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As a web writer for a big old company, I have a lot of colleagues all over the place who happen to be really awesome at what they do. And who are really generous about sharing and helping the rest of us know a little more or do things a little better.
For example, Amanda Morin. She is the Guide to Kids’ Learning Activities at About, runs her own product review site, The Learning Treehouse, and is the author of the brand-new book The Everything Kids’ Learning Activities Book. She also gets to live in Maine, which you know I am jealous about. Since she’s my book buddy and I love kids’ learning activities, we swapped books. (I’ll let you know when her review of mine appears!)
This book has 145 different learning games and activities for kids from age 5 to 12 that don’t require a lot of supplies or prep work, so you can have them in the back of your mind for when your kid says they are bored or you just want to build a little enrichment into a summer day.
The Bit is a little young (she’ll be four a month from today!) for a lot of these activities, but this is a book I’ll hold on to and use for years to come. There are some things we could certainly do now, such as phonics and rhyming games, and we do tons of sorting and counting along the lines of some of her ideas.
Amanda is well-versed in educating both parents and children and reminds us that parents really are our kids’ first teachers, and even if they go to preschool there’s a lot we can and should do to help them learn. But of course we want to make it fun, too, and because we don’t all have education degrees, we could all use some help in knowing what to do and what’s appropriate for the age of our child.
She’s got everything you need to know about an activity, detailing the skills that are being practiced, materials you need (it’s usually easy stuff like paper plates or index cards, markers, tape, etc.), how to play the game or do the activity and options for extending the learning. Scientific projects explain what’s happening, because you know your kid is going to want to know.
This book covers a wide range of subjects and skills, including sight words, vocabulary, storytelling, spelling, counting, money, measuring, life science, magnets, earth science, history and more. I was really surprised by the huge range. You could use this book to help introduce concepts or focus on a particular area your kid seems to be interested in (the Bit is starting to get into sight words, so I’ll be hitting that chapter pretty hard soon). And because Amanda has three kids, you know these ideas have all been tested and kid-approved, which is great.
The only complaint I would make, and it’s a tiny one and out of the author’s control, is that there are no pictures in this book! It would have been fun to see some of the projects in action. But that’s all the more reason to try them out for yourself.
Amanda’s book is available on Amazon (not an affiliate link) and you can ask for it in all the usual places. You should check it out if you have a school-aged kid who you’d like to engage in some playful learning.
(Oh, and congratulations, Amanda!)