Storytime: 7 Must-Have Picture Books

Storytime: 7 Must-Have Picture Books

Storytime gives us parents or grandparents an intimate time to share an adventure with our children. Below you’ll find a list of happy healthy kid-approved picture books. Reading picture books out loud with your kids brings more to the story. There are numerous studies about the benefit of reading with your kids, even before they are born! It’s a great time to love-on each other, have a laugh, or ignite conversation.

Benefits to storytime

From PBS Kids they recommend starting early with storytime. To read often, read the pictures, and to take a minute and talk about the story, to ask each other questions about it. They go onto say, “the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school” 

From All4Kids.org they say reading also helps with cognitive development, improved language skills, serves as a platform for academic success, creates a special bond, improves imagination and creativity, plus increases concentration.

What to read?

Not all picture books are the same. I’ve read hundreds of books and there are some books that made one eyebrow go up and face cringe. Many times I’ve asked myself how some books got published! Let me save you some time and disgusted faces. I’ve done the homework for you on picture books when it comes to storyline, characters, pictures, and plot.

These are some of my favorite books I’ve read to my son when he was little. Snuggle up to your kiddos and grab a picture book. These books will make a lasting impression.

Storytime Books for Your Home Library

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Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is one of my favorite books to read to kids. I love the cadence and beat of the rhymes. Sherri and Tom did a great job with the word choice and illustrations. It is clever and very cute. Any child will love the imagination of trucks needing to sleep too. I just had to have my own copy. You can get it on Amazon here. It comes in glow-in-the-dark! This is also a great gift to any truck lover.

This book also comes in a board book style.

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Salad Pie by Wendy BooydeGraaff is a fantastic book to ignite imagination for outside play. Wendy is a colleague of mine. In fact, she and I were in a children’s book writing group together. She did a great job making you feel like a kid again playing on the playground. The illustrations by Bryan Langdo capture the beauty and emotion of playing outside. This adorable story makes me, as an adult, even go outside and make salad pie! Nice job Wendy and Bryan.

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When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard MeWilliam brings me back to my days as a kid on the beach in Florida. My dad and I used to build amazing sandcastles, but we never thought a dragon would move in. I love this story. The humor is cute and the pictures are engaging. The dragon kind of reminds me of a dog…so funny. This is one for the library, especially if you want to escape to the beach!

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The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern is a classic. I read this book over and over with my son when he was a tot. It’s educational, it’s easy to read, and you learn how to make a pie! This is a great book to help our kiddos recognize words. And learn how an apple grows through the seasons. A keeper for the home library, and fun to read during apple season!

More Rhyming books

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Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath is a construction lover’s gem. My son loved to play construction trucks out in the sand and gravel patch we made him. He’d make the noises with his mouth and have them talk. So cute! This book has a great rhythmic cadence. It’s fun to read and has a fun story. Plus there are dogs in it! Great job James on writing and illustrating. A keeper in our house.

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Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz is a super fun book to read. We read it so many times that our book cover is getting tattered. We learn about all sorts of jungle animals and what their jungle job is. The pictures are colorful and cute. You really feel good after reading the rhythm of this book. Bravo!

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My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk is a great book for entertainment. With its catchy rhymes and engaging pictures, you’re sure to get a laugh. Storytime has a whole new meaning…giggle time. This is another book of ours that has had a workout. Nice job guys!

Wrapping it up

Every year more and more picture books come into print. Not all picture books are the same, be sure to look for stories that are well written, have a pivotal point, and a happy ending. Remember, I have read hundreds of picture books and there are a lot of bad ones…so remember the good ones and purchase them for your future generation.

7 Firefly Facts & How to Care for Fireflies

7 Firefly Facts & How to Care for Fireflies

What’s fun about Fireflies? Well…everything! Here are some cool facts and information about fireflies. Plus I include ways to attract the firefly and how to safely catch them. Enjoy and be gentle! Be sure to download my free Firefly Fun Sheet!

firefly facts

Firefly Fact #1

There isn’t just one kind of firefly. There are more like 2000 species of fireflies in the world! That’s a lot of light.

Fact #2

Speaking of natural light, the firefly light is the most efficient light in the WORLD! Yep. Bug light is the best light in the world…natural light. The sun doesn’t count. Let’s face it, what other bug or animal produces its own light?

Actually, there are some other bioluminescent species that exist on this planet, however, most of them live deep in the ocean.

firefly flowers

Fact #3

What else is cool about firefly glow? Not all light from the firefly is the same color. The glow can be yellow, green, orange, or blue! How cool is that? Way cool.

Fact #4

Their handy blink and frequency of the blink are how fireflies communicate with each other. I kind of like to think of them using Morris Code. They also use their light as a mating signal. Oo, la la!

firefly fun sheet
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Fact #5

Fireflies do not taste good. If I were you I’d cancel that side of firefly and stick with your kale. Fireflies are actually poisonous to some animals if they eat them. When the firefly is attacked they release a little blood. Ew. But the blood contains a chemical that creates a bigger taste and emits poison! It’s how they protect themselves.

Fact #6

Okay, this one is super important. Firefly numbers are reducing in the world. Some of this is due to climate change, but another reason is because of their habitats. The healthy living environments are being destroyed; not to mention, they are also being ‘harvested’ for their luciferase (their glow substance). Luciferase is used for scientific research for forensic tests and food safety. They do have a way to make this stuff synthetically, but people still kill these amazing bugs (beetles) for the natural stuff…

What can we do to save the fireflies?

We can make a firefly habitat!

Fireflies love to eat snails, worms, and slugs. Where there are snails, worms, and slugs, you’ll likely find fireflies. A garden is a perfect place for fireflies to enjoy life. Firefly larvae enjoy a good pile of wet leaves. It is suggested to make a compost pile of leaves and to keep the leaves moist throughout the year. The leaves will attract the slugs, and the baby fireflies will eat them as they grow. In the Spring, put some of the leaves in your garden as compost. Do this every year and watch your firefly population grow!

Fact #7

Fireflies also enjoy these plants: Passionflower, Morning Glory, Goldenrod, Asters, and River Fern. They also like trees! Good choices are Sycamore, Cottonwood, Elm, Bur Oak, Dogwood, and Trumpet Creeper.

firefly jar

How do we safely catch them?

We can catch them carefully. When they land you or when you gently catch them, simply put them in a glass jar with many holes punched through the top for oxygen. Place a damp paper towel in the jar to prevent them from drying out. Put a slice of apple in there for them to munch on. Please only keep the fireflies for 1 day. They only live for two-three months, let them be free and enjoy life.

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Want the glow to last longer?

If you want the fun glow and blinking to last longer, first let the fireflies go, then buy fairy lights and put them in a jar. I personally love these lights. The solar-powered ones are pretty cool, I keep them up all year round. Super awesome for wedding table decorations!

That does it on firefly facts! Hope you learned something new. Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out my store and other blog posts to help you simplify and shine your light!

References: FireFly.org and EcoWatch.  

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

The Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (kids 8-13 yrs. old)

Scavenger hunt to the rescue. Do your kids have a lot of time on their hands? Are they feeling dumpy and bored? I have a fun low-cost solution for you! My scavenger hunt takes at least three hours to complete. Can you hear the angels sing? LOL! This adventure keeps the kids busy and creates a smile on their faces.

Scavenger Hunt
Download it today! Click the picture or head to Freebies.

Not your typical scavenger hunt!

This hunt is like no other. First off, it’s not just a list of things to find. It involves reading, drawing, exercise, strategy, skill, teamwork, creativity, and cognitive thinking.  Seriously the kids loved it. They were outside and having fun. And strangely they got along! As a parent, it was gratifying to watch how much joy was happening in the kids. A memory for sure!

Another fun difference from other scavenger hunts is that it tells a little story. The story starts out with Larry who is lost and needs to find his way home. He has to go through the first three challenges to unlock his map, materials, and list. Then the rest of the challenges help him find his way home. He gets hungry on the way, wants to find presents to bring home, and needs to spend the night. And the most exciting part of all is that he needs to create a flying vessel to get home!

does a body good

Who is Larry?

Larry is actually one of my son’s stuffed animals. I just grabbed a small one that would be suitable for flight. You can use an egg…this would be interesting…or a water balloon for that matter, or a cardboard cutout. Essentially, Larry can be anything you want. However, with the stuffed animal, I found it made the hunt more personal-able and “real”. They really had fun with it.

Who is this scavenger hunt for?

This challenge is for 8 – 13-year-olds. Younger kids can be helpers; some of the challenges I found to be difficult for kids younger than 8 years old. But that is up to you. You could make some adjustments to cater to younger kids. This is also fun for families.

Scavenger Hunt Challenge
Download it today! Head to Freebies.

Materials and Set-up

As for materials, use items you already have in-house. No need to run to the store. This is what can make the scavenger hunt more challenging…after all it is a scavenger hunt! For instance, for Larry’s flying vessel I just found some yarn, balloons, a plastic cup, a piece of fabric, foil, and threw in some other things from my junk drawer. Who knows what kids will come up with!

All you need to do is draw a map and set-up the course. This usually takes about 30-minutes. I personally had a lot of fun doing this. It brought me back to my childhood fun. To make it more interesting, I allowed a phone to be present for the kids to shoot video and for taking pictures. They enjoyed this part especially making the trick shot video. I simply downloaded an app called Clips. My son actually had to show me how to work it, in other words, it’s easy to figure out.

Scavenger hunt example

Here’s a video summary of this scavenger hunt we did the other day:

Larry is waiting for you!

Ready to have some fun and watch your kiddos have a blast? To download and print Larry’s Scavenger Hunt Challenge head over to Freebies. OH! One last thing, it’s actually a lot of fun as a family to do too! Not to mention at a campground when on vacation. Enjoy!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Corn on the Cob Song Fun

Corn on the Cob Song Fun

corn on the cob song fun

Corn on the cob. A vegetable that gives you a rich buttery taste and a little crunch. Who doesn’t enjoy this golden treat? It’s so delicious and versatile! Why not sing a song about it. This song was a fun mom and son activity I did years ago. It’s been hanging out on YouTube, I’m just sharing our corny creation with you. May you be inspired to write your own jingles. Simple, clean, happy fun!

When you think of a road trip do you think of singing family songs like She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain or I’ve Been Working On the Railroad? Well, you’re in luck with a new song to add to your road trip mix or the dinner table. When you’re driving through Iowa, Illinois, or Nebraska bust out the vocal cords. In honor of being the states that grow the most corn, this song should be the national corn song of America!

The song write

I created this jingle back in 2013 while driving along a road in Michigan lined with cornfields. My son was five-years-old and we had a ball singing this song. The song talks about how it grows, what uses it has, and more. Super kid-friendly and corny.

After the song was written, it was just too good to keep it to ourselves; so my niece, son, and I created a music video and put it up on YouTube. With over 18,000 views…not too shabby for a corny jingle…I still enjoy singing the song during the corn on the cob season.

Corn on the Cob Song Fun Copyright © 2013 DoMoreThanExist. All Rights Reserved.

Please note!

Please note, the song can get stuck in your head, kids love the video and they will want you to play it over and over again, and you’ll always think of this song when you eat corn on the cob. Enjoy!

Corn. Corn. Corn on the cob!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

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