Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowy Day Indoor Ideas

Snowy Day INDOOR Ideas...

WOW! I thought that December's snow was a doozy, but I'm thinking that this one is going to make quite an impact here in Richmond, Virginia. It got me to thinking about what to do with your children IF the weather is too cold to go outside and too snowy to drive anywhere.

So, here is my list of ideas to help those of you stuck indoors.

* Get a head start on your Valentine's cards.
Even if your child can't remember all of the names from his/her class, you can have them sign their name and make them. Pull out any supplies and let them be creative. My son has decided to add Valentine's jokes to his.

* Play a game!
You know all of those board games you rarely pull out? Pick an old favorite. Let each child choose one...that is unless you have more than 3 children!

* Start a puzzle.
A puzzle can be quite fun and gets the brain clicking! It also allows your children to work together...hopefully without too much arguing. Also, try these cool math games online.

* Cook up something tasty!
We've got a box of Lemon Bars we haven't fixed so it's on our list for today. Not sure what to cook? Check out this site that uses ingredients you have. Just type in your ingredients and you get the ideas for what to make.

* Make Snow Cream!
Too cold to play in, but not too cold to eat inside. Check out some of these recipes for Snow Cream.

* Read a good book.
Any book is a good idea, but one with a snow theme is even better. If you are a subscriber to Grow Up With Books, you will want to check these titles...
Houdsley and Catina and the Quiet Time by James Howe
The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills

*Have a dance contest!
Get out the video camera, turn on some music, and start recording those dance moves. If you want to get really fancy, check out YouTube for some kid dance moves. After taping, you can then play them back for a good laugh. What great memories to hold onto!

*Pull out old family movies.
Truthfully, we watching ones I got from the library yesterday in preparation for today's snow. However, watching old ones of the kids would be better. May just have to do that next!

*Add your ideas here...
Leave your ideas in the comments! Help others (including me) get the most out of these COLD days with the kids inside!!!

We look forward to hearing from you-
The GUWB Team

(submitted by Lara)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beyond Blessed

Beyond blessed... Last night I sat here and listened to Hope for Haiti Now. Through tears, I was reminded of the importance of the basics. Needs vs. wants. Food. Clothing. Shelter. I truly believe that my children are beginning to know the difference, although they may not always remember it in the toy aisle at Target. I'm also reminded of the importance of standing up and leading by example for our children as we learn from this horrific natural disaster. What can we learn from this and what are some of the ways that we can help our children to make a difference? My daughter has decided to give the money she makes from selling her Girl Scout cookies (and any donations) to Haiti and my son wants to help her!

More to think about...What shoul
d we be appreciating in our lives that we aren't? I believe it's the small moments and small things. What small moments and things do we have going on in our lives that we are missing? What do we need to be thankful for?

•Take a few extra moments to say goodnight, giving an extra hug and kiss.
•Read one more chapter or one more story.
Play a game as a family.
•Ask about favorite parts of the day.
•Eat dinner together and eagerly listen to one another.

•Appreciate the water coming out of your faucet.
•The refrige
rator is filled with food.
•You get to choose what you want for dinner. (My mom has said this for years and now I'm putting it in a blog!)
•The light turns on when you flip the switch.
•There is medicine if you get sick.
•You are able to spend tim
e with your family and friends.

Remember always to give thanks for what you have. Reaching out to help others is a way of giving thanks. As Muhammad Ali said last night, "Charity begins at home." Talk with your family about the many things for which you are thankful. Continue to talk and figure out how your family can help those less fortunate. Maybe it's with Haiti, maybe a local organization, or even a neighbor. Start somewhere and be the example you want your children to be. Help them learn the language of giving! Check out these sites for ways to help your children raise money and other ideas for helping Haiti.
5 Tips on Talking to Your Child About Scary News
*Use your birthday money for Haiti rather than getting gifts.
*Have Hats for Haiti where the kids at school pay to wear the hat.
"Hearts for Haiti" and "Quarters for the Quake"
UMCOR gives 100% of the money raised to Haiti!!!
*Give up something as a family...send the money to Haiti

Share more ideas with us and others!
Beyond blessed,
The GUWB Team

Grow Up With Books believes in reaching out to help those in need. For the next three months we will donate $1 for each new subscription to GUWB.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

National Puzzle Month

January is "Puzzle Month" with January 29th being National Puzzle Day. Puzzles offer many educational benefits such as...
-helping children see parts to a whole (like with words)
-developing spatial awareness
-improving problem solving skills
-eye-hand coordination
-coming in different levels
-plain ol' fun

In honor of "Puzzle Month," GUWB would like to feature several of our "puzzling books." These books allow your child to use "puzzle strategies" while reading. Check them out!

The Seed (0-2 age group)
Bunny's Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown
We follow Bunny from the day’s beginning to its end. As the day goes on, sounds are heard and the reader is encouraged to guess what sounds are and how they came to be. Through colorful illustrations, Lisa McCue takes us on another journey as we look to find “McCue” hidden thirteen times in this story.

The Sprout and Sapling (3-4 and 5-8 age group)
I Spy Mystery: A Book of Picture Riddles by Jean Marzollo
Using poetry and rhyme, Jean Marzollo invites children to search for hidden objects in photographs. Some objects are easier to find than others so it’s a wonderful way to increase a child’s “stamina” with reading.

The Young Tree (9-12 age group)
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
Twelve-year old Gil Goodson is ready to join the Gollywhopper Games. After months of being in the shadows of his father being wrongly accused of embezzling money from the Golly Toy and Game Company, the time has come to set things straight. It’s the 50th anniversary of the company and Gil thinks that if he can win the grand prize his family will be able to move out of town and be rid of “The Incident” and start fresh. Through challenging puzzles and riddles, tricky trivia, and crazy stunts, he competes against thousands of other kids to try and win. Gil has planned, studied, and is ready for the big day. Not only will it take the knowledge he has of the Golly Toy Company to win, teamwork will play a key role to his success. Unexpected twists and turns will be present throughout this novel. Get your thinking caps on and get ready to solve some puzzles with Gil!

Also take time to check out the puzzling book ideas at The Miss Rumphius Effect. You may even want to try these puzzling sites from Grandmother Wren. She can help you make your own set of tangrams to really get the brain thinking!

Enjoy getting "puzzled" with books from GUWB!
Happy reading-
The GUWB Team

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reading Aloud: What are YOU reading?

Reading aloud to your children is of utmost importance. It's the beginning of a meaningful relationship with your child that is just waiting to be nurtured. No matter if they are an infant or a middle grade reader, all children need to be read "TO." It's the "T" in our "Read TWO Experience" at Grow Up With Books.

Patricia Polacco is the author of close to 50 children's books. In a recent response to a fan's question on Facebook, she captured the essence of reading and why we read aloud to children. "It is said that a child's entire psyche and outlook on life in general is pretty much determined before the age of 5. So it is vital for a child to hear written language, to see pictures that accentuate the writing and to hear stories that have moral impact. I don't think there is anything more meaningful than a child sitting on the lap of someone they care about and being read from a book they are both holding."

Polacco goes on to say, "When I was a child, my ear would go on the breastplate of the person holding me and their voice and the story resonated throughout my body and was a moment of amazing bonding. So that, I believe, is the value between the individual and the child to read together, to imagine together, to dream and wonder together."

Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, offers helpful hints to parents on his website with thoughts that match Polacco's as well as ours at GUWB. In his brochure, Questions Parents Always Ask About Reading Aloud, Trelease says," You read to children for all the same reasons you talk to them: to inform, to inspire, to caution, to entertain, and to connect." When talking about reading to his children all the way to high school he goes on to say, "It provided me nightly one-on-one time with each of them, time that was spent in a meaningful way that often became a springboard to conversation and created a cultural and emotional bond." Jim Trelease also states, "We can find the time for whatever we value."

So, here is our challenge for you this week. Take a look at your calendars. What do you value? What do you make time for? Is there time for reading? Go ahead...write it in pen and commit to it! Do it for yourself as much as for your child.

Suggestions from our collection....
0-2 Year Old
Gallop!: A Scanimation Picture Book by Rufus Butler Seder
The new technology of Scanimation brings animals to life in this cool new book! As you turn the pages it seems as though the animals could jump, fly, take right off the pages! Fun for all ages!

3-4 Year Old
Mercy Watson to the Rescue (#1) by Kate DiCamillo
The first in the Mercy Watson series, readers will get to know this cute and sweet pig, as well as her owners, their neighbors, and the local fire department! Mercy saves the day, but how? Your child will delight in the fun adventures of this “pet of a pig” that likes to eat “hot buttered toast!”

5-8 Year Old
Piper Reed Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt
Piper Reed learns that the Navy is sending her father (Chief) to Pensacola, Florida and they must leave San Diego in the middle of the school year! She has to leave her Gypsy Club, her own bedroom, and the neighbors’ dog, Kip. Will Piper be able to face all of the challenges of moving? With her spunk and creativity, Piper is able to conquer most anything—even finding a real gypsy to tell fortunes.

9-12 Year Old
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians-Book 1) by Rick Riordan
Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school yet again even though it’s for trying to help his friend, Grover. Crazy things are happening…his math teacher turned into a monster while on a field trip and a Minotaur is chasing Percy, Grover (a satyr), and his mother as they are trying to leave town. This chase ends with Percy and Grover safely arriving at Camp Half-Blood where Percy discovers he is a demigod surrounded by mythical creatures in the 21st century. While at camp, Percy (being intelligent and resourceful) is chosen for the quest of finding out who stole Zeus’s lightning bolt. Accepting this challenge brings about non-stop adventure as well as disaster to Percy and his friends from Camp Half-Blood. This book is a great introduction to Greek Mythology and is the first book in a series of five. Just a Heads Up: Mild Violence, Mature Content.

We'd LOVE to hear what you and your family are reading! Share some of your favorites with us.

Happy Reading!
The GUWB Team

Friday, January 1, 2010

10 for 2010 Making Reading a Resolution Reality

It's that time of year again when we make our New Year's Resolutions only to drop them within weeks, days, or even minutes. When we stop to ask ourselves why, it's usually because it wasn't convenient. So, our million dollar question...How do you make reading convenient for your family? Or maybe the question should be....How can we afford NOT to make it convenient. I'd like to offer several suggestions for a family plan of reading in 2010!

10 for 2010... a Family Plan...

1) Make reading FUN! Let your child choose a headlamp or special book light to brighten the experience for "before going to sleep" reading.
2) Have a plan. Set aside a specific time for reading that works best for your child. Talk about the plan as a family so that all are involved and own it.
3) Allow for CHOICE. Letting your child have a say in what they read can make all the difference. If it's something they want to read it's more likely that they will enjoy reading it.
4) Choose a FAMILY chapter book. Remember that your child's listening level is 2-3 grade levels above their reading level. Books with vivid vocabulary and believable characters allow your family to take a shared adventure in the comfort of your own home.
5) Carry books in the car! Have a special bag or use the back of the seats to hold books. If you don't have them, they can't read them.
6) Stash some books in the bathroom. A basket of books for "waiting time" can be a very good thing.
7) Consider books on CD. While not a replacement for reading with your child, it does show how to read smoothly (fluency) and change your voice to match a situation (inflection).
8) Be an example. Read along with your child and read your own novel.
9) Start a family book club. With your friends who have children, consider reading the same story. Plan a celebration date for finishing the book where you can talk about connections made and even enjoy some tasty goodies! Over at Literate Lives they share about a "Grand Discussion" and how to hold one at your school.
10) Make reading FUN! Be sure to get comfy when you read. Who says you can't read in a tent with your grandmother listening?

This is just a start to a list. Share some of your family's tips for keeping reading exciting and a priority in your life. We'd love to hear from you!!!

The GUWB Team