Reading and Writing

Reading, Writing, and Language Early Learning Activities

Children’s Books About the Olympics and Medals for Reading

importance of reading to kidsOne way to get in the spirit of the Games is to share children’s books about the Olympics and win a medal for reading-well, listening to adults read.

Kids ask questions and while we watch the Games, they will want to know why. There are lots of books for older kids, but not many for the preschool crowd.

children's books about the OlympicsG is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet has 2 sections of text for each letter. One part is shorter, rhyming text for younger listeners and the other part is more detailed paragraphs for more advanced readers. There’s lots of information in the text and in the illustrations.
children's books about the OlympicsOlympig by Victoria Jamieson is quite unexpected. Boomer, the pig, enters many of the events at the Olympics. His performance doesn’t match his expectations and he keeps losing. He keeps trying though. After several losses, his discouragement mounts and he quits in frustration. His mother isn’t embarrassed; she’s proud of him for trying. Boomer tries again and this time has a much different reaction even if it’s the same result.

children's books about the OlympicsOne of the children’s books about the Olympics with lots of answers and pictures is no longer in print but you might be able to find it at the library. B.G. Hennessy uses simple text in most of the book, Olympics, such as “Runners are running. Jumpers are jumping. Throwers are throwing. Swimmers are swimming laps.” Unfortunately, it’s not an easy book to find.

Whether you read these particular books or not, isn’t important. What matters is reading. Does your child have an interest in a particular sport or activity? Look for a book about that to share with your child. Following is a previous post about having your very own Reading Olympics:

One of the most powerful activities that you can do at home to help develop your child’s kindergarten readiness is to read books and share stories.  How about a Reading Olympics? Each day set aside a few minutes to either read to your child or tell a story. To earn a gold medal, read 3 times every day.  A silver medal is two books or stories and a bronze would be one book a day.

To make a medal, a juice can lid is just about the right size. Trace around it on some paper and let your child use paint or crayons to color it. Sometimes grownup hands need to help with the cutting. You can decide if there’s a medal for each day that you read, or just one for the week.

children's books about the Olympics

Reading encourages all kinds of brain connections for using language and thinking. Children who have been read to at home will have an astonishing total of about 5000 books by the time they start school. That sounds impossible but 3 books a day is more than one thousand in a year. Just think of how those few minutes a day can add up to a tremendous amount of brain stimulation for a child. Can you and your child have some gold-medal fun and learning?

Space Activities #6: Children’s Space Books

Children’s space books are almost as numerous as the stars in the sky! Space is a really popular theme for children’s books.

children's space booksThere are wonderful picture books about space with amazing photographs and illustrations. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine Hughes and David Aguilar is one of these. It answers basic questions kids have about space so we don’t need to have all the answers. The book is divided into chapters that are relevant for kids. The first one is Looking Up From Earth. The next is Earth’s Neighborhood, followed by Earth’s Other Neighbors and Far, Far Away. The last section is on Exploring Space. Who knows what discoveries will happen in our children’s lifetime? The page on gravity invites kids to jump 5 times in a row to show gravity works every time.

children's space booksNot written by Dr Seuss himself, There’s No Place Like Space by Tish Rabe and Aristides Ruiz, features the Cat in the Hat. Familiar rhyming text takes kids “off to have fun. We’ll visit the planets, the stars, and the sun!” Wonder if the Cat in the Hat has packed any Green Eggs and Ham in case he gets hungry in space?


children's space booksJoey and Jet in Space, text and pictures by James Yang, is a simple story with only a few words but there’s lots to explore. Almost like a Richard Scary book, rockets and spaceships come in a tremendous variety of shapes and colors. Joey not only goes on a journey to space, he’s on the lookout for his pet. Of course, kids would take along their pet.

children's space booksSam Garton’s Otter character also takes along her pet, Teddy, in Otter In Space. Otter’s trip starts out with a visit to a museum where she sees “old paintings, made before crayons were invented.” But her discoveries do not end there. Just like parents, Otter Keeper won’t buy her everything she wants in the gift shop. With some imagination and creativity, she solves her quest to travel to outer space.

children's space booksOf course, any pile of children’s space books needs one for blasting off. On the Launch Pad: A Counting Book about Rockets,  by Michael Dahl does just that. After hearing it a few times, kids will be able to ‘read’ this by themselves.

Any out-of-this-world adventures with books for your child?

Space Activities #3: Nursery Rhymes and Language Learning for Kids

Today’s play-of-the-day, nursery rhymes language learning for kids, is inspired by the photos the space probe Juno is sending back of Jupiter’s moons. Since there are 4 of them, would kids on Jupiter have to add a few words?

nursery rhymes language learningHey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon, and the moon, and the moon, and the moon.

The little dog laughed to see such sport and
The dish ran away with the fork, and the knife, and the cup, and the spoon.

Nursery rhymes are special packages of language. They are based on repetition and words that rhyme. Learning any language is a huge challenge for children and takes years. Listening to and saying nursery rhymes helps the brain connect to the patterns and the rhythm that are part of a language.

The ideas in a nursery rhymes are often quite silly. Who has ever heard of a cow jumping over the moon? These bits of nonsense capture attention and encourage really listening. What else might happen? When we read about dishes running away with spoons kids create pictures in their mind. This is called visualizing and is a valuable thinking and information processing strategy.

Do you remember any nursery rhymes? Besides Hey Diddle Diddle, there’s Jack and Jill, Little Boy Blue, Little Bo Peep, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hickory Dickory Dock, Humpty Dumpty, Jack Be Nimble, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and dozens more. There are many Mother Goose books and resources on line too. Choose a few and share them with your child. You can change the names of the characters, such as Jack and Jill to the name of your child and a brother, sister, or friend to make it more personal.

space activities for kidsWhile not as old as space, nursery rhymes have been around for hundreds of years. Maybe it’s time for some newer ones.

Jack and Jill went to space,
To check on other planets.
They found some rocks and moons and rings,
And plenty of very hot gases.

What ones can you and your child add for nursery rhymes language learning?

Transportation Play Activities #1: Transportation Books for Kids

Children have all different kinds of interests. We can support kids by finding books they like. Here are some great transportation books for kids. One of the favorite transportation books for kids of a whole range of ages is Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Did you know this was published in … Continue reading Transportation Play Activities #1: Transportation Books for Kids

Bubble Fun and Learning #19: Alphabet Bubbles

After a busy weekend camping, Little Sister seemed played out. With colored felts, she had some quiet fun doing alphabet bubbles. When it comes to kids being ready for school, many parents and caregivers ask, “Does my child need to know the alphabet before kindergarten?” The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. Having some … Continue reading Bubble Fun and Learning #19: Alphabet Bubbles

Bubble Activities #7:  Children’s Books about Bubbles

Would it surprise you to know there are some wonderful children’s stories and books about bubbles? And not just the kind in the bathtub. The Bubble Factory by Tomie de Paola tells the story of a girl and boy, twins, who visit the factory where their grandpa used to work. What would workers in a … Continue reading Bubble Activities #7:  Children’s Books about Bubbles

Word Play for Kids = Fun and Exercise for Brains

Celebrate Dr. Seuss with Word Play Fun For a play-of-the-day, how about some word play for kids, a la Dr. Seuss? Books written by Dr. Seuss have been loved for decades. They are full of fun and play, especially word play. What a great way to celebrate Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss stories have wonderful rhymes. … Continue reading Word Play for Kids = Fun and Exercise for Brains

Star Wars Storytelling for Kids

Today’s blog post, Star Wars Storytelling for Kids, is brought to you by the famous Google Doodle, which is another story. This doodle is for Charles Perrault, the writer of some well-known fairy stories. Why would a storyteller deserve a day? Another question could be why these stories have been popular for centuries in the … Continue reading Star Wars Storytelling for Kids