10 Easy Ways to Savour the Last Days of Summer

Ditch your back to school list and squeeze in some summer fun. It's now or never!

10 Easy Ways to Savour the Last Days of Summer

Forget back to school shopping and lunch preparations. It can all wait, because summer vacation is ALMOST OVER!  Last chance to squeeze in a few more carefree moments of pure summer fun. Shorter days and earlier wake-ups are just around the corner. Homework and extra-curricular activities will soon fill our spare time.

I'm ripping up  my "Get Ready for School list" and replacing it with a "Savour the last week of summer" list. Why? Because the kids won't have summer vacation forever. Because soon the kids won't want to hang out with Mom all summer. 

I'm saying goodbye to summer vacation with a bang! (Disclaimer: You might feel a little harried next week. It's okay! Click here to get organized in a pinch.

10 Easy Ways to Savour the Last Days of Summer

 Go to a water park or outdoor pool. (Yup, again.)

 Have a picnic in the park.

 Chase down an ice cream truck or run to a favourite ice cream shop.

 Invite friends over and run through the sprinkler in the backyard.

 Wander a farmer's market for fresh-baked treats, or grab some strawberries and rhubarb to make this pie with the kids. 

 Visit a berry-picking farm and gorge on the pickings.

 Be a tourist in the city, and discover a new attraction.

 Stay in pyjamas all day while watching movies and reading books. (Click here for book recommendations.)

 Make Sharpie tie dye T-shirts. (Click here to learn how.)

 Go on a family bike ride.

How will you savour the final days of summer?


There's a Monster at the End of this IPAD

Grover reads to your kids while you.....

There's a Monster at the End of this IPAD

WHAT DID THAT SAY? Did that say there will be a Monster at the end of this book  ipad? Oh, I am so scared of Monsters!!! So please do not turn this page  post. 

My kids love turning the pages of this classic Grover book. I have adored "The Monster at the End of this Book" since I was four years old. Did you know it sold over 2 million copies in 1971?  

I want to tell you about the ipad version of "The Monster at the End of this Book." Grover talks to your kids!

He pleads with them NOT to turn the pages, because that brings Grover closer to the monster at the end of the book. Alas, kids don't listen to Grover's pleas, so he ties pages together with a rope and builds a brick wall from scratch. Poor Grover! Kids untie the knots on the screen, and break down the brick wall. So much fun for the kids! But not for Grover.


What's great about The Monster at the End of the Book app:

Begins to build reading skills: Words in the text are highlighted as Grover speaks, making it easy for children to follow along.

Book comes alive: Kids can turn pages, untie knots, pull down nails, and knock down walls. Grover gets really upset every time that happens, but it's a great way to turn kids on to books.

Built-in tips for parents: Included are topics for discussion to share with your kids.

Five minutes or more FOR YOU! That's about as long as it takes Grover to talk to your kids while you________. They will probably want to to listen over and over again. (Yay, sanity break!)

By the way, you don't have to get rid of your book. It is a classic, after all.  


Check it out on itunes.



Top 8 Children's Books About Life at School

From mean teachers to first day jitters to friends: These books have it all covered.

Top 8 Children's Books About Life at School

What is life at school REALLY like? A friend today can become an enemy tomorrow. A mean teacher is nice; a nice teacher is mean. And that "dumb kid?" Actually pretty smart. Just thinking about the twists and turns of school ife is enough to tie a child's stomach in knots.

The books in this list offer both reassurance and entertainment. These books tell the "truth," and show how characters deal with difficult situations. Use these books as springboards for conversations, or just read them for fun.

Whether your child is just starting school or is a seasoned pro, these books are a great way to get kids ready for the upcoming school year.  Happy reading!

Preschool - Grade 3

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard.

Miss Nelson is a sweet teacher, but the students in her class are noisy and disrespectful. When a foul-tempered substitute teacher, Miss "Viola Swamp" takes over, the kids are swamped with boring assignments. The kids really want Miss Nelson to return, but where is she?  Will the kids ever have the chance to tell Miss Nelson how much they appreciate her?

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

Chrysanthemum believed she had the perfect name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria.  "You're named after a flower." Life at school got worse. Will the support of her parents and a caring teacher be enough to get Chrysanthemum through the year?

The Worst Best Friend by Alexis O'Neill.

Mike and Conrad are best friends. Until Victor, a new, cool, and big boy arrives. Conrad forgets all about Mike, and becomes the worst best friend ever. How can Mike make Conrad see that Victor is not a true friend? A great message for young children about the ebb and flow of true friendship.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.  

Chester Raccoon is afraid to go off to school on his own. He would rather stay home with his mother. His mother eases his anxiety by showing him the power of the "kissing hand." Yes, it's saccharine, but it's a beautiful message about the power of love to comfort us when we are nervous or sad. Great for kids and parents dealing with separation anxiety issues.


Grade 3-6

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.  

Trisha really wants to read, but when she looks at a book all the letters get jumbled up. Kids in the class call her "dummy." Trisha is  devastated, but her teacher, Mr. Falker, doesn't give up on her. This story is based on Polacco's own struggle with dyslexia. Many students and teachers have cried while reading this book, because it shows what a difference a teacher can make in a child's life.

Blubber by Judy Blume.

"Blubber is a good name for her," the note from Wendy said about Linda. That's where the "fun" teasing about Linda started, but nobody  in grade five expected it would go that far. No author portrays the mentality and social dynamics behind bullying better than Judy Blume. Every reader can see herself somewhere in the story. Excellent.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. 

Sleeping through class is considered educational. Mean Mrs. Gorf sometimes turns students into apples, and every student is rather odd. 30 short chapters contain satires on school that will ring true for kids: Inedible school lunches, the nice but useless teacher, the kid who always gets in trouble. Funny, plus lots of school life-lessons.

Matilda by Roald Dahl.

Matilda is a very bright little girl who teaches herself to read. Unfortunately, she has to deal with her two idiotic parents and a cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. Matilda's only comfort is her nice teacher, Miss Honey. Kids will cheer Matilda on, as she uses her own creativity and talents to get revenge.  Clever and witty, this is Roald Dahl at his finest.  Follow up with the movie.

You can learn even more ways to get organized and transition from summer to school on our Back-To-School 2014 page.