Art Activity Sites to Boost Literacy.

My  blogger friend and expert on activities for boosting literacy – GAIL TERP – has put together a wonderful post about using interactive art to develop and increase literacy in children of all ages.

Boost Literacy Skills with Interactive Art Activities: By Gail Terp

Here are some sites with art information and interactive art activities. There are many opportunities to learn and create. These sites are very engaging and being engaged boosts learning LOT!

from the US government site:
Includes 16 areas to explore for information and activities.

Interactive Art Websites for Children from Springdale Elementary School: http://www.princeton.k12.oh/us/Springdale.cfm?subpage=1577
Includes 6 sites for interactive art activities.

Art Games from Albright-Knox Art Gallery:
Included are games, learning activities, and interactive art activities.

The Artist’s Toolkit from Arts Connected :
Sections: Explore the Toolkit, See Artists in Action, and Encyclopedia. Lots to see, do, and learn!

45 Websites for Students To Create Original Artwork Online from Making Teachers Nerdy
The title says it all! This amazing site brings so many facets of art together in one spot.  Don’t miss it!:        gail photo

Many studies have shown that using art – and other left brain type activities – enhances learning and brain development in children and adults. So, give your child’s brain some exercise and try a few of these art sites.  Visit Gail at:


Back to School Tips

Here’s my blogger friend Gail Terp with some great tips for getting your kids in Back To School mode.

Back to School TipsSome kids are starting school this week; others will start within the next few weeks. After a summer of less structure, getting back into school mode can be a challenge. Here are a few tips for getting off to a good start.

 Establish a place to keep all school information.

  • Your child’s teacher(s) and contact information
  • Your child’s schedule
  • The school calendar
  • Documents such as report cards, immunizations, a behavior plan, Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), and any document you think you may want to refer to through the year

School Clothes

  • Inventory your child’s school clothes and discard/recycle mismatched socks, clothes that don’t fit, and clothes your child doesn’t like. Getting these things out of the way will streamline getting dressed for school
  • Consider setting out school clothes the night before. This can greatly help the morning preparations.

Morning Routine

  • Brainstorm with your child what needs to be done before he goes out the door in the morning. Things like getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth…
  • Write it down! In the morning, if your child needs reminders, all you need to do is have her check her routine card.
  • Build in a reward. Checklist completed? Brainstorm what can happen (watch TV, get points towards a reward, computer time…)
  • Launching Pad
  • Establish a place near the front door to collect all that needs to go out the door. Things like backpacks, lunch, shoes, jackets—whatever you don’t want to have to search the house for.
  • Homework
  • Set up a routine. This is a very individual thing. A routine is best if your child has input.
  • Consider when your child is freshest and most motivated. Right after school? After dinner? For some kids, the morning is a good time. It’s risky, of course, but it’s something to consider.
  • If possible, establish a dedicated homework area. This will need to reflect your child’s work style. Some kids do just fine in their rooms, others need to be where you can monitor their on-task behavior.

Along with my own experience, I used these sites to write this post. Please check out them out for more ideas.

Friendship Circle

Pragmatic Mom

Stress Free Kids

Here are 2 sites that have downloadable resources you may find helpful.

Reading Rockets

School Family

 Have a great start to the new school year!

Gail Terp

 About Me

I’m a retired teacher who has spent the last 30 years working with enthusiastic and reluctant readers. One of my top goals as a teacher was to connect kids with books they loved. It’s still my goal. My blog, Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read, is one way I use to reach it.

Summer Theatre for Children

My blogger friend Gail Terp:   came up with a wonderful list of books that have scripts for children to put on their own plays. So, for the budding actors in your family, check out some of these titles.

Books for Summer Drama Fun

Want to add a little drama to your summer days? Put on some plays! Your plays can be straight out of your head, ones someone else has written or a combination of both. Here are some books to get you started. In case your library system doesn’t carry some of these books, I’ve added the library call numbers so you can browse for summer drama.

12 Fabulously Funny Fairy Tale Plays by Justin McCory Martin

The author has taken well-known fairy tales and given them a new twist. The titles give a pretty good idea of what to expect: Spiderella, Rafunzel, The Emperor’s New Hair, Slurping Beauty and 7 more.

The Jumbo Book of Drama by Deborah Dunleavy, illustrated by Jane Kurisu

This book has many ideas to get your creative drama ideas started. There aren’t many scripts, just countless ideas for creating your own plays and other bits of drama. Some of the chapters are: Magic, Clowning Around (really fun ideas), Puppets and Puppetry, Comedy and Tragedy.

Fifty Fabulous Fables by Suzanne I Barchers

Did you know that Aesop was a slave in Greece and wrote his fables around 550 B.C.? That’s over 2,500 years ago! I love knowing this fact. This book is filled with fables that Aesop wrote, rewritten as short plays. The plays are written for 2-4 players and at 4 different reading levels.

On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids by Lisa Bany-Winters

Although there are a few scripts in this book, it is mostly filled with games and activities to get players thinking like actors and play-writers. There are all kinds of games that promote silly pretending, working together to create ideas, pantomime, creating characters, costume making and lots of others.

Putting on a Play by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender

This small book covers all aspects of play production (casting, scripts, makeup…) and then suggests different topics such as pirates, princesses, the circus, explorers… Each topic gives suggestions for costumes, props and 3 different storylines.



Great Books on Gardening For Children + More….

GAILTERP.COM published this wonderful post about gardening for children.  She has some great books and websites that will help you and your child get started on gardening.  

Grow Garden Grow! Gardening Books for Kids

Here in the northeast, gardens are being planned and have been 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 Gardenby 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.


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

School Garden Weekly: Instructional Activities for School Gardens




 Please visit Gail’s site for more posts about gardening as well as other great books and activities for children of all ages.

Say “Happy Valentine’s Day” With Hand-made Cards

My blogger friend Gail Terp is my guest this week with some excellent sites you and your children can visit for all things having to do with Valentine’s Day and card making. Visit Gail’s site for even more activities:   Here is her post:

Valentine’s Day is such a friendly holiday, isn’t it? Love, candy, cards… lots to like! And there are scads of ways to boost literacy skills. This week I’ll give suggestions for making cards and other crafty type things. Next week, I’ll suggest several ideas for other Valentine’s Day activities.CARDS: Many kids love making cards. Of course, all you really need is to just put out a bunch of paper, doilies, glue, glitter… But if you want some other ideas, here are several to get started.

First, you need to know how to easily cut out hearts.

eHow  Cutting Out Hearts   This video shows how to cut out hearts, plus shows some ideas of what to do with them.

Artists Helping Children  Magically Appearing Name Card   Ingenious!

Spoonful   Valentine’s Day Card Ideas  Several ideas.  Scratch and Win Card  I wish I’d thought of this! My students would have LOVED it!

Danielle’s Place   Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids  Cards, card holders and crafts

Ever wonder how I Love You is said in other languages? Just don’t ask me how to pronounce them!

Je t’aime French   Te amo Spanish   Wo ai ni Chinese (Mandarin)   Ik hou van jou Dutch

Ich liebe dich German   Ani ohev otach (male)    Ani ohevet otcha (female) Hebrew

Volim te Croatian  Ai shite masu Japanese, female speech

Ai shiteru yo Japanese, male speech  Mi amas vin Esperanto  Amo-te Portuguese  Jag älskar dig Swedish


Artists Helping Children  Woven Heart Basket  There are 2 versions given – difficult and easy.  Valentine’s Day Chocolate Bar Wrapper  A sweet idea…  Heart People  Consider adding speech bubbles!   Drawing and Making Animals Out of  Hearts  Definitely cute.Valentine’s Day Peas and Toothpick Heart and Arrow Craft   Odd, but looks fun!

Martha Stewart  Heart-Shaped Crafts  Click the arrows to see all 33 crafts – looks like lots of fun!

Do you have Valentine’s Day crafts that your family enjoys? Tell about them in the Comments Box!



Celebrate the New Year…Chinese Style!

While the start of the Chinese New Year begins on February 10th, there are all sorts of books, activities, and recipes you and your children can try to get into the spirit.  Since 2013 is the Year of The Snake, visit the reptile section of the zoo to get inspired.  You can take photos of the snakes on display and then draw pictures of your own in wild colors and shapes.  Read stories about snakes and make up some of your own. NickJr. has recipes for Chocolate Pumpkin Seeds, Chinese Lantern Cakes, and Candied Fruit, among many others.

Visit the International School in China to learn the customs and read about the holiday.

Finally, check out all the books, coloring pages, and activities to celebrate Chinese New Year at Gail Terp’s blog:

Christmas Stories for Kids of All Ages

My blogger friend Gail Terp has done it again.  She’s collected a sampling of some great books you can read or give as last minute gifts for the Christmas Holiday.  Check out all the titles she’s posted over the past two weeks and be inspired to read some great Christmas Stories.  Happy Reading!

Happy Hanukkah and More

If you are looking for some kid friendly activities, crafts, recipes and coloring pages celebrating Hanukkah, check out this web site: Best Blog For Kids Who Hate To Read hosted by Gail Terp.  I’ve mentioned her site before, but it can’t be beat when it comes to age appropriate activities for children, especially during the holidays.  is a great site for kids with disabilities.  It offers many activities and games using simple props such as bean bags.

Have a safe and healthy Holiday season and enjoy these wonderful websites.