Aug 172017
 
 August 17, 2017  Geography No Responses »

This month is Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Heritage Month, so I put together some worksheets to help students learn more about these fascinating countries. I am a geography nut, and luckily my kids are as well, so this is a fun way to learn together. I am especially passionate about the geography of the MENA countries because this is a region often in the news but still little understood. The first step is a knowledge of the basic facts, which, for a region so rich in history and cultural heritage, is sure to spark wonder and a desire to learn more.

MENA Countries Worksheets {Printable} | Alldonemonkey.com

The first page of the worksheets is matching countries to capitals, and the second is for testing knowledge of some fun facts about the region. All of the answers can be found in these two websites: Middle East Countries at a Glance and Scholastic’s Middle East overview for teachers.

Related Post: Lebanon Unit Study

To download your free copy, click on the link below:

MENA Countries Worksheets

 

Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to the third annual Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month series from Multicultural Kid Blogs! Follow along all month long for great resources on teaching children about the heritage of this region, and link up your own posts below. Don’t miss our series from last year and from 2015!

You can also find even more resources on our North Africa and the Middle East Pinterest board:

August 4
Sand In My Toes on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 10 Fun Facts About the United Arab Emirates

August 8
A Crafty Arab: Jordan Craft Stick Flag Tutorial

August 15
Sand In My Toes: Wind Tower Craft (UAE)

August 17
All Done Monkey

August 18
Tiny Tapping Toes

August 21
Biracial Bookworms on Multicultural Kid Blogs

August 23
Jeddah Mom

August 28
Crafty Moms Share

August 30
Creative World of Varya

Link Up Your Posts!


 

Aug 092017
 
 August 9, 2017  Literacy 2 Responses »

Many thanks to my friend Bethany of Biracial Bookworms for this great post on everything you need to know about reading with children 0-5! Read her full bio below, and be sure to stop by her website for great tips on reading with kids!

If you are like most parents in the world, you may ask yourself and others, “I love to read and believe in reading with my child, but HOW do I get them to sit down and actually listen??” Parents and children everywhere in the world are overstimulated and busy, and at times, reading becomes near impossible with the many distractions and chaos that a normal day brings. If you are a parent of multiple children, I know you are nodding your head emphatically. Here I have compiled a list of everything you need to know for reading with children 0-5 so you can take the guesswork out of reading and cultivate a love of books in a child right from birth. Let’s bring the reading magic into your read aloud sessions!

Everything You Need to Know About Reading with Children 0-5 | Alldonemonkey.com

Reading with Children 0-5: Everything You Need to Know

Book Handling Skills

Starting from birth, you should be pointing out the features of the book every time you read. This is done in only a few seconds to 1 minute depending on the age of your child, but is critical for a child to see how a book “works” in order to connect the written language later on. Try not to labor these points unless your child shows further interest or asks questions. The goal is to introduce these book features in a natural way.

Reading with Children: Babies (0-1)

As a very broad rule, babies enjoy books that have good rhymes, rhythm and repetition. This repetition and rhyming helps children learn.

What to look for when buying/borrowing books for babies:

  • books with bright colors
  • simple, large and high-contrast pictures (these are interesting and easy for babies to focus on)
  • books with different textures (so your baby can hear, see and feel the book)
  • books with pictures of babies and faces (they love looking in mirrors)
  • soft, waterproof plastic and cloth books that can go in your baby’s mouth, in the bath, etc. (yes, you will ruin a few books at this age)
  • use sign language to build vocabulary as well as signal that it is “time to read”
  • read aloud in multiple languages to build upon their natural language skills (especially if you have more than one native tongue represented in your family)

Reading with Children: Toddlers (12-18 months)

Just like children less than a year old, this age still enjoys books that have rhyme, rhythm and repetition. However, at this age, your child will start to show interest on various topics. When your child shows excitement when they see a particular topic/genre, allow your child to guide you when you’re choosing new books. Your child will learn a great deal more if they are interested in the topic.

Once your baby is about 12 months old, look for the following types of books:

  • books about food, transport, animals and other babies and toddlers
  • board books (easier to handle and sturdy enough to handle biting, food, spit up)
  • waterproof books
  • books that have pictures or illustrations of simple objects (vocabulary is key at this age)
  • lift-the-flap books that have hidden items in each picture for her to find (this is the peek-a-boo stage where a child is fascinated to see you appear and reappear so suddenly)
  • books that include textures such as fabric or collage in the illustrations (exploring with their hands is key)
  • continue adding more sign language, bilingual books, and reading aloud in multiple languages
  • follow up the reading sessions with teaching beginning writing skills for babies

Reading with Children: Toddlers (18 months – age 3)

Toddlers will begin to communicate more clearly what kind of books they especially enjoy. Listening to their interests is important, but do not forget to diversify your book collection at this age. I apply the 50/50 rule at this age: Half of the books they get to choose, half are the parent’s choice. You still keep their interests in mind, but ensure a broad range of titles, genres, etc. You also want to use their natural curiosity at this age. Pairing reading and tactile learning about the topics you are reading about is key at this age.

Books to read toddlers enjoy include:

  • books with animals and animal noises
  • Non- fiction books such as space, musical instruments, how things are made, etc.
  • books about playtime that relate to their experiences (building blocks, playing at the playground, having to share, etc.)
  • lift-the-flap and pop-up books – (movable pieces in books are a clear winner at this age)
  • books that are culturally responsive (don’t miss this guide to books/resources for creating a multicultural and diverse library)
  • have a child read his/her favorite books to you
  • continue sign language as you point out vocabulary
  • read books in multiple languages/bilingual books (use audio books at this point as well)
  • follow up the reading session with encouraging art and writing skills

Reading with Children: Preschoolers (Ages 3-5)

The tendency is to continue reading fiction to your kids at this age, but it is key to branch out to non-fiction topics such as space, geology, ocean life, archaeology, food, etc. I have seen many Kindergarten students come to my class, and the ones who wanted to be dentists, archaeologists, chefs, astronauts, etc. were always the children who were reading books often on these topics at home. There is nothing wrong with a 3-year-old wanting to be a superhero or a princess, but if that is all they are reading about in books, they are missing magical opportunities to explore reality.

Books to read to preschool age children:

  • alphabet, shape, size and counting books (this doesn’t mean you must start teaching, but it is a non-threatening introduction to these important skills)
  • books that tell simple stories, especially ones with rhythm and repetition
  • books about families and friends (grandparents, friends that speak a different language, etc.)
  • milestone books (losing the first tooth, learning to go to the potty, going to school, etc.)
  • books with child characters who are about the same age as your child and characters who are quirky and lovable
  • culturally responsive books (engage kids in follow up activities to connect with other geographic regions or cultures)
  • books that use humor and have a sense of fun – for example, a character who uses a funny word, or who is silly or even ‘naughty’
  • books relating to their particular interests
  • bilingual books/books in multiple languages that can be read by the child as well as adults (utilize audio books)
  • books that children can read independently (the answer is yes, “memorizing” books IS reading)
  • books that teach children reading skills through cooking
  • follow up your reading session with teaching children how to reflect on the books they read (as well as cultural experiences) in a journal

You can also use this free PDF chock full of tips for reading aloud with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to put on your fridge or in your book nook. Enjoy reading with your little ones!

What are your favorite tips for reading with children 0-5? Share in the comments below!

Biracial BookwormsBethany is an elementary educator and reading specialist. She has taught in the U.S. as well as international schools in 5 different countries. Her goal is to encourage family literacy that is multicultural and culturally responsive. Her blog Biracial Bookworms is full of resources to empower and arm families/ teachers with tools to teach global citizenship through reading, traveling, and learning languages! Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Aug 022017
 

We all want our children to go off and have adventures, to live life to the fullest. An essential component of this is, of course, teach them to be brave, so they are not daunted when faced with a difficult situation or a new experience. As the beginning of the school year approaches, it can be an especially important time to remind children of the courage they have inside them. Here are some wonderful books for all ages that teach by example how to be brave when faced with challenges large and small.

Children's Books About Being Brave | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Children’s Books About Being Brave

Poor little baby bird can think of all kinds of reasons why attempting to fly out of the nest is a bad idea. Each time he peers over the edge of his safe, warm nest, the shadows twist into the menacing shapes of his fears. NOPE! is his response whenever his mother tries to prod him to try to fly. Then just when it looks like he might never leave, his mother gives him some gentle, um, encouragement but pushing him out of the nest. A very funny story with extremely simple text but incredibly expressive illustrations. 

Jabari Jumps is actually one that several of us that review books have been chatting about because we all love it so much! (You can read another review from one of them). So many kids (and adults) can relate to wanting to jump off the high dive at the pool but then chickening out when the time comes and we see how far down it is to the water. I love the character of Jabari but also his dad, who is there to offer him encouragement. He recognizes when Jabari needs a little more time but also knows just what to say when the moment is right. I am going to remember his advice myself, that instead of being scared about something we can think of it like a little surprise – because who doesn’t like surprises?

My 4 year old requests Jabari Jumps every night at bedtime, and after he was brave enough to jump into the pool recently, he told me that he was just like Jabari!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Hello Kitty Storybook) is part of a gentle series of fairy tale adventures for very young readers. It also includes Thumbelina (Hello Kitty Storybook). If you have a Hello Kitty fan in your house, you won’t want to miss these – and if you don’t, you might after you read these books! While they present somewhat scary situations (falling through a rabbit hole, being kidnapped by a toad), here the scary factor is toned down and the emphasis is on the adventure and the happy ending.

RELATED POST: Adventure Books for Kids

The Road Home is a beautiful book about finding safety and comfort in a big world. “This road is hard, this road is long, this road that leads us home” is the echoing refrain as woodland creatures and their children begin to prepare for the coming winter. What I love about this book, in addition to the gorgeous illustrations, is the idea that whenever we are with our loved ones, we are already home. A great book to snuggle up and read with your little ones, to remind them that they are never alone.

Black Belt Bunny is a cute, funny book your children will love! Black Belt Bunny has all kinds of super cool moves to face any challenge – but he wasn’t expecting to have to face salad! What will Black Belt Bunny do when he is asked to prepare his own salad? Mind you, Black Belt Bunny actually loves his vegetables (as all bunnies do), but he’s never had to make one before, and he’s not sure he can! Luckily this fierce little bunny summons his skills to invent his own creative way to make a salad! My favorite part, though, is the end, where the grown up, who has been encouraging him all the while, has the tables turned on him – he has to be brave enough to try something new, too!

We love Harriet the Hamster Princess! In fact, I just finished re-reading the first book in the series (Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible) with my boys. So we were all excited to learn that there was a new adventure out: as with all of the Harriet books, Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble is a re-telling of a classic fairy tale (this time Jack and the Beanstalk), but with a spunky heroine who loves to battle with the bad guys. Harriet and her friends are back in another hilarious book that blends the graphic novel and storybook formats. Great for reluctant and early readers. These books also make great read-louds!

RELATED POST: Hybrid Graphic Novels for Kids

I’m also happy to share the latest installment from another beloved series: Mystery of the Min Min Lights is the ninth book from Pack-n-Go Girls, the chapter books that take girls around the world on incredible adventures! (I should add that my son adores these books, so they aren’t just for girls!) Wendy Lee isn’t sure about having to spend a year in the Australian outback when her mom is on assignment for work, but at least she makes friends with Chloe, who invites her to stay at her family’s sheep station. Yet soon she discovers that someone is stealing the sheep – and what does this have to do with the spooky lights that can be seen at night? To solve the mystery and help her new friend, Wendy must dig deep to be brave and do what it takes to catch the thief.

As always, readers will learn about a new part of the world, as facts are woven naturally into the story. I love that the main character (the non-Australian character who is having an adventure in Australia) is Chinese American. Usually the “normal” character is a white Westerner, so this is a great change and adds another layer of complexity and richness to this wonderful tale.

In a time when immigration is constantly in the news, Evangelina Takes Flight gives middle grade readers a fresh look at the challenges faced by Mexican immigrants to the US over a century ago. At the time, most fled their homes because of war, rather than economic hardship. Evangelina is a young girl on the cusp of womanhood when rumors of wars and marauding soldiers reach their small ranch in the Mexican countryside. Though they are not wealthy, her family knows they will still be targets because they own their own land. Evangelina is forced to leave the only home she has ever known and travel with her family to the United States, where she struggles to find her voice in a new language and confront the many Americans who are hostile to the new arrivals.

As a history buff, I loved the detail about life in revolutionary Mexico, as well as what the long journey to the US would have been like. But young readers will identify with Evangelina’s painful transition to her new school and admire her being brave enough to finally confront those who would fight against immigrants rather than giving them a chance. Would be a great book to pair with Esperanza Rising, about another young woman who immigrants from Mexico several decades later.

Jul 242017
 

I have always been intrigued by the Montessori method. I loved its gentleness, focus on hands-on learning, and emphasis on learning about other cultures. What you may not know is that Montessori is also a wonderful way of teaching a second language! Here are some great resources for teaching your child another language using Montessori. Share your experiences in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the Montessori Inspiration at Home bundle for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

Teaching a Second Language with Montessori | Alldonemonkey.com

Teaching a Second Language with Montessori

The Montessori method of teaching a second language follows the general Montessori principles of starting early, trusting your child, and following their interests. So the focus is on providing a stimulating environment in the second language with activities that interest them, allowing them to experiment and try on their own, and not pushing them to activities they do not want to do. (As any bilingual parent will tell you, not following the last rule will turn most kids off learning the new language!)

If you are considering Montessori but aren’t sure where to begin here are some great resources to get you started, including an AMAZING one you won’t want to miss!

A bilingual Montessori homeschool setup

Tons of bilingual Montessori printables

Raising multilingual Montessori kids

Raising a bilingual child the Montessori way

Montessori Inspiration at Home - Toddler Series

I am thrilled to share with you the Montessori Inspiration at Home Toddler series, now on sale! This is an amazing resource for those interested in teaching a second language with Montessori or anyone wanted to use the Montessori method to teach their little ones. The bundle pack includes the new Language book (which just launched on July 19) and the earlier Practical Life Skills book (both of which can also be purchased separately).

Montessori Inspiration at Home: Language is designed for caregivers who want to nurture their toddler’s language development. The 100+ pages of ideas are so easy to follow, with simple instructions, printables, and photos – perfect even if you have little background in the Montessori method. The 12 chapters give you a basic background in Montessori as well as activities to build those pre-reading and pre-writing skills, plus crossing the midline, sound games, the 3-period lesson, teaching a second language, and more!

There are over 200 pages of printable resources, including materials in Spanish! So if you are working to create a stimulating, bilingual environment for your child, you won’t want to miss this!

I love how easy the Montessori Inspiration at Home Toddler series makes it to get started with Montessori. It gives you all the tools you need and equips you with the confidence to do it! As soon as I started reading, I felt so inspired about my own homeschooling and how I can adapt it to use the Montessori method with my little ones. I highly this incredible resource as a way to educate yourself and your child, especially if you are interested in teaching a second language with Montessori.

Montessori Inspiration at Home Bundle SALE

And if you get your copy by July 26, 2017, you can more than 50% offDon’t miss this opportunity – get your copy today!

Jul 202017
 

Cooking with kids always seems like such a great idea – until you actually do it. If you can see past the messes and inefficiency, however, you will be rewarded with a sweet experience that neither of you will ever forget! Cooking together builds confidence, teaches life skills, and encourages healthy eating habits. In addition, it can bring some of your most treasured bonding moments – that is, if you can manage to relax and enjoy yourself instead of worrying about the state of your kitchen. Here are my top tips for enjoying cooking with kids. Share yours in the comments!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun

If You Invite Them to Help, Make Sure Your Mean It

If you are going to cook with your child, make sure you are really in the mood for it. If you are already feeling anxious or irritable to begin with, take a rain check and do it another time. Cooking with kids requires all of your patience and attention, so don’t start off at a deficit.

Organize Your Space

Before beginning, make sure their work space is clear, accessible, and safe. You don’t want to have them get started only to notice that the kitchen knives are within reach of your toddler or that there isn’t really enough room for them to roll out their dough. Take a few extra minutes to clear off the counter space and bring all of the ingredients into easy reach, so you aren’t leaving a small child unattended while you go to pull items out of the pantry.

Know What You’re Doing

If it is a new or less familiar recipe, be sure to read it over carefully ahead of time. Remember that once you begin you will be distracted by your kids.

Safety First

Make sure that anything dangerous is out of reach before you even begin and keep a sharp eye on what your child is doing. They seem to have a knack for discovering dangers you never would have dreamed of! Remember that you will be distracted, so as you cook, triple check that turn off the burners and put away equipment.

Allow Extra Time – But Know Your Limits

Be sure to allow plenty of extra time, not just because you’ll be cleaning up spills or teaching them how to crack eggs. Children are also much more process oriented than adults, so they will likely enjoy stirring together the ingredients or cutting out the shapes longer than is strictly necessary. Bite your tongue and let it go on for as long as you can, because often this is the part they most enjoy. Mine tend to linger at the mixing stage then lose interest and wander out of the kitchen. But do know your limits. If you feel your frustration building, gently move them along after a reasonable period.

And reliably, your child will have a messy diaper or need to go potty at a key point in the recipe, so try to make dishes that can sit on the counter while you take necessary breaks!

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Embrace the Mess

Cooking with kids is messy and slow – and fun!  But you have to accept the first two in order to really enjoy the latter.

I never realized how uptight I was about messes until I had kids.  Now I really try to relax and enjoy the moment.  After all, there is often little you can do to contain the mess! Your child, covered in flour from head to foot, is bound to take off for the living room, bouncing off all the furniture, just as you have your hands full with hot cookie sheets from the oven and can’t possibly chase him down. Or he will decide to “help” you crack the eggs on the counter when you have your back turned for just a second. No matter what, there will be a mess to clean up, so you might as well make it worth it!

Set Your Priorities And Lower Your Expectations Accordingly

If you expect to bake perfect dishes in no time flat with little mess, than you have no business bringing your child into the action.  You will only become frustrated with your little one, who has very different ideas about what is going to happen.

But if you have asked your child to join you, it is probably because you want to have a special, fun experience with him, rather than a perfect product.  Just keep reminding yourself of this, when you start to switch back into a default mode of “I must get these in the oven right now!” and “Don’t pull apart the cookies!  They were so pretty!”

Cooking with Kids: How to Relax and Have Fun | Alldonemonkey.com

Try to Work with “Child Efficiency” Rather Than “Adult Efficiency”

If you are working alone, you will probably complete the steps a certain way in order to be efficient, but that may not be the most efficient way to do things when you have a little helper.  For example, when making cookies, normally I would roll out all the dough, then cut out all the shapes, then move them all to the cookie sheet.  When I did that with my toddler helping me, however, dough disappeared into his sweet little mouth before I could cut out all the shapes, and what shapes I could do were often broken or “transformed” into something entirely different by the time I could put them onto the cookie sheet.

So instead, I rolled out a bit of dough, cut a few stars, and moved those to the cookie sheet before rolling out a bit more dough.  Much more “child efficient.”

A Final Note

Some cookies will burn.  Some cakes will be lumpy.  And key ingredients will probably be forgotten.  But chances are everyone will love it anyway, especially if they know your little one helped!

And just remember: When you are cooking with kids, you always have a great excuse if your dishes don’t turn out perfectly!

Marigold Bakes a Cake

A really fun book you and your child will both enjoy is Marigold Bakes a Cake. Poor Marigold is a perfectionist, especially when it comes to baking. That is why he does it alone – until the birds show up. First one, then more fly into his kitchen and mess up the perfect cake he is baking, until Marigold finally loses his temper. After Marigold calms down a bit, he leaves to go on a walk and regain his composure. Meanwhile, the birds decide they will fix the situation by making Marigold the perfect cake he had dreamed of – except they end up making even more of a mess! Yet Marigold recognizes their love of cooking (and affection for him) and decides to teach them how to cook.

For me, this book is about learning to live with imperfection in our cooking and in ourselves. Marigold tries to be patient but fails, yet he realizes he needs to take a break to calm down. And the birds never do learn how to cook, but they have so much fun the reader can’t help but be swept up in their enthusiasm. Marigold Bakes a Cake is a fun way to remind kids (and parents!) to enjoy the process rather than getting caught up in having perfect results.

Jul 132017
 
 July 13, 2017  Geography, Kid Fun, raising world citizens, Summer Comments Off on DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers

Looking for a fun DIY summer camp you can do for your neighborhood kids? A world explorers camp is a great way to teach geography skills and expose children to other cultures. Most importantly, you can nurture a love for exploration and a sense of respect and empathy for other ways of life. Through simple crafts and fun activities you can spark curiosity about other cultures and set the foundation for further exploration.

DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers | All Done Monkey on Kid World Citizen

I got such great response to my Around the World Summer Camp Ideas post a few years back that I decided to flesh it out with more details on how to set up your own! So hop on over to Kid World Citizen to see my guest post!

DIY Summer Camp: World Explorers

Jul 062017
 

I’m always so excited when I come across books that encourage my children to read in Spanish. Bilingual books are great choices for children learning a language, because it can help increase the reader’s vocabulary by including text in their primary language. Even though they are still learning, they are able to read more complex story lines because they can check their comprehension as they go. This is perfect for my kids, who sometimes get frustrated at having to read “easy” books in Spanish because of their more limited vocabulary. Here is a group of wonderful new bilingual books your kids will enjoy, from picture books to early chapter books! Be sure to enter our giveaway of one of these books below – details at the end of this post!

New Bilingual Books for Kids of All Ages | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

New Bilingual Books for Kids of All Ages

Bosley Goes on Safari (Bosley Se Va de Safari) is the sixth book in the picture book series the Adventures of Bosley Bear. In this book, Bosley travels to the African plains to go on safari. There he meets many friendly animals and learns that despite their differences, they all are alike on the inside – a really fun way to teach young children about embracing diversity! This is a very engaging story, especially since what child doesn’t love learning about animals like lions and monkeys? We had fun acting it out as part of our Spanish lesson for the day! I love having the highlighted vocabulary words in the side-by-side Spanish and English texts. And the grammar is simple enough that my kids were able to follow along and enjoy the story without getting tripped up with Spanish beyond their level.

I’m so happy to share that we are giving away a copy of this wonderful book to one lucky winner – open worldwide! See the end of this post for details!

The Little Doctor /El Doctorcito is a wonderful book to encourage kids to dream big! But this is more than just a book about a boy who decides he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. Salvador also gains motivation when he learns first hand what non-English speakers like his beloved abuelita have to deal with when they go to the doctor. When he accompanies his grandmother to the local clinic, Salvador sees how crowded it is and how difficult it is for her to understand the paperwork. But the worst is the physician himself, who is so rushed that he barely even looks at Salvador or his grandmother before running back out the door to see the next patient! Salvador decides to become a doctor so he can be the kind of patient, caring doctor he wishes his grandmother had. A beautiful story about compassion and becoming the change we want to see in the world! I also love that it uses a situation that many bilingual children find themselves in, of being the translators for family members with limited English.

To raise compassionate boys, it is important to start early. Esteban De Luna, Baby Rescuer! /Esteban De Luna, Rescatador De Bebés! is a sweet book that shows a boy who learns that caring for others is a perfect way to be a real superhero. Esteban is disappointed that his superhero cape doesn’t give him any real powers – he can’t fly or leap over tall buildings – yet when he finds an abandoned doll at the park, he soon discovers that his cape can help him do something amazing. When refashioned as a baby carrier, it helps him rescue the doll from the rainstorm! The symbolism in this book is fantastic, as the cape itself is reimagined to help Esteban learn to take care of others, not by swooping in like a traditional superhero but by gently holding his “baby” close and keeping it safe.

What child can’t relate to the delicious anticipation of waking up on their birthday to wonder about the wonderful surprises to come? In A Surprise for Teresita / Una Sorpresa Para Teresita, young Teresita learns just how difficult it can be to wait for a birthday gift. On the morning that Tío Ramón is to bring her a birthday surprise, he seems to take much longer than usual to arrive on Teresita’s block as he does the rounds through her New York neighborhood selling piraguas (snow cones). As she waits for her surprise, we witness the sights and sounds of a Puerto Rican neighborhood from a child’s point of view. A wonderful celebration of a vibrant community and the joy of a birthday gift from a loved one.

A super fun book to read with kids is El Torneo De Trabalenguas / the Tongue Twister Tournament. There is a tongue twister contest, and you get to play along! Which of the quirky contestants do you think should win? And how many of these tongue twisters can you say – in English or Spanish? Fun to read together with your kids or to use in the classroom! These tongue twisters are so much fun and will challenge even grownups! Includes many bonus tongue twisters at the end of the story.

For children ready for a chapter book, we love A Mystery Bigger Than Big / Un misterio mas grande que grandisimo. It is the fourth installment in the Mickey Rangel mystery series, based on a boy with a certificate on his wall from a real online detective course. When a new girl moves into Mickey’s Texas middle school, the young detective is on the case to figure out what her story is. Why is she so quiet and where did she come from? Despite rumors flying around school that she is the child of a drug lord or perhaps of Russian spies, Mickey discovers that she’s really an immigrant from Guatemala. But this discovery only leads to more questions – why would she leave her home, and how could she leave her family behind? A great book to explore the topic of immigration in an honest but heartfelt way.

Rooster Joe and the Bully / El Gallo Joe Y El Abusón is another great bilingual read for older kids. It focuses on the all important topic of bullying, and the importance of standing up for what’s right. I love that middle schooler Joe’s grandfather draws on their cultural heritage to teach him these lessons, by drawing on the stories of courageous people like César Chávez who fought for the rights of those that others looked down on. With his grandfather’s guidance and his own identification with the brave roosters he loves to draw, Joe comes up with a plan to end the bullying not just for him but for all of the students in his class.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Bosley Goes on Safari (Bosley Se Va de Safari) a wonderful new bilingual picture book! (see review above). All you have to do is comment below with your child’s current favorite book to read! Contest is open worldwide, ends Wednesday, July 12 at midnight PT. Winner will be chosen randomly from the eligible entries.

Jun 232017
 
 June 23, 2017  Book Reviews, STEM Comments Off on How To Be A STEM Superhero – Even If You Don’t Like Science

We all know how important STEM education is – but that doesn’t mean we all feel confident teaching STEM to our children. I enjoyed my science classes as a kid, but, to be honest, it really wasn’t my thing. I did well, but I was really more of an arts and literature kind of a gal. So when it came time for college, I cheerfully tested out of my science requirements and filled my schedule with history, languages, and anthropology classes instead. Fast forward several decades, and now I am doing my best to encourage my STEM-loving kids, even without a strong background in science. The good news? You don’t have to be a scientist to be a STEM superhero!

That’s why I am so excited for this guest post from my friend Lisa at Knocked Up Abroad. Read on as she shares ideas on how you can be a STEM superhero – even if you don’t like science!

How to Be a STEM Superhero - Even If You Don't Like Science | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Our kids have a natural curiosity to question their environment, and most of their questions are usually biologic in nature. Do worms have eyes? What do ladybugs eat? etc. When our kids ask us questions, we, as parents, feel that we need to have all of the answers. However, we don’t always have these answers handy without first consulting Wikipedia. The best solution, when confronted with a question to which you do not have an answer, is to admit it.

“That’s a really good question. I don’t know the answer but let’s look it up when we get home.”

Boom. You didn’t look incompetent; you just taught your kid how to conduct research. It is important that parents foster their children’s natural curiosity in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) even if that parent has absolutely zero training, interest, or mild expertise in STEM.

Related Post: How to Get Kids Excited About STEM

STEM jobs are our the future, and fortunately, there are a ton of children’s books that are focused on making STEM not only easy to understand but interesting to learn for young kids. STEM doesn’t have to be intimidating if you’re not a science loving parent. Many parents don’t even know where to start when it comes to answering their kids’ questions about science.

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistencce

One book, in particular, is emphasizing the non-scientific personality traits that are inherent to all scientists—persistence (perseverance is a mouthful). Every kid needs to learn how to persist—how to overcome challenges—and it is a character trait that will serve everyone later in life regardless of what career they pursue.

In Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence, Marie is confronted time and time again by the villain, Mr. Opposition (Mr. O). Time and time again, Marie persists and overcomes Mr. O to reach both personal and professional success.

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistencce

By focusing on Marie’s personality traits that lead to her success instead of a level of genius that may be too confusing and intimidating for young children, every child and parent can identify new ways in which they persisted over a challenge.

One great way to read this book with kids is to have a follow-up discussion about a time when each person faced a challenge. Who or what was their Mr. Opposition? How did they use persistence to reach their goals?

How To Be A STEM Superhero - Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Marie Curie represents a positive female role model for both girls and boys as the first person to ever win two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. This book illustrates her complex discoveries using language that early readers can understand. The book is excellent for readers between the ages of 5-9 years and parents, even those who aren’t STEM-inclined, will enjoy reading the super science hero story.

With Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence, everyone can be a STEM superhero, all you need is persistence.

The book is available to pre-order now through IndieGogo until July 4. There are exclusive hands-on experiments to give kids a jump start on their own scientific discoveries. Who knows? Maybe your kid will be the next Marie Curie!

Now you can be a STEM superhero for all children! Help us bring science to life for our youngest readers by supporting the book or by sharing this project on Facebook.

Jun 132017
 

We have all heard about the dreaded summer slide – the loss a child experiences during summer vacation, when lack of practice erodes the learning so painstakingly gained during the school year. Here are fun ways to beat the summer slide, through educational media that your child will actually enjoy!

Ideas to Beat the Summer Slide | Alldonemonkey.com

Don’t miss my summer slide giveaway – scroll down for more details!

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of the products below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Beat the Summer Slide

Reading

One time-tested way to beat the summer slide is through reading! There are so many summer reading programs available – check your local library, plus you can also participate in online programs such as this Spanish language one from Spanish Playground, or this one from Latinas for Latino Lit. At Multicultural Kid Blogs we are also in our fourth year of the Read Around the World Summer Reading series, so you won’t be at a loss for great books to read!

Related Post: Global Travel Adventure Books for Kids

A new find for us this summer is the wonderful book Find Your Way In Space: Travel through space and practice your Math and Mapping skills. It is so much fun and packed with learning! Through it, kids go on an adventure through space, sharpening their geography and math skills along the way. It is something of a cross between a choose-your-own-adventure and a seek-and-find book. It is non-sequential, so you can take various paths to reach your end goal, plus on each page there are multiple entry and exit points. All along the way you help your fellow aliens find lost objects or locate their destinations, count stars or compare sizes of asteroids, and answer math problems to get through road blocks. This is the kind of book that can be used countless times, as your child selects different missions or chooses different pathways to reach their goal.

Epic!

If you really want to get your child excited about reading, you should check out Epic!, an all-you-can-read online library of children’s books that you can access across your devices. Epic! is a dream come true for our family, since our kids go through so many books each week. We are always at the limit on our library cards and are constantly juggling how many books we have to return in order to check out those new ones they just have to have. With Epic! that struggle is over! My kids now have access to a vast library of books, audiobooks, educational videos, and quizzes. You can have up to 4 profiles on your account, so each child can have a customized reading profile with recommendations just for them.

I love the wide range of books available and how easy it is for my kids to find books they are interested in. I especially love the selection of “read to me” books for my two pre-readers, so that they can enjoy reading time as well. Epic! is perfect if you are traveling this summer, so you don’t have to worry about lugging along a stack of books!

Sign up now and read FREE for 30 days!

Media

Music and movies are also fun ways to stimulate young brains over the summer. They expect learning to be more fun over vacation, and why not? Watch some kid-friendly foreign movies or some awe-inspiring nature documentaries. You can also listen to great music and learn at the same time!

Every Kid's A Genius: Lesson 1

Every Child Wins is an example of great educational music that is so fun you’ll want to listen to it even when your kids aren’t around! It is no secret that educational music is usually very forced, artificial, and not much fun for anyone. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the album Every Kid’s A Genius actually sounds like music you’d hear on an R&B or hip-hop station, but the lyrics are related to learning the alphabet and numbers. It is very upbeat, so it is great to play as you get ready in the mornings or in the car. The tunes are catchy, so the lesson will stay with your child long after the music is turned off.

Best of all, you could win a FREE COPY of this album by commenting below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, with your favorite way to beat the summer slide! I have 25 copies to give away, so comment for a chance to win! Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.

Computer Programs & Apps

Of course, you can’t talk about education for kids these days without talking about screen time! Luckily there are some truly wonderful apps and computer programs that can keep your kids excited about learning and beat the summer slide.

Smartick

One program that we’ve come to love is Smartick. I loved math as a kid, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my oldest son doesn’t. At least, he didn’t. Getting him to do math worksheets has always been like pulling teeth. Math games and manipulatives help, but for a long time math remained his least favorite subject. Yet now that we are using Smartick, doing math is a treat, not a chore! He really enjoys this online program, especially because you earn points to use in games after you finish your session.

I love that my 4 year old can also use it without my help. He was really amazed and so proud of himself for using the same program as his big brother! Each child has his own profile, and Smartick uses artificial intelligence to adjust the program to that child’s level, so they are working on problems just right for them. The idea is that your child does one short, 15 minute session a day, so that they get the repetition and practice without the burnout. I love that I get a daily report of how and what they do in their sessions, so I can track their progress. Please note that they are currently running a summer special through 7/31/17 – try it for free then choose a discounted package. It’s a great way to get started!

Read with Fonics

A great program for kids learning to read is Reading with Fonics. My preschooler has had a lot of fun with it! I love that it is right at his level, so it really builds his confidence at the same time as it is reinforcing concepts and teaching him new skills. It is a really cute, fun game that is based on the idea that reading can be decoded by teaching kids basic phonics – the sounds that letters and letter combinations make – rather than having them memorize long lists of words. Once they master the basic sounds, they can read most words they encounter, even if they have never seen them before!

I love that Reading with Fonics starts off with very simple sounds and becomes progressively more complex. Each time you master one sound, another is unlocked. This is a familiar video game format, plus it ensures that your child has time to really “get” the concept before moving on to a new one. It is a really fun game for little ones, and a great way to give them a leg up on their reading for the fall!

Summer Camps

Summer camps are a great way to keep learning going over vacation! Immersion camps are great for language learning, or you can do a world explorers camp or even a Lego theme!

What is your favorite way to beat the summer slide? Comment below before midnight PT on Sunday, June 11, 2017, and you could be one of 25 winners of a FREE DOWNLOAD of Every Kid’s A Genius music album (see above). Random winners will be chosen from the verified entries.

 

Jun 082017
 
 June 8, 2017  Book Reviews, family Comments Off on New Picture Books About Grandparents

One of the most special relationships a child has is with his grandparents, whether they live nearby or far away. They can help ground children and teach them patience, but the influence is not just one way. Children also have a special ability to touch the hearts of the grandparents that love them. Here are some wonderful new picture books about grandparents you need to see!

New Picture Books About Grandparents | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

New Picture Books About Grandparents

Skyfishing: (A Grand Tale with Grandpa) is an wildly imaginative book about a young girl trying to help her grandfather overcome homesickness. When her grandfather moves from his cottage by the lake to live with her family in the city, the girl notices immediately how much her grandfather misses fishing. She tries to interest him in new hobbies, but when that doesn’t work, she comes up with a creative answer – sky fishing! As they “fish” out of their apartment window for creatures like Waste-Munchers (garbage trucks) and Signfish, they discover the power of imagination and companionship to overcome homesickness. Through patience and love, the girl helps her grandfather see the city with new eyes and begin to enjoy his new home. This is such a sweet story and addresses a common situation of when a grandparent moves into a family’s home (similar to Mango, Abuela, and Me) and also the special way that children can touch the hearts of their grandparents.

Ladybug Girl is back, and she’s off on an adventure with her grandpa! In Ladybug Girl’s Day Out with Grandpa, Lulu and her grandpa explore the museum. There is so much to see, that Lulu simply can’t make up her mind, flitting from one exhibit to the next. Ignoring her grandpa’s warning that they won’t be able to see everything in one day, Lulu does her best to prove him wrong – after all, she is Ladybug Girl! She can do anything! But soon she begins to despair. There is just too much to see! Gently, Grandpa explains that if she will learn more if she slows down to appreciate one thing at a time. I love how this book showcases the patience and wisdom with which grandparents guide children and how they can help focus that boundless energy and center them in stillness.

And don’t miss these Filipino books about grandfathers!

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