Here are some fun gardening activities and online games. Enjoy!
Garden Crafts from Disney Family Fun
There are lots of crafting ideas here.
How to Make a Seed Bomb from KidsGardening
Looks like fun!
Garden Activities for Kids from TLC
This site has a long list of activities.
Gardening for Families, Friends & Fun from University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Bean tower, goard birdhouses, scavenger hunt…
Gardening Activities from KidActivities.net There are 2 pages with lots of activities.
Kid Zone Fun and Games from Gardening with Children
There are garden games and other science games, grouped by ages.
Bloomin’ Gardens from Learn4Good
This one takes some strategy
Dora’s Magical Garden from Nick Jr.
Plant seeds, water and watch the plants grow
Garden Swappers from Kidzpage
This is hard!
Hope these are fun for you!
In Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read, my goal is to connect kids with books. The best way to do this is to provide them with books about things they love (cars, horses, fairies...). Another way is to give kids experiences that create new loves.
Fostering kids’ interest in gardening is a great idea. It gets them outside and gives them experiences in watching their world grow. Growth is exciting!
Monday’s post, Grow Garden Grow, had lots of books about gardening. Although books are wonderful, gardening is so much more than books. Gardening is about doing, and waiting, and tending, and watching, and reaping the benefits of all your doing, waiting, tending and watching.
To get you started, I’ve listed a few ideas. These are followed by several websites for even more information. Let’s get growing!
The following tips came from Gardening with Kids from Organic Gardening. This site starts with a wonderful statement:
Turn digging in the dirt into a lifetime of love and respect
for nature with your children.
The following tips are for getting you started. Be sure to check the Organic Gardening site for more ideas. It also has recommendations for easy-to-grow plants.
Gardening with Children from Earth Easy
Garden Mosaics from the American Community Gardening Association
Rebel Tomato from the American Community Gardening Association
Ten Tips on Gardening with Kids from the American Community Gardening Association
Gardening with Kids from Gardening with Kids
Gardening with Children from the BBC
Stimulating Imagination in the Garden from Kids Gardening
My First Garden from the University of Illinois
I do hope you will consider some sort of garden with your kids. Please share your experiences in the Comments Box!
Here in the northeast, gardens are being planned and will soon be planted. Gardening is a GREAT family activity. There's research, engaging plans, the great outdoors, and all the lovely tending and harvesting. Here are some books to get you psyched!
First Peas to the Table by Susan Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Maya’s teacher announces that the class will have a gardening contest just like Thomas Jefferson – and the first student to grow enough peas to fill a bowl wins. Maya really wants to win and works hard to help her pea plants grow. This book has gardening, history and friendship.
It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona
This book carefully documents one school’s garden project. It covers the planning, planting, observing, harvesting and celebrating. There is a good balance between clear text and lots of photographs. Inspiring!
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
This is a wonderful book! Liam finds a scraggly garden growing on some unused train tracks. He isn’t much of a gardener but he learns over time. When the garden grows curious, it spreads to other areas, wherever it feels like. There is real magic in this book.
Grow Your Own Monsters by Nicola Davies and Simon Hickmott, illustrated by Scoular Anderson
So what kind of monster plants are they talking about? How about Venus Fly Trap (eats flies), Voodoo Lily (looks like a snake and smells like a corpse), Giant Echium (20 feet tall) and others. Careful directions are given.
The Garden Project by Margaret McNamara, illustrated by Mike Gordon
A first grade class at Robin Hill School converts their sandbox into a garden. They plant, water, weed, harvest and eat the plants in their garden. This is a Ready-to-Read Level 1 reader.
Gardening Projects for Kids by Jenny Hendy
This book has lots of information that’s clearly written and colorfully illustrated. It explains how to start your garden and gives projects for growing flowers, fruits, vegetables, plus other garden-related projects. It’s written for parents but kids could find lots to interest them.
Max’s Magic Seeds by Géraldine Elschner, illustrated by Jean-Pierre Corderoch
Max’s Uncle Bill gives him a sack of seeds, telling him to secretly drop them all over town. When the flowers start to bloom, everyone is delighted. Will they figure out who has been planting the seeds? This is a fun story with magical pictures.
A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards, illustrated by Anca Hariton
I’d never thought of this before but the title makes sense – a fruit is a suitcase for seeds! And the suitcases are so different – in size, shape, color and how they transport their seeds around.
Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
This book does an amazing job of showing lots of different food chains in clear and entertaining ways. It uses colorful illustrations, clear text, and speech bubbles to create an interesting and informative book.
The Sunflower House by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt
A boy plants sunflower seeds in a wide circle. When they grow, they create a perfect house for him and his friends. I want to try this!
Talia and the Rude Vegetables by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Francesca Assirelli
Talia’s grandmother sends her to the garden to pick root vegetables for a Rosh Hashanah stew. But Talia thinks she said “rude” vegetables. It’s funny how she decides which vegetables are rude. The recipe is included on the last page – looks good!
The Goodbye Cancer Garden by Janna Mattkies, illustrated by Kristi Valiant
When Janie and Jeffrey learn their mother has cancer, Janie suggests they plant a Goodbye Cancer Garden. The kids and their parents each choose 2 vegetables to plant and spend a long spring and summer tending the garden. This is a colorful and hopeful book about family and recovery.
A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Ashton, illustrated by Sylvia Long
I am a big fan of this series (An Egg is Quiet, A Rock is Lively…). This book shows many kinds of seeds, how they grow, and how they get around. The information is clearly presented and the illustrations dance.
Want more information about family gardening? Wednesday's post will have lots of tips!
Monday's book post had lots of books about money, fractions and measurement.
Money Games from Kids Math Games
Money Games from Practical Money Skills
Money Games from Kids.gov
Love “Design Your Own Bill”!
Fraction Games from Math Nook
Fraction Game for Kids from Science Kids
Pizza Party (fractions) from Primary Games
Fraction Games from Maths Games
Measurement Games from PBS Kids
Second Grade Measurements from Learning Games for Kids (other grades also available)
Measurement Games from GoGo Math Games
Looking for more math game sites? Click here for last week's links.
Last Wednesday’s Parent Post, Improving Reading Fluency, Part 1, began our investigation of reading fluency. This week’s post continues this topic, with a heavier tech slant.
The important thing to remember is whatever you choose to try, keep it light. I’d hate to think that anything I suggested detracts from your family fun!
As I’ve said before, I’m a big fan of audio books. They’re good for vocabulary development and increasing enjoyment of books. They’re also great for developing fluency. Some reasons and ways to use audio books:
People Reading Activity
Print the People Reading cards.
Click on the following links to print off these short phrases:
Reader 1 chooses a People card and a short fluency phrase card. She must read the short phrase to represent the person that was drawn. Take turns. Variation: players try to guess what People card the reader chose.
I love this idea! Check out Reading Resource for other ideas.
This site is not free, but is one I would have been interested in as a teacher and probably as a parent. I like games that help you practice skills and the sheer volume of games offered here appeals to me. I’d love to hear your take on this program if you try it out.
Resources used for this post:
Please share any fluency ideas you've tried!
Last Week's post, Go Figure! Math Books for Fun, had lots of books that showed the fun side of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Today's post is all about money, fractions, and measuring.
Follow the Money! by Loreen Leedy
A quarter starts out at the U.S. mint, where it was made. It ends up at a bank, where it was kept in a roll of quarters. A man buys the roll and uses it to buy groceries. From there, the quarter goes on many new adventures. This is a terrific look at a day in the life of a quarter.
Money Matters by Sean Callery (sorry, no link)
This book has all sorts of interesting information about money – its history, how it’s changed, ways to use it and other things. It’s broken into short chapters and has lots of pictures.
The Lion’s Share: A
Tale of Halving Cake and Eating It, Too by
A lion invites his friends for a special spring dinner. When it’s time for cake, the elephant takes half of it. Then the rhino takes half of that (1/4), and the gorilla takes half of that (1/8)… and so on. The ant is left with just crumbs, and nothing to share with the lion. She has a solution, but then the other animals add theirs. The illustrations of the rude animals are great.
Full House: An Invitation to Fractions by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Abby Carter
Miss Bloom runs the Strawberry Inn. She has 5 guest rooms, plus one for herself. As each guest comes in, there is a new fraction: first guest = 1/6, second guest = 2/6 and so on. The guests are interesting and there’s a strawberry cake to cut into fractions.
Whole-y Cow! Fractions are Fun by Taryn Souders, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
I am a little amazed by this book. It shows fractions and the whole is a perfectly clear and fun way. A cow is painted half blue, wears a red, white and blue swimsuit, eats ice cream, catches butterflies, and more. This is a beautifully written and illustrated book.
How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller
The king wants to give the queen a bed for her birthday. But how big should it be? The clever king figured out a way to measure that might have worked, but didn’t. How will the bed maker figure out how to solve the problem. This is an early reader book.
Super Sand Castle Saturday by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Julia Gorton
Three kids engage in a sand castle contest for the tallest tower, the deepest moat, and the longest wall. They figure out the winners but then discover they’d been measuring all wrong. This is a simple and summery introduction to standard measurement.
Mighty Maddie by Stuart J. Murphy
Maddie has to clean up her toys before her friends come to celebrate her birthday. She calls on her “Super Maddie” alter ego to get the job done. This is a basic story about weight – heavy, light, heavier, and lighter.
Counting on Frank by Rod Clement
Frank has a math mind and it’s going all the time. He doesn’t just think up math questions, he answers them. Like, How many Franks (his dog) would fit in his room? or How long would it take to fill the entire bathroom with water? (Don’t try this at home!) In the end there are math questions to consider yourself.
The Penny Pot by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by Lynne Cravath
Jessie is at the school fair and really wants to get her face painted. But instead of the 50 cents she needs, she has only 39 cents. No problem, the face painted asks anyone to add their extra pennies to the penny pot. This is a good story about counting money and being generous with your money.
This last book is not about money, fractions, or measuring but it’s quite clever and (warning) tricky!Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Michael Slack
A perfect book for poetry and math lovers! The author took famous poems (The Raven by Poe, Boa Constrictor by Silverstein, and 12 others) and switched them up into math riddles. Hard! Fun!
I'm sure to have left out one of your favorite books on money, gractions, and measuring. Please add it to the Comments Box!
This week’s math sites are for all kinds of math. Each site has a huge variety. Check them out!
Math Games from Kid Sites
Cool Math Games from Cool Math
Math Arcade from Fun Brain
Math Games from Math Playground
Math Games from PBS Kids
Looking for more math games? Check back next Friday for money, fractions and measurement games.
This week and next, I’m re-posting my 2 posts on reading fluency, with a few modifications. Fluency is an important topic and I think it’s worth visiting again.
What is Reading Fluency?
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, quickly and with confidence. It’s the ability to read phrases and sentences smoothly and quickly, and most importantly, with comprehension.
Why is Reading Fluency important?
As children become fluent readers, they begin to think less about the words and more about the meaning of the sentences they're reading. Fluent readers can respond to the material with emotion and thought. Without fluency, reading is a chore because so much effort goes into decoding (sounding out) each word. With that much effort, there’s little energy left for making meaning.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve fluency. Here are some suggestions. The important thing is to choose activities that your child wants to do or at least doesn’t mind (or fight) doing.
Model Fluent Reading
When you read aloud, read with as much expression as the story permits. No need to be over the top – unless that’s fun for you and your child. In my mind, goofy is good!
Many children enjoy reading, and hearing, the same story/book/poem over and over. This is a good thing – repeated readings and hearings builds in comfort and familiarity. Such familiarity reduces the need for decoding and allows better flow, and therefore, confidence.
Echo reading is when one reader reads a piece of text and a second reader echoes that same piece. This works really well with poems but other text can be used as well. I suggest you switch roles frequently so your child gets to be the first reader and you are the echoer.
Try reading together! Choose a piece of text and read it simultaneously together. Maybe even read it together for someone else.
See the post 9 Books for Summer Drama Fun for resources.
Coming up next Wednesday: Improving Reading Fluency Part 2
I enjoy math. There are lots of books that teach you how to get better at math. But those aren't the books I've included here. Today's books are more about seeing math as fun and interesting. You might learn something new with these books, but that’s just an added benefit.
Minnie’s Diner: A Multiplying Menu by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by John Manders
The McFay family goes to the barn to do their chores. But one by one, they head to Minnie’s Diner for something to eat. The youngest orders the special, which is a fair amount of food. But when each of his brothers orders, he orders double of the brother before. Great fun!
Ten Times Better by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Leonard Baskin (sorry, no link)
An elephant starts by boasting about its one trunk. A squid is not impressed: it has 10 tentacles – much better! All sorts of animals continue to boast about their best features: 6 legs (ant) vs. 60 teeth (crocodile), 8 eyes (tarantula) vs. 80 eyes (on its peacock feathers).
How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti, illustrated by Yancey Labat
This book is really big! Its cover is big and some of its pages are huge. Makes sense, since one of the pages has 1,000,000 jelly beans. Care to count them?
Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace by Eric Wright
Poor Frankie – he has to study for a math test over the weekend. But then fun things keep happening to keep him from studying. But were they just for fun? If you’d rather have math in games and real-life activities, you’ll like this graphic novel.
Breakfast at Danny’s Diner: A Book about Multiplication by Judith Bauer Stamper, illustrated by Chris Demarest
Twins Tina and Tony help out at their uncle's diner. They need to multiply to figure things out: setting tables, preparing orders, and doubling the ingredients for a pancake recipe. This book is part of the All Aboard Math Reader series (level 3). The pictures help make the problems even clearer. This is a good math-in-real-life book.
The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Peg and Cat love pie and solving problems. They go to a farm to have a perfect pie picnic with Pig. But what about the 100 chicks that just got loose from their coop? This is only sort of a math book but it is so fun, I had to include it!
How Much is a Million? by David M. Schwartz, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Have you ever wondered how long it would take to count to one million? How about how big of a goldfish bowl you’d need for one billion goldfish? Well, this book answers those questions and many more. You never know when you might need to know this stuff!
2 X 2 = Boo! A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories by Loreen Leedy
I know this is a Halloween book but it’s a really good multiplication book so I included it. Witches, cats, skeletons and bats figure out problems with multiplication. This comic-style book is fun and shows multiplication really well.
The Great Divide by Dayle Ann Dodds, illustrated by Tracy Mitchell
The race starts with 80 racers. The path splits and half fail to go on. But 40 do make it and go on until they have to divide and only 20 continue. The race proceeds with the racers dividing and dividing until the very end. If you are like me, you’ll have to go back to check who the winner was.
One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes, illustrated by Bonnie Mackain
One hundred hungry ants set off to raid a picnic, walking ant-style in a single line. The littlest ant complains they are too slow and tells them to form 2 lines of 50. The ants scramble to create the 2 lines and they march on. Until the littlest ant has another idea… And another…They finally get there but will there be anything to eat?
Missing Math by Loreen Leedy
All the numbers in town suddenly disappear and everyone discovers how much they depend on them. A detective investigates the mystery, hoping to restore numbers to their proper places on chalkboards, rulers, TV remotes, speed-limit signs, clocks, calendars, cookbooks, calculators, and computers… the list goes on. The number thief is found but why all the number-stealing?
Looking for math books about money? Fractions? Measurement? Then next Monday's post is for you!
Mother’s Day is in 9 days. Here are some games to play with your mom!
Mother's Day Games and Puzzles from DLTK
games puzzles, printables
Mother’s Day from Hello Kids
puzzles, games, links…
Mother’s Day from Squiggly’s Playhouse
coloring, games, quizzes
Mother’s Day Games from Primary Games
puzzles, word searches, matching
Games and Activities for Mother’s Day from A Kid’s Heart
games, puzzles, word search…
Hope you have fun!