The Very Quiet Cricket Virtual Book Club and Blog Hop

Do your kids love bugs?   It’s time to get buggy!  We’ve gathered some fun filled buggy activities for you to create with your child this summer!  These bug activities even work well with inviting friends for a Book Club Playdate.  Join us as we co-host May’s Virtual Book Club with Toddler Approved using The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. We are inviting you to join the fun too.  Share your The Very Quiet Cricket Activities in the Virtual Book Club Link up below.  That way all summer long we have a menu full of Bug Activities for our children.  
May's Virtual Book Club is...
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
A very small cricket tries again and again to make a chirp by rubbing his wings together as other insects pass him, making their unique sounds and movements. Each page has an insect and a verb describing his behavior. Each page also ends with "the little cricket wanted to answer so he rubbed his wings together, but nothing happened. Not a sound."  While you're reading the story make sure you have your child pretend to rub their wings (arms) together to help him make a sound... they will love it and will be very surprised at the end when it really works! 
Did you know it's a Love Story? Eric Carle shares on his blog "My book The Very Quiet Cricket is really a love story. For when they find each other, "...he chirped the most beautiful sound that she had ever heard." .  If you don't have a copy of The Very Quiet Cricket here's a version of the story for your child to enjoy and then join the buggy fun! 

Now' it's time for some Buggy Fun! 
  • Observe a Bug
  • Create a Bug
  • Read a Bug
  • Sort a Bug
  • Write a Bug
  • Play with a Bug
  • Listen to a Bug
Science Facts About Crickets
After reading the The Very Quiet Cricket get several crickets from a bait shop and let your children watch them make noise. We used a bug viewer for the Dollar Tree, a must for summer fun.  Once your children have seen them take them outside and set them free.
Parts of a Cricket
Buggy Tot School

Supplies for Create a Bug
We created our own insects using simple items and our imagination
  • Paper
  • crayons
  • paint
  • pipe cleaners
  • egg carton
  • wax paper for wings
  • glitter
  • sequins
Cricket Stamp Craft 
Egg Carton Bugs
Trace and Color Bugs from Story
Butterfly Fun

Sort a Bug
Using bugs you can sort them by their different characteristics.  How many legs, wings, sounds, size.  It's great to build vocabulary.  We sorted ours here by how many legs and wings.  I adore this Build a Bug set from Lamaze.  It's one of those toys that grows with your child, so both my 1 year old and 5 year old can play with it.  So glad I found it at a garage sale :) The dollar store is a great spot to find bug to play with too.  We like to use those in our Water Table

Printable Vocabulary Words from The Very Quiet Cricket
We printed both the Sorting Activity and the Vocabulary Activity.  Arrange the pictures by retelling the story in order.  It's important for reading comprehension to be able to retell a story.  Then we sorted the words by which insect they belong with. This is a good activity for differerent levels in reading.  for beginning they can use matching skills to match the names of each insect.  Then as they progress in reading you can add the verbs. 

Listen to a Bug
We had fun making music with our bug instruments.  Another toy that works well for different ages!  You could even create your own bug shakers too for friends to bring home. 

Noise Activity We had fun sorting out the pictures and discussing which things are loud and which things are quiet. 

Listen to Bug Sounds & Discover why they make sounds
Write a Bug
Sequencing Cards and Sorting Activity
Using the sorting pictures you can have your child write about the bug.  They can label it with the name or even create a new story about each bug. 

Activities for Read a Bug
The Very Quiet Cricket Emergent Reader
Story Sequencing Cards

Bug Activities

 You’re invited for some Summer Bug Fun! 
We invite you to link your own The Very Quiet Cricket experience and activities
 with May's Virtual Book Club! 

If you participated in Virtual Book Club this month and have a The Very Quiet Cricket blog post to share with us, please link it up in the linky below! Please make sure to only link up The Very Quiet Cricket related posts. If you have more than one to share, you are welcome to share them, but limit your links to two. Blog posts should share about your book club experience and a learning activity, craft, or related project you did! I can't wait to see what you link up!

If your post is not Very Quiet Cricket themed or you link more than two posts, I will unfortunately have to delete your extra/irrelevant posts!

We will be adding the posts below to the Virtual Book Club Pinterest Board along with sharing them over on The Educators' Spin On It Facebook Page. I highly recommend you visit other blogs participating in the link up, leave a comment, and share the fabulous posts you discover too!

Sharing Memorial Day with Kids

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, it's also a time to enjoy the company of family and friends, and celebrate our nation's freedom.

How to Discuss Memorial Day with Kids from The Educators' Spin On It

What is Memorial Day?

When your kids ask, "What is Memorial Day?," be prepared to give them the proper answer. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives in our nation's service. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan on May 5, 1868 and was observed later that month on May 30 when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Teaching the meaning of Memorial Day to your children can be a challenge. We want our children to understand why this holiday means so much to our country's history and our military families. The simplest thing you can do to honor this holiday with your children is to spend time talking to them about what Memorial Day means to you. Take the day to talk and reflect on those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

Another way is to spend time learning about patriotism and why we celebrate our nation's freedom.  There is a reason why so many have given the ultimate sacrifice... it's for the honor of our country, The United States of America.  Building a sense of pride is important!

  • Honor and Respect
  • Visit and Pay Tribute
  • Celebrate with a Parade
  • Recognize our Heroes
  • Educate with History
  • Create with Crafts
  • Break Bread Together
  • Make a Soldier's Day 

Here are some Helpful links for Memorial Day Activities

Edible Flag Snack 
Patriotic Activities for Kids 
Water Color an America Flag
American Symbols Packet
Handprint Flag
Handprint and Footprint Flag
Patriotic Preschool Pack
Flag Craft
Medal of Honor
Memorial Day Crafts & Worksheets
The Real Meaning of Memorial Day
Memorial Day Lesson Plans and Activities
Red and White Pinwheels
Memorial Day Necklace
Paper Poppies
Memorial Day Puzzles for Kids
Cool Facts About Veterans
Patriotic Preschool Activities
3 Simple Ways to Observe Veterans Day with Kids 
10 Ways to Encourage Patriotism in Kids 

Do you have a special soldier that you're remembering today?

We'd love for you to share your story with us. 

Summer Curriculum & Books Reviews

Summer break is quickly approaching.  We know that kids have the potential to make learning gains over the summer if provided with an enriching home or childcare environment.  It is so important to make sure that learning happens in the summer months.  Here at  The Educators' Spin On It we try to incorporate fun, hands-on learning activities, field trips, and the more traditional academics into our daily summer routines.  If you are looking for inspiration, there are some great summer programs out there to help your child continue learning throughout the summer months. Here are just a few that we have collected, purchased, and/or had the oporunity to review.
SUN Scholar Summer Program:
The Sun Scholar Summer Program is simple and fun way to keep your child engaged and having fun all summer long! Created by a Rachel a teacher and a Mom of 3, she has found a way for families to easily incorporate educational curriculum into our daily summer schedules.  The program has 12 weeks of program activities just for you for just $30.  It includes over 240 activities.  That means that each week consists of approximately 20 activities, four for each day, centered around a particular theme. The program has printable  ½ page activity cards, each explaining the activities and suggestions on how to adapt them to your child’s needs. They are very easy to follow, even your children will enjoy reading them.  The best part is she’s done all the planning and organizing for you so that you have more time to spend with your children making memorable moments and fun while secretly working on reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, music and more! 

We love that it includes Themes that will get any child interested in Learning this Summer!

:: Getting Started :: Mail Mania :: Animal Fun :: Mice, Cookies & More ::
:: The Great Outdoors  :: Beach Party :: Secret Agents in Training :: Fun With Fairy tales ::
:: Space Explorers :: Back to School :: Hocus Pocus :: Incredible ME ::

I think one of my favorite units is Mail Mania.  There are so many ways it is connecting into our lives this summer.  First and most important we enjoy traveling during the summer.  Then we’ve been learning about World in our Around the World in 12 Dishes.  Plus we are getting ready to host the Love Books: Summer Reading Book Exchange.  So when you combine all of these fun things we have mail coming from all over that relates to my daughter.  Plus you know junk mail arrives all the time that we can track.  I love the idea to record and graph where all of the mail comes from.  Plus she’s included a printable to create your very own stamps.  I foresee hours and hours of fun at our house this summer!  

Another great thing I like about this program is that you can take it with you easily as you travel throughout the summer.  It would work well for activities on an airplane, long car ride, waiting at a restaurant or at Grandparents house. The supplies needed are simple things and you can easily print out a theme and bring it with you without having to carry a large book.  Here's how the Sun Scholars Family has enjoyed using this terrific program Sun Scholar Families.  Are you ready to become a Sun Scholar? 

Want to Win a FREE Sun Scholar Summer Program?

Check out these Reviews from Moms & Bloggers we Trust!

Mama Pea Pod :: Crayon Freckles :: Smiling Like  Sunshine

*** We received this summer packet for review. The thoughts and opinons are our own. ***

SUMMER Bridge Program:
The publishing company Carson-Dellosa also puts out a summer program that has been a favorite of mine as a teacher for many years.  (They sent us this amazing package to try out with our kindergartners in return for sharing this information with you.  All thoughts and opinions in this review are our own!) 

One of the main components is a workbook for kids, but don't worry - not all worksheets are bad.  In fact, a little each day can keep skills up to speed.  I really like that the book is set up into 3 different months with one page (front and back) of mixed skills for the kids to do.  My daughter was ecstatic about the entire thing and begged to start right away.  I explained that she was only allowed to do one page every day and this limitation has made it all the more exciting (gotta love 5 year olds!).  Every morning she has woken up and completed her page during breakfast.  Because she is a reader and likes a challenge, I ordered the 1st grade going into 2nd package.  This right at her independent level, meaning that she can read 95-100% of the words independently.   It is important to know if your child would benefit more for the current grade, a grade higher (enrichment) or a grade lower (extra support).  If you are not sure, you could always ask their current teacher for a recommendation!
This morning, she did a little work with time, long vowel sounds, reading comprehension (matching a sentence to the correct picture) and read a fact about how long glass takes to decompose.  This led into a discussion about composting and recycling.  Other days there are little fitness challenges that encourage kids to complete a fitness task. 

I really like how the workbook is visually easy to read, colorful, and highly motivating.  It isn't overwhelming, but also covers a vast amount of academic content.  As a parent, I also appreciate the addition of character development.  Although we talk about it as a family, it is important to highlight special words like flexibility and what it means in our house. Our children have very limited screen time, but an online companion also comes with the purchase of each book.

The second main part to this program is a set of 2 activity card bundles.  In the past 5 days, I have spent over 7 hours listening to her read jokes and facts out loud to me.  One of these packs will be traveling with us on the airplane.  These flip cards would also be great entertainment for when the family goes out to restaurants!

The Summer Learning Bridge group has really done a superb job making a summer academic review program that is easy and affordable for us parents to use! 

SPECTRUM Workbook Series:

Although both my daughter and I really enjoy the summer bridge program, I really want her to have more practice reading for an academic purpose.  She usually reads books of her choice at least 1 hour every day and is becoming quite a well versed, fluent reader.  A trip to the local teacher store (these are great for parents too) led me to the Spectrum set of workbooks.  The picture is a link to the same one I purchased on Amazon, they have all the grade levels available there too.  (I just like shopping locally when I can!)  I went in looking for first grade reading material that was organized in a visually clear manner.  I mainly was looking for a reading specific book so that we could focus on reading comprehension, phonics, and fluency in on-grade level text.   Although I went in for one book, I ended up getting three; the Reading, Language Arts, and Math one as well.  The writing book used dotted lines in both red and blue which is very visually overwhelming for my daughter who struggles to see well daily, so I didn't purchase that one! These are are very basic and not as "fun" looking, but excactly what I was looking for.  (I went through 10 different companies books cover to cover to find this one!)

Summer Pinterest Activities:
Here's are our favorite Summer Reading and Writing Activity Boards

Plus we're always looking for great ideas for Summer Activities. 
Follow us all Summer Long as we PIN Summer Activities for your child too! 

How do you plan to help your children learn over the summer?
Do you know of any other great resources? If so, please tell us about them!

Learning with art and math about the buildings of Russia

It is time for another Around the World lesson, with a stop this month in Russia.  If you are interested in learning more about the language, culture and how to teach your children about it, you have found the right place.  We even have a guest post about Russian food over at Mama Smiles, stop on by to learn more! 

For this lesson,  I wanted to incorporate art, math, geography, and FUN.  Inspired by a local sidewalk chalk art festival, the kids and I did a little research on the famous Russian buildings.  The colorful domes of Saint Basil (more info here on the Kremilin and Red Square area) inspired the children!

It was time to grab our brand new box of sidewalk chalk and head outdoors!

We printed an image of Saint Basil and I used a permanent marker to gird 1" x1" squares across the printed picture.  I cut the extra off so that all we had was the picture with the grid to look at.  We then got to work making a larger grid on our driveway.  As you can tell, I much prefer assistance than perfection!  We couldn't find the yard stick and settled for using a left over piece of shelving and non-standard units of measurement (I counted the holes in the metal and divided by 6, because that is how many squares I needed)
Then, using the grid (the one in yellow) that I drew (kids in upper elementary school and older can do this on their own!) I started to sketch the basic outline, starting at the lower left corner. Don't worry if it doesn't look pretty - as you can tell, mine didn't!
 Start adding colors.  Chalk is messy, so wear some play clothes and rub it in when you have the color you want in the place you want it. (otherwise, the chalk just blows away)  You can blow on a little section to see what I mean!
 Older kids can help fill in the colors.  Teach them how to look back at the grid and figure out which square in the big grid corresponds with which square on the little grid.  (Now we are getting into some really advanced mathematical terms that I can't even remember - help!) Little ones will still be little ones!  They want to help too.  Although this activity is geared for kids ages 4 to adult, littles can help fill in big areas (like the tree or sky)  They can also just add whatever they want to add and you can work it into the drawing!  As I said before, I like participation and not perfection!
 And this is a project even I couldn't resist helping to color in!
 The more chalk and colors that are added, the more the building begins to take shape.  Although Saint Basil Cathedral is an iconic symbol of Russia, has historical significance, and beautiful colors, there are many other buildings to choose from for this activity.  If you have 2 older children, they may want to try draw 2 different buildings.  Maybe even invite some friends over for a playdate and have different groups work on different buildings!  I would love to see kids at school try this too!  How neat would it be to see a bunch of buildings from Russia scattered on the sidewalks and driveways!

Happy Learning!


Here's a fun way to incorporate Pirates and Reading into your fun this Summer!  Create a Pirate LOVE BOOKS Package for your child! 

I have a very special child in mind, my nephew.  He lives in London right now so I am sending him a special Pirate Package in the mail to celebrate his 4th Birthday.  Recently Inner Child Fun shared ways to connect with kids even when they are far way.  It made me think about how to you celebrate Birthdays when you are far way.  Here's my way of wishing Happy Birthday, I'm sending him a PIRATE PARTY.  In my PIRATE PACKAGE I'm also including resources for him to create a special PIRATE THEME in his house for the birthday boy.  Of course I'm always putting my "Spin On" things and some of these Pirate Activities will help prepare him for his preschool too in the fall. 

Let's start with the Pirate Package we're sending.  I quickly ran into a few stores to find pirate themed items.  I'd tried really hard to keep all items around a $1.00. First I stopped by Target's Dollar Spot and look what I found!  I found all the items needed for a Pirate Party.  They had dress up items like the bandanna, eye patch and earrings and even a sword!  They also had pirate invitations, thank you cards, gift bag and goody bags. I also stopped by Michaels to discover a Pirate Paint book.  Then a quick stop at Walmart for a Pirate T-shirt, Jack and the Neverland Stickers and Moveable Decorations.  

Here's my "Spin On" these Pirate items...

Pirate Party Bag: Toy Storage for Pirate Items
Pirate Invitations: Treasure Hunt Clues Game
Pirate Dress Up: Use them in dramatic play, Pirate Dress Up Game, and to Retell Stories
Pirate Stickers: Create a Pirate Story using Stickers (See more)
Pirate Paint Book: Once you've painted the pictures tell a pirate story about it

Now we're all set for a Pirate Party Package!  But wait now we need to add a Pirate Book! We selected Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC. but there are many others to choose from depending on age.   

Let's start by finding the perfect Pirate book!  Welllll maybe just a few.  I guess since I have two younger daughters we've stayed away from the pirate theme for awhile.  Tinkerbell has always been a big hit and Peter Pan just recently but now that Jack and the Neverland Pirates in one of my daughter's favorite shows.  Here's a great resource for Jack and the Neverland Pirates . We're now all about Pirates now at our house!  Here are some books we've discovered and enjoyed about Pirates, we even found a few with girl pirates!

  Pirate Themed Books

(Affiliate Links Included)


Keep your eye out for the Jake and the Neverland Pirates Books coming out July 10
I spent time looking for books and didn't know they they weren't out yet, silly me.

Pirate Activities to Mail

Since we tend to favor one particular crew of pirates, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, we included them in our activities for my nephew.   I printed the Playset of Jack and the Neverland Characters and Pirate Alphabet Letter Cards for him to play with.  I also included links to make a Pirate Ship, Pirate Map, How to Talk Like a Pirate, Pirate Song

Jake and the Neverland Pirates for Games, Videos, Color Sheets from Disney Jr.

We sure hope our Pirate enjoys receiving a Pirate Package for his birthday.  This summer we've invited bloggers from all over to send LOVE BOOKS packages just like this or more handmade ones too.  They are simple and easy to do to keep our children READING all SUMMER. PLUS we'd love for you to join us on for first Summer Camp! One of our themes is PIRATES, it's a full week of Pirate Activities for you!  .....COMING SOON. 

 Looking for something special for the pirate in your life?
Pirate Toys and Party Supplies
I went window shopping for you and found items that will be a big hit for your Pirate!  

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