20 Best Ever Books for Preschoolers

 

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Over the many years of teaching and raising kids I have come across hundreds of picture books for young children. Some are fads of the day while others last for years and can be enjoyed over and over again.  This list of books are from my own collection of favourites. These books can be adapted  for classroom use with units galore and have a magnetic appeal to young children and adults alike. Some of the books I can even remember reading as a child myself! I’m sure you will have your own favourites but these by far have proven time and time again to be some of the best picture books for engaging young children.  Here they are in no particular order.

  1. Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.
  2. Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin
  3. The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  4. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  5. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  6. Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley
  7. Cordurory by Don Freeman
  8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  9. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  10. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  11. Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel
  12. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  13. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
  14. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
  15. Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  16. The Mitten by Jan Brett
  17. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  18. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  19. One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Suess
  20. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess

The Literacy Connection

teagan-readingDid you know that 90% of children’s critical brain development occurs by the age of five!

Right from birth a child’s brain begins forming connections rapidly. These connections form the foundation for all of the learning he or she will do later in life.  Studies show that babies and young children who are read to and sung to on a regular basis develop bigger vocabularies and become better readers later in life.

Reading books to children, telling stories, acting out finger plays and singing songs are all crucial in the early years for healthy brain development.  Allowing young children to  become familiar with books, magazines and other print materials also helps to stimulate the brain.

Board books are great for helping toddlers to develop a love for reading. That is because the books are sturdy enough to be used and abused and read over and over again. When my children were young they would carry around their favourite board books until they were practically falling apart. I usually keep a basket of board books in my preschool classrooms as well.  This way the children can use these books in all sorts of play without worrying whether or not they will rip up. Playing house or school is always fun with a book in hand. I love to see my preschoolers pretend to read to one another. They don’t realize it but by engaging in this activity they are building up their dendrites for healthy brain growth.

Another fun activity for young children is to give them old magazines. If they are old enough to use scissors they can cut out pictures, letters and words and glue them onto construction paper for a collage. Younger children might enjoy tearing the pages out or just looking at the pictures like mom or dad.  Having the tangible item to hold, touch and see helps to stimulate the brain.

In the age of technology one might ask, “What about  tablets and e-readers, etc?”  Yes, computers and e-readers are also another way for children to become excited about reading. However I would use this in moderation.  Without the actual physical interaction one loses part of the necessary steps in healthy brain development for the young mind. The computer should never replace the actual interaction between a child and his or her caregiver. Hearing a story read out loud also aids in oral skills and helps to develop a higher vocabulary in young children.

So keep reading and singing aloud to your child. And remember that by allowing young children to hold, touch and feel books you are helping to stimulate healthy brain growth!

Thank you to our adorable model Teagan and to mom Jodi for submitting this cute photo!

Valentine Math

Here’s a simple yet fun math activity to do for Valentine’s Day. Cut out heart shapes and write numbers on them. Laminate if you are using them for a classroom. Have children count out heart candies and place the correct number onto the heart shape cut-out.meganhearts

Valentines for Kids

With Valentine’s Day just a few short weeks away I thought it would be fun to repost these cute ideas for quick and easy Valentine’s Day cards.

Short on time and cash? No problem!  Here are some quick and inexpensive valentines for you and your child to make. These make perfect classroom valentines or just a special valentine for a special little someone in your life. Image

We made these King and Queen Valentines by cutting out crown shapes and letting the children glue on hearts and jewels. Two holes were punched in the side for the lollipop.

ImageThese simple cards were made by placing a box of smarties and reeses pieces on a piece of card stock. For the smarties, we cut out a pocket shape of blue card stock and taped onto the smartie box to look like it was coming out of a pants pocket. So cute!

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Another simple candy card to make is the lifesaver card pictured above. Simply cut out a strip of card stock and fold to make an envelope. Place candy and saying inside, fold and tie with a ribbon. Children love these! Another variation could be to use tootsie rolls , gum or other candy for the cards. Get creative and make up silly sayings to go with the candy you are using!

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If you prefer not to use candy you can opt for the following valentines. Image

Wrap mini packages of microwavable popcorn in red paper.  Add caption and hearts for a cute classroom valentine. Or dress up a package of nuts for a special treat with the caption “I’m nuts for you!”  Just make sure there are no nut allergies before handing out these.

Hope that these ideas have inspired you to get creative and remember it isn’t the gift, it is the thought that counts! Happy Valentine’s Day!