Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Importance of Play

It’s summer; do you know where your young children are?  Hopefully your answer will not be ‘playing video games’ or ‘watching TV’.  The fresh air outside awaits your child and it is time to turn off the TV/electronics. Summer time should remind us of longer days, a slower pace, and time to explore nature and their environment without a schedule. Children learn a great deal about their world and themselves when allowed to play outside.  Please encourage your child to go out back to play ball, blow bubbles, ride their bike, or simply lie on the grass to create images from the cloud formations overhead. Experts believe that a daily boost of 90 minutes of fresh air will benefit your child not only for the rest of his/her life.  Active outside play teaches your child self-confidence and playing with other children increases your child’s ability to interact in social settings, like school.

If you are getting ready to send your 5 or 6 year old off to school for the first time, although it is tempting to try and give your child a jumpstart for school by giving him/her an educational workbook to work on please put the workbooks away and head outdoors.  The other day I was walking with two young friends of mine and we noticed a full grown tomato plant, complete with tomatoes, growing out of a crack in a city sidewalk.  Wow! This was certainly a teachable moment.  ‘How did the seed get there?’ asked one girl, ‘How does it grow?’ asked her sister. The questions and the following discussion lasted several minutes while we continued to examine the plant.  Had the children been indoors playing electronics, we would have missed this show from Mother Nature.  Slow down, encourage your children to do the same and you will be in awe of what learning will take place from your efforts.


Play is one of the crucial elements of a good childhood
Bob Reitemeier
The Children’s Society

Re posted from July 2009


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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Play

The Perfect Backpack

We are seeing them all around us.  Everywhere you go, school supplies are sneaking into the scenery.  As you and your child start to do back to school shopping, one major investment will be your child’s backpack.  Please take your time and choose a backpack wisely. Kindergartners and First Graders will be taking their backpack to and from school 180+ days of the year so:

  • Look for durability– you would be amazed at how often backpacks get kicked, thrown, squished, and even have food spilled in them
  • Please, please no backpacks with wheels.  Most schools do not allow them as they end up causing more accidents as young children carelessly wheel them around corners and near friends.
  • Look for a large backpack. Small children usually choose large library books at school and the books have to be properly covered during all types of weather (Murphy’s law states the smaller the child the larger the book that is chosen from the library)
  • Children gravitate towards fancy backpacks with lots of small compartments and lots of really tough zippers, and although parents try to be practical, the child usually wins out.  Your child needs to have a backpack with one large zippered area and few or no small zippered areas.  When children come to school with a note from home, Mom/or Dad has placed the note in the backpack but it often takes a 5 year old almost 10 minutes to check out every little buttoned, snapped, zippered compartment before finally finding the note for the teacher. Remember, that most kindergartners can not zipper their own coats so chances are, the same will be true for backpacks.
  • Kindergartners like to take their work and scrunch it up into a very small ball in order fit into their very small pockets on their fancy backpacks creating frustration for the teachers who had hoped that the school work would make it home in one piece.
  • Finally, whichever backpack you and your child choose, please you’re your child practice opening and closing it several times before the first day of school so that your child will understand how all of the bells and whistles on it work.

Re posted from July 2009

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

100 Best Children’s Chapter Books of All Time

Children of all ages love to be read to.  Books are such a fascinating way to explore our world around us and to stretch our imaginations.  Very young children get their information about the book through the pictures.  As these same readers mature and become readers themselves, they begin to leave the picture books behind and break into the world of chapter books.  Ask any first grader what kind of books they like to read and you will almost certainly hear “chapter books”.  They are not always sure what they mean by this, but they do believe that they are now too old for picture books.  (this is definitely not true – but that is a topic for another day) Not all children who think they are ready for chapter books or parents who think that their child is ready for a chapter book are really ready. To be ready for a chapter book, your child must understand what has been read.  Is he/she able to retell all of the important events of a chapter before heading to the next chapter?  Who are the characters?  What is the setting? Always ensure that your child is not just calling out the words without meaning attached to what is being read. When you are certain that your child is ready for a chapter book, whether he/she reads it on his/her own, or whether it is read chapter by chapter at night with a parent, here are some books for you. I came across this site that has a list of 100 best chapter books for young children.  Parents you may recognize some of these books from your childhood, others are new to the list.  Take a moment to look through the books, and then go to the library to pick a few out.  You can start as early as today reading a chapter book with your child, or encouraging your child to read and retell the book with you.  Either way, enjoy the list:


Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Parents, Reading

Traveling With Children – What To See State by State

Many of my readers will be taking road trips across their own state, many states, or the entire country this summer.  I have found this site that lists places off the beaten path to visit state by state in the USA.  You just type in the state you will be traveling through and you will find a list, alphabetically by city name, of fun places to visit with your family.  Hope you all find something fun to do on this list.

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Car Games For Kids

I am getting ready to take a cross country road trip with my adult daughter, and although she may be too old for car games, I remember the days of long car rides with young children and the need for entertaining the kids in the backseat.  I found this wonderful site that has printable car games for your kids that should keep them busy on any long car trip.

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Filed under Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading

APPS For First Graders

I continue to search for recommended APPS for both Reading and Math for First Graders and Kindergartners.  These are the latest APPS that I have found for you.

Math Magic

This APP is well reviewed and is simple and easy to use.   Child only has to tap the screen to give the correct answer.  For ages 3-8

MathSmart First Grade

Designed to help kids learn first grade math.

Top Ten First Grade APPS for iPhone:

These are the 10 APPS

  • Successfully Learning Mathematics, grade 1
  • I Spy Phonics
  • Jungle Time
  • Iwrite Words
  • Math Bumpies
  • Montesessori Crosswords
  • I Know Phonics
  • Word Bingo by ABCya
  • Math Bingo by ABCya
  • Teachme 1st Grade (Highly Recommended)


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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Computer Skills, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Online Sites, Parents, Reading

The iPhone Mom

While doing some research to find suitable APPS for young children, I came across this blog written by a mom for moms.  The iPhone Mom searches, and reviews and then makes recommendations on age appropriate APPS for your child.  Take a look.

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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Computer Skills, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Parents, Reading