Storybook Bingo + more activities for early readers

The following post is by contributor Mariah Bruehl of.

For those of us who have young, emerging readers in our lives, we know that it is a fine line between the euphoria of sweet success and the frustration that can easily come and overtake them. It is these ups and downs that are the reason why the reading process should stay light and fun. There is no better way to make learning to read fun and playful, than by engaging in simple games with your child.

Storybook bingo

Storybook bingo is a great way to encourage word recognition. It is the perfect activity for children who are beginning to recognize  simple words and who have strong letter-to-sound recognition. The inspiration for this game came from No Time for Flashcards, which is my go-to resource for .

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Family art night

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

At our house, we have a long-standing family Friday Night Nest tradition: sometimes we watch movies, sometimes we play games, sometimes we read books, do puzzles, or grab some blankets and head outside to star gaze together.  Whatever we do, the important is that we do it together, our family, in our “nest.”

Now that the kids are a little bit older, and can be trusted not to eat crayons or tattoo themselves from head to toe with markers (well, for the most part), I wanted to start having a family art night.

My inspiration for a family art night

I love Amanda Soule’s books. They don’t often make it back to the bookshelf at our house because they are always out and in rotation.  Her blog, SouleMama, is a constant source of inspiration for me, too.

My inspiration for our Family Art Night comes directly from her Family Writing Club, which you can read about here.

“Fortunately, we don’t have to ‘teach’ our children to be creative – inherent in the very cores of children’s beings is the embodiment of creativity.  To think of something in a new way, to inquire about something that others don’t even question, to come up with something truly unique and new is what children do best.” – Amanda Soule

We had our first official meeting a few Fridays ago, gathering during our family Friday Night Nest time.  With all six Flecks around the kitchen table, though one of us was snoozin’ in the baby sling, we unleashed our inner artists for the evening.

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Weekend links

I am so pleased that Simple Kids contributor Amanda Morgan, of Not Just Cute, is going to be teaching an e-course on Parenting With Positive Guidance: Building Discipline from the Inside Out, beginning on September 12, 2012.

I’m going to be taking this course myself and am looking forward to the weekly videos and the discussion forums.

Amanda is generously offering a team discount – meaning that you can take the course with a partner for the price of one person.   Head over to Not Just Cute to learn more!

Wishing you a wonderful, lazy Sunday my friends. Enjoy the day!

Play, learn, and explore: September

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

As we wind down Summer and prepare to say “hello” to Fall days, here are a few ways to play, learn, and explore during the month of September.

Ways to play, learn, and explore in September

September fun:

September”s flower is the Aster.  The word “aster” comes from the ancient Greek for “star.”  Sometimes the aster is called the Michaelmas Daisy.  There are some activities and a poem for the Michaelmas Daisy at The Flower Fairies Official website.

While you and your kids are learning about Autumn flowers, why not try your hand at a few of these felt sunflowers from Living Crafts?

September”s birthstone is the sapphire. 1 1 1=1 has a great calendar connections set about geology this month that would be fun to go through day by day with your kids.

The wonderful Se7en has a free printable September calendar for you.

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How do you make educated parenting choices?

The following is by contributor Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

I am about to give birth to my fourth daughter, and I am realizing this time around that I have a completely different mindset on parenting. The processes I use to make educated parenting choices are quite different from when I was having my first and second child.

With my first two children, I remember being very stubborn, know-it-all, set in my ways, obsessive with research, and sometimes a bit too judgmental towards other parents. With the arrival of my fourth child, I feel much more relaxed, open, ready to learn, and more confident in myself and parenting choices.

Even though I fully realize I still don’t know entirely what I am doing and I don’t always know how to deal with these kids going in and out of new phases as they grow, I am always trying to keep up!

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