Oct 182017
 
 October 18, 2017  Book Reviews 1 Response »

Ah friendship! As much as it seems like it should be all cupcakes and rainbows (to quote a favorite movie), kids quickly realize that friendships can also bring their own challenges. In the end, of course, untangling them is well worth the time and effort, but figuring out how to navigate friendship problems can be difficult and emotionally exhausting. Here is a great collection of books that show kids how to handle friendship troubles with sensitivity, confidence, and (of course) a healthy dose of humor.

Friendship Problems: Books Kids Can Totally Relate to | Alldonemonkey.com

Books About Friendship Problems Kids Can Totally Relate to

Ever have the friend that just doesn’t know how to respect boundaries? (Or perhaps you have sometimes been that friend?) Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) is all about our favorite alligator Snappsy (read my full review of his first book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)) and the chicken (the narrator from the first book) who just won’t leave him alone! The chicken has all sorts of fun ideas for what he and and his BFF Snappsy can do together – singing karaoke, having a sleepover – but it turns out that not only is Snappsy not interested, he doesn’t even know the chicken’s name! (Which makes you wonder, which one of them is the bad friend?) Snappsy finally gets the chicken (whose name is Bert, by the way) to leave him alone – only to find out that he really misses him! Kids will love the silliness of this story about negotiating boundaries.

Philomena’s New Glasses tackles what happens when friends are too close. Philomena and her sisters do everything together, but sometimes it’s too much. When Philomena gets glasses, so do Audrey and Nora Jane – even though they don’t need them! When Philomena gets a new handbag, so do Audrey and Nora Jane – even though Nora Jane really didn’t want one, since her arms were too short. And so it goes, until finally Nora Jane decides enough is enough. Cute book about one of the most common friendship problems, as the sisters learn that being best friends doesn’t mean you have to do everything exactly alike. My kids love the super cute photos of the guinea pigs with their glasses and outfits!

Susannah is having the worst day ever. She hasn’t finished her homework, and her parents are always too busy to notice her. Then her best friend invites her to a sleepover, but Susannah hates her creepy house – imagine being there all night! All Susannah wants to do is to stuff everything further and further into her backpack to deal with later (or never) but eventually she discovers that her problems don’t really go away. They just end up exploded all over her room when her backpack can’t take anything else being shoved in it. (What a great metaphor for what happens when you ignore your problems!) Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag is a great book for kids that feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to ask for help.

Any parent that doesn’t think navigating those early friendships is difficult should read Absolutely Alfie and the First Week Friends. This is actually the second book in a wonderful new series from the creators of the EllRay Jakes series (see EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken). Alfie, EllRay’s little sister, is growing up and encountering challenges of her own as she begins second grade. Alfie has it all planned out – she is best friends with Lulu and became close with Hanni over the summer, so obviously the three of them should become best buddies! The only problem is that Lulu and Hanni aren’t friends yet, but that should be easy enough to fix, right??

I love that this book takes children’s friendship problems seriously while having faith in the characters to figure things out, with a little help from caring adults. I also love the portrait of this happy, loving African-American family. While race is not center stage in the book, I love the little details that make the story ring true – like that Alfie would be aware right away how many other black kids were in her class, or that she would wonder why her white friend would try to tell her how to do hair, when her hair was so different?

And don’t miss the first book in the series, Absolutely Alfie and the Furry, Purry Secret, where we first meet Alfie and her family – including its newest member, the kitten that only Alfie knows about! I love the character of Alfie. She is so funny! I laughed out loud at her conversations with herself, as she tries to puzzle out her friendship problems (or justify why she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t, like bringing home a kitten!) Great beginning chapter book series.

Snappsy the Alligator Blog Tour

This post is part of the blog tour to promote the news Snappsy the Alligator book! Follow along to read all of the great reviews, interviews, and activities!
Week One:
October 3 – Bookish Things & More – Review
October 4 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Review
October 5 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
October 6 – HomeSchool4life – Review & Activity
 
October 10 – Mom-Spot Network – Review
October 11 – YABooksCentral – Review
October 12 – A Rup Life – Review with Craft
 
October 17 – Teachers who Read – Creative Post Art related reviews
October 18 – All Done Monkey – Review
October 19 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Character Interview
October 20 – Happily Ever Elephants – Review

 

Oct 152017
 

Fall is such a beautiful time of year for getting outdoors with your kids, so why not have some fun that is (shh!) also educational by doing these fun nature crafts? This a no-prep outdoor learning activity for preschoolers is a hands on way to reinforce their knowledge of the ABCs plus explore natural materials. Not only does it nurture their budding literacy skills but encourages STEM thinking as well: Which material is easier to work with, bark or grass? How can I make curved letters? Why do my leaves keep blowing away, and how can I stop it??

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

We had so much fun playing and crafting outside, as we tried different ways to make letters using found materials. I’ve also included more fall nature crafts at the end, so now you have no excuse not to get out and get creative with your kids this fall!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity

To do these nature crafts, all you need is an outdoor space and your imagination! Simply look for materials like leaves, stones, or bark, and use them to make letters.

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Take a break from those worksheets and get outside – See where your creativity can take you!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

If you have a very active child like I do, this is a great way to engage their hands and minds.

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Not shown here is what my preschooler decided the next step should be – creative ways of destroying the letter shapes!

N Is for Nature Crafts: Outdoor Learning Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

More Fall Nature Crafts for Kids

Here are more fall nature crafts you can do with your kids this season!

Fall Nature Crafts for Kids and Teens from Rhythms of Play

Nature Crafts for Autumn from Red Ted Art

25+ Beautiful Fall Nature Crafts for Kids from Fireflies and Mudpies

Fall Nature Craft from Multicultural Kid Blogs

16 Fall Nature Crafts for Preschoolers from Kids Activities Blog

13 Natural Fall Crafts for Kids Using Natural Materials from Schooling a Monkey

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!


31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: J is for Jirafa (Giraffe) – Spanish Coloring Page

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion Craft

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

All Done Monkey

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owls

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Teach Me Mommy: Y Is for Yarn Letters

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Prewriting – October 29

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Printables – October 31

Royal Baloo and Logi-Bear Too

Oct 112017
 

Teaching your children or students the Spanish alphabet? Here is a fun Spanish coloring page for the letter “J,” which stands for jirafa, or giraffe.

Spanish Coloring Page: J es de Jirafa | Alldonemonkey.com

I have always loved the giraffe – probably because I’m tall! – so I naturally thought of this gentle creature when it was time to learn the letter “J”! (I had actually thought of this originally in relation to the English alphabet, but trying to draw a letter picture for the giraffe with “G” would involve too much twisting of that beautiful neck!)

The elegant length and curve of the letter “J” is a natural fit for the shape of the giraffe, so I created this cute Spanish coloring page for kids! You can right click on the picture below to save your copy, or click on the title:

Spanish Coloring Page: J es de Jirafa | Alldonemonkey.com

Spanish Coloring Page: J es de Jirafa

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

A fun book to read along with this Spanish coloring page is The Giraffe That Ate the Moon: La Jirafa Que Se Comió La Luna. This is a sweet story about a young giraffe who actually is not tall – at least, not tall enough to suit him. He dreams of growing tall enough to eat the moon, but when he finally does, he realizes that he was already happy just the way he was. Sweet story about contentment and appreciating what you have: read my full review.

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!


31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owls

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Prewriting – October 29

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Printables – October 31

Oct 092017
 
 October 9, 2017  31 Days of ABCs, Spanish No Responses »

Here is a fun bilingual Spanish game plus a craft that you can use to help language learners practice basic greetings. One thing I noticed during our last trip to Costa Rica was that our bilingual kids had trouble carrying on simple conversations with relatives and acquaintances. Since they were used to speaking Spanish at home, they had never had a need to learn these basic phrases. After all, Mom and Dad already knew their names and how old they were, so it never came up in conversation!

Spanish Greetings Game and Craft: H Is For Hola | Alldonemonkey.com

So to help them practice I created this fun Spanish greetings game as well as a letter craft that works for English and Spanish!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Spanish Greetings Game and Craft: H Is for Hola

How to Play

This Spanish greetings game is totally no prep and easy for kids to get the hang of! All you need is a ball, and you are ready to get started! Have the kids sit in a circle, then one by one pass the ball to each other. To start, the person first holding the ball asks a question or gives a greeting (“¿Cómo estás?”), and the person who catches the ball next has to respond appropriately (“Bien, gracias”). Then that person gives a different greeting or question before passing the ball to the next person, and so on.

For very beginning learners, you could just use greetings like “Hola” or “Buenos días” or simple questions like “¿Cómo estás?” For more advanced beginners, you could use more difficult questions like “¿Cómo te llamas?” and ¿Cuántos años tienes?”

This is so much more fun than just practicing conversations, plus adding a little movement can be helpful for wiggly kids.

Bilingual Letter H Craft

We also did a simple letter H craft that works well in English or Spanish – H is for both “hola” and “hello”! It is so easy to set up: this is why I always have a big pack of construction paper with our school supplies! It comes in so handy.

Spanish Greetings Game: H Is for Hola | Alldonemonkey.com

Just cut out an “H” shape, or have your child practice his scissors skills to cut it out. (Be sure to have kid-friendly safety scissors for them to use). Then just add a friendly face! We drew a big smile and cut out some eyes to glue on.

Spanish Greetings Game: H Is for Hola | Alldonemonkey.com

Finally, have fun decorating! You can see what we always use washable markers!

Spanish Greetings Game: H Is for Hola | Alldonemonkey.com

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!


31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream

J – October 11

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owls

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Prewriting – October 29

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Printables – October 31

Oct 082017
 

My toddler is just starting to learn about the ABCs, so I thought it would be fun to do a very simple toddler letter craft to teach her that G is for go! I made it more complicated for my preschooler, so he could work on his fine motor skills (and not get bored!) We also had fun with a car-themed activity afterwards, and I’ve included some great books with a transportation theme for a full tot-themed unit.

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Go Is for Go! Toddler Letter Craft and Activity

Simple Letter Craft

The great thing about this toddler letter craft is it is super easy to prep, easy for little hands to do, and fun for them to play with afterwards! All you have to do is cut out the form of the letter G and some “wheels” for your little one to attach to it – because G is for go!

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

For my preschooler, I gave him a bit more of a challenge by having him cut out the letter and wheels himself. I thought he would protest because it can be a lot of cutting, but he was proud of himself for doing it on his own! If they are interested, you could even see if they would like to draw the letter to cut out.

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

My toddler is just discovering the glue stick, so she had a ball with this! They can also color it and decorate with stickers if they want. (Check out these adorable transportation stickers!) Pro tip – always use washable markers like these Crayola Washable Markers, especially if your child likes to draw on themselves (and the table, etc) like mine does!

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

G Is for Go Activity

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

Afterwards I drew a couple of large G’s on cardboard and made them into roads!

Toddler Letter Craft and Activity: G Is for Go | Alldonemonkey.com

Even my 7 year old set down his book to come over and play with it. Zoom zoom!

Transportation Books

Extend the learning by reading these fun books about things that go! What are your favorite transportation themed books?

Charlie Rides: Planes, Trains, Bikes, and More! is a really sweet book that celebrates all kinds of vehicles – but also a child’s relationship with his father. Read my full review.

Of course we can’t forget Richard Scarry! My kids love poring over the pages of his books. There is so much to look at! Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is a fun one to include for a transportation theme.

Little Blue Truck board book is now a staple of most children’s bookshelves. Everything comes together – the rhyming text, the fun illustrations, and the moral about the value of taking the time to help others. And now, just in time for Halloween, there is also Little Blue Truck’s Halloween!

Since most toddlers love cars and dinosaurs, what better than a book that brings them together? Dinosaur Zoom! has realistic drawings of dinosaurs (or at least as realistic as a drawing of an allosaurus driving a car can be!) and cars, with very simple text and storyline. My preschooler still loves this one!

Blue Boat is another great easy to read story that teaches an important lesson. The little blue boat is a hero, facing touch conditions to rescue a family at sea! A favorite in our house. Read my full review.

Oct 032017
 
 October 3, 2017  Book Reviews, Education No Responses »

Fall is finally here, so it’s a great time to explore all of the changes happening outdoors. One of the big questions children may have is what happens to animals in winter. They can see birds migrating south as the weather grows colder, but what about those that stay behind? Here are some wonderful resources you can use to teach children about hibernation, including crafts, learning activities, and a beautiful book inspired by Navajo folklore.

Learning About Hibernation: Resources for Kids |  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 charge to you.

I was so excited to receive this absolutely gorgeous book about hibernation to review. Lump Lump and the Blanket of Dreams: Inspired by Navajo Culture and Folklore is inspired by Navajo/Diné folklore and features the weaving of Barbara Teller Ornelas, a 5th generation Master Navajo weaver whose work is displayed at the Smithsonian. Children will immediately relate to Lump Lump, a little black bear who isn’t ready to go to sleep for the winter! Inspired by Blue Bird’s song, Lump Lump and his mother begin to gather materials so that Spider Woman can make a blanket of dreams for him.

There is so much to love about this book. The artwork is stunning, showcasing the spectacular landscape of the American Southwest. The tale itself is a gentle lesson in family and community, as the forest creatures work together to help Lump Lump with his blanket of dreams. The story also demonstrates a key principle of many native cultures, which is that you always offer a gift or service to someone from whom you are asking a favor. So when the bears ask Robin to help gather the white light of the morning, for example, they make sure to gather grass for Robin’s nest.

The book is based on extensive research of Navajo culture and wildlife biology, so it lends itself easily to lesson plans on either native cultures or hibernating animals. You can find an enhanced learning bibliography and extension activities on the author’s website.

And here are even more resources you can use to teach children about hibernation:

Hibernating Animals Crafts

Hedgehog Pom Pom Craft – Red Ted Art

Easy Pine Cone Hedgehog – Red Ted Art

Hedgehog Bookmark Corner – Red Ted Art

Hedgehog Bread Rolls for Kids to Make – Rainy Day Mum

Simple Hedgehog Craft for Preschoolers – Rainy Day Mum

Hibernation Wet Felted Wool Play Mat – Rainy Day Mum

Fine Motor Hedgehog Craft – Kids Craft Room

Bear Craft for Preschoolers: Time to Hibernate – Preschool Powol Packets

Hibernation Sensory Bag – School Time Snippets

 

Hibernation Learning Activities

Hibernation Toddler Shelves with Printables – Welcome to Mommyhood

Winter Animals Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten – Natural Beach Living

Hibernating Winter Forest Animals Preschool Unit Study – Mama’s Happy Hive

Hibernation vs. Migration: Animal Sorting Worksheet – Totschooling

Hibernation Activities E-Book – Preschool Powol Packets

How Do Animals Prepare for Winter: Books and Activities – Edventures with Kids

Make a Hedgehog Hibernation House – Kids Craft Room

Animals in Winter Unit Study – The Natural Homeschool

 

Oct 012017
 

I am so excited to be kicking off this year’s 31 Days of ABC series! This is one of my favorite series because it focuses on one of the a major early literacy milestone: learning the ABCs! So today I want to spend time looking at how to get started teaching the alphabet to very young children, from sensory bins and board books to hands on activities. What are your favorite ways to teach the ABCs?

Early Literacy: Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Early Literacy: Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

Create a Text Rich Environment

What is a text rich environment? Basically, let your little one see written language all around your home. Post the alphabet in an attractive way somewhere the child can easily see it. For example, we have put these cute Animal Alphabet Sticker Decals on the walls in our toddler’s room. She loves looking at the animals, and I read the letters to her frequently. I particularly like this set because it pairs the upper and lower case letters together. We also have beautiful alphabet posters in Spanish and French. It’s never too soon to get started on a second language!

Connect Letters with Language

Technically called “print awareness,” this is helping little ones make the connection between the written word and language. So, for example, you can point to the words in a book as you read together, point to signs as you read them, and so on. This will make a big difference for them when they start learning to read!

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

Read Read Read

Building on print awareness is cultivating the simple joy of reading. This step alone is one of the single important tasks you can do for early literacy and indeed to lay the foundation for all future learning. If a child loves to read, the whole world will be opened up to her! Here are some of our favorite alphabet books:

Little hands will love the shaped pages and cute cutouts of Alphablock. We love this series! The illustrations are bright and engaging, and the text simple for young readers. My daughter loves sitting and looking at these books on her own.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic, and it’s easy to see why! The rhythmical text fairly bounces along, making it super fun to read aloud. And kids will enjoy seeing what happens when all of the baby letters climb up the coconut tree! We also love the illustrations, as the letters are variously tied up in knots, or get a stubbed toe, etc. from falling out of the tree. Here is a fun extension activity – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom play dough!

LMNO Peas is a really cute book that works for a range of ages. Very young readers will enjoy the alphabet illustrations, while older children will get the gentle humor, as the book explores all the different kinds of peas there are, from architects to zoologists! (My favorite is the page for “K,” which includes a drawing of a king – plus a drawing of the other King – that is, Elvis).

Don’t miss out on even more ABC alphabet books for kids and check out these reading strategies for beginning readers.

Sensory Play

Sensory play is great because children are interacting with the letters and letter shapes using all of their senses. Here are some fun ideas to get you started:

Alphabet sensory bottles

Alphabet recognition sensory bin

ABC sensory table

Alphabet soup letter play

Alphabet themed lunches

Letter Crafts

Early literacy crafts, such as this cute B is for Bus craft, are another fun way for children to interact with letters. You may think that your toddler is too young to do alphabet crafts, but there are many ideas for simple crafts that are still meaningful for letter recognition, such as this “fill the alphabet” toddler craft. And I love these hand print ABC crafts – one for every letter of the alphabet!

Name Recognition

An important part of early literacy is recognizing your own name. There are lots of fun ways to do this – I love this sticker activity, as most toddlers I know are obsessed with stickers! Here is a letters in my name sensory activity, plus a name construction activity that also includes great tips about teaching name recognition.

More Hands On Activities

Hands on activities are so important for early literacy. Here are some really fun activities you can do with your little one:

Unwrapping puzzle pieces

ABC architecture scavenger hunt

Splash the alphabet

Sensory alphabet lineup

Alphabet city

Alphabet emboss painting activities

Washing letters

Magnetic letter matching

Alphabet games

Letter matching activity

Racing letters: alphabet tracing activity

Learning letters with cars

ABC cookies pretend play

Alphabet hop

Letter matching memory game

Pebble discovery bottle

Seek and shoot ABC basketball

Laundry letters recognition activity

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!



31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Getting Started with Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy Recipes for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Castles

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaur

E – October 6

E Is for Egg Carton Word Building

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Farm

G – October 8

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream

J – October 11

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owls

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

W – October 24

X – October 25

Y – October 26

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Prewriting – October 29

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Alphabet Clip Cards – October 31

Sep 192017
 
 September 19, 2017  Book Reviews, parenting Comments Off on Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety

A common struggle of childhood is learning to deal with big emotions, whether anxiety over starting at a new school or dealing with the death of a loved one. I’m happy to share with you some wonderful new children’s books that take a creative look at grief and anxiety, allowing young readers to use their imaginations to see their problems in a new way.

Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety | Alldonemonkey.com

Books to Help Kids with Grief and Anxiety

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.

Do you have a child who is afraid to try something new? Who hesitates before jumping into a new endeavor, even if it’s something she really wants to do? Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow is a fresh look at this common problem, as Smoot, a shadow to a hesitant young boy, decides to rebel and go off to have the adventures his master is too scared to have. Soon other shadows join in the fun: a dragonfly’s shadow turns into a real dragon, the shadows of two nervous insect musicians finally take the stage, and a rock becomes a castle. In the end, Smoot convinces his boy to take a chance and become more like his shadow, until soon the two are laughing and leaping together.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole is one of the cleverest books I have read in a long time. A young girl, still reeling from the death of her beloved father, discovers a black hole following her. It soon becomes a pet of sorts, though it has the disturbing tendency to swallow everything around it – even if really all it’s trying to do is cuddle. A black hole that swallows everything it touches is a brilliant metaphor for grief, perfectly suited for this very scientifically minded heroine. At first her new pet’s capacity to swallow objects around it is just funny and perhaps a bit inconvenient, but when it swallows her brother and her dog, she must finally face the problem (and her grief) head on.

This middle grade novel is a wonderful read for any child learning to manage their grief and anxiety, but it will be a special treat for those that love science, as it incorporates so many elements of science and especially astronomy.

Related Post: Children’s Books About Death

This post is part of a blog tour showcasing these two new children’s books – be sure to visit the blogs below for more features and even activities!

Week One:

September 12 – Welcome to Wonderland – Review & Activity (create your own pet Black Hole)

September 13 – Embers and Ashes – Review and Bookstagram

September 15 – Dazzled by Books – Review

Week Two:

September 18 – books4yourkids – Review (just Smoot)

September 19 – All Done Monkey – Review

September 20 – Four Violet Reviews – Creative piece

September 21 – DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life – Review

September 22 – YABooksCentral – Author Guest Post – Top 5 listicle from author

Week Three:

September 25 – Teachers Who Read – Review

September 26 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review

September 27 – Mama Smiles – Review & Creative Activities

September 28 – Cracking the Cover – Review

Sep 082017
 
 September 8, 2017  Book Reviews Comments Off on Fun Bathtime Books Your Child Will Love

Bathtime is one of those sweet moments of childhood, where little ones can laugh and play in the bubbles and enjoy splashing in the water. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be, right?? Each of my kids has loved and hated baths at different stages in their lives, though for the most part they are like many of the characters in the books below – they protest getting in and then protest getting out! Luckily there are great children’s authors out there that recognize bathtime as a fertile ground for humor and play. So whether your kids love their tub time or resist it, these fun bathtime books will have them looking at baths in a whole new way.

Fun Bathtime Books Your Child Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Fun Bathtime Books Your Child Will Love

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

While most of the bathtime books in this list are simply about bathtime, I thought it appropriate to include one that is meant to be used in the tub! Bath Books: Bathtime is an example of a book that is actually safe to use in the bathtub. We had several like this when my oldest was little, and they came in so handy when he went through a phase of hating to get in the tub. These books were a lifesaver! They also went with us when we traveled and he had trouble adjusted to doing his bath in a new place. Bright, colorful photos will engage the littlest readers, plus what a thrill to be allowed to take a book in the water with you!

In The Pigeon Needs a Bath! the classic Mo Willem’s character returns to tell us the many reasons he should not have to take a bath. Kids will laugh themselves silly at all of his excuses, and parents will recognize some that their own kids may have used. (My favorite part is when he complains that the water is too hot, then too cold, then too hot again – who else has been through that cycle with their kiddo??) One of our absolute favorite bathtime books.

Related Post: Wacky, Fun Books for Kids

Another along these lines is 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, a hilarious book that we read over and over again. Here is a boy who has a seemingly endless list of excuses about why he really doesn’t need a bath, including “scientific facts” like a kid in Texas once turned into a prune after taking a bath. I love how the illustrations show him becoming progressively dirty as the story goes on, all the while he is protesting how clean he is.

Imagine that you are blissfully relaxing in the tub, when 9 of your friends show up and want to jump in, too! That is just what happens to a poor pig in Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure. One by one more pigs dive into his own tranquil bathtub, until it is far too crowded to be relaxing! When another uninvited guest (a wolf!) decides to join in the fun, the pigs flee – but what happened to the first pig? Wonderful twist ending!

Get Out of My Bath! is a recent discovery. The beginning reminds me of Press Here, as the readers are encouraged to tilt the book back and forth to see the water in the tub “splash” when you turn the page. This is another case of a peaceful bath interrupted by uninvited visitors. Ellie the Elephant comes up with a solution perfectly suited to her – sucking up all the water until the other animals leave!

What are your favorite bathtime books?

Aug 222017
 
 August 22, 2017  Book Reviews Comments Off on Children’s Books About Being a True Friend

We all wish to teach our children to create authentic relationships with others and spread kindness in the world. Literature is a wonderful way to convey this message because children can see themselves in the characters and identify with their journeys – the stumbles as well as the triumphs. Stories can make a lesson more memorable and often use humor to get a point across. Here are some wonderful new books about being a true friend to share with your children and students.

Children's Books About Being a True Friend | 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.

Children’s Books About Being a True Friend

From picture books to a graphic novel and a magical middle grade novel, here are fantastic new children’s books about being a true friend.

South is a beautiful, sparsely told story about the friendship between a fisherman and the injured bird he nurses back to health. Since the bird cannot fly south for the winter, the fisherman makes the long journey to take him there himself. Over time, they form a close friendship, yet when the time comes, the fisherman knows he must say goodbye to his new friend and return home. This is a lovely story about the sacrifices we make for others, and the intangible rewards we receive in return. This is bound to become one of your child’s favorite books about being a true friend.

Prince and Pirate are as opposite as any two fish can be. Prince is used to the royal treatment, while Pirate is accustomed to a livelier sort of life. But what they have in common is a desire to be in charge, so when they are forced to share the same tank, sparks are sure to fly! The extremes these clashing tank-mates will go to in order to outdo the other will have your little ones laughing with every page. But the twist comes when a newcomer joins their tank, and Prince and Pirate unexpectedly find themselves banding together to help a little fish feel at home.

I’m so pleased to be working for the first time with Bryson’s Books, who shared with me The Mouse Who Lost His House, a little gem about animals coming together to help someone in need. When Mouse loses his house to a tornado, the other animals join forces to help him build a new home. This is a sweet story that children will love about generosity and lending a helping hand. It would be perfect to share with children to teach them to always “look for the helpers” after a disaster.

The only bit that threw me off is that many of the animals are quite out of their natural habitat – such as the elephant, who is definitely not a woodland creature. However, that is something a grownup book reviewer would notice, not a child, who would just be happy to see the animals they love in a story!

I actually had quite a bit of trouble reviewing Cosmic Commandos because as soon as it arrived in the mail, my 7 year old snatched it out of my hands, and it was a very long time before I managed to wrestle it back from him. (Okay, okay, I sneaked it out of his room while he was sleeping!) And it’s easy to see why he loves it so much – it is a fun, fast paced graphic novel all about a boy who finds his favorite video game coming to life around him.

On one hand, this is a rollicking adventure, as Jeremy must learn to defeat the obstacles that appear as he advances through the levels of the game each day. But at its heart, it is an exploration of the bond between siblings, as Jeremy confronts his troubled relationship with his twin Justin and learns to ask for help from this annoyingly perfect brother. (And Justin tries to understand why the brother he loves always rejectsWith time, Jeremy and Justin learn to see their differences as strengths and begin to work together as a team, deepening their relationship and choosing to become friends. From the illustrator of the amazing series Ordinary People Change the World Series (see, for example, I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change the World)).

I also have a wonderful middle grade novel to share: Tumble & Blue is due out next week in hard cover, and it’s a book your older kids won’t want to miss. Everyone has felt from time to time that there is just someone wrong with them, but Blue really is cursed and who knows exactly who is to blame – his own ancestor. Greed caused him to break the blessing he received from the golden alligator deep in the bayou that fateful night so long ago, as he and another tried to split the fate the alligator offered. As a result, their descendants received mixed fates: some had golden lives, while others, like Blue, were cursed. Each is cursed or blessed in his own unique way – one girl has a magic touch with animals, while her twin sister is afflicted with the opposite curse of being constantly attacked by animals. Blue’s father, a race car driver, wins every race, yet Blue is cursed with losing everything he attempts – from simple card games to fights with a bully.

When Blue’s father unceremoniously dumps him at his grandmother’s house one night then disappears, Blue comes face to face with his quirky extended family – and the possibility that one of them can change their fate forever. Blue soon becomes friends with another cursed child, Tumble, and they decide to travel deep into the bayou to confront at last the golden gator and demand an end to the cycle once and for all. But can two bad luck kids succeed where others have failed? Or is Blue fated to disappoint his winning father forever?

This is a wonderful adventure story with just the right touch of magic to make this otherworldly story believable. The characters are richly painted, with all of their hangups, missteps, and strokes of heroism. Readers will root on this unlikely pair as they search out a different fate for themselves and come to understand the family ties woven into the fabric of their story.

Do you have favorite children’s books about being a true friend? Share in the comments!

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