Get ready for Easter with these cute ideas! Countdown the days until the Easter Bunny comes with some fun activities- check out that natural dye kit that comes complete with grass seed (grow the grass to display the finished eggs) for a fun project, play dress up, or enjoy some reading around the theme of Easter (Peter Rabbit is a favourite classic, but there are lots of other books to choose from- see below for some more ideas). Whether you love the classics or want to go for a twist (how cute is that unicorn basket?), there are so many great options out there! View Post
Earth Day is just a few days away (April 22) so I thought it would be the perfect time to share about some nature- inspired books and a fun and edible activity to make with your kids inspired by one of my favourite children’s authors. We discovered Dianna Hutts Aston’s books at our local library this past Winter and have since added them to our book collection at home. Our favourites include A Butterfly is Patient, A Beetle is Shy, and A Rock is Lively, (this last book was the inspiration for today’s activity). Her books are educational, teaching kids about nature with beautiful illustrations by Sylvia Long- scroll to the end of the post to see photos of these books- and are a great way to get kids interested in animals, bugs, and other elements of nature.
I remember loving the illustrations of agate and other rocks when I came across A Rock is Lively and that I’d love to find a project to go along with it. So I had a scroll through Pinterest and found way too many beautiful agate crafts, but I wanted something that Ari could participate in. Then I came across the idea for making agate lollipops out of hard candy and thought it would be perfect. Ari helped pick out the candy at the grocery store and loved sampling the sweets as I got everything ready. When it came time to making the agate designs she also got to help sprinkle the crushed candy and loved seeing it melt in the oven. While she’s still a little young to understand the finer details of how rocks are made, this would be a great opportunity to teach older kids about different kinds of rocks, what they’re used for, and how they form (Aston’s book is perfect to have on hand for this). I think these turned out great for a first attempt and I’d love to try making them again to perfect the designs a little more. See below for the materials and how- to. How will you teach your kids about Earth Day?
– various hard candy in your choice of colours, plus some white and clear (I also bought gummy candy to try and opted to skip it)
– parchment paper
– baking sheet
– rolling pin or other heavy item to crush candy
– Optional: lollipop sticks (I found mine were too think to make into lollipops, but this would be such a cute idea if you could get yours thick enough)
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and pick out which colours you want to use (tip: look up pictures of agate slices online to help guide your designs)
2. Cut out agate slice shapes from parchment paper cutting them out a little bigger than the size you’d like. Then make 1/2″ snips around the edge and fold up to create a rim around the shape. If you’d like a hole in the middle, poke a hole through the parchment and repeat the process on the inside edge.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your cut outs on top. In case any of the candy melts through your shapes this will protect your baking sheets and make clean up much easier.
4. Line up the candy you want to use between two pieces of parchment paper (mine ended up with some holes from the candy as I crushed it, so maybe double- up the parchment or place inside a ziploc bag to avoid making a sticky mess)
5. When the candy is crushed, sprinkle it in the parchment cutouts in the designs you’d like and bake in an oven for approx 10 minutes or until the candy has all melted. I checked the candy every few minutes to avoid having it discolour/ burn.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. You can use a wooden skewar to swirl the melted candy to change the designs a little before the candy cools completely
7. Remove from the parchment paper and enjoy!
I found the edges were a little rough on mine, so I’ll snip around the edges a little closer next time to avoid having sharp folds in the paper that led to this. If you try this I’d love to hear how yours turned out!
And here are the 3 books I mentioned at the beginning of the post with photos of my favourite pages, the illustrations are really amazing and colourful. I enjoy reading these books as much as Ari and am hoping to add a few more by Dianna Hutts Aston to our home library later this year. All 3 titles are available through Raincoast Books.
Who remembers this classic from their own childhood? It’s one of those stories that appeals to all ages- kids and adults alike- and was recently made into an animated movie. The story tells of a little prince who has arrived on Earth after meeting some interesting characters on his travels, each with their own lesson that the reader can interpret based on their own life experiences. To celebrate this book being adapted for film, several versions of this classic have been released and in Part 3 of my series with Raincoast Books I’m sharing a little about two of the four new releases and have a chance for you to win one to add to your at- home library plus a colouring book featuring artwork from the story. Here’s a little bit about the two versions we’ve been enjoying. Scroll to the end of the post to enter the giveaway.
The Little Prince Family Storybook is the full- length version of this classic with original text and illustrations from the film animators. This story is a great reminder of what is really important in life.
The Little Prince Read Aloud Storybook is a shorter adaptation of the story, designed to help young readers discover the magic of The Little Prince. It’s a condensed version of the classic featuring illustrations from the film.
To see other current and upcoming titles available through Raincoast books, visit their website.
You can find lots of great titles published by Raincoast Books at Chapters Indigo
This is the last chance to win with Raincoast Books, so don’t miss out!
Enter below for your chance to win your choice of the four The Little Prince versions plus a The Little Prince colouring book from Raincoast Books
Spring Break is just around the corner and if you’re going to have youngsters home from school it never hurts to have a few ideas up your sleeve to keep them busy. Or if you’re like me and your kids aren’t in school yet, it’s nice to have activities that are fun to do together and suitable for independent play time (perfect for when your kids no longer nap, but you have to check off some things from your to do list during the day).
I’ve teamed up with Raincoast Books on a series of posts to share about some great books to add to your reading list plus some of the fun games and activities they offer (check out some great books by Herve Tullet we love in this post); there’s also a chance for readers to win some of the books and products featured on the blog. This week I’ve sharing about some of their fun ideas for Spring Break, with a giveaway to win one of the products featured in their #PlayTestShare series. To see all of the activities Raincoast books has available in this series, click here for some great ideas and scroll to the end of this post to enter the giveaway.
ABC Word Play is a board book that makes learning the alphabet and how to spell fun and interactive. Simply pop out the neon letters and let your child do the rest. I like that you can build a few activities based on your child’s age out of this one simple book. It’s also the perfect size to tuck into a backpack or diaper bag as an on- the- go activity (great to pass the time at things like appointments or at restaurants). Use it:
– as a puzzle book and have your kids go page by page to put the letters back where they belong
– to teach them the alphabet
– for letter recognition
– to learn about vowels
– to recognize and spell words in the book
– to teach them how to read and pronounce different vowel sounds
– to test their spelling with the words in the book (they could use the neon letters to spell the words as you read them)
To the Moon is one heck of a colouring book. When it’s completely unfolded it’s 15 feet long (the longest colouring book in the world!) and kids- and adults- of all ages will have a blast colouring the changing scenery as the pictures build from Earth to the moon. You can keep it compact for colouring inside/ in small spaces and unfold it as you go or do what we did and take it outside to unfold the whole thing.
Growing up I loved reading and I now love cracking open the pages of a book with my own kids. Story time is something we try to make time for everyday and it’s fun revisiting favourites from when I was a kid and finding new books to love, like these ones by Herve Tullet. In the next few months I’ll be teaming up with Raincoast Books to share about some great titles to add to your little one’s library, with a few contests for you to have the chance to win some of the books featured. The first books that I’m sharing about are 3 that make reading fun and interactive, encouraging young readers to not just read or listen to the words, but to participate in what’s written on the pages, Let’s Play, Mix It Up, and Press Here. If you’re looking for some fun new books to add to your collection, see below to learn a little more about these great titles and how you can enter to win all 3 for your little one.
I want to start ff by saying that when a package arrives in the mail, Ari gets excited. Really excited. Even if it’s not for her. But in this case it was, and when she saw that there were books inside, her eyes lit up. I couldn’t wait to read these books with her and we have such a blast when we do- there’s laughing and clapping, and bouncing, and excitement as we turn each page. Reading can be a quiet and calm activity, but it can also be a lot of fun and an opportunity for learning and to encourage participation. These books do just that and I hope you’ll check them out (you can also enter to win all 3 at the end of this post!). Here’s a little bit about each book…
Press Here- I heard about this book some time ago and remember it standing out among others at the store. Like the title suggests, you begin by pressing here and following funny instructions to make coloured dots do different things by pressing on them, tilting the book, and clapping, among other things. It’s a fun way to teach kids how to follow instructions, learn about colours, and differentiate between left and right without it feeling too formal or instructive.
Mix It Up- If you can’t guess by the cover and title, this book’s all about colour and what happens when you do different things to them, like adding black or white, or combining two colours to get another. Readers tilt the pages, close the book, and touch different colours to transform them. Like Press Here it’s a fun and natural way for your kids to learn something without it feeling forced.
Let’s Play- By the time we got to this book, we had a pretty good idea of what we’d be in for- fun! This book begins with a yellow dot (is it the same one from Press Here?) talking to it’s young readers: ‘Hey there! I’m getting pretty bored in here. Wanna play?’. And so the story/ adventure begins. Like the other two books, there are fun instructions to follow, but we really didn’t know what to expect as we turned each page, which made it fun for me as well. Like his other books, Tullet gets his young readers involved, and what’s kind of amazing about Let’s Play is that the whole story is based around a yellow dot and a thin black line. I’ll leave it there so I don’t spoil it for you.
What I love most about these books is how fun they are- both for kids and adults. Ari has the biggest smile on her face when we read them, and the laughs are contagious. The bright colours make these books eye- catching and appealing to read, with the interactive pages making readers part of the story. Herve Tullet has a unique style of storytelling and his books are a fun way to mix up story time and make it more interactive. These books are light- hearted and funny and silly, with the added bonus of making learning fun (see below for the finger painting fun inspired by Mix It Up). We love them and I think you will too. They’re available at Indigo or see the end of this post for your chance to win all 3!
A big thank you to Raincoast Books for these 3 great books to add to our collection. To see other current and upcoming titles available through Raincoast books, visit their website.
You can also find them on social media: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter #RaincoastBooks
Herve Tullet is an award- winning author and illustrator, who has received international acclaim. His unique artwork guides children through his books, bringing them into the story and encouraging interaction. Press Here is an international best- seller and is available in 25 different languages.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
There will be 3 chances to win with Raincoast Books, see below for your other chances to win! Part 2: #PlayTestShare (Contest now closed)
Part 3: The Little Prince (Contest now closed)Open to Canadian residents only. Must be 18+ to enter. Deadline to enter for the Herve Tullet Books is March 11
CONTESTS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who entered.
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