Reading and Crafting Fun with Kids

I’ve been smiling a lot these days.

During the past few weeks, the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program has traveled to several local kindergartens and libraries.

Back in November, the children at Edison Elementary enjoyed hearing Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis.  Young children are often reluctant or unable to express their feelings.  Reading a story like this one gives them the opportunity to talk about what might be bothering them.  In Chapter Four, I Am Really Mad Right Now, my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, gives parents and teachers over a dozen picture book titles with summaries and a related quick and easy craft project and matching child-friendly cooking activity for each.

After the kindergarteners had a chance to talk about the feelings of the main character in the story and their own feelings, I showed them the fun craft we would be making.  The children were excited to work on the smiling/frowning paper plate.  We punched a hole in the top and pushed a piece of yarn through so they would be able to hang it up on the door to their room…anyone entering will know how they are feeling…another wonderful opportunity for parents to engage  their children in a discussion about emotions.

I was thrilled to receive a bunch of letters and pictures from Ms. Gustafson’s class, thanking me for sharing the story and craft activity with them. 

This past week, I visited with the kindergarteners at Fremont Elementary.  Again I was met with smiling children, eager to hear The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  Ms. Vassar’s class was excited to hear about the little raccoon who didn’t want to leave his mother to go to school until she shares a special secret with him. 

 

Young children can relate to this story very well…many of them are anxious about leaving home to go to school or daycare.  Again, picture books can be a wonderful vehicle for calming a child’s fears or helping him realize that others feel just the way he does. 

 

After the story was over, the children made Kissing Hand pictures.   Tracing the outline of their hands onto a piece of paper, I encouraged the children to think about who they love and who loves them.  Each finger represented someone important in their lives. 

Then, on Saturday, I read the same picture book at the Penrose Library’s 10:30am Story-time.  Many of the children attending were only three and four years old, but they still loved hearing the story and looking at the beautiful illustrations.  Very young children are developing important pre-literacy skills when parents read to them.  Knowing how to hold a book, turning the pages from front to back, reading the pictures from left to right, observing and pointing out things they see in the pictures…these are all important skills they MUST learn before they can read themselves. 

Because the holidays are fast approaching, I changed the craft that accompanied the story and we made Kissing Hand Ornaments.  Each child received a handprint, cut from cardstock paper that was white on one side and glittery color on the other.  Using the white side, the children and their parents drew faces of family members on the fingers.  The handprints had a hole punched at the top and a piece of yarn strung through so they can be hung from the Christmas tree, if desired.

It only takes 15 minutes to read a picture book story.  It only takes 15 minutes to do a simple craft project.  Such a little amount of time…but it has such a great impact.   “If you want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.” 

I implore parents: please do this with your young children.  Go to the library.  Get out a few picture books.  Read them with your children.  Get some paper and crayons and draw with your children.  Staple several pages together and let them make their own “book” and have them tell you the story they have drawn.

The book I wrote last year is a perfect addition to your home library…with 100 classic picture book recommendations; you only have to flip through the table of contents to find the perfect book to read to your child.  When you open to that page, you will find the story summary, a tip on why that particular book is helpful to read to your child, a quick and easy craft project and a child-friendly healthful recipe…all laid out for you in a simple, easy-to-use format.  Most of the crafts use only paper, crayons or markers…some also need a glue stick, pair of scissors and pictures cut from magazines or catalogs.  Most of the recipes are low-fat, low sugar and high fiber…many are even no-cook, like fresh orange juice made from squeezing oranges and peanut butter balls made from peanut butter, honey and dry milk. 

I wish I had had this book when my children were growing up…everything in one place…no guesswork involved when it comes to planning activities for young children. 

If you order the book NOW, you will be able to start the New Year off right.

Don’t delay…at $24.95, it makes the perfect gift for yourself or anyone you know who has young children.  It even makes a great baby shower gift…unique and priceless…with great parenting tips on building a child’s self-esteem and creating a life-long parent-child bond.

And we all want that…don’t we?  Please visit the Show Me How website now and order a copy today!

Literacy Program for Parents and Children: Parents’ Night at Trailblazer School

Cover of "Yes We Can!"

Cover of Yes We Can!

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting a program for the parents and children of Trailblazer Elementary School in Colorado Springs’ District 11.

The president of the El Paso PTA, the head of the PTA at Trailblazer, the principal of Trailblazer and the director of one of the local preschools were also on hand to hear about how a picture book is worth a thousand words.

How is a picture book worth a thousand words?  Why should we read picture books to our young children?

  • Children love them and children who learn to love books grow up to be good readers.
  • Listening to and looking at picture books helps young children develop the skills they will need to be ready to read.
  • The messages in picture books can help young children deal with many of the challenges they encounter in their early years.
  • Studies show that children who are read to at an early age are more successful in school.
  • Reading with your child strengthens the parent-child connection.

After talking a minute or two about the importance of picture books and reading to young children, I read, Yes We Can! by Sam McBratney.  The parents and children enjoyed the story about the three animal friends who play together and make a big pile of leaves.  However, when they stop to rest, they begin to make fun of each other and they all become sad and grumpy.  At the suggestion of one of their moms, they each show what they can do best…and all the friends agree that Little Roo is the best jumper, Country Mouse is the best tail-catcher and Quacker Duck is the best puddle-floater.  The little animals end the day happy with themselves and each other. 

As I turned the pages for the second time, the children were eager to answer the questions I asked about the story they had just listened to.  They agreed that no one likes to be made fun of and that it can make us sad or mad when others laugh at us.

Showing the children the sample craft I had made, I explained that we were going to make double-sided faces on the piece of white cardstock I had cut in the shape of a leaf.  On one side, each child drew a happy/glad/excited face and on the other side, a sad/mad/angry one.  We punched a hole in the top of each and looped a piece of yarn through the hole, so it could be hung on the doorknob of their room.  When they are feeling happy, they will put the smiling side showing.  When they are feeling sad, they will turn the frowning side over.  What a wonderful opportunity for parents to initiate a discussion about why the child is feeling sad or mad!  One of the components of building self-esteem is being able to express one’s feelings, whether positive or negative.

 

The children were excited to take home their art project and the parents were able to pick up a flyer on helpful hints and simple steps to making reading to children fun for everyone.  I also provided a flyer of sample activities from my Show Me How! book.  One of the parents recognized the book as one she had taken from the library and she bought two copies…one to use with her own children and one to give to a family member who also has young children.

Developing strong literacy skills is critically important and this program makes it quick and easy!

Reading a picture book only takes about 15 minutes! 

Doing a simple craft project only takes about 15 minutes!

Preparing an easy recipe only takes about 15 minutes!

Parents don’t have to do all three in one day.

CREATE THE MAGIC!

UNLEASH THE SMILES!

With Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, you have 100 picture books already summarized, 100 simple crafts already planned and 100 easy recipes that will be fun to make and eat!  That is an entire year of fun-filled, educational, self-esteem-building activities right at your fingertips.  The holidays are coming and the price is right…only $19.95…more than 50% off the cover price.  Click here and go to my website where you can purchase a copy of the book safely with PayPal or by check or money order. 

SAVE THE DATE

I also want to remind anyone local to Colorado Springs…the Festival of Trees event, sponsored by the Ecumenical Social Ministries, is coming up this weekend.  FESTIVE FAMILY FUN DAYS will take place on Saturday, November 19 from 9am to 5pm and on Sunday, November 20 from 10am to 3pm at the DoubleTree Hotel near the World Arena at 1775 E Cheyenne Mountain Blvd in Colorado Springs.  There will be entertainment, crafting and other activities for children, Santa will be there and dozens of vendors selling wonderful items (many of them handmade and unique) perfect for holiday gift-giving.  Admission is $5 per person…children under 12 get in for FREE!

Show Me How will have a table in the main ballroom, amidst beautifully decorated trees…and there will be a gift for EVERY child who stops by the table as well as free handouts for the adults.  I’m also sponsoring a raffle to help raise money for the Ecumenical Social Ministries.  Stop by my table, fill out an entry form, put $1 or more in the jar, and you will have a chance to win one of two huge stuffed bears.  All raffle proceeds will be donated to the Ecumenical Social Ministries.  If you have questions about the event, please call 719-228-6781 (Ecumenical Social Ministries) or contact the DoubleTree Hotel.

I hope you will stop by and say hello if you come to the event!

Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

Preschool

Image via Wikipedia

 

I speak with parents of preschoolers all the time. 

One of the questions that I hear very frequently is, “I want to send my child to preschool.  How do I know if he (or she) is ready?”

There are several key indicators we can look at that will help us answer that question.  You need to observe your child to see:

1.    How well does he interact with others?

If you feel your child has not had enough opportunities to interact with others then:

START SMALL: arrange play-dates with neighbor children of a similar age and attend library story programs.  The summer before our youngest son was going to start kindergarten, we enrolled him in a three week nature class that was held every morning at a local nature center.  He had not attended preschool or daycare and we wanted to give him a chance to be in a “classroom” setting.  This worked out very well and he adjusted to kindergarten very well.

2.     Has she been away from you?

If your child has not been away from you at all then

START SMALL: arrange to leave your child with a trusted friend or relative for an hour or so (take a walk around the block or a bubble bath) and enroll her in a library story hour or other local program where she will have other adults who are in charge.

3.     How well does he transition from snack to play to story to craft to quiet time?

If your child has not had any experience with this or does not transition well then

START SMALL: during the day, let your child know you will be turning off the TV at the next commercial…tell him it will be naptime after the last page of the book is finished…find opportunities to have your child transition from one activity to another.

4.     Can your child’s speech be understood?

Your child should be able to speak in simple sentences of three to five words and be able to describe an activity or event that recently happened.  If you think there is a problem, then speak with your pediatrician.  If there isn’t a problem, perhaps your child hasn’t had enough opportunity to verbalize.

START SMALL: Give your child opportunities to express himself…when reading a picture book, have your child tell you what is happening on the page and then let your child retell the story to you from the pictures…at the store, encourage your child to describe what he sees.  It is so important for us to listen to our children…they really have a lot to tell us.

5.     Does your child follow directions?

If your child does not seem able to follow directions then

START SMALL: give your preschooler easy tasks to do…put the plates on the dinner table, help fold the clean towels…when cleaning up the toys, ask your child to put the blue blocks away first or tell her to pick up the book and put it on the couch.

There are two other factors that may have an impact on whether your child is ready for preschool: potty training and age.

Many preschools require students to be potty-trained or almost there.  Your preschooler should also be able to put on and take off her shoes and coat, zip up her pants and wash her hands.  These are some of the early life-skills your child needs to learn…please be patient…it takes time and practice to grow up and master these tasks.

Regarding age, educators define preschool as the two years before kindergarten.  The age minimum differs in preschools…some want the child to be three by December of that academic year, while others will accept two year olds.

Whatever your decision is about sending your child to preschool, spending time with your child will result in life-long benefits…building self-esteem, developing pre-literacy skills and strengthening the parent-child bond.   If you visit my website and buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, you will be getting a unique activity book/parenting resource/memory book that will provide you with picture book summaries, easy crafts and healthful recipes…even an hour-by-hour schedule that will simplify your day.   Using Show Me How will definitely help you achieve your child’s school readiness goals.  We offer your money back if you are not satisfied with the contents and the results and the book is on sale now for 50% off the cover price…only $22.50 per copy.

Have you been caught reading lately?

"Fashion plates of women wearing hats dec...

Image via Wikipedia

Does your child love books?

How often does your child see the adults in your home reading?

Do you read to your child every day?

Just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to read a picture book story to your child.

IMPORTANT TIP: those might be the most important 15 minutes of your day.

Reading to children accomplishes amazing things:

  • Builds self-esteem!
  • Develops pre-literacy skills!
  • Engages your child in the story between the pages!
  • Encourages your child to relate what happens in the story to his or her own life!
  • Provides an opportunity for you to discuss sensitive topics with your child that may be difficult for you to talk about!
  • Creates a life-long parent-child bond!

Here’s a wonderful story that helps us (and our children) realize that we are all special and have unique qualities and talents to share with others.

ZARA’S HATS written and illustrated by Paul Meisel

            Zara is a young girl who helps her parents decorate hats in the family hat shop.  Disaster strikes when their supply of feathers is depleted and they cannot obtain any more.  Zara’s father goes abroad to buy more feathers and, while he is away, Zara begins to decorate the untrimmed hats with fabric flowers and paper mache animals and fruits.  Her hats are an immediate success!  When her father returns without any feathers, the hat shop continues to feature Zara’s amazing hat creations.

Positive Parental Participation Note:

            What lessons can we learn from this story that can be implemented with our own children to help them develop a positive self-image?  Zara and her parents participated in many activities together.  They allowed her to help in the shop.  In addition, they encouraged her creativity and gave her positive feedback when she tried new ways of decorating the hats.

            Of course, we don’t need to open a hat shop in order to build our children’s self-confidence.  By focusing on their special gifts and talents, we can make our children feel special at home every day!

Do you want to choose the right books to read to your child?  Pick up a copy of Show Me How!  Story summaries of 100 of the best picture books every young child should hear are provided…along with an easy craft activity and a simple recipe for each book.  Go to my websiteto take advantage of the 50% off sale!

 

Summer is coming…don’t get caught with nothing to do with your little ones.  You can check out one of the latest reviews of Show Me How at The Mom Writes.  You’ll see why every family with young children really needs a copy of this great resource.

Don’t have little ones of your own?  Grab a copy for a friend or relative who does…they will be forever grateful.

Simple Crafts for Summer Fun: To-Do Tuesdays

A "whimsy" from a nautical-themed wo...

Image via Wikipedia

Do ducks like the water?

Does the sun rise in the east?

Do kids love crafting?

The answer to all of these questions is YES!

Here’s a simple craft activity from Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  It requires only 5 things…I’m sure you have all five in your home already.  Your child will love making this puzzle and will enjoy putting it together and taking it apart…great pre-reading skills!

MAKE A PUZZLE

You will need: A picture (from an old magazine for example), a piece of heavy weight construction paper approximately the same size as the picture your child has chosen (or one side of a cereal box), a pair of safety scissors, paste or a glue stick and an envelope in which to store the pieces.

1.    Let your child choose a picture from an old magazine.

2.    Paste the picture onto the construction paper or cardboard.

3.    Cut the mounted picture in pieces.  Depending on the age of your child, this could be a two or three or more piece puzzle.

4.    Help your child put the pieces together to form the picture.

5.    Store the pieces in an envelope.

I’ll be doing a similar craft in downtown Colorado Springs on June 11th at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park from 10am to 2pm.  There will be all kinds of entertainment and many tables of craft activities for children.  If you are local, this is a MUST-GO-TO event…lots of fresh ideas for parents and teachers!

KTSC-KFF- Color Flier

Please stop by tomorrow for What’s In Your Child’s Bookcase for a great picture book suggestion for summer reading.   And don’t forget to visit my website to take advantage of the Jump Into Summer Half-off Sale.

Making Memories With Your Children: Summer Craft Activities

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Image via Wikipedia

I was in Chicago last weekend for Mother’s Day with my son and daughter-in-law.  I also had an opportunity to visit with my sister and her sons and their families.

One evening, we all got together at a fantastic BBQ, hosted by my nephew and his wife.  We all had a great time…the food was not only delicious, but healthful as well…kudos to Dave and Rebecca!

After dinner, we sat down to look at the old photo albums my sister had brought.  As we turned the pages and my son and his cousin (both in their 30’s) exclaimed over each picture, I realized how important the pictures were…they reminded these grown men of the children they had been and the activities they had been involved in when they were young.

Summer is just around the corner…I know many parents are wondering how they will fill the long hot days with their children.

Of course, there are various solutions to this problem:

  • Put them in some kind of day camp…might be costly.
  • Sit them in front of the TV…how many cartoons do you really want them to watch?
  • Send them to someone else’s house…don’t you want to be the one they get their values and information from?

What is my solution to the problem of young children home for the summer?

READING…CRAFTING…COOKING!

Young children are always eager to hear a good picture book story.


Young children love arts and crafts.


Young children enjoy helping in the kitchen.


If you buy a copy of my book that is FILLED with picture book suggestions and summaries, easy arts and crafts activities and simple healthful recipes, you will be prepared for the long hot summer days ahead.

For starters, here’s a great idea that comes from Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  It will help capture those memories for your child as you create a photo album together.


AN ALBUM OF ME

You will need: A small blank photo album, a selection of photos of your child at different stages of his or her life, self-stick labels and a fine point marker.

1.    With your child, go through some of the pictures that you have of him from birth to the present…and let him choose several to include in his own album.  Make copies if you want to keep the originals in the family album.

2.    Help your child insert each photo and then write a description (with his input) on a label or small strip of paper and press or glue it on the bottom of each page.

3.    Listen to your child while he turns the pages of his album and tells you the story of his life.

4.    Important tip: keep a camera handy…you never know when a photo opportunity arises.

Activities like this help:

  • build your child’s self-esteem!
  • develop pre-reading skills!
  • create a life-long parent-child bond!
  • keep your child busy in a constructive positive fun-filled way that will be fun for you also!

Start planning your summer activities now…with this amazing short-cut for busy parents and teachers!

And please stop by tomorrow for Cinema Sunday: My Picks of Great Flicks.

Make-A-Meal Mondays: Mother’s Day Special

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday.

What does every mother really need?


Perhaps some of you might say a day at the salon or a new dress.

Others might dream about a romantic get-away or dinner at a fancy restaurant.

But budgets are tight for most of us and young children really don’t have money to spend.

So what can your young children give you?

Here’s a beautiful solution that involves your young children in the planning and preparation (children love to help in the kitchen and it builds self-esteem, develops pre-reading skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. 

It’s also fun for the entire family and costs nothing more than a regular lunch or dinner at home.

Have a Mother’s Day Picnic…outside if the weather is mild (at a local park if you have one nearby) or indoors if it is cold or rainy.  Spread out the blanket on the living room floor and you are all set!

Use paper plates for no-hassle cleanup…not having to prepare or clean up the meal is a wonderful gift for any mom.

MOTHER’S DAY KABOBS

You will need: An assortment of fruit such as grapes, strawberries and apples, a small block of American, Cheddar or Swiss cheese, several slices of cooked turkey or chicken and bamboo skewers.

1.     Wash the fruit, cut stems off the strawberries, cut the apples in chunks.

2.     Cut the cheese into small cubes.

3.     Cut the meat slices into strips.  Roll each strip before you push it onto the skewer.

4.     Push pieces of fruit, cheese and meat onto each skewer in a colorful arrangement…let your child decide.

5.     Wrap each completed skewer in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready for the picnic.

To round off the meal, choose whole wheat rolls or crackers and a juice box for each member of the family.  Bring a ball to toss back and forth if you go to a park.   If your picnic is indoors, why not turn on some music and have a family dance-off.  I guarantee that your young children will treasure this Mother’s Day memory for years to come and, hopefully, you will as well. 

Spending fun positive time together (that doesn’t cost a fortune and cause financial stress) builds family bonds.  If you want some more Mother’s Day activities, including a craft project that will make beautiful note cards your child can give to a beloved grandmother or preschool teacher, please head over and click the activities tab on my website at http://www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Summer is just around the corner.  I know that many parents are wondering what they will do with their children.  Great activities abound in my new book.   

For this week only, in honor of Mother’s Day, we are offering a $10 MARSHALLS/TJMAXX GIFT CARD (two of the favorite stores of every mom) that will be included when your book ships out to you…a treasure-trove of fun-filled simple activities for your child and a lovely gift for you!  Happy Mother’s Day from MoneyPenny Press, Ltd.