Here is a summer reading challenge for your kids

Here is a great article about the iVillage PBS KIDS Summer Reading Community Challenge

I love this article on momstart.com because I believe kids should read what they want to read. It is the process of reading, not what they read, that is important.
Summer learning day is this Thursday (didn’t they just get out of school?).
Soar with Reading, a joint project of PBS KIDS and JetBlue Airways,
I do think it is great that there are all of these resources out there for our kids to read but maybe they should be building stuff in the sandbox, playing on the playground, riding their bikes and taking stuff apart. Perhaps summer learning should be more interactive and less structured. Kids seem to learn best when they don’t know they are learning.
Here is a great article on What I did on Summer Vacation from MomLogic.com.
Would love to know your thoughts…..Please share…..

Summer Reading!

An awesome read for Kids and Parents

An awesome read for Kids and Parents

School is out and summer’s here! No homework, tests, or projects (that are as much work for parents as their kids) it’s the perfect time of year. However, school will come again, and the staff at Frecklebox.com thinks reading is an awesome summer activity and a fun way to stay ready for school. Here are our top picks of children’s books that every kid should get a chance to read!

10. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This classic children’s book takes a child’s imagination to a whole new level with it’s exciting story and awesome monsters. This tale is beautifully illustrated and will make your kids excited to go to bed so that they can begin their own adventures! Max, the main character, is a boy that discovers the land of the wild things, and gets himself into action, adventure, and a whole lot of fun!

9. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

This great children’s story will take your child through a baby bat’s life when she loses her mother. She is found by a mother bird and told that everything she does that is like a bat is wrong, until she finds her mother and learns that her instincts are right. This book has great illustrations and will teach your kid about the birds and the bats!

8. Holes by Louis Sachar

This classic tale is for children a bit older, and will make holes take on a whole new meaning! Stanley Yelnats, the main character, may be the unluckiest person alive. As he tries to conquer his bad luck he is faced with all kinds of adventures, including mystery and a family curse from years ago. This adventurous book is imaginative and funny, creating an intriguing story that any kid will love!

7. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

This adorable classic will show all of the things that could happen by sharing a cookie with the mouse in the house. The sweet illustrations are fun and entertaining, making this a must read! This cute tale will teach the ideas of cause and effect, while taking your child on a fun adventure only fit for a boy and his mouse!

6. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Alexander T. Wolf

This quirky tale takes you through the story of the three little pigs, but from the wolf’s perspective. The wolf simply had a cold and needed to borrow sugar, he wasn’t trying to blow the houses down! This book is fun and very different, showing there are two sides to every story! Every child should get to read this funny tale that takes on a whole different meaning when you hear the tale of the three little pigs.

5. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

This great story teaches kids how important it is to help the less fortunate. When Opal, the main character, and her father move to a new place, she finds a big, ugly, ratty looking dog in the Winn-Dixie supermarket. This sweet, funny, ugly dog teaches Opal that making friends is easy, and that people shouldn’t be judged by their looks. Opal learns about her mother and herself, and realizes that friendship can be found anywhere. This book is beautifully written and any child will love it!

4. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfizer

This fantastically illustrated book teaches kids that what counts in a person is on the inside. The rainbow fish is beautiful, and because of his beauty, he gets cocky and even rude. All of his friends stop being friends with him, and he can’t seem to figure out why. When he asks the wise octopus, he tells him to share his beauty with others. This story has a great message, is beautifully illustrated, and will take your child on an adventure of learning what beauty truly is.

3. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

This classic story shows kids today that the environment is important. The Lorax is the protector of the trees, but when the Onceler shows up, he starts taking the trees for himself for money. In no time at all, the trees are gone and the land is polluted, and though the Onceler had made a lot of money, he had nothing left. When the Lorax leaves, he writes one word for the Onceler to remember…”unless.” This amazing tale teaches the importance of caring for the environment and shows that money isn’t everything. We pretty much recommend ALL of Dr. Seuss’ books, the website is a lot of fun too! http://www.seussville.com/

2. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

This classic tale follows an unyielding friendship between a boy and his tree. Throughout the boy’s life, the tree will always help him, and will always give him anything he asks. Even when the boy asks to cut down the tree to build a boat, the tree agrees. The boy comes back to the tree, which is now a stump, as an old man and sits, the tree’s last wish. This book shows a beautiful friendship, and teaches any kid what a true friendship really means!

1. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilky

This is is a hilarious series about the adventures of a couple of grade school boys. The humor appeals to kids and their parents so if you have a younger child, this is a great one to read together. Kids who don’t like to read like reading these books! Take a surf through the author’s website to get a very good sense of his style and humor, http://www.pilkey.com/.

These are some great books that are not only classics, but perfect for your child’s summer reading! There are many other fantastic reads to choose from, and some awesome sites for these include http://childrensbooksguide.com/top-100http://www.teachersfirst.com/100books.cfm, and http://www.ivillage.com/best-childrens-books-age-age/6-a-364926. A great way to escape the summer heat is going to your local library, where they have all kinds of books, and sometimes have author visits and fun events! Whatever the book, wherever the reading happens, get out and read this summer!

Some great resources for parents (PBS Kids, Education.com) and more.

Here are some great resources for parents for summertime activities.

For summer reading visit PBSKids. PBS Kids has been around a long time and continues to offer one of the most extensive online resources I have found.

This site has reading games, letter games, literacy games, and even games for science and math. Your kids won’t even know they are learning.

They also have a great parents and teacher’s section here. Parents and Teachers.

Another one of our favorites sites is Education.com. Here is a great kids activity instead of sending them to camp.

Here is another great list of family activities. LIST OF FAMILY ACTIVITIES

 

For you moms out there here is a funny blog you might like. It is calledParenting, illustrated with crappy pictures. Since crap has been my bad word that I allowed (since I say it, it must be okay). I have the greatest in-laws but they have been very guilty of THIS. I loved this post since I have felt this frustration (including when they give birthday presents one month early)….

Here is another great resource for parenting and relationship advice. ADVICE. Rhona Berens gives some amazing advice that can even help you get better even if your relationship is already awesome. I really recommend reading some of these articles if only to confirm you are doing it right. The article onconscious complaining has really helped me.

What are your favorite parenting and relationship resources? I know my wife would say I can always use more…..

 

As much as I love my kids…..

As much as I love my kids I actually like my wife even better when the kids aren’t around. Now that my kids are older that is a really good thing. Eventually it will be just the two of us again and I think it is very important that parents choose t0 invest time in their relationship. I found a great quote that I heard years ago. I also found who said it.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”. ~Rev. Theodore Hesburgh

I also just read a great article for dads about Date Nights.

My wife has always insisted on date nights and I am so glad she did. We were blessed with grandparents who were local and always willing to help. Even if you don’t have that blessing, some friends and parents of older children will love having your children.

We had my nephew on a sleepover when he was only eight weeks old. They live less a mile away and we knew the they desperately needed one good night of sleep. We had to twist their arms and told them they could come anytime. We both ended up playing with Hunter at 1:00 in the morning (I know we aren’t supposed to do this) and then fighting over who got to hold him at 4:00 am…..We really had fun reliving the days when our kids were really young.

Allow others to enjoy your children while you invest time in your relationship. Your children will have better relationships when they are grown if you invest time in each other.

I just reread a great article. It is worth your time.

My second child just graduated from high school yesterday. It is a joyous and sad time at the same time. I just reread a fantastic article written by Stephanie Borden on Mothering.comHere is the article which is called A Hand to Hold.  Stephanie is talking about her toddler. Since the article was written in 2007 her child is probably around six or seven now. She also speaks about how the relationship changes from a baby, to a child, to a teenager, to an adult. I am reflecting on this as I try to move to an adult relationship with two of my children. My wife and I struggle with how much independence to give them. I understand that they want to be with their friends. I try to remember the things my parents did well and the things I wish they could have done better. I believe all we can do as parents is to take the examples we have been given and try to be better. There is no way to get it right. We will either be too strict or too easy but hopefully we will be in the the right zone. Too far either way and we may regret it for a long time.

I really miss being the dad of a small child but am enjoying the progress and success of my children. Hopefully reading this article for the first or the tenth time will remind you that whatever stage your children are in you should relish it and try to be the best parent you can be. Your children will grow faster than you think.

Mark

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Tanner as a Toddler

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Tanner as an Adult