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!

Fun Ways to Celebrate Presidents’ Day

Many of us are enjoying a long weekend since Presidents’ Day is this Monday.  While our federal government officially calls this American holiday “Washington’s Birthday”, it has come to be recognized as a time to pay tribute to both past and present presidents. How is your family spending this holiday? Red Apple Reading has some ideas for celebrating Presidents’ Day with your family.

Read – Reading is always a good way to celebrate a special occasion! Take a look at this list we compiled a few years ago: Perfect Reads for Presidents’ Day.

Presidential Fun Facts – Check out this video from History.com with fun presidential facts. Who knew Calvin Coolidge had a pygmy hippo?

Dinner Discussion – If your family is like mine, dinner is one of the few times that everyone is together. Take advantage of this time by steering the discussion toward presidential issues. For instance, have everyone complete this statement: “If I were President, I would…”

List the Presidents – Most people know that Washington was our first president and Lincoln was our 16th, but what about the others? Take time this weekend to learn all the presidents in order! Need a little help? Check out this song!

Presidential Word Search – See which family member can complete this presidential word search the fastest!

Patriotic Snack Time – Create this yummy flag fruit dessert from Family Fresh Meals. Be sure to take a picture of your completed creation before the kids devour it. Snacks this delicious don’t last long!

Scrambled President – You might as well sneak a little word work into the holiday! Have your children compete to see who can make the most words from the letters in the word, President.

Get Crafty – Get a little crafty this Presidents’ Day with this cute presidential creation from Eberhart’s Explorers. Your kiddo will enjoy constructing their very own George Washington portrait using minimal crafting materials.

Write a Letter – Children can write their very own letter to the President. Follow the directions on this website.

Perhaps you’ve never considered how you could celebrate Presidents’ Day with the family. By simply planning a few small activities you can make the holiday a special time for the entire family! Happy Presidents’ Day from Red Apple Reading!

 

Literacy Crafts for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that just begs you to break out the glue, construction paper, and scissors and get crafty. Here at Red Apple Reading we think the only thing better is mixing in a little literacy with the craft! After all, you might as well sneak a bit of learning into the fun. This year why not try out one of these literacy friendly Valentine crafts with your kiddo?

 

Beaded Name Hearts
This Valentine craft from Fun-A-Day encourages literacy as well as fine motor skills. Kids arrange pony beads into fun patterns and thread their name into this cute creation. All parents need to provide are multi-colored beads, letter beads, and pipe cleaners.

Conversation Heart Letters
What’s Valentine’s Day without those sweet conversation hearts? Small children will get a kick out of practicing their letters with this classic candy. Kids place the candy hearts onto the letters to create a yummy alphabet. Visit TotSchooling to download their free conversation heart Valentine’s printables today!

Write a Valentine Letter
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to pen a letter to someone you love. Encourage your child to write a letter to a special person in his life listing all the things they love about him or her. Afterwards, supply your kiddo with markers, stickers, glitter, etc. to decorate their note.

Jar of Hearts
Your child will create her very own jar of hearts with this special Valentine’s Day writing activity.  Whether she chooses to write down the things she appreciates or people she loves, she will end feeling grateful for all the good stored up in her jar. This free download is available from Inspired Elementary.

The Sweetest Thing Writing Activity
This Valentine’s Day inspired writing activity comes from The Applicious Teacher. Children write about their sweet acts then display them on a homemade heart or chocolate kiss. Visit the website for instructions on how to assemble this craft and to purchase additional printables to expand the writing project.

Valentine’s Card Sentence Scramble
Who doesn’t like to receive cards on Valentine’s Day? Your child can create this adorable folding caterpillar card for someone special in his life. Have him unscramble the words to discover the message, then place each word on a different section of the caterpillar. When the card is unfolded this message appears: “Valentine, I’m buggy for you”. Visit Scholastic for instructions.

Valentine Book Marks
Let your little one create a Valentine-themed book mark. Simply provide cardstock, markers, stickers, and ribbon. After she completes her creation, present her with a new Valentine-themed book to go with the bookmark.

K is for Kiss
If your child is currently learning her letters, she will enjoy making this “K is for Kiss” craft. The end result (a googly eyed chocolate kiss) is adorable! Visit Our Crafts-N-Things to view this cute project.

The Day it Rained Hearts Craft
This craft is based on the book, The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. Your kiddo will love the finished creation with red felt hearts falling from tissue paper clouds and blue yarn rain woven through gray cardstock. Of course, you’ll also want to read the book that inspired this craft! Check out the instructions at I Heart Crafty Things.

Love Monster Paper Bag Puppet
Here’s another goody from I Heart Crafty Things! If your child is familiar with the book Love Monster by Rachel Bright, he’s sure to enjoy this fun art project. This simple craft only requires a paper bag, red construction paper, glue, and a little cardstock. When he’s finished he’ll have his very own Love Monster puppet! Read Love Monster today!

Get crafty this Valentine’s Day with an art project that combines the two great L’s – Literacy and Love. When you make one of these crafts with your kids, we have a feeling that you will be speaking their love language!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Red Apple Reading.

 

Helping Toddlers with Pre-Reading Skills

If you have a toddler at home, you may not have thought much about teaching her to read. Most parents of toddlers would be thrilled if their little one would just learn to keep their food on their plate! While most toddlers have several years before they begin to read fluently, there are some activities you can begin now in order to build a strong reading foundation. And trust us, your child will be in much better shape when starting school if you have already taken the time to do these things!

Developing your little one’s phonemic awareness is one very important way you can begin to lay the groundwork for reading success. Simply put, phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate sounds within words. The following phonemic awareness activities will help your toddler cultivate a strong basis for later reading.

  • Read Nursery Rhymes – Rhymes help children hear the phonetic connections between words with similar spellings and sounds. When you read nursery rhymes to your toddler, he learns the natural rhythms of spoken language.
  • Sing Rhyming Songs – Singing fun rhyming songs is another way to help your little one develop an awareness of rhythmic patterns among words. When you’re singing their favorite song for the tenth time that day, remember that you really are doing important brain work!
  • Clap Words – You can begin to introduce the concept of syllables to your toddler by “clapping words”. Clapping out the syllables in words helps your little one learn to isolate sounds, which is an important part of developing phonemic awareness.
  • Read Word Family Books – Reading books to your toddler that focus on a particular “word family” (words ending in a particular sound – “ad”, “an”, “op”, etc.), will help him gain phonemic awareness.  Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop is an example of a good book for introducing word families.
  • Go on a Sound Hunt – Help your toddler learn to isolate sounds within words by going on a “sound hunt”. For instance, look around the house for objects that have the /d/ sound in them (dog, door).
  • Talk and Read with Your Toddler! – Speaking abundantly with a young child and reading stories – both fiction and non-fiction – are easy and effective things a parent can do to help a child’s budding literacy.

Your toddler is probably still several years from becoming an independent reader, but it’s never too early to begin laying a good foundation for reading. In fact, you are probably already doing many of the things necessary for nurturing an emerging reader without even realizing it!

If you would like to know more about the concept of phonemic awareness, check out this video from Red Apple Reading!