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!


Educational Summer Fun

Educational Summer Fun - Red Apple ReadingSummer doesn’t officially begin until June 21st, but with Memorial Day now behind us it feels like summer has already begun. If you’re like me you have mixed feelings about summertime. While I’m happy that the kids have a break from school, I cringe at the idea of them sitting around watching television and playing video games for two months! That’s why I attempt to have some fun educational activities for them to do throughout the season. A quick perusal of the internet reveals an endless variety of ideas for fun summer learning. Here are some of our favorites!


  • Summer Reading Programs – Most public libraries offer summer reading programs for their younger visitors. Many times these involve a theme, prizes, and weekly activities. The CSLP’s (Collaborative Summer Library Program) 2015 summer reading theme is Heroes. Check your local library to see if they are using this theme or one of their own choosing.
  • Take a Hike! – Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors with your kiddos! Whether you are exploring your own backyard or a local trail in your area, the possibilities for having fun and learning are endless. Have your child carry a small notebook with him or her and record the different creatures he or she spots. If your little one can’t write yet, have her draw a picture of her nature finds.
  • Library Scavenger Hunt – I love this take on the scavenger hunt from What Do We Do All Day. Kids will have fun as they explore their local library looking for answers to each clue. Just remind them to keep the volume down as they hunt – nobody wants to get that disapproving look from the librarian.  😉
  • Water Balloon Sight Words – Check out this fun water game from Royal Baloo. If your kiddos are complaining about the heat, this is a perfect way to cool off and practice sight words at the same time! You could also use this to review math facts. I’m definitely trying this out with my 6-year-old this summer!
  • Red Apple Reading – We think you and your little one will love Red Apple Reading. Our award winning, online reading program is not only educational but is also fun to play. Check it out for free! You’ll want to have this affordable and entertaining educational resource this summer.

Kids love summertime! It’s a great opportunity for them to decompress after the hectic school season, but be sure to include some educational activities to keep them sharp while they are out of school. Remember, a vacation from school should never be a vacation from learning!

10 Summer-Themed Books for Kids

If your kiddos are like mine, they are ready for summer! Summer is rather magical – long days, fireflies, swimming pools and popsicles are just a few of the wonderful parts of summer vacation. As your family prepares for the summer season, why not pick up a summer read for your child? Red Apple Reading has some recommendations we think you and your little one will enjoy!


The Very Lonely Firefly


The Very Lonely Firefly (Eric Carle) –   A little firefly is born and begins to look for its friends. Every time it approaches a light, however, it finds that it is not a firefly friend. Finally this little guy meets up with his friends at the book’s conclusion, 1-3 year olds will like the flashing lights at the end of the story!



Come on, Rain!


Come On, Rain! (Karen Hesse) Join Tessie as she anticipates escaping the sweltering heat in a summer shower. After reading this story, your kiddo will want to dance in the rain! Recommended for ages 4-8





Beach Bugs



Beach Bugs (David A. Carter) – Preschoolers will love this delightful pop-up book featuring summer’s most popular bugs!






Summer Days and Nights


Summer Days and Nights (Wong Herbert Yee) – Another fun summer read for 2-6 year olds is Summer Days and Nights. In this picture book, young readers will experience the simple joys of the summer season through the eyes of a little girl.




The Night Before Summer Vacation



The Night Before Summer Vacation (Natasha Wing) – Everyone knows what it’s like to forget something important when packing for vacation. Find out what the family in this funny story forgets as they get ready for their summer trip! Recommended for ages 3-8 years



Ice Cream Summer


Ice Cream Summer (Peter Sis) – A little boy describes his summer in a letter to his Grandpa. However, things may not be exactly as they seem; this little guy seems to have a hard time keeping his mind off ice cream! Fans of this delicious frozen treat will appreciate this picture book. Early elementary school.



The Relatives Came


The Relatives Came (Cynthia Rylant) – This beautifully illustrated picture book recounts a family’s summer stay with their relatives. While it is sad when vacation is over, the family knows it will return next summer. A nice read for 5-8 year olds.





A Long Way from Chicago


A Long Way From Chicago (Richard Peck) – I had the pleasure of discovering author Richard Peck a few years ago. The target audience for this book is middle graders, but I highly recommend reading it with your youngster. You will laugh aloud as you read about Mary Alice’s and Joey’s adventures as they spend their summers with their quirky grandmother.



Summer Ball


Summer Ball (Mike Lupica) – In this sequel to Travel Team, Danny is off to Right Way basketball camp for the summer. Although he has recently led his team to the National Championship, he knows the competition at camp will be tough since the best of the best will be in attendance. Will Danny be able to cut it? 8-12 year old basketball fans will enjoy this summer read.




Nerd Camp


Nerd Camp (Elissa Brent Weissman) – Gabe is headed to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment (a.k.a. – nerd camp). Unsure if he wants to be a geek, Gabe worries particularly what his soon to be step-brother, Zack, will think of him. This hilarious chapter book will tickle middle readers’ funny bones!