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2019 Summer Reading List for Toddlers

With Memorial Day now behind us, Summer is almost here! While we still have a couple of more weeks of school, now is the time that you should seriously think about what to do for the summer with your little ones, especially if you have haven’t signed up for our Summer Session.

One thing is certain: learning shouldn’t stop over the summer months. Reading is an incredibly important part of a toddler’s development: develop a large vocabulary of words and how to use them, helping them to understand that words are made up of smaller sounds, learning the letters of the alphabet, and understanding that marks on a page represent letters and words. Through the summer you should make sure to try to read to your toddler as often as possible!

Every year Reading Rockets puts together a list of summer reading books for various ages, including a great collection for toddlers. Here are a few of our favorites, followed by a link to Reading Rockets where you can see the entire list!

Five Enormous Dinosaurs – Fantastic book where children join in on the countdown of stomping dinosaurs from five to zero. The numbers stay on the pages as you flip through, and the book wraps up with an identification of each dinosaur at the end.

 

Pigs in a Blanket – Very cute cartoon-style illustrated book about three little pigs getting out of bed and following them as they go about their activities through the day. Their silly antics are accompanied by rhyming text.

 

Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes? – A fun, humorous book that encourages participation as you read about a group of young children showing off their wiggle-waffle, flip-flop, wacky selves engaging in familiar activities as your little ones such as swimming and dancing.

 

Ruby & Rufus: Love the Water – Little ducklings Ruby and Rufus enjoy the beautiful summer weather by diving and swimming in a pond with their striped inner-tube. As the weather changes to winter, they enjoy sliding on their now frozen pond. Children love following along to these 2 cute little ducklings!

 

This is just a small sampling of books that Reading Rockets has listed. For the full list follow along here, and if you have older children, you will find great books for them on this list as well! Do not let summer go by without taking up some of your favorite books, and maybe even some new ones! If you enjoy any of these books or have suggestions of your own, leave us a comment below!

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South Jersey Memorial Day Weekend fun for the whole family!

We are quickly coming up to Memorial Day weekend – the official start of Summer 2019! The forecast is calling for a nice weekend, which is perfect because there is no shortage of things to do with the kids this weekend. From parades to ceremonies, to kite festivals and boardwalk fun – you are sure to find something that will entertain everybody. Here are a few events that are happening in our area this weekend:

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Spring Is In The Air

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is officially here! As the weather starts to warm up and the world comes back to life your restless kiddos are probably ready to get back to playing outside until the sun goes down. In honor of the beginning of spring, we have a few fun activities for outside and inside to get you and your family ready for the spring sunshine!

Get Creative! – Crafts are a great activity that will have your little ones excited for spring even while sitting at the kitchen table! Crafts are not only fun but can help your little ones’ cognitive development. Check out Easy Peasy and Fun for a great list of fun ideas!

Go Outside! – Today is National Take a Walk in a Park Day! So what better way to enjoy the beautiful weather and shake off the winter cold than to go for a walk in the park! Mommy Poppins has a list of some of the most exciting playgrounds in the state! Or check out Visit NJ for a list of some of the amazing national and state parks we have right here in New Jersey!

Get Cooking! – Another great activity is to make some spring themed food! Parade has a great list of spring themed foods and snacks that are not only fun to make and eat, but also delicious and nutritious! Maybe you can make a few of these treats and take the family out for a picnic!

Celebrate Nature! – Today we celebrate Earth Hour from 8:30 – 9:30 pm where we can set down our electronics and really connect with nature! Maybe celebrate by reading a book by candle light or relaxing in your backyard. If 8:30 is a little too late for you and your little ones, try finding a different time today to feel connected to nature!

We hope you spend this lovely spring day enjoying time with your family whether it’s in the kitchen or walking through a state park! As always, click share on the side of the blog to tell your friends and family about these fun spring activities and let us know in the comments which ones you gave a try today!

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Celebrating Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Dr. Seuss is known all around the world for his whimsical characters, colorful illustrations, and captivating stories. He is an author that is beloved by children and adults, generation after generation. In honor of his birthday we have come up with a few ways for you to celebrate the memory of an author that has touched our hearts and imagination for decades.

 

Activities For Your Favorite Books – This list from We Are Teachers provides you with a variety of activities to compliment you and your children’s favorite Dr Seuss books! Spend some time today sitting down and sharing your favorite books then spending working on fun and educational activities!

Make Seussical Snacks – Another great way to celebrate is to make some Dr Seuss inspired snacks! Whether it’s green eggs and ham or the Cat’s hat, your little ones will have so much fun spending the day making treats to enjoy with the whole family!

Colorful Crafts – Crafts are not only fun for your little ones but can help with their cognitive development. Crafts can be used as a way for your little ones to identify shapes, colors, and build dexterity. These Dr Seuss crafts are sure to keep you and your little ones happy!

Donate A Book – If you are looking for a unique way to honor Dr Seuss, try donating some of your gently used children’s books! You can donate books to local libraries, thrift stores, or local shelters. Big book stores also often have the opportunity to donate a book with a purchase! Spread the cheer so that all children can have the chance to enjoy the wonderful worlds of Dr Seuss.

Read!Lastly, the best and easiest way to celebrate Dr Seuss is to simply, read! Whether you’re going to the library, a book store, or your own book shelf, pick out a few of your favorite Dr Seuss classics and spend some quality time together just reading and enjoying family time!

We hope you are inspired by some of these ideas and choose to celebrate Dr Seuss’s birthday with some of his classic stories. Let us know in the comments if you and your little ones tried out any of these crafts or yummy snacks! Click share on the side of the blog to remind your friends and family to embrace their inner child today!

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Adorable DIY decor ideas for your kids room

Kids rooms change so often – colors, themes, layouts – that it can be very costly to have to purchase new decorations and wall art each time you switch things up. A simple way to change the look of your kids’ room, and to have them help in decorating their own space, is to create some DIY decor from inexpensive items, or things you already have in the house! Below are a few cute DIY decor tips for your childs room:

  1. Door Basketball Hoop: What a cute idea for the little one that loves to play sports! Paint the back of their door with black chalkboard paint, attach a cheap basketball net that you can get from Five Below, hot glue a plastic tub to the door for chalk, and you have an instant basketball court for your little ones to play with!
  2. Activity Table: If you have an old table laying around, or even an old, smaller kitchen table that you can cut the legs down on, grab some paint and a round metal bowl, and get to work. You can paint the table with your child any color that you want – you can even decoupage it or the chairs for a really cool added detail – and if you cut a hole in the center of the table and hot glue a metal bowl into the hole, you have an area to hold pencils and art supplies! What a great idea!
  3. Silhouette canvas art: Don’t purchase expensive canvas artwork for your child’s’ room – download free stencils instead and have your little one create their own artwork! They will be excited to paint, and even more excited to hang their beautiful creation on their wall! Simply tape the stencil to the canvas, and paint the entire surface. Once dry, remove the stencil and you have a cute piece of artwork that you can hang on your child’s wall that they will be proud of.
  4. Photo Collage on a Letter: Kids love this project. It is simple, cheap, and a great way to encourage gross motor skills. You can head to any arts and crafts supply store and purchase a large foam or wooden letter, print a bunch of important photos of your child and your family, have them choose which ones they like the best and use double-sided tape to stick them to the letter, making a collage. You can apply decorative stickers for an added effect and a hint of extra cuteness. Once you have placed all of the photos where you want, paint a layer of Mod Podge overtop, wait for it to dry, and then paint a second layer to seal in the photos. Instant letter-shaped photo collage!
  5. Checkerboard table: If you have a smaller table and chairs for your child (The IKEA’s LACK table is the perfect size and price, about $10), you can transform it into a checkerboard table with some paint, tape, a ruler, pencil, and some creativity. Once you have laid out the tape and created the squares, you can use small cork rounds that fit inside of the squares on the table. Use googly-eyes, paint, markers, and other items to decorate the 24 round pieces so that you can a creative, cute checker set!

These are just a few ideas that we found over at HGTV’s website. For a full list of DIY decorating tips, head over to their website and get full directions for the ideas listed above as well as more! It doesn’t take much to make a kids room look completely different, and with the creativity and items that you may have laying around the house, you can encourage your child to think outside of the box and help make their room a space that they love.

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New Year’s Resolutions Your Kids Can Make

New Year, New Me. That’s the old saying, right? Every year we partake in the age-old tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution list. Some of the items we stick to, some we don’t, but the important thing is that we recognize where we should improve our lives and we try to. So why not extend this to our children? This can be a fun way to get kids to understand healthy eating habits, learn new skills, or even learn to be appreciative of our planet. Here are a few resolutions that you can possibly make with your child, as well as a FREE PDF Resolution List printable at the end of the post for your kids!

  • Acts of Kindness: This one can help to set instill a sense of giving to your child, or even help break them out of their shyness. For an outgoing child you can try “I’m going to do one random act of kindness a week,” whereas for a quiet child, trying “I’m going to talk to one person at school I don’t talk to each week,” can be a great way for them to include others, help them break out of their shell, and perhaps forge a new friendship that will last a lifetime — you never know!
  • Being eco-friendly: This is a resolution that we should all try to stick with and can be an entire Family-based activity. We have learned the importance of recycling before, and we even have Supercan from the ACUA stop by each year to visit the children in our school, but there are other ways to help the environment as well: use less water, turn off lights, don’t litter, and walk/ride bikes instead of driving.
  • Learn new skill: Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be anything intense like learning a new instrument (although that is a wonderful thing to do!), you can have your kids learn simple skills like baking cookies, doing dishes, or learn to use a new educational app on the tablet. Make learning a new skill fun and a child will learn more — they are sponges when engaged!
  • Exercise more: Instead of just saying “I am going to exercise more,” get specific — “I am going to do Yoga class with Mommy on Saturdays.” If you make the resolution very specific, you are much more likely to stick with it. This is a great tip for the grown-up Resolutions List as well!
  • More family time: Along with “more exercise,” this one should be specific also: “we are going to eat breakfast together every Sunday morning,” or “We will have game night every Friday!” This resolution is easy, fun, and is oh so important, especially with our busy lives!

We hope you enjoyed this short list of resolution ideas for your children. Please download this PDF printable New Year’s Resolution list to help your children create — and stick to — some resolutions for 2019. We hope everybody has a safe, healthy, Happy New Year!

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8 Ways to Entertain your Little Ones on Cold Days

We hope everybody had a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Winter is almost here and the temperatures are dropping quickly here in South Jersey, we had the coldest Thanksgiving in a century! While they forecast the temperatures to climb back up, we thought we would put together a list of ways to entertain your toddlers on cold, bitter days. The cold days of winter will be here soon, and kids quickly develop cabin fever. These activities can keep them busy, help them develop skills, and keep you sane at the same time!

  1. Toy Car Tunnels and Race Track – This one is always a kid favorite! Use masking/painting tape and create streets and a racetrack for your kids to use their toy cars with. Get creative and use cardboard to build tunnels, bridges, and ramps.
  2. Dance Party – When your kids get antsy and are struggling to sit still for any period, turn your lemons into lemonade! Use your tv, computer, smart speaker, or phone, crank up the music and let the kids go to town! You’ll find that the kids love an impromptu dance party, and if you get in on the action, you might even get your daily workout done as well!
  3. Build a Fort – Grab blankets, chair, and other furniture to build an awesome fort that can transform into a house, boat, or airplane with just a little imagination. When your kids have grown tired of their fort, you can throw some soft, comfortable blankets in the fort with books or an iPad and let the kids unwind a little.
  4. Puppet Show – Kids have such an amazing imagination and puppets help bring out all of their creativity. Using dolls, action figures, or even socks, you can craft a wonderful puppet show that will keep your kids interested and focused on their imagination. Have your kids come up with their own puppet show afterward!
  5. Sink/Tub Time – Let the kiddos know it is bath time for their toys. You can host a Barbie day spa or a car was for the cars and trucks piled up in your playroom. Kids love playing with water, and you get to clean those toys — it’s a win/win! If you really want to get creative, fill the sink with dried beans or rice and let them play with scoops, cups, and bowls!
  6. Photo Albums – Family bonding over a photo album is always a great activity. You can look at your current photo albums and talk about your memories of those photos, sharing stories and laughing together. Afterward, suggest adding more photos to your current albums with your kids, or even starting a new one that the kids can have a hand in crafting! This is a great opportunity to talk about your family tree – a concept we take for granted, but little ones don’t yet understand.
  7. Matching Game – Socks, ribbon, paper, toys, buttons, coins, etc, kids LOVE to match items together. Create a pile of items and have your kids match them up, this activity will keep kids occupied while strengthening fine motor skills!
  8. Art/Painting – A go-to for every parent is art/paint time. Toddler absolutely love getting paint on items and making colors, mixing, and making a mess! Find shells, rocks, paper, some paint and watch your kids’ eyes light up. Want to allow the kids to paint but relieve your stress level a little? Try this edible paint recipe that will keep you from stressing out over the mess!

Do you have a list of activities that you use you occupy your littles one on really cold days? Let us know in the comments below!

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Local Halloween Events for the Kiddos

Halloween is only a few weeks away, and while everybody goes trick-or-treating on the 31st, there are plenty of other Halloween-themed events in the area for you to take part in throughout the next two weeks aside from our own Halloween parades! From parades, to hayrides, to trunk or treats, we have compiled a small list of events within our local area:

  • Trunk or Treat at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home, 1707 New Road, Linwood – Saturday, October 27, 1-3pm. Partnering with local Police and Fire Departments, this tunk or treat is completely free of charge and includes face painting, candy, safety demonstrations and much more! The only request is to please bring a gently used book as a donation!
  • EHT Trunk or Treat – EHTHS Parking Lot, October 13th, 3-5pm. The 3rd Annual EHT Trunk or Treat is a safe, fun, family event featuring music, games, and contests. Admission is $5 per child or $10 per family if 3 or more children.
  • Northfield Family Friendly Halloween Hayride, Birch Grove Park, every Friday and Saturday through the end of the month. Every year Birch Grove Park holds their family-friendly hayride: a nighttime ride through the park decorated with fun ghosts, dinosaurs, and other family-friendly items. Addmission is $5 per person.
  • Historic Smithville’s Costume Pet Parade, 615 E Moss Mill Road, Smithville, Saturday, October 20 at 1pm. Hosted by Paw Dazzle, this annual parade boasts over 100 dogs dressed up in their little costumes!
  • Ocean City Exchange Club’s 71st Annual Halloween Parade, Asbury Avenue between 6th and 11th streets, October 25 and 7;15pm. Floats, cheerleading and drill teams, antique cars, costumes, and much more.
  • Boo Bash Halloween Party, Boscov’s, 6725 Black Horse Pike, October 27, 1-4pm. Come dressed in your Halloween costume and parade through Boscov’s to trick-or-treat throughout the store. Also featuring crafts, games, contests, and prizes! Open to children 12 and under.

Have you heard of any other Halloween-themed events for the little ones? Please share them in the comments below!

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8 Great Halloween Books for Toddlers

It is that time of year again: the leaves are going to be changing colors, the air gets a bit crisper and cooler, and the kids are getting used to a school schedule again. Before we know it September will turn into October, and Halloween will be here with all of the amazing costumes, decorations, and treats! This time of the year provides for some great books for toddlers that are fun, very creative, and great for improving your children’s apprehension skills. Everybody loves Halloween, so we might as well incorporate some good reading into the fun!

Here is a list of 8 great Halloween books for toddlers that you might want to check out, as well as links to learn more about them!

  1. The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin – A gently spooky twist on The Itsy Bitsy Spider, this books turns a favorite nursery rhyme into Halloween-themed fun!
  2. Seven Orange Pumpkins – A perfect read-aloud book for helping toddlers learn about colors and counting. It’s bright, bold, and fun story captures the imagination of even the little trick-or-treaters.
  3. I Love You, Little Pumpkin – An interactive cloth-covered book that encourages interaction on each spread and blends a heartfelt message with a touch of Halloween. The ending contains a mirror which reveals who is loved most of all, causing babies to giggle and toddlers to laugh with excitement.
  4. Splat the Cat: What Was That? – A favorite with all kids is Splat the Cat. Watch as your little ones listen intently as Splat decides if he wants to trick-or-treat at the scariest house on the block with his friend Spike. His pet mouse, Seymour, makes the decision for him as he runs into the house, causing Splat to rescue him.
  5. One, Two…Boo! – Another interactive flip book, the littlest of trick-or-treaters can life the flaps as they count their way through a spooky old house, and perhaps they will run into a surprise or two!
  6. The Spooky Wheel on the Bus – This is a humorous Halloween-themed version of the classic nursery rhyme, The Wheels on the Bus, with a few ghoulish tricks and treats up its sleeves!
  7. Peppa’s Pumpkin Party – Peppa Pig and her family are having a Pumpkin Party and everyone is invited to come dressed up in the spookiest costumes, even Madame Gazelle!
  8. Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever! – This adorable book is about Corduroy and his plans to have a Halloween party with his friends. They will carve jack-o’-lanterns, bob for apples, and go trick-or-treating, but what will Corduroy choose as a costume?

This list is just a few of the amazing Halloween books out there for toddlers. Take a look at your local library, book store, or online distributor for more titles that your little ones might love! Do you have any Halloween books that your kids look forward to every year? Or have you read some of the books on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Healthy Snacks For Summer

Healthy Snacks For Summer

With the heat of summer beating down, your little ones are probably asking for ice cream and popsicles non stop. If you’re looking for a slightly healthier alternative to Dairy Queen, we have a few recipes for you! We have a list of 5 different recipes with healthy twists that will still satisfy a sweet tooth and keep everyone cool for the rest of the summer!

Frozen Yogurt Bark

Even if your kids aren’t fans of yogurt, they will love this snack! This is a great snack if everyone in your house likes something different! Spread out your yogurt mixture into a baking sheet or tray. Then, either top the whole thing or different sections with everyone’s favorite toppings! Some of our favorites are fresh fruit, chopped nuts, and a chocolate drizzle. Yum!

Banana Ice Cream – Dairy Free

Not only is this recipe dairy free but it is also painfully simple. All you need is one ingredient, bananas! Freeze some cut up bananas for at least 4 hours then toss them into food processor. This puree will be very similar to ice cream. Go crazy with toppings and let everyone top their banana ice cream with their favorites!

Strawberry Ice Cream  – Dairy Free

Only slightly more complicated than the banana ice cream is strawberry ice cream! The best way to get an ice cream texture with strawberry flavor is to combine both frozen bananas and strawberries into your mixture. Again, this is a great healthy snack that everyone can add their favorite toppings to!

Peanut Butter & Banana Popsicle – Dairy Free

A third dairy free alternative to ice cream pops is peanut butter and banana popsicles! While the original recipes calls for a topping of chopped nuts, we think a drizzle of chocolate would be delicious! And satisfy the chocaholic in your family!

Frozen Yogurt Bites

The perfect grab-n-go snack for summer! All you need is yogurt in tubes, like Go Gurt, or your favorite flavors of yogurt and some piping bags! More colors and flavors make the yogurt bites more fun!

We hope you like these recipes and decide to give them a try this summer! Let us know in the comments which treats your family liked best! As always, click the share button on the side of the blog to share these recipes with your friends and family!

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