Inspire Pre-K and K Readers with Our Read-Aloud Recommendations!

Books for your little one!

Teachers know that reading to children calms restless and fidgety kids, promotes focus, attention, and listening skills, increases vocabulary, introduces cause and effect, logic, and other strategic thinking skills, and promotes a lifelong love of reading. Plus, preschoolers love story time!

As the school year winds down, take a teacher tip and plan to make at-home story time a part of your summer schedule. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with your little one and the benefits are endless. Check out our teacher recommendations for the best books for preschoolers and choose the ones that your child will love!

Best Books for Preschoolers

clackclackmoocows
Clack, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
by Doreen Cronin – The farm animals are making demands – but so is Farmer Brown! Introduce the concepts of compromise and bargaining (if you dare!) with this silly story.

 

hotdotsfairytales


Hot Dots Favorite Fairytales
! Bring books to life for your little one with retellings of four favorite, “must-know” fairy tales, made interactive with Ollie—the Talking, Teaching Owl!™ Set includes The Gingerbread Man, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Ugly Duckling, and Jack and the Beanstalk.

chickachikaboomboom
ChickaChicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault – A tells B, and B tells C, meet me at the top of the coconut tree! Go on an alphabet adventure with this timeless, rhyming classic that’s as much fun to read aloud as it is to hear.

 

ifyougiveamouseacookie
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff – A little mouse makes a mighty lot of requests in the first of the beloved If You Give series, perfect for beginning readers. If your little ones love it, there are more in the series.

 

petethecatPete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin – Move and groove with ultra-mellow Pete the Cat as he takes a stroll in his brand-new shoes, learning colors along the way. Follow the story up with Pete the Cat Preschool Rocks, a preschool learning set featuring an interactive Pete the Cat® pen and two spiral bound activity card sets featuring 200+ math, science, social studies, and other grade-appropriate lessons.

Best Books for Kindergartners

wherethewildthingsare
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – Let the wild rumpus begin! Sent to bed without his supper, naughty Max dons his wolf suit and sets off in pursuit of mischief. Inspire imagination with this not-so-scary story.

 

guessagain
Guess Again by Mac Barnett – Things aren’t always what they seem, especially in this rhyming story featuring surprises hidden behind sneaky silhouettes, lift-the-flaps, and fold-out pages.

 

elephantandpiggie
The Elephant and PiggieSeries by Mo Willems – Hilarious back-and-forth read aloud stories, this series features a stressed-out Elephant, Gerald, and his excitable friend Piggie in a series of silly stories you and your child can read together.

 

peterschair
Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats – Follow Peter, star of the classic Snowy Day, as he works through the ins and outs of growing up and accepting a new family member. Perfect for soon-to-be sisters and brothers.

 

stellaluna
Stella Luna by Janell Cannon – Look out! Here comes Stella Luna! Separated from her family, Stella is taken in by a family of birds and the baby bat begins to adapt to their bird-like ways.

It’s World Baking Day! Celebrate with the Sweetest Story Around and Some Great Indoor Activity Ideas!

Happy World Baking Day!

Gingerbread Man Treats

Gingerbread Man TreatsThe tasty tale of The Gingerbread Man is a timeless classic dating back to 1875! It’s also the perfect prop to help you and your little ones celebrate National Baking Day – the literary way! Check out the story from your local library and then try out these great indoor activity ideas to add some hands-on fun to storytime.

Turn The Gingerbread Man into a tasty treat to enjoy during story time by baking your own gingerbread cookies! Whether you use a mix or start from scratch, baking introduces key concepts like measurement and temperature while decorating with icing, raisins, and candies helps develop fine motor skills.

Cookie Cutter Printing

Cookie CuttersGet inspired by this cookie cutter cutie and make your own patterns and prints! Just pour a thin layer of paint in the bottom of a shallow container, like a clean, foam meat tray and set out several simple cookie cutters. Then show your child how to dip the cutters into the paint and press onto a clean, white sheet to create their own patterns and prints. Added bonus – save the artwork and re-use as wrapping paper!

Story Sparkers

Everyone’s got a tale to tell and creative writing is a great indoor activity! Use one or more of the following questions to spark storytelling, write your child’s response on a piece of paper, and have him or her illustrate it.

  • What could you do to keep the gingerbread man from running away?
  • How would you catch the gingerbread man if he ran away from you?
  • What could you do with a gingerbread man if you didn’t want to eat him?
  • Where do you think the gingerbread man came from?
  • Where do you think the gingerbread man was going?

Gingerbread Man Science Experiment

At the end of the story, the gingerbread man jumps on the fox’s back to cross the river. Challenge your child to hypothesize what might have happened to this baked buddy if he tried to swim across the river by himself. Write your child’s answer down and then test the hypothesis with this simple experiment:

  1. Buy or make a gingerbread man cookie. (See recipe)
  2. Place the cookie in a bowl of water.
  3. Check on your cookie after a few minutes – have your child draw a picture of what he or she sees and discuss ways the cookie’s appearance has changed.
  4. Repeat step number 4 at 5-minute intervals until the cookie has crumbled into the water.
  5. Talk about other ways the gingerbread man could have escaped, given the results of the experiment and the danger of riding with the fox.

Get Outdoors and Explore! Our top 10 tools and toys for buggy backyard adventures

backyard-bugs-blog

It’s backyard bug week at EI – time to unplug, get outside, and check out the creepies crawling in your own backyard! Below are ten of our favorite outdoor tools and best backyard toys, perfect for investigating the wildlife in your yard, the local park, stream, or shoreline – and just in time for summer vacation!

Little ones love to explore! The bug finding tools below are designed specifically for little kids, making investigation and discovery even more amazing.

  1. GeoSafari® Jr. Kidnoculars, are a must-have for backyard exploration! Featuring extra-large, focus-free eyepieces and perfect-fit goggles with placement guide, even toddlers can get an up-close view of far-off nature like birds, nests, trees, and more.
  1. Turn an ordinary drive into an action-packed nature excursion with the two-in-one GeoSafari® Jr. Science Utility Vehicle! Simply press the handles to reveal the 3x magnifier and study the details of many types of terrain and creatures underneath.
  1. See what lurks beneath the surface with the GeoSafari® Jr. Underwater Explorer Boat! A clear plastic bottom with 3x magnifier provides a clear picture of life underwater.
  1. Capture and study tadpoles, frogs, fish, butterflies, and more with GeoSafari® Jr. Bugnoculars! Built-in magnifiers, snap-lock lid with airholes, and watertight bottom are great for on-the-go scientific studies.

We’ve also got a complete line of serious scientific tools for bigger backyard investigators!

  1. Explore on land or underwater with the GeoSafari® SeaScope! This 4x telescope can be used to scope-out specimens in the water, with a removable flashlight to illuminate dark underwater conditions, a built-in ruler for on-the-spot measurements, and a thermometer for tracking water temps.
  1. Three pocket-sized GeoSafari® Adventure Pens enable kids to collect and capture, examine and investigate, study and learn about anything and everything they find outdoors – on the spot!
  1. Kids can observe and learn with Nancy B’s Science Club™  Binoculars & Wildlife Activity Journal! From wildlife-watching to hands-on learning about the surrounding ecosystem to flora and fauna drawing exercises, the journal is packed with nature activities sure to get kids excited about the great outdoors!
  1. Scientists can get down-to-Earth with Nancy B’s Science Club™ Nature Keeper and Tree Diary! Budding botanists observe and detail seasonal changes in nature with activities like pressing leaves and petals.
  1. The outdoors changes when the sun goes down! Check out these fun finds for nighttime missions.
  1. Little ones can discover in the dark, just like an owl, with the GeoSafari® Jr. Bright Eyes Magnifier! This owl-shaped magnifier includes 2x and 8x magnifiers and red LED night vision lights for nighttime exploring and magnification.
  1. Older adventurers can investigate nighttime nature and discover nocturnal creatures in the dark with the GeoSafari® Night Explorer red-light flashlight, perfect for nighttime safaris, reading star maps, and more.
  1. Kids of all ages can check out the craters of the moon and more with the GeoSafari® Vega 360 Telescope! With 18x, 36x, 40x, and 80x magnifications, this is the perfect telescope for aspiring astronomers.

Great Gifts for Mom!

Mother's Day Gifts

There’s no one quite like Mom! She’s always there when you need her, with a kiss and a hug or a snack and a bedtime story. Help your little ones show their love and appreciation with one of our sweet Mother’s Day printables!

Choose one (or all!) of our downloadable coupons, featuring our very own Frida, Frankie, and Shelby:

Mothers Day Coupons
PLUS, add some color to your Mother’s Day celebration with our downloadable coloring sheet, featuring Mama Frida feeding healthy fruit snacks to her own little chickadees.

Mothers-Day-Coloring-Page

[Download Mother’s Day Coloring Page]

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Gifts from the Heart: Teacher Appreciation Week

A+ Teacher Gift Ideas

This week, we’ve invited a special guest, Marcia Gresko, our product development lead and a former teacher herself, to share some wonderful suggestions for how to tell your favorite teachers “Thank you!”  

Vases carefully constructed from #2 pencils. Baskets brimming with scented candles and lotions. Homemade gourmet goodies, from salted caramel sauce to buckets of pretzels hand-dipped to look like apples!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, the time to thank the hard-working professionals who have such an influence on our children. The average elementary school student spends 943 hours a year in school. That’s a lot of time with teachers!

As a teacher for 15 years, I’m here to tell you that I marvel at your craftiness and appreciate the gift cards. What I am also here to tell you is NOT to worry if you’re not crafty or are on a budget. What I have framed, kept in albums, and treasured over the years are the heartfelt, hand-written notes from parents and students. My husband, a high school math teacher, has notes and drawings proudly taped to the windowsill above his computer. It truly is “the thought that counts.”

marciasdesk-2

 

Here are two ways to work with your child to create personal and memorable messages to teachers while also learning some simple poetry forms. Win-win!

Cinquain Poetry

Cinquains have five lines and a specific structure.

  • Line 1    1-word title (noun)
  • Line 2    2-word description of subject (adjectives)
  • Line 3    3-word words ending in –ing that describe actions (verbs)
  • Line 4    4-word phrase that expresses feelings or adds to description.
  • Line 5    1-word synonym for title (noun)

poem-1-cinquain

[ Download Teacher Appreciation Cinquain Poetry Template ]

 

Acrostic Poetry

An acrostic poem uses the letters in the poem’s topic to begin each line. All the poem’s lines relate to or describe the topic.

poem-2

 [ Download Teacher Appreciation Acrostic Poetry Template]

When your child is done with his or her poem, have your child illustrate it.

And, if you’re really determined to craft something cute, you and your child can always create a custom frame for the poetry gift. Glue colorful magnetic letters, puzzle pieces, crayons, even buttons to an inexpensive frame, or create a simple frame from wooden rulers.

Check our Teacher Appreciation Week Pinterest board for more A+ teacher gift ideas.

marciasdesk-1

Finally, if any of this seems overwhelming, a simple, heartfelt note is lovely!