The Best 2017 Summer Reading Books K-5th Grades

By sara / May 22, 2017

It’s every kids favorite time of the year…SUMMER VACATION. That means that they will have a lot of time on their tiny little hands. Reading is a great way to spend some of their newly discovered free time. Reading will help them increase their reading level and it will also help them calm down from the excitement of the summer.

Some of these books are weird and funny while others are full of fantasy and adventure. You will be able to help your children find the books that they love to read. The books on this list are targeted for grades K-5. Each section of this list is separated into two grade levels because we know that reading levels fluctuate. These are the Best Summer Reading books for Kids.

Kindergarten-First Grade

1. Big Cat

Big Cat is by Ethan Long. This book is perfect for anyone that is just starting to read because it has a very simple vocabulary. The main character is an oversized cat who has a loving family. There are two kids that love to smother him with hugs and kisses. They also like to dress him up in silly clothes and dance around the house with him. Big Cat does not enjoy these kind of activities but he continues to go along with it because he loves his family very much.

Little Big Horse Where's my Bike? Is by Dave Horowitz. This book is about a little horse that wants to go on a big adventure. He just got a new bike and one of his friends took it without asking. Of course the friend breaks the bike and then Horse has a big decision to make. Should he stop being friends with Pablo or should he forgive him? This book has a very simple vocabulary that is perfect for level 1 readers. Your children will also learn a valuable lesson about forgiveness.

Trucks Line Up is by Jon Scieszka. This book is about the trucks in Trucktown lining up when they hear different colors and characteristics. The main truck in this book is Pete. He is a very unique truck that does not have any of the characteristics called by Jack truck. Once Pete makes it to the line there is a huge parade of all the trucks in the town. This fun read will teach your kids that it is ok to be different.

See Pip Point is by David Milgrim. This book is about a cute little robot who has to save his friend Pip the mouse when he is taken away by a strong wind. Pip wanted to borrow Otto’s red balloon the only problem is the balloon is way too big for the tiny little mouse. Otto needs to find help from Zee the Bee to save his friend Pip from flying away. This book is perfect for k-1 reading level because it has a simple vocabulary and a very entertaining plot.

Aggie the Brave is the third book by Lori Ries. The first two books showed us the friendship between Ben and his pet Aggie. Now Ben has to learn how to be brave when Aggie has to go to stay at the vet for a whole night. These best friends have never spent a night a part so now he will have to come up with a way to survive a night without Aggie. After Aggie comes back home Ben will have to take care of her and make her feel better. This book will be perfect for your level one readers. It has a very simple vocabulary and the pictures are very cute.

Meet Mo and Jo is a very simple chapter book written by Sarah Lynn. This is a book about two cavemen brothers. Each short chapter of this book will take your children on a different adventure. The first chapter is about the two brothers trying to find the source of a peculiar stench. The second chapter of the book is about Mo and Jo’s favorite game, hide and seek. Your children will absolutely love these two cave brothers and all of their wild adventures.

Mr. Putter & Tabby Walk the Dog is by Cynthia Rylant. Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby volunteer to walk the neighbor’s dog Zeke for a week after his owner hurt her foot. After a few days of being pulled around the neighborhood and being wrapped around every tree Mr. Putter has had enough of that crazy dog Zeke. Mr. Putter and Tabby have to find way to make it through the rest of the week of walking Zeke. Your children will love laughing along with these silly characters as they try to come up with a way to survive a week with Zeke.

Junie. B Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus is by New York Times bestselling author Barbara Park. This book is about a kindergarten girl named Junie B Jones. In this book she is starting school for the first time and she is a little nervous about it. She is also scared to ride the bus because she thinks it is full of mean people. This book will help anyone who is a little nervous to ride the bus for the first time. This is a short chapter book and is perfect for level 1 readers.

The Princess in Black is by award winning writer Shannon Hale. This book is about a princess named Magnolia. She is a regular princess by day but she has a secret. She turns into her alter ego The Princess in Black when the monster alarm sound. Then she becomes a tough Princess who saves the day by stopping monsters. This book will show anyone that even a princess can be tough.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue is by Kate DiCamillo. This book is about a pig named Mercy Watson who lives inside the house with his family. He is full of adventure and loves hot buttered toast. He goes on an adventure in his neighborhood to look for fresh toast. He gets into all kinds of trouble on his big journey. This book is short and your kids are sure to fall in love with this silly little pig.

Second and Third Grade 

Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks. This book is about a bird and a squirrel that land in the South Pole during a snowstorm. A penguin that lives in the South Pole thinks that Bird and Squirrel has come to save the day from this huge hungry killer whale. Will they be able to save the day or will they become food for the hungry whale?

Galaxy Zack Hello Nebulon is by Ray O’Ryan and Colin Jack. This book is perfect for any kids that love learning about space because it is about a little boy that moves to space from Earth. He meets all kinds of aliens at his new school. On his first day of school he meets a new boy from space that loves adventure as much as he does and they quickly become best friends. There are a lot of differences between space and earth but Zack is learning to love space. This book is full of simple vocabulary and exciting illustrations.

Dragon Slayers Academy: The New Kid at School is by Kate McMullan. Wiglaf is told that he will become a hero so he sets out to fulfill his destiny. In order to do that he enrolls in the Slayers’ Academy. There is just one small problem, he hates blood. How can you become a hero dragon slayer when you hate the sight of blood? This book will show your children that they can make their dreams come true if they work hard enough.

Recipe for Adventure: Naples! Is by the popular chef Giada De Laurentiis. This book is about a girl named Zia Donatella who goes to live with a family in Naples. Zia loves to cook and she wants to show the family that home-cooked meals are better than eating fast food. Zia believes that food can transport you to new parts of the world, like Naples. These characters go on all kinds of crazy adventures to find the perfect ingredients to cook an amazing meal.

The Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark is the first book in the series by Mary Pope Osborne. Jack and Annie find this magic tree house and before they can find out where it came from they find themselves on a prehistoric journey. They got transported to a land full of huge dinosaurs. They have to find a way to get home from this magical adventure before dinner time. This book is perfect for kids that love adventure and learning about dinosaurs.

The critter club is by Callie Barkley. This is a cute little book that is perfect for level 2 readers. This book takes place during spring break. Amy is the only one not doing anything exciting during her free time. She just gets to go to work with her mom. Her mom is a vet and gets to help sick animals get better. Amy is really excited to be around animals all day, Amy quickly learns that something strange happened to one of the dogs in her neighborhood so she creates the critter club to help all of the lost pets that are in her neighborhood.

Tuesdays at the Castle is by Jessica Day George. This book is about a princess named Celie. She is faced with an interesting challenge involving her castle. Every Tuesday her castle comes to life and starts magically getting rid of rooms in the castle. One day her parents and brother go missing and Celie is the only one that can save them. This book is perfect for level 2 readers that love reading about magic and princesses.

Zeke Meeks vs The Putrid Puppet Pals is about a third grade boy named Zeke Meeks. He is the only one in his whole class that is not into the newest trend. Zeke loves playing basketball but everyone else would rather play with finger puppets instead of playing with him. Even his best friend Hector would rather play with puppets than play basketball. What’s with these puppets anyway? Zeke gives it a try and finds out that the puppets are just as boring as he feared. Will Zeke be able to find someone to shoot hoops with him or will he have to play with the putrid puppet pets.

Lost! The Dog Called Bear is by Wendy Orr. Logan and his family are moving from the country to the city and he will miss everything that he has to leave behind. When he gets to the city he meets a new friend named Hannah. She has always lived in the city and has always wanted a dog of her very own. Logan has a dog named Bear that he loved very much. Your kids will love going on this journey with Logan and his new friend Hannah. They go to the Rainbow Street Shelter and run into lots of entertaining animals. This book is perfect for the little animal lovers in your life.

The Lonely Lake Monster is by Suzanne Selfors. This book is about two kids that go to Dr. Woos imaginary creatures. They get to interact with so many crazy creatures. They were told to stay inside the building but being the curious kids they are they do not listen. Pearl finds a monster in peril on an island. She has to come up with a way to save the monster before it is too late. This is a really fun book that will have your children’s imagination running wild.

Fourth and Fifth Grade​

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is by J.K. Rowling. This is the first book in the Harry Potter series. In this book Harry Potter is introduced to the fact that he is a wizard like his parents. Harry goes to a magical school where he will learn more about his magic. He meets two new friends and they go on many different adventures during their first year of school. Harry Potter learns about his strong connection to the wizarding world and what lies ahead in his future.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) is by Rick Riordan. This book will follow Percy Jackson on the most dangerous journey of his life. He has to get back the most powerful weapon of mass destruction. To do this he will have to travel across the country and fight a bunch of mystical creatures that are trying to get in his way. To top it all off he has to watch out for the people that he trusts the most because he was warned that one of his friends would betray him along the way. This book is full of adventure that your kids are sure to love.

The Land of Stories is by Chris Colfer. This book is very unique because it mixes the present day with a fairy tale land. The main characters are twins named Alex and Conner. They get to enter the stories that they were always reading about when they were growing up. They get to go on so many adventures in this magical world the only problem is they need to get home. They come across many roadblocks that make their journey home a lot harder than they ever imagined.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap is by Liz Kessler. This book is about a 12-year-old girl that discovers that she is half half human and half mermaid. She has always loved the water but her mother always tried to keep her away from it. Emily wants to find her dad so she can learn more about the mysterious life that she has been missing out on. Emily encounters many obstacles on her way to find her father. This book is perfect for any children that love mermaids and learning about the ocean.

Amulet: The Stone Keeper is the first book in the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi. This is a graphic novel that your children are sure to love. The main characters are Emily and Navin who have been sent to live with their mother after their father tragically dies. The house that they moved into seems to have crazy creatures living in it. They are forced to go into a creepy door in the basement when their mother is sucked in by a crazy monster. They do not want to lose her too so they have to be brave and save the day.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat is by Lynne Jonell. This book is about Emmy who was an extremely good girl that always does what she is told. She even does chores without being asked. Sometimes she likes to sit by the rat because he likes to get into mischief. The incredible shrinking rat takes her one journeys that she would not go on alone. Your kids will love reading about this unusual pair of friends that get in trouble together.

Flora & Ulysses is by New York Times Best-selling author Kate DiCamillo. This book is hilarious and your children will love laughing along with the zany characters. Flora loves to read comic books because they make her laugh and forget the pain from her parents’ divorce. One day she hears a strange noise outside her window. It was the neighbor who had just hit a squirrel when he was cleaning with the vacuum cleaner. The squirrel now has super powers and oddly enough he can write poetry. This book is heartwarming and will show the true power of love. This book will help kids understand divorce while it makes them laugh at the same time.

The Secret Zoo is one of many books in the series by Bryan Chick. This book is perfect for kids that love animals. The main characters in this book are Noah and his sister Megan. They live next door to a zoo and they have noticed that something crazy happens at night. The animals leave the zoo and wander around the neighborhood. Noah notices that his sister goes missing so he has to enlist the help of his friends Richie and Ella to find her. All they have to go by are some random clues that lead them into the mysterious zoo.

Spy School is about a middle school boy named Ben Ripley. He is a very smart kid that hopes he can become a C.I.A Agent when he grows up. The only problem is he doesn’t exactly seem like the secret agent type. He is a little bit awkward and nerdy. Ben is enrolled in a school that is focused on science which is perfect for him. He soon learns that this is a secret school for C.I.A agents in the making.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of many books in the series by Jeff Kinney. Greg Heffley is going to middle school and he is very nervous about sharing the halls with kids that are way bigger and tougher than him. The style of this book is unique because you feel like you are really reading someone's diary. Your kids will be able to go along with Greg as he tries to make it through middle school. This is a short chapter book and is geared towards 4th and 5th grade kids that are getting ready to transition into middle school. 

The 20 Best Educational Toys for Toddlers

By Rebecca / May 22, 2017
Best Educational Toys for Toddlers at an Early Stage
Best Educational Toys for Toddlers at an Early Stage

What Makes a Toy a Good Educational Option for Your Developing Toddler's Mind?

From building toys to challenging coding games that encourage children to solve problems, educational toys are targeted at the right age range, the stir the imagination and offer peace of mind to parents who want their children to learn through fun.

  • Has the capacity to be played with in many different ways, multiple times
  • Challenges a child to think, feel, do, and ask questions
  • Should contribute to the development of the child's social, emotional, physical, and mental skills
  • Appeals to the child's natural talents, interests, size, and abilities
  • Overall appearance is engaging with a variety of different shapes, colors, sounds, and textures
  • Fits your preferences, knowledge, is safe, and doesn't break the bank

There are thousands of toys on the market for toddlers. Here is a list of some of the most highly recommended and reviewed educational toys to help your little one grow!

Top Twenty Educational Toys for Toddlers

1.) Onshine Colorful Educational Wooden Toys Game Baby Toddlers Toys Circle Bead Wire Maze Roller Coaster

Onshine Colorful Wooden Educational Toys

Rating

5.0

Ages

3 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps build early shape, color, and size differentiation skills, learn basic count. This kit trains a child with thinking ability, hand, eye, and brain coordination ability.

Pros

  • Brightly colored and cheerful, solid wooden activity cube
  • High-quality wood that is polished smooth
  • Minimal assembly required
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Activity cube includes five different activities
  • Removable and reversible top with bead maze

Cons

  • Has three little shape parts that are separate from the cube and may become easily lost

2.) Melissa & Doug K's Kids Pull-Back Vehicle Set – Soft Baby Toy Set with 4 Cars and Trucks and Carrying Case

Melissa & Doug K's Kids Pull-Back Vehicle Set

Rating

4.9

Ages

9 months – 4 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Develops sensory, fine motor, gross motor, problem-solving, language, social, and emotional skills.

Pros

  • Self-rolling wheels makes it easy for toddlers and infants to play with
  • Removable cloth covering makes it easy to clean
  • Brightly colored and patterned
  • Includes four soft toy vehicles: School bus, family car, fire truck, police car
  • No assembly required
  • BPA-free
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Do not leave alone with child unsupervised due to some small parts being possibly swallowed such as the detachable wheels
  • Does not run as easily on carpet in comparison to flat, hardwood floors

3.) LEGO DUPLO Creative Play All-in-One-Box-of-Fun 10572

LEGO DUPLO Creative Play All-in-One-Box-of-Fun 10572

Rating

4.9

Ages

3 years – 5 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: develops their counting skills, fine motor skills, and their creative thinking skills.

Pros

  • Brightly colored blocks, two window elements, wagon base, a dog, numbered bricks, and a LEGO DUPLO Toy boy figure
  • Comes with a storage box
  • Easy to clean
  • BPA-free
  • Works with other large LEGO DUPLO sets
  • No noise

Cons

  • Small parts that can be potential choking hazards
  • No instructions to build other things

4.) Kinslent 30 Pcs Construction Building Blocks Toys, BPA Free, Magnetic Max Stem Educational Game - 3D Concept Preschool Learning Set

Kinslent 30 Pcs Construction Building Blocks Toys

Rating

4.9

Ages

3 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Develops their fine motor skills, shaping perception about size, sequencing, comparing, creative thinking, pattern recognition, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, decision making, and social skills.

Pros

  • BPA-free
  • Safe to use and thoroughly test to prevent any choking hazard
  • Bright and colorful pieces
  • Includes a 12-month product warranty
  • Endless fun and possibilities with the variety of shapes
  • Easy to clean and play with
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Should not be given to children under three due to potential choking hazard

5.) Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks with Wooden Storage Tray

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

Rating

4.9

Ages

3-8 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Basic math concepts, organizational skills, sequential skills, stimulates creativity, hones basic motor skills, and spatial relations.

Pros

  • Safe to use and comes with a wooden box for organizational purposes
  • Endless play and possibilities for construction
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Natural-finish, with smooth, sanded edges to prevent splinters

Cons

  • Slightly expensive price wise
  • Might be slightly hard to clean due to being made from wood material

6.) LEGO DUPLO My First Farm 10617, Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten Large Building Block

LEGO DUPLO My First Farm 10617

Rating

4.9

Ages

18 months – 5 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps develop basic construction skills.

Pros

  • Safe to use and endless play
  • BPA-free
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with a variety of brightly colored blocks
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Can be combined with other LEGO DUPLO sets
  • No noise

Cons

  • No instructions

7.) Educational Bath Toys for Toddlers-One of the Biggest Foam Baby BathTub Toys – Foam Alphabet Letters and Animals (26 Puzzles-52 Items)-Safe and Colorful Premium ABC Foam Letters for Kids

Educational Bath Toys for Toddlers

Rating

4.9

Ages

3 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps teach phonics, spelling, vocabulary, reasoning and color matching skills.

Pros

  • Easy to use, clean, and play with
  • Large colorful letters/animal shapes
  • Lifetime money-back guarantee
  • Materials are all non-toxic and safe to use
  • Can be used in and outside of the bath
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • No noise, no mess comes with a small bag to keep all of the letters/animals in

Cons

  • Do not leave child unsupervised with the letters due to chewing and potentially swallowing pieces of the letters/animals

8.) Chore Reward Chart for Kids - Easy Effective Way to Motivate Good Behavior and Teach Responsibility. Magnetic Star Chart with Hanging String and Magnetic Backing

Chore Reward Chart For Kids

Rating

4.9

Ages

3 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: teaches responsibility and encourages kids to do their chores with positive reinforcement, as well as teaches better behavior and the importance of goal setting.

Pros

  • Customizable for your child
  • Brightly colored and easy to read
  • Interactive, fun to use and easy to clean
  • Easy to display/hang up
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Small magnets and parts that are potential choking hazards for young children

9.) Spot It Alphabet

Spot it Alphabet

Rating

4.8

Ages

3-15 years old and older

What it can be used for/to teach: learning ABCs and colors, develops visual perception skills, attention to detail, and fine motor skills.

Pros

  • Brightly colored letters
  • Comes with a rule booklet
  • All parts are safe to use
  • Great to take along for travel and road trips
  • Comes in a little storage tin
  • Offers three different challenge levels for endless fun
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Cards are not waterproof

10.) LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket

Rating

4.8

Ages

6 months – 5 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps build fine motor skills as they sort, match, stack, empty, and fill. It also teaches shapes and colors.

Pros

  • Endless fun and interactive audio responses, instrumental sounds, and other sound effects
  • Brightly colored shapes and objects
  • Easy to clean up and store
  • Parts and pieces are easy to clean
  • Batteries are included (3 AA batteries required)
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Batteries required
  • Makes noise
  • Has some parts that may be a potential choking hazard

11.) Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Activity Book, 3-Pack - Animals, Alphabet, and Numbers

Melissa & Doug On the Go Water Wow! Activity Book, 3-Pack - Animals, Alphabet, and Numbers

Rating

4.8

Ages

3-6 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps learn animals, letters, shapes, number, colors, and how to write their letters/numbers.

Pros

  • Reusable pages and refillable water pen make for endless fun
  • Great for travel and road trips
  • Compact and easy to store when not in use
  • Easy to clean and no mess
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Pictures are brightly colored when wet
  • Not easy to tear making them a durable, lasting activity books

Cons

  • Requires water to use the pen

12.) PicassoTiles 60 Piece Set 60pcs Magnet Building Tiles Clear Magnetic 3D Building Blocks Construction Playboards

PicassoTiles 60 Piece Set 60pcs Magnet Building Tiles

Rating

4.8

Ages

3 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Encourages creativity, teaches fine motor skills, and social skills.

Pros

  • Endless fun and variety of building options in 3D
  • Easy to clean, store away, and easy to use
  • No noise
  • No batteries required
  • Comes in a nice variety of shapes and bright colors
  • Great for family and group bonding time

Cons

  • Fairly expensive price wise
  • Some parts such as the magnets may be possible choking hazards

13.) Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle

Rating

4.8

Ages

3-6 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps with hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.

Pros

  • Easy to clean, store away, and put together
  • Has a beautifully colored solar system image when finished building the puzzle
  • Made of durable cardboard
  • No noise
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise

Cons

  • Will need a bit of space to build the puzzle

14.) Uncle Goose Classic ABC Blocks with Canvas Bag

Uncle Goose Classic ABC Blocks with Canvas Bag

Rating

4.8

Ages

2-6 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps assist in teaching animals, letters, numbers, and symbols.

Pros

  • Contains letters and a variety of animals, numbers, and symbols
  • Brightly painted, wooden blocks
  • Safe to use
  • Easy to store away
  • No noise
  • Safe, non-toxic paint, and wood materials used
  • Made locally in the USA
  • Great to take on road trips and travel

Cons

  • May be hard to clean due to being made from wood materials
  • Fairly expensive price wise

15.) Melissa & Doug Wooden Make-a-Cake Mixer Set

Melissa & Doug Wooden Make-a-Cake Mixer Set

Rating

4.8

Ages

3-5 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Encourages creative thinking, imaginative play, teaches basics of cooking, promotes memory, and number skills.

Pros

  • Made of wood, plastic, and metal materials
  • Safe to use
  • Easy to clean, store away and use
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • No batteries required

Cons

  • Comes in a cardboard box
  • Makes a bit of noise

16.) Large 43-Piece Drawing Stencils Kit, Perfect Creativity Kit, and Travel Activity

Large 43-Piece Drawing Stencils Kit

Rating

4.8

Ages

4 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps with creativity while promoting hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem-solving abilities. It also teaches shapes and letters.

Pros

  • Comes with a wide variety of stencils
  • Comes with colored pencils
  • Easy to use and clean up after
  • No noise
  • Comes with a little case to store the stencils
  • Great for travel since the carrying case doubles as a mini desk
  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Made of non-toxic, BPA-free materials
  • Stencils are durable for long-lasting artistic fun

Cons

  • Some pieces may be a potential choking hazard
  • A lot of pieces and parts to keep track of

17.) LEGO DUPLO My First Train Set 10507

LEGO DUPLO My First Train Set 10507

Rating

4.7

Ages

2-5 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Helps develop basic construction skills.

Pros

  • Safe to use
  • BPA-free
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with brightly colored train, blocks, and figures
  • Has an automatic shut off timer after two minutes
  • Tracks do not conduct electricity

Cons

  • Makes noise
  • Fairly expensive price wise
  • Not compatible with LEGO 9V trains, use with DUPLO trains only
  • Requires three AA batteries

18.) B. Critter Clinic Toy Vet Play Set

B. Critter Clinic Toy Vet Play Set

Rating

4.7

Ages

2-6 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Teaches problem-solving abilities, creative thinking, and imaginative play. Helps develop empathy and the importance of caring for others.

Pros

  • Comes with a storage case to keep all parts and pieces together
  • Safe to use
  • Packaging is recyclable
  • Brightly colored and great for endless play
  • No noise
  • No batteries required

Cons

  • Fairly expensive price wise
  • Small parts that may be a potential choking hazard for those under the age of 3 years

19.) The Learning Journey My First Match It, Head and Tails

The Learning Journey My First Match It, Head and Tails

Rating

4.7

Ages

2-15 years old

What it can be used for/to teach: Teaches problem-solving skills, animals, and builds self-confidence.

Pros

  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Colorful illustrations of the animals, great for a first puzzle
  • Puzzle is self-correcting since each cut is different for each animal
  • Easy to clean up after and store away
  • Durable pieces
  • No noise

Cons

  • Pieces can be lost making the matches no longer usable

20.) The Learning Journey Match It! Upper & Lower Case Letters

The Learning Journey Match It! Upper & Lower Case Letters

Rating

4.6

Ages

4 years old and up

What it can be used for/to teach: Teaches ABCs, animals/objects, lower and upper case letters.

Pros

  • Fairly inexpensive price wise
  • Self-correcting, no two puzzle cuts are the same
  • Colorful illustrations
  • Great first puzzle and is made of durable materials
  • Easy to clean up and store away
  • No noise

Cons

  • Pieces can be lost making the matches no longer usable

Conclusion

Depending on your budget, preferences, and the age of your child there are plenty of great educational toys that can offer a wide variety of teaching skills and personal development. The educational toys most recommended from this list are the classic toys like Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks With Wooden Storage Tray, Large 43-Piece Drawing Stencils Kit, Perfect Creativity Kit and Travel Activity, and The Learning Journey Match It! Upper & Lower Case Letters. All offer endless play, creative thinking, ample teaching moments for your little one and are all fairly inexpensive, quality options for what they offer for you and your child.

The Importance Learning Through Song

By sara / May 15, 2017

Isn’t it amazing how you can remember all the words to Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, but you can’t remember where you put your car keys? There is a reason why all those old children’s classics have stuck with you over the years and something you did thirty minutes ago is completely gone from your memory.

Songs are a great way to help anyone learn and remember, and they are an awesome tool used by teachers all over the world. An important part of any preschool classroom, singing contributes to teach behavior, basic skills, and social skills. Preschool songs also use rhymes to help children to learn vocabulary and communication skills. 

If you sing to your child at home, children will enjoy that time and the interaction with you. When you change your vocal tone or vary up the song, it helps your child learn the natural sounds of language. Using different rhyming words helps children to tune in their ears to sound of the word and learn how we blend and combine sounds together to create words.

Importance of teaching your children Nursery Rhymes 

Teaching children nursery rhymes will help them be better readers later on in life. When singing nursery rhymes, we naturally speak more clearly and slowly than we normally would which is a good way for children to learn the words and understand how they are formed. They also love to imitate you, so have fun with the songs by making funny face and movements to match the words, and they will have lots of fun doing them with you.

We all know that preschoolers love repetition; I mean how many times do they watch Frozen? We all know that repetition is the key to learning, so take advantage of this great teaching tool to help them learn all kinds of new skills.

Studies have shown that children who love music and who sing and rhyme regularly also tend to have an easier time learning to speak. They have already developed the vocabulary to express themselves, and they also become more creative and confident. School is also easier for them, especially reading and spelling.

Research has also shown that children who are better readers tend to be able to keep a steady beat. Rhyming and singing enable children to hear a steady beat, so when you are rhyming and singing with your child, remember to clap along with the beat. This will give you child the ability to feel the beat while they are clapping, tapping, and marching along.

One study wanted to see if the better reader theory was true even with differences in class background, so they studied 64 children from different socio-economic backgrounds. The results showed a strong relationship between children that scored well at age four with rhyme test also scored at a high reading level at age six. This result was independent of other factors and further signified the importance of using preschool songs as a teaching tool.

Importance of Preschool Songs

So, what can a few preschool songs teach your child? Well, quite a lot including:

Love of Language ​

One of the most valuable gifts you can give you child is a love of language. That’s why it is so important to sing and rhyme with your child. When you child has a love of language, book, and songs, she will have formed a solid foundation for learning for the rest of her life.

Just taking time each day to sing rhymes with your child, either preschool songs or silly songs you make up, can have a significant impact on her long term. You can work in these songs as you play together or even at bedtime as a lullaby.

And it doesn’t just have to be rhyming. You can always just have fun with words and language by making up nonsense words or doing fun word play games like ‘I-spy’. It may just be a game now, but you are creating long-term benefits that will help them throughout life.

A Love of Music​

Children love music, they love to sing, and they love to dance. We all know that a certain song can often get a preschooler grooving like no other can. Since children often seem to be born with their love of music, it’s not something you need to teach them; it is just an innate response to dance to music. So, it is worth taking advantage of that inclination they already have and use it in a teaching setting.​

Learning New Concepts ​

If you want to teach some basic skills, adding songs to your lesson plan can help to reinforce these skills. Repeating certain skills like the alphabet and colors will help to make sure that your child is getting enough exposure to these skills. Teachers can also use songs to teach good behavior and social skills. So, remember, songs aren’t just for fun, they can teach pre-reading skills and many other skills children will use throughout life.​

What child doesn’t like to wiggle their way through a song? Songs about body parts are especially entertaining and a great way to teach little ones how to identify and learn the names of the parts of their body. With these ten fun preschool songs, you can encourage fun family time, help your child to expand her vocabulary, or, if you are a teacher, use them as a brain break. No matter what, kids will love getting up and moving to these catchy songs.

Children have an enormous amount of energy that parents and teachers are always looking to burn off. Preschool songs that involve a lot of movement are always a great addition to children’s playtime. Movement songs will help kids work on their gross motor skills and are good for midline activities. These songs are not only fun to move to, but they also suggest movements for each song that correlate with the music and words.

Wiggles can be very hard to ignore and deal with, so it’s a good idea to be prepared with some movement songs that embrace the wiggle and turn it into a fun-filled learning activity. Not only are they a good tool for parents during playtime, but teachers will love using them during circle time. A fun-filled movement song is an awesome way to start the day and get the kids smiling and energized.

If you are a family that loves music, this is a great playlist of preschool songs to play on a car ride or just have on in the background as your child plays. If you enjoy a little more interactivity, there are free printable downloads that will help you learn the songs so you can help teach them to your little one so you can sing them together.

Circle time is a great time for teachers to use a fun song that will get the kids moving. Depending on what time of day you have circle time, you may want to help energize them to start their day, or you may need to help them get all the wiggles out so they can concentrate on planned activities. This site also includes a link for free printable song sticks that you can keep on hand to let children choose which song they want to sing. When kids are offered a choice in the activity, they feel empowered, and that helps them to learn more.

When thinking about preschool songs, don’t forget there are tons of Bible songs that kids love to hear and move along with. These songs can be fun for playtime and riding in the car. Sunday School teachers will also find them useful in their classrooms to help the kids focus on their Sunday School lesson in case they start to squirm.

Children learn a lot through songs which are evident from all the traditional children’s songs that have been around for hundreds of years. Information through songs help children to retain lessons better, and this list of songs help children have fun, be active, and give them the foundational knowledge they need to excel in Kindergarten.

The 8 Best Earth Day Activities for Kids

By sara / April 21, 2017

Earth Day is an awesome day to get into your craft closet. You know all those egg cartons and paper towel rolls you have been saving? This is the perfect time to explain recycling to your children and help them create crafts that represent the theme of the day.

If you haven’t been stashing away recyclables in your craft closet, dive into your recycle bin. This is an easy and frugal activity day, so make the most about teaching your children to take care of our environment.

Why is Earth Day Important? 

Teaching our children to take care of the earth and their environment is a vital lesson that shouldn’t just be restricted to one day. Earth Day helps us to understand the necessary lifestyle changes that will help to make a positive impact throughout the year.

Our planet is known as the Blue Planet because of the immense amount of water that it holds. Because of this, the Earth boasts a vibrant and complex ecosystem where organisms can interact with each other and their environment. It’s important to teach children to take care of what is really a fragile place.

As information becomes more readily available, we have been learning how not taking care of the environment is affecting the earth. Children can learn that even the little things they are capable of can make a big difference in preserving the earth and its resources.

Earth Day Facts

  • Once cover 14% of the earth's land surface with experts predicting that the remaining rainforest will disappear in les than 40 years. 
  • Every day, according to experts, we lose 137 animal, insect and plant species. 
  • Tons of pollution, including toxic chemicals is released into the air, water and land every year, 
  • It is important to celebrate Earth Day and to educate everyone about taking care of what we have as well as teach people what we are losing by acting in non-environmentally friendly and energy inefficient ways. 

What is Earth Day?

Annually celebrated on April 22, Earth Day is celebrated all over the world with various events that demonstrate people’s support for protecting the environment. It was first celebrated in 1970 and today it is celebrated in over 193 countries and is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Many places all over the earth celebrate Earth Week with a week full of activities centered on the world’s environmental issues. March for Science is happening in 2017 on Earth Day which will be followed by People’s Climate Mobilization on April 29.

Earth Day Accomplishments 

Here are a few landmark accomplishments that may not have ever happened without Earth Day:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency is established in 1970
  • The Clean Air Act of 1970
  • The Clean Water Act of 1972
  • The Endangered Species Act of 1973
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
  • The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act that is aimed at " in-plant pollution"

What Has Happened Since Then? 

Succeeding Earth Days have helped to make people more aware of the importance of sustaining life in our fragile world and why it is important to actively protect our environment.

  • Almost non-existent 40 years ago, many people now practice recycling
  • We have now developed energy efficient forms of energy like CFL light bulbs
  • Catalytic convertors became mandatory in 1975 for all cars in the U.S., plus new hybrid and electric cars have been developed
  • Levels of acid rain have dropped in the U.S. by 65% since 1976 and SO2 emissions have been lowered by 40%
  • We now have control of the depletion of the ozone layer 

Getting Kids Involved and Excited about Earth Day 

Children are learning new ideas every day, and they will be very influential in how the earth is treated in the future. They also want to help and please others, so they will be all about helping out the earth. This is a great teaching moment that we can pass on to our children and they can pass on to theirs.

Lifestyle Changes 

One of the great things about Earth Day is that you can make changes for more than just that day. When you start to educate your family about Earth Day, you learn about activities that can be done all year long. You can learn great ways to conserve that can help reduce your energy bills and teach your children responsibility and how to implement change along the way.

Reduce

It is easy to teach your children about turning off the light and using less water in an effort to conserve your resources and reduce fuel emissions. Turning off the faucet while they brush and taking walks or riding bikes instead of driving are easy lessons that the kids will remember.

Reuse

Make a game out of looking for things around the house that you can reuse or use for craft projects. Also, accepting secondhand clothing and buying used household items can teach kids a valuable lesson on reusing things. Donating your still working items to organizations in need will also make an impact on how they view throwing things away.

Recycle ​

You should already have a designated waste bin for recycling, if not, you need to get one. It is an easy concept to start with small children by creating small waste bins with magazine pictures of the recyclable items that go in them on the sides. This is a visual lesson that is easy for a young child to grasp and they will enjoy separating items like plastic and paper if you show them how.

Are you planning on celebrating Earth Day with your kids this year? If so, here are a few craft ideas that will help you plan a fun-filled celebration with your kids that will also help to teach them what the day is all about.

Earth Day is all about taking care of the earth. This watering can craft is made easily from an old milk jug that teaches kids about repurposing household items to become a useful pot for new plants, flowers, or even trees.

This fun-filled activity does require a template that the children are encouraged to paint with watercolors, so that you can still see the writing through the paint. It also encourages kids to think about different ways they can help the environment including recycling, composting, and planting trees.

Here is a simple and creative craft to use on Earth Day. Google eyes and small green and blue crepe paper squares are glued to a paper plate while arms and legs are attached to the sides. A cutout heart is placed on the crossed arms creating a delightful earth craft that is filled with love.

This Earth Day craft uses colored salt dough to create an awesome photo keepsake. Your child simply presses down with a handprint of a rolled out circle and a heart shaped cookie cutter to press out a hole in the center. Once it is baked, you have a thoughtful photo keepsake.

The Earth Day Tree craft is a good use of several recycled materials including cardboard. This craft not only allows children to explore their creativity, but also helps them learn about different trees as they decide on what tree to make.

Looking for a cute Earth Day craft that will also capture the size of their hands? This craft includes both of your child’s traced hands holding medium sized hearts that are painted blue and green. The cutout fingers are bent to look like they are holding the hearts and keeping them safe.

This is an easy paper plate craft that requires a little paint and some glue. Simply paint the plate blue and glue small pieces of green tissue paper for the continents, trace your child’s hand onto brown cardstock, and cut out a simple red heart to glue into the center.

This very easy and super inexpensive craft uses only coffee filters and markers. Children are encouraged to color the coffee filters with a blue marker and then lightly spray the filter with water to create a water effect. Green markers are used after the filter is dry to show the continents on earth.

The 10 Best Easter books for Children

By sara / April 12, 2017

These books are perfect last minute items for your children’s Easter baskets. They are going to be full of sugar from all the fun Easter activities and these books are a perfect way to calm them down from all of the excitment. These books are perfect to read to them before or after the bunny visits your house. Some of these books will spark your children’s imagination and others will answer their questions about the true meaning of Easter. These are the 10 Best Easter Books for Children.

We ranked these books based on the following

  • Sales
  • Price
  • Reading level

Pinkalicious: Eggstraordinary Easter is by bestselling author Victoria Kann. Pinkalicious wakes up to an exciting note from none other than the Easter bunny himself. She finds that the note is actually directions that will take her on a fun scavenger hunt with the whole Pinkerton family. This book is a fun way to set up a scavenger hunt of your very own for your children to wake up to on Easter morning.

Thomas and the Easter Eggs is one of the classic little gold books and it includes everyone’s favorite train, Thomas. Thomas has to come up with a way to save the Easter egg hunt from being a complete and total disaster. This book is recommended for children ages 2-5 and anyone that love Thomas the train. This book is full of beautiful images that your children will love. Read this book to find out if Thomas can save the day or if this will be the worst Easter of all time.

How to Catch the Easter Bunny is by Adam Wallace. This book will be an instant classic in your family as soon as you read it. This is a fun story about trying to catch the Easter bunny. During the course of this book the main character sets all kinds of silly traps in order to get ready for the big day. Once all these traps have been set all that is left to do is wait for the perfect opportunity. Will these traps actually work? Will the Easter bunny finally get caught? Read this book with your family to find out.

Llama Llama Easter Egg is the perfect size and durability for the hands of little readers. This book is very short and the pictures will be able to hold your child’s attention until the end. The “Llama Llama” books are full of fun rhymes that are easy for your children to follow along with. This book is about Easter and all of the fun and colorful things that are involved with the holiday like brightly colored Easter eggs and yummy treats.

God Gave us Easter is by Lisa Tawn Bergren. The main character in this book is a young cub that is celebrating Eater with her family. She begins to ask her parents questions about this special holiday and what it is truly about. This book is perfect for children that have questions about the religious background of the holiday. This book explains Easter in very simple terms that will be easy for your children to understand.

Duck & Goose Here comes the Easter Bunny is a fun book for the curious little ones in your life. Duck and Goose go on an adventure to find the Easter bunny and your children will be able to go along for the ride. The question is will they actually find the Easter bunny? You will have to get this book and find out. Your children will love this book and all of the bright colors of the illustrations.

The Night Before Easter is by Natasha Wing. "Twas the night before Easter, just before dawn,Not a creature was stirring out on the lawn.” This book is a spinoff from the popular Christmas Story “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. This book centers around the Easter Bunny and what he does the night before Easter. This book could be the start of a fun new Easter Eve tradition before your children go to bed.

Happy Easter Mouse Is By Laura Numeroff, the author of the popular book “If you give... series”. This book has a very interactive and will have your children engaged until the very end. This book will follow the Mouse around his house as he tries to figure out who is leaving him Easter eggs. This art in this book is very colorful and is perfect for young children who love to look at pictures.

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure is by James Dean. This book follows Pete the Cat on a fun filled Easter quest. This book is perfect for your little ones that have not learned to read yet because this is a picture book. This book is full of beautiful illustrations that your children will love. On this adventure Pete the Cat will help the Easter Bunny. This book comes with stickers and fun Easter activities that will help them celebrate Easter.

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story is by Jan and Mike Berenstain. This is a great book for any children that love the Berenstain Bears. This book will help teach your children that Easter is about more than just candy and fun Easter toys. Mama and Papa teach their children about Jesus and his resurrection and how his sacrifice is way more important than any candy that they could ever get in their Easter basket.

The 10 Safest and Most Educational Smartwatches for Kids

By Rebecca / April 3, 2017
Safe and Educational Smartwatches for Kids

Kids these days are growing and advancing alongside new wearable technology that is designed to keep them busy, connected, and knowledgeable. Smartwatches are gaining in popularity and have many integrated features that range from a simple calculator to motion sensors and video recording functions.

The materials used to make these watches are durable and designed to withstand the rough and tough use a child will put it through. The batteries have long lives to ensure that your child can enjoy it throughout the day without the worry you may have of them breaking it or casting it to the side like a toy that is not valued.

Smartwatches are wearable technology that can provide hours upon hours of entertainment for children and young students alike while allowing the parent to keep track of them via GPS or monitoring their Internet and physical activity throughout the day. Some smartwatches come with parental control features to provide the parent with improved peace of mind knowing that their child is safe while offering them a way to learn organization and responsibility in the process.

Additional features that you can find with most smartwatches are Android and iOS compatibility. Many of the smartwatches have apps that can allow a parent to put parental controls on the watch to ensure the child’s safety. These features go hand in hand with GPS tracking and location so you can know where your child is.

Consider the compatibility that you are looking for when purchasing a smartwatch. Typically, if there is no phone compatibility, then your child will not be able to use calling functions or message features.

Giving your child a smartwatch means you will be letting your child become even more connected and they will be physically attached to their device. However, a positive side of this would be knowing that your child is safe by utilizing the family tracker apps and it gives you an additional opportunity to discuss safety measures with your children.

Finally, a lot of smartwatches allow children to track their activity levels which will help them see the potential of fun fitness. It helps the child learn to exercise more by encouraging activities that require physical energy. If they can track the progress, they are making it may, in turn, provide them with the motivation to continue exercising because it will be a fun thing to do.

The following are reviews of the best kids’ smartwatches that are both safe and educational for your child:


Smartwatches for Children Under Five Years of Age

LeapFrog LeapBand

The LeapFrog LeapBand watch is one of the first activity trackers that are designed for children. It includes fifty active challenges and parental controls on LeapFrog Connect so that the parent can set play times, challenges, and more. It is designed for children as young as four years old.

Product Dimensions

2” x 2.5” x 1.8”

Product Weight                          

5.6 oz

Compatibility

Games compatible with Apple iOS devices 6.0 or higher and Android devices 4.03 or higher, and LeapFrog Wireless tablets

Pros

  • Includes fifty fun activities that encourage physical activity
  • High-resolution screen and adjustable band
  • Water resistant
  • LeapFrog Connect enabled
  • Kids can earn points with the games to unlock new pets and pet toys
  • Kids can pick 1 out of 8 virtual pets and choose its name and color

Cons

  • Wristband is on the smaller side although it is adjustable
  • Poor battery life

Kurio Watch

The Kurio Watch is a real smartwatch that uses a high-resolution touch screen. It has 256 MB of internal memory along with an added 32 G of memory in the micro sadhu card slot. It features productivity tools such as an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, contacts, and activity tracker and has over twenty different games and apps. The games can be played in single player mode or 2 player mode and you can also use the built-in motion sensor to play active games.

Product Dimensions

7.9” x 3.1” x 4.8”

Product Weight                                              

4 oz

Compatibility

Android and iPhone via Bluetooth

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • Allows parental control when connected with Bluetooth
  • Kids can accept phone calls from friends and family
  • Parents can enter in critical information in the Case of Emergency App
  • 0.3 MP camera and video

Cons

  • Battery drains quickly
  • Screen can be easily damaged if dropped
  • Currently only available for Android. iPhone compatibility only through Bluetooth technology

Smartwatches for Children Under Ten Years of Age

LG GizmoPal 2 VC110 Verizon Wireless Child Wearable SmartWatch

The LG GizmoPal has a wearable and kid friendly design that includes a dedicated call button, LED status indicators, Auto Answer function, and it is Android and iOS compatible. The child can call and receive calls from up to four authorized phone numbers which make it safe to use and it utilizes easy preset identifiers such as “mom” and “dad” to notify the child who is calling.

Product Dimensions

7.4” x 3.7” x 1.8”

Product Weight                                                

5.6 oz

Compatibility

Android and iOS

Pros

  • Includes a GPS tracking feature
  • Great starter watch for younger children
  • Great overall fit and comfort ratings
  • Only an extra $5 a month to access it with your wireless plan
  • Up to four caregivers can access the GizmoPal through the hub

Cons

  • Location is approximate, not exact
  • The watch does not show time. Must press a button to view the time

Orbo Kids Bluetooth Phone Pairing Smartwatch with Rotating Camera

The Orbo Kids Smartwatch helps to teach your child how to read while providing hours of entertainment with its touchscreen. It features a built-in tiltable camera so that your child can take photos and save them to the watch. It also comes with a micro USB cable for fast and easy charging. It also includes interactive activities and games and is comfortable to wear and kid friendly.

Product Dimensions

5.7” x 4.1” x 3.2”

Product Weight

5.6 oz                                      

Compatible

Bluetooth phone pairing

Pros

  • Can use Bluetooth to pair with any cell phone
  • Portable and wearable format
  • Three games that sharpen memory, reflex, and musicality
  • Up to 16 activities with simple touch and swipe interface
  • Easy-to-clean rubber exterior
  • Built-in tiltable camera to capture photo and video
  • Easy charging and impressive playtime per charge

Cons

  • Not waterproof or water resistant
  • Very simple and basic games; not challenging
  • Can be difficult to navigate through functions

VTech Kidizoom Kids Smartwatch DX

The VTech Kidizoom Kids Smartwatch DX includes fun games and activities for children including three action games and a motion sensor. It features an alarm, timer, and stopwatch and has a calendar feature and calculator. It has a digital and analog display with over fifty clock face designs and is splash and sweat proof. The wristband can also be adjusted for wrists between 5.4 and 7.75 inches. It includes ample space for memory, video camera, and recorder, voice recorder with voice-changing effects and an easy-to-use touch screen.

Product Dimensions

0.6” x 8.8” x 1.8”

Product Weight

11.2 oz                                                                 

Compatibility

None

Pros

  • Adjustable wristband
  • Helps teach simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery and included micro USB cable
  • 3 fun activities, 5 games, 3 action challenges, motion sensor
  • Lots of memory for photos and videos
  • Promotes activity by tracking the number of steps the child takes

Cons

  • No smartphone or Bluetooth capability
  • Slightly larger than expected
  • Cannot make or receive calls

Lemfo Q50 Smart Watch

The Lemfo Q50 Smart Watch is made of an environmentally-friendly material with lower radiation and a security gel polymer battery to protect your child’s eyesight. It has low consumption and high brightness. It allows two-way calling, SOS Emergency Calling, GPS location with SE tracker app and real-time location tracking. It has a security fence, fitness tracker, pedometer, voice chat, and alarm warnings.

Product Dimensions

8.19” x 1.42” x 0.43”

Product Weight

1.44 oz

Compatibility

Android and iPhone

Pros

  • Can set up monitoring number
  • Choose activity areas for your kids on the APP Maps
  • GPS+LBS Accurate Location with dual-mode positioning
  • Two-way communication and electronic fence
  • Acceleration sensor and low power management

Cons

  • Interface could use some improvements
  • Must be on an active call to adjust volume
  • Instructions are poorly written

Smartwatches for Older Children-Grade School

Pebble Smartwatch

This Pebble Smartwatch is ideal for older kids and is compatible with both Apple (ioS 6 and higher) and Android devices (OS 4.0 and higher) It has a rechargeable battery that can last between five and seven days on a single charge and has many notification and app features. Your child can view notifications from email, SMS, Caller ID, and calendars and can even control music on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and others.

Product Dimensions

3.8” x 3” x 2.6”

Product Weight                              

1.3 oz                      

Compatibility

Apple iPhone and Android Devices

Pros

  • Can access downloadable apps that suit hobbies, interests, and lifestyles
  • Pebble timeline collects all information and arranges it in an easy-to-read chronological view
  • Can be easily personalized with a variety of downloadable watch faces
  • Wristbands can be swapped out for different sizes and styles
  • Long-lasting battery, user-friendly operation, and easy-to-read screen
  • Straightforward and wearable design with a scratch-resistant display

Cons

  • Some limitations with apps and features when used with iOS
  • Low power display and processor
  • Charger has to be plugged into the corresponding port at the correct angle

Samsung Gear G2 Smartwatch

The Samsung Gear G2 Smartwatch is at the higher end of the price spectrum, but it features a dual-core 1.0 GHz processor, WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4GB internal memory. You can choose from different premium finishes to find the right style and look for you, and there is a wide selection of customizable watch face designs. It is compatible with most Android smartphones that are Android 4.4 and higher. It features a larger watch face and battery with a thicker face and it stays connected for longer.

Product Dimensions

2” x 1.7” x 0.5”

Product Weight

1.3 oz                                                   

Compatibility

Android 4.4 and higher

Pros

  • Built-in wireless charging
  • Customizable watch face designs
  • Includes a wireless charging dock
  • Supports GPS Navigation
  • 1.2-inch display

Cons

  • Watch band that is included may be too small
  • Higher price point

Alcatel Smart Watch

The Alcatel Smart Watch is fully customizable. The front casing and both bands can be swapped out for a more personalized look. It is compatible with most smartphones and has a 1.22-inch display screen that is smudge and fingerprint resistant. It is also water, dust, and shock resistant and the battery lasts longer than most other wearable devices.

Product Dimensions

4.2” x 3.7” x 4.2”

Product Weight

7.2 oz                                                                                     

Compatibility

Android, Android 4.3, iOS, iOS 7

Pros

  • Fully customizable design
  • Water, dust, and shock resistant
  • Push notifications
  • Health- and fitness-based option

Cons

  • None found

Indigi Smart Watch and Phone 2-in-1

The Indigi Smart Watch is a GSM unlocked phone that works with any GSM wireless carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Straight Talk. You can connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth and you can also synchronize with the phonebook on your phone. It is a good starter smartwatch for older kids and even has Smart Anti-lost technology that allows you to activate an anti-lost function so that the watch will ring or vibrate if the smartphone gets to be 10-20 meters away.

Product Dimensions

2.3” x 1.5” x 0.5”

Product Weight

3.5 oz

Compatibility

Bluetooth, Android 2.3+, iOS 4.0+

Pros

  • Built-in camera
  • Color touch screen
  • Calls, Caller ID, Messaging, and notifications
  • Remote camera shutter, built-in mic and speaker
  • Pedometer, sleep monitor, and sedentary reminder
  • Audio player, FM radio, Image viewer, music streaming

Cons

  • Works with iPhone iOS but with limited features

Take into consideration your child's interests when choosing the smart watch that would be right for them. The watches designed for older children include more functions like calendars and calculators and the watches designed for younger children have more games and provide numerous entertainment options. All of the reviewed watches are affordably priced and are built to withstand the wear and tear and play of a child.

The Best Child Safety Soft Toy Storage Options

By Rebecca / March 31, 2017
Child Safety – Soft Toy Storage

Toddler toy storage is an essential organizational element that most parents need to consider if they don’t want to step over their kid's toys every time they walk into a room. It is also good practice for developing clean and neat habits for the kids as they grow older. It is important, however, to find the right toy storage for younger children that is safe while remaining convenient and helpful around the house. In this article, we'll take a look at the best soft toy storage solutions to ensure child safety.

If you have little ones, then it may be better to steer clear of storage options with hard plastic or wooden edges or anything else that can potentially harm your child. Soft toy storage is ideal and will not hurt any of the kids. There are no sharp edges or corners and the materials used are lightweight and will not hurt a child if they were to fall over or if the little ones (or little devils!) were to pull it down.

There are many different toy storage ideas available including cubby holes with bins, hanging storage, and plush toy bags. When looking for safe toy storage idea to the traditional plastic and wood toy box, you will want to consider if the storage solution is customizable, expandable, easy to clean, sturdy, and durable. A versatile storage bin makes it easier to organize your children’s toys and books without having to worry whether a standardized bin will fit where you need it to. Expandable bins are perfect for larger items and are usually reinforced to retain their shape.

Finding easy to clean storage is also important, especially considering the mess any child is capable of making. A bin that can be wiped down with a damp cloth or sponge is ideal for smaller children.

Finally, before purchasing new bins and storage for a child’s bedroom or playroom, take an inventory of what you will need to place in the bins so you can get an accurate number in mind. Some types of bins are better for storing specific items. Larger bins can hold books, hanging storage can hold stuffed animals, and smaller bins can handle smaller toys like blocks or dolls.

Bins with fun designs that are easy to drag around are great for smaller children and encourage them to play and pick up their toys when they are finished. Starting these habits early on are good in helping your child learn responsibility and cleanliness.

Considerations when Buying Soft Toy Storage

  • Durability and versatility
  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Soft with no sharp edges or corners
  • Easy for the child to get to
  • What items will need bins?
  • What colors, shapes, and designs will engage your children and make cleaning a more fun and enjoyable experience?

The following are the best soft toy storage solutions to ensure child safety:


Soft Toy Storage for Toddlers

Three Sprouts Storage Box

These storage boxes are made from polyester and have reinforced cardboard sides that help keep the shape when items are added. The boxes fit most shelving units and cubbies and can also be used alone for storage. The material can easily be spot cleaned which make it an ideal option for a younger child’s room or nursery and they come in many different designs with your child’s choice of animal.

Product Dimensions

13” x 13” x 13”

Product Weight                          

1.7 lb

Materials

Polyester/canvas material

Pros

  • BPA-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Latex and lead-free
  • No sharp corners or edges
  • Very sturdy and high-quality construction
  • Easy to spot clean

Cons

  • May have slight color difference than what is seen online
  • Higher price point per box

Toy Storage Basket and Toy Organizer

These toy storage baskets can be used to store several different items in your child’s room or nursery like diapers, clothing, stuffed animals, arts and crafts supplies, books, puzzles, etc. They are strong and durable and made of canvas, so they are long lasting. They have metal wires placed around the rim to hold the shape of the basket, but these edges are covered with the canvas material. They are durable and sturdy enough that the child can drag them around and they will retain their shape. They come in a variety of colors and designs that are sure to fit any décor.

Product Dimensions

15” x 9” x 11”

Product Weight                                              

0.2 oz

Materials

Canvas

Pros

  • Colorful prints and designs that your children will love
  • Can store a variety of different items
  • Durable and sturdy construction
  • Easy to store and foldable when not in use
  • Handles that make it easier to carry

Cons

  • May have larger dimensions around the top than listed
  • Higher price point per basket

Soft Toy Storage for Preschoolers

Rope Cotton Storage Baskets

Rope Cotton Storage Baskets are handcrafted with 100% organic cotton rope that is both safe and healthy with no added chemicals. The baskets are soft to the touch and are lightweight and flexible and are extremely safe for children. They are eco-friendly and non-toxic storage solutions made from FDA grade material that will not scratch a child’s skin.

Product Dimensions

13.8” x 8.1” x 4.5”

Product Weight                                                

2 lb

Materials

100% cotton rope

Pros

  • Large capacity baskets
  • Natural and eco-friendly materials
  • Safe for children and soft to the touch
  • Includes handles for comfort and convenience
  • Practical and versatile

Cons

  • High price point per basket

Mesh Toy Pop-up Hamper in Red with White Lid Numbers

The Mesh Toy pop up hamper is perfect to use as a toy organizer, stuffed animals, and even laundry. It is made of foldable mesh and has a lid that can be easily detached. The material is breathable and the hamper is safe to use in any child’s room or nursery.

Product Dimensions

15” x 14” x 2”

Product Weight

5.6 oz             

Materials

Foldable and breathable mesh

Pros

  • Can fit toys, stuffed animals, or blankets
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Affordably priced
  • Fun and kid-friendly color and design
  • Cover attaches easily and can stay open

Cons

  • Limited color options

Soft Toy Storage for Grade-Schoolers

Cotton Rope Storage Organizers, Multifunctional Organization

These storage organizers can help maintain clutter and are great for stuffed animals, towels, blankets and sheets, and other smaller items. The material is soft but firm and can stand on its own and are 100% eco-friendly and safe for use around children. There is nothing on the bins that will scratch your child or the floor and are completely safe for children to play with and drag around.

Product Dimensions

12” x 8.8” x 3.3”

Product Weight

1.4 lb                                               

Materials

Cotton rope

Pros

  • Soft and eco-friendly materials
  • Natural and handmade
  • Long-lasting durability
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Thick and not droopy; stand up on their own

Cons

  • May have small defects and irregularities because they are handmade
  • Possibility of creasing after delivery, but it will go away with time

6. Bigso Soft Storage Box with Lid, Large

Bigso Soft Storage Box with Lid

These storage boxes would make the perfect addition to any child’s bedroom and feature a stylish soft-sided organizer that is ideal for storing toys, pillows, blankets, and more. They are strong and durable and are made from cardboard and polyester, and they are easy to clean. They can fold flat when not in use. They offer any household a functional and versatile storage solution. They come in three different size options: Small, medium, and large.

Product Dimensions

17.7” x 13.4” x 9.8”

Product Weight

2.8 lb

Materials

Polyester and cardboard

Pros

  • Functional and versatile
  • Strong and durable construction
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be stored flat when not in use
  • Comes in three different sizes

Cons

  • Higher price point per box

Toy Hammock-Storage Net for Plush Toys and Stuffed Animals

The toy hammock provides an easy and safe way of storing all of your child’s stuffed animals and plush toys so that they are out of the way but still accessible. It offers a nice display for the toys while keeping them up and off the floor. It can also hold bathroom toys, pillows, and playpen balls effectively. The nets are easy to install and are made from super durable elastic bands and netting.

Product Dimensions

11” x 4” x 4.2”

Product Weight                              

8 oz             

Materials

Elastic and netting

Pros

  • Comes with the hooks needed to install it
  • Custom-designed by a mother
  • Strong and durable elastic band and netting
  • Stretches out to four feet for a lot of extra storage space

Cons

  • Smaller than expected even when stretched out

Delta Children 4 Pocket Hanging Wall Organizer

The Delta Children 4 Pocket Hanging Wall Organizer features a hanging storage option printed with subtle polka dots and contrast piping. It is ideal for storing smaller toys and other accessories. It easily and effortlessly hangs over the door or it can be attached to the wall with hardware that is provided. It is well made with no sharp edges and is safe to use in any children's bedroom or nursery to keep the room clean and organized while minimizes the clutter.

Product Dimensions

13” x 3.5” x 36”

Product Weight

1.1 lb                              

Materials

Canvas with cardboard reinforcement

Pros

  • Four decently-sized pockets
  • Can hang over the door or be attached to the wall with included hardware
  • Different color options that can be coordinated to fit into any room
  • Can be paired with other pieces for a more cohesive look
  • Durable and sturdy construction

Cons

  • Hooks are less than desirable and too thick
  • Hard to reach the taller pocket if you are shorter
  • Pockets are too close together

The Warm Home Durable Fabric Storage Bins

These durable fabric storage bins are perfect for the nursery, closet organization, and toy storage. They are made from a natural fabric material with sturdy linen construction. They have a rope handle that makes it easier to slide the bins in and out of shelves or cabinets, and they are collapsible for easy storage when not in use. They are also extremely easy to clean. Simply wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. The reinforced panels allow you to store heavier and bulkier items.

Product Dimensions

15.7” x 11.8” x 8.3”

Product Weight

1.5 lb                                                                            

Materials

Natural fabric material

Pros

  • Stylish design and sturdy construction
  • Stabilized base made with reinforced panels
  • Thick handles that provide optimum tension and comfort
  • Folds for easy storage when not in use
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • They do not come with lids

Furinno Non-Woven Fabric Soft Storage Organizer with Lid

These non-woven fabric organizers with lids are foldable and are lightweight, large-capacity bins that provide the answer to any small storage problems. They come in fun colors and designs that are perfect for a child’s bedroom, playroom, or nursery and they can hold toys, games, crafts, clothes, books, and so much more. They are functional and suitable for any age and help to cut down on the amount of clutter around the home. They are soft to the touch, yet durable and fit perfectly into any space.

Product Dimensions

10.6” x 15” x 10.6”

Product Weight

1.4 lb

Materials

Non-woven fabric and cardboard

Pros

  • Large capacity bins with lids to make storage easy
  • Folds down when not in use for easy storage
  • Available in an array of styles and designs
  • Sewn-in handle so they can be pulled effortlessly from shelves
  • Durable and sturdy design

Cons

  • Slightly bigger than expected
  • Color may be off from what is pictured

There are many different solutions when it comes to toy storage and there are alternatives to the traditional plastic or wooden containers that are safer for children, as well as being eco-friendly and washable. Most of the storage bins and boxes can be neatly stored on shelves or can be used in cubbies for additional storage space. The possibilities and style choices are endless. They provide safety while still ensuring functionality, durability, convenience, and versatility.

The 20 Best Spring Songs for Kids

By sara / March 29, 2017

Not only does singing and dancing play an important cultural role in our lives, but it also plays a significant role in our development. Music plays a part in celebrations, holidays, movies, and worship. Children see it on a daily basis, and it helps them learn many things as they grow.

Music is an instinctive way that parents can soothe and calm their children, help them to go to sleep at night or help them feel safe and secure when they are scared or get hurt. Music is also a part of games and playtime, helping to teach them their ABC’s or the parts of their bodies. After you have heard “Let It Go” for the hundredth time, you will have no doubt that music will remain a constant part of your child’s enjoyment of life.

The best part of music is that it can help to create academic achievement since it inspires many areas of your little one’s development through language, motor skills, and overall literacy. Not only does it help your mind and body to work together, but it also allows you to practice self-expression, strengthen memory skills, and most important of all, it gives us joy.

Children, in particular, love moving and dancing to music. Toddlers especially love repetitious songs that use words and memorization. Silly songs is especially entertaining for toddlers, and they love songs where they can clap and tap along.

Preschoolers just love to sing to be singing, they aren’t at all self-conscious, and they want to be loud and heard by all. The best songs for preschoolers have words and melodies that are repetitive with a definite beat that wants them to do certain actions. They love finger plays and nursery rhymes, plus songs that have familiar things to them like animals and toys.

Studies have shown that children who have learned eight nursery rhymes songs by heart by the age of four will usually be the best spellers and readers in their class by the second grade. So, why are nursery rhyme songs so helpful in a young child’s development?

  • They are a great way to teach early phonic skills which most schools use as the main way to teach reading.
  • Children are given an opportunity to practice language rhythm along with pitch and volume.
  • They expand children’s imagination.
  • They teach a clear sequence of event.
  • Often becoming children’s first sentences, nursery rhymes are easy to repeat.
  • They improve a children’s vocabulary, and they are an early form of poetry.

Here are a few Spring Songs to help entertain your little one or, if you are a teacher, they can be a helpful brain break to help transition your class to their next lesson.​

20. Spring Song by HappyKids

After a long hard winter, it is time to celebrate the arrival of warm weather and all the new life that spring brings with it. Spring Song will get kids up and dancing as they get excited about the Spring Season.

19. Spring is Here by The Learning Station

The Learning Station combines music with movement to create a fun song for kids to learn about the change in season. Spring is Here allows children to dance, sing, and play along as they learn all about the signs of spring. This is also a great song for any English as a second language (ESL) children's learning programs.

18. Can You Plant a Bean by Dance ‘n Beats

Dance 'n Beats combines songs with research-based movements that is designed specifically for children between the ages of two and six. Can You Plant a Bean not only teaches kids how plants grow, but it uses 21 key movements that encourage physical fitness and help children increase muscle control?

17. Spring Song for Children

One way to teach children learning English as a second language is an educational and fun-filled song about the coming season. Spring Song also comes with lyrics and worksheets that help reinforce the educational lessons of this song to help young children learning English in preschool and early elementary.

16. Spring Arrival by Little Fox

Spring Arrival is an animated song that is part of the Little Fox’s award-winning library of songs and stories that are developed at different learning levels. Spring Arrival is perfect for those children that are learning English as a second language (ESL) to work on their vocabulary with a fun-filled song.

15. Singing in the Rain by The Learning Station

If you are looking for a fun action song that involves dancing and silly movement, Singing in the Rain is the perfect song for children of all ages. This is a great brain break song that can be used when introducing spring as a season, and it allows them to actively participate while they learn.

14. The Caterpillar

Not all kids’ songs have to be high energy. If you are looking for a good song for music therapy, The Caterpillar helps kids work on language concepts, gives plenty of opportunity for creative movement, and is perfect for kids with special needs, especially those on the autism spectrum.

13. Springtime Dance by Jack Hartmann

If you are looking for a great brain break song, Springtime Dance will help get the wiggles out, but also get everyone excited about spring. This upbeat song will help you transition your little ones to their next lesson with movement and song.

12. SPRING by Musical Playground

SPRING is a fun and educational song for children to help them celebrate the coming of a new season. Musical Playground creates songs with their love for music and they design songs that are age appropriate, and something children will love to sing and dance to.

11. Herman the Worm by The Learning Station

Herman the Worm is one of the more popular children’s songs by The Learning Station that includes fun movements that help kids get their sillies out. It also features vocabulary, counting, and sequencing so that they will be learning while they enjoy the adventure of a cute little worm.

10. Umbrellas Go Up

One thing you can always count on in the springtime is some rain! Rain boots and rain jackets can be the norm for many children, so they will be able to relate to Umbrellas Go Up. This is a fun action song that parents can sing with their toddler as they put on their rain gear and head out on a rainy adventure.

9. Five Little Ducks by The Learning Station

Five Little Ducks is a well-liked nursery rhyme song that includes simple and easy to learn lyrics with fun-filled movements that helps little ones learn the numbers 1-5 while teaching basic math skills. Children will enjoy the cute animated version of the song while they sing and dance along.

8. Spring Forward (Fall Back) Daylight Saving Time song

The time change is confusing to everyone, even adults, so only imagine how it affects little ones. Since this can be a difficult subject to teach to a young child, this is an easy to understand song that helps them understand the spring time change in a fun-filled way.

7. The Way The Bunny Hops by The Kiboomers

When it is Easter time, it is always fun to have a good bunny song handy. The Way The Bunny Hops is easy to learn using simple words that little ones can easily follow and sing along too. This is also a fun-filled way to get hop out some wiggles when they get antsy!

6. Five Spring Flowers by Littlestorybug

 Spring Flowers will help your preschoolers get excited about springtime. Littlestorybug has created a fun-filled song that all kids can relate to and see in their own yard. Kids can sing along while they count the flowers in the song and by recognizing all the colors of the flowers.

5. Five Green and Speckled Frogs by The Kiboomers

Five Green and Speckled Frogs is a fun song that will get kids moving and counting. It has repetitive versus so children will learn the song quickly, plus it introduces simple subtraction as the Green and Speckled Frogs jump off of their log.

4. Plants Are Growing by KIDS VIDS SCJ

If you are looking for a colorful but simple song about Spring, this is a simple movement song to gets kids dancing, so most of it is instrumental, but there are a few lyrics to help kids think about all the plants that grow in the springtime.

3. Spring is HERE by ELF Learning

ELF Learning has created a song about Spring that will help kids understand the senses by asking, What do we see, hear, smell and feel? This spring song was created to celebrate the senses as well as get kids thinking about how they use their senses every day.

2. The Needs of a Plant

With springtime comes new plants and gardens, children love to learn how things grow and how they can help take care of the plants. The Needs of a Plant is an innovative take on teaching kids about the five things that plants need to live.

All children love the Hungry Caterpillar story and The Learning Station has created a fun spring activity song that children can dance, sing, and play along with as they learn about the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to a butterfly. This is also a great song for any English as a second language (ESL) children's learning programs.

The 15 Best Children’s Books About Telling the Truth

By sara / March 18, 2017

Honesty can be hard to come by in this day and age and we need to raise the next generation of honest people in the world. The best way to do that is teach them young. This list of books will be a fun and easy way to teach your children the importance of being honest. These stories will also show that even a tiny lie can hurt someone or cause a lot of harm. Teaching your children to be honest is an everyday occurrence and these books can be something you read at night before they go to bed. This list of books will help you start a conversation with your children about integrity and how to tell the truth.

The criteria that we used to choose these books are:

  • Sales
  • Reviews
  • Popularity​

David Gets in Trouble is by David Shannon. This book is all about not making excuses when you do something wrong. David is a little boy who says “Its not my fault” or “It was an accident.” During the course of this book David finds out that he always feels sad when he lies and that he will feel better if he is honest. Any children that love David will absolutely love this book and it will leave them laughing while they learn an important lesson at the same time.

Pinky Promise: A Book About Telling the Truth is by Vanita Braver. This book is about Madison a young girl that accidentally broke her mother’s camera. She did not want to get in trouble so she told a lie when her mom asked her about the broken camera. This book will teach your children that it is better to tell the truth when they accidentally break something.

13. Liar, Liar

 Liar, Liar is by Gary Paulsen. This is a book about a boy that lies all the time. He lies to make life better for those around him. His lies start to catch up to him and his parents, friends and teachers find out that he lies all the time and they are not very happy about it. He learns that it is finally time to start telling the truth because that will make his life ever better than when he lies.

Telling the Truth: Learning about Honesty, Integrity, and Trustworthiness was created to help teach children how to be more positive, honest people. This book will help teach your children about character building as well. This book comes with a CD that goes along with the book that includes a narrator and songs that go along with the story. Get this book to teach your children about the importance of character building so that they will grow into honest adults.

 The Stories Julian Tells is by Ann Cameron and Ann Strugnell. Julian is a great storyteller. He is always making up stories to entertain other people even if that means he has to tell a lie. He has the ability to make his little brother believe anything he says. Will Julian stop telling his brother lies that keep getting them both into trouble? Read this book with your children to find out.

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot is by Scott Magoon. The pictures in this book are very fun and beautiful. Your children will love this hilarious twist on the Boy Who Cried Wolf. There are many unexpected twists and turns as this book quickly unfolds. Your children will learn the importance of telling the truth when they read this book. They will also learn to be careful when they tell a lie because it just might come true.

 Molly the Great Tell the Truth is by Shelley Marshall and Ben Mahan. This book shows children that it is important to tell the truth even if they are a superhero. The main characters are Ben and Molly and when they try on the courageous cape and the clever crown they become Super Ben and Molly the Great. Your kids should check out this book so they can follow Molly and Ben though their big adventure about telling the truth.

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth is by Patricia C. McKissack. This book will teach your children that it is important to tell the truth but they need to be careful not to hurt someone’s feelings by being brutally honest with them. The main character is Libby and ever since she started telling the truth everyone seems to be mad at her all the time. She quickly learns that telling the truth is not always the right thing to do. Sometimes it is better to be quiet.

The Empty Pot is by Demi. This book takes place in China. The main character is Ping and he loves to plant flowers and he is really good at it. The emperor of China also loved flowers and he was going to pick the heir based on who could plant the best flower and bring it to him. Ping tends to his flowers everyday hoping that he can produce the best flower. When spring comes Ping does not have any flowers so all he has to show the King is an empty pot. Read this book with your children to see how Ping is able to be rewarded for his honesty.

Ruthie and the (Not So) Teeny Tiny Lie is by Laura Rankin. This book is about a little girl named Ruthie. One day while she was at recess she finds a camera on the playground. She really wants to keep it even though she knows that it’s not hers. Ruthie tells her friends and her teachers that she got this camera for her birthday so she can keep the camera. This lie wears on her all day and she finds out that telling the truth is more rewarding than telling a lie. This book will teach your children that telling the truth will keep them out of trouble and help clear their conscience.

The Big Fat Enormous Lie is by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and David McPhail. This is a very creative story that will show your children what can happen when they lie. This book follows a little boy that keeps telling lies until they grow into this huge monster that he has to find out how to get rid of. He quickly finds out that the only way to get rid of this huge monster that he has created is to finally tell the truth.

The Berenstain Bears and the Truth is by Stan and Jan Berenstain. Brother and Sister Bear lie after they broke their mothers favorite lamp. This little lie grows and grows until it gets out of control. They finally realize that the only way to make things right again is to tell the truth. They learn that none of this would have happened if they would have told the truth from the beginning. This book teaches your children the importance of telling the truth as soon as something happens so that they do not make the situation worse.

Let’s Be Honest is by P.K. Hallinan. This is book is full of colorful and beautiful illustrations. This book will show your children is ok to make a mistake as long as they own up to it and tell the truth. The main message of this book is that the truth will set you free. This book will teach this important lesson in a way that your little one will enjoy and remember.

Victory Vault is by Jake Maddox. This book is about a gymnast named Kayla. Kayla is a very good gymnast and she finds herself facing a very important vault at her gymnastics meet. She ends up missing the vault and the only one that noticed was her best friend. Kayla now has to decide if she wants to keep her best friend or the trophy she won for a vault that she did not even do. Read this book to find out if Kayla tells the truth or if she keeps the trophy.

Eli’s Lie-O-Meter: A Story about Telling the Truth is by Sandra Levins. This book is all about learning the value of being an honest person. Eli has a bad habit about telling lies. Most of these lies are little fibs but sometimes Eli finds himself telling a big lie. There is an event in Eli’s life that finally helps him decide to finally tell the truth. Read this book with your children to find out what that event was and why Eli finally decided to tell the truth.

The 15 Best Cookbooks for Children

By sara / March 11, 2017

Getting your children in the kitchen from a young age will help them develop healthy eating habits early on in life. These cookbooks for children are full of quick and easy meals and are a great way to get your children involved in making the food that they eat. They will have so much fun preparing and cooking the meals that they might not even notice that most of these dishes are actually good for them. Cooking is a great way to spend time with your family and they will be proud of the food that they make at the end of the day.

Methodology: We ranked these books by the following criteria:

  • Reviews
  • Sales
  • Price​

Kid Chef: The Foodie Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen is by Melina Hammer. This book is full of delicious and nutritious foods that your children will be able to cook for the family to enjoy. This book will teach your kids more than just how to cook a great meal, it will also be able to teach them kitchen basics that they can use for the rest of their life. They will learn skills like how to handle a knife safely as well as how to use the stove without getting burned and so much more.

The Complete Children’s Cookbook has 150 simple recipes for your children to master. Each recipe in this book is complete with pictures to help walk your children through the steps. This book will also teach your kids that it is important to be safe when they are using dangerous tools in the kitchen. At the end of this book your children will have basic cooking skills that they can use the rest of their life and they will make delicious dishes that the whole family will enjoy.

The Children’s Quick and Easy Cookbook is by Angela Wilkes. This cookbook is the perfect way to get your children into the kitchen. This book has step-by-step instructions for each tasty meal. This book has a total of 60 recipes that the whole family will enjoy. There is everything from quick and easy snacks as well as simple meals that your children will be able to cook on their own. This book is perfect for the little chef in your life.

The Everything Kids Cookbook: From Mac n’ Cheese To double chocolate chip cookies was written by Sandra K. Nissenberg. This cookbook will allow your children to show off their creativity in the kitchen. They will be able to impress the family with all of the delicious meals that are not only healthy but, also taste amazing as well. This book is unique because it offers trivia and other puzzles that will test your children’s knowledge about food and cooking in general.

The Kids fun and Healthy Cookbook is by Nicola Graimes. It is so important for your children to learn how to eat healthy foods at a young age. This will help them understand how food affects their body so that they will have a good relationship with healthy eating when they get older. This book will be able to teach them amazing dishes that are actually good for them as well. These recipes are fun and easy to complete. With 100 recipes in this book there will be something for the whole family to enjoy.

ChopChop The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family is by Sally Sampson. This book is full of nutritious and inexpensive foods that your children will enjoy making. This book is filled with tips for new chefs to learn. There are foods from all over the world so your children will be able to learn about other cultures through cooking. This book will quickly become a family favorite because of all the delicious foods your family will get to enjoy together.

The Do it Myself Kid’s Cookbook Nothing Hot, Nothing Sharp is by Laurie Goldrich Wolf. These are the perfect recipes for kids to complete all on their own without using tools that might be too dangerous. Your kids will be so proud when they cook a meal for the whole family to enjoy. There are 50 different meals that include salads, sandwiches and desserts complete with pictures that your children to choose from.

The Betty Crocker Kids Cook! Has 60 simple recipes for all three meals of the day. The recipes are fun and easy for children to make. There are beautiful pictures that will help give your children an idea of what each dish will look like when it is completed. This book will teach your children basic cooking terminology as well as methods for using different utensils. You will be able to see so much pride when your children make dinner for the whole family to enjoy.

The Mom and Me Cookbook is perfect for moms that want to get their children in the kitchen. There are perfect snacks for after school as well as delicious meals to cook for dinner. This book will teach your children tips and tricks for cooking as well as how to cook healthy foods. This book is perfect for kids ages 4-8 years old. Cooking is a great bonding experience and they will be able to learn a lot of skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their life.

The International cookbook for kids is by Matthew Locricchio. The recipes in this book are from France, Italy, Mexico and China. There are 60 different dishes that will be able to teach your children about different types of foods that people in other countries eat with their families. This is a fun way to teach your children about geography and the foods people eat around the world. This book uses many unique ingredients that will be able to diversify your children’s palettes and develop their tastes. There are many safety tips that will teach your children to handle dangerous tools with care. These dishes are very easy to make and will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Garden to Table: A kids guide to planting, growing & preparing food is by Katherine Hengel. This book is all about cooking healthy foods that are fresh out of the garden. This book is unique because it will teach your children about keeping a garden so that they can use the food that they harvest in a fresh and healthy dish. There are over 30 recipes for your children to cook using basil, carrots, green beans, leaf lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes. This book will be perfect for the aspiring gardener in your life.

Cooking class: 57 fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Make (and Eat!) is by Deanna F. Cook. Are you tired of struggling to get your children to eat healthy foods? This book will teach your children how to cook healthy foods that they will actually enjoy eating. Each recipe will give your kids the confidence to cook with fresh and healthy ingredients that you might even be able to find in your own garden. Your kids will love using their imagination to create dishes like egg mice or insects made out of vegetables.

The Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cookbook is for ages 5 to 12. There are 65 carefully selected recipes that will be perfect for kids to cook as well as eat. This book is very unique because your kids will be able to learn how to cook a recipe from a character that are telling a story. Your children will be able to easily be able to follow along and cook an amazing dish that they can be proud of.

The Star Wars cookbook by Robin Davis will be perfect for the little Jedi in your life. This book will teach your children how to be a force in the kitchen when they cook Princess Leia Danish Dogs or Wookie Cookies. This book will teach your children tips for using kitchen tools with care so that they do not get hurt. The recopies include dishes for all three meals of the day as well as snacks and sweat treats.

Taste of Home Kid-Approved Cookbook: 328 Family Tested Fun Foods has so many wonderful dishes to choose from. Cooking will never be boring because there are so many foods to choose from. This book will open your children’s minds and help create a love of cooking. This book is perfect for all ages and there are different recipes for all levels of cooking. Your children will be able to make everything from veggie cheese sticks to pigs in a blanket and so much more.

Are You Prepared For an IEP Meeting?

By sara / March 3, 2017

If you have a special needs child, the prospect of an IEP meeting can fill you with dread. Sitting in a room full of teachers and experts, while listening to what you child is doing wrong, is not anyone’s idea of a good time. If you do your homework and come prepared, an IEP meeting can go from an anxiety filled event to a stepping stone towards your child’s success in school. The more you know about how an IEP meeting works, what your rights are as a parent, and how to follow up once the meeting is over the more success your child will have. This will ensure that your child will adjust smoothly to any modification, and he will ultimately be successful in school.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), when a child is receiving special education services they must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This will list all of the special education services that your child will be receiving and is put together by your child’s IEP team which will consist of you, his teachers, and school counselors. This is a very important document that will determine how successful your child will be in school, so it is important to come prepared and know exactly what you need to advocate the best possible outcome for your child.​



How is an IEP meeting set up? 

A parent or the school may call for an IEP meeting. According to the IDEA: Each school must ensure that the parents are present at each IEP meeting and must take steps to make sure they are offered the option to participate… [§300.322(a)] ​

These steps include: 

  • (1) Contacting the parents of the meeting date within enough time that they have the opportunity to attend; and
  • (2) Schedule the meeting with a time and place that is mutually agreed upon. [§300.322(a)(1) and (2)]

The school must notify parents of the IEP meeting and tell them who will be attending the meeting and what the purpose, location, and time of the meeting is. The school is also required to notify you that you have the right to invite an advocate to the meeting to help represent your child’s interests, or a Part C service coordinator or other representatives of the Part C system.

What the purpose of an IEP meeting is can vary, so the ensuing discussion may be different than you are expecting if you are not aware of the meeting’s purpose. Both the parent and the school can invite individuals with special expertise and knowledge that can contribute to the IEP meeting. Both parents and school must inform the other if additional individuals will be attending.

If you can’t attend the IEP meeting, then the school is required to find another way to get your participation through avenues like conference calls or video conferences. If both parties agree to the alternative communication, the IDEA will permit it. The only way a school can hold an IEP meeting without the parents is if the school has been unable to convince the parents to attend and all attempts to get them to attend have been documented.

In the event you are the one that would like to request the IEP meeting, here are a few reasons why an IEP review can be requested:

  • One. or several, of the goals in the IEP has been met by your child. 
  • Your child is not making enough progress toward one, or several, of the IEP goals. 
  • In order to make more progress, your child needs more services or other services. 
  • Your child no longer needs one of the services he/she is receiving. 
  • There has been a major change for your child such as injury or illness. 

To file a formal request for evaluation, you need to include the reasons you are concerned and provide evidence that supports your request. To speed up the process, include a statement that your signed letter includes your consent to evaluate your child. Make sure you sign the letter as your consent for evaluation.​

At this point, the school is required to send you a written notice of its decision. They can respond in one of three ways.​

  • Continue with the targeted interventions and provide you information on how long the interventions will be used and how they are measuring whether the interventions are working.
  • Deny your request with a formal letter. The letter must contain the action that was refused by the district, an explanation of their decision, and the other options the district considered and rejected, plus the factors that influenced their decisions. If the district denies your request, you still have options that are outlined in the procedural safeguards.
  • Agree to evaluate your child which must be done within 60 days of receiving your consent.

What do you do prior to the IEP meeting?

When preparing for the upcoming IEP meeting, there are few important things to do before you go.

  • Make sure you have all your updated records

Every time you have an IEP meeting, it is important to have your child’s current IEP, current progress reports, report cards, and doctor’s evaluations. If your child is struggling in a specific area, having examples of the work that he is doing helps the teachers understand your concerns and see where there may need to be additional instructional focus. If certain support has not been helpful or your child is facing new challenges, make sure to have any homework examples that may be needed to back up your report. It is helpful to create a folder just for this type of information and update it after each IEP meeting.

  • Invite advocates

When you first start going to IEP meetings, you may be unaware that you can invite an advocate to be there with you. An advocate can be a professional, a family member, or even a friend that may have some experience with IEP’s. It is always a good idea to meet with your advocate beforehand so you can discuss your concerns, listen to their ideas, and plan an overall approach to the meeting.​

  • Pre​pare Recommendations and Questions

Always make sure you have a simple list of questions or concerns that you want to bring up at the meeting. It is possible to get flustered or off track and forget a few things, so the more that you have written down the better. At this time, it is a good idea to go through your records, your child’s homework, and discuss how the school is going with your child to figure out what needs to be brought up at the meeting. Teachers also appreciate suggestions that you may have regarding things like motivating your child in class or helping them focus. Always make sure to have backup documentation that will help to support your concerns and suggestions.​

  • Ask the school for any special requests

Make sure the school is aware in advance if you need a translator or if you need special arrangements like video conferencing. This is also a good time to let them know if you are bringing special guests to the meeting as you will need to explain who they are and their relationship is with your family.​

  • Focus

After you have prepared everything for your meeting, try to take a few minutes to focus on your child, his interests, and his strengths. This can be a very emotional meeting where you will hear a lot of information on where your child is struggling. If you concentrate on your child and his gifts, it can help you be an active advocate for your child.​

Examples of Questions to Ask at an IEP Meeting

Before an IEP Meeting 

  • What do you want the goal of the IEP meeting to be?
  • Will there be an agenda for the meeting?
  • If you do not already have it, can you obtain a copy of the most recent IEP for you child for the meeting?
  • Can you obtain all the notes and reports that the teachers are using to evaluate your child at the meeting?
  • Who will be attending the meeting that is qualified to interpret the data and results of your child’s evaluation?

During an IEP Meeting ​

  • Who is in attendance at the meeting and how do they know your child?
  • Can you describe my child’s day at school so I can understand what it looks like for him?
  • How is my child’s behavior or academic progress different from the other children in the class?
  • Can we walk through the current accommodations step by step?
  • How is my child’s progress toward his goals in the IEP?
  • Are there changes that the IEP team would recommend?
  • How are these goals measure and how do you plan to monitor my child’s progress?
  • How is my child assessed based on their grade level?
  • Which teachers or aides will be working with my child? Exactly when and for how long?
  • Does the staff working with my child have special training for this intervention?
  • What will the intervention or accommodation look like in the classroom?
  • Is there anything I can do at home to support these goals?
  • I would like to see a copy of the IEP before signing anything, can I take a copy of it home with me?
  • When will the interventions or accommodations begin in class?
  • Will you explain to my child how these changes will work in class?
  • What is the plan for staying in touch to discuss how these changes are working?
  • Can I have a copy of the notes the teacher used for her evaluation in this meeting?
  • Who is the right person to talk to if I have questions about the information you gave me on my child’s rights?

IEP Meeting Process

Two weeks prior to the IEP meeting, a Parent Notice will be sent out notifying you of the scheduled meeting date. This notice should also include Positive Parent Profile, Procedural Safeguards and ESY Guidelines. The school may have a pre-meeting with the IEP team members to go over details and see if more data is needed and draft copies of the IEP will be made.

At the meeting, all the participants will be introduced, and the purpose of the meeting will be stated. After the Procedural Safeguards are explained to the parents, the child’s strengths and prior goals will be reviewed as well as the needs of the student that include what the student needs to learn. Next, any disabilities he may have will be identified and new goals will be developed based on identified needs.

At this point, you and the rest of your child’s IEP team will decide what will go into your child’s IEP plan. Your child’s regular teachers will also be in attendance to give their feedback on your child’s progress with the material they are teaching. The team will develop measurable short-term goals as well as annual goals for each of your child’s needs, and you can help guide them in determining the areas and skills that need the most attention.

If there are a lot of services recommended, it may seem overwhelming to include them in your child’s school schedule so that the services may be provided on a consultative basis. The professional consultant can then work with the teacher to come up with methods in the classroom that can help your child in those specific areas. Other services like occupational therapy can be done in the classroom, so they child isn’t being taken out consistently to attend therapy.

After all the s and modifications have been decided on and finalized, the notes from the IEP meeting will be reviewed and summarized by the team. There will be an opportunity for final comments and questions, and then the IEP will be completed and signed by the IEP team with everyone receiving a copy.

This document will then be reviewed annually to make sure it is still meeting your child’s needs. If necessary, the IEP can be modified at any time if needs have changed or goals are not being met.

Monitoring IEP goals

Schools will monitor your child and his academic performance with weekly and monthly measurements. The teacher’s instructional techniques will be adjusted to meet your child’s individual needs based on these measurements. This will benefit your child as he will be receiving instruction that is better suited to their individual needs.

The most common method that schools use to evaluate student progress is called the Curriculum-Based Measurement or CBM. CBM uses short-duration assessments that can monitor a student’s progress in math, reading, writing, and spelling. These are valid, standardized,and reliable procedures with the results graphed over time to decide how effective the instructional interventions have worked.

Not all schools use a method like CBM to evaluate a student’s progress. Many use a standardized achievement test prior to the annual review of your child’s IEP to see how your child has progressed. If you child’s school says he is making progress, but you don’t agree, you can ask what methods they are using to monitor and evaluate his progress.

You can request a meeting with your child’s teacher to ask how his progress is being monitored and measured and discuss how this information can communicate to you. If you still have concerns and questions, it may be time to schedule another IEP meeting to find out more information and clarify the questions you may have.

Be Aware of Your Rights as a Parent

The more information you have on the IEP process and your rights the better prepared you can be to be a successful advocate for your child. There are several common mistakes parents make at IEP meetings.

Signing the IEP

During your IEP meeting, there is a lot that will be discussed, and it may be difficult to remember everything that was discussed. Make sure that every page is reviewed and request that the pages that have been skipped are also examined. Once you reach the end of the meeting, it is perfectly fine to ask to take the IEP home to look over.

Make sure to ask how many days you have to review it. You should feel perfectly comfortable asking to take it home to make sure it is meeting your child’s needs. If you still have concerns, you can request to have another meeting to discuss those points.

You can also sign only the parts of the IEP that you agree with. You are allowed to say that you are not happy with the IEP. At this point, you can write down your issues with the IEP and request that your objections are added to it.

Use the Law

It is not uncommon to be told that the school district cannot accommodate one of your requests, and it is ok to question them and ask for proof. Ask to see the section of the IDEA that supports their policy and feel free to say that you cannot sign the IEP until that issue is resolved.

Don’t Believe that Professionals are the only ones that are experts

When facing a room full of educators, it is normal to feel intimidated. They may bring a lot of experience to the table, but you are bringing the most important knowledge of all, experience regarding your child. Remember that you are also one of the experts and you bring the child’s personal history as well as know what works well with your child that the IEP team may not be aware of.

Make Your Requests in Writing

Anytime you have a request, make sure it is in writing. Written requests are helpful as they start a timeline that the school must follow to meeting your request, plus they create a paper trail. If you happen to have a phone conversation, follow up with a letter or email that outlines what you discussed so that you can avoid miscommunication in the future.

Familiarize Yourself with Prior Notice of the Procedural Safeguards (34 CFR 300.503)

This is a document that gives you the leverage you need in an IEP meeting. You should receive a lot of copies of this document as the IEP team is required to give it to you at all IEP meetings and when these meetings are scheduled. This makes the IEP team responsible for what it decides and forces them to focus on the standards of the IDEA.

Request the assessment instead of the related service

IEP teams often will deny a request for services if they feel there is no proof that the student needs the service. If you request an assessment instead, and the certified or licensed professional determines your child needs the service, the IEP team cannot argue with that.

Do Not Accept Assessment Results Your Child Doesn’t Need

If you feel that the assessment results you have received are not accurate, and you do not agree with the recommended interventions or accommodations that the school says your child needs, you do not have to accept them. Under 34 CFR 300.352, parents have the right to get an independent evaluation at the public’s expense if they do not agree with the school’s assessment. The school has two choices when the parent asks for the Independent Evaluation. They can provide the independent evaluation within a reasonable amount of time, or there can be a due process hearing with the parents. The parents and school will need to agree on who is qualified to assess the child, and it cannot be an examiner that works for the school district. School districts will also have a policy on the qualifications and guidelines that the parents need to know when choosing an examiner.

See the Assessment Information Prior to the First IEP meeting

Before an IEP meeting, parents are allowed to have the information on the assessments explained to them. You can have the person who gave your child the assessment give your report copy and explain it to you before the IEP meeting. This gives you time to think about the information before needing to make decisions for your child. It is important to have reviewed the assessment results and be as familiar with them as everyone else that attends the IEP meeting.

Only Accept Goals and Objectives that are Measurable

When discussing the goals and objectives of the IEP, make sure that all goals and objectives are measurable. This is an important aspect of any IEP as it is difficult to know if your child is succeeding with the interventions and accommodations if the results aren’t measurable.

Ask A lot of Questions

Make sure to ask a lot of questions, especially if you are not sure what the educators are talking about, especially with terms and acronyms that are specific to special education. If you start to become confused, you will become frustrated, so it is important to ask as many questions as you need to clarify everything that is being discussed. You cannot make an informed decision if you do not understand everything that the school staff is talking about.

Parent Resources 

For more information on IEPs and your rights, here are a few reputable resources for your reference.

Parent Special Education Information from the Pacer Center, Champions for Children with Disabilities 

Special Education and IEP’s from the ECAC, Exceptional Children Assistance Center 

Developing Your Child’s IEP from the Center for Parent Information and Resources 

A Guide to the Individualized Education Program from the U.S. Department of Education

Individualized Education Programs IEP’s with Kids Health from Nemours 

The IEP process can be challenging and overwhelming, but it is a necessary step in making sure your child’s issues are addressed. Remember that you have rights, so ask a lot of questions during every step of the process. Only you know your child and what he needs, so it is important to be the best advocate possible for his success in school.​

The 25 Best Educational Videos for Babies

By sara / February 24, 2017

It is important to start teaching your children basic skills very early on in their life. These videos are targeted towards babies ages 1 – 3 years of age. YouTube is becoming a very popular platform to watch videos on and it can be a great resource for parents that are looking for educational videos for their babies to watch. This list of 25 Educational videos for Babies will be able to help your baby learn the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes and more. These videos will engage your baby and keep them entertained while they are also learning at the same time.

We ranked our videos by the following:

  • Views
  • Likes
  • Subscribers ​

ABC Songs for Children can be found on the KidsCamp channel on YouTube. This video will start out with a unique alphabet song. It is sung by the main character which is a little girl called Elly. By the end of this video your baby will learn the phonics of each letter which will be able to help them learn how to pronounce words when they start to get older. The animations in this video are simple but the songs and motions of the characters will make your baby want to keep watching this video time and time again.

  • 71,400 Views
  • 180 Likes
  • 1 Million Subscribers

Learning body parts is a video on the Toys 4 Us channel on YouTube. This video points out each part of the body. The body part is repeated multiple times so your children will be able to follow along. They will be able to see the part of the body which will help them be able to identify it on their own body. The narrator of this video has a very soothing voice that will keep your child engaged in what they are saying.

  • Views 231,980
  • Likes 386 
  • Subscribers 64,000 

Body Parts Song can be found on the Freedom Kids channel on YouTube. It features real life kids that will be able to teach your babies the different parts of the body. Your children will be able to follow along with the song and move and point out different parts on their own bodies. This is a fun way to help your children learn about their body.

  • Views 253, 495
  • Likes 300
  • Subscribers 4,000

Learning to Write Numbers with Cute Activities is on the KidsBabybus channel on YouTube. This video will help children learn how to write their numbers before they start kindergarten. This video is full of games and fun activities that will allow your children to follow along and start practicing how to write. This is a fun way to teach your children their numbers. This video is about 10 minutes long and will have your children interested in learning how to count the whole time.

  • Views 330,000
  • Likes 280

Animals Learn to Count video is on the popular Kids TV channel on YouTube. The channel has over 3 million subscribers and continues to grow each day. This video is perfect for the little animal lovers in your life. The main characters of this video are animals and they will teach your children how to count to 10. This video is 26 minutes long and there are many different songs that will teach your little ones to count.

  • Views 358,000
  • Likes 280
  • Subscribers 3 million

This video is called Parts of the Body and it can be found on the HooplaKidz channel on YouTube. This video will show your kid what each part of the body is called and it will also show what each part of the body is used for. Your children will be able to follow along with some of the activities that are shown so they can learn more quickly. By watching this video your children will be able to learn the parts of the video from other kids that are just like them.

  • Views 500,000
  • Likes 401
  • Subscribers 54,000

ABC Animals Song for Children can be found on the Baby Kids Show channel on YouTube. This video goes through various words that start with each letter of the alphabet. These different words will help your baby learn each letter quicker. The tune of this song is very familiar and it will be fun for your baby to learn. The graphics are very simple but the enjoyable nature of the song will keep your baby entertained. This video is 40 minutes long and will go through the alphabet multiple times teaching your baby all kinds of words that start with each letter.

  • Views 1 Million
  • Likes 1,100
  • Subscribers 587,000

18. My Body Parts Song

My Body Parts Song can be found on the Elearnin channel on YouTube. This song will point out each part of the body in a way that your children will be able to remember. The song will quickly show your child where each body part is located by pointing directly to it and also showing a close up look in a smaller picture.

  • Views 1 Million
  • Likes 2,200
  • Subscribers 101,000

17. Body Parts Intro

This video is called Body Parts Intro and it can be found on the MagicBox English ELS Kids Channel on YouTube. The animations are really cool for this video and they will be able to show your child where each part of the body is located. The narrator says the part of the body and then she specifically points to where the part is located on the body.

  • Views 1.1 Million
  • Likes 943
  • Subscribers 891,000

16. The Numbers Song

The Numbers song can be found on the Farmees channel on YouTube. Your baby will be able to sing and dance along with this upbeat song. This video starts out with teaching your little ones how to count but as the video goes on they will be able to learn so much more. Children that love animals will absolutely love this video because the main characters are all animals that can be found on a farm.

  • Views 1.1 Million
  • Likes 943
  • Subscribers 891,000

15. Learn Colors and Shapes Creative Dough

Learn Colours and Shapes with Babys shape sorting with creative dough fun for kids can be found on the Happy Funny Kids Toys Pretend Play channel on YouTube. This video is very interactive. If you have play dough and shapes you and your baby will be able to follow along at home. Babies will love watching shapes be made with clay. This video will teach your little one shapes as well as colors.

  • Views 2 Million 
  • Subscribers 266,000

14. Learn Shapes

The Learn Shapes video can be found on Farmees Kids 3D Nursery Rhymes channel on YouTube. This video will teach your children shapes, ABCs and many other lessons as well. Any child that loves animals will love this video. The idea is that these animals are in school and they get together to practice what they learn in school. This will help your children get used to the idea that they will be starting school soon. The animation style is very unique and beautiful. This video is over an hour learn and will be able to hold your child’s focus until the end.

  • Views 2 Million
  • Likes 2,100
  • Subscribers 891,000

13. Phonics Song – Learn Alphabet ABC

Phonics song – Learn Alphabet ABC can be found on the Nursery Rhyme Street channel on YouTube. This video is very repetitive and will be able to show your babies the alphabet by going over words that start with each letter. This video is very colorful and has very unique animations. It also has a very catchy tune that will stay with your child long after they watch this video.

  • Views 2 Million
  • Likes 1,500
  • Subscribers 383,000

12. Learn Shapes for Babies and Many More

The Learn Shapes for Babies and Many More video can be found on the JamJammies channel on YouTube. This video will teach your children many different things like colors, numbers and much more with popular nursery rhymes and other songs. The animations are very colorful and entertaining to watch. There is lots of movement and other activities that your children will love to watch. This video repeats things over and over again so your children will be able to learn very quickly.

  • Views 4 Million
  • Likes 2,200
  • Subscribers 111,000

11. Best Learning Colors for Toddlers

The Best Learning Colors for Toddlers Video is on the Sparkle Spice channel on YouTube. This video will be very entertaining for your children who love learning with fun toys. The narrator uses toys to teach children their colors with many different popular toys that your children will find to be really entertaining. The narrator talks in a very calming voice and she also uses repetition to help your children learn.

  • Views 10 Million
  • Likes 11,000

10. Chant the Alphabet

This video can be found on the Busy Beavers channel on YouTube. This song has a unique approach to teaching your baby the alphabet. It has a chanting format so one person will say a letter and then you will hear other people repeat the letter back. This will give your baby a chance to get involved with the song by repeating each letter after the leader. This video has constant motion so they will keep you baby engaged until the end.

  • Views 11 Million
  • Likes 6,100
  • Subscribers 2 Million

9. Learning Colors for Babies and Toddlers

Color songs Plus More Children’s Learning Songs can be found on the Little Baby Bum channel on YouTube. Your baby will love the beautiful animations in this video. It is very colorful and they will be entertained until the end. This video is 36 minutes long and it will teach them things like colors, abc’s, shapes and much more. The songs in this video are very repetitive which will help your baby learn very quickly.

  • Views 12 Million
  • Subscribers 9 Million

8. Color Songs

Color songs Plus More Children’s Learning Songs can be found on the Little Baby Bum channel on YouTube. Your baby will love the beautiful animations in this video. It is very colorful and they will be entertained until the end. This video is 36 minutes long and it will teach them things like colors, abc’s, shapes and much more. The songs in this video are very repetitive which will help your baby learn very quickly.

  • Views 12 Million
  • Likes 10,000

7. Learn about Shapes with Elly

Learn about Shapes with Elly is a very cute video that can be found on the KidsCamp channel on YouTube. The narrator is a little girl names Elly and she will teach your children different shapes. She is able to show your children different shapes by making simple pictures with them. This video is about 12 minutes long and it will be able to show your children shapes in many different ways that will help them learn the shapes very quickly.

  • Views 14 Million
  • Likes 10,000
  • Subscribers 1 Million

6. Colors & Shapes DVD

The Colors and Shapes video can be found on the Busy Beavers channel on Youtube. This video is very repetitive and it will help your baby learn their colors and shapes really quickly. There are a variety of activities that your baby can follow along with when they watch this video. The narrator talks about different things that are a certain color to help kids associate an object with a color. This is a fun video that your baby will love. 

  • Views 16 Million
  • Subscribers 2 Million

5. Color Nature

Color Nature can be found on BabyFirst TV Learn, Colors, ABCs, Rhymes and more channel on YouTube. The Color Crew are crayons that will teach your children basic colors. This video is 20 minutes long and shows the main characters coloring many different pictures. This video has a very artistic style to it and the little artist in your life will really enjoy this video.

  • Views 49 Million
  • Likes 30,000
  • Subscribers 591,000

4. Numbers counting to 10 collection Vol. 1

Numbers counting to 10 collection volume 1 can be found on the Busy Beavers channel on YouTube. This is an extremely popular channel with 2 million subscribers. Your baby will love the catchy songs that will help them to count to 10. This video is 30 minutes long and it goes through many different ways to count. There are a lot of animations that will keep your baby interested while they learn how to count at the same time.

  • Views 67 Million
  • Likes 52,000
  • Subscribers 2 Million

3. The Numbers Song

The Numbers Song can be found on ChuChUTV Nursery Rhymes & Kid Songs Channel on YouTube. With over 7 million subscribers this channel is quickly becoming very popular with parents and teachers a like. This video is 4 minutes long and will be able to teach your baby how to count from 1 to 10. This video has a very hip-hop style to it that will get children up and jumping around.

  • Views 81 Million
  • Subscribers 7 Million

2. ABC SONG 

ABC SONG is a video on the ABCkidTV channel on YouTube. This video Is 50 minutes long and has many different ways to teach your baby the alphabet. This video starts out with the letters being the main characters and as the video progresses there will be new ways for your children to learn their ABCs. This video is very beautiful and colorful so it will be very fun for your baby to watch.

  • Views 446 Million
  • Likes 1,5000
  • Subscribers 383,000

1. Color Songs Collection Vol. 1

The Color Songs Collection volume 1 can be found on the Busy Beavers channel on YouTube. This video is full of fun chants, songs and lessons that will teach your little ones their colors. These upbeat melodies are sure to have them dancing and singing along. This video has had much success in classrooms all over the world so it is sure to help teach your children as well. This channel is very popular on YouTube because children love learning with Mr. Beaver.

  • Views 600 Million
  • Likes 338,000
  • Subscribers 2 Million

The 20 Best Brain Break Songs

By sara / February 22, 2017

Everyone remembers sitting in class as a child and getting a case of ants in your pants. Teachers have now recognized that this is an awesome point in the day for a Brain Break! When you are dealing with little learners, you start to sense when they need to take a break and get the wiggles out with a fun-filled Brain Break.

What is a Brain Break? 

When you are teaching, I’m sure you have noticed that there are certain times in the day when your students start to get antsy and are less focused on their work. As much as we’d like them to be, our student’s attention spans aren’t necessarily as long as class time. Brain breaks can be a godsend at this point and they are the perfect way to reenergize and recharge your class by letting them stretch and move to fun-filled songs, often with creative dance moves, so they can focus on their next assignment.

Some Brain Breaks are also designed to help children learn and retain words or facts. Studies have shown that when facts or information is put to music, students will retain 70 - 100% of the information that they say, hear, see and do compared to just 10% of what they hear.​

When Should You Do a Brain Break? 

The main purpose of a Brain Break is to be a fun wake up for your students, so these activities can be utilized before, during, and after a lesson. This is really the teacher’s call as you know your students the best and can tell when they are starting to lose focus. Transitioning between activities is also a great time to use a Brain Break, so they won’t get distracted with chatter while they move on to the next task.

Which Brain Breaks Should I Use?

How you choose your Brain Breaks should depend on how much space you have in your classroom and how much time you have. Many Brain Breaks include dancing and getting up to use up some of their pent up energy. Other Brain Breaks can center on a game like tic-tac-toe, so a lot of the decision depends on the moment and what you are capable of doing with your group in the time and space you have.

Here are a few Brain Break ideas that span traditional children’s song and nursery rhymes to more contemporary music by popular children’s television shows and movies. There is also seasonal examples to help remind you to think out of the box and change it up depending on the time of year.​

20. C’mon Let’s Dance by The Learning Station

"C'mon Let's Dance" is a great choice as a Brain Break son that is easy and fun for children to use to take a quick energy break. With an informal approach, “C’mon Let’s Dance” uses a fast pace to move through numerous dances, and it encourages children to use creativity with its lyrics. When you are looking for a song to help take a few seconds to stretch, dance, and move so that kids can return to their work refreshed and ready to learn, “C’mon Let’s Dance” provides a good mix of dance and creativity for preschool and kindergarten classes.

19. The Skeleton Dance by Kids Songs

It’s also important to include some Brain Break songs that can be used a seasonal favorite as well. One song that is great for Halloween, or any time of the year, is The Skeleton Dance. Kids Songs gives you a fun and simple song that helps children learn the different parts of the body and is based on the old spiritual, Dem Bones. This is a song that has been used for generations and this is a fun-filled rendition that kids will love.

18. Shake Your Sillies Out by The Learning Station

All kids have the sillies and it’s great to have a song that lets them "Shake Your Sillies Out". This is a silly and action packed song that is perfect for Brain Breaks and can also be used at circle time or in group activities. “Shake Your Sillies Out” is fun and easy to learn and kids love being able to dance, sing, move, and laugh through the song. Once they have reenergized, they will be ready to concentrate on their addition and subtraction with a smile on their face. “Shake Your Sillies Out” is perfect for preschoolers through elementary aged children.

17. Seasame Street Will.I.Am: What I Am 

This is an example of a classic television show getting a reenergized boost from a current star. Will.i.am and his song “What I Am” makes our list for its contemporary take on our beloved children’s show. It has a catchy dance beat that gets the kids energized with fun dance moves, plus it helps them develop new vocabulary while hearing an inspirational song geared towards helping children think positively about what they are able to achieve.

16. Tony Chestnut (Toe Knee Chestnut) by The Learning Station

Part of the Learning Station’s campaign to support healthy music for a child’s body, heart, and mind, Tony Chestnut is a wonderful song to help children get out the wiggles as well as teach them the different parts of the body. This is a perfect song for younger children and it has become an international phenomenon that makes children all over the world smile.

15. What Does the Fox Say? By Just Dance

One of the more popular songs in recent history that attracted a kid audience is “What Does the Fox Say?” Just Dance has turned this into a Brain Break song with high energy moves that helps kids get rid of some of the excess energy. It also helps to reinforce for younger children the sounds that animals make (besides the fox of course).

14. The Alphabet Song by Have Fun Teaching

Kids always love classic songs and Have Fun Teaching has created The Alphabet Song as an entertaining Brain Break to focus on phonics. The Alphabet Song is a fun-filled way for kids to get out that extra energy as well as learn phonics, letter sounds, plus lower and uppercase letter recognition. Characters Alphy, Lexy, and Funzy will join you on your journey to shake out the wiggles and learn the sounds that the letters make.

13. Get Funky by The Learning Station

The Learning Station uses “Get Funky”, an awesome dance song that is taking over the world, to help children learn some dance moves and get out some pent up energy. “Get Funky” is the ideal song for some great brain break action since it is easy and fun to dance to. When children feel happy and energized, they can tackle those academics with a positive attitude. This is a great song for children anywhere from preschool to elementary school, and it can even be used in physical education.

12. Let’s Star Jump by Debbie Doo Kids TV

There is a whole youtube channel of Brain Break songs courtesy of Debbie Doo. Debbie welcomes us into her fun and educational world with simple songs that have fun and creative movement routines that are ideal for younger kids. Let’s Star Jump is written by Debbie Doo and features dance moves that improve fitness and coordination to a fun and high energy tune. Children of all ages will enjoy Starjumping with Debbie Do.

11. Stomp and Clap by The Learning Station

“Stomp and Clap” helps to motivate children to get up and move around and get healthy. Not only are children inspired to stretch and strengthen their muscles, but the song encourages them to get healthy and fit. This is another great Brain Break song from The Learning Station that is perfect for preschoolers through lower elementary.

10. Disney's Frozen "Let It Go"

If you really want to get the kids attention, you need to go for the showstopper, Disney’s Frozen “Let It Go”. Almost every small child will know the words by heart, and they will be super enthused to sing their little hearts out with Elsa. Not only will they be able to exercise their vocals, but all your little princes and princesses will enjoy acting out this famous movie scene with Elsa.

9. Cosmic Kids Yoga

Do your kids love yoga? It is a great exercise to help children ages 3+ to practice relaxation and mindfulness. This Brain Break is often used at home and in schools all over the world. There are several Kids Yoga adventures associated with this series that will children of all ages can enjoy. 


8. The Hokey Pokey by The Learning Station

Another fun classic that kids always love to dance to is the “Hokey Pokey”. This is a fun rendition of the popular kids dance song that will have kids up and moving. As kids do the steps of the song, they learn about different parts of the body while learning to listen and follow directions; otherwise, they will quickly get out of sync! The Hokey Pokey is a good Brain Break for preschoolers through lower elementary.

7. Kung Fu Fighting by Just Dance Kids

The song "Kung Fu Fighting" is, of course, a classic that has been rediscovered through the popularity of the movie Kung Fu Panda by Dreamworks Animation Studio. With the success of the song among the younger set, it was developed into a Brain Break by Just Dance Kids. Children will love the music and the movements that mix both dance steps with martial arts moves.

6. Boom Chicka Boom by Jack Hartmann

If you are looking for a Brain Break that is a new twist on a classic, Jack Hartmann’s “Boom Chicka Boom” should fit the bill. It has silly movements with fun characters in a fun “repeat after me” approach that encourages listening and following directions. “Boom Chicka Boom” highlights phonological awareness while kids move and have fun.

5. Move and Freeze by The Learning Station

“Move and Freeze” is a great brain break action song for children and is a fun and easy song for a quick energy break in the middle of class. Just taking a few minutes to dance, sing, move and giggle can help give kids that extra boost to recharge when they return to their academics. “Move and Freeze” is ideal for preschoolers through elementary aged children.

4. The Sid Shuffle by Ice Age Continental Drift

Capitalizing on the popularity of the movie Ice Age Continental Drift, the "The Sid Shuffle" mixes fun music with dance instruction that engages children through active listening. Simple steps were developed to help children improve their coordination and rhythmic motion is encouraged with the strong beat. This can be an awesome Brain Break song since so many children are familiar with it and it’s a blast to dance to!


3. Body Boogie by The Learning Station

When you are looking for a great Brain Break song to get the kids movie, “Body Boogie” will help the kids take a quick energy break. This is a fun and easy dance song that gives the kids a chance to sing and dance with lots of action and energizing them to continue with their studies. This is a good Brain Break song for preschoolers through elementary, and it also works well in physical education class.


2. Peas Porridge by Jack Hartmann

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1. Jump Up, Turn Around, Cross the Midline

This is a catchy tune that is geared towards young children and includes a lot of actions that cross the midline. Crossing the midline is an important movement in a child’s development that refers to their ability to reach across with both arms and legs that invisible line down the center of your body. This song uses movements to coordinate with both sides of the body to encourage interaction between the two sides of the brain. This is a good song for preschoolers through elementary and can be a fun addition to any classroom environment.


Childhood Education: What to Eat During Pregnancy for Intelligent Babies

By Rebecca / February 22, 2017
What to Eat During Pregnancy for Intelligent Babies

What to eat during pregnancy for intelligent babies is something that more and more parents are considering. As we all know, prenatal nutrition is essential to the development of an unborn baby. Prenatal vitamins, in addition to a good diet, are excellent ways to improve the health of the mother and the child. Prenatal vitamins include a variety of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for the child’s healthy development. During pregnancy, a woman’s daily intake of vitamins and minerals is higher and requires the use of prenatal vitamins to ensure they are getting the recommended daily values of each.

Folic acid and iron are two of the most important nutrients that a pregnant woman needs daily, and she cannot get her daily amount of these from food alone. Folic acid helps to reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube defects, as well as cleft lip and certain heart defects. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women.

Iron is essential when it comes to making hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that is found in red blood cells, and these carry oxygen to other cells. When a woman becomes pregnant, the amount of blood in her body increases which means the iron is needed to make the additional hemoglobin that is needed during the pregnancy. It is even more important during the last two trimesters for the growth of the baby and the placenta. Iron deficiency can lead to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and even infant mortality.

The diet the mother adopts certainly affects the physical and mental development of their unborn child. There are many foods a pregnant woman can consume throughout her pregnancy that can help boost brain development in unborn babies which will later create more intelligent children along with increased memory functions.

First, we should discuss the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Raw Meat: Uncooked or undercooked meats should be avoided because they carry the risk of contamination
  • Fish with Mercury: This includes sushi, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury can lead to developmental delays and even brain damage
  • Raw Shellfish: This includes oysters, clams, and mussels. They can carry bacteria and cause infection and can affect both mother and unborn child
  • Caffeine: If consumed in moderation, it is okay but should be avoided in the first trimester or else the likelihood of a miscarriage will rise, and the pregnant mother will lose water and calcium since caffeine is a diuretic. A pregnant woman, after the first trimester, should limit herself to less than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

Foods that are Shown to Increase Intelligence

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium which is vital for the healthy growth and development of an unborn child. Greek yogurt also has a lot of protein.


2. Salmon

Salmon

Salmon is a high-quality protein and an excellent source of omega-3 fats which aids in the development of the child while boosting the pregnant woman’s mood. 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week is okay as long as there isn’t a high level of mercury that is present.


3. Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help boost brain cell activity. They also help lower blood cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol.


4. Spinach, Lean Chicken, and Beans

Spinach, Lean Chicken, and Beans

These foods are all rich in iron. Iron is essential because it sends oxygen to the baby’s brain cells. Maintaining iron levels while pregnant is important, but you will also need the iron found in prenatal vitamins to supplement the food you eat.


5. Blueberries, Artichokes, and Tomatoes

Blueberries, Artichokes, and Tomatoes

These foods are rich in antioxidants and protect brain tissue and help with healthy brain development.


6. Eggs

Eggs

Eggs contain amino acid choline, and it has been proven to help brain development and has been shown to increase memory function in the child later in life. The eggs should be pasteurized. Unpasteurized cheese can carry bacteria and cause sickness.


7. Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Foods that are high in Vitamin D like cheese, liver, beef, orange juice, and some cereals are good for the mother and unborn child during pregnancy. Vitamin D plays a role in immune functions, cell division, and bone health. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphorus.


8. Iodine

Iodine

Iodine is essential during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. It aids in healthy brain development and the pregnant woman’s daily intake requirement of iodine increases exponentially during pregnancy to ensure that an adequate supply reaches the baby. Iodine can be found in dairy products, eggs, and vegetables.


9. Beans

Beans

Beans contain a lot of protein, minerals, vitamins, starch, and fiber. They are good for healthy brain development and will also help boost the mother’s energy levels. A lot of vegetables also contain antioxidants that can contribute to restoring damaged brain cells in children. These vegetables include eggplant, pumpkin, and corn.


10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains vitamins E and B, potassium, and zinc that can boost cognitive activities and improve a child’s physical and mental development. Cereal contains much of the same vitamins and minerals and can help counteract obesity while stimulating a child’s physical development in the womb and after.


Foods to Promote Healthy Growth in Children

While the foods the mother ingests during the pregnancy helps support increased intelligence in the unborn child, it is just as important after the baby is born to continue teaching healthy eating habits to reap all the benefits possible while learning how to make healthy and positive food choices.

The following is a list of “brain foods” that a child should eat to boost their brain growth and development and improve brain function, memory, and concentration.

Infants

Infants

Breast milk contains all the vitamins and minerals an infant needs. If they are unable to breastfeed, however, different kinds of formulas are available and can provide much of the same necessary vitamins and minerals that are essential to an infant’s continued development.

Breast milk can also help to protect against certain illnesses and infections. During breastfeeding, a mother should still follow a healthy diet like she did during pregnancy. What she consumes will end up in the breast milk.

A post pregnancy diet should include salmon, low-fat dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese, lean beef, beans, brown rice, fruit, and plenty of water. A nursing mother still needs high amounts of Vitamin D and B and calcium, and it will help the child’s bones grow and develop as well as keeping the new mother’s energy levels up.

Foods for Toddlers and Grade Schoolers

Food Pyramid

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great source of vitamin E and is also considered an antioxidant that helps to protect nervous membranes. It also has thiamin which aids the nervous system and brain in using glucose for energy.

2. Whole Grains

The most popular form of whole grains can be found in cereals and even oatmeal. Oats can provide a child with a boost of energy and can help them get through their day. It is fuel for their brain. It also has a lot of fiber and vitamins to help ensure that their brains are functioning at their fullest capacity throughout the day.

3. Berries

All kinds of berries including strawberries, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C and help to increase energy levels throughout the day while contributing to improving the child’s memory.

4. Vegetables

Vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach are high in vitamins and minerals and are considered great antioxidants. Providing a variety of vegetables during the day instead of just one offers variety for the child and helps keep their brain cells active and strong.

5. Yogurt and Milk

Dairy products such as yogurt and milk have a lot of protein and vitamin B with helps brain tissue growth, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Having a bowl of yogurt in the morning with their favorite berries provides them a great boost of energy to start their day and keep them full until lunch.

Foods for Older Adolescents

Good nutrition is essential for all ages of development. There is a direct correlation between nutrition and neurocognitive development in childhood. Teenagers should be drinking at least three to four servings of milk each day as well as ingesting other foods that provide a good source of vitamin D.

1. Mango

Mango has vitamin C that can help to boost a teen’s immune system and it gives more variety so that they don’t have to stick with the usual apples and oranges. It is also a good fruit to include in a smoothie or add in with their yogurt in the morning.

2. Avocado

Avocados have a lot of antioxidant properties and can even help with their skin. However, they are high in fat content, so there are a lot of calories that go along with avocado. Eat in moderation and consume about half of an avocado at a time.

3. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach provide teens with more nutritional value than iceberg lettuce. It also provides a punch of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and potassium.

4. Whole Wheat Bread and Pasta

Whole wheat foods are a good source of energy and aid in boosting brain power while keeping a teen feeling full for longer. Always check food labels before purchasing and be sure that corn syrup and fructose are not listed as one of the first few ingredients. There is also a lot of variety that can be found in whole wheat bread and pasta.

5. Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to improve brain function and moods. Eating fish at least twice a week is a healthy choice to give a teen that added push of energy and brain power that will help them throughout their week at school.

Nutrients are essential to a functioning and healthy body. Six essential nutrients are vital to a person’s health regardless of age. These nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Brain foods are vital to the cellular structure, the wiring of the neural circuits, and the production of myelin. Just like we need to put gas in our cars to make them run, our bodies also need fuel to run properly. Glucose is fuel for the brain and is responsible for providing an individual with energy throughout the day.

Having lower glucose levels can also affect a person’s ability to concentrate and stay focused, and this is one of the reasons having a healthy and balanced breakfast in the morning is so important for a child before they go to school.

Children should avoid sugary and fatty foods that offer no nutritional value. Instead, a diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and water are good choices. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods and pay attention the amounts of sugar that are in the juices that are bought. Instead, find 100% fruit juice.

Mix it up with the vegetables. Having a serving of more than one kind of vegetable will give a child a colorful plate while providing them with their daily allowance of vegetables that they need. Fresh vegetables are always best, but if you don’t have a lot of time, frozen vegetables are acceptable substitutes.

Always make sure that your child is having a well-balanced breakfast in the morning, and they have healthy foods to snack on throughout the day like grapes or carrot sticks. By providing them with this essential fuel, you are aiding them in staying focused throughout the day while keeping their energy levels up and improving their brain functions and improving their memory.

For Memory and Focus

For improved memory and focus, several foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as DHA. DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid and is essential for normal neuron functioning.

Beets, broccoli, celery, coconut oil, dark chocolate, egg yolks, salmon, and walnuts are a few examples of foods that help to improve an individual’s memory function. These all make great snacks to take and munch on throughout the day between meals and are full of all the required nutrients.

To boost an individual’s focus, blueberries, green tea, avocados, leafy green vegetables, flax seeds, and nuts are excellent choices and will help with concentration. Healthy food choices are critical for growth and development, and good habits start while the child is still in the womb.

The Best Kids Toy Storage Ideas

By Rebecca / February 22, 2017
Best Kids Toy Storage Ideas

We all love our little ones. But there are times when you know how frustrating it can be to walk into your child’s room and see toys littered all over the floor and the storage container completely empty. Legos are preventing you from tucking your child in at night, and the dolls piled up in the corner are causing nightmares for you. You have told your children several times a day that they need to clean up their toys, but the desperate pleas fall on deaf ears. In this article, we will take a look at the best kids toy storage ideas.

It is a never ending fight between the child and the parent. Storage space and toy organization such as a toy box or a built-in shelf is a crucial element when it comes to keeping your sanity as a parent and keeping your house looking clean and clutter free. Maybe if the kids have a designated spot for all their stuff, maybe—just maybe—they will return it to said spot when they are done. This might be a long shot for a playroom idea, but hey, you never know!

There are many different toy organizer options and child-friendly storage containers and baskets that could help maintain a semblance of control and cleanliness to any home or children’s room. Now, instead of working around toys everywhere, you could try to create an interesting toy storage solution that will encourage your children to enjoy playing with their toys but also enjoy putting them back and displaying them afterwards. Here are some great toy organizer/playroom ideas that might just help you avoid standing on those Lego bricks in future:


Toy Storage Ideas for Toddlers

mDesign Kids/Baby Toy Storage Box-Pack of 2

These storage boxes are the perfect solution when it comes to keeping blocks, crayons, playdoh, and toy cars picked up and organized. The storage boxes are small enough to fit on a shelf in your child’s room and are light enough that they can carry them around instead of having to take everything out to play with their toys.

  • Storage boxes are stackable
  • Closet-friendly design
  • Great for bedroom, playroom, or nursery
  • Made of durable, BPA-free plastic
  • Easy open hinged lids

Price

$

Item Dimensions    

6.75” x 5.5” x 3.75”


Lukher Cotton Storage Basket Bin and Organizer with Handles

These cotton storage baskets are great for organizing nursery items, baby toys, and baby clothing. They are natural and eco-friendly and are waterproof on the inside, so they are safe from any accidental spills or messes. They collapse so they can be easily stored when not in use and are safe to have around younger children.

  • Designed to fit on most shelves
  • Wire-framed for stability
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Made from natural and durable cottonPrice $Item Dimensions 15” x 11” x 9”
  • Handles for easy handling
  • Neutral color will match well with any décor

Price

$

Item Dimensions

15” x 11” x 9”          


School Bus Collapsible Toy Storage Box and Closet Organizer with Storage Hood for Kids

These collapsible storage boxes are kid-friendly themes that will make it fun and exciting for your child when it comes time to pick up their toys. They are easy to assemble and also disassemble for convenient storage when they are not in use. The interior of the organizer is split into two different sections; one section in the front and one section in the back. It is the perfect storage solution for toys, shoes, books, or more.

  • Fun and kid friendly designs
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Folds up for easy storage
  • Fits on most shelves and in most cubbies
  • Can find them in a variety of different designs

Price

$$

Item Dimensions

21” x 9.5” x 12”        


Fantasy Fields-Happy Farm Animals Wooden Barn Bookcase with Storage

This bookcase with storage option is hand-painted to resemble a barn and features a peaked roof and beautiful detail. It has three shelves and an additional section for storage on the bottom. Assembly is required, but it is packaged with step-by-step instructions. It is ideal for toddlers of two years old and up and is the perfect height for the child. The paint used is non-toxic and lead-free, and Fantasy Fields used recycled pressed wood, and their workshop is safety and green compliant.

  • Handcrafted design
  • High-quality materials
  • Plenty of storage options
  • Easy access for your toddler

Price

$$$

Item Dimensions

25.2” x 9.5” x 41.8”


Labebe Kids Wooden Bookcase of Hedgehog

This wooden bookcase is made of engineered wood and has four wheels which make it easy to move around and can also be used as a baby walker. It has a cubbyhole that can hold books or toys and will fit nicely in any bedroom or playroom. It is easy enough to move around so that your child can use it independently without help from you.

  • Practical and convenient
  • Four wheels for easy mobility
  • Doubles as a baby walker
  • Easy to clean
  • Multifunctional storage solution
  • Beautiful design

Price

$$

Item Dimensions

22.1” x 18.1” x 4” 


Toy Storage Ideas for Preschoolers

Kidkraft Puzzle Book Shelf-Primary

This bookshelf is made of durable wooden construction and has a fun puzzle piece design and is painted using the primary colors: red, blue, and green. Since it is sturdy, it will not tip over and is the perfect size for your preschooler to organize their books. It is a small and good storage solution that frees up space without taking over it, and its fun colors will add to your child’s décor.

  • Strong and durable construction
  • Fun Design
  • Great storage solution for books
  • Virtually untippable

Price

$$

Item Dimensions

25” x 11.5” x 37.5”  


KidKraft Sort It and Store It Bin Unit

This storage unit has twelve plastic storage bins, and all of the bins are interchangeable. The bins come in the following colors: three red, three blue, three yellow, and three green. It has handles on either side so that it is easy for an adult to move it and it is packaged with step-by-step instructions for assembly. It is made of sturdy construction and will fit nicely in any room and keep all of the smaller toys separated and organized and off the floor.

  • Twelve different storage bins
  • Easy to move with handles on either side
  • Fun colors
  • Sturdy construction
  • Espresso finish
  • Interchangeable bins

Price

$$

Item Dimensions

31.9” x 18.6” x 32.2”


Funfield City Travel Size Drawstring Play Mat

This drawstring play mat is designed to be multifunctional. It serves as a playmat and storage solution in one. It is made of heavy-duty fabric and has a double layer with an image printed onto the fabric. It is three feet in diameter. It is perfect for cars, Legos, or other small toys. Unzip the mat to play and then zip it back up, with all the toys inside, to go. It is great for traveling and easy and quick cleanup after playtime.

  • All-in-one play mat and storage bag
  • Creative and fun design
  • Easy cleanup with no fuss
  • Can travel easily
  • Plenty of space for play

Price

$

Item Dimensions

13” x 8.7” x 1.1”      


Delta Children 4 Pocket Hanging Wall Organizer-Beige

This 4 Pocket Hanging Wall Organizer is perfect for any older child’s room and is great for storing toys or accessories. You can either hang it over a door with the hook, or you can attach it to the wall with the hardware that is provided. It comes in a variety of different prints and colors to make it easy to match up with any décor and provides a simple and secure storage solution that takes no time at all to set up and begin organizing.

  • Two ways to hang the organizer
  • Variety of colors and patterns
  • Easy to hang
  • Hardware included
  • Durable construction

Price

$

Item Dimensions

13” x 3” x 9”          


Orange Tag Hanging Mesh Space Saver Bags/Organizer-3 Compartments

These hanging mesh organizers are the perfect solution when it comes to finding a place to store all of those stuffed animals or other smaller accessories. This particular model comes in either Red Hearts or Blue Underwater World designs, and the upper and lower layers are made of mesh grid, so it is easy to see through the mesh. The middle layer is non-transparent. It is convenient to use and easy to hang up.

  • It is made of 100% polyester
  • Suspends with touch and close fastening
  • The fastening will open if the child tries to climb it which acts as a safety feature
  • Package includes two pieces

Price

$

Item Dimensions

12.8” x 11.7” x 2.7”


KidKraft Nantucket Storage Bench-White

This bench can be used for storage or can provide additional seating. It features three storage bins that are perfect for storing toys or other equipment, and the bins slide in and out easily for convenience. The bench is made of wood and can easily fit at the foot of their bed. It does not take up much space and is ideal for storage and seating while fitting in nicely with any décor.

  • Three bin storage
  • Beautiful finish
  • Easy and convenient access
  • Bench seating
  • Fits under a window or at the foot of a bed

Price

$$$

Item Dimensions

39” x 14” x 14”     


Three Bin Storage Cubby-White

This smaller storage solution is a stackable wooden cubby that will keep all of your child’s items out of sight and organized. It weighs about thirty-six pounds and can be used to store books, toys, clothing, shoes, and so much more. The bins are easy to load and unload, and the piece will fit in with almost any décor. To clean it all you have to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth.

  • Convenient storage option
  • Cleans easily
  • Beautiful finish for any décor
  • Stackable
  • Three bin design

Price

$$

Item Dimensions

37” x 19.2” x 17” 


P’Kolino Monster Under the Bed Storage

This under-the-bed storage organizer can easily and efficiently store stuffed animals, clothes, or other smaller toys and the best part is that it fits neatly under the bed. It is made from a colorful polyester-cotton blend and canvas and has a paperboard-lined interior. It is featured as fun and functional storage. They are sized for toddlers but are the ideal size for any child that wants to have fun while keeping their room neat and organized.

  • Fits neatly under the bed
  • Fun colors and designs
  • Designed for all ages
  • Stores toys, clothing, and more
  • Functional storage

Price

$

Item Dimensions

17” x 13” x 8.8”  


Bintopia Multi Bin Storage Organizer

This organizer features a decorative three-tier design and is supported by a sturdy steel frame. It includes tear-resistant bins and the bins come in different sizes for convenient storage. The taupe and gray trim color is classic and will match easily with almost any décor. It is perfect for a child’s bedroom and will help keep all of their things neat and organized and off the floor and out of corners.

  • Durable and sturdy construction
  • Convenient storage
  • Neutral color and design
  • Lots of convenient storage space

Price

$$

Item Dimensions          

36.22” x 25.98” x 12”


Tot Tutors Kids Store-All Unit

This store-all unit is suitable for organizing and storing large and small toys, books, and other items. It includes one large rolling toy box, three white plastic bins, and one book display and shelf unit. The espresso finish will fit with almost any décor. It is easy to use and easy to access, and you can take the bins out whenever you need to. You can roll the unit around for portability and then just roll it back into place when you are done.

  • Convenient and easy storage solution
  • Rolls for increased mobility
  • Includes plastic storage bins
  • Neutral color will fit almost any décor
  • Easy to see and easy to access

Price

$$

Item Dimensions          

15” x 25” x 30”              

The Best Graphic Novels for Early Readers

By sara / February 14, 2017

Why Graphic Novels? 

Graphic novels have long been beloved by teen and adult readers the world over. From Japanese manga to well-known American comics, this literary format has millions of fans and its popularity has only continued to grow. Academic libraries report that graphic novels are among their most-requested materials, and in 2015 the sale of graphic novels in the United States topped $1 billion, confirming their steadily rising popularity among teen and adult consumers. But few realize that graphic novels can also provide a wonderful entry point to very young beginning readers. Because they're pictorial in nature, they're a suitable alternative to more traditional "easy reader" series, ideal for small children as well as older kids for whom reading is a struggle.

Why  these  graphic novels? 

The following list of recommendations has been curated for age-appropriateness and tailored to readers in kindergarten through second grade. Many of these books have been endorsed by the American Library association or the Association for Library Service to Children.

Each title combines simple, fast-paced plotting with sequential illustrations to make them easily navigable to even the most reluctant readers, as well as children who struggle with reading comprehension. They're attention-grabbing, straightforward, and most importantly fun!

20. Little Robot by Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke created his reputation as a celebrated children's graphic novelist with the beloved sci-fi book Zita the Spacegirl, and he lives up to that reputation with the nearly wordless Little Robot. In this charming story, a five-year-old girl discovers a small robot in the woods and accidentally activates him. They become fast friends, but some bigger, nastier robots come along with a plan to steal him for their own questionable purposes. It's up to the little girl to protect her robotic companion with only a wrench and her sense of loyalty. This is a delightful book about the importance of friendship and overcoming your fear.

  • Target Age: Kindergarten & Up 

19. Hamster and Cheese by Colleen AF Venable

This book is the first installment in the Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye series. In this colorfully illustrated volume, guinea pig private investigator Sasspants is hired by Hamisher the hamster to track down pet shop owner Mr. Venezi's missing sandwiches. There are two informational pages about the pet shop's inhabitants, and page after page of full-color cartoons.