Exciting Changes for Our Family!

You may have noticed that I haven’t been publishing as often as I’d like to over the last couple of months.¬†I have so many wonderful books and ideas to share! But with some upcoming changes in our family life, I wanted to announce that I will slowing down with the blog.

Last month, I accepted a full-time teaching position for the upcoming school year. I’m excited to return to teaching in the classroom! I believe that God has opened this door for our family. My daughters will be attending private preschool and my oldest is especially excited for that!

So this summer will be filled with lots of family time and preparations for the upcoming school year…. Hooray! I still hope to post on Sunshine Readers from time to time, but I’m not quite sure how often that will be. Please continue to stop by, or click on the button on the right to follow the blog so you receive an email notifying you of new posts.

Happy reading and happy summer! ūüôā

Mighty Dads

I believe that any time is a good time to show love and support for our dads and other wonderful male figures in our children’s lives. So when I saw the book¬†Mighty Dads¬†by Joan Holub at the library, I grabbed it!

Our oldest daughter has really loved reading Mighty Dads¬†– and it has stayed at home for three weeks now without being returned to the library. (Hmm, that’s a good reminder to me to either renew it or make sure it goes back this week to avoid a fine!) Our loving girl has read it several times with Daddy and countless times to herself. The book shows heavy construction equipment in father-child pairs who¬†work together, with the fathers striving to¬†“keep them safe and bolted tight and show them how to build things right.”

The text is endearing and the¬†illustrations are playful and bright.¬†And I think that our family has proven that it is a good read for boys or girls. ūüėČ

I got a kick out of¬†hearing my daughter say, “There’s little Roller!” when we passed a crew smoothing out a new road in our area. She was¬†referring to one of the characters in Mighty Dads,¬†connecting what she read in a book to the real world. She has also talked with me about the special things she does with her own dad and what he helps her to do.

You may also like this fabulous book about the relationship between mother and child.

Best Ages: pre-k to 1st grade

For Parents:

  • Discuss the fun activities your child enjoys doing with Dad (or another special male figure). Plan an outing with that person sometime soon! It doesn’t have to be extravagant: our girls like daddy-daughter dates to the local bookstore, park, library and ice cream parlor.
  • Make a “Mighty Dad” banner/poster and decorate it together. Hang it up somewhere in the house to surprise Dad when he comes home or put in the car so he will see it when he leaves in the morning. Include photos, handprints or little notes of love depending on the age and number of children at home.
  • Print out and play with this free matching game¬†for heavy equipment and trucks from Teachers Pay Teachers!

For Teachers:

  • After reading Mighty Dads, show photos of heavy equipment and ask students¬†to identify how the equipment works to build something.
  • Play the Get Working Song¬†from Terrific Trucks. It is rock-n-roll style with great¬†visuals of construction vehicles at work.
  • Set up a construction vehicle learning station. Include toy trucks, dress-up items such as hard hats¬†and this¬†free matching game from Teachers Pay Teachers (easily laminated for long-term use).

 

Experiencing Joy in Life Together

Our family loves to spend time together. We make memories in simple everyday moments, such as molding Play-Doh at the table, baking brownies for a friend who is coming for supper and going for a walk to the park. We also make memories in more extravagant planned outings to the zoo, trips to see extended family members or dear friends and more. In everything we do, my husband and I seek to enjoy the time we have with our children and each other.

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Our youngest daughter at the beach (last summer).

Isn’t it delightful that “joy” is a part of the word “enjoy”? We experience joy when we enjoy our time together, just having fun and¬†treasuring one another. We don’t simply do these things to pass the time but to really grow closer to one another and share in life together. No matter who is a part of your family, I encourage you today to look for a moment in which you can experience joy ¬†with your loved ones.

In¬†the book Beach House by Deanna Caswell, the author demonstrates the joy we gain as a family when we participate in activities and create memories as a family. The¬†family in this book is excited to go to their beach house and play on the beach all day. My husband and I don’t ever expect to own a second home, but we do have events and traditions that our family looks forward to, including an annual Family Camp that my dad’s side has had for over 30 years.

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In the hammock with Daddy at Family Camp.

Whatever your family enjoys doing to build memories while having fun, Beach House will bring back the warmth and nostalgia of your favorite family times (from growing up as a child or raising your own children). And hopefully,we will all come away from a book like this one will remind us to appreciate the beautiful moments in which we experience joy together in this life.

Best Ages: pre-k to 1st grade

For Parents:

  • Depending on the area where you live, plan¬†a family trip to the beach! Discuss what your family does at the beach compared to the family in the¬†book.
  • Create a mini photo album of your favorite family outings. Print out photos or create something digitally. Talk with your child about each photo and the memory it represents.

For Teachers:

  • Set up a beach station or sensory play area. If you have a sand table, pull it out! Otherwise include items such as pails, shovels, sea creature toys, towels, sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, picnic basket or cooler. Allow students to interact with the items and talk about them in small groups.
  • As a class, brainstorm the various activities we do with our family and friends to have fun. Afterward, allow students to draw a picture of a time they went to the beach or did something else fun with their family or friends.

 

Linking Up today at: modestmomblog

 

Mom and Me

Books about the precious relationship between a mother and her child are always sweet. Mom and Me by Marla Stewart Konrad is extra special because of its beautiful photos of mothers from around the world that expose children to other cultures while showing that all people have a foundational and valuable tie to their mothers (whether those in mother roles are biologically related or not). The simple text in Mom and Me is ideal for a read-aloud with little ones or as practice for an early reader.

As a side note, the book is published by the non-profit organization World Vision. World Vision provides global relief aid and facilitates child sponsorships that allow children in extreme poverty to have proper access to medical, educational and other resources. They have a 3-star rating with Charity Navigator with a 100% score on transparency and accountability and are an Accredited Charity through the Better Business Bureau. From the time I was in 7th Grade until college, I sponsored a child in Guatemala using some of my babysitting money. It was an amazing experience for me to correspond with this young girl and watch her grow and develop until she finished her schooling and was able to get a sustainable job in her village. For more information about World Vision and child sponsorship, visit their website.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For Parents:

  • After reading¬†Mom and Me, discuss with your child which activities you do with your child that you saw in the book. Are there special things you do together that you would add?
  • One of the things the book touches on is helping Mom. Find something to do tighter today and allow your child to help you. It could be baking, dusting or putting laundry in the washer/dryer, setting the table for a meal, etc. Relax and enjoy the time together!

For Teachers:

  • As a pre-reading activity, ask your students what activities they do with their mothers or caregivers. What is special about their mom?
  • After reading¬†Mom and Me, have students draw a picture (write a sentence if they are able to) about what they enjoy doing with their mothers.