Raising a Writer: Encouraging Creative Writing

 

Creative writing is an important and often overlooked part of a comprehensive curriculum. Many times parents tend to focus on the broader aspects of math, science, social studies, and language. While these are all worthy of attention and are certainly important in a child’s education, we need not neglect the more specific and creative aspects of their learning. Check out these great ideas about how you can help your little one embrace the creative writing process.

 

  • Read – Reading and writing go hand in hand. Your kiddo will probably never desire to create tales of their own if they are rarely exposed to good stories at home. Carve out a few minutes each day to read aloud to your little one.
  • Provide Writing Supplies –Keep writing utensils such as pencils, markers, crayons, pens, and paper in an accessible and inviting space. Even if your child isn’t old enough to write full sentences, she can use the supplies to draw as well as practice letters and words.
  • Create Opportunity – In addition to providing the appropriate supplies for writing, parents can also create opportunities for writing. Dedicate a certain time each day for creative writing. Even if it only lasts for 15 minutes, the fact that you set aside time in the daily schedule communicates that writing is valuable.
  • Foster Vocabulary – Your child will never learn a new word without first hearing that word. Be intentional about nurturing your child’s vocabulary. The best way to do this is through reading. You can also play word games together. For instance, if your son says that something is cold, you could ask him if he can think of other words that mean the same thing as cold.
  • Poetry – There are many different aspects to creative writing. Your child may not enjoy writing a story, but love to create rhymes. Make sure your kiddo is exposed to poetry by providing books of poems for her to read. She might be inspired to create a poem of her very own!
  • Make use of Technology – Most kids today are tech savvy. Your child might enjoy typing rather than handwriting something creative. Older children and teens may enjoy beginning a blog or contributing to online fan fiction.
  • Start Early – We cannot over emphasize the importance of beginning the process sooner rather than later with your child. If you wish to raise a kid who loves writing, begin nurturing these qualities at a young age.

There are so many fun and easy ways to begin fostering the creative writing process in your child. One or two little changes or opportunities may be all it takes to bring the writer to life in your little one. If you’d like some more ideas on how you can raise a kid who loves to write, check out Red Apple Reading’s writing and poetry boards on Pinterest.

 

Earth Day for Toddlers

Toddler-hood is a great time to introduce your kiddo to environmental conservancy. If you’ve been the parent of a toddler for any length of time, you understand just how quickly they are able to catch on to ideas. A simple activity can go a long way in increasing your toddler’s awareness about environmental issues. Here’s a list of ten simple Earth Day activities you can do with your toddler, courtesy of Red Apple Reading:

  1. Re-purpose a Cardboard Box – Here’s an Earth Day activity every toddler is sure to love! Demonstrate the importance of recycling by re-purposing a cardboard box you have around the house. Cut windows and a door in a refrigerator box to make a house, or turn a smaller box into a car. Be sure to take the “well loved” treasure to the recycling bin when your little one is done playing with it.
  2. Take a Nature Walk – Make a point to get out of the house regularly to enjoy a little outdoor exercise with your toddler. Visit a local walking trail or arboretum. A simple stroll in the sunshine is sure to nurture your kiddo’s love of nature.
  3. Plant an Alphabet Garden – Your little one can practice their ABC’s as they play in an alphabet garden from Mom Inspired Life. This activity is super easy to put together and your kiddo will love “planting” their alphabet flowers in the green play dough.
  4. Clean Up a Park – Take a trip to a nearby park and after a little play time, pick up trash around the area. This will teach your child how to take care of outside areas as well as provide an important lesson on the importance of not littering.
  5. Set up Earth Day Sensory Play – Toddlers love sensory play! This year create a special Earth Day sensory bin for your toddler to explore. Place items such as soil, rocks, animal figures, and tree figures in a plastic bin. Allow your child to play using the items however she wishes.
  6. Have a Snack – Celebrate Earth Day with a special snack. Your tot will love these Dirt Pudding Cups complete with squishy gummy worms wiggling around the top! Visit Oh Nuts for instructions.
  7. Read a Book – When it’s time to read your toddler a bedtime story, choose a book that applies to Earth Day. Fortunately, there are several Earth Day themed titles from which to choose. Check out these suggestions from The Jenny Evolution.
  8. Go on a Scavenger Hunt – Create a nature scavenger hunt for your toddler. Cut out pictures of things like leaves, grass, rocks, sticks, etc. and have your child collect the nature items on the list.
  9. Create Chia Pet Pictures – You’ll definitely want to create one of these Chia pet picture planters with your kiddo. You’ll love having the photo of your little one and they’ll love seeing themselves with long grassy hair! Check out this example from Apartment Therapy.
  10. Construct a Bird Feeder – Construct a simple bird feeder with your toddler using the cardboard tube from toilet paper or paper towels. Afterwards, put out a blanket and watch your feathered friends enjoy a snack. Follow these easy instructions from The Resourceful Mama.

When it comes to introducing toddlers to new activities, keep it simple. You don’t have to have elaborate Earth Day plans in order to make a meaningful impact on your little one. An ecological lesson that is fun and simple is the perfect introduction to Earth Day. Try one out with your toddler today!

 

Spring into Creativity

Spring into Creativity - Red Apple ReadingWho doesn’t love the arrival of spring? The weather warms up, the flowers begin to bloom, and the days last a little longer. The advent of spring marks a newness of life; and the changes taking place outdoors seem to spark something inside of us as well. We’re inspired to try something different or make something new. In honor of the arrival of spring this year, why not take a little time to nurture your kid’s creativity?

Spring into the Garden
Something about spring makes you want to get your hands in the dirt! You don’t have to undertake a big garden to satisfy your desire to grow something. You don’t even have to have a green thumb! Try starting a small succulent garden with your child. Succulents are hardy plants with thick leaves for retaining moisture. Since Easter is this weekend, try placing them in these dyed eggshell planters (see Emily Takes Photos).

Spring into the Kitchen
The kitchen seems to be the natural gathering place in my family. Often one of the kids will come in and share a little something about his day while I prepare supper or play just outside the room to be close. Why not invite your kiddo into the kitchen for a little spring time fun? Kids will love these cute flower pretzel bites and parents will love how easy they are to put together. Thanks Two Sisters Crafting for this delicious spring sweet treat idea!

Spring into Poetry
Get your child’s creative juices flowing with a little spring poetry practice. Acrostics are a great introduction to poetry. They also inspire creative thinking in children. Download this template from The Happy Teacher so your kids can produce their own tribute to spring. Let the creative writing begin!

Spring into Art
Pay homage to spring with this fun dandelion thumbprint masterpiece from Glued to my Crafts.  All you’ll need to make this beauty is cardstock and a little paint. You won’t believe how pretty the outcome is when this simple project is complete!

Spring into Reading
There’s no better way to inspire creativity in children than by providing them with good books to read. Fortunately, there are plenty of terrific titles out there for your child to peruse! Check out these spring themed books from Hen Family if you need some suggestions!

We hope you and your family are enjoying the onset of spring. It really is a great time of the year! Leave us a message below and let us know what you do to inspire creativity in your crew. Happy spring from Red Apple Reading!

Paws-itive Reading Progress: Reading Therapy Dogs and How They Help

Red Apple Reading - Reading therapy dogs and how they help

Every child is different, and developing each individual’s reading ability needs a combination of approaches. There are probably many things you’ve already tried – so how about something you may not have heard of? Reading to therapy dogs is gaining popularity as a way to develop reading ability in children, as well as improve their confidence and social skills.

Benefits
Studies of therapy dogs in medical settings have proven that interaction with a friendly canine helps to lower blood pressure and stress hormones. This demonstrates that they create a calm and relaxed environment. Dogs can encourage children to read by being non-judgmental and unconditionally supportive. They do not appear to be superior, and do not correct the child as an adult might. The focus of the session becomes the dog, rather than the child, which is valuable for those with self-esteem issues or social anxieties.

Positive Outcomes
Reading therapy dog sessions allow your child to make new, happy associations with reading and speaking aloud. Many parents of children who have undertaken the programs report more motivation and excitement for reading even after the session has finished, as well as increased confidence and communication skills.

More detailed information can be found on the Particular Paws website.

Contributed by freelance writer Jocelyn Brown

 

Fun Book and Activity Pairings for Kids

What’s more fun than reading a good book? Pairing the book with a cool project, of course! If you want your kiddo to get the most out of her reading experience, try adding an activity that enhances the story and allows for further discussion. If you’re not sure where to begin, Red Apple Reading has a few ideas to help get you started. Check out these pairings!

 

The Listening Walk  by Paul Showers

If you have a particularly chatty early elementary school child, this book may provide the encouragement he needs to simply listen. In this classic story a father and daughter go on a “listening walk” and pay close attention to all the sounds around them.

Activity:  Take a Listening Walk

This story lends itself to a super simple activity that requires only walking shoes. Take your kiddo on a listening walk! Ideally, this walk would take place outside, but if the weather doesn’t permit, a walk could be taken in a supermarket, mall, or library. Make sure to take note of all the different sounds you hear along the way.

 

Diary of a Worm  by Doreen Cronin

What does a young worm do all day? Kids will find out in this funny book written in diary form by the main character. This amusing book will be a big hit for preschoolers and early elementary aged children, and parents will enjoy it just as much. Get ready to giggle!

Activity:  Vermicomposting

O.K., this may not sound like much fun, but trust us, your kids will love it! To put it simply, you and your child will make a worm bin. Vermicomposting (worm composting) is a great way to take care of your food waste. Afterwards, the compost can be used for your garden! Read more about worm composting here from Cultural Care Au Pair.

 

A Rainbow of My Own  by Don Freeman

Preschoolers will enjoy this simple story about a boy who wonders what it would be like to have a rainbow of his own.

Activity:  Rainbow Nesting Blocks

Surprise your kiddo with a rainbow of their own! Young children will love pairing these rainbow nesting blocks from Grimm’s with this cute story. After reading, present these fun building blocks to her and let her imagination take over!

 

Only One You  by Linda Kranz

Filled with colorfully painted pebble fish, this inspirational book encourages children as they swim through the sea of life.

Activity:  Painted Pebble Fish

Sun Hats & Wellie Boots has the perfect activity pairing for this story: paint your own pebble fish. Kids will let their artistic side shine when they create their own unique and colorful fish using only small rocks and acrylic paints.

 

The BFG  by Roald Dahl

Here’s a book for the older elementary and middle school crowd. When Sophie is carried off in the middle of the night by the Big Friendly Giant, adventure ensues. Kids will probably already be familiar with this book that was recently made into a major motion picture.

Activity:  Making Frobscottle

Frobscottle is the delicious drink served up by the B.F.G. in the story: “It was sweet and refreshing. It tasted of vanilla and cream, with just the faintest trace of raspberries on the edge of the flavour.” Take a shot at making this yummy treat with your kids after reading the book. Don’t have a recipe for Frobscottle on hand? No problem! Check this one out from Food in Literature.

 
Perhaps after tackling one of these book and activity pairings, you’ll be inspired to create a project of your own to go along with a favorite book! Be sure to leave us a comment below sharing what books and activities you enjoy putting together.