Earth Day, Fun Day!

Earth Day Fun Day!

Do you need a little help deciding how to spend Earth Day with your kiddos? Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of fun activities you can enjoy together today or any other spring day! Take a look at these kid-friendly Earth Day activities:



  • Plant a Flower – Start your day by cultivating your green thumb. Get outside with your kids and get your hands a little dirty! You don’t have to have any garden space to tackle this planting project; just some potting soil, a flowering plant of your choosing and an empty steel can. See it at Make Myself at Home.
  • Art Project – Now that you’ve completed your gardening project, let your child try his hand at a more artistic rendition of nature! This 3-D tree collage is fun for multiple ages. Get out your old magazines, construction paper, glue and scissors and get to work on this art project from Holidays Central.
  • Lunch – Earth Day PB&J – When lunchtime rolls around surprise your little one with a special PB&J that’s out of this world (or at least looks like the world)! This special sandwich with a side of tree (made from broccoli crowns and pretzels) is sure to please. Thanks Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons for this fun dish idea!
  • Feed the Birds – After you feed your kiddos, feed the feathered friends in your neighborhood. Your children will enjoy constructing this simple bird feeder that’s made out of a plastic bottle and wooden spoons. Visit Heck Fridays for instructions!
  • Recycle – Recycling is a great way to be a good steward of the earth’s resources. Share the importance of recycling with your little one today by participating in a fun project together. Turn your used cans into a fun kid-crafted set of wind chimes that you can enjoy throughout the spring. Check out this creative project at Hands On: As We Grow.
  • Read a Book – There’s no better way to end the day than with a good book! Curl up with your child and settle in for an earth friendly read. Not sure what to pick? No problem! We have a nice list of books suitable for Earth Day. Check out our blog from last year’s Earth Day: 10 Earth Day Reads. You’re sure to find a book or two to dig into!

Red Apple Reading hopes you enjoy Earth Day with your family!

Rainy Day Educational Activities

Rainy Day Educational ActivitiesI don’t know what the weather has been like in your part of the country, but we’ve definitely had our share of rain where I live! We’ve all heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”; but what am I supposed to do with my active 6 year old while I wait for May?! Being cooped up in the house with little ones can be trying, but with a bit of planning you can find a rainbow in the clouds. Red Apple Reading has some fun educational activities to occupy your kiddo during those long rainy days!

  • Alphabet Hunt – Have a scavenger hunt on the next rainy day that comes your way. An alphabet hunt is not only fun, but it helps your little one develop her phonemic awareness as well. Simply have your little one retrieve an item from the house that begins with the sound of each letter in the alphabet. Be sure to give her a box or basket to collect her things – at the end of her hunt she should have 26 items!
  • Recipe – Most kids love to be in the kitchen with mom or dad. In fact, in many homes the kitchen becomes the natural gathering place for the family. If your neck of the woods is experiencing a soggy day, why not cook up something with your kiddo? Let your child read the recipe aloud to you and do the measuring. Bingo! Not only have you created a yummy dish, but you’ve snuck a reading and math lesson in too!
  • Play Dough – Speaking of recipes, making your own play dough is an excellent way to spend time on a rainy day. Let your little one help you mix the ingredients (see this recipe from The Imagination Tree ) and whip up some fun! Try adding some food coloring or an extract (peppermint, vanilla) to liven up your creation.
  • Collage – Putting together a collage is an easy way to kill some time on a rainy day. You probably have all the items already on hand – old magazines or catalogs, glue, scissors, and paper. This activity will keep your kid busy and help him develop his fine motor skills as well.
  • Make a Rain Gauge – If the forecast is calling for a particularly rainy week, why not measure the amount of rainfall you receive? Rain gauges are easy to make and your little one will love collecting the data at the end of the day. Check out these instructions from Let Kids Be Kids for constructing your very own rain gauge.
  • Salt TrayLearn With Play at Home has come up with a fun and creative way to practice counting skills and number writing. A salt tray is easy to put together and can be used for practicing numbers, letters, shapes, or just drawing pictures. Your kiddo will love this kinesthetic activity on a rainy day!
  • Red Apple Reading – While you certainly don’t want your kiddo to spend the entire day glued to the computer screen, a half hour or so of educational entertainment is acceptable. Log on to Red Apple Reading and play some fun games together. Not a member? Check out the free sample lessons and join now!

Don’t let the weather get your kiddo down! These fun indoor activities are sure to bring a little sunshine to your child’s day!


Poetry Books for Children

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I’m one of those moms who has books in every room of the house; but I must admit, not many of those are books of poetry. Maybe it’s time for me to have a better-rounded library for my kids. After all, I might have a budding poet in my house that just needs a little inspiration! In honor of National Poetry Month, Red Apple Reading is recommending 10 books of children’s poetry. Perhaps you’ll find one to help round out your child’s library!

A Child's Garden of Verses


A Child’s Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson) – Young elementary school children will enjoy this 66 piece collection of Stevenson’s poetry about childhood. Paired with Tudor’s beautiful illustrations, this compilation of poems is sure to be a favorite!







Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein) – Silverstein’s humorous poems have been tickling children’s funny bones for years. Kids of all ages will enjoy Silverstein’s witty prose and illustrations.




Langston Hughes


Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes (Langston Hughes)– This is a wonderful resource for introducing young people to the work of Langston Hughes. An introduction gives the reader background information about Hughes’ life and each poem also has a small introduction as well. Older elementary and high school students will enjoy the thought provoking poetry and the beautiful illustrations. Definitely a must-have book!






Dirty Beasts (Roald Dahl) – This compilation of poems about wonderfully ridiculous animals will have your little one in stitches! A very funny book that is great for reading aloud to the younger elementary school crowd.




Something Big Has Been Here



Something Big Has Been Here (Jack Prelutsky) – Elementary students will enjoy this clever collection of over 100 poems from Prelutsky. If your kiddo needs a good laugh, then pick up this book today!




There's Always Pooh and Me


There’s Always Pooh and Me (A.A. Milne) – A very nice collection of 23 poems by A.A. Milne. If your kiddos have not yet been introduced to the world of Christopher Robin, this book provides a great introduction. And, it is wonderfully illustrated by the great Ernest H. Shepard. Make sure your young reader has a copy of this classic!




classic mother goose



The Classic Mother Goose (Armand Eisen – Editor) – With over 50 classic nursery rhymes, The Classic Mother Goose is a familiar favorite for small children. You can’t go wrong with this “oldie but goodie”!






Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry ( Yolen and Peters – Compilers) – Toddlers and preschoolers alike will enjoy this compilation of over 60 poems. Some of the famous featured poets include Margaret Wise Brown, Jack Prelutsky, Langston Hughes and Nikki Grimes. A wonderful first book of poetry!




Out and About A First Book of Poems



Out and About: A First book of Poems (Shirley Hughes) – Join Katie and her little brother Olly as they explore their world throughout the year. You will feel like you know this young narrator well after reading these 18 lovely poems to your little one.





Hypnotize A Tiger (Calef Brown) – If you’re looking for a fun book of poetry for your tween, this wacky collection of poems by Calef Brown fits the bill! Middle graders will love Brown’s unconventional characters as well as his crazy black and white illustrations.


Easter Basket Ideas


Easter Basket Ideas from Red Apple ReadingEaster is coming up quickly – time to dust off those baskets and decide what to buy for fillers! If you’re like me you don’t want to create a basket with enough candy to send the kiddos bouncing off the living room walls! It can be challenging to come up with a nice variety of items to fill out the basket without breaking the bank! If your creations tend to be a little lopsided, don’t despair! This Easter you can fashion a basket that will make Peter Rabbit himself proud! Red Apple Reading has some great ideas for creating a balanced Easter basket that will put a smile on any kid’s face.



  • Something to Play – If your family is like mine, old toys have to be taken to the local thrift store in order to make room for the toys the kids receive for Christmas (I know – first world problems!). With only a few months separating Christmas and Easter, most parents aren’t excited about purchasing new playthings to get lost in the mix. This Easter choose one small toy for your kiddos’ baskets. They will appreciate it more and you will have less mess to deal with later.
  • Something to Read – Many parents overlook books when giving gifts, but no Easter basket is complete without one! When we give our children books for presents, we are sending them the message that reading is worthwhile. If your child isn’t a big reader, consider giving him a subscription to a magazine he would enjoy. After all, no matter how you package it, reading is reading!
  • Something to Eat – We all have different ideas about candy consumption. Some parents opt to avoid the sweet treats altogether and others are fine with a bit of indulgence. Regardless of which side you are on, a fun treat of some kind is a must for your little bunny’s basket. Whether you choose to go with the traditional chocolate rabbit or go healthy with fruit and veggies, make sure to include something yummy to eat!
  • Something to Wear – While Easter baskets don’t tend to be big enough to hold an entire outfit, small items like earrings, bracelets, and sunglasses are all great basket fillers! Even t-shirts that are rolled up can fit pretty easily into baskets. Don’t forget – lip balm, lip gloss, and lotion are all “wearable” items too!
  • Something to Create – Encourage your kiddo’s creativity this Easter by including something to be creative with. Crayons, markers, paints, and other types of art supplies make excellent basket fillers. If your child doesn’t enjoy drawing or coloring, then include a container of Play-Doh or some Wikki Stix.

Red Apple Reading wishes your family a very happy Easter! What are some of your favorite items to put in Easter baskets? Leave us a comment below and share some of your preferred fillers.

5 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read

5 Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read - Red Apple ReadingAll parents want their children to experience success in life. Achieving literacy is crucial to our kids’ future well-being. As parents we play a crucial role in our children’s successful reading development. What can we do to help our beginning readers achieve success? Fortunately, you don’t have to be a reading specialist to help your little one become a champion reader. Red Apple Reading has 5 simple tips for parents who wish to nurture their little one’s literary development.

  1. Relax! –Children can sense when their parents are stressed. Remember not all kids learn to walk and talk at the same time and they certainly don’t learn to read on the exact same schedule. So take a deep breath and remind yourself that your kiddo will one day be reading independently.
  2. Set the Example – One of the best ways to cultivate a love of reading in our children is by setting a good example. Kids who see their parents reading on a regular basis are more likely to value the written word themselves. If you want your child to be a reader, make sure you are reading too!
  3. Have Fun – If you want to discourage your kiddo as he learns to read, do your best imitation of a drill sergeant! Reading should be fun and happen naturally as you go about your day. While quizzing your kids can be beneficial at times, make sure the majority of reading practice is done in a fun way. See below.
  4. Play with Sound – Before children can learn to read, they have to learn that spoken words are made up of individual units of sound. So playing with sound is an important part of helping your child become a reader. Getting your kid to break down a word into its different sounds and playing with rhyming words are both great ways to help your child become a reader.
  5. Read to Them – Reading regularly to your child encourages her to become an independent reader. In an article for Reading is Fundamental, Bernice Cullinan and Brod Bagert say that, “When the rhythm and melody of language become a part of a child’s life, learning to read will be as natural as learning to walk and talk”. So think of reading to your kiddo as a win-win: they are learning and you are getting some cuddle time!

It doesn’t take a degree in education to qualify parents to be reading teachers. With a little intentionality we can raise budding readers who will one day blossom into independent readers. If you want to give your kid an extra boost, check out Red Apple Reading’s online reading videos and games. Your child will love playing the fun reading games and you will love the extra help your little one gets learning to read!