Writing Poems for Valentine’s Day

Poetry is an early elementary age favorite to write because you get to break all the rules by following new rules. Kids love a break from being forced to write in complete sentences, make up words to make things rhyme and playing with words they already know. Here are five poems perfect for writing a note of love at Valentine's Day. Acrostic Poems The only rule for Acrostic Poetry is that the writer select a theme word. It can be a name, a phrase or a word as simple as "love." Write each letter of the word vertically. Then write a word, phrase or sentence that starts with that word on each line. Whether there is rhythm or a rhyme is at the ...

READ MORE

Teach the Joy of Giving Year Round

Every now and then we have the ME, ME, ME Monster creep into our house. This can happen any time of the year, but it seems more common around a big holiday. When this happens, I love to turn to a book for help.We recently used the book, "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, to help remind everyone that when we give and share with others we can all be happy. You can, of course, twist this around to adapt for any upcoming holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc. The more we talked about it, the more I realized how important it was for us to remember and practice these principles year round. Sometimes we just ...

READ MORE

St. Patrick’s Day Books and Fun Food for Kids

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17 and honors Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.Although we tend to celebrate with St. Patrick's Day parties, wearing green and indulging in a combination of Irish dishes and food that is green, it's important for children to learn about the history of St. Patrick's Day too.Here 15 great books to read to your children this St. Patrick's Day.It's St. Patrick's Day, by Rebecca Gomez The Story of Saint Patrick's Day, by Patricia A. Pingry The Story of the Leprechaun, by Katherine Tegen Shamrocks, Harps and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick's Day Symbols, by Edna ...

READ MORE

A Spring Snack, Craft and Book

Welcome the change of season by spending a couple of special hours with your little one crafting, preparing and eating snacks, and reading together.You can choose any book you like; the one we chose was The Chick and the Duckling.Let's start with the craft.What you need:Yellow treat cup (or paper cup) Orange card stock Googly eyes Scissors Pencil GlueHave your child draw the feet and beak on the orange card stock and cut them out.  Glue them onto the treat cup along with the googly eyes.Next, prepare the snacks.We chose two snacks, a little chick sandwich, and a trail mix to put into the treat cup. ...

READ MORE

Easter Egg Phonics Game

 It brings me so much joy to sit with my daughter and listen to her sound out words. I just get so excited as she builds her phonics knowledge and exercises those skills!  As Easter draws closer, I created a game that uses the plastic eggs we have so many of around the house.Lizzie loved this game! It took up the majority of our afternoon because she kept asking me to play it again and again.  Since it made her excited to read, I didn't mind it one bit!Directions: Write letter combinations and vowels on a piece of paper. Allow the child to cut out each combination/vowel. (This helps with fine motor skills) Pla ...

READ MORE

Teaching Young Children About Dr. King

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a good time for all parents to consider ways to share the legacy of Dr. King with their children and the impact that he had in shaping American history.We do something each year to celebrate and learn about Dr. King.  One of the most effective lessons has been by reading a children's book about Dr. King and then following up with doing some additional research online.  There is a wealth of educational information available on YouTube. Below I share one of our favorite lessons.Teaching Children About Dr. Martin Luther King With Children Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, ...

READ MORE

Snowflake Books, Crafts and Activities for Kids

Have you experienced your first snowfall this winter?  Here in Southern California we either have to travel to see snow, or head to our local theme park.Here are a collection of books, crafts, and activities kids will love that are all about snowflakes. BooksWinter Wonderland (National Geographic Kids) by Jill Esbaum Snowflake Bently by Jacqueline Briggs Martin The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder by Mark Cassino Snowflakes - a Pop-Up Book by Jennifer Preston Chushcoff The Snowflake - a Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman A Snowflake Fell - Poems About Winter by Laura Whipple Fletcher and the Snowflake ...

READ MORE

Preschool letter recognition collage craft

This is a super fun craft that engages preschoolers' motor skills, letter recognition, creativity and gives them something they can proudly show off. My daughter and her friend had a blast making their collages!And I especially loved how this was such an easy craft to clean up!Here are the tools you will need for this craft:1. Large sheet of paper (I used 11x14 sheet of scrapbook paper)2. Water colors3. Magazines4. child friendly scissors5. Markers/crayons/colored pencilsTo do the craft:First, choose the letter you will be featuring in the collage. My daughter's name is Lizzie, so she chose the letter L.   ...

READ MORE

12 Ways to Nurture a Love for Reading in Your Preschooler

I grew up in love with reading books. To this day, I have at least 1-3 books I am reading at any given time. I hope that my children grow up loving to read too! I created a little list of things we do at home to help my kids love to read. Please add your ideas in the comments - I know this list is by far not exhaustive.1. Read books that are currently movies We know our kids are marketed to every day. We see the movie characters on t-shirts, shoes and toys. Take advantage of this marketing and get more excited about the books than the movie and products. Engage your preschooler in conversation about why s/he loves this movie and read the ...

READ MORE

What You Can Do with Rusty and Rosy’s 5 Strands of Reading

You know that UPSTART teaches your child reading skills. But do you know what those skills are and what you can do to help promote offline what your child learns online?In technical terms, our curriculum is arranged into five instructional strands. As your child works through the program, he or she will receive instruction and practice in all three. The type of instruction your child receives (learning nouns and verbs vs. homophones) will depend on your child’s level in the program.Just so you’re aware, the five strands are:Phonological Awareness: Teaches how to hear, distinguish, and manipulate sounds in spoken words.Ph ...

READ MORE