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!

 

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.

 

10 Things Your Kids Should Know About Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 16th our country celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday is the perfect time to reflect with your child on the amazing life of one of civil rights’ most important figures. Why not take some time as a family to discuss some of the significant events in King’s life? Red Apple Reading has compiled a list of 10 things your kids should know about Dr. King to get you started.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15th, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • King was intelligent. He skipped two years of high school and enrolled in Morehouse College at age 15. After he graduated from Morehouse he attended Crozer Theological Seminary where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He then went to Boston University where he earned his doctorate in systematic theology.
  • Some of King’s primary influences were his father – Martin Luther King, Sr., Jesus Christ, Morehouse President – Dr. Benjamin Mays, and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • King believed that peaceful civil disobedience was the best and most effectual way of bringing about political and social change.
  • King wrote Letter from a Birmingham Jail (a stirring defense of civil disobedience) in April of 1963 after being arrested for participating in a civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. This powerful manifesto was written without reference materials or notes and was over 7000 words long. Click here to read or listen to King’s letter.
  • King presented his I Have a Dream Speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. Dr. King delivered his speech at the March on Washington, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Click here to view King delivering his full speech.
  • Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was the youngest person to ever receive the prize.
  • King was the influential force behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the March on Washington, and the Selma March. These events helped to propel the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965).
  • King was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 by James Earl Ray. He was in Memphis supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.
  • King is remembered on the 3rd Monday in January, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This holiday was observed for the first time on January 20th, 1986.

If you would like to further explore the life of Dr. King, check out the following websites!

 

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!