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!

Celebrate the 4th of July with Fun Literacy Activities!

Red Apple Reading image - Independence DayThe 4th of July weekend is upon us and summer is in full swing. If your kids are like mine they are really enjoying their vacation from school. While it’s good to have a break from the daily grind of schoolwork, kids can lose some of the progress they made over the previous school year. You can help avoid this “summer slump” by incorporating some educational content into the summer schedule. Why not start today? Take time to sharpen your child’s literacy skills with these fun 4th of July themed activities.

  • Patriotic Picture Books – If you’re looking for some patriotic reads to share with your kiddo, then look no further! No Time for Flashcards has compiled a list of 18 patriotic picture books that are sure to get your little one ready for 4th of July fun!
  • F is for Flag – This cute craft is a must for those of you with preschoolers! Your child will practice her phonics, exercise her creativity and learn about the Stars and Stripes when she constructs this adorable F shaped American flag. Thanks MPM Ideas!
  • 4th of July Word Search – Make your very own word search with Discovery Education’s free puzzle generator. Simply type in the patriotic terms you wish to use and your customized puzzle will be ready in a matter of seconds!
  • History Lesson – Older elementary, middle and high school students will enjoy the interactives, videos, articles and pictures about the 4th of July at History.com. Take advantage of this fun way to incorporate a history lesson for Independence Day.
  • Write a Thank You Note – The 4th of July is the perfect time to write a thank you note to a soldier serving in the military. Operation Gratitude helps facilitate this important volunteer activity. Visit their website today to learn more.
  • Patriotic Writing Prompts – Want to give your little one an opportunity to practice his writing skills? Give him a patriotic writing prompt to get his creative juices flowing! Writing prompts such as, “I love living in America because…”, “If I were President I would…” and “My favorite American hero is…” are just a few ways to get your kiddo going.
  • Compose a Patriotic Poem – If your kid enjoys poetry encourage her to compose her very own patriotic rhyme. The evening barbecue will be the perfect place for her to share her creation with the entire family!
  • A to Z Challenge – See who can come up with the most patriotic words this Independence Day. Give each of your kids a sheet of paper labeled A-Z. Have them write a patriotic word starting with each letter of the alphabet. Whoever comes up with the most words is the winner!
  • ABC Stick FlagsGrowing Book by Book has 3 great ABC stick flag activities that fit well with a 4th of July theme. Test these out with your preschool kiddo this Independence Day!

We hope your weekend is filled with lots of fun family activities. Happy 4th of July from all of us here at Red Apple Reading!

 

Summer Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Summer Reading: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly | Red Apple ReadingOnce again the school year has flown by and summer is upon us. Many parents are thrilled for your kids to have some down time, but don’t relish the fight against television, video games, and social media. For me, summer reading has always been an important key to adding some loose structure to the break. However, reading can create mixed feelings in our kiddos: some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain ugly!

Summer reading is important and can be enjoyable if you present it the right way to your children. If you’re looking for some fun ways to implement reading into your kid’s summer break, Red Apple Reading invites you to try some of the following suggestions!

  • Scavenger Hunt – At the beginning of the summer plan a weekly scavenger hunt at your local library. For instance, the first week have your child search for a book about animals. The next week look for a mystery story. By planning a hunt with different genres each week, you can turn reading into an adventure!
  • Reading Rewards – Have your kid “purchase” technology time, swimming time, or ice cream dates. Don’t worry – this isn’t a shady scheme to make a little side money! Kids earn these prizes by reading! You decide how it works. Perhaps 1 hour of reading earns 20 minutes of television or 1 chapter book earns a trip to a fast food restaurant.
  • Family Reading – At the beginning of the summer, pick a book that the entire family can enjoy. Spend half an hour each day reading the story aloud to everyone. You’ll be surprised how much you and the children look forward to this daily activity!
  • Book Surprise – The first day of summer break present the kids with a surprise gift basket full of new books. These don’t have to be brand new titles; you can visit thrift stores and second hand shops to purchase “new to you” books.
  • Technology Temptation – If your kid is tech savvy, then take advantage of that passion and tempt them with technology! Allow your child to engage in reading in ways that don’t involve traditional books. For instance, did you know Red Apple Reading offers a bi-monthly e-magazine for kids and parents? Check it out today 
  • Mystery Book Basket – We love this fun idea from Inner Child Fun. Similar to “Blind Date with a Book”, this kid friendly version will add a little mystery to their book choice!
  • Library Programs – Most public libraries have summer reading programs for children. These programs encourage summer reading through fun programs, activities and prizes. This year’s Collaborative Summer Library Program theme is On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!
  • Book + Activity – Does your little one love a good craft or project? If so, combine her love of creativity with reading. Come up with a craft to make to go along with a book she is reading. Don’t worry if you’re not the creative type! A quick perusal of Pinterest will offer an abundance of ideas!

Be prepared to offer your kids a summer full of reading fun! With a little forethought and planning, you can experience all the good of summer reading and (hopefully!) avoid the bad and the ugly!