Posted in Arts and Crafts

Friendship Theme for Valentine’s Day at School

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the classroom can prove itself to be quite tricky. A Friendship learning theme can make in the classroom Valentine’s celebrations run smoothly. I have created a list of activities that you can do with young children for Valentine’s Day.

How to plan a Friendship Learning theme? Plus FREE V-Day themed Materials

During Valentine’s week, I like to teach based on the learning theme of Friendship. To teach preschoolers or elementary-aged children about friendship we play cooperative games, work together on a single shared art project, do building activities at the block center, or do a scavenger hunt together. These activities require children to rely on each other to get things done. After each activity, I ask the class to name someone who was a good friend while we worked and to tell us what that person did that was friendly. I keep an eye on the children as they work so that I can name friendly things they have done, this ensures that no one is left out. Countless picture books teach preschoolers about friendship and I list 10 of my favorite in another post “10 Picture Books about Friendship that are Perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Super Simple Craft for Kids – Ninja Turtle Valintine’s Day Cards

Materials Needed for the Ninja Turtle Craft

  • construction paper (green, blue, red, orange, white, black)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • black marker
  • FREE TPT cutout

This craft is super simple and children will love making them. The year I made this craft with my class, I had the children make several to give to friends. Each friend had a Ninja Turtle heart from everyone in the class. We had a preschool class of 9 children.

ninja turtle craft

Super Simple Craft for Kids – Minion Valentine’s Day Cards

Materials Needed for the Minion Heart Craft

  • Construction Paper (yellow, light blue, white, black)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • black marker
  • FREE TPT cutout

minion heart craft

Super Simple Craft for Kids – Heart Poster

This craft is a great Valentine’s gift that children can give to their parents or teacher/principal. When I made this craft with my class the students made one (with both of their handprints in the middle) for their parents and a group heart project (with 1 handprint from each student) was gifted to the Center Director.

Materials Needed for Handprint Tissue Paper Heart Craft

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Marker
  • Tissue paper
  • Pink or red washable paint

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Posted in African Diaspora, Books and Reading, holiday

Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for “I is for Imani”

Reviewed by Ana-Maria Leasa for Readers’ Favorite

I is for Imani! by Kerice Robinson is a children’s book that teaches the alphabet from the Kwanzaa celebration perspective. Throughout this book, kids not only learn the alphabet but also interesting and new facts about the Kwanzaa celebration. Each of the 26 letters of the alphabet is accompanied by one or two words that start with the respective letter, together with an interesting fact about that word related to the Kwanzaa celebration. For example, I for Imani, representing the 7th principle of Kwanzaa, which means faith; M for Mkeka, which represents a table mat made from cloth or straw; and Z for Zawadi, which means gift in Swahili and is given on the 7th day of Kwanzaa. These are a few of the fun new words and facts learned throughout this book.

One of the things I liked about I is for Imani! by Kerice Robinson is the beautiful illustrations that accompany each word, representing specific actions, objects, or characters. In each illustration, the characters display to perfection the emotion, message, and action intended. In doing so, the author provided me with a better understanding and an accurate mental image of words unknown to me. For example, the word Kinara in Kwanzaa means candleholder, and I didn’t know how it looked until I read this book. I also liked the additional how-to-pronounce examples provided for a few of the words, like the word Ujima (oo-GEE-mah). I found myself intrigued and entertained by the difference between how the word is written and how the word is pronounced.

I is for Imani - book cover
Posted in Activity, Fun in nature

Summer Fun – 8 Weeks of Creative Fun For Kids

This is a Guest Post Written by By Christine Nicholls  |   Originally posted on December 17, 2004

Summertime! The kids are out of school and they have the long lazy days of July and August ahead. They could spend their days in front of the TV or they could be using their imaginations to create projects that are a reflection of their own unique talents.

Does it matter what kids do on their summer vacation? After all, they are in school 10 months of the year and most do take some art classes. Don’t they get enough art lessons in school?


Creative and artistic are not the same thing. Creativity is an approach to life. Creative thinkers know that problems have many different solutions. When they encounter an obstacle, they find a way around rather than giving up. They have to be willing to take risks as they learn new skills. These are important life skills that need to be encouraged in children.

Crafts and creative projects give children the opportunity to learn and practice these skills. Even if they follow a project guide exactly, they will still make decisions about shades of colors and where to place items. Once they are familiar with the project, most children will want to make it again. That is when they get really creative. First, the colors change, then the shapes, and suddenly it is a new project from their own imagination.

Creative projects encourage children to find the resources to make what they want, rather than opening up a box that has all the supplies in one place. The first project in the weekly project list (see below) uses an old knee-hi or pair of pantyhose. What if none are available? Should the children wait until someone else finds all the ‘right’ materials? No, have them start thinking about what they could substitute. Would an old sock work? How about a dishcloth? It is fun to sit back and watch children solve their own problems.


These Summer Projects encourage children to work with a wide variety of materials. One of the best things about summer projects is that they can be done outside. Less mess to clean up!

Summer Projects

Week 1 – Hairy Heads (old knee-hi or cut off pantyhose, grass seed, dirt, 2 small elastics, and decorations)

Put 2 tsp of grass seed in the bottom of the toe of the pantyhose. Add 1-2 cups of dirt. Make sure the seeds stay on the top of the head, otherwise you’ll have hair sprouting from under the eyes. Use the small elastic to pinch off a nose about halfway up the head. Use the second elastic to tie off the bottom. Decorate by pasting on eyes, mouth, ears, or whatever else intrigues the kids. Use paper, felt, colored plastic, markers, pipe cleaners, any materials you have on hand.

Keep the Hairy Head in a small dish with water in the bottom. The ‘hair’ should sprout in less than a week. Kids can style their hair with elastics, clips, and scissors. (Warning: My daughter decided to cut her own hair after giving her Hairy Head a trim!)


Week 2 – Fabric Paint on T-shirts (plain shirts, fabric paint, cardboard, brushes, and sponges)

Have the kids start with an old T-shirt or piece of fabric at the beginning. Put a piece of cardboard under the first layer of fabric to make sure there is no leaking. Some fabric paint comes in squeeze bottles which are good for lines, or they can use a paintbrush or sponge. Designs from handprints are interesting and make a great present for grandma. If they need pattern ideas, use the pictures in a child’s coloring book for line drawings.

Week 3 – Pet Rocks (rocks, acrylic paint, glue, brushes)

Collect lots of rocks. Be sure there are different sizes and shapes. Start by choosing the rocks that will make up the pet (head, ears, maybe a nose, body, arms, and legs). Paint the entire rock, top, and bottom in one color. When the first coat of paint dries, start adding the details, eyes, whiskers, fur. When everything is dry, glue the pieces together.

If the kids get tired of the pet, it can become a doorstop, bookend, garden ornament, or paperweight.

Week 4 – Make your own Fossils (clay, items to imprint – leaves, coins, bugs)


Make a rock or plaque shape from the clay or use the dough recipe (included below). Use water to make a smooth surface. Make imprints with different objects. Try leaves, coins, shells, or even a small toy. When it dries, rub on a bit of shoe polish and acrylic sealer to make it last for months and months. Bury them in sand or dirt and have an expedition to dig up fossils like an archeologist. Combine with a treasure hunt (week 8), and use as clues to a treasure.

Dough Recipe (1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup water, 1 tbsp oil, 2 tsp cream of tartar) mix all ingredients in a pot and stir over medium heat. The mixture will be soupy with lumps, suddenly it will form into a ball. Remove from heat, and knead on a non-stick surface. Useful for many types of projects. Store in fridge, or allow creations to air dry.

Week 5 – Start a Journal (notebook and pen or pencil)

Find an interesting blank notebook and have the kids write in it each day. A great time to start a journal is on the first day of a trip. Then, there will be lots of new things to write about and it can become a habit.

Adults can help with ideas for topics. Ask is the first thing the child can remember? Was there a birthday that was his or her favorite? What does he or she like about their best friend? What is the best thing they have ever done? Keep a list of these questions on the last page of the journal for quiet days.


Week 6 – Rain Sticks (long tubes from gift wrap or paper towel, strips of cardboard, paper, tape, seeds, or rice)

Cut two 4 inch circles out of the paper (trace a cereal bowl for the shape). Put one over the end of the tube, and fold the sides down, and tape around the tube. Make sure the cardboard strips are narrower than the tube (about 1 inch wide should work). Fold them back and forth like a fan. Put the strips into the tube. The first one should fall to the bottom of the tube. Keep adding strips until they reach the top of the tube. Pour in 1/4 cup of rice and 2 tbsp of seeds (dried peas, popcorn, or lentils). Tape the other circle over the open end of the tube and tape it in place. Decorate the tube with markers, paints, or by gluing on paper or ribbon.

Week 7 – Memory Board (Matt board, Exacto knife, photos, and objects)

While on vacation, take photos and have the kids collect objects to remind them of their trip (shells from the seashore, ticket stubs from a fair, pine cones from a walk in a forest, brochure from a hotel or attraction). When the photos are developed, have the kids select 2-3 to have enlarged into 5×7 or 8×10. The photos should be a mix of sizes. Get a large piece of matt board (Art Supply stores, or framing shops). Have the kids try different arrangements of photos and objects until they decide on the one they like best. Trace lightly in pencil where each of the objects is placed. An adult should use a craft knife to cut out the holes for the photos (slightly smaller than the pictures). Tape the photos on from the back, and glue the objects on from the front. If you have a frame the same size, put it in a frame with a cardboard backing (no glass on the front) or just hang it on the wall without a frame. The kids have all their mementos in one place.

Week 8 – Treasure Hunt


There are many different ways to plan a treasure hunt. For younger children, an adult can hide clues in different locations. Each clue can lead the child to the next clue (picture of shovel and pail would lead to a clue hidden in the sandbox). The final clue would lead to the treasure (plate of cookies, invitation to go to the water slides, movie pass, lemonade). For older children, the clues could be riddles they need to solve. Or have one of the kids make a treasure map (or list of directions) that would lead to the treasure. In the beginning, limit the number of clues to the age of the child ( 7 year old could follow seven clues to the treasure).

Check the website ( for more pictures and hints on completing each of the projects. By the end of the summer, the kids will have completed lots of great projects. More importantly, they will have spent time thinking creatively.

About Guest Author: Christine Nicholls

Christine Nicholls lives in Victoria, BC, and loves being a mommy to Katherine and Duncan. She has developed a home-based business that lets her combine her skills and business background with full-time parenting. Her company, Creative Kids at Home, encourages children to have fun while being creative.

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Posted in Authors, Books and Reading

Kerice Robinson’s Debut Picture Book “Dad Is My Best Friend” releases just in time for Father’s Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: On Sale June 2022 | Dad Is My Best Friend | Written by Kerice Robinson | Illustrated by Kavion Robinson


Unabashed Kids Media is pleased to announce the publication of “Dad is My Best Friend“, written by Kerice Robinson and illustrated by Kavion Robinson.

Dad is my best friend - front cover

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for the children’s book “Dad Is My Best Friend.” The book is author, Kerice Robinson’s debut picture book set for wide release on June 1, 2022.

Caribbean illustrator Kavion Robinson’s oil paintings beautifully portray a father and daughter’s heartwarming bond in “Dad Is My Best Friend.” The reader will learn why Angela’s dad is her best friend as she recounts all the fun things they do together. Racing, bike riding, and push-ups are some of the things Angela loves to do with her dad. Readers will have the chance to count and interact with Angela and her dad while they exercise. 


“My earliest memory of my father is of him working out by the front door of our home. He would do push-ups in front of the door. One day I climbed onto his back and began to count, just like Angela.”Author Kerice Robinson

To forever cherish the memories of those special times with her dad, Kerice Robinson wrote: “Dad Is My Best Friend” based loosely on her own childhood experiences. Purchase your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Nobles.

Dad is my best friend - back cover

About the Illustrator Kavion Robinson

Kavion Robinson is a Jamaican-born painter and illustrator, recognized most notably for his illustrative figure paintings.  He attended the University of The Arts in Philadelphia majoring in traditional illustration. His artistic style can be described as conceptual realism. The subjects of his paintings are highly influenced by his childhood in Jamaica.  As a painter, “I made it my goal to paint images of cultural and historical significance. I have dedicated my career as an artist to depicting black life and history in an enlightening and educational manner”.


About the Author Kerice Robinson

Author Kerice Robinson’s debut picture book Dad Is My Best Friend is inspired by her childhood experiences with her father. Kerice is passionate about early childhood education and creative writing. Kerice founded Unabashed Kids, a children’s media brand focused on academic and social-emotional education. Kerice plans to grow Unabashed Kids through the creation and promotion of educational videos, articles, picture books, and lesson plans.

Posted in Activity, Traveling with Kids

Traveling with Kids – The Best way to make holidays memorable!

We all know traveling with kids can be hard, but as parents we want these trips to be fun and memorable for our kids. The best way to make traveling trips with children memorable is to have a keepsake. The best keepsakes are those that give a true reflection of the trip. This can be a simple notebook or a journal designed for children to write and draw about the best and worst parts of their trip.

Every trip, whether long or short, has some down time. For parents this downtime can be a nightmare because we have to find an activity for kids to do, just to stop them from nagging or saying they are bored. Journal writing or drawing about a trip is the best downtime activity. Children can even read pages they completed months or a year ago, to reflect on their past trips. Check out “All the Places I Have Been: Kids Travel Journal“.

Take a Peek Inside “All the Places I Have Been: Kids Travel Journal”

All the places I have been is a travel journal for children.
All the places I have been is a travel journal for children.
All the places I have been is a travel journal for children.
All the places I have been is a travel journal for children.
All the places I have been is a travel journal for children.

This travel log was created by The Unabashed Traveler. Designed for children to document the travel days and vividly remember the big and small things about their childhood vacations.

The journal can easily fit in your carry-on luggage and is the perfect accessory to keep kids entertained during downtime.

Get it for only $6.50 USD on Amazon and $5.50 UK

Posted in Activity, Arts and Crafts, Books and Reading, holiday

Groundhog’s Day Classroom Activities!

Groundhog's day

Reading books, arts & crafts, writing stories, and making themed treats are great classroom activities for Groundhog’s Day.

dirt pie recipe

For Groundhog’s Day make some “Dirt Pie”. Dirt Pie is a chocolate pudding with oreo cookies. Add some gummy worms to add to the groundhog digging theme and make the sweet treat even sweeter.

Posted in Activity, holiday

7 Ways Celebrate Lunar New Year in the Classroom

red in classroom

1. Wear red to class.

Red is the color for good luck in China. 

Mandarin oranges china

2. Have mandarin oranges for a snack.

Two of the most common food symbols of the Chinese New Year are tangerines and oranges. Whereas tangerines represent wealth, oranges are a popular symbol of good luck.

chinese new year

3. Discuss culture and holidays.

Compare the Lunar New Year Celebration to the New Year Celebrations that the families of children in your class have.

Paper Dragons

5. Arts and craft: Dance Festival with Paper Dragons.

The dragon is a Chinese symbol of power and good fortune, many areas of the country have dragon dancing, during which a long, colorful dragon puppet is paraded through the streets. You can create dragon crafts to parade around the classroom.

chinese decoration on door

6. Decorate the classroom with Chinese-themed art.

Compare the Lunar New Year Celebration to the New Year Celebrations that the families of children in your class have.

Posted in Parenting

How to find a preschool in your area?


Finding a daycare center to send your little one can be challenging for many reasons. Fear of mistreatment, price, education standards, and separation anxiety. The information on this page will guide parents in their research process to finding the perfect preschool for their baby or toddler.

5 Steps to finding a GREAT preschool in your area!

  1. To find a preschool in your area start with an online search. Use google, yahoo, or bing. Search preschools near (type in your town or zip code).
  2. Once you find preschools that are close to you. Look at their reviews and prices.
  3. Determine if you are willing or able to pay the monthly price (preschools are expensive). Some government agencies may provide discounts for preschool education. If your family brings in a low yearly income, please look into FREE or discounted preschool education. To qualify, you must financially qualify and be excepted to a preschool that uses this discount.
  4. If you know anyone in your area that has a preschool-aged child ask them where the kid is enrolled and how much it cost. Let them know you are looking for a great preschool to enroll your child in. Parents are very honest about this topic, so they will tell you if they dislike where their child attends preschool and if they are looking to enroll somewhere else.
  5. Send an email or make a phone call to the preschools that have good reviews. By all means, shop around. Ask if they give tours, speak with the center director, and/or observe a preschool teacher.

Make a decision based on your thorough research.


How do I find a credible local daycare?

preschool yard

Just like a hotel or restaurant, childcare centers receive ratings based on their health, safety, customer care, and education quality. Looking at business reviews on FaceBook, Google, or Yelp will help you get a better understanding of the quality of the childcare centers in your neighborhood.

If you live in the United States you can visit to learn about Childcare Quality ratings. You will be able to select your state and view local childcare centers licensing and reports. These reports are very detailed and will describe any major incidents, reports of abuse, sanitation, or safety risk at a childcare center.

What is a good price for preschool?

The cost of childcare in the United States ranges from $4,460 to $13,158 per year ($372 to $1,100 monthly), according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA). Infant childcare cost more than childcare for a toddler or pre-kindergarten-aged child. The same childcare center will often charge $200 to $500 more for infant care than for toddler care. This is because infants will often be cared for in smaller class sizes and have more care needs. If you live in the US you can use to find your state’s average childcare cost. You can even adjust the needs you want to be meant in a classroom and the average price will adjust to your wants. allows you to adjust the number of students in the class, classroom size, teacher salary, and materials available. The Cost of Childcare website is sponsored by the Center of American Progress, we are not affiliated with them in anyway but do believe this is a wonderful resource for parents. The goal of the website is to show how costly childcare can be and get citizens to advocate for government-sponsored childcare in the US.


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Posted in Homeschool, phonics, Reading

12 CVC Word Family Classroom Wall Decorations (FREE Print-Outs)


CVC stands for consonant-vowel-consonant. CVC words are words like cat, zip, rug, and pen. The vowel sound is always short. These words can be read by simply blending the individual phoneme sounds together. A word family is a group of words that share a common root word with different prefixes and suffixes. I created 12 CVC word family classroom wall decorations. I originally got this idea for these posters from multiplication fact posters I saw on Pinterest. They were super colorful and featured adorable animals. It got my creative juices flowing and I decided to make similar phonics-themed posters. I hope all of the teachers, educators, and homeschool families enjoy these posters.

CVC word posters

Decorate your classroom wall or use these posters to actively teach sound blending. Children love the bright colors and identifying the animals. They may even have a favorite animal or color and choose to read the poster because of the animal or color. Use these posters to get children engaged in phonics word building. Continue exploring the Unabashed Kids blog for more word-building activity ideas. Download these 12 sets of word family posters for FREE.


5 Ways to use CVC Word Walls in a Classroom

Below is a list of ideas for using the CVC word family classroom wall decorations.

  1. Hang it up for decoration! Reminds students and visitors where the reading center is located.
  2. Reading Center Activity – Have students trace the laminated boards at the reading center or have them choose a poster to copy that word family down on a piece of paper.
  3. Spelling Word Wall Reference. Tired of being asked how to spell cat. Use these posters as a reference for spelling 3 letter words. Tell the students to find the correct word family and check if they spelled the word correctly.
  4. Circle time games! Word family of the week – have students practice reading and spelling the CVC words as a group during circle time.
  5. Group Work – pair students into groups of 2 or 3 and have them practice reading the words together.

Posted in Activity, Parenting

10 Fine Motor Activities for preschoolers and toddlers

What are some fine motor skills activities for preschoolers, kids, and toddlers?

What are fine motor skills? Fine motor skills are the ability to make movements (motor) using the small (fine) muscles in our hands and wrist.

Gross motor skills have to do with the larger muscle groups in the arms and legs. Think of a child being able to crawl, walk, run, jump, skip, clap, and dance.

These skills are important because they allow us to do everyday things, such as getting out of bed in the morning, eating with a fork, spoon, or chopsticks, squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, brushing our teeth, zipping our pants, tying our shoes, and writing our name.

10 Fine Motor Activities

Here is a quick list of 10 fine motor activities for young children and some products to consider using when actively teaching these skills.

red paint
playing with clay
  1. Coloring – great for building hand muscles and getting use to holding a pencil. Toddler Large Picture Vehicle Coloring Book
  2. Painting – use washable, non-toxic paint. Have a child finger-paint, paint with a paint brush, and/or Q-tip to make a wonderful picture.
  3. Cutting with Scissors – try cutting straight lines and curved ones too. Halloween Scissor Skills Puzzle Workbook
  4. Use Dot Markers to improve hand eye coordination. Buy dot markers on amazon. Buy dot marker workbooks on amazon.
  5. Put-in task or shape sorting – putting objects or toys into holes build muscle strength and hand-eye coordination. (You can purchase fine motor put-in task toys via amazon affiliate linked. Shape Sorting ToyStaking and Sorting ToyFine Motor Hedgehog )
  6. Opening and closing locks/latches.
  7. Do puzzles. They are great for improving fine motor skills. Knob puzzles for younger children babies to pre-toddlers, and jigsaw puzzles for toddlers and older. Check out these cool puzzles!
  8. Getting dressed with belts, buttons, zippers, and snaps. Items to help build this skill: Busy Board with zippers and buttonsLearning to dress – interactive bookHousables Toddler Busy Board
  9. Bath time play with toys. Filling water into small buckets and pouring it out.
  10. Stacking and building with blocks. Legos100 building blocks.

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