great toddler books

27 Great Picture Books: What to Read with Your Kids

Children’s picture books are a great way to engage kids of all ages into literature. They can teach so much. The illustrations can draw them in, while great text can truly add to it. You can start reading to your children before they are even out of the womb and can continue as long as they let you. Make sure to engage them by asking questions about the pictures and plot. Have the kids make predictions, and check to see that they are not only paying attention but also understand what is happening in the story. Here are some great stories:great series reads

These are all great series style reads

Who doesn’t love Froggy. This Froggy picture book is “Froggy goes to School” by Jonathan London, but the whole series is loved in our house. Mercer Mayer books are also great! This one is “Just Me and My Mom,” but my son loves them all. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff is another classic. It’s repetitive, simplistic nature seems to be a hit with kids everywhere. “”The Night Before Summer Vacation” by Natasha Wig is similar to “The Night Before Christmas.” We also have “The Night Before Valentine’s Day.” They all are a hit and there are many more in the collection of the old school classic. Of course you can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss, and there are so many fantastic one’s to chose from I could of just had a section dedicated to him. I chose “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” but my son might of just went with “Hop on Pop” or one of the other classics.

Stand Alone Great Picture Books

big bad wolf “Big Bad Wolf” by Claire Masurel is the only picture book on here with a silly extra feature of page hole punch outs to see through to the next page. It is all about how people think the wolf is bad and scary, but really he just plays with his own kids. Very cutely written and a nice way to debunk scary monster myths with the kiddos.

picture books This is part of another book, but I just love it on its own. “Edward the Emu” by Sheena Knowles is an adorable rhyming story about an Emu finding appreciation for itself. Eric Carle’s Books could of also gone in the series ones as they are adored classics. This one is “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin, Jr. is an alphabet loving kids highlight.”The Caterpillar and the Polliwog” by Jack Kent” is a great story about discovering one’s true purpose. “Through the Heart of the Jungle” by Jonathan Emmett has both repetition and discovery as to what could be lurking around the corner of the jungle. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is sure to melt anyone’s heart.

picute books school

“I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” by Karen Beaumont is a silly picture book fully of great opportunities to teach little ones about body parts.


“Wee Sing & Learn ABC” by Pamela Conn Beall and Susan Hagen Nipp is full of alphabet fun. “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown is a story of the ages. “The Little Engine the Could” by Watty Piper is great for anyone in trains. What is not to love. “Eggbert: the Slightly Cracked Egg” by Tom Ross is about an Egg that has to find its purpose in life and finds out the being different isn’t so bad. “Snug as a Bug” by Michael Elsohn Ross is as cute as it sounds. “On Top of Spaghetti” by Paul Brett Johnson is a fun book, especially if you like to read with accents 😉

picute books

“Cars Galore” by Peter Stein is great for your little cars lover. Pete the Cat definitely could have gone in series. He’s a classic series cat that kids are sure to love. “I Love you All Day Long” by Francesca Rusackas is an adorable story that let’s your kids know you love them even when when you are not with them.

picture books

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a story that lives for generations. “On the Moon” by Stan and Jan Berenstain is great for little explores. “It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny” by Marilyn Sadler explores why maybe life isn’t so bad at home.”Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton is great even for the very littles. “Potty” by Leslie Patricelli was my child’s favorite potty training book. Years later, he still thinks it’s funny.

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electronis and child development

Electronics and Child Development: 5 Guidelines

Electronics and child development seem to go at war with one another and yet seem inevitable. We all can judge the mom or dad who lets their child watch tv or play on a phone or device but is it really as harmful as everyone says. Here are some guidelines to use:

electronis and child development

Rule 1

There is much to be said about all things in moderation, so lets use that as our first rule. Set a parameter. All the time is too much. Never can also be a bit extreme. I am not saying if you have a ‘never’ rule you are doing it wrong. I know my niece watched TV starting as a baby. Her dad always liked it on as a background noise. By the time she was in 5th grade, she could read at a college level as well as accomplish many other brilliant tasks. Not saying your child will have the same results. Just meaning the TV itself did not ruin her mind. With that in mind, expert suggest holding off on electronic until kids are three, so do keep electronic time minimized compared to all the other fun things kids have going on.

Rule 2

Look at what your child is watching. Think about it from their perspective. Really think about it. What are they learning? What information are they gaining? Finding something that is not only interesting to your child but also teaching them some great information, even if it seems none important, is wonderful! This is helping their brain grow. The brain grows in these first few years of life, so yes your son does not need to know random dinosaur facts to succeed in life but having a bigger brain will pay off huge long term.

Rule 3

How engaged is your child? An engaged child is more actively learning. This is what is SO great about smart devices like iPads. It allows interaction. This means electronics and child development reach a different level then they did before with just television.

Rule 4

Monitor your child. Know what time of day works best, what environment, and all the other ins and outs of your child. With our son, we notice if we let him play too long, his tantrums really start to flare. This is not OK. This means he is getting too much time for him, and we have to scale it back. I know it’s harder with the more children you have, but staying on top of it will really make a difference.

Rule 5

Watch what you are watching around your children. Even the news can be a bit much. Think of their sweet innocent eyes. Keep them that way as long as you can.

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baby talk

Baby Talk: Helping Children’s Speech Grow

Baby Talk is an important part of development. It is a bridge stone to so much more. Early language will lead to success in school later on. Research shows that children who are more successful with early communication will arrive to school more on time, more ready to learn, and have an easier time learning to read.

baby talk

The first five years are when a child’s brain are doing its primary developing. This means stimulating language in this time frame is crucial. Here are some fun ways to make communication exciting! Remember baby talk is more than just speech. It is also about gestures, imitation, listening, and all kinds of imitation. Most importantly keep the environment positive and safe for your kids! Encourage them to keep trying and remember that they are young.

  1. Music  – Music is a great way to stimulate a child’s brain. It doesn’t have to sound good, so do not worry if you cannot carry a tune. Make up the song. Get silly with it. Drum along.
  2. Label – The world is full of so many great things and children are just now getting to see them for the first time. Label them. Do not spend to much time making your children repeat or trying to label it themselves. This can feel like pressure to them and give them anxiety around speech. If they are older and expanding their vocabulary, make a game out of labeling items.
  3. Be a Commenter – Yes it is like you have your own show. Talk tell your littlest one all about your every move. They just do not know. They are new here to this crazy place called earth, and they are not use to our ritual’s yet. (Think vacuuming, cleaning, bathing, cleaning, diaper changes, getting dressed)
  4. Read – Books can just be a jumping point and do not need to be literal. Little ones can learn speech patterns like rhyming from books, but you can also label all the pictures
  5. Sign – Gestures are an important part of language so do not worry you are teaching essential early communication skills. If you do not know baby sign, goggle them…that is what the internet is great for
  6. Engage – Even before my son could really talk I would say tell daddy about your day when my husband got home then I would bridge the conversation between the two of them until eventually (years later) I didn’t need to help him at all. This is just one example of how you can include children in a conversation you are going to have anyway. Do not talk over them. Include them!
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Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones: Prenatal to Three Years Old

As a child develops, there are many typical steps for parents and professionals to look for as age appropriate guidelines in their development.

Prenatal Development

Weeks 1-8: develop heart, upper limbs, lower limbs, and start to develop many other organs
Week 9-16: develop palate and ears, continue to develop other organs
Week 17-38: develop central nervous system, eyes, teeth, and external genitalia

Risks During Pregnancy

Week 1-2: Prenatal death
Week 3-7: Major morphological abnormality
Week 8-38: Functional defects and minor morphological abnormality

At Birth

Heart Rate: Should be over 100 beats per minute
Skin Color: Should be completely pink
Reflex Responses: Should be vigorously crying
Respiration: Should be good, crying
Muscle Tone: Should have active movement
Skills Developed within the First 6 Months

Developmental Milestones

Skills Developed within the First 6 Months

  • Turn head when name is called
  • Play social games, such as peek-a-boo
  • Moves head actively in supported sit
  • Reaches and grasps objects
  • Respond to sound with sound
  • Smile back at you

Skills Developed by the End of 2 Years

  • Use 2-4 word phrases
  • Follows simple directions
  • Begin make-believe play
  • Become more excited about other children
  • Draw circles and vertical strokes
  • Walk up and downstairs with one hand held
  • Identify six body parts
  • Remove shoes and starting to help put on shoes

Skills Developed by the End of 3 Years (36 months)

  • Show affection for playmates
  • Use 4-5 word phrases
  • Imitate adults and playmates, run when other children run
  • Play more complex make-believe
  • Use expressive vocabulary 300-1,000 words
  • Sort animals, shapes, and colors
  • Climbs jungle gyms and ladders
  • Shows independence

Following the Developmental Milestones

These steps in development, as well as, those that follow in the years after are important. The developmental milestones are a guide in helping us understand if a child is staying on track developmentally. As children demonstrate these skills, they also demonstrate their cognitive and physical strengths. If you suspect that a child is falling behind, contact your local developmental pediatrician for an assessment that can provide more insight into the delay and help to rule out specific disabilities.

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smarter baby

Smarter Baby: How to Help Your Child’s Brain Grow

I ran across this awesome article last week on how to help get a smarter baby.

smarter baby

Really It’s just ideas on how to help stimulate their brains and get them motivated to learn. Some of the great ideas on getting your baby stimulated include simple ideas like:

Stick out your tongue. Studies show that newborns as young as 2 days old can imitate simple facial movements — it’s a sign of very early problem solving.

Sing a song. Learn as many tunes as you can, or make up your own verses (“This is the way we change your diaper, change your diaper, change your diaper . . . “). Play Bach, the Beatles, or Britney Spears. Some research suggests that learning the rhythms of music is linked to learning math.

Make the most of diaper time. Use moments on the changing pad to teach body parts or pieces of clothing. Narrate to help your baby learn to anticipate routines.

Be a playground. Lie down on the floor, and let your baby climb and crawl all over you. It’s cheaper than a jungle gym and lots more fun! You’ll help boost her coordination and problem-solving skills.

Go shopping. When you need a break from your song and dance, visit the supermarket. The faces, sounds, and colors there provide perfect baby entertainment.

Pick it up. Even if it seems like your baby repeatedly drops toys off her high chair just to drive you nuts, go fetch. She’s learning and testing the laws of gravity. Give her several pieces of wadded-up paper or some tennis balls, put an open bucket under her seat, and let her take aim!

Grab a tissue or two. If your baby loves pulling tissues out of the box, let him! For a few cents, you’ve got sensory playthings that he can crumple or smooth out. Hide small toys under them, and thrill your tot when you “find” them again.

Read books. Again and again! Scientists have found that babies as young as 8 months can learn to recognize the sequence of words in a story when it’s read 2 or 3 times in a row — this is believed to help them learn language.

Make a family album. Include photographs of relatives near and far, and flip through it often to build your child’s memories. When Grandma calls, show him her picture as he listens on the phone.

Play in the rain. Jump in puddles. Sit in wet grass together. It’s a fun, albeit messy, way of learning about wet and dry.

The great thing is you probably are already doing a lot of these things…so it just reinforces what a great parent you are. It might also give you some new inspiration!

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