Books to read- 15 of my favorite kids books

I love to read and it’s a skill/hobby I hope to pass down to my daughter. I hope someday she loves to get lost in a book, travel different places, and meet thousands of characters. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start reading to kids and even if I’m just reading a book aloud and she’s running around, at least she hears words. But here are 15 of my favorite kids books…

1. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (Author) and Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)  – It’s actually very funny, each page is a letter written to Duncan, a little boy who just wants to color, about why that crayon quit.

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – If you ever want a good cry, read this. The first time I read this book, I was reading it aloud to a group of 3 year olds, and starting crying because I was at work and my daughter was at home with my husband. It’s about a little boy and a tree and as time passes he asks more and more of the tree.   “… and she loved a boy very, very much– even more than she loved herself.” ― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

3. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon – It’s about a little girl who worries too much about what everyone else thinks. It’s a good message and adorable.

4. Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Corace – Little pea is forced to eat all his candy before he can have vegetables for dessert!

5. I also love all the “If You Give a …” series. One of my favorites though is If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff (Author) and Felicia Bond (Illustrator). It explains the cycle that will be started if you give a moose a muffin. It’s also a great excuse to make muffins and eat them while reading this book.

6. I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child. This is a super cute book about eating your vegetables, siblings, and using your imagination.

7. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin (Author) and Besty Lewin (Illustrator). A story about Farmer Brown’s cows start leaving him notes that have demands!

8. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. The wolf gets to tell his side of the story in this version of the classic tale, turns out he might not be so big and bad after all.

9. The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and Michael Smollin. Grover from Sesame Street is in this book and the anticipation grows with every page, Grover begs you to stop reading and to NOT turn the page!

10. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. This is for older kids, but it seriously hilarious. It was always one of my favorite books in elementary school. It’s so silly and wacky and who doesn’t love hearing your kids giggle to a funny story?!

11. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I would repeatedly check this book out from the bookmobile. I loved that these kids made a life for themselves in a boxcar!

12. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. It’s a book about sharing and friendship. It is the first book I remember being read to me as a child. The message is good and the pictures are beautiful.

13.  Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown. While I agree with the title, especially with toddlers, it’s an adorable book! It’s about a little bear who find a child and keeps him as a pet, but finds out that it can sometimes be a lot of work.

14. The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka. The end of The Frog Prince said “they lived happily ever after” but what if they didn’t? A super cute read with a good message.

15. What Really Happened To Humpty? by Jeanie Franz Ransom. We all know the nursery rhyme about Humpty, but why did he fall off the wall? A detective tries to crack the case.

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50 things to do with a toddler

Toddlers and tiny people full of energy that seems to never end. Here’s 50 ideas, so at least you know they’ll be occupied for about an hour.

1. Chalk -Outside or on a chalkboard inside. If you are the crafty kind of person, make your own with this recipe!     http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/crafts/easy-homemade-sidewalk-chalk

2. Markers -Washable is always a good choice.

3. Paint – Again, washable or make your own with this recipe! http://happymoneysaver.com/homemade-kids-paint-3-simple-ingredients/#_a5y_p=1665992

4. Coloring with crayons – My daughter will sit and color for hours in her coloring books we buy from Dollar Tree.

5. Stickers – I just buy these at Dollar Tree, for $1 you get a ton of stickers to keep them busy!

6. Play dough – Buy it or make your own, this site has 6 different types of recipes! http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/be-a-fun-mum-2296865?blog=2296865&post=3001353277&viewer=true

7. Reading – Read their books to them or read your book aloud. Either way they are hearing the words and seeing you read a book.

8. Singing songs – If you are like me and are not a natural kindergarten teacher just search YouTube, you’ll find tons of stuff.

9. Go for a walk -Even around the block can sometimes break up the day.

10. Bath paints – Shaving cream and food coloring is all you need

11. Jello mashing – Who doesn’t like edible play?

12. Playing in sand – This person does a wonderful DIY for Kinetic sand http://livingithaca.com/diy/make-kinetic-sand/

13. Moon sand – This recipe says it’s toddler safe! http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/53524/toddler-safe-cloud-dough

14. Finger painting -Here’s a diy finger paint recipe. It’s not edible, but it won’t be too terrible if they get a mouthful http://easiepeasie.blogspot.com/2010/07/homemade-finger-paints.html

15. Homemade snow -There’s a whole lotta Frozen ideas for this play idea. Here’s a recipe so you can make homemade snow for your Frozen Fan: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2014/05/frozen-snow-recipe-for-play.html

16. Popping rice – Using Rice Krispies in a sensory bin. Also, another edible snack!

17. Colored rice – A recipe to help you, because I had no idea how to accomplish it! http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/blog/make-it-diy-rainbow-sensory-box/

18. Sensory bottle -This is a cool one because you can make it with things your child is into, I feel like the possibilities are endless! Just search Pinterest, you’ll find tons of ideas! But here’s a link in case you don’t want to do that 🙂 http://alittledelightful.com/2014/04/diy-sensory-bottles.html

19. Shaving cream in a ziploc baggie – It’s like painting with shaving cream, without the mess. I’m not going to lie to you, my daughter thought this was cool for 1.5 seconds, so it wasn’t a big hit in our house.

20. Colored ice cubes – Just add food coloring to the water before you freeze. You can use these on their high chair tray to “color” with, in a plastic baggie, in a sensory bin, in a pool outside, or even in a bath but they won’t last long in there.

21. Play in the sprinkler/hose outside – Good ole fashion fun!

22. Bubbles – Another classic.To amp it up, buy a bubble machine or gun! Here’s a link for dyi bubble solution, it is named the “world’s best bubbles” so it’s worth a try: http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/05/06/diy-the-worlds-best-bubbles/

23. Swimming in the baby pool – I purchased ours at Wal-Mart for $12 and some change. I’m sure you can find them for cheaper at garage sales. Toddlers love water and it’s hot, so might as well let them play.

24. Sorting craft pom poms -You can sort by size or by color

25. Puzzles -Such a great activity that sneaks the learning in.

26. Have a tea/lemonade party and invite stuffed animals -You can use pretend or real lemonade, or water for tea. This is a great way to teach manners through play.

27. Play kitchen – If you have a play kitchen with play food that’s great! If not there’s a lot you can do. Most toddlers will try to play with anything you’ll allow them to, so just give them unbreakable items like pots and pans, muffin tins, bread pans, plastic utensils are a few ideas.

28. Threading a pool noodle on a thick string -Cut the pool noodle with a knife into sections and give them a rope that will fit through the pool noodle middle hole.

29. Stamping paper – You can get stamps and ink at almost any craft store.

30. Sorting fruit loops by color – Another edible play idea!

31. Putting wine corks into a milk jug -Or you can use dry beans or pasta noodles.

32. Sorting buttons -You can sort by color, size, or shape!

33. Playing with balloons – You can get a pack at the dollar tree and it’ll last you a good while.

34. Splash in puddles after a warm rain

35. Take a walk in the warm, summer rain -You can use an umbrella or not.

36. Play ball -Play catch, or kick it, or roll it back and forth to each other.

37. Make a fort – The possibilities here are endless!

38. Make sensory bins – This site has many ideas to get you goin! It also says for pre-schoolers, so some of these items might not be age appropriate for your child! http://www.crayonfreckles.com/2013/05/9-sensory-bin-ideas-for-preschoolers.html

39. Find random household items and sort them by color -Just look around, this could even turn into an “I Spy” game if your toddler is old enough.

40. Blocks -Build a tower to knock down, a castle, a car garage. You can make it to whatever interests your child has.

41. Make goop -This blog gives a great tutorial of how to make your own! http://tinkerlab.com/goopy-cornstarch/

42. Make dirt dough – I love this lady’s blog and I think she’s great, no I do not know her personally but everything I see on her site is awesome! http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2014/02/dirt-dough-recipe-for-play.html

43. Put coins through a slotted container -For example an old wipe container. The coins could also be plastic bottle tops, like the cap of the milk jug or water bottles. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

44. Turn off the lights and play with flashlights – Or read in the dark with flashlights.

45. Play basketball -Throw balls into a laundry bin or other container.

46. Start a kitchen band -Put beans in an empty water bottle, bang on pots with a wooden spoon, string rubber bands over a bread pan for a guitar.

47. Play in oats and water for a sensory experience

48. Play in cooked colored pasta noodles for a squishy sensory experience

49. Make sensory bags – Again, the possibilities are endless here! Here’s some ideas to get you started.             http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2012/07/fun-with-sensory-bags.html

50. Play movie theater – This is for when you are tired/sick/pregnant/need a break, make popcorn and snacks, turn off the lights, have them sit in their special chair and turn on a movie.

What It’s All About

My name is Lacey and I’m hoping to turn this into an online resource of all things kids and parents. I hope to give you new ideas of places to visit, things to do inside when the weather isn’t so great, share great ideas, post funny or inspirational readings. It’s my hope you can find something useful here, whether it’s for your sanity and it’s just a laugh or a great idea on a place to take the kids you haven’t heard of yet. Because it’s summer I felt like it was a great time to start this since so many kids are out of school. And it’s summer who doesn’t want to go do fun things?! In my greatest dream  this blog will create a community of people and together we can bring the community closer together through children.

A place to go- Peck Farm Interpretive Center

Peck Farm Interpretive Center

4038 Kaneville Road

002 019 044 055
Geneva IL 60134
(630) 262-8244

Located west of Randall Road on the corner of Kaneville Road and Peck Road

Peck Farm is seriously one of the coolest places and I never knew it existed! I’ve lived in this area (Aurora, Yorkville, Oswego) for most of my life and I had never heard of it. So maybe you haven’t either. I suggest you go on the next available day. I feel it is a place where kids can enjoy nature without having to be too careful, they can run, jump, skip, hop, and romp because there is a ton of room to do so.

There is a very cool observation silo. You climb a metal, spiral staircase and there are windows and platforms along the way for you to look out at the park. There is a three sided barn with picnic tables so you can pack snacks or a lunch and have a chance to get out of the sun for a while while resting. There is a pond/lake (body of water?) with trails you can walk around. There are grass and paved paths, so you can take your stroller, but for older kids and adults the grass paths look like a lot of fun.

During the summer months they have a butterfly garden, which is absolutely beautiful. They do take donations there (we did $5 for our family of 3, but I’m sure $1 per person would be greatly appreciated). But the gems of this park I feel are the sensory garden and the playground (Hawks Hollow Nature Playground). They have a splash pad area that is right before the playground, so you might want to be prepared for that with extra clothes and a towel. My daughter (18 months) LOVED the sensory garden and that is where we spent most of our time.

There is also the Peck house where you can go in and tour the house, it has some history about the house and land inside. Also, on the property are beautiful gardens all around. Lots of beautiful things to see here and lots of picture opportunities if you are into that. The trails, picnic area, and courtyard open at sunrise and close at 10pm. You can also bring your dog to walk the trails with you! May through October the rest of the park is open 9:00am- 5:00pm Monday through Saturday. And Sunday the hours are noon to 5:00pm. The hours change again in November.

Also, while you are there pick up an Adventure Passport, we got ours in the butterfly house! It is a booklet and you can get stamps for visiting different attractions and parks in the area. Each page gives a description of the place and prices with basic information like hours and address. These “passports” are recommended for ages 4 and up, and by looking through it I would agree, but you can always use it for ideas!

Peck Farm is a place where I would also personally like to go without children. It looks like a great place for a peaceful walk, an area to bring some books and read the day away, or bring a pen and paper and write the next best novel. There are a lot of beautiful aspects of this park, from the views, the nature surrounding you, and the fresh air of wide open spaces.