Trent’s Favorite Reads as a 6 Year Old

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This year, Trent and I read over 425 books together!!
(And that doesn’t even count the books he read at school, on his own on Epic, or on his own during our family reading time 😲)
You can checkout our Goodreads bookshelf to see all of the books we read.

I am so proud of this little reader I have in my household, and I am happy to share some of his favorite reads as a 6 year old. Here are the books he chose as his favorites when we scrolled through all of the books he’s read this year. [These books are in order of how we read them this year.] All of these books were chosen by Trent and the quote is why he likes it:

Leo: A Ghost Story

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

“I like that I don’t know why the girl sees him and everyone else does not. It is a mystery book.”

Dragons love tacos collection 2 books set by adam rubin

Dragons Love Tacos series by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

“It is really funny when they eat the tacos and go ACCCK with their fire. And in the other book it is funny that they have to time travel to find more tacos.”

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka & Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Matthew Myers

“When the authors wrote it they made it so a boy got it for his birthday and his grandma let him have it and it’s funny that he changed it into BATTLE BUNNY dun dun duuuuun!”

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast series by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Brendan Kearney

“I like all of them. It is funny that there are different worlds: first, the freezer and the fridge and the other parts. And I like that it rhymes.”

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The Typewriter by Bill Thomson

“I like it because when they type a thing it comes to life. I like the illustrations because they are very good illustrations.”

We are in a Book! (Elephant & Piggie, #13)

We Are In a Book by Mo Willems

“It is funny that they talk to me. And they know they are in a book. And Gerald is like OH NO! PAGE 49! NOW 50! AND THE BOOK ENDS AT 53! It is really funny.”

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One Lonely Fish by Andy Mansfield, Illustrated by Thomas Flintham

“I like it because I like how the numbers count on and the fish get bigger and bigger and the biggest fish you cannot even see his eyes or whole body.”

Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey

“Brian is like TRY ONE OF MY FRUITS and then everyone else is like NO, WE PREFER BUTTS! In the end, they try the fruit and think it is pretty good, but say, ‘We still prefer butts.'”

Please Say Please!: Penguin's Guide to Manners

Please Say Please: Penguin’s Guide to Manners by Margery Cuyler, Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

“Because the Penguin wants everyone to have table manners. HIPPO, YOUR NAPKIN IS NOT A HAT. And when they all leave, the penguin says they all need to say, ‘Please open the door.'”

Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!, #6)

Harold and Hog Pretend for Real by Dan Santat

“They try to be Piggie and Gerald. And Piggie and Gerald try to be Harold and Hog. And I like how Harold and Hog look like old versions of Piggie and Gerald.”

The Bad Guys series (we’ve read 1-4) by Aaron Blabey

“I like the Piranha, Shark, and the Wolf. I like all the Bad Guys because they are pretty funny.”

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Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex

“He brings a huge blue whale home! It’s so funny that he tries to take care of him, and he’s too big for the house.”

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Rules of the House by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Matt Myers

“I like it because the boy’s sister doesn’t do the rules. Like, the haunted house says don’t open the red door, and SHE OPENS THE RED DOOR.”

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot by Scott Magoon

“I like it because the Bigfoot is funny.”

I Really Like Slop! (Elephant & Piggie, #24)

I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems

“It is funny that Piggie makes slop and Gerald is like BLECK but he tries to pretend he loves it. But then Piggie says, ‘Have more since you like it.’ I actually like the whole series because it has a lot of kindness.”

Jack at the Zoo

Jack at the Zoo by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

“It is really funny that he gets replaced with the koala.”

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We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, Illustrated by Michaela Goade

“I like that the they’re trying to protect the water from the black snake pipe.”

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Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, Illustrated by Rafael López

“I like that they makes the whole neighborhood become full of art.”

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Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima

“I like it because while she’s in her penguin outfit on her birthday, it’s funny that the penguins are trying to take her and that they think she’s the king of the penguins. It is just so funny.”

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Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

“I like that she is named after her great great grandmother and everyone else.”

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My Book (Not Yours) by Ben Sanders

“It’s funny because the sloth says it is his book but the fox takes over dun dun duuuun.”

The Box Turtle

The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder

“Since he doesn’t have a shell, I am sad he lost himself and he lost his shell. Now he tried everything and tried a box. I am sad for him. I’m better at the end though.”

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Find Fergus by Mike Boldt

“It is funny that we have to find him. And in the end it is really hard to find to find all of the animals and you had to find certain stuff.”

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The Misadventures of Toni Macaroni in The Mad Scientist by Cetonia Weston Roy, Illustrated by Chasity Hampton

“Is there a second one out yet? I want to read another one.”

Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs

Welcome to Bobville: City of Bobs by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Bob Staake

“Well, there’s 1 good news and 2 bad news of it. Well, the first bad news is that I don’t like that everyone does the same thing: they go to sleep at the same time, they do the same thing at the same time, they think everything the same. I’m also sad that he doesn’t fit in. But I’m glad that he finds a home place.”

Nellie Nutgraf - The Double Best Reporter in History

Nellie Nutgraf series by Tom Angleberger, Illustrated by Gillian Reid

“Well, I like that it shows a bunch of history. It is kind of like a fake book, it didn’t happen in real life, but it has history in it that’s real.”

Lost on the Titanic (Out of Time Book 1)

Out of Time series by Jessica Rinker, Illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe

“I like it because it is also fictional history. It tells you about the Titanic. I liked that there was magic in it, too.”

Superbuns!

Superbuns by Diane Kredensor

“I like that she’s being kind.”

Where's My Turtle?

Where’s My Turtle? by Barbara Bottner, Illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes

“I like it because I like finding the turtle, like in the garden and in his room. It’s fun. I’m sad that the turtle is lost, but I like that he finds him.”

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My Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell, Illustrated by Michael Robertson

“I like it because I like that he’s happy. I’m happy for him.”

I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin's Lament

I Am Not a Penguin: A Pangolin’s Lament by Liz Wong

“He’s a PANGOLIN! I like that they think he’s a penguin and then at the end a penguin comes, and everyone says FINALLY A PENGUIN.”

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This Way, Charlie by Caron Levis, Illustrated by Charles Santoso

“Well, I’m sad that he got blind, but I’m happy that he made a friend.”

The Way Home (Owly #1)

Owly: The Way Home by Andy Runton

“I like that he’s taking care of the blue jay guys, and I like wormy. Wormy is sometimes funny.”

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (Super Diaper Baby, #1)

The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby #1 by Dav Pilkey

“I like that he can talk on his first day alive, and he’s like, ‘Hey dudes!'”

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Fox & Chick: The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

“Fox says it has to be a quiet boat ride, but Chick keeps on saying stuff: CAN I BE THE CAPTAIN OF THIS SHIP?! And it isn’t even a ship, it is a row boat! The one with the sunset is also very funny because Chick keeps asking things like: DO I NEED MY HAMMER?! and DO I NEED GOGGLES?! But he doesn’t need anything!”

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The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen

“It’s funny the two characters talk to each other and they came closer and closer and there’s an asteroid coming.”

The One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

“I like all of the characters like Ruby, Ivan, Mack, Julia, every body.”

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Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima

“You get confused the first time you read it. Because you think Spencer’s the boy but he’s actually a balloon, and the dog is Spencer, and the boy is the pet. It is very funny.”

Trent says, “Thank you for stopping by!”

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Past “Trent’s Favorite Books” Posts

Kellee and Trent’s Favorite Picture Books: First Three Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Three to Six Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Picture Books: Six to Nine Months

Trent and Kellee’s Favorite Books: Nine to Twelve Months

A First Year Full of Books: Trent’s Journey Through Books
**Check this one out if you haven’t–it is one of my favorite posts ever!**

Trent’s Favorite Books: One to Two Years Old

Ten of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Third Birthday

Ten(ish) of Trent’s Favorite Books as of His Fourth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His Fifth Birthday

Trent’s Favorite Reads as of His 6th Birthday

First Day of Unicorn School by Jess Hernandez, Illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum

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First Day of Unicorn School
Author: Jess Hernandez
Illustrator: Mariano Epelbaum
Published January 1st, 2021 by Capstone Publishing

Summary: Milly is incredibly excited to go to Unicorn School, a school that accepts only the best and the brightest. There’s only one problem: she isn’t a unicorn! She’s a donkey in a party hat. Milly first feels uncomfortable but eventually learns that she and the others at the school have more in common than it might have seemed.

About the Author: Jess Hernandez is a writer, librarian, teacher, and all-around word girl. When not being used as a human canvas for baby food art, she writes books for kids. Her debut book, FIRST DAY OF UNICORN SCHOOL, illustrated by Mariano Epelbaum, came out in Jan. 1, 2021 from Capstone. Sometimes she writes essays, poems, and short stories for grown-ups, too. Jess lives in a very small, very LOUD house in Washington with her husband, their three children, a blind Labrador, and seven chickens.

Review: This book is so relatable! Everyone has those first day jitters when they are about to start at a new school, no matter how excited they are, so Milly and the reader will definitely have something in common. And just like Milly, the reader probably realized that although everyone is different at their school, they all are awesome and fit in in their own way at school.

In addition to the story, I really liked the fun colors of the illustrations, and Milly is so expressive!

Trent’s Review: I really liked it because I love animals and it was funny when they all revealed the truth showing their fake unicorn horns and manes. In the end, Milly found the truth everyone and the school became for all animals, so Milly fit in.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: As an educator, Jess created extension activities to go with First Day of Unicorn School!

Coloring Pages

Lesson Plans

And Jess does online visits with schools or groups! https://www.jesshernandezwrites.com/school-visits

Discussion Questions: 

  • What was Milly so worried about when she first got to the school?
  • Why did Milly want to go to unicorn school?
  • How did the author use word play when having the different animals speak?
  • Why did Milly turn around right before she almost left the school?
  • Have students draw their own “unicorn” (any animal with a fake horn and hair!)
  • How were all the animals at the school the same? Different?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey, Kevin the Unicorn by Jessika Von Innerebner, Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim, Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten by Laura Purdie Salas

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to the author and Capstone for providing a copy for review!**

Shifu Orboot Earth: AR-Powered, Interactive Globe

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About Orboot from Shifu

An award-winning educational toy, Orboot is a no-borders globe that connects with the fun & interactive Orboot app.

A STEM toy that sparks the imagination and creativity, Orboot encourages the little ones to explore and discover on their own. It builds knowledge as well as develops linguistic and cognitive abilities in the process.

Explore the world with 400+ highlights and 1000+ cool facts across 6 categories – cultures, cuisines, monuments, inventions, animals and maps (national and state boundaries of countries).

Visit https://www.playshifu.com/orboot/earth to learn more!

Four Reasons to Love Orboot

And Trent surely does love Orboot!

What makes Orboot stand out versus other globes and other geography apps is that it combines the two: hands on and technology. The globe can be used like a standard globe but it also can be taken to the next level by using the AR-powered app to dig in!

There are some awesome pluses to the app: all aspects of it is free, it is available in many different languages, and once you download the app WiFi isn’t needed. Also, there is a portion of the app that can be used if the physical globe is not available!

There are so many different ways to play with your globe with its app. First, you can learn information about six different categories: maps, monuments, animals, food, inventions, and culture. There is also a scavenger hunt type game, quizzes, and the ability to build their own national park. And that is the digital puzzles and activities.

In addition to the digital activities, the user also gets a passport, stickers, guide, and stamps to keep track of the countries you “visit” while using Orboot.

Trent adores his globe! He will sit with it for hours, listening to facts, interacting with the information, telling me about the places he traveled to, and making connections between what he is learning and what he knows. Trent says, “I like that I can learn about different places!”

I was surprised that the coins, stars, gems, and badges he could earn wasn’t what kept him going back to the globe, it was the knowledge and the mysteries. He loved figuring out all of the clues in the scavenger hunt type mysteries, and he likes throwing out the “Did you know?” questions at us. He likes looking up places he sees in books or entertainment to learn about them. Who can argue with a learning toy that engages kids this way?

He also really likes the Oko Park aspect because it allows him to take his knowledge about the world and apply it to make a virtual national park. In the park the user looks at the balance of the national park, problems in the national park, and ways to keep their national park healthy. Trent says, “I love that I can learn to help nature.”

As a teacher, I could see Orboot as a center all by itself. It has such possibilities that it, by itself, could fill a center need and would allow students to dive into geography, social studies, and science!

Orboot takes kids on an adventure that they’ll love!

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**Thank you to Shifu for providing a globe for review!!**

Best Learning’s iPoster My WORLD Interactive Map

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Best Learning’s iPoster My WORLD Interactive Map is a “beautifully illustrated large floor map for kids, great for interactive lessons in school or at home. Explore and discover the world with your fingertips!

The smartest way to learn the world which includes 92 countries, capital cities, flag, population, languages spoken, important landmarks, fun facts with 4 challenging quiz modes.

Learn over 1,000 facts about the world we live in!

Capital & Country – Learn about each country and its capital cities with quiz.

Flag – Learn about each country’s flag with quiz.

Population – Learn about the population of each country.

Language – Learn about the languages spoken in each country.

Landmark – Learn about the important landmark or monument of each country with quiz.

Fun Fact – Learn a fun fact of each country with quiz.

  • Family Choice, Mom’s Choice Gold Metal & Tillywig Brain Child Award Winner 2018! The most valuable interactive touch activated talking map.
  • Learning has never been so much easy and fun. Hang on a wall, play on the floor or use as a colorful play mat.
  • Learn capital cities, countries with their flags, population, languages spoken in each country, important landmarks, fun facts with volume control.
  • Skills learned include concentration, earth science, memory, problem solving, geography and environment.
  • Requires 3 AAA batteries (included); intended for Preschoolers and early learners of ages 5 and up.”

Ricki’s Review: We received this map a few weeks ago, and my kids take it out to explore again and again. I love how it isn’t just a simple, straightforward map with just countries. The different settings allow kids to explore more about our world. For instance, my older son seems to gravitate towards learning the country names, capital cities, and landmarks, yet my younger son is fascinated with the flags, and he regularly puts the map on the flag mode.

When we first opened the map, all three boys were interested. They learned to take turns learning about the countries. The baby is only included in this picture because as you see, he prefers to push everything at once.

Here, my oldest son clicks on the flags to learn about the countries they come from.

And here, the kids take turns trying to identify the correct country in a fun quiz.

We plan to move the map to the wall this week, and we are happy that it will be something that the kids can keep referring to. I can’t count the number of times that one of them asks something like, “Where is XXXX country, city, or monument?” The map will offer a fun way to not only identify the location but to also learn more about the countries as they pop up in teachable moments.

Kellee’s Review: This map is endless entertainment and information! For those of us who have inquiry-driven kids, the freedom of the map and plethora of information just lends to their natural curiousity. So often I would get questions about a setting of a book or movie or just a random country that he heard somewhere, and now we can visit the map to find the country and learn all about it.

Trent is a fan of landmarks. He can tell you where the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Pyramids of Giza, etc. are, so he immediately gravitates towards learning about them with the map. And he just adores quizzes and will relisten to information and retake quizzes until he knows things by heart and will randomly share information with strangers. He says that this is his favorite part: “I love that the map tells you what the place is and tells you everything about the place.” It is all of the interesting information that keeps him gravitating towards it.

While Ricki loves that it isn’t just a simple map, I understand what she means, but I love that in the end it is still a map. Although there are some graphics, it isn’t overwhelming, and we can still use the map as a map also. I love that something that Trent goes back to over and over is fun and educational!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This map would be a beautiful addition to classroom walls. It offers so much more than a simple, paper map, and it allows kids to learn more about our world. We would recommend using velcro strips to hang this map on classroom walls to allow kids to pull the map off of the wall and bring it to their seats for further investigation.

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**Thank you to Best Learning for providing maps for review!**

Osmo’s Genius Starter Kit: Math, Spelling, Problem Solving, Creativity, and More!

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Osmo is an add on for your tablet (iPad or Fire) that brings digital learning to life! The Osmo Genius Starter Kit (from Tangible Play, Inc.) comes with materials for 3 of their different apps and with the Osmo stand and reflector, there are 2 other apps availabe to play without any materials.

Osmo knows kids learn by doing, so each game uses physical action. Whether it’s arranging tangrams, zooming number tiles around, or even freehand drawing, Osmo sees and reacts to every real-live move. Users will receive real-time feedback which lets kids learn through experimentation in a stress-free environment.

To date Osmo has been named one of Time Magazine’s Best Inventions, is a Parents’ Choice award winner, a winner of the prestigious Oppenheim award, and a 2016 finalist for Toy of The Year.

Tangram Demo: https://assets.playosmo.com/videos/games/tangram/tangram-demo-loop.webm

Words Demo: https://assets.playosmo.com/videos/games/words/words-demo-loop.webm

Numbers Demo: https://assets.playosmo.com/videos/games/numbers/numbers-demo-loop.webm

Newton Demo: https://assets.playosmo.com/videos/games/newton/newton-board-demo-loop.webm

Masterpiece Demo: https://assets.playosmo.com/videos/games/masterpiece/masterpiece-demo-loop.webm

Kellee’s Review: What I love about Osmo is that it takes technology and adds kinesthetic aspects to it. It is truly the best of both worlds. This combination of hands-on learning and technology is how we are going to prepare our students for their life journey.

Trent loves Osmo because he thinks everything about it is fun. Even when there is a challenge, he faces it, figures it out, and moves forward because of the engagement he has for the activities. And if it gets too tough, the app is intuitive and helps him out when needed.

It is hard to pick his favorites apps. I think Masterpiece and Newton would be what he picked first to play, but he wouldn’t argue about playing any of them.

Masterpiece shows his paper on the screen and an outline of what he wants to draw. It can be from their gallery, online, or even a picture he took. Then he can look at the screen and follow the lines. He loves drawing, so him loving Masterpiece makes so much sense.

As for Newton, which is a problem-solving physics platform. I found it to be extremely difficult, so I was pleasantly surprised that Trent loved it so much. He figured out so many creative ways to solve the puzzles, past the drawing that it initially instructs the user to do. It was fascinating watching him! (Please note: the Osmo whiteboard in the image is not from the Genius Starter Kit. Trent loved the starter kit so much, we bought other games and it came with another game; however, any white board or paper would work for Newton.)

Words is at this point a bit easy for him, but I know there are ways to up the difficulty, but he is really enjoying it and getting used to searching for the letters, so I don’t want to frustrate him.

Numbers starts with addition which is perfect for Trent and lets him practice his number skills in a low-stakes, fun environment. He is a math fan, so this is another favorite app.

Tangrams is probably the one he struggles with the most. When the tasks get more difficult and do not show which shapes go where, Trent has trouble visualizing which are correct (but I’m the same way, so maybe like mom, like son).

And like I mentioned above, we loved Osmo so much, we’ve purchased other kits which Trent have all enjoyed also! I highly recommend Osmo to parents and teachers as an extension to other learning.

Ricki’s Review: Kellee did an amazing overview of each of the games within the kit, so I will offer more of a holistic overview and perspective from two different kids’ age levels. We have been staying at home pretty much exclusively for three months. My kids are in need of something different. My 3yo is able to read simplistic books and words, and my 6yo is reading fairly fluently now. They are tired of workbooks, they are tired of any book that looks like an early reader, and they are looking for something more interactive. Osmo is the answer.

The kids beg me to play with it during the day. We are pretty strict about screentime in our house, but the Osmo is so interactive that it doesn’t feel like screentime to me. As a parent, it feels remarkably guilt-free as the kids cheer and play the games together.

What intrigues me the most is that Kellee’s son, who is the same age as Henry and has similar interests, has different favorite games than my son. (Although, truly, my kids love ALL of the games.) Tangrams is both of my kids’ favorites. It seems to come naturally to them (which surprises me because I am not very good at spatial recognition). Masterpiece is the hardest for them, and I wonder if they will progress more with it with some time. Regardless, all of the games are huge hits, and they want to play all of them every time they play with the Osmo.

Here, you see my 6yo cheering wildly for himself while he plays numbers. When he met his teacher for a small math group at the end of the school year, she spent a lot of time decomposing numbers. As a parent, I have been focused with addition, subtraction, and number sentences. I hadn’t realized how much decomposing numbers helps their math sense. Osmo’s Numbers does just this. My son is breaking down numbers and figuring out how they work. Using this game in repetition will surely help his math abilities.

Not pictured: the INTENSITY of this shot. Here, the boys are playing two-player Words. They are each tossing letters into the center and hoping to guess the spelling of the word. For the 6yo, it is conscientious. He is able to consider which vowels are the right fit. For the 3yo, it is a lot of guesswork. He focuses on the first and last vowels. The middle is still confusing, as is suspected. I stress here that despite the 3yo being outside of the age level, he is still able to have fun and try out words, which is fun and exciting for him (and for me!).

And lastly, I share a picture of the boys playing Newton together. (Kellee highlights Tangrams and Masterpiece above.) I said earlier that Tangrams is my kids’ favorite, but now I wonder if their favorite might also be Newton. Gosh this game is so fun. They are considering gravity and physics. The game forces them to problem solve. If they mess up, they might slide the paper a little bit.

If you are on the fence, we recommend the Osmo highly. The kids have been having a BLAST, and it makes learning really fun. As an educator who doesn’t believe much in worksheets, this is a phenomenal system that has brought a lot of joy to our house.

The kids have been making big plans for which kits they are going to put on their wishlists for birthdays and holidays! I am very intrigued by the Pizza kit, so that might be next!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: We highly recommend Osmo for centers in classrooms. There are ways to set up multiple profiles which will make it so students can each have their own progress and with the hands-on + technology, students will have so much fun while learning!

Here are the subjects that the Genius Starter Kit compliments:

  • Math: Tangram and Numbers
  • Reading: Words
  • Handwriting: Masterpiece
  • Science: Newton
  • Basic geography (maps): Masterpiece
  • Spatial relationships: Tangram

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**Thank you to Tangible Play, Inc. for providing starter kits for review!**

Yoga Animals: A Wild Introduction to Kid-Friendly Poses by Paige Towler

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Yoga Animals: A Wild Introduction to Kid-Friendly Poses
Author: Paige Towler
Foreword Author: Tara Stiles
Published May 19th, 2020 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: Adorable animal photos and lyrical text guide kids step-by-step through easy animal-inspired yoga poses.

Roar like a lion! Arch like a kitten! Stretch like a cobra! Did you know that many yoga poses were inspired by animals? Let these creatures inspire your young ones to get moving, practice mindfulness, or calm down after a long day. Simple step-by-step instructions explain the kid-friendly moves. Kids will get a kick out of the accompanying photos of animals that mimic each pose, and the sweet poem is sure to delight.

The foreword by Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga, reminds us that we’re never too young to start enjoying the health benefits of yoga and mindfulness. Animal Yoga is the perfect intro to this ancient practice–great for engaging (and quieting!) a class, reading aloud one-on-one, or helping restless little ones fall asleep at bedtime or naptime.

Review: Trent and I love doing Yoga together. We have family yoga mats, and he’s done mommy & me yoga with me though is favorite is Cosmic Yoga on You Tube. I wanted to make yoga part of Trent’s life because not only is it a wonderful form of exercise that he and I can do together, but it is also beneficial for mindset. Yoga Animals is a wonderful introduction to both aspects. I like that it makes the yoga poses accessible for so many ages. For example, it could be for a mom to do with a very young child as an introduction. Or older kids who may have done yoga in the past can use it independently. Here is Trent practicing his poses:

The book structure is also fun. The majority includes the animal photos with a connection to the yoga pose then a photo of the pose with instructions. In the back it goes more in depth about the pose and the animal taking the information to a whole other level.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: As the push for a healthy mindset has become more front and center recently as we realize that the current educational system is adding extra stress on kids, this book is a perfect addition to a classroom to have brain breaks. During the brain breaks, a new yoga pose can be introduced and the animal can be talked about as well. Then past yoga poses can be practiced as well.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What other animals have yoga poses?
  • How is the ____ pose like a ____ animal?
  • How does yoga help you physically and mentally?
  • Come up with your own stretch that resembles an animal.

Flagged Passages: 

Also, go to https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/books/yoga-animals/ to see videos of Tara Stiles sharing poses from the book.

Read This If You Love: Yoga, Animals, Brain Breaks

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!!**

Virtual Book Clubs with our Kids During Quarantine

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When quarantining became a reality for many of us in March, we were both looking for activities that would help keep our kids busy but also interacting with other kids. Ricki then came up with the idea of doing virtual book clubs, and Kellee was all in!

Trent & Henry’s Two Book Clubs

  • Trent and Henry, Ricki’s oldest, both were really interested in reading the Bad Guys books, so we started a chat with just the two of them. This is the first virtual book club that both kids had been in and was a great way to help them understand how to discuss books with a peer. So far they have read four of the Bad Guy books and have had a blast discussing everything from illustrations, to motive, and predictions.
  • As of this week, we are going to pause on the Bad Guys books and are moving ahead with some partner reading with some of the boys’ favorite picture books!

  • Ricki put out a call on Facebook for anyone interested in doing a Kindergarten-ish book club, and many jumped in! The kids range from age 4 to 9, and we find the mixed age group is really working! The club voted on the first book to read, and we started with Sideways Story from Wayside School by Louis Sachar and then we moved to Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz.

 

Trent’s Other Book Club

 

  • Trent also is part of a book club with one of Kellee’s colleague’s daughters. With this book club, Trent and Gabby started with picture books (The Hat Trilogy by Jon Klassen, The Questioneers by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts, and Lights! Camera! Alice! by Mara Rockliff). Next up are the Questioneers chapter books.

Ben’s Book Club

  • Ricki’s three-year-old Ben is also in a book club using Juana Medina’s Juana & Lucas. Admittedly, this book club has been trickier because the kids are ages 3 to 4. They have had great questions like, “Do you like to chew gum, too?” and are connecting with the book, but their attention span usually lasts between 5 to 10 minutes. They are also incredibly shy and have difficulty volunteering questions. Either way, it is still great to see the kids connect with each other.

The Clubs

For the larger club, Ricki sets up a Zoom meeting and leads the meeting. She ensures everyone gets to ask their questions and that everyone’s voice is heard.

The questions that kids come up with, even at age 6, are intuitive and deep!

  • Examples:
    • Bad Guys #1: Why do you think the kitty doesn’t talk but the other animals do?
    • Bad Guys #1: Why do you think those words on page 7 look like that?
    • Bad Guys #2: Do you think they would have made it without Legs helpiing them?
    • Bad Guys #3: Why did they think the ninja was a boy (she is a girl!)?
    • Wayside: Do you think it’s fair that Todd always gets in trouble?
    • Wayside: Joy’s name sounds like she should be good, but she keeps calling people dumb and stupid which isn’t good. Do you like her?
    • Unicorn: Why do you think Professor Fauna is hunting the unicorns?
    • Unicorn: Do you think the animal got tangled in the ribbon because it was a trap, or do you think it was something else?
    • Unicorn: Do you think Professor knows about the animal Elliot and Uchenna found? Do you think they will see it again?

With Trent’s book club with Kellee’s colleague, she used the teaching guides to drive the conversation (Hat Trilogy, Questioneers, Lights! Camera! Alice!), and she found that teaching guides are perfect for this as well. And their insight was wonderful!

With the smaller clubs, we use FaceTime. We’re still there while they are chatting, but it is easier for the two to chat back and forth.

Usually the club meeting lasts 20-30 minutes which is about how long they can stay on topic and discuss a book, but we think that is pretty great for kindergarten-ish kids.

We always end with “friend questions.” Kids are invited to ask their (new) friends questions about their lives. They tend to ask each other about their favorites (foods, colors, movies, books, sports teams, universities).

The book clubs have been such a highlight for our kids. They look forward to it each week! They love sharing the reading experience with others, specifically now when interaction with other kids is so limited.

An unexpected highlight: they’ve made some good friends. Henry and Trent have never chatted for more than a minute or two and last saw each other when they were babies, so it has been wonderful to see them bond these last few weeks!

We highly recommend virtual book clubs! Let us know if your kids have taken part in any virtual clubs!

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