Autumn is my favorite season. As much as I love summer, by the end of August I eagerly await fall’s crisp evenings, the trips to the pumpkin patch, the excuse to cuddle under a quilt and drink tea, and the changing leaves. Oh, how I love fall leaves! Good thing for me, Peeper and Kiwi share my love of autumn, so it’s no surprise we’ve collected a list of our favorite books about fall leaves and autumn.
After all, autumn is the perfect time to crack open a book after running around outside.
Jump in puddles, get muddy at the farm, collect fallen leaves, collect a pocketful of acorns—then head inside to read a stack of children’s books about fall leaves. Need some ideas? Check out this list then request a few—or them all!—from your local library. These make for a great unit for homeschool, if that’s your thing, or just a lovely read-aloud to learn about autumn.
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Days like yesterday, I just want to burn shit down.
I, like so many, woke up to news about dozens dead and hundreds injured after an angry man opened fire on a sea of strangers in Las Vegas. And then I went through what many of us have experienced so often before: Shock. Anger. Sadness. Frustration.
The terror, then grief, thrust upon hundreds is absolutely needless—and preventable. That’s why I am so furious: Because events like those in Las Vegas (and Orlando, and Sandy Hook, and San Bernadino, and Aurora, and many more) are predictable. They will keep happening—unless we as a country do something about it.
The other day I hosted the first meeting for our new toddler homeschool preschool. I wanted our first topic to be “classic preschool”—as well as something accessible to our 2-year-olds. I thought about doing a back-to-school theme but figured it was too abstract; instead, I chose to focus on toddler activities about color.
Kiwi is constantly learning about the world through colors. When she asks for a bowl, she specifies what hue she wants. She calls on things not just by their name (“dog”) but by what kind of dog (“white dog”). And about 100 times a day she holds up one finger and announces, “Blue. My favorite!” (Followed immediately by, “Purple. Peeper’s favorite!”)
A homeschool preschool curriculum filled with toddler activities about color, then, was right up these kids’ alley. They enjoyed the fine motor skills-tuning project, the sorting activity that works on pre-math skills, and of course plain ol’ art.
Do you have little ones that would love toddler activities about color? Try these! Even if your toddlers don’t know yellow from red, they’ll enjoy these activities—and learn at the same time.
I’m still riding the enthusiasm and excitement from the back to school season over here. Peeper is already adjusted to her half-days of pre-K (no tears, just a quick squeeze before we say goodbye!). And Kiwi just started homeschool preschool—more on that later! But not every child has what she needs to excel in school.
School supplies lists can get expensive (the average family spent $100-200 on the required pens, pencils and binders, according to a national study), and that’s not even factoring in other expenses like clothes, electronics (required by many schools) and other items.
I wrote about how we can help ensure all the kids in our community start school ready to learn and thrive in my latest column for PDX Parent.
In it, I explore how even families with little kids—who don’t have many opportunities to volunteer in the traditional sense because they’re too young—can pitch in.
September 10 was Grandparents Day—a holiday that should come more than once a year, I say, especially because of how phenomenal my kids’ grandparents are. Although Grandparents Day has passed, we continue to love reading these children’s books about grandparents—and I have a feeling your kids’ grandma and grandpa would love them, too!
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Lately Peeper has been on a mystery/spooky story kick—a predilection I could attribute to my own childhood love of scary stuff but is mostly due to her Grandpa Shempy’s long made-up mysteries about something called the Monkey’s Paw. So when I had a free morning and the kids miraculously ate their breakfast on time and without protest, I decided to try hiking Portland’s Witch’s Castle with the kids.
I originally heard of Portland’s Witch’s Castle in Forest Park from my blogging friend Renee. She wrote about hiking to the castle with her teens, and I’ve wanted to do it myself ever since then—but with my littler kids, of course.
Since the day’s forecast called for some rain, I wanted to choose a forested hike so we wouldn’t get totally drenched if it did drizzle. Forest Park, with its immense Douglas firs, provides quite a bit of shelter from the Oregon rain—but as luck would have it, the skies stayed mostly clear. (Thanks, weather!)
Rain or no rain, though, the hike was gorgeous—and the Witch’s Castle lived up to its spooky, and awesome, reputation!
At the beginning of the summer, a bunch of families I’d met at new moms’ group planned a joint camping trip. All our excited plans were canceled, though, when the weekend we’d meant to go turned hot. It seemed like insanity to take a bunch of kids camping with no lake or river when the temperature soared past 100. But I’d made activity buckets for all the kids, and I got to give them to the littles at a backyard picnic instead—a small consolation prize.
But I needn’t have been so disappointed! The activity buckets have come with us on many adventures since.
Going disc golfing? Heading to the beach? Playing in the yard? The activity buckets have brought fun wherever the girls take them.