Earth Day Educational Ideas

Earth Day Educational IdeasThe beautiful thing about Earth Day is that you can celebrate it all year long! Whether you teach in a traditional classroom or homeschool your kids, you’ll love these different activities that allow you to instruct while using an Earth Day theme. If your little ones attend a public or private school, choose something to do when they arrive home in the afternoon. However or whenever you choose to include these activities, you and your kiddos will have a blast and learn a lot in the process!

Reading – We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a good book. Fortunately there are several great titles to choose from! Start by checking out these picks from our 2014 Earth Day Post.

Math – This fun sensory math bin from Fun-A-Day will allow your child to practice number identification, counting, and addition. The blue and green rice (just use food coloring!) is reminiscent of earth’s oceans and land masses. The only other items you need are green and blue plastic Easter eggs, marbles, and condiment cups.

Science – Kids will love this earth science project from Education.com. Children build their very own worm hotel! This cool experiment allows little ones to learn how important worms are for maintaining healthy soil. Your kiddo will love seeing how the earth worms burrow down into the dirt and mix up the layers of sand and soil.

Geography – Students research different bodies of water around the world in this investigative activity. Children will study where their body of water is located, how it has influenced the people groups alongside of it, and answer several other probing questions. Get this Water Question Worksheet for free from Discovery!

Art – It’s always good to remind our kids of ways they can reuse old materials. This art project allows students to make lovely silhouettes of animals from strips of recycled magazine pages. Visit MPM Ideas to get instructions for this fun art project today!

Recess – Why not take a nature hike when it’s time for a break? Even if you’re not able to visit a local nature trail, a stroll around your own backyard can yield fun finds. Encourage kids to keep their eyes open for bugs, flowers, leaves, and animals. Consider taking a magnifying glass and binoculars so children can have a closer look!

Earth Day lends itself perfectly to the learning portions of a school day. Don’t let it pass by without trying at least one or two of these fun educational activities.

Happy Earth Day from Red Apple Reading!

 

Sensory Play and the Young Child

 

Red Apple Reading post: Sensory Play and the Young ChildWe all want our children to have every opportunity to grow and flourish. It can be overwhelming to think about all that a little person must learn to do even before entering elementary school! What can parents do to facilitate their toddler’s or preschooler’s learning? The answer may be simpler than you think!

Sensory Play

Even as infants our children are learning. Have you ever tried to read your baby a book only to have her stick it in her mouth and chew on it? She is experiencing her world orally. As your baby grows into a toddler and then a preschooler, her experiences may become more sophisticated, but she is still learning through her senses. Parents can help their toddler and preschool children develop and learn by providing simple sensory experiences for them to enjoy.

Benefits of Sensory Play

  • Vocabulary Development – One great benefit of sensory play is that it helps grow your kiddo’s vocabulary. For instance, when your child is playing with playdough, you can ask him how the playdough feels. Helping your kid put labels such as sticky, mushy, or tacky on a material he is playing with benefits his vocabulary growth tremendously!
  • Fine Motor Skills Development– Another advantage of providing sensory play experiences for your child is that it aids her fine motor skill development. Fine motor skills are anything that requires your child to make small movements with her hands, fingers, feet, toes, or other body parts. When your little one is holding a small item, buttoning, tracing, etc, she is actually learning to use her smaller muscles.
  • Emotional Development – We’ve all experienced how therapeutic activity can be when we are experiencing high levels of emotion. Sensory play naturally provides the same outlet for children. For example, your child may find sand play soothing as he feels the grains run through his fingers. An angry child feels the satisfaction of building a structure and then knocking it down. Listening to music can help an anxious child feel peaceful.
  • Neurological Development – Research shows that sensory play actually helps build neural connections in children’s brains. It may look like your kid is only smelling the cake batter she is stirring; in reality, she is also constructing important neural pathways that will aid her brain development!

Visit us on Pinterest! A quick perusal of the internet will yield a plethora of suggestions for sensory play. Check out Red Apple Reading’s Pinterest page, Kinesthetic Learners, for great ideas on how to get started!

 

Spring Literacy Activities

Spring Literacy ActivitiesHere at Red Apple Reading we love a creative literacy activity. We believe learning should be fun and spring provides the perfect opportunity to introduce cool literacy projects! This week we’ve chosen 10 of our favorite activities from our Spring Pinterest page. We know your little ones will simply love these literacy activities!

 

 

  1. Digging for Carrots Sight Word Activity – Looking for a good way to review sight words? Look no further! This adorable sensory activity from The Imagination Tree is just what you need.
  2. The Pronoun Patch – Teacher Idea Factory has come up with a great way to practice pronouns. Check out these cute spring flowers from the Pronoun Patch!
  3. Plastic Egg Compound Word Practice – Upcycle all of those plastic Easter eggs into teaching tools for the kids. Cool idea from The Lesson Plan Diva!
  4. Rainbow Spring Adjectives – Spring is the perfect time for little ones to brush up on their adjectives. Step into Second Grade has a great idea for adding describing words to different layers of a rainbow.
  5. Contraction Kites – Kids will love learning their contractions with this fun craft from The Weekly Hive.
  6. 25 Spring Writing Prompts – Check out these spring writing prompts from The Teacher Next Door.
  7. Crack and Write Eggs – Childhood 101 has a creative solution to boring spelling word practice. Your kids will love practicing spelling words with their used plastic eggs!
  8. Free Alphabet Butterfly Puzzles – Your preschooler will enjoy this fun game where she matches uppercase letters with their lowercase counterpart. Thanks for this freebie Totschooling!
  9. Tulip Phonograms – This tulip mat from Sorting Sprinkles is a cute way to celebrate spring and play with word families!
  10. An “Egg”cellent Review – In 5th Grade with Teacher Julia has a great idea for morning journal entries. Students choose a plastic egg and find a writing prompt inside! This can also be used for reviewing math facts as well as science and history questions.

If you like these ideas be sure to check out our other Pinterest boards for more great literacy projects!

Spring Break Fun

Spring Break Fun - Red Apple ReadingCan you believe it’s already time for Spring Break? How do you plan to spend the break with your children? If you haven’t made any plans yet, check out these suggestions from your friends at Red Apple Reading!

  • Start a Garden – Visit a nursery with your little one and find something fun to plant!
  • Have a Picnic – Grab a blanket and head outside.
  • Create Sidewalk Art – Spend the morning decorating your driveway with sidewalk chalk and paint!
  • Bird Watch – Find a bird identification book and do a little birdwatching with your kiddo.
  • Have an Egg Hunt – It’s not too early to start practicing for the big Easter hunt. Check out these fun spins on hunting eggs from My List of Lists!
  • Tour a Local Business/Charity – Field trips aren’t just for school! Schedule a visit to a business or charity your child finds interesting.
  • Read Outside – Soak up some sunshine as well as some reading time.
  • Cook Together – Plan a meal with your kid and prepare it together.
  • Visit a Nursing Home – Senior citizens love to have young visitors! Plan a trip to a local nursing home or assisted living center.
  • Go to the Library – Busy school days may not be the best time for you to visit the library with your little one. Take advantage of the extra time spring break affords your family.
  • Indulge in a New Book – Treat your kiddos to a new book over spring break. Check out these fun  spring titles!

Spring Books that Share the Best of the Season from EDventures
Spring Books for Kids from Rhythms of Play
Spring Books for Kids of All Ages from Superheroes and Teacups
15 Gardening Books for Kids from Sunny Day Family

We hope these suggestions have given you a little inspiration for spring break fun with your kids. If your children aren’t already enjoying a subscription to Red Apple Reading, spring break is the perfect time to introduce them to serious learning that’s seriously fun!

Three Children’s Book Authors to Check Out

It seems like anyone can call themselves a children’s book author these days as the comedian and The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon has a publishing deal for his second book. Although his first book, titled Your Baby’s First Words Will Be DADA, received better reviews than most people expected, there are a handful of storybook writers that don’t receive nearly half as much media attention as they deserve.

There are quite a few notables in the world of children’s literature, but we’ve decided to put the spotlight on lesser-known authors with works that the entire family can enjoy.

Tomie dePaola

Tomie Depaola

(image credit: kidlit411.com)

After picking up a pencil and discovering what he could create with it, Tomie dePaola realized his life’s calling. Studying at the Pratt Institute in New York and the California College of Arts & Crafts in California, his career led to designing stage sets and greeting cards before finally illustrating his first book, Sound. Since then, he has gone on to write and illustrate over 200 books, including award winners like Giorgio’s Village and What the Mailman Brought. dePaola’s accolades throughout his 30 years as a published author make him one of the most prestigious children’s book writers and illustrators to date.

Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry, Author

(image credit: onpoint.wbur.org)

Unlike dePaola, Lois Lowry never knew that she would pursue a career in children’s literacy until she was approached by the world renowned publisher Houghton Mifflin. Her work in photography and journalism intrigued the literary powerhouse and eventually published her first book A Summer to Die. Lowry has a collection of children’s and young adult fiction that take on a rather serious tone to explore themes different from what kids may be used to, like Number the Stars which references the Holocaust. But she also shows her funny, light-hearted side from time to time, with humorous series like Anastasia Krupnik.

Chris Riddell

ChrisRiddell

Accepting the title of Children’s Laureate just last June, Chris Riddell has had an amazing career that inspired families and urged children to embrace their creativity through his artwork. As Tootsa MacGinty iterates, Riddell has been delighting us with his work since the 1980s, earning him a number of awards, such as The Nestlé Children’s Book Prize for his literary and illustrative work in the Ottoline and the Yellow Cat as well as The Emperor of Absurdia. The titles of his books are imaginative and unconventional, often with a fantastical twist to bring out a sense of adventure and inspire children to become great readers and thinkers.

Exclusively written for Red Apple Reading
By Reader-Dreamer