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?

新年快乐

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 172018
 
 December 17, 2018  activities, Ayyam-i-Ha, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Diwali, Geography, Hanukkah, multiculturalism, raising world citizens Comments Off on Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids

Take your kids around the world this holiday season by hosting an around the world holiday party! It’s the perfect way for a school club or a homeschool group to celebrate this festive season.

Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids

Last year we started a World Explorers Club in our homeschool group. Each month we get together to learn about a different country with the kiddos. Earlier this month the World Explorers Club put on our second annual around the world holiday party. Everyone had a blast!

Each family picks a country to represent and shows how a popular winter holiday is celebrated there.

At our party this year we learned about Christmas in Sweden, Russia, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands; Hanukkah in Israel; Diwali in India; Chinese New Year in China; and Ayyám-i-Há. (The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há was a bit of an exception, since it isn’t based in any one country).

For their chosen country, each family prepares 1) a craft or activity, 2) a traditional treat. So, for example, last year our family did the Philippines, so the kids made a version of a traditional star decoration and sampled some homemade coconut milk cake. For India (Diwali) this year we brought ladoos to share and helped the kids make paper diyas. For Sweden, the kids crafted some adorable Christmas gnomes and decorated cookies, while for Israel (Hanukkah) they played dreidel to win chocolate coins.

Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Setup

We have done this two different ways, so see which works for your group! Both times, we set up “stations” around the room, generally one country per table, and the kids could spread out and take turns visiting each.

Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Last year, the food and the craft were at each station, whereas this year we moved all the treats to a food table and saved them until the end. They were only able to get the food after completing a quiz about the countries they had learned about!

Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

The holiday quiz! They had to work together to answer the questions before they could have their treats 🙂

Whichever way you do it, make sure to have their first stop by a station where kids decorate treat bags. They’ll need one to collect all the crafts they will be making! This is a great activity for them to do as people are arriving and setting up.

Next year, we definitely have to add a Mexican style piñata!

Related Posts:

When Christmas Is Celebrated Around the World

Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Traditions from Around the World

 

Dec 132018
 
 December 13, 2018  Book Reviews, Christmas Comments Off on New Christmas Picture Books to Brighten Your Holiday

The holidays are the perfect time to snuggle up together and share some cozy moments over a good book. Well, I have not one but five wonderful new Christmas picture books to share with you, all of them guaranteed to brighten your holiday! So take a break from the hustle and bustle, grab your kids and some mugs of cocoa, and curl up with these new holiday favorites.

New Christmas Picture Books to Brighten Your Holiday | Alldonemonkey.com

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

New Christmas Picture Books to Brighten Your Holiday

My kids love ninjas! So why I was very excited to receive North Pole Ninjas: MISSION: Christmas! to review. Who would have thought there would be ninjas at the North Pole? But they are so useful to do all those secret jobs that need to be done to spread kindness everywhere! The pictures are adorable, and I love the rhyming text, but my FAVORITE part is that it comes with 50 top secret missions of kindness that kids can do, like donating food to the local food bank, or drawing a holiday picture for relatives. What a great way to have kids focus on the spirit of the season!

Another book that really helps kids focus on what’s important is My Little Gifts: A Book of Sharing (Growing Hearts). This is a beautifully done book with plenty of cleverly done flaps for little hands to open. It helps children realize that gifts don’t have to be wrapped under the tree, they can be hugs and kisses, or helping someone, or letting your sister decide which jam to try. I should mention that this book is not specifically for Christmas, but great for any time of year.

All Aboard! The Christmas Train is soooo fun for little readers! It opens up into a train, plus each car opens up to see the passengers inside! My kids love laying this book out on the floor to read it. As their mom, I love that it incorporates so many fun little learning activities, like counting the number of skiers, or looking for Santa’s missing boot! So colorful and fun!

Decked Out for Christmas! is a really cute board book to help younger kids get excited about Christmas time. A group of mice pull out all the decorations (included a cheese star!) fit for a wonderful Christmas tree, but soon it becomes obvious they aren’t decorating a tree! Great twist and a special appearance by a present-giving mouse at the end.

I love finding bilingual books for all occasions, so I was happy to review Doggy Claus / Perro Noel (English and Spanish Edition). It is a sweet story of a shelter dog who wants to bring some holiday cheer to the other animals. In the end he discovers that the best presents aren’t toys but rather friendship. Really cute book with a great message!

Related Posts:

6 Tips to Keep the Holidays Special

DIY Ornament: Philippine Christmas Star Craft

Haitian Pineapple Nog

 

Winter Wonderland Blogger Campaign

This post is part of the Winter Wonderland blogger campaign from Penguin Books! Be sure to check out all the reviews – each snowflake is a different winter book for kids!

Winter Wonderland Blogger Campaign

Snowflake One

December 10 – Gypsy Mom – Review + Craft

December 11 – A Buckeye Teacher – Review + Creative Instagram Picture + Classroom Idea

December 12 – InRandom – Review + Gift Guide

December 13 – Mommy Ramblings – Review + Giveaway

Snowflake Two

December 10 – DoodleMom – Review + Moodboard/Craft

December 11 – Coquette Maman – Review + Instagram Unboxing

December 12 – Pink Polka Dots – Books to read when you want that winter feel

December 13 – Word Spelunking – Review + Inspired by the book: Baking

Snowflake Three

December 10 – Babies to Bookworms – Review + Activities

December 11 – The Unique Classroom – Classroom Activity

December 12 – Inspiration Laboratories – Activity

December 13 – Dream Reader Kids – Unboxing + Creative Instagram Picture

Snowflake Four

December 10 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – Inspired by the Book: Snowflakes or Ornament Decorations

December 11 – Crafty Moms Share – Fun Facts about Snowflakes

December 12 – Books and Giggles – Craft

December 13 – All Done Monkey – New Christmas Books for Kids

December 14 – A Peace of Mind – Inspired by the book

Snowflake Five

December 10 – What’s a Kid To Read – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

December 11 – The Inspired Apple – Creative Instagram Picture

December 12 – Because.my.mother.read – Learning Activity + Craft

December 13 – Lovely Little Things – Review + Creative

Dec 072018
 
 December 7, 2018  music, recipes, Winter Comments Off on 20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy

As we settle into colder weather, we all could use a little something to warm us up. Here are 20+ kid-friendly winter drinks to keep the whole family feeling cozy and snug this winter! And don’t miss our review of a fabulous new children’s album that will help everyone beat cabin fever all winter long!

20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Winterland 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.

20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy

Enjoy these kid-friendly winter drinks, including egg nog, hot chocolate, apple cider, tea, and more!

Haitian Pineapple Nog from All Done Monkey

Coquito: Puerto Rican Egg Nog from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes

Magic Milk from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Spiced Vanilla Oatmeal Steamer from All Done Monkey

Homemade White Hot Chocolate from Crayons & Cravings

White Hot Chocolate with Polar Bear Marshmallows from Gluesticks Blog

Oreo Creme White Hot Chocolate from The Soccer Mom Blog

Jaggery Hot Chocolate from Multicultural Kid Blogs

Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate from Crayons & Cravings

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate from Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Monster Hot Chocolate from Easy Peasy Fun

Mint Hot Chocolate from Happiness is Homemade

Healthy Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate from In the Kids Kitchen

Mexican Hot Chocolate from MommyMaestra

Guatemalan Hot Cocoa from Global Table Adventure

Chai Tea Latte from Let the Journey Begin

Moroccan Tea from Kid World Citizen

Kahwa: Indian Tea from Maple & Marigold

Holiday Cheer Cozy Drink from Bicultural Mama

Holiday Spice Wassail from Gluesticks Blog

Cranberry Apple Cider from Salt & Baker

Fizzy Crockpot Apple Cider from In the Kids Kitchen

What are your favorite kid-friendly winter drinks?

New Children’s Album for Winter Fun

Just in time for the cold weather is a new album of 16 original songs from GRAMMY® Award-winning The Okee Dokee Brothers. Winterland is an upbeat, toe tapping album that celebrates everything that is glorious about winter, from playing out in the snow to getting to know a Yeti. My favorite is “Keep Me Warm,” (see the video on their YouTube channel), while my kids keep requesting “The Abominable Yeti.” (I love the rhymes on that one!)

This fun loving pair of childhood friends will catch children up in the excitement of exploring and enjoying the outdoors in winter. In a time where children often experience the world via screens, it’s refreshing to have music that takes us back to the wonders of nature and appreciating the changing seasons.

The Okee Dokee Brothers will also be celebrating the album’s release with several family concerts, so see if you can catch a live performance!

 

Oct 172018
 
 October 17, 2018  activities, Day of the Dead 2 Responses »

Looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids? Why not make an escape room? It is a fun way to engage a group of kids in crafts and puzzles related to Day of the Dead! We have you covered with a complete (though flexible) plan to set up your escape room, including a free printable pack! Perfect activity for a classroom setting or Day of the Dead party.

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room

Are you throwing a Day of the Dead party or looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids for your classroom? Here is a complete plan, including a printable (see below), though it is also flexible to allow you to adjust to suit your needs.

Below are eight activities (many included in the printable pack) that you can use for your Day of the Dead escape room. Any of these can be swapped out or modified to suit your group of students; however, make sure that you end up with EIGHT activities total, so that they can solve the final puzzle. The activities can be done in any order, but all must be completed before they are given the final puzzle to solve.

For each activity done or puzzle solved, the students will receive one letter (included in the printable). Once they receive all eight letters, they can solve the final puzzle.

Variation: To add some excitement to this Day of the Dead activity for kids, you could set a time limit to the game then blow up some of these skeleton balloons and pop one every few minutes. (So, for example, if you are going to give them 30 minutes for the activity, blow up 6 balloons and pop one every 5 minutes). Once the last balloon is popped, time’s up!

Set Up

Depending on your layout and the size of the group, the children could work together on each activity on one large table, or you could set up each activity on a separate, smaller table, and have the children work in smaller groups, each of which would complete several of the activities. (For example, 4 small groups could do 2 activities each). However you decide, the entire group should solve the final puzzle together.

Print out the Day of the Dead Activity for Kids Escape Room Printable Pack to use where indicated below.

Activity 1: Spanish Color by Number Skull

Help them learn their colors in Spanish with this Day of the Dead color by number page.

Activity 2: Day of the Dead Song

Teach them a Day of the Dead song! Depending on their level of Spanish, they could learn the lyrics or just have fun dancing.

Activity 3: Marigold Craft

Let them create a beautiful Day of the Dead decoration to take home by teaching them to make marigolds out of tissue paper.

Activity 4: Fill in the Blanks

Work together to complete a Day of the Dead fill in the blank activity (included in the printable).

Activity 5: Papel Picado

Make banners with beautiful papel picado, either using this template or their own design.

Activity 6: Word Problem

Solve a Day of the Dead themed word problem (included in the printable).

Activity 7: Acrostic Poem

Get creative by writing their own acrostic poem about Day of the Dead! (Template included in the printable).

Activity 8: Honoring Loved Ones

While Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday, it’s important to remind kids about the real meaning behind it, which is to honor and remember loved ones that have passed on. Have each student make a drawing of a loved one or hero that has passed on, along with a sentence or two about what they remember about them. (Worksheet included in the printable).

Final Puzzle:

Finish off your Day of the Dead activity for kids by having them solve one final puzzle! This puzzle (included in the printable) is solved using the letters earned with each completed activity.

Treats

Be sure to have plenty of Day of the Dead treats on hand to reward them for their hard work! You could have pan de muerto (bread of the dead), sweet pumpkin dessert, or these crispy rice treats, and, of course, candy skulls! Don’t forget these Day of the Dead cupcake toppers!

 

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We love to travel and learn about other cultures, but sometimes it can lead to misunderstandings! That’s why I love this new book from @worldwidebuddies, The Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding! When Adri and his family move back to Mexico, he is puzzled about the Day of the Dead he hears everyone talking about. When he tries to find out more about it, his sister teases him and tells him it’s the day he’s going to die! Ride along with Adri as his family prepares for the big day – and he finally discovered what it’s really all about! This is a great book to introduce kids to Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico and let them know that misunderstandings are normal! 

A post shared by Leanna || Parenting, Education (@alldonemonkey) on

While they enjoy their treats, read this fun new picture book for older kids! A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding is a great introduction to Day of the Dead from the perspective of a young boy whose family has recently moved back to Mexico. Like most children, Adri has heard some about Day of the Dead but finds much of it confusing. And to top it all off, his older sister decides to play a trick on him, telling him that Day of the Dead is when Adri is going to die!

Young readers will identify with Adri’s confusion and enjoy the happy resolution, learning all about the beautiful Day of the Dead holiday along the way.

I loved the artwork in A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, which captures the emotional tenor of the story as well as providing some stunning views of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. My favorite was the nighttime boat ride to the island of Janitzio, twinkling with candlelight. My sons enjoyed Adri’s sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking misunderstandings – plus his pet axolotl, of course!

While you can order A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding by itself, you can also find it as part of a Dead of the Dead story box that includes toys, games, and activities to teach children about this marvelous Mexican celebration!

What is your favorite Day of the Dead activity for kids?

Related Posts:

Children’s Books for Day of the Dead

Easy Day of the Dead Craft

The Aztec: Top Books for Children

Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid Blogs
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:

 

Sep 102018
 
 September 10, 2018  Book Reviews, Halloween 2 Responses »

All you looking for some not so scary books to share with your kids this Halloween? Here are some wonderfully silly Halloween books that will make your kids giggle, not scream (though there may be some groans at a few of the jokes)! And this post is part of a Halloween blog hop, so don’t miss the links to other fun Halloween themed posts at the end.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? 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.

Silly Halloween Books Kids Will Love | Alldonemonkey.com

Silly Halloween Books Kids Will Love

Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? is the perfect read for any child who finds all the trappings off Halloween just a tad too scary. The young protagonist, when she gets too frightened of all things spooky, brilliantly turns the monsters and ghouls in her head from creepy to silly by asking pertinent questions, like whether Frankenstein gets hungry, or if Dracula flosses his fangs. (My son’s favorite, of course, was whether the boogeyman has boogers!) A great technique for teaching littles to conquer their fears!

AlphaOops: H Is for Halloween is such a great book for a range of ages – my toddler loves it she’s currently obsessed with the alphabet (and she gets to make her silly ghost noises), while my 5 year old laughs at all the jokes, like the running gag that the other letters keep stealing the letter B’s costume ideas. It’s a fun follow up to AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First.

The Scariest Book Ever made us all laugh out loud, as we soon discover that this is absolutely not the scariest book ever. It’s actually a cute story about a ghost who is scared to go outside of his haunted house but eventually gains the courage to go to a Halloween party – with hilarious results! (Don’t worry, they all enjoy their Halloween cupcakes together in the end!)

Monster Trouble! has been a bedtime favorite for a long time now, and my son still laughs every time. Of course, I love the spunky heroine who is plagued by monsters who just want to play with her every night, so that she falls asleep in class the everyday. She tries every trick she can think of to get them to leave her alone so she can get some sleep, until one night she accidentally stumbles on the perfect (and very sweet!) solution.

Skeleton Hiccups is one of our favorite silly Halloween books and will definitely have your kids giggling, as the poor Skeleton attempts all the tried and true methods to cure himself of the hiccups. (Spoiler: Drinking water doesn’t help if the water just pours right back out!) It’s left to his buddy Ghost to come up with the perfect solution and prove that even Skeletons can get scared silly!

Related Posts

Halloween Books and Activities that Encourage Working Together

Spanish Halloween Activities

Runaway Pumpkin Halloween Experiment

15+ Skeleton Crafts and Activities

This is part of a Halloween Theme Blog Hop – Check out these other fun Halloween Ideas! Click on photos!

Halloween Blog Hop

DIY Caramel Apple Lip Balm

Halloween Mug Cozy

Silly Halloween Books Kids Will Love

Halloween Rock Painting Ideas

Making Spiders Using Physics

Jul 252018
 

My homeschooling friends and I are all abuzz with plans for the upcoming school year: the best curricula, favorite planners, new approaches to challenging subjects, and tips to get organized (for real, this time!) Now that we’re entering our fourth full year of homeschooling (if you don’t count the co-op preschool we did when my oldest was small), I have a better sense of what we’ll need to get ready for the new year, so I’ve compiled some of my favorites in this back to school guide for homeschoolers. Share your favorite resources in the comments!

This is part of a back to school crafts and school supply guides blog hop be sure to check out all the great ideas at the bottom of this post!

Back to School Guide for Homeschoolers | 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.

Back to School Guide for Homeschoolers

Organization

I love these Magazine File Holders! They are an easy way to organize books, papers, and files by subject and/or child. (We also use them to organize the kids’ magazines and comic books). They are colorful and sturdy and easy to label. They also help maximize space because they can be set on top of a dresser or bookcase if (like us) you never seem to have enough shelf space.

Expanding file folders are another great organizational tool, which is also easy to take with you if you need to go to a meeting or want to take your planning to a coffee shop or on the patio.

Where would I be without my planner? There are so many out there, including great printable planners. This year I’ll be using The A+ Homeschool Planner: Plan, Record, and Celebrate Each Child’s Progress, which I really like because it makes it easy to track progress of multiple children. (Just wish it were spiral bound!)

Arts & Crafts

By the end of the school year, most of our crayons have been lost or used up, and the caps to all the markers disappeared, so it’s always nice to start out fresh! This Crayola Inspiration Art Case comes with everything – loads of crayons and markers, and even drawing paper!

My younger two adore doing crafts, so this ALEX Toys Craft Giant Art Jar would be perfect! It would also be a great way to keep them engaged while I work one on one with their older brother.

My kids love drawing! Honestly, most of the time we use reams of loose leaf paper, but a Melissa & Doug Drawing Pad is perfect to have in the car or to take when we’re waiting for one to finish with karate, etc.

Sciences

We bought the Learning Resources Magnifier & Tweezers a couple years ago and have gotten so much use out of them! We take them on nature walks and use them with our discovery tray. Perfect for little hands!

If you are doing nature studies or just want to explore outdoors with your kids, try this Adventure Exploration Set by Ninja Kid. It comes with binoculars, flashlights, compass, telescope, magnifying glass, whistle, and bag!

Many of us are familiar with Little Passports for their amazing geography tools, but did you know they also have science subscription kits? I love everything by Little Passports, and a friend of mine has used really enjoyed using the Science Expeditions subscription with her daughter.

Another great science tool to have on hand is Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit. It is a great kit to get your child doing some hands-on science learning. Although the age says 8+, both of my boys were able to enjoy it by age 5 with supervision.

One of my son’s enrichment teachers – and a longtime homeschooler – once told me that one of her regrets was not buying a microscope for her kids sooner. There are so many out there, that which one you buy just really depends on your budget and your child’s level of interest. This AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT1 Beginner Microscope Kit is a good basic microscope for kids, and I love that it comes with accessories and a sturdy carrying case.

My kids are really into coding, so this year we’re purchasing a Kano Computer Kit. You actually build your own computer – what a great way hands on way to learn about how computers work! Plus afterwards you can practice coding on the computer.

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Jun 142018
 
 June 14, 2018  Book Reviews, Father's Day Comments Off on New Children’s Books About Dads and Daughters

There is no doubt that the relationship between dads and daughters is a special one, and one that is formative to a girl’s growing sense of self and her future relationships. (No pressure, Dad!) So this Father’s Day, celebrate all that is beautiful and goofy about this relationship with these wonderful new picture books about fathers and their little girls.

New Picture Books About Dads and Daughters | Alldonemonkey.com

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

New Picture Books About Dads and Daughters

With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family (Growing Hearts) is a lovely keepsake book from the author of All My Treasures: A Book of Joy, also part of the Growing Hearts series (read my full review). It is a celebration of all the ways that a girl can spend time with her father – riding bikes, swimming, or just relaxing. To me, the underlying message it about unconditional love, as her father’s unwavering support makes the main character feel safe and more sure of herself, and more able to deal with big emotions.

For a more silly take on dads and daughters, don’t miss Pet Dad! The cover alone already gives you a hint about where this book will take you! This book takes a familiar disagreement – a child who wants a pet, the parent who says no – to a hilarious extreme, as a girl explores all the ways her dad is (and isn’t) the perfect pet. Kids will love all the silliness as the main character tries to “train” her dad, and parents will notice that she is the one being trained, into asking her father for things nicely!

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Jun 042018
 
 June 4, 2018  Sacramento, Summer Comments Off on Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge

The Sacramento area has so much to offer for families! This summer, get out and explore the River City with your kids by taking part in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge: You could win one of our great prizes, while celebrating Sacramento summer fun with your family! Read on for more details on this fun Instagram challenge.

Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge June & July 2018 #SummerFunSac

Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge: #SummerFunSac

Looking for a fun way to get out and explore the Sacramento area with your family this summer? Join in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge and giveaway, running this June and July and celebrating all the ways families have fun in the River City in the summertime!

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. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

How to Participate:

It’s easy!

  1. Post a photo(s) of you and/or your family having fun in the Sacramento area this summer! All photos must be family friendly and include the #SummerFunSac hashtag.
  2. Follow me on Instagram.
  3. Follow the sponsor of the week on Instagram, if applicable (see sponsor list below).

Just think: you could go for a hike, stop by your local library, go to a museum, or just relax in the backyard!

Drawings will be held every Monday, choosing a random winner from the photos posted the previous week (Monday – Sunday).

The Prizes

I know, I know – You’re saying, just get to the good stuff already! What could we win?? I’m proud to say that all of the sponsors are local companies or events, so let’s show them some love!

June 4 – 10 (drawing June 11)

Sponsor: Sac Town Kids (@sactownkids)
Prize: a copy of their new book 1,001 Things to Do in Sacramento with Kids (& the Young at Heart) (read my review), plus one of their denim book bags, which reads, “All good things are wild and free.” -Henry David Thoreau.

June 11 – 17 (drawing June 18)

Sponsor: Fandemic Tour Comic Con (@fandemictour)
Prize: Pack of tickets to Comic Con, in Sacramento June 22-24, 2018! (See our review from a previous year)

June 18 – 24 (drawing June 25)

Sponsor: Pure Romance (@sizzlethefizzle)
Prize: Love Story body lotion

June 25 – July 1 (drawing July 2)

Sponsor: Mighty Kong Muffins
Prize: Pack of gourmet bran muffins (read our review)

July 2 – 8 (drawing July 9)

Sponsor: Upside Over Designs
Prize: $20 gift certificate

July 9 – 15 (drawing July 16)

Sponsor: Aerospace Museum of California (@aerospaceca)
Prize: Family pack of tickets

July 16 – 22 (drawing July 23)

Sponsor: Elite Bakery Cafe (@jasminematsoyan)
Prize: Coffee and dessert/pastry

July 23 – 29 (drawing July 30)

GRAND PRIZE
Sponsor 1: Fit4Mom Sacramento (@fitformomsacramento)
Prize 1: free one month unlimited membership for Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre

Sponsor 2: Imagine Play (@imagineplayeg)
Prize 2: Two play passes

Sponsor 3: Usborne Books and More Consultant Christina Garcia
Prize 3: $25 credit to be redeemed through this consultant only (shipping not included), plus a special offer if you choose to purchase more.

So start snapping photos, and you could be featured in my Instagram feed or win one of the fabulous prizes listed above! How will you showcase Sacramento summer fun this summer?

 

Jun 012018
 
 June 1, 2018  recipes, Summer Comments Off on Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade

Lemonade is the quintessential summer drink, so why not whip up a homemade batch? It only takes minutes! Adding strawberries makes it even more special, and now you have a guilt free version that uses honey as the sweetener, so there is no reason not to enjoy a tall glass (or more!) this weekend. Honey sweetened strawberry lemonade is a refreshing drink the whole family can enjoy!

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade | 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.

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade

We are blessed with lemon and orange trees in our backyard, so when we found some ripe lemons on a particularly hot day last week, we immediately thought of lemonade! I found this wonderful homemade lemonade recipe and adapted it for our tastes, mainly by switching out honey for sugar in the simple syrup. Also, I used frozen strawberries instead of fresh to make strawberry lemonade because, let’s face it, if we have fresh strawberries we tend to gobble them up right away!

As for the honey, this recipe is very easy to adjust for your tastes and how tart your lemons are. Because you mix it all up in the blender, if you need to add extra honey later, it will mix it perfectly well.

We juiced 4 large lemons with our Cuisinart CJE-500 Compact Juice Extractor to yield approximately 2 cups of juice. If you end up with a different amount, the important thing is to make sure it is roughly a 1:1 ratio with the simple syrup. Again, as you can see, this is a very easy recipe to adjust!

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients

Makes 2 liters

2 cups fresh lemon juice (approx. 4 large lemons)

2 cups simple syrup (see below)

1 cup frozen strawberries

To make simple syrup:

Mix 2 Tbs honey in 2 cups boiling water. Let cool.

Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade | Alldonemonkey.com

In a blender, mix lemon juice, simple syrup, and strawberries until smooth. Add water and ice until you have 2 liters total, then mix again and adjust for sweetness, adding more honey if desired. Enjoy!

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