Why You Should Give Books This Holiday Season

give booksI love the holiday season. There are so many opportunities for magic moments that make this time of year special. From picking up a good book while traveling to see friends and family to curling up next to a roaring fire with a book and a cup of hot tea, I love everything to do with the season. You may notice a pattern here: I love to read. It is one of the reason’s I wrote The Day We Rode The Rainbow; I wanted to share my family’s love of books with my own offering.

It should be no surprise that one of my favorite gifts to give and receive is the gift of a new book. With the Holidays just around the corner, some of us are already shopping and searching for gifts. Who doesn’t love getting a good book that someone picked out especially for you? Whether you gift your latest favorite read to a family member, or you pick out a best seller for a friend, it is a sure way to beat the stress, the traffic, and still show you care.

Top 4 Reasons to Give Books This Holiday Season:

  1. Books Help Kids Grow

In a world dominated by instant gratification and screens, kids need books to learn and grow. Kids nowadays have a really hard time focusing. Children always have something going on around them or in front of them on their phones, tablets, computers and televisions. It’s important that kids have space from screens and time with their own imaginations. Books help kids dive into new worlds, imagine characters on their own, and learn patience.

  1. Books Last a Lifetime

A book will last a lifetime while a toy or article of clothing will eventually be discarded or outgrown. A book can always stay on a bookshelf and be passed down from generation to generation. Every time they refer to the book that you gave them, they will remember who gave it to them, and the times they enjoyed the story. Special books can even work their way into family traditions.

3. They are Easy to Wrap

Book lovers love pretty things, well thought out packages, and the details. Make your packages stand out with nice wrapping paper and ribbon. Take that extra step to make your holiday gifts special. Books are so easy to wrap, unlike other odd shaped toys and appliances, making your Christmas wrapping chore easy and fun.

  1. Everyone Loves Them! 

Buying a book can be as simple as a click of the mouse. You wrap it, set it under the tree, and you are done! You don’t have to worry about getting the wrong size, forgetting batteries, or hoping you got the right color. Once opened, a book is ready to use; no assembly required.

We hope you find giving books a new tradition for your friends and family. Because we feel so strongly about giving the gift of reading during the Holidays, we are offering a %60 discount on The Day We Rode the Rainbow!

How to Foster Creativity in Your Kids

shutterstock_109715168While some kids tend to express creativity easily and on their own more than others, every child as the ability to be creative! Many assume that creativity is something kids are born with and either have or don’t. While every child is unique, creativity is actually more a skill than a talent and with the help of parents, kids can develop creativity.

Creativity is important for health and happiness and a core skill to practice with kids. And creativity is not limited to painting, singing, or dancing- it also has to do with science, math, social, and emotional intelligence. Creativity plays a role in problem solving and flexibility, which helps children learn coping skills.

Here are some tips to on how to foster creativity in your kids:

1. Provide the resources
Providing your kids with time to have imaginative playtime is the best resource you can give. Unstructured time without adult direction is a great way to allow them to let loose and be creative. Provide them with a play place inside or outside, that they can use without worrying about making messes. Give them the tools they need like art supplies, costumes, disposable cameras, safe building materials, etc. Think outside of the box!
2. Celebrate creativity and new ideas
Set examples with art in your home made by different people. Tell your kids all about your favorite paintings, musicians, songs, and scientists. Share your passion for hobbies with them whether it’s scrapbooking, drumming, photography or whatever interests you at the moment. Remember to embrace new technologies like fun apps or social media so your kids grow to find change exciting, and not overwhelming.
3. Encourage kids to read for fun
Limit TV and other screen time to make room for reading. Encouraging your children to read at an early age has many benefits and one is enchaining their creativity development. Have fun books around the house with colors, textures, and activities.
4. Have them participate in artistic activities
Encourage them to put on a play, a puppet show, or a fashion show for you. Kids love putting together performances and showing off their new skills. Encourage this behavior and invite their friends over to play together. You can get involved with some of the planning and help them find costume materials, print off scripts, and hang a curtain for their show, but let them be the director!

Getting creative with your kids will be fun for you too; maybe you’ll even feel like a kid again!

The Benefits of Reading to Your Kids

Reading to your kidsReading with your kids is a wonderful bonding experience for the whole family. On top of the sentimental and learning value, more and more studies are proving how beneficial reading is for a child’s development.

Reading with your kid’s is also beneficial for parents, as busy families may not actually have time to read on their own. Reading has a ton of benefits for everyone!  Here are just a few examples.

Children’s Benefits of Reading:

 1. Boosted Self Esteem

When children read at a young age they increase their knowledge of vocabulary which helps them better communicate to their peers, teachers, and other adults. When someone knows how to communicate well they often have a strong self-image, sense of confidence, and do better in school. This confidence helps them build self-esteem.

 2. Academic Success

Reading early to your child opens the door to early academic success. When children learn to read they have greater knowledge, expanded vocabulary and become more fluent readers. They also have a better ability to focus. Early readers can recognize a larger number of words by sight, which enables them to learn quickly about the world around them.

3. Developed Imagination

When we read our brains translate the descriptions of people, places, and things into images in our minds. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re also imagining the characters emotions, intentions, and morals. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation and put ourselves into the story. A child’s imagination really flies when they are reading a book.

4. Social Skills

Children have social awareness at a very young age. The few children in kindergarten that can read may receive awards and certificates, be called upon to choose books, or read out loud. In some schools, they may even be asked to help other children in the class, who may still be struggling. Therefore, early readers have the advantage in the classroom by being able to relate to their peers on a confident level.

Benefits for Adults:

1. Mental Stimulation

It’s important to keep your brain active, just like any other muscle in the body. If you don’t have time to pick up a book on your own, reading a short book to your kid can mentally stimulate you too!

2. Reduces Stress

Dive into a great story with your child and watch the stress of a long day melt away. Stores keep you present in the moment and can distract you from your worries. Cuddle up with your kiddo before bedtime and read them an uplifting story to help yourself relax.

3. Memory Improvement

When you read a book, you have to remember many characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, as well as the various themes and sub-plots that weave their way through every story.  This is especially important when reading to your child because they will ask you a lot of questions about the story! Keeping in tune with the story and remembering not only the character but the plot, and the voices you use every time you read the book is a great exercise for your brain!

4. Improved Focus

With the internet and technology, we are so distracted– all the time! When we read,  all of our attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just disappears and we can focus on the small details of the book. Giving your undivided attention to the story can help improve attention and focus.

So there you have it – the many benefits of reading to your kids!

Using The Day We Rode The Rainbow In the Classroom

reading the bookThe Day We Rode the Rainbow story is a wonderful tool for teaching compassion, self-esteem and acceptance to children in the classroom or at home. Teachers, parents and students can integrate the book into their learning experience through activities, story telling and discussion. A few schools recently picked up the book and used it in their classrooms. We love seeing schools incorporate this story into their lesson plans to learn together through reading.

A pre-school recently used the book for a complete week of lesson plans. They timed it with the start of the year, when they were learning the letter B, using Butterfly to kick off the theme. They built the story into the classroom culture on how to make everyone feel welcome and make friends with their classmates.

The Day We Rode The Rainbow Lesson plans integrate the following subjects into an engaging, stimulating and fun educational experience:

  • Reading
  • Math
  • Science
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Language Arts

These learning categories are incorporated throughout the week all while teaching valuable lessons of self-confidence and acceptance.

The goal of this lesson plan is to incorporate feelings of respect and welcoming into our first week of class with new students. Throughout the children were encouraged to identify and use words that would help make their friends feel at ease and happy. They also were encouraged to identify the actions and emotions that make them feel good about themselves.

The lessons started with the teacher reading the story of the The Day We Rode The Rainbow to the class. Students were asked questions throughout the story about feelings, emotions, and self esteem. After the teacher promoted the students to think about ‘How can we make our friends feel welcome/happy?

Activities throughout the week centered on this main question. Below are activities that the classroom included in the week and you can choose which ones are right for your classroom or your kids at home:

Art Project:  Students color in a picture of Basil, the main character. This gives the student’s an opportunity to either reflect on the book and how the butterfly looked to them, or express their own creativity.

Craft:  Students will make a picture of a butterfly using their handprints and other decorations to make their unique butterfly. Again at this time, students will be encouraged to complement each other on their work.

Snack:  Students will make a colorful butterfly using a plastic bag, colorful cereal, and clothespins. This is also a fun activity to do at home with your kids after school.

Science:  The class will make a cyclical diagram describing the stages of a butterfly’s life.

Social Studies:  Students can learn and see where butterflies migrate by reading books and using a map of the United States.

Reading/Writing: The class can make a Venn diagram to compare the story Elmer by David McKee with the story we read. The students can find the similarities and the differences between two stories. This can be done using hula-hoops and jotting down the differences and similarities on post-it notes to put in the correct position.


How to include The Day We Rode the Rainbow in your classroom

Teachers, want to see how The Day We Rode The Rainbow can be integrated into your classroom or at home with your children? Get an exclusive coupon code for educators, and download these free lesson plans:

You can pick and choose parts you like or add on your own to fit your teaching style and lesson plans. Share photos of your activities with us on facebook! We can’t wait to see how you use the story.

Art Project for Kids to Build Self Esteem

Art projects for kids are a great way to build their self esteem. Spending time with your kids being creative together is important for learning in areas like art, music, social studies, and more. Not only can it create a memory of fun family bonding, or something to do on a rain day, but it also can help kids develop creative thinking skills and confidence. Crafting allows kids to explore ideas, express themselves, and have fun. Art projects can give parents and children a way to explore issues of self-esteem while using self-expression skills. Think of this as a fun way to teach a valuable lesson!

An easy, confidence building and craft for the entire family to do with your kids is making personal silhouettes. This quick craft can be done with little time and effort and is perfect for a rainy day when you are stuck indoors. It can be done with friends, family, or at school. With the addition of a frame, these silhouettes also make a great gift, straight from the heart.

Age range: 5 – 12 years

Time required: 30 minutes

Instructions:

Materials Needs:

  • Flash light
  • Colored paper
  • Stickers, markers, or creative supplies of choice
  • Scissors

Tape a large piece of white or colorful construction paper to the wall. Have the child stand or sit sideways next to the paper. Turn the lights down in the room and shine the flashlight on them so their profile is shadowed on the paper. Trace the shadow in black or their favorite color.

Cut out the profile together and mount it on contrasting piece of paper. Color in the shape with all the things that make them special. Your kid can cut out magazine pictures, use stickers, or word phrases. Does your child love unicorns? Do they love to sing? Are they entranced by the natural world? Put all of these feelings and ideas into your art project using stickers or drawing pictures. For more visual interest, play with items of varying textures. Feathers can be used to make butterfly wings or flowers. Aluminum foil can be used for a shiny effect. A little glue and glitter can make the project sparkle and shine, just like your heart whenever your child walks into the room. As you use these different ideas and materials, take the time to explain how special your child is and how unique they are. They are a true work of art.

Encourage your child to describe the thoughts behind their art choices too. This is a chance for your child to express him or herself! More importantly, this is a great way to teach your child how to verbalize and portray complex thoughts like emotions or character traits. It is also a great way to showcase the special parts of them and build their self-esteem. When you are done you can hang it up or give as a gift.

We think this art project is a fun and creative way to highlight the wonderful things about your little one. We would love to see your works of art, so please share your masterpieces on our Facebook page! We can’t wait to see them.

5 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Love Reading

Parent with son and book. Encourage your child to love reading.

Helping your child enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Reading skills are critical in childhood development, and with technology, sadly many of today’s kids don’t care about reading. Getting your kids to love reading, or to read at all, can be a challenge, but with quality books and a few tips, it doesn’t have to be that difficult.

Since kids read a lot in school, some tend to associate books with work. Since reading isn’t a pleasure for them, they quickly lose their desire to read. By making reading a fun activity you do at home; your children can also associate books as a positive in their lives.

5 Tips to Encourage Your Child to Love Reading:

 1. Read out loud to your kids

One of the most effective ways to encourage your kids to love books is to read aloud to them. The earlier you start the better, even   a baby can see pictures, listen to your voice, and turn pages. Make this time together special and fun. This benefits you too, as it offers a calm moment of the day where you can spend time with your child and sit down for a while. Reading out loud will also enhance their vocabulary,  as many picture books have rich language and more sophisticated words. Even after your child begins to learn to read, continue reading aloud to them. Keep things happy and light and read together as long as you are both enjoying it.

2. Select Quality Reading Material

Have quality-reading material in your home for your children to view as they please. Keep newspapers, magazines, and books around. Remember the library is stocked with free books, check out a few different ones every few weeks and keep those in your kid’s room. That brings me to our next tip…

3.Visit the Library

Your neighborhood library should be a haven for you and the kids to explore. The children’s librarian is trained to help you locate books and can help you find the perfect ones for reading out loud, ones that fit your children’s ages, and topics they are interested in. Look through any books at your library until you find ones that appeal to you and your kids. Some libraries even have contests that kids can participate in, especially during the summer. They encourage kids to read a certain amount of books and collect prizes. Get your child a library card and you open up a whole new world of books and learning.

 4. Be a role model

Let your children see you enjoying books and magazines. Don’t reserve reading time for only when they have gone to bed, read in the living room while they are playing so they can see. It’s important for boys to see other males reading as well, as boys sometimes associate reading as a ‘girl’ activity.

5. Talk about it

There is more to books and reading than the actual words. When you put the book down, keep the conversation going. Talk about the characters and their actions. Ask about their favorite and least favorite part of the book. Also talk to your child about books you have read and book topics they might enjoy. If your child loves a certain series or author, have them write a letter to the author. If your child is already really into reading, encourage this more by having them join a book club.

Helping your child to love reading should be a fun, bonding activity. We hope these 5 tips will make it easy for you to encourage your children to read.

What are your tips to encourage kids to read?