Teaching While You Travel: Making the Most of Your Road Trip!

Teaching While You Travel - Red Apple ReadingAre you planning a family trip this summer that involves long hours in the car? Everyone loves a vacation, but the actual road trip itself can be tedious – especially for families with small children! Do you wish you had a dollar for every time a child asks, “How much longer?” Is it possible for a Mom and Dad to arrive at their destination with their sanity intact? If you’re looking for ways to keep your children entertained on your approaching car trip, then look no further! Red Apple Reading has some tips for not only keeping your kiddo entertained but also intellectually stimulated during your upcoming road trip!

  • License Plate Game – This oldie but goodie never fails to please! Have children search for license plates from as many states as possible while on the road. If you want to add a little extra geography boost, print out maps and let kids color in the states as they find them!
  • Audio Books – Before leaving for your trip borrow some audio books to listen to as you travel. Many children’s books are quite compelling and are fun for adults to listen to as well! One of my favorite children’s authors is Andrew Clements. See what you can find at your local public library!
  • Math Fact Fun – If your little one is learning her multiplication tables, then a long road trip provides the perfect opportunity to practice. Take advantage of the extra time together and quiz your kiddo on her math facts as you travel. Perhaps you could even reward progress with a milkshake or other treat!
  • Road Reading – A car trip is filled with opportunities to read along the way! If you have beginning readers challenge them to spot words on street signs, billboards, and buildings. The kids will enjoy shouting out their finds and you will enjoy the progress they make with their reading!
  • Keep Little Fingers Busy – We all remember how tempting it is to poke, pinch, and prod siblings on a road trip. Avoid hearing the backseat mantra, “He’s touching me!” by keeping those little fingers busy! Before leaving on your trip find some shoelaces and cut up several straws. Little ones can thread the straw pieces onto the shoestring, take them off, and do it again. This simple activity will keep the kiddos out of trouble and help develop crucial fine motor skills! Check this out on Knoala!
  • Memory/Alphabet Game – Help sharpen memory and letter skills with this fun road trip game. Someone in the car begins the game by saying, “I’m going on a road trip and I’m bringing________”. The first person fills in the blank with something that starts with the letter A. The next person repeats the first person’s item, and adds something that begins with a B. The game goes on until your list goes all the way to Z!

We hope these suggestions make your next car trip a little less stressful! We would love to hear what your family does to pass the time while traveling. Leave a comment below with your best ideas for keeping kids entertained on the road!

Beat the Heat with Outdoor Water Fun!

Beat the Heat with Outdoor Water Fun!

Summer is in full swing! Hopefully you aren’t already hearing the dreaded phrase, “I don’t have anything to do!” But in case you have, Red Apple Reading is coming to the rescue! Here’s a list of 10 outdoor water activities we’ve found on the web that will not only help your little one beat the heat, but will keep her entertained as well! And you know what we like best about these activities? They are super simple!

 

  1. Make Your Own Mini Water Blob – Who knew you could make one of these yourself? They look like a lot of fun and if you spray them with the water hose the kiddos can slide on them. Check it out on Hello, Wonderful!
  2. Ice Cube PaintingPaging Fun Mums has a super simple idea for summer fun. The best part is you probably already have all the ingredients on hand! The night before you plan to do this activity, get out the ice cube trays and food coloring and create some colorful cubes!
  3. Water Gun Painting – This activity is along the same lines as the ice cube painting. Mix up your tempera paint and water and let the kids shoot a masterpiece. Thanks Somewhat Simple!
  4. Sponge Water Bombs – This great outdoor activity is from Positively Splendid. I made these for my kiddos last summer and they really enjoyed them! If you have older kids they could make these on their own. All that’s needed are kitchen sponges, scissors and fishing line. Bombs away!
  5. Tin Foil River – I love this idea of creating a homemade river in the backyard. Pick up a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil next time you’re at the grocery and you and the kids will be ready for construction. Check it out on Frugal Fun for Boys.
  6. Water Balloon Piñatas – Keep your kiddos cool this summer with this fun take on the traditional piñata. Visit Ziggity Zoom for easy instructions.
  7. Sponge DartsThe Seasoned Mom has come up with a great outdoor game that they’ve dubbed Sponge Darts. Have the kids draw a bulls eye using sidewalk chalk, soak some sponges, and then take aim!
  8. Pool Noodle Sprinkler – Here’s another good one from Ziggity Zoom – a simple to construct pool noodle sprinkler! It’s as easy as running a water hose into a pool noodle that’s been punched full of holes. You’ll definitely want to try this one!
  9. Excavating Toys from Ice – If you have an aspiring archaeologist in the family, he or she will love this activity. Freeze those tiny toys you’re always stepping on in a sheet of ice and let your little one begin the excavation process. Learn more on Chasing Cheerios.
  10. Pretend Play Clothesline – Let your little one participate in pretend play and sharpen her fine motor skills at the same time. You’ll need a low hanging clothesline, a bucket of water filled with washcloths, and several clothespins. Thanks Play Create Explore for this fun idea!

What does your family do to beat the heat during the summer months? We’d love to hear your ideas! Leave us a comment below and share your suggestions.

Teaching Kids about Independence Day

Teaching Kids About Independence Day

 

The 4th of July is filled with all sorts of fun activities: block parties, fireworks, barbecues, and parades to name a few! Little ones enjoy participating in these events; but do they realize what they are celebrating? Unfortunately, many children don’t understand the significance of Independence Day. This year give your kiddos a tutorial about this important holiday using these fun activities!

 

 

  • Learn about the Founding Fathers – Teach your kid about the great men who helped to found our country with these fun Founding Father Cards from iMOM. Each card has the founding father’s birthdate, home state, and why he is a considered a founding father.
  • Read the Story – We here at Red Apple Reading always encourage parents to read aloud to their little ones! The Fourth of July Story, by Alice Dalgliesh, is the perfect book to recount the story of Independence Day to youngsters. It is wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated! Pick it up today!
  • Play Trivia – Yellow Bliss Road has a fun, free printable to help your family and friends brush up on their 4th of July knowledge! Simply print out these trivia cards and let your kiddos quiz each other. Check out the suggestion for incorporating trivia cards into the utensil holders!
  • Declaration Decorations – Looking for some fun decorating ideas for your 4th of July party? Sneak in a quick history lesson by recruiting your kiddos to make this Declaration of Independence bunting. When they have finished your house will be festive and your children will know the most quoted portion of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Sing Along: School House Rock – If you are a child of the 70’s like I am, then you remember School House Rock! Independence Day is the perfect time to introduce your children to this blast from the past. Check out this School House Rock video on YouTube about the Declaration of Independence.
  • Digital Declaration of Independence – You will definitely want to peruse the Digital Declaration of Independence (Neatline) with your children! Kids can explore the text of the Declaration as well as view the painting (click on individuals in the picture and read their biographies!), hometowns of the signers, as well as the signatures. Don’t miss this – it’s super cool!

Don’t forget as you celebrate Independence Day this year to impress the importance of the day to your children. While it’s fun to eat hamburgers and watch fireworks, we want to make sure our little ones understand the meaning behind our celebrating. Red Apple Reading wishes you and your loved ones a very happy 4th of July!

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father's Day Gift Guide

 

Do you find that special man in your life (father or husband) a little hard to buy for? It can be tricky to find just the right gift to give on Father’s Day, but let’s not give up too quickly and buy the first coffee cup or tie we see! Hopefully, this list of fun gifts for Dad will give you some inspiration as you and your family prepare for Father’s Day!

 

 

  • A Special Meal – They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! This Father’s Day why not put this old saying to the test and make Dad a yummy dinner? Make sure to involve the kiddos in the preparation for this meal.  It may seem a bit daunting at first to have all the kids in the kitchen, but it can actually be a lot of fun! No matter the ages of your children, everyone can contribute in some way. The little ones can help mix ingredients and set the table. If you have older children, don’t be afraid to hand them the recipe and let them be in charge of a dish (with your supervision of course!). When your kiddos present Dad with his special meal, they are sure to feel proud of their contribution; and when you all sit down together to eat as a family, Dad will feel loved!
  • The Perfect Picture – Grab the camera and the kids and have a photo shoot!  A few days prior to Father’s Day, take the kids out and make some pictures. Most men have an office of some sort that they go to every day for work that could use some wall or desk decoration. Even if your guy doesn’t have a typical office, he probably has a bedside table that could do with a framed photo or two! Need some inspiration? Check out these ideas from Craftionary!
  • Something Silly – We all remember the fun we had filling in those crazy mad libs when we were young. Now, Five Heart Home has a great free printable “Dad Libs” version you can download and print for your children to complete. When they are done they will have concocted a silly story about Dad and (as an added bonus) unwittingly practiced the parts of speech!
  •  A Good Read – In our opinion, it’s hard to go wrong when you give a good book for a gift! This year consider buying a nice book for the man in your life. If he is a history buff, he is sure to like an exciting, non-fiction adventure story. Brian Murphy has recently released a new book entitled, 81 Days Below Zero. This true story of a brave WWII pilot, who survived for almost 12 weeks in subzero, Yukon temperatures after a crash landing, is sure to inspire Dad! If your husband or dad enjoys a lighter read, he might enjoy, Gumption, by Nick Offerman (star of Parks and Rec). Offerman recounts the stories of 21 inspiring American figures in his typical humorous fashion. If your man isn’t likely to pick up a book, you could still give him the gift of a good read by placing a subscription for his favorite magazine or newspaper. Be sure to give Dad the gift of some quiet time on Father’s Day as well, so he can plunge into his new book or magazine. 

Don’t stress over gift giving this Father’s Day. Remember, the best present you and the kids can give is your time and love. Be mindful of all the joy and good the men in your life bring to you and your family and make sure they know you are grateful!

 

Help Your Child Avoid the Summer Slump

Help Your Child Avoid the Summer SlumpReady or not, another summer season is upon us! For months children have dreamed of an extended break from the structured school schedule. While summer is a wonderful time to decompress, parents need to be mindful of the phenomenon that has become known as the summer slump. The result of not receiving enough educational stimulation over the summer months, the slump often leads to a loss of previously acquired education. What can parents do to avoid this reversal of learning? Red Apple Reading has some tips to help your child beat the summer slump!

Keep Reading – One of the most important things that parents can do to fight the summer slump is to continue to read to and encourage their children to read over break.

  • Make sure that your kiddos have plenty of reading material as well as a designated time set aside each day for reading.
  • We can’t sing the praises of the local public library loudly enough! Take advantage of the free reading material available for borrowing as well as the summer reading programs that are offered.
  • Start a summer book club. Have your kiddo and her friends pick 3 or 4 books to read together over the summer. Once every couple of weeks, come together to discuss and enjoy refreshments.

Monitor Screen Time – When left to their own devices, kids will not always choose the best video games to play or television shows to watch.

  • Limit Screen Time – Carefully monitor children’s screen time during the summer to ensure that an excessive amount of time is not being idly spent.
  • Encourage Wise Choices – When your little one does have permission to use electronics, encourage him to choose shows and games that are educational in nature. Check out Red Apple Reading’s online reading software for free!

Review Math Facts – As frustrating as it can be to review math facts with our kids over the summer months, the payoff for them when school resumes will be huge.

  • Check out online reviews – There are several really great websites out there that will help your kiddo avoid a summer math slump. Quizlet and Greg Tang Math are just a couple of quality sites that you should check out.
  • Make Flash Cards – The old fashioned flash card still does the job when it comes to memorizing multiplication and division facts. After several rounds of quizzing, pull out the ones your child is consistently getting wrong and focus solely on those.

Maintain Structure – A flexible schedule will ensure that your child is getting plenty of rest and spending a good portion of her day productively.

  • Set reasonable bed times – Your kid may not have to attend school the next day, but she still needs plenty of rest. Don’t throw bedtime out just because summer has arrived.
  • Make sure that your kiddo is not spending large portions of his day in mindless activity. Chores, learning activities, reading, and outdoor play should be incorporated into the daily schedule.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your child having a break from the rigors of everyday school. Like us, kids need down time to relax and recharge their batteries. Just be mindful of the brain drain that can occur over the summer months and incorporate a reasonable amount of learning and structure into the break!