend some quiet time looking for signs of the season inside the beautiful photos. More of Walter Wicks fine photography in this version of the I Spy for Christmas. Co-authored with Jean Marzollo.

Picture Riddles

Picture collages and rhymes to riddle you by, the clear and detailed pictures along with the “I spy” game make an irresistible combination.

Who Loves Fascinating Picture Books? – We Do!

An interesting collections
A sample of the kinds of objects collected for some of the photos
one of the riddle books available
Another edition of the picture riddle fun, this time a “SPECTACULAR”

These are great books for preschooler activities. Picture books that create interest and focus, good quiet time pastimes for children and their parents.

 A Grandparent bookshelf must-have. 

How did the author, Jean Marzollo, come up with this ingenious concept that so many have come to love?

“[We] used the words “I spy” to start every riddle. Those two little words are very powerful because they establish the main character and the story of the book. The main character is the reader – or the child being read to. The story is about the main character becoming a hero by finding everything in the riddle” –Jean Marzollo

Learn about The Photographer

Walter Wick.com

Take Time To Discover Details – Open Your Eyes To See

picture riddles

We giggled with delight when first discovering these books.

It was so much fun to pore over the beautiful, finely detailed, sharply photographed pictures. The way the objects were hidden…. some in plain sight, and the ways we worked together to use our brains to unlock the picture riddles created times that both my children and I will always remember.

I only wish I had discovered these books during the earliest years of our family, before the oldest children had grown up.

These are books to give your grandchildren, and to have on your bookshelves for any visiting boy or girl. Quiet fun for rainy days, too!

One of the great gifts of activities such as these books provide is the exercise of engaging our brains to truly see the details of the world around us. To focus in and discover the beauty, interest, and the peculiarities of our world.

Author Jean Marzollo:

“I wrote this book not knowing what a success I SPY would be. No one knew.”

See The I Spy Book First Hand – Understand the appeal to preschooler and parent alike

Picture Book Riddles

Have you read the I Spy books to your children?

Have you read the "I Spy" books to your children?
Funny Books For Children
If you would like to see some other books that are fun to read with your children, or grandchildren, be sure to look at some of the funniest books for kids.

Homeschool Focus: How to Make a Unit Study

homeschool help

Unit studies are one of the most exciting ways to learn in an homeschool setting. While they may take some preparation, they are well worth it in fun and learning. This is how to put one together.

Create your own unit study? Yes, you can

There are so many fabulous homeschool resources available that you might be able to find a unit study for almost any topic desired, but what if you want to craft your own? At one point that is how many of the teaching materials came to be created. You might have experience, expertise, and interest in a topic that you want to teach your children, but fear taking away time from core subjects, or maybe schoolwork has become a little boring for all involved. Making and implementing a unit study can be the answer to all those concerns.

This is a loose guide to inspire your own creative ability to plan and follow a unit study.

  • Outline the process of putting together your own unit curriculum
  • Give you pointers on creating unit studies
  • Suggest guides and supplies I found helpful when I homeschooled my children

Unit Study

Defined: an in-depth look at one topic while integrating all the academic subjects in that study.

Find Resources In The Local Library

Your local library is a free resource for many of the materials and research you will need to create your own studies.
Your local library is a free resource for many of the materials and research you will need to create your own studies.

Use Classic Children’s Literature

There is an entire method of teaching based on this idea alone. Using the classics to teach good language skills in integral to all academics, but there is so much more you can do with these good stories! Many are filled with historical background and characters to branch off into history stories, geography, and more depending on the particular books.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Unit Study
Laura Ingalls Wilder Unit Study

Laura Ingalls Wilder is a captivating writer, and her stories include real history. These beloved books are ideal for a unit study

Topics…which one will you choose?

Unit Study Topic Tips

PICTURE THE OVERLAP OF SUBJECTS

Almost anything can be a topic which provides a foundation to a unit study.

Try to narrow down the focus to a children’s interest, a famous person, or an era. Anything that holds either interest or importance is a good place to start for building your theme.

Then do some mind mapping. Imagine that subject in each of the core studies: is there a correlation in math problems, or are there uses of math in that particular subject.

Poultry as the study topic, for example:

  •  Is math used for computations of space per animal in the chicken coop?
  • How about feed rations?
  • In English: How are chickens used as metaphors or similes in writing, and why?
  • Geography: Where did the domesticated chicken originate?
  • Science: breeding fancy chickens.

REFINE AND FOCUS

Sometimes it is better to refine the topic into a manageable size… “rivers” might be too broad a topic, while “Rivers of Ohio” might be a better focus.

CENTER ON SOMETHING YOUR CHILD ALREADY LIKES

star wars robots
Star Wars triggers interest in astronomy

Desire oriented learning brings immediate involvement with a subject. Or center on something you believe your child will like and be interested in, we often don’t know if we like something until we try it . Desire oriented learning helps the student branch out easily into more challenging, less liked, areas of study.

This is the whole point of many unit studies. It is also what makes this such a powerful tool for learning. Choose a favorite book or a specific year, or something far-out like Orson Wells “Attack from Mars”. Begin exploring science through the lens of science fiction to engage young minds.

Science And Star Wars

American Educational Complete Astronomy Study Unit
American Educational Complete Astronomy Study Unit

Science can be difficult for some homeschooling parents to incorporate, but a unit study will create an avenue into this important part of your studies.

Unit Study Inspirations: Make Your Own

There are quite a number of ready made unit studies to be purchased on Amazon, from homeschool sites, and through many curriculums. This is a sampling.

Putting together your own might start with one of these, or it might be tailored to a topic within one of your children’s interests.

Empowering You With Confidence To Begin

Ready to go with a guided study, all the work done for you is a great time saver and confidence builder. Homeschool doesn’t have to be hard for the teaching Mom. So many resources to sift through might be the only work needed to put together a really stellar year of fun and learning.

This type of unit study was what I liked to add in after the Christmas holidays, when no one is very interested in buckling down to rote work. It can also include lots of field trips to museums or science exhibits.

If you decide to study birds, it can be used in all seasons to build habits of observation, note taking, and related skills.

Birds of North America Unit Study
Birds of North America Unit Study

This has to be one of my favorite topics for a unit study- birds are so fascinating and the possibilities for a great unit study are endless.

Homeschool Tip: Set A Schedule

Include a start time and schedule projects. Decide on the length of time to devote to the unit study.

Activities: Units almost create themselves once you put these components together

Many resources are available through membership fees, and homeschool conventions are also a good source for finding unit study ideas and supplies.

  1. Field trips to match up with your learning focus
  2. Lapbooks and Journals to record and collate your child’s work
  3. DVD’s of documentaries or pertinent movies.
  4. Create a book list of reading materials
  5. Add research and mapping skills by encouraging self-study in these areas of the topic
  6. List artists related to topic (i.e. John Audubon for his bird studies if topic is ‘American Eagle’)
  7. Brainstorm writing assignments highlighted in the topic. Science centered? Then, “what is a research paper?” might be a pursuit in English branch of the unit study

Unit Study Tip: Hone In On The Topic

In your study: focus, focus, focus. Then branch out to topic-related activities inside each discipline of study.

Writing Driven Study

Writing, for some students is quite challenging, but incorporating it daily into the backbone of your teaching can overcome the natural tendency to fear the blank page.

Don’t be discouraged if you have a tardy writer. I had a son who I almost despaired would ever learn to write reports and essays. Eventually, he “got it” and in college turned out to be quite gifted in poetry and writing. This type of method, where writing is seamlessly leading learning is a more painless way to teach.

Whatever teaching method you choose as your homeschool’s main one, try out some of the others occasionally, especially if your child is having some trouble tackling the concepts.

Study Driven: A Framework for Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop
Study Driven: A Framework for Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop

This is a book about writing. A method that uses the same type of thinking that drives unit studies: find out what is in the real world, study it and use it as a way to gain academic skill. Not a book about creating unit studies per se, but a book that will help with the very necessary part of an education: writing well.

Homeschool Moms Discuss The How-To

Learning Resources

Homeschool Help Online

Take a favorite book- discover Hobbit trails in math, science, and history.

Literature as a Starting Point

What child, or teacher for that matter, can resist delving into the world of the Hobbit as J.R.R. Tolkien created him? My children and I loved this book and the studies in this teaching guide. It covers vocabulary and reading comprehension in a wonderful way.

Study Disciplines you will want to cover – Use these as headings for your plan

  • Science
  • Math
  • Writing and Grammar
  • Literature
  • Art and Music
  • Geography and Social Studies
  • History

The Hobbit: A Teaching Guide (Discovering Literature Series: Challenge)
The Hobbit: A Teaching Guide (Discovering Literature Series: Challenge)

A fun way to study a favorite book. The hobbit is loved for good reason and makes an excellent basic topic for a unit study.

What About The Great Outdoors?

Use Your Camera: Document, Create

Don’t overlook how much your digital camera can add to both creating the unit study materials and documenting the work and activities. If you don’t have a camera already, consider buying one. Of course, many phones come equipped with a perfectly adequate one.

Making A Botany Unit Study

This writer has tremendous amounts of super helpful information on all aspects of homeschooling.

Have you thought about using a vacation or daytrip as a basis for teaching history or a complete curriculum for a couple months?

  • What’s All This Fuss About Unit Studies?
    A unit study is a teaching method where you choose a topic and try to accomplish as many academic subjects around that topic as possible. It is a very appealing to home educators for many reasons: you accomplish more in

Ever made your own unit study? – Did your children enjoy it?

Travel Ohio History Sites For Fun, Educational Daytrips

Family Activities and Fun

Timeline Journey Through The Buckeye State

What Do You Know About The 17th State?

Historical landmarks
The Fun Way To Learn About History

 

There are many ways to explore history, but one avenue has a lot of family fun included.

Take trips through the State of Ohio to visit the places you are learning about, and have hands on experiences about the times long ago in museums and adventure parks.

Find historical markers and even make a challenge of traveling to the top fifteen (twenty, eventually) places in the history of Ohio.

Along the way, especially during the summer season, there are areas of wonder and beauty, and plenty to keep the family entertained.

It doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg, either.

So for fun entertainment, economical travel ideas, and plenty of Ohio history, a trip through the state might be one of the most memorable ways to enjoy learning and being together as a family you have ever had.

The 17th State:
Ohio joined the United States of America on February 19, 1803

Important Events – Landmarks in Time

It is said that the Iroquois Indian word for “beautiful river” is the origin of the state name, and the Ohio River has certainly done much to shape the boundary, literally. It forms the southern border while Lake Erie forms the northern one. The earliest history of our land was made by the Indian populations, some tribes and civilizations long gone before the White man arrived and some changing as different groups of native peoples were increasingly pushed west.

A pioneer land that produced a number of the early presidents of this nation, a place where inventors and famous persons were born and their lives and work was formed. Ohio has plenty to teach us… guideposts along the timeline that have all sorts of stories to tell and to hear.

History Comes Alive

Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees (American Indian Lives)
Blue Jacket: Warrior of the Shawnees (American Indian Lives)

This is one of my favorite biographies of an American Indian Chief. Blue Jacket was the war chief of the Shawnees, a tribe that settled in mostly Central Ohio. The historical perspective is balanced and gives great insight into the tribal customs of the Shawnee. You will not regret time spent reading this well written and fascinating book.

A Travel In Time

Travel ideas taking history from earliest eras to today.

15  Suggested Historical  Excursions

Indigenous Cultures, Woodland Tribes

Native Americans In The MidWest

What are some great ways to find out about history? Look through the following entries to find out facts, resources, and some of the history of this important member of the Union.

Ohio, formed from the Northwest Territories became a state in 1803, but was that the beginning of its history? What sort of land was this before the European arrived? Who first settled this State and what struggles did the land witness? Here is a taste of some of the facts, some of the legends, and some of the story, to introduce you to the land bound by the Beautiful Ohio River.

  • Where was the first place white explorers and settlers entered the State?
  • Who were the Native American tribes here, and what were they like?
  • Why are there “Perry” place names around the shores of Lake Erie?
  • Why were cities or counties named those odd, but familiar names?

Those are the types of questions that can create our quest to know more of the past of this place.

The Buckeye State
Known as the “Buckeye State”, Ohio’s State Tree is The Buckeye, “Aesculus glabra”, so-called for its beautiful brown nuts with a similarity to the eye of a deer (male deer called a “buck”)

Hmmm, let’s see, where to start? How about right in the middle of the state, where I live? And how about early times when Indians were the sole human inhabitants of this land of hills and plains, Deep forests with massive trees, and shining,rippling streams and rivers at the edge of the largest fresh water lakes in the world?

The Ancients

1

The Serpent Mound in Adams County is not a lively place with amusement park atmosphere or rides, but it is an interesting place to see a prime example of the Mound Builder people’s work. There are many mounds and different earthworks throughout our state, but this is preserved and is a great place to enjoy a picnic and a quiet walk. It is also a geocache site.

Serpent Mound is the largest serpent effigy in the world.

Are you interested in following the trail of ancient earthworks?

Ohio’s Serpent Mound

Serpent Mound
Serpent Mound

Central Ohio And Ancient History

2

Olentangy Indian Caverns

have been a local tourist attraction for many decades and there are lots of fun activities for a family outing. Besides taking a tour of the caves there is a miniature golf course, a gem mining experience, a museum and trading post, and it is nearby to other area attractions- the Columbus Zoo and Highbanks park (which has its own modest earthworks site). If you are looking for fun activities to pair with your history discovery, put this place on your bucket list. You may want to visit before the opportunity disappears forever. ( It is closing)

3

Ohio Historical Center in Columbus will take a day to see all the exhibits.  I think you should carry your bucket list of sights to see along with you, because you are going to find lots of information in the museum that makes this discovery trip richer.

There is a fee for parking and entrance. This will grant you access to two levels of exhibits and quite a bit to see inside an air conditioned building. Ohio Village is also on the grounds, which replicates a town of circa the Civil War era. It holds special events, consult their Calendar.

Upper Sandusky

 

4

Indian Mill gives insights into the Wyandotte tribe and the early interactions between Indians, the American government and the small community of free and slave blacks who settled here after the War of 1812. Overland Inn Museum is also in this area, for a pleasant drive in Upper Sandusky.

Captured By Indians, Daniel Boone Blazed The Trail To Ohio

Life of Daniel Boone, The
The Life of Daniel Boone

An exciting life of one of the first white settlers to enter this part of the nation and settle here (for awhile). Captured by Indians and made a member of their tribe, he escaped and returned to his family… this was but one of the larger than life adventures of this early American.


Zoar Village

Zoar Village
Vintage engraving of Zoar Village

Northern Ohio Discovery

5

Zoar Village is a restored village of the religious Separatists. Ten restored building with costumed interpreter staff to give a Williamsburg-like experience of life and products of this pre-Civil war community that exists within a living community of private homes. Visitors can also buy nineteenth-century reproduction wares.
Plan your visit between April and late October- things are closed up during winter months. Homeschoolers may be interested in Spring Homeschool Day with special events and pricing.
April 27 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

6

Oliver Hazard Perry is pretty famous in the Great Lakes history, and there are many natural things to see while enjoying the beautiful Lake Erie Firelands area. Plan a trip to Kelleys Island, crossing the water in a ferry boat to arrive on a large Island. Visit Inscription rock and see the bare rocks that illustrate how glacial grooves were carved across the land in the last ice age. Lots of opportunities to camp, swim, and fish.
I’ve always loved the Lake Erie shore and there are lots of activities for family vacations. If you get tired of the history and want to indulge in plain old fun go to Cedar Point! It is one of the premier Amusement Parks and calls itself the “Roller Coaster Capital”.

Cedar Point Amusement Park is located in Sandusky, on the Sandusky Bay.

Hanker for Archaeology?

7

More for Ancient Indian and Indian culture aficionados, The Sun Watch Indian Village, in Dayton, has interpretive center and a store with lots of books and crafts. Restored prairie.
Their programs and events, and more about what they offer can be found on their site.

Ohio Documentary, Quick Synopsis

Find Landmarks

Map of the State

Ohio Map
Ohio Map

8

Zanes Trace started out as an Indian trail, but became a major trail in early exploration days( until after the War of 1812 ). Travel through the cities of Zanesville, Lancaster, and Chillicothe followed this pathway leading to the Northwest Territory’s early development. If you start at Wheeling, you can simultaneously travel the National Road. Visit Degenhart Paperweight & Glass Museum in Cambridge, OH, and see the John and Annie Glenn Historic Site in that vicinity.

9

Nothing tells a story better than a stage play, and the historical drama of Tecumseh is one of the most popular. Depicting Ohio country of the early 1800’s with the tale of one of the most famous of Indian Chiefs. Located at 5948 Marietta Road, Chillicothe, OH. | Phone: 740-775-4100

10

One of my favorite areas is the Hocking Hills of the Southwestern part of the state. I have long loved visiting Old Man’s Cave for hikes. But did you know there is a Hocking Hills Train Tour that will take you on travel into times when Railroads forged a westward track through the nation? Find out more: 33 W. Canal Street, Nelsonville Phone: 800-967-7834

Traveling Train Tour for an unusual and memorable daytrip adventure.

11

If you like self guided tours and want to see actual log cabins of the original pioneers, built by them and lived in, you are going to like Caesar’s Creek Pioneer Village. Supported by entry fees.

The two routes that pioneers followed to enter the Northwest territory as the lands were known at the time:

  • Zane’s Trace overland route
  • Via the Ohio River.

The oldest settlement was Martin’s Ferry, while Marietta claims to be the oldest permanent settlement (the official explanation is that “Martins Ferry remained an unincorporated settlement for a relatively long time”).

Building log cabins much like those seen in the Pioneer Village from the copious giant trees of forests that covered the territory, settlers soon began filling the forested wilderness with farms and then cities. From Lake Erie in the North and the Ohio River in the south, settlers made their way into the interior of what is now the Buckeye State.

12

The Statehouse is full of significance and is home to an  Abraham Lincoln monument. Take tours of the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, There are many types available.

13

Thomas Edison, an inventor who lastingly impacted our lives has a birthplace museum in Milan. Rare exhibits of examples of many of Edison’s early inventions along with mementos and documents, the museum has the distinction of being run by members of the great inventor’s family.

14

If you want to investigate more of the Civil War time history, there are many places that served as Underground Railroad stations for slaves fleeing slavery in hopes of a life of freedom. One of the entry points was the John Rankin House in Ripley, OH.

15

Johnston Farm & Indian Agency in Piqua covers Native American, Frontier, and Canal History with lots to see and do. You might call it a one stop for all your history needs if time and travel are limited. Farmhouse tours, Canal boat rides, an education center and many events means that your family will have both a learning experience and lots of entertainment.

From Native Indian History to Early Settlers


Source: Wikipedia Commons

Milan, Ohio Was Home To Thomas Edison

Edison: A Life of Invention
Edison: A Life of Invention

Thomas Edison invented what arguably might have most changed life for everyone in the modern age: the light bulb.

Combine a daytrip to his museum along with some background reading of his biography. Especially interesting to homeschoolers since he was homeschooled by his mother, due to struggles with academic learning.

Biographies for History Insights

The combination of learning history through visiting sites and reading the biographies of those who shaped their world is powerful. Get a perspective that is full of living drama and pertinence.

INSPIRED YOU TO EXPLORE THE HISTORY OF THE PLACES YOU VISIT, YET?

Do you think this is a fun way to learn history?

Athens in Hocking County

Ohio was once the Northwest Territory

The Northwest was not always the description of Washington State or Oregon. It once was the furthermost frontier for pioneers. Read about those times when our nation was first forged: 1720 through 1830.

This Was Once The West

The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830 (A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier)
The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830 (A History of the Trans-Appalachian Frontier)

Many events of history, heroes and villains created the nation we know as the United States. It is a fascinating story with the clash of English, French, Indians and early pioneers and patriots.

Ohio History Facts

  • Claimed by France and considered part of “New France” during the 17th Century
  • 1756 – 1763 French and Indian War is fought to determine whether the territory is French or British in domain.
  • The American Revolution
  • Treaty of Greenville ends the Indian Wars in the state.
  • Official Date of Statehood : March 1, 1803
  • 1842- The date that the last Indian tribe, the Wyandot, leave Ohio.

The Mighty Ohio River

Quick Facts

  1. Chillicothe was Ohio’s first capital city.
  2. Ohio’s state fossil is the trilobite. Lots of them are to be found in the native limestone.State Animal? White Tail Deer.The state stone is Flint. You may wish to visit the museum at Flint Ridge which has all sorts exhibits to learn about the ancient flint quarry at the site. (Located at 15300 Flint Ridge Rd in Glenford, OH)
  3. Abraham Lincoln visited the Statehouse here three different times
  4. Marietta was the first permanent settlement and was named in honor of Queen Marie Antoinette of France.
  5. Daniel Boone was held captive by the Shawnee tribe near the Seven Caves area in Ohio. The area can be visited by going to the the Seven Caves Nature Preserve
  6. State Motto: “With God, all things are possible”
  7. In 1835, boundary disputes between Michigan and Ohio cause the Toledo War- so it wasn’t always about football!

Hearkening to the 1800’s

 

 

German Immigrants Comprised 26% Of The People And Culture

Random Facts And Strange Tales

Strange Tales Book Cover

Exciting Places To Visit, Interesting Things to Know

The Ohio History Center

The States center for many historical exhibits about Ohio from its earliest history through to our modern age. Located in the vicinity of OSU campus in Columbus, Ohio.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight

We take flight for granted, but it started with the successful invention and bravado of the Wright Brothers

Up, Up, And Away

Dayton holds plenty of aviation history and museums to mark all the important highlights.

Want to know more about the astronaut who became a state senator? Look no further than the JOHN & ANNIE GLENN HISTORIC SITE in New Concord, Ohio. The National Road/Zane Grey Museum is in the same place, so you get more than one era and lots to look at in this one trip.

72 W. Main Street
New Concord, OH 43762

May – October
Wed. – Sat.: 10 – 4
Sunday: 1 – 4

The Funniest Children Books Are Ideal Gifts For Ages 4-8

This is a list.

I collated some of the best and funniest kids books so you know exactly which ones to look for for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Birthday giving. Want to have some laughs with your children or grandchildren? Get some funny read aloud books, sit down in a comfy chair, and let the hilarity begin! 

Have You Laughed Out Loud While Reading To Your Child?

Some of the classic books for children will hit your funny bone, and more importantly your child’s, too. Witty, well-written stories and amusing illustrations can not only entertain the children, but appeal to parents, too. I found that out while reading to my small children.

Some authors, like Dr. Seuss, are very well known and even movies have been made from the unique characters and inventive stories. Other authors, or even some of the books you’ll see on this page, are less known… but should be better broadcasted for their way of delivering a great message with humor and imagination.

Keep In Mind

That one persons humor treasury might be another’s trash. Wimpy Kids is soundly criticized by some, for example. Just like the different appeal of The Three Stooges or Marx Brothers.

How Do I Find Good Books For My Children?

When my children were young, it helped to belong to book clubs, but that isn’t always the best way to locate good books. Many homeschool resources will provide guidance, and you don’t have to be a homeschooler to use the information!

A book called “Honey For a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt categorized books by age appropriate categories and gave me lists of classics.

Libraries always highlight the newest books, or the ones the Librarians most value, along with seasonal selections.

Schools often have interesting books for kids to enjoy in their libraries, and you might find out what their friends families find enjoyable.

Last but not least are curated lists like this one.


Here is my collection of what I thought were the funniest children’s books- the ones that delighted both my children and I. A few newer ones are thrown in that I will be giving to my grandchildren.

I hope you and your children will enjoy them, too.

 

It’s Humorous

child reading a funny book
Capture interest in reading with a humorous read-aloud book.

Capture interest in reading with a humorous read-aloud book.

On My List
  • Nate The Great
  • Frog and Toad
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
  • Bad Kitty
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Knucklehead
  • Ramona
  • Clementine
  • Big Orange Splot
  • Olivia
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
  • Cat in the Hat
  • Amelia Bedelia

 

Love of Reading Starts Here

father reading to his children
Love of Reading Starts Here
Did you know that reading aloud to your children

  • Creates a higher aptitude for learning
  • Develops better communication and a mastery of reading skills
  • Gives quality bonding experiences

 

For Beginning Readers

Tip:
To encourage children to read on their own, it helps to have books that are written for their reading level AND which appeal to their imagination. That means that two specific kinds of books to have on the book shelf are those which are either humorous or of the mystery detective genre, preferably both!

Appeal to their funny bone

Boys, especially, may rather run outside, play sports, or sit with video games rather than read. Entice them to discover the joy of reading with books that appeal to them and their sense of adventure.

  • Gear towards their reading level
  • Appeal to their imagination and sense of adventure

Suggestions to pique their interest and tickle their funnybone.

Nate The Great

~By Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, with Illustrator Marc Simont

Nate The Great is the main character of a hilarious set of mystery detective, read-aloud books. Written for ages 4-8, look into these books especially if you want to engage a boy’s interest in reading.
You can't go wrong with one of the Frog and Toad books. They are funny and their friendship is heartwarming.
You can’t go wrong with one of the Frog and Toad books. They are funny and their friendship is heartwarming.

My Family’s Favorite Amphibians

Frog And Toad

by Arnold Lobel

No list of books for children is complete without the likes of Frog and Toad, in my opinion. I think I enjoyed these books as much as my children.

Droll illustrations coupled with funny plots that ring true to how we relate to common situations such as being in a bad mood, being friends, struggling with fears, and more. It is easy to perceive ourselves in the many ways Frog and Toad help each other out and learn important lessons about friendship along the way.

Thankfully for the joy of young readers everywhere, there are more than one of these story collections following the adventures of Frog and Toad. I think they are a great way to encourage reading time, and appealed to both my sense of humor the children’s.

This is one of the cutest books, with adorable illustrations and a truly funny slippery slope of events.

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

YOU MIGHT END UP WANTING MORE BOOKS WRITTEN BY LAURA JOFFE NUMEROFF!

So well loved, it inspired a whole slew of books using the format to create Pig and Pancakes, Cat and Cupcakes, and more. But this is the original story that started things off in this hilarious direction.

If you buy a child a book, you may find you will want another, and soon a bookcase to house them all…

Lyle the Crocodile – He’s Lovable

Another family favorite of ours.

I laughed out loud, and had a hard time resuming reading when reading this book to my children.

A croc who really is the most lovable guy once you get past the fact that he is… well, a crocodile.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Lyle the Crocodile)
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (Lyle the Crocodile)

Lyle is a lovable crocodile and his well meaning efforts are children’s literature’s version of slapstick humor.

Baaad Kitty – Find out why this is a great series of books

Even if you aren't a cat lover you will love the antics of this baaaad kitty
Even if you aren’t a cat lover you will love the antics of this baaaad kitty

I Nominate This For Cutest and Funniest

Bad Kitty 4 Book Set in Slipcase (Includes Bad Kitty Meets the Baby; Bad Kitty Vs Uncle Murray, Bad Kitty Gets A Bath; Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty)
Bad Kitty 4 Book Set in Slipcase (Includes Bad Kitty Meets the Baby; Bad Kitty Vs Uncle Murray, Bad Kitty Gets A Bath; Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty)

Trying to be a good kitty is so hard, follow the bad kitty’s adventures in this and a series of other hilarious books.

Try each one of the Bad Kitty series of books.

Must Watch This Hilarious Bad Kitty Video!

What Books Are You and Your Children Reading?

Which books do you read aloud to your children?

  • I read Disney movie-based books
  • I read fairytales and fantasy books to my kids
  • I read Caldecott award books
  • I read them the ones I loved as a child
  • Any good, age appropriate book I can find
  • I haven’t read much to them but would like to start
  • We use picture books, without much reading.

The Terrible No Good Day – Alexander had one and helps your child laugh at theirs

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Taking the feeling that the day is turning out badly to hilarious lengths.

Knucklehead Might Be New To You

KNUCKLEHEAD: TALL TALES AND MOSTLY TRUE STORIES OF GROWING UP SCIESZKA by Scieszka, Jon (Author) on Oct-02-2008[ Paperback ]

Side splitting antics of six boys who manage to get into plenty of trouble, based on author Jon Scieszka’s own childhood.I hadn’t heard of this one when raising my kids, but it has quickly reached “classic” status.

KNUCKLEHEAD: TALL TALES AND MOSTLY TRUE STORIES OF GROWING UP SCIESZKA by Scieszka, Jon (Author) on Oct-02-2008[ Paperback ]

A Series Of Fun

Beloved Ramona books are proven to delight children for more than one generation.
Beloved Ramona books are proven to delight children for more than one generation.

When you can’t read just one!

A series creates the building blocks of reading a larger, longer book. It develops the characters and the interaction between them. Some of our favorite novels like Charles Dickens’ books were published in a series mode.

The best children’s books sometimes turn into a series because kids love them so much. I don’t really know if that is the reason, but I am happy that there are more than just one of these funny books that encourage children to read, and are a hoot for parents as well.

Get the Collection For Hilarious, Fun Reading

Books beloved for their funny plots, well drawn characters, and relate-able dialog and situations. I had these books for my children some twenty-five years ago- and they have become classic reading for the younger reader age group. Ramona and Henry make a great pair of counterparts in series of wonderful early reader books.

Beverly Cleary, The Author, Interviewed

Clementine

clementine series

Clementine and “Ramona” are favorite characters for 3rd grade girls

… but younger readers, including boys, and parents are all going to enjoy these books with wonderful drawings and fun filled stories.

Don’t let age or gender keep you from enjoy some of these well written and illustrated classics.

Celebrate Everyone’s Uniqueness

big orange splot
Big Orange Splot was a runaway hit with my kids

This book was not on my radar at the time, but one of my cousins who has a masters degree in Child Development sent it to us one Christmas. It’s humor resides in the colorful illustrations, but the message is clear: we should embrace our individuality.

Fun to read, it has a more subtle type of humor which makes it a real favorite for young children.

To Help You Find Funny Books

Start With A Reason

The important thing for new readers is to get them started discovering the great way reading can ignite their imagination and give them windows into the world at large.

How can we best do that, as teachers and parents? Give them books they like, and children LOVE to laugh. Parents love to laugh too, but that is just an aside to our goal of opening the world of great reading in a child’s life.

Just mastering the sounding out of words, and understanding the story is a wonderful accomplishment for a child, but when it tickles their funny bone a new appetite for reading is initiated.

That is why some of the best and most loved books for early readers are in this genre. But really, I don’t think we ever outgrow our appreciation of a well written humorous book. Which is another good reason to add as many of these books to our library shelf as possible.

For ferreting out the best children’s books in any genre, an entire book of recommendations can be a genuinely helpful resource. I liked the “Honey For A Child’s Heart” paperback. It gave list and description by age group. I was always an avid reader, but would have missed some real gems, if not for the guidance of this book.
Honey for a Child’s Heart For a short List of some of the books I always liked, here is a quicklist rundown.
Older Classics
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic

Funny, classic reading for children

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle inspired a musical play and a TV series, but it was her books (by author Betty MacDonald) that children and their parents have loved reading for so many years.

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were some I enjoyed as a child. They were funny, and poked fun at common childhood foibles while delivering an adult point of view and lessons on good behavior.

Because these are older books, they can be a little hard to find. Try eBay or used book stores. There are a few selections on amazon.

Cat in the Hat Is A Dr. Seuss Classic

This book series just grew in popularity until they popped up everywhere!
Make your book nook with colors of the book inspiring the color scheme.

You supply the green egg colored bookcase, and Dr. Seuss supplies the “Ham”. After you read and enjoy the ‘Cat in the Hat‘, ‘Green Eggs and Ham‘ is sure to follow. -You may find a whole shelf dedicated to the various Dr. Seuss classics.

I like the idea of borrowing a child’s color scheme for their play and sleep areas from their favorite book.

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the HatThe Cat in the Hat

Most of us are familiar with the mischief of the Cat in the Hat and his crew. This is a classic book for a home book shelf.

Silly Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish

Did you know?
Amelia Bedelia was based on a real life character, and her funny hat and literal interpretations create havoc. Yet, her employers and the readers come to appreciate this lovable, well meaning housemaid. “Dust the furniture ” takes on a whole new meaning.

Amelia Bedelia Collection (I Can Read Book 2)
Amelia Bedelia Collection (I Can Read Book 2)

The lovable Amelia Bedelia takes everything quite literally with outcomes that somehow end with one of her delicious baked goods being served and a happy ending.

More – don’t miss these cute, humorous books

Olivia

Olivia

She is the cutest little piglet ever, and she has very definite ideas.

Starring Olivia the Pig!

I find that if I am unfamiliar with a book, or what has become a very popular character with the kids set (there are new ones all the time) a video is often made that showcases the books or the character in such a way that you can easily identify the enjoyment that the stories offer.

Attesting to her popularity, there are many gifts to accompany a gift of the books.

See other gifts available on Zazzle.

Create A Reading Corner

Here’s an idea that goes along with a collection of books and the dedication to creating a real lifelong love of reading: create a reading nook.

Keep books in their place with a beautifully crafted bookcase. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair and all their favorite read-aloud books. Little Colorado Traditional Child's 40 in. Bookcase
Keep books in their place with a beautifully crafted bookcase. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair and all their favorite read-aloud books. Little Colorado Traditional Child’s 40 in. Bookcase

Keep books in their place with a beautifully crafted bookcase. Create a reading nook with a comfy chair and all their favorite read-aloud books. Little Colorado Traditional Child’s 40″ Bookcase

Encourage Reading Time

Create a special corner for the “Children’s Reading Hour”. A bookshelf filled with all their favorites, a comfy chair and light. Let it invite you and your child to share some of the best times that you will both remember.

The funny books and the cozy nook will cultivate a young chidl’s love of reading- a love that will last a lifetime.

Click for Longfellow's Poem

Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day’s occupations, That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me The patter of little feet, The sound of a door that is opened, And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight, Descending the broad hall stair, Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence: Yet I know by their merry eyes They are plotting and planning together To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway, A sudden raid from the hall! By three doors left unguarded They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret O’er the arms and back of my chair; If I try to escape, they surround me; They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses, Their arms about me entwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditi, Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress, And will not let you depart, But put you down into the dungeon In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever, Yes, forever and a day, Till the walls shall crumble to ruin, And moulder in dust away!!

wimpy kid poster

Accessories Build Interest

The Posters, T-shirts, and Action Figures!

…they also make good gift ideas.

Read the book, and get the poster for their wall because a cute poster goes along with a book for the bookshelf. Great reminder to re-open a beloved book. I think these combos of poster and storybook would make a thoughtful gift.

I have bought the Wimpy Kid books for my grandsons. They love them and become avid readers. Of course the books have lots of competition from video and games, but all the more reason to provide them entertaining books that whet their appetite for the world of reading.

Amazon Recommendations

Melissa and Doug’s Family Conversation Starters

What you have here are some great ideas for coming together as a family, having real conversations, especially if that seems awkward (when you have teenagers, talking together as a group can often feel awkward).

Who would have guessed that this little box of simple questions could become such a fire conversation starter. The only reason I mention fire, is not due to incendiary topics, but because it was when our family started to intentionally increase our communication levels we gathered around our firepit.

The deceptively unassuming appearance of a little round box with the picture of a homey lattice topped pie belies the power of asking the the right questions.

When it comes to helping people share their thoughts, particularly when we aren’t used to it, many of us are at a loss. With these little round boxes of questions, that o longer needs to be the case.

Filled to the brim with small round cards that are printed with questions, these starters help immensely when you are sitting down and trying to talk.

You know, it’s a little like trying to relax: you overthink it.

But with some coaxing from ready made topics, you are bound to strike upon a few that really get the communication going.

 What About Your Family?

Family Game Night Is Fun And Brings Your Family Closer Together

How our family makes time for a family game night and how we choose various games and activities to do.

 Do You Have A Family Game Night Set Up?

 

  •  We get together regularly to play games
  •  We occasionally pull out the games and have a go
  •  I am sad to say, that we don’t play games together
  •  We do, but our family plays more physical games like touch football
  •  Not since the kids were little, but I think we might try it again

 

Aprons

You might be thinking: that is an odd thing to lift someone’s mood. Or you might completely understand, since aprons make you feel happy when you see them,too. There are different reasons why I feel sentimentally cheerful when I see an old fashioned apron.

apron

There are the memories

My grandmother always wore an apron at home during the day it seemed. She owned all sorts of aprons: Plain Jane ones, frilly sheer ones, calico, and bibbed ones. A veritable wardrobe of aprons. And there always seemed to be something good cooking in her kitchen. Coincidence you say? Something in my little child’s memory says differently. For me, the production of good food and the use of an apron are inextricably tied.

Not only did she have aprons, but my mother had many, as well. And it seemed inevitable that there were several little child sized ones for me. Sometimes to help out while making cookies or perched on a stool washing dishes. Sometimes I had my own little work apron for paint projects at my easel. Each activity added up to a good memory, and aprons seem to connect them all. A new take on the “apron strings”?

All in all, a well worn apron or a pretty retro style… it all means homemaking that is of the exciting cookie baking kind in my mind. Or that most artistic of baking activities: decorating the cookies with frostings and sprinkles.

The good feelings from good food

In my own life as a mother and wife I don’t use an apron everyday, when I do put on my favorite apron it means I am about to cook or bake seriously. That is usually the holiday meal or Christmas preparations (cookies!). It means good food in my mind, when I don that green, no-nonsense bibbed cooks apron.Chef Works CSBA-BCS Chalk Stripe Bib Apron with Pockets, 34-1/4-Inch Length by 27-Inch Width, Black/White

I bake my cardamon rolls while wearing that apron, the roast turkey, the cookies, like Moravian Spice cutouts, and others. For an everyday event that seems like it could get messy I have in inherited assortment of regular half aprons- the type my mother most often wore. ( Because most of them are probably her old ones!

There is just something cute about an apron

It’s true. Maybe it is a throwback to a more naive time, or maybe it is all the adorable prints or funny sayings. I like many of the new handmade ones that seem to be something like the those

Like a smock or a jumper, but just for working around the kitchen. I know I’m not the only one who think that aprons are cute. There is a whole group of people who are rediscovering the usefulness of an apron… but it is probably more about fun than usefulness. Like a little bit of playing dress up (and some of the fancy aprons might qualify for the term!).

Maybe it is homemade artistry

Old aprons, or handmade ones are something like quilts in the way they can express the makers sense of artistry and fun. Bright colors and skillful pattern combining rule in many of these creations, but there are some pretty sleek creations as well.

Looking over the aprons on a site like http://apronaday.blogspot.com/ or in the etsy.com shopping place is to be in a happy place and just a little addicting.

The sturdier ones can even do double duty as a gardening smock. To work well for the gardener it must have pockets.

Do you like aprons? do they carry some happy memories of the past or a favorite grandmother or aunt?