What You Need To Know Before Your Child Starts Reading

Reading to your baby

Reading is a big milestone for children, and it can include many mini-milestones, too. When your child is as young as a newborn, there are a few things that parents should keep in mind when it comes to their kids and reading.

It’s Never Too Early to Read

Reading with your newborn can be incredibly beneficial. Not only will it help introduce kids to books as familiar objects, but it allows for some quality time with mom and dad, too. Reading to children can help boost their vocabulary and their speaking skills, looking at picture books can be visually stimulating, and kids can start associating words with sounds and images early on as well.

A Little Goes a Long Way

Learning to read can involve accomplishments like reading a first word, sentence, or book, it can include moving onto a chapter book for the first time, and much more. As kids get older, their reading abilities and preferences will change as well. Helping kids celebrate these accomplishments one step at a time can help encourage them to keep reading and trying new things. Every little bit counts.

Every Child is Different

While kids at certain ages should be reaching certain milestones, it helps to remember that every child is different and will develop at their own pace. Not every child is good at reading or will like to read, and sometimes a lack of interest or advancement could indicate the presence of a learning disorder like dyslexia. Paying attention to little details can help parents get their children the help they need, plus working along with your child at a pace that is more comfortable for them will also work better towards encouraging them to improve on their own and not feel pressured.

Just Have Fun!

Reading should be a fun activity, not feel like homework. Reading is a great way for kids to learn about other subjects, cultures, people, and to absorb stories of all kinds. Forcing kids to read can be detrimental to their ability to read as well as a potential love for reading. Remember to have fun when it comes to reading, let them pick out the book and ask the questions they want to ask, and consider adding other activities to reading like acting out scenes or asking interesting “What if?” questions afterward.

Tips and Tricks on Getting Kids to Listen

How to Get Kids to Listen

Kids are not known for being the best listeners, but it is something they can learn to do. Getting kids to listen, and teaching them how, can be beneficial in many ways. Not only are you likely to get less frustrated with your children, but they can grow to be observant, thoughtful and considerate people as they get older, too. Here are some ways parents can help encourage their kids to be better listeners and to follow directions when needed.


Make Sure You Have Their Undivided Attention

Kids are often in their own little worlds. Whether they’re playing a game or playing with toys, watching TV, or simply inside their own heads, it can be difficult to reach them and know that they are truly listening to you. One of the most important things you can do is to make eye contact. Establishing eye contact can help bring attention to your presence as well as what you have to say. Plus, eye contact is helpful when communicating period, so establishing healthy and appropriate eye contact early on can help kids as they age.


Don’t Ask, Tell

If you want your child to do something, whether it be a task or to change their behavior, telling them to do it is more effective than asking. Asking may sound more polite or mild, but it also makes the request optional. If you don’t want to sound too harsh, stating a request in a simple manner can get the job done without raising your voice and retaining a sense of authority.


Be Sure to Follow Through

If you ask your child to do/not to do something, make sure that you follow up on it. If you ask them to do something and they don’t do it, bring it up again. If you ask them to stop a behavior and they don’t do it, make sure that you follow up with an appropriate disciplinary consequence. Not following through with your actions teaches kids that they don’t have to listen and they may tune out more as a result.


Be Mindful of Your Expectations

If a child is struggling with something you tell them or tell them to do, take note. They may not be actively ignoring you but instead have an issue with something else. This is especially important for younger children who may not be able to articulate what they are thinking and feeling yet.


Stay Positive

When kids feel respected, they’re more likely to be on their best behavior. Make sure you treat them almost as you would an adult, but keep your expectations in check and provide help/reinforcement when needed.


For more helpful tips on getting kids to listen click on the informative video below…


Fun STEM & STEAM Crafts for Kids

STEAM and STEM Projects for Kids

Arts and crafts can help kids show off and explore their creative side, but aside from dabbling in the arts, crafts can help kids explore other subjects like science and engineering.   The purpose of STEM for children is to develop a variety of skills that are essential for success: critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, to name a few. STEM standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Adding Art to the mix makes STEAM.

2014 study published by the America Society for Engineering Education identified several characteristics of quality STEM programs:

  1. The context is motivating, engaging, and real-world.
    2. Students integrate and apply meaningful and important mathematics and science content.
    3. Teaching methods are inquiry-based and student-centered.
    4. Students engage in solving engineering challenges using an engineering design process.
    5. Teamwork and communications are a major focus. Throughout the program, students have the freedom to think critically, creatively, and innovatively, as well as opportunities to fail and try again in safe environments.

Therefore, we researched and found a few fun STEAM and STEM crafts that parents can join their kids in creating.

Invisible Ink

What you need:
-1 lemon
-cotton swab(s)
-sheet of white paper
-iron or lightbulb

What to do:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and add a spoonful of water. Mix gently. Dip the swab into the liquid and write a message or draw a picture on the paper.
  2. Let the liquid dry completely so that the message or picture is invisible. To share your secret, set it in sunlight, hold close to a lightbulb, or iron (with adult help).
  3. The message will be revealed! Hang it as artwork or share it with a friend.

Diluting or adding water to the lemon juice makes it very hard to see when you apply it to the paper, but lemon juice is an organic substance that oxidizes and turns brown when it’s heated up. This means that no one will notice that the secret is there until the paper is heated and the message is revealed! Other substances that work in the same way include orange juice, honey diluted with water, milk, onion juice, and vinegar.


Invisible Ink STEM project for kids
Invisible Ink


Bath Bombs

What you need:

– ½ cup citric acid
– 1 cup baking soda
– ½ cup corn starch
– ½ cup Epsom salt
– Essential oil of your choice
– 1 tsp. water
– 1 tsp. olive oil
– Sphere-shaped mold (we used clear plastic ornaments)

What to do:

  1. Combine citric acid, baking soda, corn starch, and Epsom salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together one or two drops of essential oil, water, and olive oil.
  2. Add the wet mixture to the dry very slowly. Mix it together quickly and thoroughly so it doesn’t begin to bubble. Once it’s all combined, let the mixture sit for a few minutes; it should look and feel like wet sand. If it’s still too dry, add a drop of olive oil, but don’t oversaturate.
  3. Separate the mixture into smaller bowls and add food coloring, mixing in the color by hand.
  4. Layer the different colors in both halves of a sphere-shaped mold and pack them down. When each side is filled with a slight mound, press them together and gently rotate until the sides lock.
  5. Let the bomb dry in the mold for a few minutes, then carefully remove the top half. Leave it for another hour or two, then carefully turn the bottom half out of the mold. Let it dry overnight.


Hide a surprise inside like a small plastic toy, glitter, or costume jewelry when layering the bath bomb mixture. As the bath bomb fizzes into the water, your prize will be revealed.


Solar System Mobile

What you need:

– About 2 oz. 100% wool roving in assorted colors
– Two 38-gauge star-point felting needles
– Felting pad or dense foam
– White fiberfill stuffing
– White paint
– 2 paint-stirring sticks
– Drill and 3/32-inch drill bit
– White baker’s twine or thin cotton yarn
– Sewing needle with a large eye
– Brass fish-eye hook
– Small brass chain

What to do:

  1. To make a planet, pull off a few inches of roving and roll it into a ball so it fits in your palm. Pin onto the felt pad with one needle and use the other to “felt,” or to press the needle up and down repeatedly. The tiny barbs on the end of the felting needle compress the fibers into a desired shape. Turn the roving often and continue felting until it forms a semi-firm and uniform ball. Felt on a thin piece of roving in a different color if desired (to make the blue swirls on Neptune, for instance). Repeat to make additional planets.
  2. To make the sun, pull a 4- to 5-inch-diameter tuft of stuffing and wrap with yellow roving to cover stuffing completely.
  3. Paint two paint-stirring sticks and let dry. Mark five holes, spaced about 3 inches apart, on one of the paint sticks. Drill. Place the drilled stick over the other one as a template, mark holes, and drill.
  4. With the sticks in an “X” shape, line up the center holes; use the needle to thread the sun through the center hole. Knot to desired length. Twist in the fish-eye hook from the top to secure the paint sticks together. Secure the planets to yarn with the needle and thread up through remaining eight holes. Knot in place at desired heights.
  5. Add a chain to hang; felt on small amounts of wool to planets as needed to balance the mobile.


Yardstick Launcher

What you need:

– Clean metal can (like a coffee can)
– Scrapbook paper
– Tape
– Yardstick
– Acrylic paint and paintbrush
– Hot glue
– 4 plastic disposable cups
– Rubber band
– Ping-pong balls or other small objects

What to do:
1. Cover the can with scrapbook paper and secure with tape. Paint the yardstick; let dry.

  1. Use hot glue to attach the plastic party cups to one end of the yardstick (an adult’s job). Secure the can to the middle of the yardstick with a rubber band.
  2. Place ping-pong balls or other small objects in the cups, then stomp or press down firmly on the free end of the yardstick to launch the projectiles across the room.

How does it work?

A lever is a simple machine made from a rigid beam (in this case, the yardstick) and a fulcrum (the can). When a downward force is applied to one side, it triggers an opposite reaction, sending the unattached load (the ping-pong balls) flying. You can change the amount of effort it takes to move those balls by adjusting the mechanism, too: the closer the can is to the cups, the less work it takes to move the projectiles.