Diving on the Mailbox!

Diving on the Mailbox!

We get a lot of mail. Most of it’s junk, and disappointingly for Junior, almost none of it is for him. When Lego Club magazine shows up, it makes his day! He immediately sits down to read, only surfacing to request pencils or crayons or for me to take his picture right now with a Lego creation to send in to one of the magazine’s contests. Lego Club magazine has taken him from a beginning to an intermediate reader because he’s motivated to read it. Every page. In this blog post, I’ll talk about some other great magazines that will have your reader lunging for the mailbox—with links to sample issues and promo codes!

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Reading Our Way Through December

Reading Our Way Through December

Advent calendars are an eagerly awaited part of the Christmas season at our house. Every year, faraway relatives gift us with the Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar. Junior can’t wait to dive into the day’s new activity, scene, or game. Junior also receives a Lego Advent Calendar. Breakfast can wait while he assembles the day’s mini Lego build. This year we’ve added a third: the book Advent calendar. I got the idea from the Cottage Mama: every day during Advent, you and your family read aloud a new Christmas-related book at bedtime. Below is our lineup for December—let me know if you have a favorite that we should include!

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Alphabets for Everyone

Alphabets for Everyone

What prompted this post? Dinner. I've finally mastered homemade chicken soup, and the secret is alphabet noodles. Junior is so busy finding letters and numbers in his soup that the meal that he complained was "boring" minutes before dinner disappears with astonishing speed. This post details some of the funner ways I've found to reinforce alphabet learning.

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All Aboard! Train Books to read aloud again... and again... and again...

All Aboard! Train Books to read aloud again... and again... and again...

We had no idea what we were getting into as a family when Junior showed an interest in trains at 18 months. We’ve played trains, read train books, watched train movies, gone on train rides, toured train museums… at one point, his friends’ parents were keeping train sets at their houses for him to play with when he came to visit. Below, I give you the lowdown on train books that we still like after many, many readings.

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Hints on Finding Inexpensive Audiobooks

Hints on Finding Inexpensive Audiobooks

We really look forward to road trips for the opportunity they give us to listen to audiobooks. On our most recent trip, we visited the ocean floor and the outer reaches of the solar system, courtesy of  The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor and The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. In the second segment of a two-part series, Michele Braun shares resources to help you beat the high cost of audiobooks--and some book recommendations--while highlighting the organizations bringing terrific literature to life.

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Tugboats, Fireboats, Lightships, and Lighthouses!

It’s that time of year again. Back to school? No! It’s time for the tugboat races!

This year New York City’s tugboat races will be held on October 9 (traditionally, they are held before Labor Day). If you are a member of a tugboating family or connected with the port, you may get an invite to be on board a tug for the races. Not connected? No worries. You can watch from on land (the race runs from Pier I at West 70th Street to Pier 84 at West 44th Street/Hudson River Park) or from another boat. The Working Harbor Committee commissions a spectator boat for the race. Last year, my family joined the race on the historic fireboat John J. Harvey. Although the Harvey didn’t win the race, the nose-to-nose pushing or line-toss contests, we all agreed afterwards that it had been a terrific day out. 

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Summer Reading Program Review

Summer Reading Program Review

Junior was so intrigued when I brought home the NYPL summer reading flyer below last summer that he insisted on sleeping with it. Since we read tons of books anyway, I thought, why not get credit for what we do? Thus began my mini-experiment of signing up for all of the free summer reading programs in our area. Read on to find out our results! 

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