Reviewed by Savannah Aldridge for Readers’ Favorite
Dad Is My Best Friend by Kerice K. Robinson and illustrated by Kavion Robinson tells the story of the beautiful relationship between a father and daughter. Our narrator Andrea is a young girl who proudly proclaims that her dad is her best friend. She then takes us on an ordinary yet fun-filled day spent with her father. Together, they race and bike outside and then come indoors for some more exercise together. We get to count how many push-ups Andrea’s dad can do with her sitting on his back. Finally, at the end of a long day, he tucks her into bed with love.
After reading this book, the first word that came to my mind was “cozy.” Kerice K. Robinson notes in the beginning that some of the scenes were inspired by her early memories with her father, and the genuine love between dad and daughter is deeply evident throughout this book. The story feels gentle, safe, warm, and cozy! Another endearing part of Dad Is My Best Friend is its beautiful artwork. Each picture is bright, detailed, focused, and truly captures the love in Angela and her father’s relationship. The vocabulary sounds like the genuine narrative of a young girl, which makes the book perfect for early readers who need a book they can go through on their own. However, I believe the best way for a kid to enjoy this book is to snuggle up with their dad. A warning to fathers who plan to read it. Your kid will want you to do push-ups while they sit on your back because it looks like fun in the book. Get ready for a father-daughter bonding workout!
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!
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).
Once you find preschools that are close to you. Look at their reviews and prices.
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.
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.
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?
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 Childcare.gov 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 https://www.costofchildcare.org/ 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. https://www.costofchildcare.org/ 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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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.
Unabashed Kids Media is happy to announce the release of “I is for Imani!: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book” written by Kerice Robinson. Learn about the celebration of Kwanzaa with this brightly colored holiday letter book. Children will go through each letter in the alphabet and learn how it relates to the principles of Kwanzaa.
“I is for Imani” teaches kids about Kwanzaa in a fun and easy to digest way. Simple ABCs of Kwanzaa book. The book has a word for every letter in the alphabet and relates the words to Kwanzaa. The book also gives a simple and kid-friendly definition of each word. Purchase on Amazon or Google Play.
Take a Peek Inside: “I is for Imani!”
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Children should read everyday. It doesn’t matter if it is the same book over and over again or a different book everyday. Unabashed Kids has created a list of 31 picture books to read in the month of October. The books on this list can be read by children of all ages but may do a better job keeping the interest of children ages 3 to 8.
Unabashed Kids is an affiliate for Amazon and other online retailers. That means that if you use the links found on Unabashed Kids blog to make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the purchase price. It never changes the price you pay and we select every item mentioned on the site!
Is your little one nervous about going to school for the first time? OR Are you a teacher looking for a book to help introduce a positive classroom dynamic? Starting fresh in a new environment, meeting a teacher and new classmates can seem overwhelming to children. This list of books will help students feel more comfortable about the new school year. Scroll down and choose a book to help start the school year off right.
List of books to read on the first day of school (Elementary / Primary School)
It is the night before the first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale will help children through their back-to-school jitters.
This heartwarming picture book helps teachers welcome their students on the first day of school. Through a letter written from the teacher’s point of view, students are given the message that their new teacher is someone they will get to form a special bond with.
“Family isn’t always your relatives. It’s the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.”
Teachers build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe. Reading “Our class is a family” on the first day of school, sets the ton for the inclusiveness that will be carried out throughout the school year.
Students returning to school in fall 2021, will experience a school year different than any precious years. These students will wear mask, social distance, and be taught plenty of hygiene methods to prevent virus spreading in schools.
“If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he’ll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he’ll need a notebook and some pencils. He’ll probably want to share your backpack, too.”
This book is perfect for upper primary school students, grades 3 to 5. There will always be a new kid in school, no matter what grade level. This story will help students understand that we are all different, but it is ok to embrace our differences.
“There will be a times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”
“There will be many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.”
What are pre-reading skills? Pre-reading skills are the skills needed before a child can begin to learn how to read. A simplified list of pre-reading skills: matching, direction, motor skills, concepts of print, language skills, and rhyming. Of course, we must develop oral forms of language with newborns and toddlers. Pre-reading skills can also help develop oral language skills. The 3 FREE worksheet packets below will help develop pre-reading skills and comprehension.
Young children should learn to match shapes, patterns, letters, and then words. Part of what we do when reading is matching. That is why many adult readers can understand or read material with large amounts of errors.
Concepts of Print
It is fine to make up stories at bedtime but reading an actual book helps to emphasize the concept of print. Letters make words when they come together and words make sentences when they are put together. Sentences are put together to make a story.
Teach children how to hold a book properly. Tell them that words and symbols mean something. See if they recognize logos. When reading books to children point out the front cover, back cover, title, author, and illustrator. Teach them how to differentiate the front cover from the back cover of a book.
To teach about author and illustrator, say “Eric Carle is the author. What does an author do?” Teach the response “an author writes the words.” Do the same when it comes to the illustrator.
A motor skill is the ability to cause a predetermined movement outcome. Motor learning helps children perform the necessary tasks through practice. Infants love to imitate. Turning the pages of a board book is a great way to build fine motor skills. Every home and every classroom should have a small library. Please buy books for your infant. Soft feel and board books are designed especially for the infant to toddler age group. Use our affiliate link to discover infant and toddler books on amazon.
Develop Direction and Sequencing Skills
From the beginning of this article, you can already tell that reading books is much more than just knowing the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. Some adults make the mistake of teaching children sounds, blends, and memorization of words without developing basic skills. Understanding direction and sequencing is a skill that is often skipped when teaching a child how to read. Direction: we read left to right and top to bottom. Sequencing: what comes first, second, third or first, middle, last.
Children must be able to recall what they have read. Children who learn how to sound out words but never learn how to recall events of a story will struggle with reading comprehension.
Early intervention can prevent comprehension issues. Build these pre-literacy skills at the toddler stage. This can be done by reading books to little ones and asking questions about the story as you read. To take it a step further, you can ask a child to re-tell the story in the proper order. Do the same with a child’s day, have them retell what they did during the day, in the proper order. A teacher can create a daily schedule and end the preschool day with an afternoon circle time where students tell their favorite part of the day. Ask questions like “What did you do before, we played outside?” This builds sequencing skills. Check out our Unabashed Kids sequencing worksheets for kids age 2 and above.
Develop Rhyming and Language Skills
Children may know how to speak their native language but may not recognize some phonemes (sounds) that make up the English vocabulary. Silly songs and rhymes can help draw their attention to these phonemes. Check out the activities below to help build phonemic awareness in toddlers.
Continue with more reading instructions and lessons
Parts of a Plant: Lesson Plan and Worksheets for Kids
This article will provide a FREE lesson plan for teachers along with worksheets for kids who are learning the parts of plants.
What are the different parts of a plant?
For this activity, you can bring plant to class or even ask your students to bring in a flower to show the class. If you have access to open grass, pick a daisy to show the class. Ask the students questions about the parts of a plant. Is it a flower, tree, or vegetable plant? Where are the different parts of the plants located? Point out the different parts of the plant as the students talk about them. Show the children the stem, roots (if they are any visible), leaves on the plant, petals (flower plants), and/or fruit or vegetable bearings from the plant.
Have students define the vocabulary words listed below. Ask students for definitions before defining the words for them. This gets them thinking and allows you to see how much they already know.
Read a plant book to the children and have them complete a worksheet based on their knowledge level. View worksheets below and check out our unabashed list of books about plants.
Storytime provides a great opportunity to teach new lessons to children. This list of 12 books about plants and flowers is a wonderful addition to a plant life cycle lesson for children. At the bottom of this post you can take…
Build Reading Confidence with these Easy to Read Books (age 3 to 8)
This list is for all of the parents and teachers trying to build reading confidence in their early users. Many kids learn to read sight words and CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) words but do not have the confidence to read entire books. Either a new reader loves reading because of the adventure of discovering a new story or they fear reading. The fear stems from new readers coming across words they don’t know. I often hear reading is hard! I also hear reading is fun!
Publishers have different standards when it comes to reading difficulty and level. Some publishers look at the word count others consider the length of the story, but Unabashed Kids specifically chose books that use CVC and sight words for this list. Children who have been introduced to sight words and know their letter sounds will be able to decode words in the story.
Easy reader books that limit word use to only CVC and sight words help build reading confidence. Children will be surprised that they were able to read entire books all on their own. This article contains real storybooks as well as books written to teach CVC reading skills. The CVC books are aimed at instruction and practice. These books are great; parents and teachers love them, but storybooks are what children love. Expose your early reader to both.
Books with repeating phrases or words, assist kids who struggle to sound out new words. Even when a child struggles with one word on a page they will then see the same word or phrase on the next page. They learn these words by sight. Children will often go back to the same book as they learn how to read every word in the book. This is an amazing way to build a confident reader! Do not forget to praise children who are beginning to read. Encouragement will aid in making a happy reader.
All book titles below have affiliate links for purchase through Amazon. Click titles to view on Amazon.
3 Interactive Counting and Subtraction Song Activities for ages 2 to 6
Ever tried to get a kid to sing or count along with you, but they were too distracted?
Getting a little one to start counting when there are more interesting distractions around (cocomelon, classmates, toys, or kids playing games on youtube) can be a challenge. This list of 3 interactive counting activities and songs can help you compete with all of the distractions stopping the child you’re working with from counting along with you.
4 behavioral management tips for educational activities with young children.
The first tip is to remove all distractions. Television, smart board, i-pad, and/or cell phones must be off and put away.
Remove the child from any toys that are not a part of the activity.
Before you begin clearly let the child or children know that it is time to count or sing. This is important because then they know what will come next and can be mentally prepared for what you expect from them.
Give signals that counting will be a fun activity. This can be as easy as a smile or happy voice. If counting has been a fussy or tantrum causing activity in the past, then the prior tip is of the utmost importance.
Make Counting Songs Interactive
There are plenty of children’s nursery rhymes that include numbers, counting, addition, and subtraction skills. This article will highlight 3 of these songs.
5 Little Speckled Frogs
5 Little Ducks
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the bed
How to use the interactive Song boards in a Pre-K or Kindergarten classroom –
Below you will find a FREE interactive board to go along with each song. It’s simple to use. Sing the lyrics on the board, while cueing the child(ren) to remove an animal as the number gets smaller.
A full classroom can interact by taking turns pasting the frogs, ducks, or monkeys on the velcro board or an individual child can bond with an adult while singing the song.
“The children in the Pre-K classroom loved this interactive game during circle time.”
The printouts provided for FREE will be good for small groups or an individual child. Teachers can choose to write the lyrics of the song out on a poster board to make the activity more group friendly. Children can take turns pasting the animals on the board or removing them as the song goes on. The children in the Pre-K classroom loved this interactive game during circle time. Make sure you sing the song at least 2 times to give each child a turn or sing more than one of the interactive songs.
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**** If you do not have a laminator or velcro you can store the pieces in a zip lock bag and do the activity at a table. Placing each piece on the paper as you sing the song. ****