Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's a Social Parade!

It's a Social Parade!  We love new followers!  Thanks for visiting us!
Smart and Trendy Moms

Book Report: Textured Soft Shapes: High Tide by iKids and Kate Davis

A puzzle? Bath toy? Book? Which is it? All 3 and then some! This simple book consisting of just 5 pages packs in a bunch of learning skills.  Rhyming riddles describe different sea creatures whose identities are revealed when kids remove their outlines from the following page.  I see kids loving this because of the rhymes, bright colors, soft animal cutouts.  I see parents loving this because it is waterproof, tear proof and floats.  Let your kiddos read in the bathtub, at the beach or in their beds and never worry about the integrity of this book.  Great for kids 6 months-2+.  We found it on Amazon for just $10.39.

Giveaway Ends Tomorrow! -- UPDATE: ENDED

UPDATE:  CONTEST ENDED! Congrats to Jodi R. for winning the gift certificate!

Want adorable, educational greeting cards for your kids? How about adorable, educational greeting cards for your kids FOR FREE?  Don't miss your chance to win $23 in Letter Learning cards!
See details in this previous blogpost!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Your Kids to Read (Especially in the Summer) -- Tips from a Teacher

Reading is one of the most wonderful activities a child of any age can do.  The way the stories build their imagination, vocabulary, language skills, background knowledge....well, it's pretty spectacular.  Unfortunately, most kiddos view reading more like visiting the dentist (sorry, dentists) than the luxury most of us consider it.  (How many adults do you know who don't just love to curl up with a great book and just read, read, read?) 

If you find yourself with a reluctant reader, check out these tips that I used to use with my students to see if it motivates them.  As with most educational feats, the trick is getting kids excited about what they're doing.  Reading a book (especially reading a book during the summer months) is no different!

1. Ask your kids what they think will happen next in the book. Kids will be dying to find out if they're right, so they read away.
2. Ask your kids to draw a picture of a scene from the book and tell you all about it. The more kids talk about the book, the more excited they get about it.  If they're not great artists, have them make up a song and dance routine about the book.  Not dancers and singers?  Have them create clay/playdoh figures from the book.  Be creative -- what does your kid like?
3. Ask your kids to write an alternate ending to the book and compare/contrast it to the real ending of the book.
4. Read the book at the same time your child reads it so you can have in-depth conversations about characters, their decisions, conflicts, resolutions, scenery, etc.
5. Have your child read parts of the book outloud to you; this improves fluency and comprehension, while making the child feel that you are part of the whole reading process (if you are not available to listen, pets and stuffed animals work as great alternates)
There's a little reader in each one of our kids and it's our job to pry him and build him up.  Find out what your kids love and use that to help them love reading!
What do you do to keep your kids reading all summer long?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holy Cow! Don't miss your chance!

Want adorable, educational greeting cards for your kids? How about adorable, educational greeting cards for your kids FOR FREE?  Don't miss your chance to win $23 in Letter Learning cards!
See details in this previous blogpost!

Book Report: Ten Friendly Fish by Debbie Tarbett

My little monster is just 19 months, but she has more fun with colorful, counting book than I'd ever imagine.  Ten Friendly Fish is full of vivid pictures of sea life that she just adores.  In fact, her limited vocabulary includes "oppa" (octopus), which I'm certain is a direct result of this book.  With each turn of the page, one more fish gets distracted by a new sea friend until the very end when the one lone fish is once again reunited with all of his original buddies at their party in the sea!  Great for learning sea life names, looking at brilliant pictures and of course, counting! Tarbett also has a similar book about Ten, Wriggly, Wiggly Caterpillars, if that's more your style!  We found Ten Friendly Fish on Amazon for $18.95.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Short and Sweet, or Abbreviated and Saccharine

Be a proud bookworm!
Whose vocabulary couldn’t use a little expanding? I know mine could.  I’m also willing to bet you’d be OK with your child’s vocab getting a little broader.  That’s why I’ve started tweeting kid-friendly words a couple times a week.  ( But, you can always check back here for recaps if you happen to miss the tweets when they happen.  So far, we’ve learned 3 new words (see below).
AUSPICIOUS: adj; promising; favorable (sounds a lot like suspicious, but the “a” in the beginning makes a big difference in meaning!)
CHORTLE: v. to chuckle gleefully (a hybrid of “chuckle” and “snort” coined by Lewis Carroll)
GENIAL: adj. good for life & growth The genial rain helped my seed germinate
The BEST way to really make these words stick in your brain and your child’s brain is to make a connection to them.  An example? OK, here goes….  I learned my lesson about tickling Katie in her high chair when milk shot out of her nose as she chortled.
OK, now it’s your turn.  Comment below on how any (or all) of these three words connect to you!

And...don't forget about our $23 gift certificate giveaway! See details in this previous blogpost!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Report: Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

Silly as this book sounds, it's a must-have for your library! Kids ages 18 months to 5 or 6 will love this book for different reason.  Little ones will enjoy the pictures and rhymes and older kiddos will enjoy guessing which type of animal Lloyd, the llama and his friends are describing.  Everything from bats to swans make an appearance in this adorable soon-to-be classic that everyone will love.  We found it on Amazon for just $6.99 (what a steal!)

And don't forget about your chance to WIN a $23 GIFT CERTIFICATE to LetterLearning just by following our blog and letting us know you did so on our Facebook page! Our educational greeting cards for kids are too good to miss -- especially when they're free!!!