I loved putting together my Indie Book Gift List and sharing some fabulous gift guides recently. One of my favorite gift guides that I shared is from Stir the Wonder, who shared Experience Gifts for Kids such as museum memberships or camp experiences. These our the types of gifts our family loves. As I finally get caught up on both my Virtual Book Club for Kids post and Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge, where I share what the boys and I have been reading this past week, I realized that one of our favorite library books this week would be a great gift to give alongside a zoo membership!
Animal Strike at the Zoo (It's True!) by Karma Wilson is a book we discovered through the Virtual Book Club for Kids, which we absolutely love being a part of because we've discovered so many wonderful authors through it.
This book is lots of fun and, as always with our VBCK books, we found ways to Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with this book. The boys loved moving like the animals in the book, including refusing to move like the animals do when they are on strike!
We also had a fun snack time in which we ate peanuts and pecans (like the elephants) and oats like the zebras.
For our art project, Wild Thing and Caterpillar created their own zoo! I love this activity for the way it encouraged the boys to practice using scissors. This animal alphabet wrapping paper that I got at a garage sale for 25 cents is a big hit at our house! We also get Ranger Rick Jr. magazine each month, which the boys love. We often use those for projects too, like the zoo collage you see here and our Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? art project.
Our learning activities with this book were literacy games and activities focused on the word: Zoo. Wild Thing loves finding double letters in words. Any time he sees two of the exact same letters next to each other, he gets very excited. We've already discussed that the double "O" often makes an "oo" sound, as in boo, zoo, noodles and oodles. So, we played rhyming games with the word zoo and practiced spelling it. I think I might have a future spelling bee competitor on my hands because already at age 4, Wild Thing loves to spell a word for me and then take a bow!
The other half of Project 101 involves me sharing what book I've been reading from the library. I am terribly behind in sharing the books I've been reading. In fact, I'm so far behind that I've decided to just wait and do an end of the year post where I share many of the books I've been reading lately altogether to get caught up and as a way to share some inspirational reads for others to consider for the new year.
In the meantime, I'm sharing a book that is currently at the top of my "TO READ" list: Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy by the fabulous Deb Chitwood of Living Montessori Now and Bits of Positivity. This eBook is not only at the top of my list because Wild Thing and I are on the cover (though that is really cool, isn't it?), but because I truly believe in the value and importance of teaching children to be gracious and courteous.
You better believe I'll be reading this book soon -- I've already snuck a few bits from it and love it! I hope you'll check it out too. It just came out yesterday and is already the #1 homeschooling book on Amazon! (OMG - Maybe Wild Thing and I will be famous!)
It's your turn. What are you reading? Do you have a favorite Karma Wilson book? Please share and check out all of the other great activities and Karma Wilson books shared through the Virtual Book Club for Kids!
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
A Holiday Tradition: Spreading Joy Through Random Acts of Kindness - Kindness Countdown to Christmas 2013!
Plus Fabulous Christmas Countdowns from The Kid's Co-Op
Better late than never...with 19 days left until Christmas (or until we see G'ma again, as my boys will tell you), we're finally sharing our Kindness Countdown. An important family holiday tradition for us is spreading joy through acts of kindness. Last year, we had a Random Acts of Kindness Adventure. This year, we're doing a kindness countdown. Our family's daily act(s) of kindness bring us together and remind us of the importance of spreading joy and cheer during the holiday season, rather than focusing on wants or getting caught up in the "Gimmes," (pop over to Imagination Soup for more on limiting the gimmes).
I came up with the acts of kindness by asking friends on Facebook, through my personal profile and The Good Long Road page, and loved the responses I got. Plus, you can see from our "Kindness Countdown Tree" that it doesn't take lots of fancy stuff to make a fun countdown tree. We used simple items we happened to have at home (a large apple produce bag and holiday cupcake liners) and the boys love it. As a fan of recycled materials and simple crafts, I love it too!
December 1 - Smile at everyone you meet
December 2 - Give fruit to the homeless shared by ALLterNATIVE Learning
December 3 - Buy coffee for a stranger
December 4 - Help someone (we turned on our "magic eyes" that day to find people to help).
December 5 - Give a candy bar(s) to construction workers
December 6 - Open doors shared by Creative Family Fun and The Educators' Spin On It
December 7 - Help someone in a wheelchair
December 8 - Make eye contact with others/acknowledge others
December 9 - Leave water and a snack for the mail carrier shared by Sow Sprout Play
December 10 - Make and give out paint chip message cards/happy notes
December 11 - Wear silly masks or make funny faces while stuck in traffic
December 12 - Clean up around the house
December 13 - Bake and Mail cookies to the troops
December 14 - Give Hugs (this was Wild Thing's idea)
December 15 - Send or give encouragement to a mother
December 16 - Make a homeless care kit - inspired by Pennies of Time
As for the rest, well, I wrote them on the cards and stapled the cards shut before I wrote them down for me to share here. Oops! I'll be sharing those acts everyday beginning December 17th on The Good Long Road's Facebook page, so make sure you've liked the page.
I do know our final act, though, on December 25th - give out candy canes to employees we encounter at the airport, since we're traveling on Christmas Day we thought we would spread some holiday cheer!
If you're inspired to do some acts of kindness of your own or have a holiday tradition that involves serving others, I'd love to know. Share it with me in comments and if you've written about it, please share it as part of A Season of Giving: 31 Days of Spreading Joy hosted by Kids Stuff World.
I also loved these Christmas Countdown shares from The Kid's Co-Op last week: Christmas Book Advent from House of Burke and Christmas Countdown Activities and Free Printables from Living Montessori Now.
Don't worry about the date if you haven't started a countdown yet and still want to, just go for it!