Top Ten Books About the Moon For Young Readers

One of my favorite units to teach in second grade was an integrated Language Arts and Science unit on the moon. We studied legends and folktales about the moon from around the world and learned about the Native American names for all the full moons. We tracked the moon visually over the course of the month and learned the names for the phases. My second graders were voracious word-collectors and loved the sounds of waxing, waning and gibbous.
In honor of this week’s Supermoon and full lunar eclipse event, I invite you to explore some of my favorite book resources on the moon. Both fiction and non-fiction are on the list below…but even the fiction books have quite a bit factual content about our closest celestial neighbor!

Best Moon Books For Kids

Simple Crafts to Celebrate Autumn (Even If Your Leaves Don't Change Color)

A roundup of simple leaf crafts for southern folks -- colorful leaves not required!

I always feel bad for the folks down south when fall arrives. Come winter I wish I lived there where it's warmer, but autumn is glorious in the Northeastern US. Judging by what's popular on Pinterest, it seems everyone wants to welcome the season with pumpkins, Indian corn and colored leaves in tones of red, orange and gold. Here's how to do just that when you don't have colorful fall leaves of your own to work with:

Autumn Leaf Banner with Coffee Filters and Liquid Watercolors

Leaf Mobile with Wax Paper and Crayon Shavings

Autumn Trivets with Tissue Paper, Mod-Podge and Porcelain Tiles

and finally because all leaves are beautiful, no matter their size or propensity to change color:

Leaf Creatures Inspired by Look What I Made With a Leaf by Morteza Sohi


Countdown to Supermoon!

Finally! A space event we can see in our neck of the woods (or portion of the hemisphere). With the eclipse starting at 8:11, even littles can enjoy the fascinating sight as the LARGEST moon of the year is covered in shadow. We're going space themed all week because I love the topic and there's so many amazing things to share. Here's a little perspective for today, a scale model of the solar system. At seven miles, it's very impressive. Earth is literally the blue marble in the model!


Read My Interview at "Artful Parent!"


JEAN:  Why do you believe creativity is important to foster in our children?
REGINA:  Wow. This is a loaded question!
You’d think that as someone with a computer science degree I’d say, it’s not. We’re living in an information driven society, why do we need colored pencils, paint or music in our classrooms — shouldn’t we just focus on building competent computer and information literacy skills?
I feel just the opposite. Even if you push aside the joy, pleasure the intrinsic “humanness” that results from creating something with your hands, above all art fosters creative thinking. Approaching a problem with an open mind and finding creative solutions is a required skill set for ANY job. Even a computer programmer could benefit from “outside the box” thinking skills.
So many academic programs today are focused on the end goal of standardized testing and the classroom experience reflects that. Worksheet after worksheet does not a happy child make! I was lucky to teach in a school where art was not only taught but celebrated throughout the curriculum.
Confidence is built when you share something all your own with your classmates. Having it respectfully received is a result of a great art appreciation curriculum which I think should go hand in hand with art class. You don’t have to like every genre of art (or dance, music, ect) but appreciating and respecting the creativity and technique that went into it is a must. Now THAT is a lesson that can carry over into every content area and character development goal.


Bing! Bang! Boom! Homemade Instruments and Noisemakers

I know I'm one lucky lady -- I can work around the house or in the garden by myself for a while and Claire happily entertains herself building contraptions and musical instruments. I'm very, VERY thankful for such an independent kid.

One morning, I was weeding my neglected garden and heard some serious banging coming from the family room. I peeked around the corner to find Claire happy as can be, banging away on a homemade drum set.

She had taken apart her stool for the top cymbal and dumped a series of blocks and legos out of the metal bins for some nice crisp sounding drums. Her mallets are made of tinker toys. What an inventive little girl.

A few weeks after her birthday she dressed herself (rather festively) and serenaded me during breakfast looking like this. Unfortunately, you can't tell in this picture, but she's wearing another purple dress underneath the sweater. How I wish I captured a video of her humming through the birthday hat while strumming along on the other!

I wanted to share a few homemade instruments from around the web, we've made a variety of these ourselves and I can say that there is not much that satisfies a kid more than making some good, loud noise. Invite the neighbors over and have a marching band or perform an impromptu concert in your pajamas one morning. Just make sure the video camera is ready!



If you're looking to slip a little musical magic under the tree this year, I HIGHLY recommend Melissa and Doug's band in a box set. There's a little bit of everything inside: harmonica, castanets, kazoo, jingle stick and xylophone...what more could you ask for? Keep an eye out for CyberMonday sales, The set retails around $15 bucks and will likely be on sale even cheaper soon! Happy Music-Making!

I've got a few more musical ideas shared over at Pinterest.
Come check out the board called Noisemakers & Homemade Instruments!


Do eagle chicks chirp and peep?

You too can spend your morning gawking at your computer screen, ooohing and aaahhhhing as mama eagle feeds her chicks.

The amazing webcam has been set up by Pennsylvania Game Commission's website. This is the eagle who was all over the news a few weeks ago, thousands tuned in to watch her stoically sit on her eggs while the snow rose higher and higher.

The things we do for our kids ;-)

Here is the link

And the brave Mama:



Valentine's Morning: Strawberry Heart Surprise Pancakes

It's Valentine's Day, but these pancakes are a sweet surprise for any morning! 

Pour your batter onto griddle and press a strawberry into the "raw" side before flipping, wait a few seconds and press again. The more the strawberry is embedded in the pancake, the more it will look like a heart.

Bon Appetit!


Marbled Paper Valentine's Cards

I am so delighted by these process-oriented Valentine's cards created for Claire's beloved classmates! We made some marbled paper with shaving cream and liquid watercolors, Claire wrote sweet notes on scrap paper and then together, we folded the whole thing into a simple origami heart envelope.  

Simple, sweet and perfect for little hands.

There are so many tutorials for making marbled paper, we tried the liquid starch method without much luck but had AMAZING results with shaving cream and liquid watercolors. For a little pizazz, we added gold glitter paint added to the mix and I think the shimmery results speak for themselves:

Here's the video for folding the envelope. Don't be intimidated by the length of the video, this is not a complex project and aside from the "squash fold" on the top of the heart, Claire was able to make these herself. I went with this particular envelope because it uses a regular 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper, no cutting needed!