Mother Goose Day is May 1st!

One of the perks of parenting small children is adding a bit of FUN to the mid-week mundane. The easiest way to do that is through celebrations of silly and special days!

This week stumped me a bit, so I searched online for April/May holidays and discovered that May 1st is Mother Goose Day! What a perfect opportunity to celebrate the silly and explore nursery rhymes with both of my girls.

But first, why should we rhyme with our children?

Our older daughter was unexpectedly born 14 weeks early back in 2008, followed by a 135-day NICU stay. Those first six weeks, I sat by her bedside with a large stack of books–since this was pre-smart phone, I didn’t have Facebook and Instagram to keep me company during the long, long days.
One of the first books I read by the light of Addie’s isolette was Reading Magic by Mem Fox. Ms. Fox is an excellent author of children’s books, and she wrote this excellent book for parents about reading aloud.

Chapter 10 is titled The Magic of Language, and it profoundly impacted the way I think about nursery rhymes. (This is AFTER a degree in Elementary Education/Reading and four years in a classroom.) I’d like to share a few quotes with you:

“Songs and rhymes provide comforting rhythms in children’s early lives and also expose kids to gorgeous forms of language. They are a natural extension to the heartbeat of the mother and the rhythmic rocking of a child in loving arms or in a cradle.”

reading aloud to girls in hospital
“Rhymers will be readers: it’s that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually the best readers by the time they’re eight.”
Read more about adding nursery rhymes into your routine with this great post from Story Time Secrets!
 The girls and I love to play a simple rhyming game in the car. One of them says a word, and then we all take turns shouting out a word that rhymes. Sometimes we talk about spelling patterns (cat, bat, sat, fat), and sometimes, this happens: shoe–true, flew, Gru, boo.

To prepare for our celebration, we went to the library and gathered up a handful of Mother Goose collections.

(Just a reminder that Lone Star Signers does use affiliate links at no additional cost to you.)

My second grader was SO excited to recognize a bunch of rhymes from her Spelling You See curriculum:

Can you think of any other Mother Goose anthologies I missed?

Be sure to check out our Mother Goose Pinterest Board for more ideas:

Mother Goose Day

Happy 100th Birthday, Mrs. Cleary!

As most of you probably know, I have been an avid reader for longer than I can remember. I have so many happy memories of reading under my Strawberry Shortcake comforter or out in the backyard on my swingset. Getting chickenpox meant I had a WHOLE WEEK at home to read to my heart’s content–probably not a typical reaction for a 3rd-grader.

(Just a friendly reminder that Lone Star Signers does use affiliate links, at no additional cost to you.)

My favorite childhood reads include Little Women, Betsy-Tacy, Little House on the Prairie, and of course, Ramona.

Beverly Cleary Turns 100 | Celebrate with lonestarsigners.com!

It’s been years since I read through the entire Ramona series, but I still remember Willa Jean and the box of tissue, the brown-paper towel shoe, the hole in the house, and Susan’s owl.

It probably comes as no surprise that the very first chapter book that I read aloud to my older daughter was Ramona the Pest. (Though the fact that she was less than two pounds at the time might surprise you!)

This morning, I asked my two girls to head downstairs to our reading nook and grab all the books that we own that are either written by Beverly Cleary or about her. (We picked up this fun biography at our Friends of the Library book sale this weekend!) Addie also reminded me to grab the iPad, where our Henry Huggins audio collection lives.

Celebrate Beverly Cleary's 100th Birthday with Lone Star Signers!

If you are wanting to celebrate Mrs. Cleary’s 100th birthday with us, enjoy this interview from the Today Show and be sure to check out all the fun D.E.A.R. Resources from Sarah MacKenzie at Read Aloud Revival!

Which Beverly Cleary book is YOUR favorite?

Are you getting the MOST from your local library?

I’m always surprised when someone tells me that they don’t have a library card or that they have one and don’t ever use it! Our family LOVES to visit the library–we’re there practically every day. (In fact, you can probably guess where I’m typing this post from…)

I am truly #addictedtothelibrary! 🙂

Get-the-MOST-Out-of-YOUR-Library

Here are FIVE tips to get the most from YOUR local library:

  1. Get a library card for every member of your family and use it often to check out books, DVDs, CDs, and more. The library in our new town even checks out CAKE PANS for budding pastry chefs!
  2. Participate in special events like storytime and concerts, and consider joining the “Friends of the Library” program to have a say in what is available in your local branch! Get to know your librarian and ask for specific recommendations for your little ones and yourself. They want to help!
  3. Ask if your library has a hold system. At the San Antonio Public Library, I could request up to 25 books (per card) from any branch–they would all be brought to whichever branch I specified for me, waiting on a shelf for when we could stop by! This was a lifesaver when my girls were really little and running errands took three times as long–I could ask my husband to pick up all of our books on his way home from work.
  4. Check out e-books, e-audiobooks, and even magazines ONLINE from your computer, tablet, or phone! I still prefer paper books whenever possible, but sometimes I’m in a hurry and want to check out a sequel to a book without leaving the house. We also enjoy listening to e-audiobooks in the car using the iPad plugged into our speakers. (Henry Huggins is our current favorite!)
  5. Download songs legally using Freegal. Before you buy something from iTunes, check to see if you can get it FREE from your library! (Download a FREE cheat sheet with our FAVORITE songs for the entire family here and see last week’s post about creating a custom playlist for your little ones.)

I’m sure there are lots more resources that the library offers—I’d love to hear your favorites!

Art Appreciation Sensory Bins (plus our favorite resources!)

Reminder: Lone Star Signers uses affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission on any purchases made through this site at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that we have used and loved.

Two months ago, as I prepared a handful of art appreciation activities based on Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting, I stumbled across a great sensory bin idea from Munchkins and Moms. Since one of my girls LOVES sensory play, I knew it would be a fun way to help her learn more about this beautiful painting.

Art Appreciation Chapter Books

We borrowed the book Katie and the Starry Night (author: James Mayhew) from the library and the girls had free play time with our sensory materials: blue rice & green and yellow noodles. Our older daughter, Addie (7), also devoured the chapter books Charlotte in Giverny and Charlotte in Paris (illustrated by our very favorite illustrator,  Melissa Sweet).

Art Appreciation Sensory Bin: Starry Night

Both girls enjoyed their sensory bin experience, so we decided to do it again with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting. (See our inspiration over at Life Over Cs.) I dyed some rice bright yellow and added sunflower seeds (still in the shell), green floral gems, and a yellow silicone muffin liner. The girls and I also read Katie and the Sunflowers (author: James Mayhew) and had a tasty sunflower seed snack.

Art Appreciation Sensory Bins: Sunflowers

Addie and I read several books about Van Gogh together over a period of a few weeks, and then she asked if we could study Claude Monet next. We requested a handful of books from the library, including Usborne’s Art Treasury and Katie Meets the Impressionists (author: James Mayhew). We also went to our local art museum to see a real Water Lilies painting (as well as art from several other artists we’ve learned about these past few months).

Art Appreciation Sensory Bin: Water Lilies

I made a Water Lilies-themed sensory bin for the girls using our blue rice and dried peas, plus a few white and blue floral gems and white cupcake liners. (See our inspiration from Playground Parkbench.) Addie has two different Water Lilies Usborne flashcards, so we went with the version without the bridge.

Art Appreciation Activities and Sensory Bins

We’ve really enjoyed these relaxed explorations of famous works of art–I’m impressed by how much information the girls are retaining from our casual conversations. I’ve already requested more James Mayhew “Katie” books and the rest of the “Charlotte” series, too, so be on the lookout for a follow-up post with other artist-inspired sensory bins in the near future.

Click here to see our other favorite art resources, available from Amazon!