Sep 172021
 

Pura Belpré was a champion storyteller and the first Puerto Rican/Latina librarian in New York City, but many of us only know her name from the award named in her honor. This Latinx Heritage Month (Hispanic Heritage Month) learn more about the trailblazing woman behind the famous children’s book award. Scroll down for a review of a new children’s book about her life!

Pura Belpré: Latinx Heritage Month | 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. I received a complimentary copy of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Pura Belpré: Latinx Heritage Month

Pura Belpré had a gift for stories and an especial love for tales from her native Puerto Rico. But when she became a children’s librarian in New York (the first Latina library in New York City), she saw that these stories were not being told to the children.

Pura Belpré filled that gap by telling the cuentos (or stories) that she grew up with. She also saw that many of the children of other immigrant families were not participating in the library and made an effort to invite and include them as well.

One of her innovative ideas was to create bilingual story times, something we have personally benefited from. She was the first librarian to hold bilingual story times in New York!

Today her legacy is honored in the Pura Belpré Award, given annually to the Latinx illustrator and author whose work best celebrates the Latinx experience. Here are the 2021 winners:

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat (World of ¡Vamos!) (Read my review of other titles by the same author)

Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

Efrén Divided

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance

Furia

Pura Belpré: New Children’s Book

And for a lovely new book about Pura Belpré herself!

Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories is a wonderful way to share the story of this Latinx heroine with children. This beautiful book pays tribute to this pioneering librarian, who made such a difference for so many children, not just in New York City but throughout the country. It tells of her early love of stories and her journey to bringing those stories into the library, and in turn bringing more children into the library as well.

The vibrant illustrations capture Belpré’s joy for storytelling, catching the reader up in the same enthusiasm that the children in the library must have felt on the rug at story time. The story of Pura Belpré is a wonderful way to teach our children the power of stories to bridge cultures.

And next Wednesday, September 22, at 3 pm ET, be sure to watch my interview – in English and Spanish! – of the both author and illustrator of this book: Annette Bay Pimentel and Magaly Morales. 

Aug 202021
 
 August 20, 2021  Back to School, Book Reviews, Education Comments Off on Back to School Books for Kids of All Ages

The start of a new school year means another new crop of great back to school books for kids! This collection ranges from picture books to early chapter books and middle grade novels. They tell the stories of children starting school for the first time as well as those who have moved to a new school. Some are dealing with the normal first day of school jitters; some have an added layer of feeling “different” than the other kids. All of the children wonder if they will make new friends.

These back to school books are a wonderful way to help kids prepare for and process those exciting and nerve wracking first days!

Back to School Books for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Back to School Books for Kids

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

Enjoy these new back to school books for kids!

School Is Cool! is another wonderful picture book from the authors of Hello! Lucky books (read my recent review of their book Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!). Just like all the books in this series, School Is Cool! is bright and colorful, with adorable animal characters. Its rhyming text fairly bounces off the page, contributing to the cheerful, upbeat feel of this joyful book. A great way to get kids excited about their first day.

Sounds Like School Spirit is the perfect book to get your kids pumped up about starting school! The rhyming text takes the form of a chant, so it would be great to read out loud, especially at circle time! I love that the students and teacher are so diverse, and that there is an emphasis on working together to have a great school year. Go team!`

Emily D. and the Fearful First Day is the third book from Sivan Hong, who has dedicated herself to writing books that include neurodiverse kids. As in Hong’s first two books, the main character, Emily D., is neurodiverse, and the book shows how she is successful at tackling a challenging situation, in this case a new school year. The story incorporates elements that often help neurodiverse kids, like fidget toys. I love that the author took such care to make sure that the book was appropriate for neurodiverse kiddos, like making simple illustrations for kids that are easily distracted, and choosing a font that is easier for kids with dyslexia. Hong was also careful to challenge our stereotypes about neurodiverse kids (usually thought of as white boys) by making the main character a Black girl. A great book for all kids to read!

If you are interested in this topic, be sure to watch my interview with author Sivan Hong on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, at 3 pm ET on the Instagram for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

What Should Danny Do? School Day is part of the Power to Choose series, where children help the main character choose what to do in various situations. Depending on their choice, they follow the story in one direction or another to see the consequences of that action. So each book is really 8 stories in one! It is a brilliant didactic technique, as children get to see how different scenarios work out. (Read my recent review of What Should Darla Do?). This latest book, What Should Danny Do? School Day, focuses specifically on situations that children often encounter in school, such as being picked for the losing team at basketball, or how to help a classmate that’s sad. I love that the scenarios are so realistic to what kids will face at school. My kids read this book over and over to try all the different storylines. Wonderful book to teach children that they have the power to choose how they respond to the challenges they face.

As soon as I heard about Becoming Vanessa, I knew I had to have it. Vanessa Brantley-Newton is one of my favorite author-illustrators. She has illustrated such celebrated books as The King of Kindergarten (another great back to school book!) and The Youngest Marcher. She is also the author and illustrator of a number of wonderful books, such as Just Like Me and Grandma’s Purse. And now, we get to learn about her own childhood!

In Becoming Vanessa, we experience the excitement of young Vanessa as she heads off to her first day of school – only to discover she is not like the other children, who don’t wear flamboyant clothes or have unusual names. Vanessa decides that she no longer wants to be “special.” The next day she wears a more muted outfit, and she announces that she has changed her name. Then her mother tells her the story behind her name, which means “metamorphosis,” just like a butterfly. With her parents’ encouragement, Vanessa learns to take pride in her name and in herself. A beautiful story for children who feel like they don’t quite fit in, especially knowing that the book is inspired by a true story!

When the pandemic hit in 2020, children everywhere had to learn how to do school at home. For many, it meant adjusting from a classroom setting to remote learning in front of a computer. Back-to-School at Home! is a wonderful book that addresses this new reality, incorporating some of the common challenges as well as the surprising joys. And I love that this series was created by a mom who was frustrated because she didn’t see multicultural families like hers (with heritage from Togo & Japan) represented in picture books. A great book that children will easily relate to.

One of the biggest milestones of starting a new school year is making new friends. How to Spot a Best Friend follows a young girl confident that she will make a new best friend at school that year. She recounts to her mother all the ways you can recognize a best friend, such as someone who holds your hand during a scary story and who celebrates your successes. But most of all, to find a best friend you have to be a great friend, too!

1, 2, 3, Off to School! is about Pom, a child so excited to start school that she decides to get a sneak peek a year early! Pom visits the different animal schools of all the woodland creatures, from the mice and hedgehogs to the bears. At each school, Pom learns more about how schools work and what students do there. Now Pom is ready for kindergarten! This is an adorable book with detailed illustrations that children will love to spend time exploring.

I Wish You Knew is a poignant book that reminds us that children don’t come to school as clean slates. They bring with them all of the problems and trauma that they have experienced. Factors such as poverty and loss mean that many children are burdened with fear, anger, hunger, and sadness that make it difficult for them to learn. In I Wish You Knew, Estrella misses her father terribly after he is deported. When her teacher begins an “I Wish You Knew” sharing circle at school, Estrella feels her own burden lighten as she realizes that she is not alone. A must read for teachers and students alike.

Every child has experienced nervousness on the first day of school, especially when starting at a new school, but has anyone actually turned into a turtle because of it?? That’s exactly what happens to Tally in this first book of a wonderful new early chapter book series. In Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle, an already nervous Tally is overwhelmed when her new classmates make fun of her full name, Tallulah. She is just wishing she would shrink and disappear, when she turns into a turtle! Through her experiences as a turtle, Tally gains the confidence she needs to get to know the other students (when she’s a human again!) That is the magic of Mrs. Norrell’s classroom – in each book of the series, a different student will transform into an animal to learn important life lessons (and some science facts as well). A fun way to let children look at their problems from a different perspective.

Starting at a new school is never fun, but when you are a Muslim kid, there is an extra layer of fear and uncertainty. The award-winning middle grade novel Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet tackles this tough situation. Omar has all the usual worries about how tough the schoolwork will be or if the new kids will be mean. But then a school bully makes his life miserable, including telling him that Muslims were going to be kicked out of the country! Omar is such a lovable character, with his incredible imagination, and he is so relatable, whether you are Muslim or not. It is a great book for teaching us to see past our differences and get to know people beyond just the stereotypes. It’s also a great book for reluctant readers, as it mixes a lot of graphics into the text.

Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year, another Own Voices book, takes on a similar situation, as Ahmed and his family move from Hawaii to Minnesota because of his father’s illness. On top of the stress of his father’s health, Ahmed has to deal with a bully and being one of the only minority kids in a very white school. Ahmed has always been an underachiever, so he is surprised to enjoy the assigned books from school, learning important lessons from literature about courage and being confident in yourself. A thoughtful read that also has a lot of humor.

As a homeschooler, I was drawn to Lily’s Promise instantly, as it tells of a girl starting at the local elementary school after years of being homeschooled. Still reeling from the death of her father, Lily struggles to keep her promise to him to speak her mind. When she and her new friends face bullying, Lily learns to overcome her anxiety in order to stand up for herself and others. The heaviness of the story is given a humorous counterpoint with an innovative element: commentary from Libro, the book itself, whose voice is snarky and funny. A beautifully told story of grief and courage.

What are your favorite back to school books for kids?

Related Posts:

Children’s Books About Making New Friends

Back to School Guide for Homeschoolers

Creating a Morning Routine That Works for Everyone

Jul 152021
 
 July 15, 2021  Book Reviews, Spring, Summer Comments Off on Children’s Books about Flowers

It’s summertime, and everywhere we look we see flowers! Here are some of our favorite new children’s books about flowers that also help teach life lessons about patience, determination, and generosity.

Children's Books About Flowers | Alldonemonkey.com

Children’s Books about Flowers

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. I received complimentary copies of some of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Enjoy these children’s books about flowers! What are your favorite blooms?

Oscar’s Tower of Flowers is a wordless picture book, so it’s great for sparking conversations with your child. When a loved one must go away on a trip, Oscar copes by focusing on growing flowers to share with his neighbors. He patiently waits for them to bloom, filling every nook and cranny of his apartment. Then, one by one, he takes them in his red wagon to each neighbor in the building to share the bounty. By the time his loved one returns, Oscar has learned the principle that we can help ourselves by helping others. The book also demonstrates the power of beauty and nature to lift our spirits and bring people together. My favorite illustrations are the end papers, which show the transformation of the apartment building thanks to Oscar’s flowers.

Sweet Pea Summer is another book about the therapeutic nature of gardening. A young girl stays with her grandparents while her mother is in the hospital, and gardening with her grandfather helps her to keep her mind off worrying and missing her mother. But soon she discovers that her sweet peas aren’t thriving. With determination, she works diligently to solve the mystery. Once she discovers the problem, can she save the flowers in time for the flower show? A sweet story with a happy ending that is sure to spark an interest in these beautiful flowers.

Little Dandelion Seeds the World is the only non-fiction book on this list. Ever wonder why there are dandelions everywhere you turn? This lovely book explores all the different ways that dandelion seeds travel: on the wind, in water, on clothing or fur, even in bellies! They are so successful that they bloom on every continent – yes, even Antarctica! This book shows how children around the world enjoy these playful flowers and help them seed the world.

Lucy’s Blooms also features dandelions, as a young girl learns what it takes to keep her favorite blossoms happy. With her grandmother’s help, she tends to them patiently, adjusting her methods each morning as she sees how they fared the night. Just like Sweet Pea Summer above, this is a wonderful book to teach children the science of carefully monitoring plants to see what they need to thrive. I also love that Lucy’s Blooms shows love to the often underrated dandelions, which are so cheerful and hardy, but which, as Lucy discovers, don’t win prizes. Lovely twist ending, as Lucy decides to give her beloved dandelions their own prize as Most Loved.

Related Posts:

Children’s Books About Community Gardens

Fine Motor Flower Craft

50+ Summer Learning Resources

Jun 302021
 
 June 30, 2021  food, recipes, Summer Comments Off on No Bake Desserts: Summertime Treats

Summertime is for playing outdoors and enjoying time with family – not for sweating it out in the kitchen! These no bake desserts are a cool treat when the weather is hot, so you can get back to enjoying what you love. Which one will be your favorite?

No Bake Desserts: Summertime Treats | Alldonemonkey.com

No Bake Desserts: Summertime Treats

Enjoy these no bake desserts! What’s your favorite summertime treat?

Greek Yogurt Trifle: All Done Monkey

Brazilian Paçoca de Amendoim: All Done Monkey

Peanut Butter Bars: The Soccer Mom Blog

Gluten Free Snack Bars: Mom Junky

Egyptian Spiced Oranges: All Done Monkey

Creamy Grape Salad: Little Sunny Kitchen

Fruits of the Spirit Snack Board: Catholic Icing

Peaches and Cream Snack Cups: Blessed Beyond a Doubt

Pineapple and Raspberry Frozen Fruit Whip: Picklebums

Tropical Chocolate Mango Pops: All Done Monkey

Pomegranate Popsicles and Dairy-Free Pistachio Ice Cream: All Done Monkey

Banana Cream Frozen Yogurt: Kim Schob

Rainbow Pudding Pops: Grace, Giggles, and Naptime

No Bake Cherry Chocolate Fudge: Ann’s Entitled Life

Key Lime Icebox Cake: Multicultural Kid Blogs

Strawberry Jello Pie: Crayons and Cravings

Strawberry Ice Box Cake: Amanda’s Cookin’

Lemon Blueberry Ice Box Cake: Amanda’s Cookin’

American Flag Cake: The Analytical Mommy

Chocolate Cake: The Analytical Mommy

Simple Berries Cheesecake: Living Life as Moms

Cookie Monster Cheesecake: The Soccer Mom Blog

Oreo Cheesecake: Baking Beauty

Cheesecake Cups: Blessed Beyond a Doubt

Keto Egg Fast Lemon Cheesecake Fat Bombs: Mom Junky

Blueberry Delight: Crayons and Cravings

Gluten Free Strawberry Dessert: Blessed Beyond a Doubt

Creamy Pineapple Dessert: Blessed Beyond a Doubt

Vanilla Pannacotta: Kidgredients

Funfetti Dip: Baking Beauty

Ice Cream Pie (watch the video): East Coast Mommy

Mud Pie: Ann’s Entitled Life

Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich Cake: The Soccer Mom Blog

Oreo Layer Dessert: Salt and Baker

Oreo Tiramisu: Little Sunny Kitchen

Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches: Mom Junky

Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Pies: Well, If She Can Do It

Hershey No Bake Pie: Well, If She Can Do It

Easy Cookie Pie: The Soccer Mom Blog

Pirate Cupcakes: In the Kids Kitchen

Keto No Bake Cookies: The Soccer Mom Blog

Related Posts:

Healthy Desserts for Kids

Beyond Ice Cream: Frozen Treats from Around the World

15+ Favorite Popsicle Ideas

Jun 252021
 
 June 25, 2021  Book Reviews, Summer Comments Off on Ocean Books for Kids: Beach Reads

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy these ocean books for kids. They make great reads for the beach – or for when you’d like to be at the beach! These picture books are a great way to find children’s curiosity about the ocean. They include fiction and non-fiction books.

Ocean Books for Kids: Beach Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Ocean Books for Kids: Beach Reads

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.

Enjoy these fiction and non-fiction ocean books for kids!

Ocean Lullaby is a beautiful bedtime read, perfect after a long day at the beach. The illustrations are dream-like, with soft colors yet realistic details. The lilting text adds to sense of being soothed to sleep with the waves. Young readers will love seeing the ocean creatures like dolphins and whales also settling down for the night.

Sophie’s Seashell Scramble is an adorable board book for the youngest readers. As the adorable Sophie the otter collects seashells, children sharpen their matching skills by recognizing shapes and colors. Little hands will love exploring the shaped pages and all those wonderful flaps to lift. There’s even a Sophie’s Seashell Scramble Game to go with the book!

Ride the Wind is an emotional journey set off the coast of Chile, about a young boy who has recently lost his mother. One day he finds an injured albatross and, against his father’s wishes, he secretly nurses it back to health. His empathy for the bird parallels his grief for his mother, and he cares for the bird as he wishes he could have cared for his mother. It is a story of redemption and hope, of a father and son torn apart by grief then reminded of what is really important. The watercolor illustrations are so evocative of the small fishing village, and the stormy skies reflect the emotions of this moving tale.

For kiddos that want to dive deeper into the science of oceans, Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas is a fascinating book they will want to read again and again. It gives an overview of the ancient history of the oceans and how the creatures there evolved. The illustrations are wonderful, and there is so much scientific detail, yet all presented in a very accessible way, such as the timeline running at the bottom of the pages. I love how it compares the ancient creatures to those that can be found today. To be honest, I’ve spent a lot of time poring over this book myself!

What are your favorite ocean books for kids?

Related Posts:

Summer Learning Resources

Explore the World with Your Child in 6 Easy Steps

Jun 222021
 
 June 22, 2021  food, Summer Comments Off on Healthy Summer Dessert: Greek Yogurt Trifle

When the weather gets hot, it’s a great time to make this healthy summer dessert! Even better, this Greek yogurt trifle is loaded with fruit and other ingredients you can feel good about serving to your family. Imagine your kids’ faces when you tell them they can have this dessert for breakfast!

Healthy Summer Dessert: Greek Yogurt Trifle | Alldonemonkey.com

Healthy Summer Dessert: Greek Yogurt Trifle

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.

Enjoy this healthy summer dessert! I love no bake treats like these in the summer, when I really don’t want to turn on the oven.

We just made our Greek yogurt trifle in a large serving bowl, but it would look really lovely to serve it in a trifle bowl!

The great thing about this dessert is that it’s so adaptable. I’m listing below the amounts we used, but you can adjust it to your tastes and preferences.

Healthy Summer Dessert: Greek Yogurt Trifle | Alldonemonkey.com

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas, sliced

2 cups strawberries, sliced

6 cups plain Greek yogurt (you can substitute regular yogurt, but the pudding layer won’t be as firm)

1/4 – 1/3 cup peanut butter

honey, to taste

10 large rectangles of graham crackers

Variations

  • Add a layer of chocolate chips!
  • Add an extra banana or two in the pudding to pump up the flavor and add more natural sweetness.
  • Substitute another favorite fruit for the strawberries.
  • Add cacao powder to the pudding (as shown here). We used 4 T of cacao powder. Be aware that because the cacao is bitter, you will need to add quite a bit more honey, which makes the pudding layer much runnier. The taste is great, though!

Instructions

  1. Crush the graham crackers into small pieces. Do not crush into a powder, or it will be absorbed completely into the pudding layer. Adjust the size of the pieces by how much crunch you would like.
  2. Mix the yogurt, peanut butter, and honey in the blender until smooth. (If using cacao powder, add now).
  3. Layer the trifle in your bowl as follows:
    • Graham crackers
    • Pudding
    • Bananas
    • Graham crackers
    • Pudding
    • Strawberries
  4. Repeat layers, ending with the strawberries.
  5. Chill several hours and serve.

Healthy Summer Dessert: Greek Yogurt Trifle | Alldonemonkey.com

This Greek yogurt trifle was a big hit! My oldest gave this healthy summer dessert a “100, on a scale of 1 out of 10”! What are your favorite summer treats?

Related Post:

Healthy Desserts for Kids

 

May 272021
 
 May 27, 2021  Education, Summer Comments Off on Summer Learning Resources: 50+ Ideas for Families

Summer is almost upon us! Affter the crazy school year we have had, many parents want to get in some extra educational activities – but still keep summer fun! Is that possible?? Yes! Below is a HUGE list of 50+ summer learning resources for families. It covers everything from literacy and fine motor skills to math and STEM, all with fun summer themes! (For ideas on how to incorporate learning activities into a laidback homeschool structure, see our summer homeschool plan).

Summer Learning Resources: 50+ Ideas for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary subscription to Literati Kids for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Summer Learning Resources: 50+ Ideas for Families

Below is a gigantic list of summer learning resources for you, covering all major school subjects! They include worksheets, science experiments, crafts, and activities, so there is something for everyone.

But first I want to sure my favorite learning resource for summer – and any time of year!

Literati Kids is a book subscription services that gets kids excited about reading. Each month a carefully chosen selection of age appropriate books is delivered to your doorstep. In other words, your life just got a whole lot easier! You have a week to pick your favorites then you can send any of them back at no charge. You can also skip months or cancel anytime.

Literati Kids Review | Alldonemonkey.com

You can customize your box by age group so the book selection is a good fit for your child’s reading ability. My kids love the original artwork and fun surprises, like bookmarks!

The boxes also have monthly themes. Last month’s box was all about kindness, so each box came with related books as well as a beautiful poster about kindness and a “caring coin” to pass on to others.

50+ Summer Learning Resources: Ideas for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

I also appreciate that each box contains a mix of genres. We’ve received fiction and non-fiction, graphic novels and picture books, early readers and activity books.

Summer Learning Resources: 50+ Ideas for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

And now you can get 25% off Literati Kids! We love this top rated book subscription service:

Click here for 25% off Literati Kids!

And now for even more learning fun! Here are 50+ summer learning resources, sorted by subject:

 

Summer Learning Fun

All Done Monkey: Summer Homeschool Plan

Coffee & Carpool: Summer Slide Prevention Tips

3 Dinosaurs: Blank Summer Bucket List

3 Dinosaurs: Summer Bucket List – Top 10

Rock Your Homeschool: Summer Fun Planner Pack

3 Dinosaurs: Free Summer Tot Pack

OurFamilyCode/: Summer Fruit Worksheets

And Next Comes L: Popsicle I-Spy Printable

Rock Your Homeschool: Ice Cream Coloring Pages

Active Littles: Summer Foam Window Art

Rock Your Homeschool: Shark Week Printable Pack

OurFamilyCode/: Shark Week Worksheets

Taming Little Monsters: Shark Sensory Bin

Taming Little Monsters: Frozen Sand Sensory Bin

ABC’s of Literacy: Summer Sensory Bin

Taming Little Monsters: No Prep Ice Cream Store Dramatic Play

 

DIY Summer Camps

All Done Monkey: Lego Summer Camp Ideas

All Done Monkey: World Explorers Camp

 

Literacy

Multicultural Kid Blogs: Read Around the World Summer Reading

Growing Book by Book: Book-Based Summer Activity Calendars

ABC’s of Literacy: Sun Alphabet Playdough Mats

Living Life and Learning: Ice Cream Letter Puzzles

And Next Comes L: Alphabet Tracing with Chalk and Rocks

A Dab of Glue Will Do: Pool Noodle Alphabet Matching

Books and Giggles: O Is for Ocean Letter Craft

Apple Green Cottage: Make Letters with Rainbow Pebbles

3 Dinosaurs: Summer Spelling Puzzles

Mess for Less: Water Balloon Phonics

And Next Comes L: Sight Word Parking Lot (Outdoors)

Books and Giggles: Summer Name Activity for Preschoolers

Active Littles: Summer Word Search Activity Cards

3 Dinosaurs: Summer Reading Charts

Only Passionate Curiosity: Printable Summer Reading Passport

3 Dinosaurs: Summer Themed Bookmarks

Rock Your Homeschool: Summer Poetry Activity Pack

Simple Fun for Kids: Beach Writing Prompts for Kindergarteners

Coffee & Carpool: Encourage Reluctant Readers with a Book Movie Club

 

Math

Homeschool Preschool: Summer Color By Number

3 Dinosaurs: Summer Counting Easy Reader Book

Simple Fun for Kids: Beach Gear Counting Cards

Living Life and Learning: Beach I Spy Graphing

Homeschool Preschool: Summer Count and Graph Worksheets

Simple Fun for Kids: Beach Life Tally Marks Puzzles

 

STEM & Nature

Mama Smiles: Weather Unit

Hands on Teaching Ideas: Simple Summer Science

Team Cartwright: Swim Science Activities

The Soccer Mom Blog: Summer Color Science

Red Ted Art: Color Theory Paper Spinners

And Next Comes L: Rocket Hopscotch Planet Activity

The Analytical Mommy: Starting a Kids Vegetable Garden

Crafts by Amanda: Printable Summer Scavenger Hunts

Organized 31: Summer Nature Scavenger Hunt

Red Ted Art: Bug Hunt Fortune Tellers

Team Cartwright: Sunscreen Painting

Hip Homeschool Moms: Educational Outdoor Boredom Busters

 

Fine Motor

In the Playroom: Fine Motor Sun Craft

Taming Little Monsters: Octopus Fine Motor Activity

Taming Little Monsters: Colorful Rainbow Fish Fine Motor Activity

Apr 152021
 

This Earth Day, dive into these beautiful nature books for kids! These gorgeous fiction and non-fiction books are sure to get children interested in the natural world.

Nature Books for Children for Earth Day | 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.

Nature Books for Children for Earth Day

Enjoy these nature books for kids, perfect for Earth Day or any time of year!

Zonia’s Rain Forest is the latest picture book from the Caldecott Honor Winner Juana Martínez-Neal. It is the story of a child of the Amazon, who is friends with all the creatures in the rain forest, from the sloth to the jaguar. This lovely book with its dreamy artwork is a loving tribute to the animals and to their fast disappearing jungle home. It also shows the ability of children to connect to the natural world and become its protectors, when, like Zonia, they discover evidence that it needs our help. I love that it also teaches children about the indigenous people that live in the rainforest. Zonia represents the Asháninka people of the Peruvian Amazon, and the back of the book even includes a translation of the text into the Asháninka language.

The layered board book Into the Ocean is a perfect way to introduce young readers to ocean creatures and their habitats. Kids will enjoy the simple rhyming story of a little turtle playing hide and seek, as they discover various ocean animals. The shaped pages are perfect for little hands, and kids will love the foil detail of the illustrations. This tactile experience will draw little readers into the ocean world and spark their curiosity about its inhabitants.

Anyone else obsessed with polar bears? The gorgeous new book Penguins and Polar Bears: A pretty cool introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic is a great way to spark kids’ interest in the animals of the Arctic and Antarctic by helping them imagine themselves as explorers to the Poles. This book is filled with lavish illustrations and fun facts about the popular animals found in these regions as well as some of the lesser known, like ice worms (!) I also love that the book doesn’t pretend that there are no humans in these extreme environments. It covers explorers, indigenous groups (*not* as static relics of the past but as modern inhabitants), and research stations. It also discusses negative effects of human contact, such as pollution and shrinking habitats, while helping kids see themselves as part of the solution. A beautiful addition to any home or school collection.

The other day my son wanted to read more about bees, but he was rolling his eyes because our animal encyclopedia didn’t teach him anything new. “I know all this already!” he complained. So I was thrilled to receive Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer, a beautiful book for kids that want to learn more about any aspect of bees and beekeeping – from how to care for beehives to what to feed the bees. The book follows Grandma and Bruno the bear through their year, as we see how they care for their bees in each season. The book is full of charming illustrations, so it’s appealing even for younger readers, yet there is so much detail shown that older readers will love it as well. A wonderful way to show appreciation for hard working bees!

Do your kids love gross stuff as much as mine do? Here is an awesome book that uses that love of yuckiness to teach them cool science facts about fungi! Fungus is Among Us! is a hilarious book that reads more like a spooky Halloween story about the fungi that surround us everyday. There are so many things I love about it, starting with the fact that the main character is a brown girl! Also, that it makes science so fun. Trust me, you will never look at your compost pile – or your pizza – the same way again! And as a parent of multiple kiddos, I love that the book can be enjoyed on different levels. There is the main story that suits the attention span of younger readers (while still packing in a lot of learning), plus additional information boxes throughout the book for older kids that want a deeper dive into the subject. There’s even an interview with a mycologist (a woman!) at the back. Highly recommended!

Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum offers another look a fungi, in this oversized, coffee table quality book. It is set up like a museum exhibit, so instead of chapters, it has “galleries,” with displays about, for example, fungal biology and fungal diversity. This incredibly detailed reference book contains a wealth of information for older children, as well as incredible full page illustrations. A wonderful addition to any home or school library.

Did you know that animals use tools, too? And not just primates! In Orangutan Hats and Other Tools Animals Use, children can discover all the ways that animals around the world use tools to keep clean, stay healthy, protect themselves, and have fun! (This last section is my favorite! Who knew that ravens like to go sledding and play games??) This beautiful book is a great way for older elementary school kids to learn more about their favorite animals. From long-tailed macaques that floss their teeth to boxer crabs that use anemones as shields, kids will never look at animals the same way again!

What list of nature books would be complete without a look at the life of one of its most famous champions? The Story of Jane Goodall: A Biography Book for New Readers is perfect for kids that are ready for early chapter books. It tells the story of Goodall’s life in an engaging format that helps kids transition into longer format biographies. There are plenty of illustrations and call out boxes to break up the longer text, keeping kids attention and teaching them about the fascinating life of this hero. I especially loved the “myth vs. fact” boxes sprinkled throughout the book, dispelling common misconceptions about Goodall and her beloved animals. Wonderful book to inspire any budding scientists!

Apr 082021
 
 April 8, 2021  Book Reviews, Spring Comments Off on Spring Books for Kids of All Ages

Flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer! Celebrate this joyous season with these wonderful new spring books for kids. The list below includes board books, picture books, and early chapter books.

Spring Books for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Spring Books for Kids of All Ages

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. I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Five Little Ducks: Sing Along With Me! was an instant hit in our house. My daughter asked me to read (or sing!) it to her over and over, and she also enjoys playing with all flaps and sliders herself. These sturdy interactive features are nice and chunky, so they are easy for little fingers to manipulate. This would be a great book to keep in your bag if you have a long wait somewhere and need to keep a child occupied!

It is also a fun way to teach your child this classic song. Can’t quite remember the tune yourself? No problem! You can scan the QR code on the back cover to hear the song!

How Big Is Love? is the perfect book to remind children just how much they are loved. This lovely book, with its sparkly illustrations, follows a mother duck and her little ducklings as they swim in the stream and encounter storms and rough waters together. The text teaches them about the abstract concept of love in concrete terms that are easy for young children to understand.

Mail Duck: A Book of Shapes and Surprises is another fun lift-the-flap book for little hands. Toddlers will love following along with duck as he makes his deliveries and lifting the flaps to discover what’s in all of the packages. It’s also a fun way to explore shapes, as each animal along the route has a favorite shape. Perfect for toddlers that love all different kinds of trucks!

Two Dogs on a Trike is another great early concept book that celebrates things that go! Young readers will enjoy seeing dogs (and a cat!) riding a trike, a bike, a scooter, a plane, and more. They will also count up to ten and back again as they follow along with the playful action of the story.

Bips and Roses is the eighth book in the wonderful STEM early chapter book series, Zoey and Sassafras, which follows a young scientist and her cat as they help magical creatures. In this latest installment, there is a problem with magical roses in the forest – the same roses that baby hippogriffs rely on for food! As in all of the books in this fab series, Zoey and her friends must use science to solve this difficult problem, such as performing experiments related to photosynthesis. And of course, Zoey keeps track of it all in her science journal. Wonderful book for any child loves science, magical creatures, or a good mystery!

The Jasmine Green Rescues series is a new discovery for us, and we are loving it! A Lamb Called Lucky is the fifth in this sweet early chapter book series about a girl who rescues animals on Oak Tree Farm. Each book focuses on a different animal rescue (including the sixth book, A Goat Called Willow). These adventure stories are perfect for little animal lovers, as they learn more about different farm animals and what it takes to care for them. They will also learn along with Jasmine about bigger issues like juggling responsibilities, finding courage to help others, and learning to let go.

What are your favorite spring books for kids?

Be sure to check out my collection of spring crafts, activities, and books!

Oct 072020
 
 October 7, 2020  Earth Day, household, parenting Comments Off on Composting: Tips to Get Started

Like so many of you, our family is thinking more and more about the impact we make on our planet. While there are many great resources to teach children about conservation, nothing beats hands on experience! I’ve always wanted to compost, so this year we finally did the research and got started! Here is a look at what you need, plus tips from other composting families!

Composting: Tips to Get Started | 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.

Composting: Tips to Get Started

What to Buy

If you have a big enough space in your backyard, there is no need to purchase a bin; however, if you have a smaller yard, as we do, or simply don’t want to use your yard space for a compost pile, there are great options for composting bins you can purchase!

After a lot of research, we purchased a FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter. It is perfect for us because it doesn’t take up much room and is super easy to use. The kids love helping turn the bin!

The guide put out by our city recommends the Compost Bin by GEOBIN. It is easy to set up and very economical.

An easy way to collect your kitchen scraps before taking them out to compost is an indoor bin like the Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin for Kitchen Countertop. It is small enough to sit on the kitchen counter and comes with a lid and charcoal filter so you don’t have to worry about a smell! Just to be clear, this isn’t actually for composting, just to collect the scraps until you can take them outdoors.

Tips for Composting

From Rurally Prepping: A Beginner’s Guide on How to Compost

From Mama Smiles: Urban Composting

From Crafty Moms Share: How to Set Up a Worm Composting Garden

From NurtureStore: How to Make a Wormery

What are your top tips for getting started with composting?

Related:

Conservation Science Experiment: Interconnected Waterways

Conservation for Kids: Endangered Animals

Earth Day Books for Kids

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