Instill a Lifelong Love of Reading…

Storytime is almost as much fun for the grown-up reading as it is for the child listening! After all, you’re usually snuggled together, sharing some quiet time, enjoying an exciting story with imaginative illustrations and fun (sometimes new!) language. It’s such a shame when the tale comes to a close that we usually reach for another story, just to keep those good times going! The former teachers, child development experts, and parents at EI know just how you feel, so we put our heads together to come up with some together-time activities designed to extend story time by bringing your child’s favorite books to life. Help cement that lifelong love of reading that serves kids so well with an after-book activity like:

Flipping a Fairy Tale—Together, imagine that the hero or heroine was really the bad guy and the villain was actually good. Talk through ways the story might have played out if roles were reversed!

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Alternate Endings—Did the story end the way your child thought it would? Were there other ways it might have ended? What would have made for a really sad ending? How about a really happy or funny one? Talk it through, together.

Making Story Stones—Collect 6-8, smooth, fist-sized stones and heat them in your oven. Remove them, one at a time, place on a kitchen towel, and use wax crayons to draw a character or prop from the story (careful—they’ll be hot!). Then arrange and rearrange them to shake up the order of events and create your very own versions of the tale!

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Drawing, Painting, or Sculpting Your Favorite Characters—Using an age-appropriate medium like crayons, colored pencils, markers, watercolors, dough, Playfoam®, air-dry or bake-dry clay, recreate your favorite characters from the story. You can even go mixed medium and add button eyes, yarn hair, and fabric clothes.

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Updating the Cover Art—Challenge your child to design his or her own cover for the story by drawing or painting a favorite scene.

Doing an Activity from the Story—Was there something in the story that you or your child would like to try? Why not give it a go? Read The Gingerbread Man, then bake some gingerbread cookies, together. Read The Ugly Duckling, then try ice skating at your local rink, gliding along the ice like beautiful swans.

Trying Once Upon a Craft™—EI’s storybook-meets-craft-kit sets make it easy to bring your child’s favorite tales to life! Each set includes a beautifully-illustrated, fairy tale book to read together and all of the materials you need to complete two story-themed crafts! Complete the crafts and display your work or use them as props for your next telling of the tale.

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There are lots of creative ways to keep the story time vibe alive! Give one of these activities a try and let us know how it goes. Or, if you have a favorite way to bring your kids’ books to life, share it in the comments below!

From Sweaty Palms to Racing Hearts…The Science of Love

Although we’d like to think love is about destiny and soulmates, there’s also a considerable amount of science happening behind the scenes! Check out our amazing infographic to learn a little bit more about the physiological science of love:

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Yup, there seems to be significant science behind falling in love, but we prefer to think it’s all magic and moonlight! What do you think?

Let Them Know You Love Them Even When You’re Not There!

Keep the Valentines love going all month long with these adorable, downloadable, lunchbox love notes! From sweet to silly, they’re a simple way to show you care and remind your children that you’re thinking of them even when you’re not there. Just print, cut, and drop into your child’s lunchbox!

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What are the little things you do each day to let your family know you love them? Let us know in the comments below!

Valentines Fun You Can Count On Free Downloadable Preschool Worksheets

How do I love thee? Let me count the… candy hearts! Print our FREE, Valentines-themed worksheets for some sweet preschool fun you can count on! From sorting and matching to counting and coloring, our worksheets are designed so little ones can practice key foundational skills critical for future academic success. (But kids just think they’re fun!) So go ahead, print them out for your students (or your kids!)and give a little Valentine’s love (and learning!) this week!

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What’s your favorite way to sneak some learning into the holidays? Share your tips and tricks with your fellow teachers and parents in the comments below!

Spread the Love! Free Printable Valentines

‘Tis the season of love and a great time to teach your kids how to show their love for their friends! Our free, downloadable Valentines are perfect for passing out to classmates, cousins, neighbors, and anyone else your child values. Simply choose from the color-your-own or pre-colored cards below, each featuring a favorite EI friend. Then print, copy, cut, and sign. It’s that simple!

Pre-colored:

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Color-your-own:

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What’s your favorite family Valentine’s tradition? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share your kids’ colored creations on our Facebook page with hashtag #EILove.