Jan 142019

Teach your students all about the upcoming Lunar New Year with these wonderful Chinese New Year books for kids! They include picture books as well as easy readers and a chapter book. Some are straightforward informational books, while others are fairy tales that bring to life some of the aspects of the Chinese New Year, like the animals of the zodiac. Some focus on the difficulty of being away from family during this special holiday, or the challenges of finding your identity as a Chinese American.

18 Chinese New Year Books for Children

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.

18 Chinese New Year Books for Children

Bringing In the New Year is a wonderful board book that introduces the youngest readers to Chinese New Year. In colorful illustrations, it demonstrates how a family prepares for the New Year – by, for example, sweeping out the old year and hanging up spring-happiness poems. Little ones will especially enjoy the depictions of the celebration with lion dancers, firecrackers, and a dragon parade!

Related Posts:

Chinese New Year Learning Activities

Chinese New Year Zodiac Game

A cute book to teach older slightly children about the holiday is Chelsea’s Chinese New Year. Chelsea and her Chinese-American family are getting ready for the Chinese New Year, and she can’t wait! Most of all she wonders how she will stay up so late the night before! Can be read as a simple story, or add in the fun facts that are seen in bubbles throughout the book. A fun look at the celebration through a child’s eyes. Includes a glossary, list of zodiac animals, and additional resources. PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year also follows a young Chinese-American girl celebrating Chinese New Year, but with a twist – she is learning all about it from her grandmother (PoPo), who is visiting from China! The first thing she learns is that there are a lot of rules to bring luck for the New Year, like don’t wash your hair on New Year’s Day, and don’t use knives and scissors. Can she follow the rules to have the luckiest year ever? This Next New Year is another great introduction to the customs of Chinese New Year. One thing that makes this book a little different is its emphasis on how people of different Asian cultures (and many who aren’t Asian at all!) celebrate this holiday, including the main character, a young boy who is half-Chinese and half-Korean. In Li’s Chinese New Year, Li learns about Chinese New Year and the zodiac as he tries to decide which animal to be at his school’s Chinese New Year parade. Read to find out more about his teacher’s clever solution! Home for Chinese New Year is a very sweet story about a father going to great lengths to return home for Chinese New Year. Jiajun’s father works in a city far from home, but takes a train, bus, three-wheeled motorcycle, and ferry before walking many miles to make it home to his family for Chinese New Year. Emphasizes the importance of being with family for the holiday, and the incredible efforts people make to celebrate this special holiday together, even if only for a few days. A New Year’s Reunion is a very similar story of a little girl whose father builds houses far away and only comes home for a few days a year, at Chinese New Year. This book captures the mixed emotions the young girl feels – excitement as she waits for her father’s arrival but fear as he looks so different than she remembers, joy as they celebrate Chinese New Year together and finally sadness when he leaves again just a short time later. A Gift also emphasizes the importance of family during Chinese New Year, even when it is impossible for everyone to be together. Amy’s mother is from China, and although Amy has uncles and an aunt there she’s never met, they always remember her during Chinese New Year. This year they send a special gift all the way from China, to show their love and bring her luck for the new year. In New Year we meet a young boy who has just moved to Los Angeles from Hong Kong. At first he is excited to go to school, but he quickly becomes frustrated when he doesn’t understand anyone else, except for another Chinese student who is embarrassed to talk to him in Chinese. Yet with help from his teacher (also an immigrant, from Mexico) and his mother, he learns to be proud of where he is from. Through his art, he gains confidence and shares with the other students his special memories of Chinese New Year. If the story of a little girl walking through the woods to give her grandmother a present sounds familiar, don’t worry! In Ruby’s Chinese New Year no one gets eaten by a wolf. In fact, all of the animals Ruby meets on her journey are friendly and want to help her take a special Chinese New Year card to Grandmother. A clever way to introduce children to the animals of the zodiac and learn about the true spirit of Chinese New Year along the way! Includes additional information about the zodiac and Chinese New Year crafts. When Xingling learns from her PoPo (grandmother) about the Nian monster who used to terrorize the countryside every year on Lunar New Year, she never imagines it will come back to life! In The Nian Monster, this clever girl must figure out how to use the traditions of Chinese New Year to defeat the Nian Monster before it devours her and the whole city of Shanghai! Beautifully told story that not only showcases many of the features of Chinese New Year but also landmarks of Shanghai. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a fun retelling of the classic tale, this time set during Chinese New Year. Poor Goldy Luck just can’t catch a break. She tries to help her mother delivers a plate of turnip cakes to their neighbors (a family of pandas), but instead ends up stumbling into their apartment when they aren’t home, spilling the cakes, eating a whole bowl of congee, breaking a rocking chair, and – to top it all off – falling asleep in the little one’s bed! Find out how Goldy turns her situation around and finally finds some good luck to start off the new year. Includes a recipe for turnip cakes. Inspired by the Danish folktale the Talking Pot, The Runaway Wok tells the story of a poor family in Beijing, who wishes they had enough food for a proper Chinese New Year feast to share with their neighbors. When the son finds an old, battered wok at the market, he is shocked when it begins to sing to him! Sure it must be magic, he brings it home, and soon the wok goes to work to make this a Chinese New Year to remember for this generous family and the other poor families of Beijing. In The Runaway Rice Cake it’s the food itself that’s on the run. The Chang family only has enough rice flour to make one rice cake for the whole family to share for Chinese New Year, but when it is ready, it jumps up and runs out the door! The resolution to the story emphasizes not simply cleverness but kindness and generosity. In the end, the family is rewarded for their selflessness when they (and their rice cake) find someone in even greater need than themselves. If you have a Curious George fan in your house, you won’t want to miss Curious George Dragon Dance. This time George’s curiosity leads him to investigate a Chinese New Year parade and help a new friend by becoming a lion dancer! Includes a craft. Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year is different from the others because it follows a real life boy as he gets ready to be a lion dancer for Chinese New Year. It is chock full of beautiful photos of this family as they prepare for and celebrate in New York City’s Chinatown. Max Celebrates Chinese New Year is part of an easy reader series. In this simple story, Max learns all about Chinese New Year as he helps his friend Lily and her family celebrate. A good introduction to basic traditions of the holiday. The Year of the Dog is told from the point of view of a Chinese American girl, one of the only non-Caucasians in her town. According to her mother, the Year of the Dog is all about finding yourself, so the young girl struggles with her identity: Should she be called Pacy (her Chinese name) or Grace (her American name)? Is she American or Chinese or Taiwanese, or can she be all three? And can she find her own special talent before the Year of the Dog is over? Author Grace Lin started the Pacy Lin series because it was the kind of book she wished she could have read when she was growing up. Pacy/Grace faces problems any child will recognize (whether a crush likes her, getting a role in the school production of The Wizard of Oz), but these are sometimes complicated by her background (can Dorothy be Chinese?) The characters in the book are so well-written, and the story is both poignant and quite funny. And what pulls it all together is the idea of Chinese New Year, and how the concept of the Year of the Dog shapes Grace/Pacy’s quest for identity. While most children’s novels take place over a summer or over one school year, this one starts and finishes on Chinese New Year. Will one year be enough time to find herself? Highly recommended.

What are your favorite Chinese New Year books for kids?


Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs Welcome to our fifth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on February 5. It is the beginning of the Year of the Pig, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:

Participating Blogs

Miss Panda Chinese on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 12 Chinese Animal Birth Signs

Bicultural Mama: 35+ Chinese New Year Resources for Kids

All Done Monkey: 18 Chinese New Year Books for Children

Tiny Tapping Toes: Four Fun Activities for Chinese New Year

Dec 202018
 December 20, 2018  activities, Book Reviews, education3, Literacy Comments Off on Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts with Printable

I love word games; they are such a great way to get kids to engage with language and have fun with the vocabulary and grammar they are learning. They are also wonderful for getting their imaginations going! Inspired by some amazing new children’s books about magical creatures (see more below!), I’ve created a series of unicorn word games and writing prompts, complete with a printable.

Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts with Printable | 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.

Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts with Printable

The printable below can be used either for oral word games or as writing prompts. Just right click on the image to save and print! And don’t miss my reviews at the end of the wonderful books that inspired these games!

Unicorn Word Games and Writing Prompts Printable | Alldonemonkey.com

Clip art courtesy of Innovation Press.

There are four unicorn word games, presented here from the most simple to the most complex. The first two can be done individually, while the last two are done in a group. All, especially #2-4, can be played multiple times. The idea is for the students to be creative, so they should feel free to make silly sentences, not just straightforward ones!

1. Imagine. At its most basic, the printable can be used as a straightforward writing prompt, helping students get creative about imagining their unicorn. The very young can simply draw a picture if the writing is too much.

2. Pick a Letter. For this variation, assign letters of the alphabet randomly, or have students draw them out of a bag or hat. They then have to complete each part of the prompt using words that start with that letter. For example, if someone draws an “S,” they could say “My unicorn lives in Spain. Its favorite food is spaghetti. In its free time it likes to swim.” Again, students get to exercise their creativity but with an extra challenge.

3. Challenge Your Friends. In this variation, the students work in small groups. One student starts by completing the first sentence. (This can either be done by drawing a letter as in variation #2, or by their own choice). The next person completes the second sentence and the last person completes the final sentence – but they each have to pick words that start with the same letter as the word chosen by the first student. For example, if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Queens,” the next student might say, “Its favorite food is quiche,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to quilt.”

4. Challenge Your Friends to the End. This variation is similar to the previous one, except that now each student must pick a word that starts with the last letter of the word chosen by the previous student. So if the first student says, “My unicorn lives in Bolivia,” the next might say, “Its favorite food is apple pie,” and the last might say, “In its free time it likes to eat.”

Magical Books for Kids

I was inspired to create these unicorn word games because of two magical new children’s books from the amazing Innovation Press. Be sure to check them out – your kids will thank you!

My children were drawn to Miss Turie’s Magic Creatures right away – I mean, just look at that cover! The artwork in this book is incredible, as readers join a little boy in a shop of magical creatures, all in hopes of finding the perfect pet. But, would you want to take home a dragon or a kraken? What would it really be like to have them as pets, breathing fire in your room or swimming in your bubble bath? A wonderfully fun read for children of a wide range of ages. All of my children love reading this book again and again. My older children especially like poring over the catalog of mythical creatures at the back, which explains in more detail each magical creature featured in the book.

Unicorns and Germs (Zoey and Sassafras) is the latest installment in the beloved series about a resourceful girl who uses the scientific method and creativity to help magical creatures. In this adventure, Zoey and her trusty cat Sassafras must find a way to help a baby unicorn with its hurt leg. (In one of my favorite jokes of the book, it’s revealed that unicorns are actually gigantic creatures, meaning that the baby unicorn Zoey helps is named Tiny – though he seems “ginormous” to her!) My kindergartner and I read this book together, and it was gratifying to me to see how the story makes science both practical and fun at the same time. And just plain cool because you can use it to help unicorns, hello!

Don’t miss these and other great books from Innovation Press and have fun with these unicorn word games!

Related Posts:

Lincoln: Books and Writing Prompts

Martin Luther King Writing Prompts

Fun New Books That Are Also Educational (Shhh!)

Feb 032016

Chinese New Year Learning Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

The Year of the Monkey is almost here, and I am excited to tell you about some wonderful Chinese New Year learning activities you can do with your kids to celebrate!  What’s great about this packet is that it can be used any year, not just for the Year of the Monkey.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the Chinese New Year Math and Literacy Unit for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Kid World Citizen is a great resource for multicultural activities for the classroom, and her Math and Literacy Unit for Chinese New Year is no exception.  Great for homeschoolers, too!  It is Common Core aligned, so it is an easy way to tie schoolwork into this incredibly fun holiday!

Chinese New Year Learning Activities | Alldonemonkey.com

I reviewed the packet for pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st grade, and it was just at the right level for my kids.  These are not just cute worksheets (though they are cute!): they are real-deal classroom activities that incorporate concepts like skip counting, upper-case/lower-case letter recognition, fine motor skills, storytelling, and listening comprehension.  Of course, your kids will just think it’s fun!

I love that the packet is comprehensive in two senses: 1) it includes a wide variety of subjects, from math to reading, and 2) it targets different learning styles, with a mix of worksheets, coloring, crafts, and reading.  Even the story can be told with props, to really engage the students.

Of course, throughout it all your students will learn a wealth of information about Chinese New Year, such as important customs and symbols.  And because the information is presented in a variety of formats and contexts, it will really stick with them and have greater meaning.

My son and I loved doing the Chinese New Year Math and Literacy Unit from Kid World Citizen together, and I highly recommend it for any classroom or homeschool setting!

Chinese New Year 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

For more Chinese New Year learning activities and fun, visit the Chinese New Year blog hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs!  And don’t miss my Chinese New Year zodiac game!

Jan 072016

Writing prompts for Martin Luther King Day

When I was a child, learning about Martin Luther King was very empowering, because through hearing stories of the past, I was able to imagine myself marching along with him, protesting injustice and setting the world right.  Children should be told these inspirational stories not just as part of a dry history lesson or because “it’s that time of year,” but because it is a powerful way to help them see themselves as world changers.

The following writing prompts are intended to help kids practice creative writing but also to get them to really think about the legacy of Martin Luther King and what it means in their lives today.

Older children may write a page or two, while younger words may write a few sentences or even a list.  Pre-writers can draw pictures, and groups of children can even act out their responses.

How do you inspire the next generation of world leaders?


Martin Luther King Writing Prompts

Make an acrostic poem for the word “Courage” or “Martin.”

My dream for the world is…

If I could make one change in the world it would be…

Some of the ways Martin Luther King showed courage were…

Some of the ways that I have shown courage are…

Martin Luther King’s dream made a difference in my life because…

If I saw a sign in a shop saying “Whites Only” I would feel…

If I saw a sign in a shop saying “Whites Only” what I would do is…

If someone said something mean to another kid because of how they looked, I would…

I like having friends who look and talk differently from me because…

I’m glad that I’m unique because…

Some of the ways I’m unique are…

Even though people might look or talk differently from me, there are lots of things we might have in common, such as…

One way that kids can make a difference in the world is…

If I had marched with Martin Luther King, I would have felt…

If Martin Luther King traveled in time from the past and visited us today, I would tell him…

Martin Luther King Day for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our series Martin Luther King Day for Kids, where we share resources for teaching children about the legacy of Dr. King.

Jan 022016

Our top homeschooling posts from 2015

One of the biggest adventures we set out on this year was homeschooling.  In reality, it was a continuation of the enrichment activities we have been doing since my oldest son was small, but at the same time it was a significant shift in our intensity and focus.  In other words, it was time for us to up our game, but looking back it’s easy to see how much fun we had doing it.  I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this year but look forward to what we’ll do in 2016 now that we’ve got some experience.  Here are highlights from our homeschooling adventure this past year:

Top Homeschooling Posts of 2015

Creating a World Cultures Homeschool Curriculum:
This post for me captures the essence of what we tried to accomplish this year.  A world cultures focus underlay almost all of our activities, whether in science or language arts.

Top Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish

3 Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish

Learning About Andean Condors

Learning About African Manatees

E Is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels

India: Endangered Animals Games

Learning About India: The Lotus Temple and Sacred Geometry

Lebanon Unit Study

Zoroastrianism for Kids

The best crafts, education, and parenting blog posts of 2015


I’m excited to be taking part in a blog hop that is showcasing the very best craft, education, and parenting posts from 2015.  You can see them all on our group Pinterest board or in the linkys below!

Follow MaryAnne at Mama Smiles ‘s board The Best of 2015 on Pinterest.CRAFT POSTS:



Dec 022015
 December 2, 2015  Education, education3 5 Responses »

Gross Motor Skills: Crossing the Midline (and Why You Should Care) | Alldonemonkey.com

One of the most important gross motor skills a child needs to develop is crossing the midline.  This is the ability to use both sides of the body together, specifically by crossing a body part from one side of the body into the space of the other side of the body, such as using the right hand to scratch the left elbow.

Crossing the midline is important not just for overall coordination but also because it builds essential pathways in the brain.  So strengthening this skill is not only crucial if you want your child to play sports but also to help him build fine motor skills such as writing.  Indeed, it first came to my attention when my kindergartener’s adviser suggested it as a way to help him with his handwriting.

Below are great resources about crossing the midline (and why you should care).

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

Gross Motor Skills: Crossing the Midline

Integrated Learning Strategies: Why Crossing the Midline Activities Helped This Child Listen to His Teacher: Great visuals in this article.  I love that for each activity it includes an explanation of what to watch for to make sure the child is getting the full benefit.

School Sparks: Gross Motor Development: An overview of gross motor development and bilateral integration, including crossing the midline, with tips and why it is important for reading and writing.

The Inspired Treehouse: Developmental Skills – Crossing the Midline: An explanation of what crossing the midline is, why it’s important, and fun ways to encourage it.

OT Mom Learning Activities: Crossing the Midline: Overview from an occupational therapist, including photos and links to activities

Teach Mama: 5 Activities for Crossing the Midline (and Why It’s Important)

Mosswood Connections: Crossing Midline: Activities to help kids cross the midline

From Growing Hands-On Kids:

North Shore Pediatric Therapy: Help Your Child Develop the “Crossing the Midline Skill”: Long list of left brain/right brain “teasers”‘

My Mundane and Miraculous Life has a number of articles on creative activities for sensory therapy which include crossing the midline exercises:

From The Jenny Evolution: Sensory activities that are also great for crossing the midline:

For more gross motor activitites, follow my Gross Motor Pinterest board:


Nov 092015
 November 9, 2015  bilingualism, Education, education3 Comments Off on Learning All About Ants in Spanish

Learning All About Ants in Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Teach kids all about ants in Spanish with these wonderful activities from my blogging buddy and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs Board member Jennifer of Spanish Playground!

Doing activities related to a theme is fun way for children to learn Spanish. They learn new words and hear them used naturally as they sing, do crafts and listen to stories. Below you’ll find a set of activities for a theme I call All About Ants. Try them with kids, and soon all of you will be talking and singing about hormigas.

Learning All About Ants in Spanish

  • Choose words you want to focus on as you do the activities. For beginners, start with just a few words. You can add more when those are familiar. You can also download a printable All About Ants vocabulary list.
  • Incorporate basic concepts like numbers and colors. It’s fun to count ants in Spanish!
  • Short activities are usually better. Adapt the All About Ants activities to help kids understand and keep their interest.
  • Spread the activities over several days, and come back to All About Ants at a later date. This will help kids remember what they learned.

Talking about photos helps kids learn new words. Point to these pictures of ants as you describe them. You can find more fabulous photos online because lots of people love ants!

Two ants

ants with flower

ant hills

I tell parents that music is language glue. It sticks language into kids’ heads.

Las Hormigas by Jorge Lan is perfect for this All About Ants theme. You can hear a clip of the song on iTunes. We learn the song and then play follow-the-leader as we march and sing:

Vamos marchando las hormigas.

Vamos marchando sin parar.

Vamos buscando comida y esta al hormiguero nos la vamos a llevar.

Printable Activities
Using pictures cards and playing games helps children learn new words. These printable activities fit the All About Ants theme and are focused enough for beginning Spanish learners. Try the size sort, the pattern activities and roll-an-ant game in this packet: Free Printable Ant Activitites by A Teaching Mommy

Size sort. I add ant hills to this activity. We cut 3 ant hills out of construction paper – small, medium and large. We sort the hormigas pequeñas, medianas y grandes into the different ant hills. This gives kids practice using size words and the word hormiguero.

Pattern activities. Kids practice colors in Spanish as they copy the patterns. We also count the ants.

Roll-an-ant. Kids can learn the parts of the ant with this game. You can also use it with beginners to practice numbers.

This cute animated video has basic ant information and repeats key vocabulary. Beginners can tap the table each time they hear the word hormiga. They will be tapping a lot! Watching this video, kids will learn all about ants and learn Spanish too.

Start at 0:33 to skip the theme song. You may want to watch just part of the video with beginners.

Crafts are excellent language activities. Choose one that lets you repeat the words your child is learning.
Doing this simple craft from Muck Monsters you will use the words hormiguero and hormiga. (Of course, you won’t write A is for ant on the picture.)

There are lots of crafts for making ants online. These egg carton ants are Pink Stripey Socks. You can talk about the parts of an ant as you make them.

You can also talk about ants as you color. Coloring.WS from DLTK has ant coloring pages.

Kids can help make an ant snack. You can make traditional ants on a log, or search ant snacks on Pinterest. You will be amazed at the possibilities!

Picture books about ants will have more language than young Spanish learners can understand. With my students, I read the wonderful book Arriba, Abajo instead. The illustrations have plenty of ants. You can find them, count them and talk about them.

You may also want to tell a simple version of the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. In Spanish, the story is called La cigarra y la hormiga. You can tell the story in your own words pointing to illustrations to help kids understand.

Try sentences like these for beginners:
Hace sol. Es verano.
La hormiga trabaja mucho. Lleva comida al hormiguero.
La cigarra no trabaja. La cigarra juega. No le gusta jugar. etc.

There are 5 basic drawings for the story in this printable version of La cigarra y la hormiga on Web del Maestro. Click on the link DESCARGA AQUÍ Cuentos infantiles. La cigarra y la hormiga.

You can also act out the story with stick puppets, or with ants you made as a craft.

By the time you have done a few of these activities, there is a good chance you will ready to talk about a new topic! Choose a theme your kids will like and look for songs, activities, and crafts to do in Spanish.

All About Ants Photo credits:
CC Image by Katja Schulz
CC Image by M M
CC Image by Emma Wallace

Jennifer raised her three children speaking English and Spanish, and she has been teaching Spanish to other young world citizens for over twenty years. On her blog Spanish Playground, she shares resources for parents and teachers of Spanish language learners.

Oct 202015
 October 20, 2015  activities, Education, education3 Comments Off on Engineering for Kids: Build a Parachute

Here is a great FUN project to teach engineering for kids: build a parachute that really works!  Thanks so much to Becky of Kid World Citizen – my blogging buddy and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs board member – for sharing this fantastic activity!

Parachutes Kids- Kid World Citizen

We recently made some fantastic parachutes out of coffee filters, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, and paper dixie cups. The kids had a blast throwing them off of our playset, and watching them float to the ground, often holding one of their superhero figures in the cups! Here’s how we made parachutes, and what the kids learned.

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

Continue reading »

Jul 222015

Top Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish | Alldonemonkey.com

Bilingualism has always been important to us: one or the both of us has been speaking Spanish to the boys since they were born.  But Monkey in particular has been resistant to speaking Spanish himself, often identifying as an English speaker “who speaks a little Spanish.”  Though we have come up with creative ways to make language learning fun for him, this year I decided to take a bit of a different approach.

As I was creating our homeschool curriculum for the fall, I decided to include Spanish as a subject.  Up til now we have done our Spanish learning through conversation, media, and immersion trips, but we’ve been more casual than didactic.  Monkey responds well to classroom instruction – especially when they include games and activities – so I thought this could be fun for him, and so far it has been!  And after all, we teach English as a subject even though we speak it everyday, so why not give the same attention to his second language?

Here are some great resources we have been using.  What are your favorite resources to teach Spanish?

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  I was provided with a complimentary copy of Sofía en una Aventura por la Selva for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Top Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish

Circle Time

Something that is working really well for us right now is incorporating Spanish into our circle time.  I had a hard time finding a display I could use, but I am quite happy with the Spanish calendar set that I found, which lets us talk about the days of the week, months of the year, holidays, seasons, and the weather in a very interactive way that both boys enjoy.


Finding quality children’s in Spanish can be a challenge, though thankfully much less so than in the past.  Here are some of our favorites, plus don’t miss my tips for finding books in Spanish for your kids:

Sofia en una Aventura por la Selvaence (Spanish Edition) is a great book to use in homeschooling because – as with all the books from Kids Yoga Stories – it encourages very active learning.  Kids will really engage with the story and the language as they do the yoga poses throughout the book.  What better way to learn the words for snake and jaguar then by acting like snakes and jaguars?  Beginning learners can focus on these basic words, while more advanced students can discuss the story.  Kids, most of whom are natural environmentalists, will also really respond to the book’s theme of conservation.  It also includes a Parent-Teacher guide!

ArteKids: Bilingual Books about Art for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

I love integrating subjects, so I was thrilled to come across ArteKids bilingual art books, which are a wonderful way to introduce basic vocabulary to beginning learners through art!  They are perfect for younger children who are just learning shapes and colors, but they work for older students, since each book contains more detailed information (in English) at the back of the book on the featured works of art, which include ancient and modern art from Latin America.  For more, you can read my full review of ArteKids books.


Music and videos can be a terrific way to encourage language learning, especially for reluctant learners.  I keep several Spanish language music CDs in the car, which we listen to frequently.

One of these is from Whistlefritz.  My kids really love the music, which is fun and upbeat.  Homeschoolers will also love the full Spanish for Kids collection, which is a tremendous resource for parents and teachers.  For more information, you can read my full review of Whistlefritz.

Another CD in constant rotation in our car is Spanish Songs for Kids (Bienvenidos) from Rockalingua.  Little Monkey especially requests this CD almost every time I strap him into his car seat.  The rock’ n ‘roll songs are really fun, and the lyrics are all based around themes, such as the days of the week or travel – yet somehow it manages not to feel educational (though of course you as the parent/teacher know that it is!)

Educational videos are also a great way to reinforce Spanish for kids.  I really recommend Little Pim DVDs for young children.  The segments are fairly short and teach related groups of words (such as food vocabulary in Little Pim: Let’s Eat), with a review at the end of each segment.  Little Pim is one of the most well-known language programs for kids, and with good reason.  For more, you can read my full review, included in this article on bilingual parenting.


As a blogger myself, I’m very oriented towards blogs as a resource, plus as a member of Multicultural Kid Blogs, I’m lucky enough to know a number of amazing bloggers who focus on teaching languages to children.  They have such creative ideas!

Spanish PlaygroundOne of my absolute favorites is Spanish Playground.  It is very focused on learning through play and has materials and resources that can be adapted to all different situations and levels of Spanish.  I can also attest personally to how thoughtful she is in everything she presents to her readers.  You can trust that anything on her site is absolute top quality!  You’ll find lots of language activities and printables, as well as product reviews.  For example, I love this post on Spanish at the beach, which shows that you can incorporate language learning in all you do!

Mommy MaestraAnother of my favorite resources is Mommy Maestra.  As a homeschooler herself, she has a real understanding for what materials will be useful to other homeschoolers.  She has a lot of great activities and freebies on her blog, but her TpT store is also amazing. And don’t miss her an amazing list of Spanish curricula!



Mundo de PepitaAnother great resource with high quality materials is Mundo de Pepita.  The printables are wonderful, plus you can also find fun crafts and activities, in addition to tips for classroom learning.

I also adore For the Love of Spanish, which has a wonderful series focused on Learning Spanish Through Play.  Her activities are all well-suited to active learners and are easy to put together, so you can take learning wherever you go.

Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes Another personal favorite is Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, by an incredibly creative mom determined to pass on her culture and language to her son.  You can find a range of cultural activities on her site, including ones specifically focused on teaching Spanish.

Learning in Two Languages is a fantastic blog from a teacher in a dual language classroom.  You’ll find all kinds of teaching tips, plus great materials you can use with your kids.


For even more resources, be sure to check out these Pinterest boards:

Teaching Spanish on Pinterest

Multilingual and Multicultural Printables on Pinterest

May 262015
 May 26, 2015  activities, Education, education3, raising world citizens Comments Off on Teach Ecology for Kids with Junior Explorers Subscription Kit

Teach Ecology for Kids with Junior Explorers | Alldonemonkey.com

I received a complimentary mission kit from Junior Explorers to facilitate my review; however, all opinions are my own.

Do you have a little nature lover in your house?  Junior Explorers helps teach ecology for kids through a monthly subscription kit with fun, interactive games and cool gear!

Monkey loves learning about animals and the natural world, so he was thrilled to receive an Amazon Mission kit from Junior Explorers!  This mission puts kids in the driver’s seat by telling them that they are needed to complete an important mission to help find missing jaguars!  To get ready, they first go through a checklist to prepare for their mission – including making use of the fun stickers, temporary tattoos, postcards, tiny animal toys, and official Junior Explorers button included in their kit!  There are also animal cards with facts about the animals they will encounter on their mission, as well as an information sheet about the Amazon.

Teach Ecology for Kids with Junior Explorers | Alldonemonkey.com

Then it is time to hop on the computer to get started!  After “packing” up your gear at the station, you set off on your journey to find the jaguars! There is a nice tie-in between the website and the package, as you need to refer to the animal cards to complete some of the activities along the way.  I also like that you make use of virtual gear that a real explorer would have with them – like a compass, map, binoculars, camera, and (of course) a tablet.

While the Junior Explorers website is very visual and easy to navigate, it is also very text-based, so really more appropriate for kids that are already reading.  Of course, you could sit with younger children and help them with the reading, but the games are designed for elementary age and above, as they require good hand-eye coordination.  They were just the right level for Monkey, who found them challenging but not frustrating.  Once he had finished the mission, he had fun going back and playing some of the games again.

Teach Ecology for Kids with Junior Explorers | Alldonemonkey.com

I would definitely recommend this for elementary age children who love animals!  It is a great way to help kids imagine themselves as explorers and envision themselves taking a leading role in helping the planet’s creatures.  Be sure to visit the Junior Explorers site for more information about their monthly subscription service!

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