We were invited to attend a screening of the movie All Creatures Big & Small, a new movie available exclusively on Google Play. The 80 minute animated film was entertaining, funny, and uplifting. Based on the Noah’s Ark story, two young animals get left behind as the ark is carried away by the flood and together they face the challenges of survival and finding friendship. We left the screening with smiles on our faces and we’ve even watched it again by streaming it from Google Play on our television. Here is the link: All Creatures Big & Small. It is available for free for a limited time so watch it soon!
The screening event was at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. There is a Noah’s Ark exhibit for kids that is a must see for anyone in the LA and Orange County Area. Lots of area to explore and imagine with opportunities to climb and “feed the animals”. There are family events with crafts, and archaeological dig area, and many other exhibits to view. I’ve wanted to check the Skirball out for quite some time so I was delighted to be invited by Melissa over at Dandelion Moms.
This year we are officially starting preschool with my daughter. While I won’t be forcing any work on her, I want to be prepared with preschool-level curriculum that she will be able to use and learn from. Last year was our first year of homeschool and she loved sitting at the table with us while we did first grade work and I spent a lot of time searching for things for her to do and modifying 1st grade work to fit her level. While my preschooler will spend a lot of time doing creative activities and playing with play doh or sand, this year we’ll be more prepared with other learning activities.
Start To Read Pack – The Start to Read Pack introduces letter sounds and follows the synthetic phonics system. It comes with 8 beginning readers, an activity book that reinforces the letter sounds, and a colorful poster to help us identify and master our letters.
Very First Reading Set – This 15 book set includes level one readers that focus on shared reading – the parent reads one page and the child reads the next. The pages that children read helps them master word sounds and builds up reading confidence. The end of each book includes story review activities, sequencing, and phonics lessons. The set also comes with a parent guide and online resources for additional learning resources.
First Illustrated Math Dictionary – We’ve got this on our shelf already but we’ll be using it a lot more this year. The math dictionary introduces basic math concepts from counting to shapes and so much more (great for pre-k through 2nd or 3rd grade as it covers fractions and symmetry and lots of other advanced topics). It includes activity ideas as well. We’ll focus on learning the concepts and use our math manipulatives kit (bear counters, rulers, pattern blocks, etc.) that we got for our math program last year. If you want to know more about how we use our manipulatives kit (because we use it all the time) read my math post here.
Wipe-Clean First Math – This wipe-clean activity book comes with its own dry erase marker so kids can practice their early math skills in a fun way. We have others from this series and they get used constantly around here!
My First Spanish Word Book – We’ll be using this book to match words with pictures as we begin our adventure in preschool Spanish. She’ll get additional practice from the books her brother and I use that are closer to his level.
What will you be using with your preschooler this year?
I have a lot to be excited about right now. A – It’s summer vacation! Today is our last day of school and I look forward to spending time unhurried and unplanned. B – I found a great character building activity book that I love and the kids love, so we’re going to add those activities into our days when we’re hanging out at home with nothing to do. C – I’ve got a giveaway going on for some of the fun activity books I sell as an Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant. I wanted to be sure to tell you about the giveaway with plenty of time to enter. If you win, you’ll get 3 activity books – Optical Illusions Activity Book, What Shall I Draw?, Awesome Doodle Pad – and a set of Brain Games wipe-clean reusable flash cards. The books are super fun and perfect for introducing to the kids when they start complaining that they have nothing to do. To enter the giveaway visit Dandelion Moms here.
Yes, I am excited about not having to plan for lessons every day, but we are a learning house and we will continue to add educational elements to our days. One thing we will be doing is continuing with our character building activity book. Daily Character Education Activities (affiliate link) has 180 lessons that focus on citizenship, compassion, fairness, honesty, respect, responsibility, self-discipline, integrity, trustworthiness, and perseverance. This week we talked about how being a good citizen means respecting all creatures – including animals. We talked about how we can help the animals around us, and how we can respect their space. We are also learning a song that is included in the book about character and the kids really enjoy learning the new verses every week.
The book gives several ideas for making bird feeders including pretzel hangers, pine cone feeders, and apple treats, but we decided to try the cereal feeder. We took a long piece of yarn and strung it with Cheerios and hung it on our tree that is frequented by bird friends in the morning hours. This activity was great for both of my kids. My first grader still enjoys activities of this nature and it’s a good fine motor skill workout for both of them (ages 7 and 3). We didn’t spot any birds feeding from our cereal but both strings were empty the following day – I’m guessing from the opossum or rats that hide quietly in the tree. Either way, the kids were excited to see that their feeders had fed something.
Happy summer! How do you plan to pass the time?
While some people are already into their summer vacation, we are still going, with just a a little more than a week left. We finished all of our curriculum that we purchased at the beginning of the year, and now we are reviewing a few of the things my first grader needs work on and doing deeper research into topics we are interested in. As the end of the year approaches, I decided I wanted to give my son an end of the year survey. He filled out a birthday questionnaire the other day and I loved his answers so I look forward to seeing what he has to say for this one. Here’s a copy of the questionnaire if you’d like to try it with your kids too.
In addition to review, we are doing some character building activities and we’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors to wrap up the year. Do you go full steam to the end of the year or do you wrap it up when you’ve covered all the bases? What do you like to do when you’ve used up all of your curriculum?
Also, here are a few free storytime apps available for iPad. I don’t have an iPad so I haven’t been able to try them out yet. Hopefully they’ll be available for android soon as well!
We all look forward to summer vacation – or any vacation for that matter. But once the novelty wears off, we all hear the same thing from our kids: “I’m bored!”
My kids like activity books and I like to keep a variety of styles on hand. We have sticker books, make-your-own-paper-airplane books, wipe-clean mazes, wipe clean doodle flashcards, coloring books, and puzzle books. I keep these on a bookshelf or stacked on their desk, and when I hear the moans and groans of boredom, I bust out one they haven’t used in a while. Generally, they’re occupied for at least 30 minutes, and usually when they tire of that activity they have mustered up enough imagination to find something else to do.
As a book seller, I am fortunate to have access to so many amazing activity books. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for the “Puzzle Pack” and the “Summer Boredom Busters Pack”. Each set comes with 3 activity books and one pack of wipe-clean flashcards that can be used over and over again. The flashcards are great for on-the-go, too. I drop them in my purse or their backpack if I think there will be a period of time that they need entertainment while we’re away from home.
Stop by the Bookworm Store to get your book packs today!