May 202015
 
 May 20, 2015  Book Reviews, Education, education3, raising world citizens Comments Off on Global STEM Books for Elementary Students

Global STEM Books for Elementary Students | Alldonemonkey.com

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hands-on-Prints books. I received books to facilitate my review.

As part of our world cultures homeschool curriculum, I am always on the lookout for books that integrate STEM subjects like math and science into geography and learning about other cultures.  That is why I was so pleased for the opportunity to review books from Hands-on-Prints, a publisher that seeks to broaden children’s horizons through educational yet entertaining storybooks.

Author Christinia Cheung, who has a Masters in Early Childhood Education, wrote these books based on her experiences starting a Montessori school.  It was important to her that the books broaden children’s consciousness and inspire them to learn and discover.

Global STEM Books for Elementary Students | Alldonemonkey.com

Her books do just that, integrating academic subjects such as geometry and botany into engaging books that children of different ages can enjoy.  I love that many are interactive, with creative “lift-the-flap” or layered elements, adding to the unique experience of engaging with physical books.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Global STEM Books for Elementary Students

Nuts for Coconuts is a charming book that celebrates coconuts and the many ways they are enjoyed around the world!  Young readers will be drawn in by the lively illustrations, which take them on a journey to places as diverse as India, Malaysia, and Hawaii.  The rhyming text describes the many ways the coconut has been used across different cultures – from curries and candies to brooms and insect repellent!  I love that the book also includes additional nutritional information about coconuts at the very end.  Children (and adults!) will never look at the coconut the same way again!

Another book that focuses on the natural world is A Persistent Vine. This award-winning book is set during Japan’s Heian period, as a wealthy couple seek to create an exotic flower garden in their country home.  They are alarmed when the morning glory flower – which neither had planted – is found by their young daughter.  They know that this “persistent” plant will quickly choke the others if not checked, so they exert themselves to eradicate it, with surprising results.  This beautiful tale is a wonderful way to discuss invasive species as well as to get children thinking about our relationship with nature and to what degree we can (or should) control it.

The most academic of the books is Geometry through Architecture: The Chartres Cathedral; yet it is still utterly gorgeous and captivating.  Through stunning illustrations and detailed explanations, the book takes the reader on a tour of the medieval Cathedral of Chartres in France.  Beyond the fascinating story of this particular cathedral and its symbolism, the book introduces children to the concept that there is more to a building than meets the eye.  Builders often try to convey a story or a feeling to the viewer, as “Spirit meets Matter.”  In medieval times in particular, the geometry of architecture held great spiritual significance and was meant to educate and guide visitors, as so beautifully illustrated here.

I highly recommend these and other works from Hands-on-Prints.  The books are all unique, inspiring children to explore and discover the world around them.

Apr 132015
 

Hula Hoop Math Activity {Booking Across the USA} | Alldonemonkey.com

I am so thrilled to be participating in the Booking Across the USA series again this year.  While last year we explored West Virginia, this time I get to honor an author or illustrator from my home state of North Carolina.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton is the illustrator for a number of popular children’s books, including We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song, My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, and Presenting . . . Tallulah(the latter written by none other than Tori Spelling!). She also authored and illustrated Let Freedom Sing and Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless the Table.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that this talented author/illustrator lives not only in my home state of North Carolina but in my hometown of Charlotte!

Ms. Brantley-Newton has a very distinctive style, which she says was inspired by retro art and fashion of the 1950s and 60s.  Her great inspiration growing up? Ezra Jack Keats.  Reading his legendary The Snowy Day as a child marked a turning point for her, as it was the first time she saw a child in a picture book that looked like her.  She hopes to inspire another generation of young readers through her own work.

For this post I chose to focus on the wonderful book The Hula Hoopin’ Queen, written by Thelma Godin.  It is a the story of a young girl in Harlem caught up in the midst of a neighborhood hula hoopin’ rivalry.  When her single-minded pursuit causes her to ruin a neighbor’s birthday cake, everyone is surprised to discover that the older woman is a hula hoopin’ queen herself and understands about “that itch.”  A book about staying young at heart.

To have some fun with this book (and fit in a little “school time”) the Monkeys and I did a hula hoop math activity learning about bar graphs.

Hula Hoop Math Activity {Booking Across the USA} | Alldonemonkey.com

First, I had Monkey try out the hula hoop (called a “hula poop” by his younger brother, who of course was eager to play along) and see how many times he could get it to spin around his hips.  We recorded each attempt, noting the number of spins for each one.  (I had to keep a close watch on this, as Monkey was likely to call out, “One thousand!” or “One billion trillion!”)

After a number of attempts (and a lot of screaming and yelling and the boys’ chasing each other around with the hula hoop), we moved to Phase 2, making our bar graph.

I had showed Monkey some bar graphs earlier, plus he had seen them in the really fun book Math Curse, which describes the bars on the graph as looking like small buildings.  The buildings (or bars) on our graph were the number of times he could each number of spins – how many times he could spin it once, how many times he could spin it twice, etc.

Looking back, for a first-time graph maker it would have been easier if both axes in our graph weren’t numbers.  It was really easy to get mixed up what each side was for (the number of spins or the number of times he did them).  It would have been much clearer if we had done the number of red hula hoops vs the number of blue ones, etc.  I had no plans to actually buy that many hula hoops (!), but instead, we could have counted the hula hoops in the book.

In any case, once the confusion was cleared up, Monkey “got” the bar graph right away – and had fun getting the “hula hoopin’ itch” himself!

Booking Across the USAThis post is part of the Booking Across the USA series organized by Jodie of Growing Book by Book.  This is a follow up to the first Booking Across the USA series from last year, when we learned about West Virginia!  Be sure to check out all the posts in this year’s series, as we share crafts and activities inspired by a beloved children’s author/illustrator from each of the 50 states!

This year’s participants:

Apr 072015
 
 April 7, 2015  activities, Around the World in 12 Dishes, Earth Day, Education, education3 Comments Off on Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees

Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees | Alldonemonkey.com

To continue our theme of learning about endangered animals, we turned our attention to Senegal (our next country in Around the World in 12 Dishes) and began to study the African manatee.  There are three species of manatees, but the African (or West African) manatee is perhaps the least known of the three and the most endangered.

Disclosure: This post contains a sponsored link for your convenience.

These animals are known locally as “Mamiwata”, an African name (unfortunately I wasn’t able to discover which African language) for the spirit believed to be embodied by the manatee.  The gentle manatees are marine mammals, which means they must surface periodically to breathe.  Most manatees are primarily herbivores, but now there is evidence that the African manatee actually eats fish, mollusks, and clams.

The African manatee can be found in the shallow coastal waters, rivers, and estuaries of West Africa and is under threat from poaching, fishing (because of getting caught in fishing nets), and habitat loss from construction of dams.  While firm numbers are difficult to come by, it is clear that the African manatee is under grave threat and its population is in danger of disappearing from several of the countries – including Senegal – where it has traditionally lived.

Endangered Animals: Learning about African Manatees | Alldonemonkey.com

To learn more about the African manatee, I created a word search and word puzzle, which you can download and print here:

African Manatee Word Search

African Manatee Word Puzzle

 

Additional Resources on African Manatees:

From Save Our Species

From Save Our Seas

From Wildlife Conservation Society

From Sirenian International

From EDGE

From IUCN Red List

Title image via http://currencewiki.wikispaces.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Earth Day Books and Music Giveaway

To inspire earth-friendly practices with your family, I’m so excited to be taking part in an awesome Earth Day giveaway with several other kid bloggers. Several publishers have offered earth-themed books and music prizes for your Earth Day celebrations. Hopefully, these wonderful resources will inspire a love of nature in your children and motivate them to make a difference in the world. Amazon affiliate links are below for your convenience.

The Earth Day Giveaway co-hosts are:

Kids Yoga Stories, Mama Smiles, Spanish Playground, Creative World of Varya, Crafty Moms Share, the piri-piri lexicon, All Done Monkey, and Eva Varga

Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #1

EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY

PRIZE PACK #1

Water Rolls, Water Rises, by Pat Mora
Celebrate the wonders of the water on planet Earth with this poetic and illustrative bilingual book.

Call Me Tree, by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Act out this beautiful bilingual story following a young child mimicking the growth of a tree.

Kings & Queens of the Forest CD, by Kira Willey
Act out a journey to the forest with Kira Willey’s enchanting yoga-inspired music.

Imaginations 2, by Carolyn Clarke
Use guided imagery to explore nature while learning to calm the mind and body with these relaxation stories.

Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, by Giselle Shardlow
Join Sophia and her family on a jungle adventure while learning to appreciate jungle life and doing yoga along the way.

Every Day is Earth Day Kids Yoga Lesson Plan PDF, by Next Generation Yoga
Create an earth-themed yoga session with this kids yoga lesson plan.

Compost Stew, by Mary McKenna Siddals
Dig into composting with this engaging rhyming text.

Too Much Junk song, by Elska
Get inspired to enjoy nature and simplify your life with this new musical adventure.

Backyard Garden CD, by Earthworm Ensemble
Celebrate nature, green living, and gardening with this uplifting new music.

Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #2

EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY

PRIZE PACK #2

Change the World Before Bedtime, by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good
Find out how the simple things in life that can inspire huge differences that change the world.

Picture a Tree, by Barbara Reid
Discover new ways to experience trees in this book with stunning imagery.

This Tree Counts, by Alison Formento and Sarah Snow
Practice counting with animals that live in trees.

Miss Fox’s Class Goes Green, by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy
Join Miss Fox as she teaches her forest animal students how to go green.

In the Garden with Dr. Carver, by Susan Grigsby and Nicole Tadgell
Step into the historical world of Dr. Carver as he teaches children about gardening.

What’s So Special About Planet Earth?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn how planet Earth is different from other planets.

Polar Bear, Why is Your World Melting?, by Robert E. Wells
Learn why and how the world is getting warmer and what we can do about it.

Earth Day Giveaway Prize Pack #3EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY

PRIZE PACK #3

Earth Day CD and Recycled Musical Activities eBook, by Daria Marmaluk Hajioannou
Sing and dance to catchy folk music to celebrate our beautiful rainbow world.

Nature Anatomy, by Julia Rothman
Take a look at nature in a new way with this book that explains all about the nature with sketches.

Catch the Wind, Harness the Sun, by Michael J. Caduto
Learn about renewable energy with 22 activities on producing and using it.

Ecology eBook – Ecology Explorations, by Eva Varga
Explore your local ecosystems with this hands-on ten-week life science curriculum.

When the Animals Saved Earth, by Alexis York Lumbard
Read a tale about how animals teach humans to restore balance in nature.

Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree, by Durga Yael Bernhard
Explore trees all over the world and see what a child sees when climbing those trees

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apr 062015
 

E is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels | Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey has been interested in electricity for some time now.  So when I had the opportunity to participate in the A-Z Science Experiments from Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tail, I made sure to grab “E is for Electricity”!  I also wanted to marry this curiosity with his equally longstanding interest in animals, so I decided to do an experiment related to electric eels.

One of the reasons that the electric eels hunting mechanism (generating electric pulses to stun their prey) works so well is that while they don’t live in saltwater, the waters they live in (the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers in South America) contain enough salt and other minerals to be good conductors.  Pure water is actually a poor conductor of electricity, but throw in a little salt and it’s a different story!

E is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels | Alldonemonkey.com

image via electricanimals.wikispaces.com

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Saltwater Conductivity Experiment

An experiment demonstrating saltwater conductivity is easy to do and can work well on varying levels, depending on the interests and ability of your child.  On its most basic level, it’s a “gee whiz!” and “isn’t science fun!” kind of experiment, because it’s quick and you are making something happen, lighting a light bulb or sounding an alarm.  For young kids you can just do the experiment and leave it at that, as a fun science activity.

For older kids, you can delve more into the facts of electricity: the need to close the circuit in order for the electricity to reach the light bulb, the ability of salt to make water a better “conductor” of electricity.  And for even more complexity, you can begin to study about the electrons and how certain molecules make them more likely to want to jump around, creating an electric current.

For this experiment I used Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100, which we purchased recently for Monkey and he just loves.  I basically felt like Super Mom when he opened it because it is super educational but also super fun – Mom for the win!  Although the recommended age is 8 – 15 years old, if you have a younger child that is interested in electronics and/or experiments, I still highly recommend it.  The experiments are easy to do (though the concepts can be explored in great depths) and the equipment is all very safe for little hands to put together.  We sometimes spend long periods of time absorbed in creating circuits but also just pull it off the shelf for a quick experiment when we have a little downtime.  And the snap-together parts also make great building toys 🙂

If you do not have a Snap Circuits Jr. set, you can still do this experiment!  There are plenty of DIY versions out there that are very easy to put together.  But if you do have a set, it will save you a trip to the electronics store.

You Will Need:

Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 (or see DIY version above)*

Cup of water (distilled, if possible)

Salt

Spoon

*Please note: This is not an authorized use of Snap Circuits Jr., so proceed at your own risk.  I rinsed and dried our jumper cables and was able to reuse them without any trouble, but this is not a guarantee that the same will be true for you.

What to Do:

Build a simple circuit either from the Snap Circuits Jr. handbook or of your own devising.  Make sure it is one that will do something – such as light a bulb, sound an alarm, or turn a motor.  We did it twice – once for a light and once for an alarm.

E is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels | Alldonemonkey.com

Remove one of the snap connectors and instead attach two jumper cables (one cable to each side).  Put the other ends of the cables in the cup of water, making sure they do not touch.  The idea is to see whether the water will be able to close the circuit between the two cables, especially once the salt is added.

E is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels | Alldonemonkey.com

With plain water – no light!

Try turning on the switch for your circuit.  When this doesn’t work, gradually add more salt and observe the effect.  For us, we could observe how the light got brighter/alarm got louder as we added more salt.  Be sure to keep stirring until the salt is absorbed, otherwise it may just sink to the bottom and lessen the effect.

E is for Electricity: Saltwater Conductivity Experiment and Electric Eels | Alldonemonkey.com

Discussion:

What happened when we added salt to the water?

How was the circuit closed even though the cables weren’t touching?

What is it about salt that makes it a good conductor?

Would you like to play with an electric eel?  (Nooo!!!)

Additional Resources on Electricity

We are huge fans of the Magic School Bus, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we have read The Magic School Bus And The Electric Field Trip dozens of times!  I love that it explains electricity in terms that kids can easily understand, without skimping on the details, plus the visuals are great!  Chock full of information, and – as with all the Magic School Bus books – can be enjoyed on a number of levels depending on the age and interest of your child.

We love the DK Eyewitness Books series. They are non-fiction, so for kids that are more seriously into science, but  they work even for young readers as they have lots of great images.  The facts are broken into easily digestible chunks, so they are still fun to read even for those that won’t “get” all of the science quite yet. DK Eyewitness Books: Electricity is no exception. It is a really great book to explore electricity with your little scientist!

Additional Resources on Electronic Eels

Scientific American: How do electric eels generate a voltage and why do they not get shocked in the process?

Ask a Naturalist: How do Electric Eels Generate Electricity?

How Electric Eels Use Shocks to “Remote Control” Other Fish

A-Z Science Experiments - Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

This post is part of the A-Z Science Experiments series from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail.  Be sure to look at all the posts in this series for some great science experiments to do with your kids!

For more fun science activities, check out my Science Experiments for Kids Pinterest board:



 

Jan 272015
 
 January 27, 2015  Book Reviews, education3, raising world citizens Comments Off on Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Join in the celebration today of Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Today we are Celebrating:

A giant blog tour and Link-up:

Our BIG Multicultural Children’s Book Day linky is LIVE today (see the end of this post):

1) If you are a blogger: link up your multicultural children’s book reviews!

2) If you are a reader, parent, teacher, librarian, or caregiver, use the gigantic list below to explore books with diversity content via book reviews, book lists, and links!

A giant networking event:

Our goal is to also connect organizers, sponsors, co-hosts, bloggers, and others interested in expanding awareness of, and promotion of multicultural children’s books.

A virtual book drive:

We have partnered with First Book for a Virtual Book Drive to help in our efforts to place multicultural books in locations where they are needed.

A Twitter party:

We’re hosting a Twitter party tonight at 9pm to 10pm EST using hashtag #ReadYourWorld. We will be talking about diversity in children’s books and giving away 10 packages of wonderful diversity and inclusive books for kids!!! Please join us!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party

Use Hashtag: #ReadYourWorld

Today, January 27th

9pm to 10pm EST

Here’s your chance to win 10 packages of Diversity Books for Kids and chat about multicultural children’s books with MCCBD founders Valarie Budayr (Jump Into a Book) and Mia Wenjen (PragmaticMom)!

Multicultural Children's Book Day - Co-hosts

Africa to America

All Done Monkey

The Educators’ Spin On It

Growing Book by Book

InCultureParent

Kid World Citizen

Mama Smiles

Multicultural Kid Blogs

Sprout’s Bookshelf

2015 Sponsors

MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop; Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof; Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing; Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author Felicia Capers, Chronicle Books, Muslim Writers Publishing, East West Discovery Press.

We also have a great line-up of Author Sponsors and we are excited to be able to showcase their multicultural books on our Author Blogroll Page!

#ReadYourWorld - Multicultural Children's Book Day

 

Sep 252014
 
 September 25, 2014  activities, education3 10 Responses »

Science Kits for Kids: Little Blast Review and Giveaway | Alldonemonkey.com

I was provided a complimentary Little Blast Pulleys kit for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Monkey is fascinated by science, and we try very hard to feed his curiosity.  We visit volcanoes, read tons of books, and do as many science experiments as we can, such as this conservation one from last year.  But the truth is that as a busy mother to two young children, I just don’t have the time to research experiments and learning activities, gather materials, and so on.

That is why I jumped at the chance to review a Pulley science kit from Little Blast.  When I read a Little Blast review done recently by my friend Jaime at Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail, I thought I was dreaming: monthly themed science kits that are kid-friendly and really works?  We have tried our share of science kits from other companies, some good and some bad.  Often they are more about the cartoon characters involved, or they throw a lot of glitter and slime around without very much science.   Not so with Little Blast!

Science Kits for Kids: Little Blast Review and Giveaway | Alldonemonkey.com

Little Blast kits are easy to use and fun and incorporate lots of learning into every activity.  I love that the kit included so many types of learning – building, reading, storytelling, logical sequencing, and more!  Something else that is unique to Little Blast is that their kits include all the supplies you need.  Monkey was so excited to dive into the package when it arrived, and he was not disappointed!

The activities in the kit have a recommended order (brought to life in a cute storyboard that incorporates each activity into an overarching tale), but each can also stand on its own – which is useful, since young children do not always like to do things in order!

Science Kits for Kids: Little Blast Review and Giveaway | Alldonemonkey.com

Our kit was all about pulleys, and Monkey had so much fun building his pulley together and putting it to work – lifting up one of my shoes!  (Don’t worry, I wasn’t wearing it at the time!)  The activities all demonstrate basic principles about pulleys.  For example, one shows why pulleys make lifting so much easier.  (Because you’re pulling down instead of up, so you are working with instead of against gravity!)

I highly recommend Little Blast.  They are wonderful for kids that are into science, but also for those that aren’t.  Chances are, once they try one of these kits, they will realize why science can be so exciting!

Science Kits for Kids: Little Blast Review and Giveaway | Alldonemonkey.com

That’s why I’m so happy to be hosting this giveaway of one Pulley Blast science kit from Little Blast!  Just enter below for your chance to win! US Shipping Only

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Aug 182014
 

Children's Books About Making New Friends | Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the Back to School Ideas and Activities series from All Things Kids.  See the end of this post for more details and to link up your own back to school posts!

I was provided a complimentary copy of Never Say A Mean Word Again for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

When I was a kid, I was always excited but also anxious at the start of every school year.  One of my biggest worries was about making friends in my new class.  Learning to make friends is an important social skills, so talking through this process through books can help kids with this social hurdle and set them up for a great school year.  Here is a list of some of our favorites:

Children’s Books About Making New Friends

The Rainbow Fish

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

This is a gorgeously illustrated book about the rewards of friendship.  Once the Rainbow Fish learns to be generous and share his beautiful scales with others, he learns that the friendships he gains are worth much more.  You can also read a review of the whole Rainbow Fish series.

Never Say A Mean Word Again

Never Say A Mean Word Again by Jacqueline Jules

When we received this book from Wisdom Tales, I was hooked.  A children’s story set in Medieval Spain?  Count me in!  But I wasn’t sure my preschooler would be as interested.  Turns out he loves this book.  Despite the exotic setting, the story is told in such a way that any child can easily relate to it.  How do you handle someone who seems determined to be your enemy?  What to do when you are given the chance to take revenge?  The lengths the boy in this tale goes through to put his enemy in his place – and the surprising results – make this a page turner that teaches an important lesson finding a peaceful path through conflicts.

Wemberly Worried

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

Monkey and I both adore this book.  It came along at the perfect time for us, when he was having trouble with anxieties about school.  He could identify with Wemberly, who worried all the time, about everything from loose screws on the swings at the playground to whether anyone would come to her birthday party.  But school was the biggest worry of all for Wemberly, until one day she had to face her fear – and ended up making a new friend, who helped her to worry less and enjoy herself.

Chester's Way

Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

This is another gem from Kevin Henkes.  Chester reminds me quite a bit of Monkey:  He has certain ways he likes to do things – and luckily his best friend Wilson likes to do things exactly the same way.  They are two peas in a pod, content with only each other’s company – until Lily moves into the neighborhood.  Chester and Wilson must learn to get along with someone who does things differently – and in the end come to appreciate her “strange” ways.

The Brand New Kid

The Brand New Kid by Katie Couric

I came upon this book by chance, when I was looking for children’s books about Hungary.  Lazlo, the brand new kid at school, is from Hungary, and everything about him seems just too weird for the other students.  They tease him mercilessly until one day a fellow student realizes the damage they have done and decides to reach out.  I love this book because it is fairly realistic about what a new kid – especially one that really sticks out from the rest – must endure, and the power of just one person taking a stand and becoming a friend.  And yes, the author is that Katie Couric.  I was not sure what to expect, but I was really impressed.  The rhymes are sometimes a bit strained, but the overall message is great, and my son and his friends loved the book.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

We love Mo Willems, so I was happy to find this book about a monster who is just not scary!  Poor Leonardo does his best to terrify people, but with no luck until he finally discovers a boy whom he can make cry.  But when Leonardo finally does, instead of being happy he feels badly and decides he would rather be his friend and make him smile.

 

Dear Whiskers

Dear Whiskers by Ann Whitehead Nagda

I cannot say enough good things about this book!  It is too advanced for Monkey, as it is a chapter book aimed more towards middle elementary school students.  It is the story of a girl who discovers how to fit in by helping a younger student make friends.  Fourth grader Jenny is disappointed when her second grade penpal turns out to be a new girl from Saudi Arabia who speaks little English and acts strangely.  But as Jenny searches for ways to connect with Sameera, she helps the little girl’s classmates look at the new girl differently as well and, in the end, makes a new friend.

Back to School Ideas and Activities: All Things Kids

Today the bloggers of All Things Kids are bringing you a series of great Back to School Ideas and Activities.  Be sure to check out all the links!

But we also want to see your great back to school ideas!  Share them below:


 

Jul 172014
 

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

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary copies of these books for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

If you are a multi-tasking parent like me, you will love ArteKids books!

Teach basic concepts like numbers and shapes?  Check.

Teach English and Spanish?  Check.

Expose to great works of art?  Check.

Introduce to Latin American culture, ancient and modern?  Check.

Have FUN?  Check!

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

Baby Monkey loves ArteKids books and requests one to read every night at bedtime.  I think children are naturally drawn to great works of art, especially the colorful pieces included in these books.  They are not the typical, somewhat stuffy pieces you might expect, but rather they are fun, colorful pieces from the San Antonio Museum of Art.  Definitely not the usual suspects!  What kid wouldn’t want to learn about shapes from an ancient Aztec statue or a colorful toy animal from Oaxaca?

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

For adults and older kids, you can learn more about all of the artists in a guide at the back of each book.

These bilingual books are an instant classic – a wonderful way to introduce children to both the world of language and the world of art!

Jul 142014
 

This play idea is brought to you by Knoala – Raise Happier Kids.  Knoala is a free app that offers activities for parents to enjoy with infants to preschoolers.

Preschooler Science: Check the Scale {Sponsored by Knoala} | Alldonemonkey.com

Monkey loves science and is always full of questions about, well, everything!  He wants to know how everything works, from light switches to eyeballs to Venus fly traps.  I want to feed his curiosity, but between trying to run a household and watch after two small children, I often don’t have the time to for elaborate experiments.  That’s why I love this simple preschooler science activity – easy to set up but a great learning tool for preschoolers!

Preschooler Science: Check the Scale {Sponsored by Knoala} | Alldonemonkey.com

For this easy science activity, all you need is a bathroom scale and a healthy dose of preschooler curiosity.  Using ordinary objects around the house, they get to create a hypothesis (“Which weighs more?”), test it by using the scale, and put the results into practice by arranging the objects from lightest to heaviest.  Genius!  Besides learning about the concept of weight and how scales work, this activity also encourages young children to begin to answer their own questions, rather than just depending on a grownup to tell them how things work.  After all, isn’t that the real end goal for us as parents?

Get the FULL play prompt instructions here:

knoala-activityI love that the Knoala app is designed for busy parents who still want to engage their children and give them a developmental boost.  The activities are simple yet profound.  They don’t require an elaborate set up or extensive planning, yet they are targeted towards important developmental stages.  Knoala makes it easy to be a super hero for your kids!

P.S. If you liked this activity prompt, be sure to check out the app for yourself!

get-knoalaA little bit more about Knoala: Knoala offers thousands of fun and development-boosting activities for parents to enjoy with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.  Based on your child’s age and local weather conditions, Knoala finds activities that are most suitable for you and your family.  Bond with your child over games and crafts that foster artistic, cognitive, emotional, motor, sensory and language skills.  Connect with thousands of parents to exchange ideas on how to keep your child happy and busy.  Follow the hottest mom and dad bloggers for their expert advice on keeping your little ones entertained.  With Knoala in hand, you never have to worry about your child feeling bored again.  All content on Knoala are free, and always will be.

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Preschooler Science: Check the Scale {Sponsored by Knoala} |Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure of Material Conenction: This is a “sponsored post.”  The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 116 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

Jun 302014
 

The Language Story of the Creative Mom: Bilingual Kids Rock Podcast interview

I am so pleased today to share the interview I did recently with Olena of Bilingual Kids Rock.  She has an amazing podcast series, interviewing parents from around the world who are raising their kids to be bilingual.  In our interview we talk about religion, choosing which language learning system to use, learning Spanish while residing in Bolivia, switching languages when speaking to adults and a whole lot more.  Listen to the interview on Bilingual Kids Rock – we’d love to hear what you think!

The Language Story of the Creative Mom: Bilingual Kids Rock Podcast Interview

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