Sunday, September 22, 2013

Spooky Doodle Fun for Halloween!

Do your kids love to doodle?  Do they love Halloween?  If they love both, they will have a blast with Usborne's Spooky Doodles (Usborne Activity Cards) activity cards.  Set includes 50 wipe-clean cards along with the dry erase pen needed to doodle on the cards. They are two-sided so there are a total of 100 doodle scenes to draw on. As they can be drawn differently every time, the amount of fun is endless! These are also a great item to keep in the car for traveling entertainment.

Both of my kids love these - especially my son who is more into spooky fun than my daughter. Here's a few he did:

One tip I will share with you ... be sure to wipe the cards clean BEFORE packing them back in the box to put away. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Five Tips to Keep Teens Interested in Reading

Teens nowadays spend very little time reading.  Everything they do is all technologized, as I call it.  I know that's not a word, but I'm declaring it to be one!

As most teens spend the majority of their time outside of school on their phones and techno contraptions, how do we keep their interest in reading?  It's hard in their junior high days, I know!  And it gets even harder as they enter the high school years.

Here are five tips to help keep your teen interested in reading:

1.  Even though they have to read specific books for school, have them find a great book that interests them outside of school.  They can read it on the bus, while eating breakfast, and especially before they go to bed.  So many kids loose that love of reading because they are TOLD what to read by their teachers.  They don't get to choose a book that is of their own interest, therefore they loose interest in reading all together.  Keep them reading books that still fascinate them on a subject matter that intrigues them and you will help them keep that love for reading.

2.  Get your teen a subscription to a magazine(s) of their choice.  It could be a fashion magazine, art magazine, some kids love science type magazines.  Whatever your teen is interested in, that would be a fine magazine to have them receive monthly in the mail.  Even if it's a magazine on video games, they WILL read it! 

3.  Many teens like to know what is going on in the world these days.  Reading the newspaper (yes, they still print those!) or reading a news site or blog can keep teens in the know.  

4.  Anytime you see an article about anything that interests your teen, save it.  Whether it is in print or on the computer, cut it out or email/text them the link. By keeping information in front of them that interests them, they will continue to read instead of solely finding information on youtube.

5.  It's still ok to read to them!  Believe it or not, and they probably won't admit it, but they still love to be read to!  Get a good classic, or a good modern novel that you know your teen will love and sit down and read it together.  You'd be amazed by the discussion you can develop with your teen, and you just might learn something about that child who no longer wants to talk to you much.

If you have some other tips on keeping teens interested in reading, I'd love for you to share them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Boy Who Still Loves To Be Read To

My daughter still LOVES to be read to at night before bed.  We read a lot of non-fiction science and history along with longer picture books and a chapter from a classic.  I did the same with my son when he was younger.  We read and read and read.  Reading time was his favorite part of the day.  It used to be that even though he thought he was too old to be read to any more, he would still come in and sit on his sister's bed when I started reading.  He still wanted to be a part of reading time.  Well, now that he is in high school, he doesn't dare join in on reading time - "That's for kids" he says.  

But I will tell you this!  The door to his room is right by the door to my daughter's room.  I have noticed that he makes sure his door is open at reading time.  I also have noticed that he pipes in and makes all sorts of comments about what we are reading!  He expounds on the non-fiction topics at hand so as to teach his sister a bit more about what is in the book.  He also comments on the fiction.  So ha!  He still enjoys reading time!  He still loves to be read to just as he always has. He just doesn't want to admit it!  I truly think and hope that some of my children's fondest childhood memories will be of us reading together.

Read to your children EVERY night! Read to them no matter if they can read on their own or not, and read to them no matter how old they are.  Read four or five smaller books or pages from non-fiction books on subjects that interest them.  You can even read to them about a topic that you would like for them to learn more about.  Not only are they learning and developing stronger reading skills, you are building a bond between you and your child that will never be broken.  

Happy Reading!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Usborne Human Body Sticker Book is a Fun Way for Kids to Reinforce Learning About the Body

The Usborne Human Body Sticker Book is a fantastic way to teach kids about they body.  It's also a fun tool to supplement with what your child is learning in his/her science or health class.  With true Usborne style, this book has snippets of an incredible amount of information on each page.  Having stickers to use after each topic that they learn helps to reinforce everything their brain has just taken in.  There is also a glossary at the back that defines each term in a concise format for memorization.  It even includes terms for the body parts in Latin and Greek.

We just used this book this week. My daughter is learning about cell structure in science right now.  After she had studied this topic in school and BEFORE she took her final test on the subject, I had her work on the Looking Closer  and The Secret in Cells pages.  It reiterated many of the facts that I knew were going to be on her test, especially that Robert Hooke discovered cells in 1665.  One full page is devoted to what is inside a cell.  As I knew she would have to diagram and know each definition of what constructs a cell, this was a very useful review for her.  Having stickers of each major cell part to match into the diagram of the cell is not only a visual, but also kinetic learning activity.  My daughter said this actually helped her as she was able to visually remember putting those stickers on the smaller cell parts.
The stickers for Looking Closer and The Secret in the Cell pages.
I hope The Usborne Human Body Sticker Book will be a big help to you, and I am sure your children will enjoy learning with it.

Happy Studying!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Butterfly Snack Bags

How cute would it be for your child to find these in their lunch bag or on their after school snack plate?!? They also make a fun take home craft for any children's activity where a craft is needed.  They are so simple to make!


  • Clothespins
  • Snack size zip lock bags 
  • Googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Paint, glitter glue, puffy paint, marker


  • Goldfish crackers 
  • Dried fruit
  • Cereal
  • Grapes
  • Trail mix
  • Blueberries
  • Any other snack you may wish to use


For each bag, decorate one side of a clothespin with paint, puffy paint, glitter glue or marker. Glue two small googly eyes near the gripping end of the clothespin. Let the glue dry.

Put the snack into a snack-size zip lock bag until it's a little over half full. The Butterfly Snack Bags pictured above are filled with half the bag with goldfish and the other half of the bag with grapes. Seal the bag, cinch the middle with your fingers, and clip it with the clothespin.

Next, fold down or curl the tips of a 6-inch length of pipe cleaner, then bend the entire piece in half. Clip the pipe cleaner in the clothespin.

Wallah! Tasty fun treat, easy fun craft!

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Usborne Book of Drawng, Doodling and Coloring Fashion Will Inspire Any Child to be a Fashion Designer

Do you have a budding fashion designer on your hands? If so, The Usborne Book of Drawing, Doodling and Coloring Fashion could be right up their alley!

This book contains pages upon pages of different activities all geared around fashion design:
  • Create your own patterns
  • Dress the designer dolls
  • Design some party make up for models
  • Imagine a feature in a fashion magazine
  • Design hats
  • Embellish jewelry
  • Coordinate a fashion show
  • Decorate prom dresses
  • Design shoes
  • And tons more!
This is my favorite page:

Simply provide crayons, colored pencils, markers and pens and your designer will be off creating all sort of fashion.  My daughter spent hours working on every page of this book.  She even asked for a second one when she was done so she could make more of everything in a different way. Just like real fashion designers do.