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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by Shelley Miles
Book List, March Activities

MARCH 2-Read Across America Day/Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Reading is widely acknowledged to be the most beneficial thing a parent can do with a child in terms of bolstering language skills and imagination. Reading is also an excellent vehicle for expanding your child’s awareness of different places and people.

Be sure to take some time out today and read a story to your child. And since it is also Dr. Seuss’s (1904-1991) birthday, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce your child to "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham", or any of this legendary writer/illustrator’s many wacky and wonderful rhyming works. Enjoy some
Seuss Games to play in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday


Saturday, February 1, 2014 by Shelley Miles
February Activities, Science, Book List

FEBRUARY 11-National inventor’s Day (Thomas Edison's Birthday), Don't cry over spilled milk day


There’s an inventor lurking in even the youngest among us! Today, spread an array of everyday items on a table. Then challenge your child to invent something using what’s available, and ask him or her to explain what the invention does. Inventing can be as simple as looking at a familiar object and coming up with an alternative use for it. For example, a sponge can become a trampoline for a small doll or figurine; two empty toilet tissue rolls taped together can be a pair of binoculars.

The main objective is to get your little one to look at the world in new and creative ways. Another great idea for celebrating this day is to take all of those broken toys or parts from broken toys and encourage your child to think up a new use of the parts. You’ll delight in their imagination. Here is a monthly competition for young inventors sponsorted by the National Museum of Education.
Student Inventions

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has accidents. It's important for children to learn that making mistakes is ok. . In fact, as author Barney Saltzberg points out " It’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery." He explores how accidents can be wondrous and beautiful in his book "The Beautiful Oops" a one-of-a-kind interactive book that shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder." Watch Barney explain the wonder of Oops to a group of kids. Beautiful Oops Video


Saturday, February 1, 2014 by Shelley Miles
February Activities, Sports, Book List

FEBRUARY 23- First mass polio vaccination 1956, Tennis day


In 1952, the US reported almost 58,000 cases of Polio, mostly affecting children. Then, the good news came, Dr. Jonas Salk created the first effective vaccination against Polio. A mass inoculation of children, reduced polio cases 85-90% Today, the world is almost Polio free. Inspire your child with the story of Dr. Jonas Salk.

Tennis is a wonderful sport for kids. Playing outside with friends, or hitting a ball against the garage door is so much fun that kids will forget that they are actually exercising. Grab a racket and some balls and head over to the local park. For helpful tips on getting kids started, the right types of balls for kids and the right size equipment, visit USTA's (United States Tennis Association)  10 and Under Tennis Find a place to play with USTA's Find a facility


Saturday, February 1, 2014 by Shelley Miles
February Activities, Science, Book List

February 27-Polar Bear Day


Polar bears live in the circumpolar north, including Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Norway. Their Latin name means “sea bear,” and indeed these mammals are uniquely adapted for both land and water. Polar bears are excellent swimmers—they have webbed front paws—and have insulating fur and blubber to keep them warm, both in and out of the sea. Though their fur looks white, each shaft is actually clear and hollow. Males can weigh between 700 to over 1500 pounds, while females tip the scales between 300 to over 500 pounds.

Today, cuddle up and read Little Polar Bear with your child—and be thankful you don’t have to swim in ice cold water just to pick up something for dinner! with your child—and be thankful you don’t have to swim in ice cold water just to pick up something for dinner!

For more info on polar bears, go to: Polar Bears International


Monday, December 30, 2013 by Shelley Miles
Book list, January Activities

JANUARY 26 – Mary Mapes Dodge birthday


Mary Mapes Dodge is best know for writing Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates.While this book is written at a grade 9-12 reading level, much younger children can enjoy the classic story when you read the book aloud. Or, enjoy the movie. Then head down to the local ice skating rink. Ice Skating Rink Directory

 


Monday, December 30, 2013 by Shelley Miles
Book list, January Activities

JANUARY 27 – Lewis Carroll’s birthday, Thomas Crapper day


Cuddle up with your kids and enjoy reading Alice in Wonderland together. Then, take a trip Through the Looking Glass to where the Jabberwocky lives. Jabberwocky


Today celebrates London plumber Thomas Crapper - who did much to popularize the flush toilet. He did have the honor of supplying the toilets to the home of King Edward V11 in the 1880s, supplying 30 toilets. Think how much more convenient potty training is with indoor facilities.


Monday, December 30, 2013 by Shelley Miles
January Activities, Book list

JANUARY 31– Chinese New Year, Inspire your heart with art day, Lloyd Alexander birthday


Set the artist free, inside of your little one, by letting him paint, color, sculpt or just scribble. Allowing this artistic freedom encourages creativity, hones fine motor skills, and teaches children to stay on task. It takes patience for little fingers to paint and scribble or to sculpt a puppet out of clay. You never know- you might have a little Picasso in your midst!

Happy birthday to Lloyd Alexander, author of The Black Cauldron (part of The Chronicles of Prydain)


gong xi fa cái Congratulations and Prosperity to welcome in the Year of the Horse. The horse is blessed with good humor and knows how to put people at ease. He is hardworking and fun to be with. Hand out red envelopes with a little money tucked in for good luck. And for fun, enjoy making these kid-friendly Fun Crafts . Choose from printable coloring pages, jigsaw puzzle and other fun crafts.


Sunday, December 1, 2013 by Shelley Miles
Book List, December Activities

DECEMBER 29 - Molly (Garrett) Bang birthday

Molly (Garrett) Bang has written many beautiful books for children often drawing on folk tales from many lands. If you haven't discovered Molly Bang yet, your kids are missing out on some delightful story telling. Curl up in front of the fire and enjoy some of these wonderful stories.





Sunday, December 1, 2013 by Shelley Miles
Crafts, December Activities, Book List

DECEMBER 30 - Falling needles family fest day, Mercer Mayer's birthday


How many of us have grown up on the antics of Little Critter? Mercer Mayer has been delighting us with the antics of Little Critter for over 35 years in over 200 books. Happy birthday!

So the needles are falling and it's time to think about getting rid of the tree. Or, think about feeding the birds in the tree outside.

Check out this wonderful memory and craft from
Luminarium Learning

In December, my children and I make a lot of treats to share with family and friends. A few years ago, my stepmother (in an attempt to duck the sugar and fat) asked her granddaughters if they would make something festive and special for the birds she feeds in her backyard. After a bit of research, here’s what we came up with:

Pine Cone Ornaments
What you need:
  • Pine cones
  • 1 Cup chunky, unsalted peanut butter (the less refined, the better)
  • 1 cup oats (raw oatmeal)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • Seeds (raw, unsalted)
  • Raisins Cranberries (fresh, raw)
  • Thread

How to
  1. Mix together the peanut butter, oats and cornmeal.
  2. Smear it over the pine cones, rubbing it into the cracks.
  3. Roll the cones in seeds, raisins and/or cranberries.
  4. Tie a 12” piece of thread securely around the top of the pine cone, and hang it from a tree or feeder.

The girls grazed their way through the dried fruit, peanut butter and seeds, and I never worried about the nutritional value of these ingredients. And, according to Grandma, the treats were a big hit with the birds.


Friday, August 30, 2013 by Shelley Miles
September Holidays, Book list, September Activities

SEPTEMBER 22 – Elephant appreciation day,  Hobbit Day, Oktoberfest begins


Today marks the birthday of hobbits, Bildo and Frodo Baggins. Try these fun Hobbit party games: Pass the Parcel, Secret Scavenger Hunt and Biggest Birthday Greeting.


Appreciate an elephant today! Whether African or Indian, elephants are one of the biggest and most benevolent creatures on our planet. Just like humans, elephants, laugh, cry, play, and grieve. Elephant families are ruled by a matriarch, and usually consist of her female offspring and their young. An elephant is pregnant for eighteen to twenty-two months, the longest for any animal. The oldest elephant lived to be 82 years old!

However, these majestic animals are in danger, because of poaching and loss of habitat.. “An elephant never forgets,” and we as humans must not forget to respect these magnificent creatures. On this day of appreciating elephants, let’s try to do our share.

Children love books about elephants, so take some special time to read some all time favorites:

The Story of Babar
Elmer (Elmer Books)
Walt Disney's Dumbo (Disney Wonderful World of Reading)
Elephants: A Book for Children

Plan a fantastic
Octoberfest party just for kids complete with Apple Cider, soft pretzels, crafts and the Chicken Dance Song.

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Shelley Miles