June 23 – Let It Go Day

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About the Holiday

No, this isn’t a day dedicated to re- re- re- re- re-watching that movie. It’s a day to take a step back and take stock of the feelings you’re keeping inside or the little irksome quirks that drive you crazy. Are they really worth all the stress? Today’s a day to find inner peace, make amends, or turn disadvantage into advantage.

It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka

 

Most people wake up each morning with great ideas for a having good day, but sometimes things don’t work out the way they’re planned. For kids, small mistakes, accidental mishaps, and unexpected disappointments can loom large. Frustrations and perceived unfairness can elicit tears or anger, and it’s sometimes hard to know how to comfort an unhappy or upset child.

In It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon Jarrett Krosoczka acknowledges that sometimes bad or sad things happen, but he reveals to kids how looking at the event from a different perspective or through someone else’s eyes can bring consolation and even happiness. As the title states, it’s hard for kids to watch a balloon suddenly slip through their fingers and float away, but imagining all the other people who will see it and smile can help. Having a picnic on the beach when the unthinkable happens? “It’s sad to drop your sandwich in the sand…but it’ll make some seagulls very happy.” And you know it will make you laugh to watch those crazy guys swooping, diving, and squawking over that now-crunchy snack.

The idea of sharing hurts with others to create a new scenario or a different kind of enjoyment while forming closer bonds is another positive way to turn disappointments into teachable moments that benefit all. As most kids know “it’s never fun when you break a toy…” but with a upbeat attitude they can have “fun fixing it with Grandpa.”

Wet shoes? Melting Ice-cream cone? Scraped knee or new baby sitter? In Jarrett Krosoczka’s hands these letdowns can lead to new freedom, innovation, distinction, and joyful experiences. It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon can help anyone see “disaster” in a whole new light!

Krosoczka’s illustrations ingeniously depict the way an unexpected mishap or disappointing moment can make someone feel—alone, exposed, and vulnerable. Left-hand pages present the problem while the right-hand page shows the crestfallen child in full color on a black-and-white sketched background. The positive transformation becomes a two-spread, full-color of happy pride and fun abandon. Life can be full of little bumps in the road, keeping a copy of It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon on the shelf can help smooth the way.

Ages 3 – 7

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015 | ISBN 978-0385754798

Visit Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Website to see more of his books and discover fun activities!

Let It Go Day Activity

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Worry Buddy

 

Sometimes worries don’t seem as bad when they are shared with someone else or to at least set aside for awhile. With this craft you can make a friend to help lesson worries, disappointments, fears, and anxieties. And it’s pretty good at hugs too. Older children may like to create this as a sewing project, while younger kids can make it easily with fabric glue. Make your Worry Buddy as unique as you are!

Supplies

  • Fleece or felt in different colors
  • Buttons, two larger in the same color and two smaller in a different color
  • Fiber fill
  • Fabric glue or thread
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

Directions

To Make the Body

  1. Cut a 16-inch piece of fleece
  2. Fold the fleece in half
  3. Glue the sides together (older children may enjoy sewing the sides together with simple straight stitches)
  4. Leave the top open
  5. Turn the body inside out
  6. Fill the body with fiber fill

To Make the Hair

  1. Cut a 5-inch piece of fleece or felt
  2. Fold the fleece or felt in half
  3. Glue or sew the folded fleece into the opening in the body
  4. Cut the fleece or felt in ¼-inch strips across the top

To Make the Face

  1. Glue one set of larger and smaller buttons together, repeat with the other set
  2. Glue or sew the buttons to the top part of the body
  3. Cut a nose and mouth out of fleece or felt
  4. Glue or sew the nose and mouth to the face

To make the pocket

  1. Cut a 5-inch piece of felt in the shape of a square-bottom or rounded bottom pocket
  2. Fold down an inch of the top
  3. Glue or sew the pocket to the middle of the body

To share problems with the Worry Buddy, write worries or fears on a slip of paper and put them in the Worry Buddy’s pocket. Your Buddy will keep those problems so you don’t have to.

June 22 – It’s Great Outdoors Month

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About the Holiday

June, with its lazy feel and longer days, is the perfect month to spend time outdoors. Great Outdoors Week was established in 1998, but it quickly became apparent that only seven days were not nearly enough to enjoy everything nature has to offer. In 2004 the holiday was expanded to encompass the entire 30 days of June. So whether you enjoy activities on land or water, pack a picnic, grab some toys or equipment, and get out to play! Or if you just like quiet time, take a book and find a shady spot to read! Or if you love discovering new places, slip on your walking shoes and explore! Or…well, there’s just so much to choose from…!

Bringing the Outside In

Written by Mary McKenna Siddals | Illustrated by Patrice Barton

 

For kids there’s something magical about an open door. Going out leads to unexpected adventures, blissful messiness, and astonishing discoveries. Coming in means comfort, encouragement, and that homey feeling of being wrapped in love. Bringing the Outside In is an exuberant celebration of this harmonious juxtaposition for every season of the year.

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In springtime four children in jackets and boots and their adorable puppy race to play on a blue, blustering day. Under soft, billowing clouds they leap into puddles, dig in the dirt, pick wildflowers, and play tug-of-war with the wind. Happily sated and with “Worms in our clutches / Wind in our hair, / Boots full of puddle, / Mud everywhere!” the kids skip toward home. They are greeted with smiles, towels, hooks for their coats, and a mop for the drips. Even the puppy knows it’s time for “Wiping it off, / Mopping it up, / Dumping it / out again.”

With the repeated chorus “We’re bringing the outside in, oh, / Bringing the outside in…” the spring turns to summer and the four kids are visiting the beach with pails, swim fins, goggles, float, and a ball to toss. With buoyant abandon they collect sea shells, meet hermit crabs, get properly soaked, and revel in the warm sunshine. The sun, sand, and sea follow them home, where they kick off their sandals, gather at the mudroom’s big double sink, and pin their suits on the clothes line while “Shaking it off, / Washing it up, / Drying it out again.”

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Autumn once again finds the kids outside amid its brilliant colors and “Bushels of apples, / Leaves stuck on clothes, / Acorns in pockets, / Smells in our nose!” Back inside the kids make art of some of the apples and leaves they’ve collected, untangle more leaves from hair, clothes, and the puppy’s ears, and sweep even more out the door. With the onset of winter the kids plop in the snow, build snowmen, sled, and eat icicles. After a fun-filled afternoon and with “Slush on our seats” and a “nip in our fingers,” they know it’s time for “Bringing the outside in, then…Brushing it off, / Warming it up, / Thawing out again.”

A full year has passed, but the enchantment of spring, summer, autumn, and winter have not been forgotten outside. As the kids, comfy in their matching pajamas, huddle on the round rug poring over a box of photographs and souvenirs of their escapades, they’re happily “…keeping the outside in, oh, / Keeping the outside in….” And whenever they want to relive the “Treasures collected, / Pictures in heaps, / Stories remembered, / Memories for keeps!” that box contains, all it takes is a quick “digging it up” and “dusting it off” and “bringing it out again!”

Mary McKenna Siddals’ effervescent tribute to the joy of outdoor play perfectly captures the bouncy wonder young children exhibit in the freedom of a natural environment. Using evocative, lyrical language, Siddals imbues simple childhood pleasures with poetic resonance. The repeated phrases make this a great read-along, read-aloud book, and the children’s actions could easily be turned into fun movement games for school or family story time.

Patrice Barton’s endearing illustrations of the adorable ethnically diverse children at play are inspired and inspiring. Vivid swirls and streaks create splashing water, wind-whipped hair, swinging tires, and plenty of drips, drops, and delight. Children will love seeing themselves so affectionately depicted and will want to linger over the details on every page. One wonderful aspect of Bringing the Outside In is that the children can represent friends or they could be siblings.

Bringing the Outside In is a must for school libraries and would be a wonderful, often-read addition to a family library.

Ages 3 – 8

Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016 | ISBN 978-0449814307

Visit Mary McKenna Siddals’ Website to discover more about her and her books! You’ll also find lots of hands-on and online activities for Bringing the Outside In and her other books as well as teachers’ resources, and lesson plans.

Join in the fun with Mary McKenna Siddals on the Bringing the Outside In Facebook Page!

Visit Patrice Barton’s Website to view more of her adorable artwork, books, and blog posts!

Great Outdoors Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-bringing-the-outside-in-painted-pails-craft

Personalized Painted Pail

 

A trip to the beach or park isn’t complete without a pail to collect shells, seaweed, sea glass, pebbles, sticks, nuts, or other things in. But why should all the cool stuff be on the inside? With this craft you can decorate your pail to show your unique personality!

Supplies

  • Plastic or metal pail
  • Craft paint in various colors
  • Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating, for multi-surface use
  • Paint brush

Directions

  1. Paint designs on the pail
  2. When paint is dry spray with acrylic coating to set paint
  3. Let dry

June 21 – World Music Day

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About the Holiday

Celebrated every year on the summer solstice, World Music Day, also known as the Fête de la Musique, brings together professional and amateur musicians to ply their trade and entertain audiences for a day full of sound. The day was first conceived in 1982 by French Minister of Culture Jack Lang, who elicited the help of Maurice Fleuret, the Director of Music and Dance. When Fleuret discovered that half of the nation’s children played a musical instrument, he devised a way to bring people out into the streets for a music festival. Since then, the event has become an international phenomenon, celebrated in more than 700 cities in 120 countries worldwide. To participate consider organizing or attending a  free concert or enjoying music in your favorite way.

Hey, Charleston! The True Story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band

Written by Anne Rockwell | Illustrated by Colin Bootman

 

“Have you ever known someone who was always trying to turn bad into good, always seeing hope where others saw despair?” This question, which begins the biography of Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins and the orphans he loved is as relevant today as it was in the early 1900s, when this story takes place. Reverend Jenkins was the pastor of a small church in Charleston, South Carolina. One night while collecting scrap wood at a railroad yard, he discovered a group of boys huddled and sobbing inside a freight car. Reverend Jenkins took them to his church, fed them, and gave them a warm place to sleep. He knew what it was like to be an orphan because he had been one too.

Soon more orphans showed up at the church door, and Reverend Jenkins accepted them all. Room grew tight so he convinced the city officials to give him an abandoned warehouse for his orphanage. There was just one drawback: the warehouse was next to a prison, where less-than-desirable sounds emanated from the walls. Reverend Jenkins figured out a way to drown out the noise, however. He gathered the orphans and led them in song outside the orphanage door. The kids were good singers, and that gave the reverend an idea.

He had grown up during the Civil War and remembered the marching bands that led the soldiers into battle. He remembered the instruments these musicians carried and asked for any that were now unused to be donated to the children. Instruments poured in! They were polished and tuned and the children learned to play under the direction of the best teachers in Charleston. With the money Reverend Jenkins thought they could make entertaining people, he planned to buy a farm for the orphans.

Soon the Jenkins Orphanage Band was playing on street corners and in other venues. Many of the kids were descended from the Geechee or Gullah people who lived on islands off the coast of South Carolina, and they played the old band music with their own special rhythm, called “rag.” “A couple of Geechee boys would lead the band by doing a dance—twisting and twirling and tapping their toes, knocking their knees, and flapping their arms.” People loved the music, but most South Carolinians were poor and couldn’t donate much to the orphans. Reverend Jenkins decided to take his band to New York City. The band took the city by storm! People loved when the kids played their raggedy music and soon were imitating the Geechee boys’ dance. “Hey, Charleston,” they’d shout, “Give us some rag!” They called the dance “the Charleston,” and soon everyone was doing it.

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The orphans made so much money they were able to buy a new house, and the music instruction became so renowned that families began paying to have their children taught along with the orphans. The band continued to travel around the United States, and they were even invited to perform in the inaugural parade for President Theodore Roosevelt. Finally, they were able to buy the farm Reverend Jenkins had dreamed of.

In 1914 the Jenkins Orphanage Band was even invited to play for Britain’s King George V at the Anglo-American Exposition in London. While they were there, however, Britain entered World War I. The British government ensured that the band had safe passage back home, but many other Americans were stranded in England. Reverend Jenkins offered to lend these citizens the money needed for them to return home as well.

The ship sailed silently through the dangerous Atlantic Ocean until it reached an American port. Once safe the passengers shouted, “‘Hey, Charleston! Give us some rag!’” Happy to be home, the band tuned up their instruments and played loudly and enthusiastically for the shipboard audience. As the passengers disembarked in New York Harbor, crowds greeted them with a hearty welcome. Back home “as they lay down to sleep that night, those band players knew they had done what Reverend Jenkins always taught them. They had turned bad into good.”

Anne Rockwell succinctly and clearly relays the story of the Jenkins Orphanage Band while also retaining all the heart and soul of this fascinating group of children and their dedicated caregiver. The true-life tale is mesmerizing, not only for the historical details of the growth of ragtime music and the Charleston dance but for the accomplishments of the orphans once given love, acceptance, and education. Rockwell’s conversational tone contributes to the story’s smooth, flowing pace, which will keep listeners or readers rapt from beginning to end.

Colin Bootman’s bold two-page spreads illuminate the sights and sounds of the early 1900s for readers. Emphasizing the personal connections between Reverend Jenkins and the orphans as well as the band and their audiences, Bootman’s vibrant paintings are full of people watching, dancing, marching, and celebrating these boys’ awesome gifts.

Ages 6 – 10

Carolrhoda Books, 2013 | ISBN 978-0761355656

World Music Day Activity

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It’s Instrumental Word Search

 

Triangles may not get a lot of play in an orchestra, but there’s plenty of play in this printable It’s Instrumental Word Search that contains the names of 20 instruments! 

June 20 – American Eagle Day

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About the Holiday

The first American Eagle Day was proclaimed by President Bill Clinton and Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist in 1995 to commemorate and bring awareness to this most enduring American symbol. Chosen as the United States’ National Emblem by our Founding Fathers on June 20, 1782, the Bald Eagle represents the best of America: freedom, courage, strength, spirit, and excellence. Once threatened with extinction—only 400 nesting pairs existed in the early 1960s—the American Eagle has made a comeback, with 15,000 nesting pairs living in the lower 48 states. Besides celebrating what the American Eagle symbolizes, today’s holiday is used to raise awareness of conservation efforts for this most majestic bird.

Is a Bald Eagle Really Bald?

Written by Martha E. H. Rustad  | Illustrated by Holli Conger

 

“Our class is having a visitor today,” Ms. Patel tells her class. “Guess who it is,” she urges after giving the kids a hint that the visitor eats fish. Anabelle thinks it might be her dad, but Ms. Patel adds that the visitor has a sharp beak and feathers. Joshua guesses that it’s a duck. The kids are getting closer, and with one more hint—Ms. Patel holds up a one-dollar bill—Rose correctly shouts, “‘a bald eagle!’”

Natalie wants to know why there’s a bald eagle on the dollar, and Ms. Patel tells her that the eagle is a symbol of our country. When John asks what a symbol is, she compares the eagle to the school’s bear mascot and goes on to say that the eagle can also be found on the Great Seal. Luke is momentarily excited about the prospect of a seal also visiting the class, but Ms. Patel shows the class that the Great Seal is actually an image. This image demonstrates that something is officially American and appears on stamps, government buildings, important papers, and even the buttons on military uniforms.

The class takes a closer look at the Great Seal, with its eagle in the center. In one foot the eagle is holding a plant, says Karen. Right, Ms. Patel says. “‘It’s an olive branch. It stands for peace.’” Noah notices that in the other foot the eagle carries arrows. The arrows represent strength, Ms. Patel explains. The banner in the eagle’s beak reads E. Pluribus Unum, which is Latin for “one from many” and describes how the single country of America is made of many states. The thirteen stars above the eagle’s head reminds us of the 13 original colonies and states.

Dr. Kelly from the raptor center soon arrives with a bald eagle named Sam. Dr. Kelly puts on a protective glove and carefully takes Sam out of his carrier. Sam is huge! Kyra exclaims, and Jackson wants to know why he’s called “bald.” Dr. Kelly explains that the word bald actually comes from piebald, which means “‘having white marks.’” The class learns many facts about bald eagles, including that they have keen eyesight, can see their prey from high overhead, and can swallow a meal in mid-air.

Then the class talks about how the bald eagle became America’s mascot. Lily raises her hand and suggests it’s because eagles fly free and Americans are free. “‘Good answer,’” Ms. Patel says. She adds that bald eagles are native to North America, and shows the class a map of their summer and winter habitats.

All too soon class is over and it’s time for lunch. “Fish is on today’s menu,” Ms. Patel tells the kids, and they feel just like bald eagles. The children say “thank you” and “goodbye” to Dr. Kelly and Sam, and after lunch they draw their own mascots. You can do that too with the activity at the back of the book!

Scattered throughout the pages, sidebars expand on the facts delivered in the story. Readers learn that the Great Seal has been used since 1782, what raptors and raptor centers are, the weight and wingspan of an adult bald eagle, incredible statistics on eagle’s nests, and about conservation efforts to protect bald eagles.

A Draw-Your-Own Mascot activity follows the text along with a glossary and resources for further study, including free downloadable educational resources.

In her Our American Symbols books Martha E. H. Rustad does a wonderful job of explaining the importance of America’s emblems to children. Through classroom discussions between a teacher and her students, Is a Bald Eagle Really Bald? answers readers’ questions about how and why the bald eagle became a United States symbol. The natural give-and-take will resonated with kids, and Rustad’s clear and kid-friendly definitions of concepts will make an impact. The inclusion of a representative from a raptor center will also feel familiar to children experienced with these types of classroom visitors as well as similar field trips. Sidebars provide more scientific and historical facts.

Holli Conger’s bright, bold illustrations distinctly depict the concepts in the text through large, colorful, and easily understood images. A bulletin board holds pictures of a bald eagle and the American flag, while the teacher holds up a school mascot t-shirt to help relay the idea of a symbol; the Great Seal is shown with well-defined details as the teacher uses a pointer to indicate its various parts; and pages portraying the visit by the raptor center representative give kids a good idea of the size and grandeur of the bald eagle. The children portrayed in the classroom are enthusiastic and welcoming, and readers will feel right at home in their midst.

Ages 5 – 9

Millbrook Press, 2014 | ISBN 978-1467744669

American Eagle Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-american-eagle-coloring-page

American Eagle and Flag Coloring Page

 

The majestic American Bald Eagle is a perfect symbol to represent the courage, freedom, and spirit of the USA. Here’s a printable American Eagle and Flag Coloring Page for you to enjoy!

June 19 – Father’s Day

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About the Holiday

While celebrations of Mother’s Day caught on very quickly after the first ceremony in 1908, proclaiming Father’s Day as a national institution took a little longer. On July 19, 1910 the governor of Washington State held the first Father’s Day event. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson, trying to attract attention to the holiday with a little technology, unfurled a flag in Spokane, Washington by pushing a button in Washington DC. This clever ploy, however, did not convince the men of the time, who scoffed at a holiday dedicated to fathers as somehow too “domesticated” and “unmanly.” During World War II celebrating Father’s Day began to be seen as a way to honor American troops and to help the war effort. The holiday entered the mainstream, but it wasn’t until 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation, that Father’s Day became a federal holiday.

The Best Part of Daddy’s Day

By Claire Alexander

 

Little Bertie is proud to introduce his daddy to readers. His dad is a builder who drives diggers and trucks every day. Today he’s going to be in a crane high up in the sky working on a tall tower. “When I’m big,” Bertie says, “I want to be a builder just like him….” But right now Bertie’s dad is dropping him off at school. “‘Have a good day, Bertie!’” he says as he gives his son a hug.

With the BRRRIIING of the bell, Bertie runs into class, where he’s in for a surprise. “‘Today we’re going to be builders,’” his teacher tells her class, and Bertie knows it’s going to be a great day! First the teacher reads “an exciting story about a digger” then Bertie paints a picture of a crane like his daddy’s. But just as he’s finishing it, a classmate with paint on his shoes tracks green footprints across the paper.

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At lunchtime Bertie trips over his shoelace and spills his lunch. His great day is having some bumps along the way, and Bertie wishes he could see his daddy. He knows just what to do. He runs to the playground and climbs “up, up, UP…to the top of the jungle gym.” Bertie is so high up he “can see the top of Daddy’s tower!” Bertie can even see someone driving the crane and knows it must be his dad.

After lunch the class constructs an enormous tower. Bertie pretends to be a small crane, while his teacher, in her high-heeled shoes, is a big crane, able to place boxes higher and higher. The building they make is amazing! As the day progresses it begins to rain, but when Bertie’s dad picks him up he gives Bertie his hat to keep his ears dry. Bertie is excited to tell his dad about building the tower—it was the best part of his day, he says.

At home Bertie tells his dad “the not so good parts” of his day—about his spoiled painting and about tripping and falling. “‘I bet things like that never happen to you, Daddy,’” Bertie says. “‘Well, actually…they do sometimes!’” Bertie’s dad answers, and he tells his son about the bumps in his day—how someone walked across his new, wet cement floor and that he also tripped and fell over an untied shoelace, just like Bertie. But then, his dad says, he went back up in the crane and “‘finished my tower, and I think I saw you, Bertie, on the jungle gym!’”

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“‘It WAS me, Daddy!” Bertie exclaims. Then he asks his dad “if the best part of his day was finishing the tower.” His dad looks at his son, snuggled on his lap and answers, “‘Actually, the best part of my day is right now, being here with you, Bertie.” Bertie agrees. “‘I think this is the best part of my day, too.”

Claire Alexander hits all the right notes in her heartfelt tribute to loving father-son relationships. Brilliantly paced toward an emotional surprise twist, Alexander’s story is sweet and satisfying. The open communication between father and son adds poignancy, and the truth that while kids are inspired by their parents, parents are equally inspired by their kids may amaze children and will bring a lump to parents’ throats. This father and son aren’t just building towers, they’re building a life-long bond.

Alexander’s vivid, cheerful watercolor illustrations glow with the enthusiasm and love that Bertie and his dad feel for each other. Large two-page spreads invite kids into Bertie and his dad’s world as they eat breakfast together in the tidy kitchen, say goodbye outside the school gate, and read together in their comfy, overstuffed chair. Kids will love the view of Bertie’s playground with the gleaming glass tower and red crane rising above it and the sweeping vista of the city as seen by Bertie’s dad from atop the crane. A vertical spread of the tall tower Bertie’s class builds adds a fun element to the story and emphasizes the tower’s height for young children. 

The Best Part of Daddy’s Day  is an excellent addition to a child’s bookshelf and makes a wonderful gift. It will quickly become a favorite for bedtime or story time.

Ages 3 – 8

little bee books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1499801965

To see more of adorable books for children by Claire Alexander visit her website!

The Best Part of Daddy’s Day and more excellent books for children are available from little bee books!

Father’s Day Activity

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I Love Dad Building Blocks

 

This craft will stack up to be a favorite with kids! With wooden blocks and a little chalkboard paint, it’s easy to make unique building materials. They’re great for gifts, decorating, party favors, or when you just have a little time to play!

Supplies

  • Wooden blocks in various sizes, available from craft stores
  • Chalkboard paint in various colors
  • Paint brush
  • Chalk in various colors

Directions

  1. Paint the wooden blocks with the chalkboard paint, let dry
  2. Write words or draw pictures on the blocks
  3. Have fun!

June 18 – International Picnic Day

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About the Holiday

Somehow food always tastes better when eaten outdoors. Today’s holiday gives you a chance to test that theory, by packing a basket or cooler and heading out to a forest, beach, park, playground, or backyard picnic table near you! Whether your repast is simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or an elegant spread, you can enjoy the company of friends and family in the great outdoors!

Picnic

By John Burningham

 

The curly-haired boy and pony-tailed girl who live in the house on the hill pack a picnic lunch and head out. At the bottom of the slope they meet three friends—Sheep, Pig, and Duck. Boy and Girl invite this dapper trio to join them, and they take off single-file to find a picnic spot. How could they have missed seeing Bull? Well, Bull sees them and begins a chase.

“Duck, Pig, Sheep, Boy, and Girl ran as fast as they could toward the woods to hide from Bull.” They successfully dodge him by hiding behind some trees. Do you see them? After Bull gives up the chase the five friends come out of the woods, hoping to begin their picnic. But the day is full of mishaps—first Sheep’s yellow hat blows away then Pig’s ball rolls down the hill. Can you help find them?

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With their possessions are safely back where they belong, the little troop continues their search for the perfect spot but is delayed again when Duck loses his scarf. At last they find a place in the field to lay their blanket. They eat and play games until it’s time to go home. Exhausted, they trudge up the hill toward home. The friends aren’t quite ready to part yet, though, and Girl and Boy invite Sheep, Duck, and Pig for a sleepover. If you’d like to join them, there might just be room for you too!

John Burningham’s classic-style story of a simple outing turned day-long odyssey will delight small children. Incorporating suspense, “oh-no!” moments, and questions eliciting interaction, Picnic invites readers to join Boy, Girl, Duck, Sheep, and Pig on their excursion. The easy-to-find objects hidden in the illustrations will give even the youngest readers a sense of inclusion, camaraderie, and accomplishment. From page to page and event to event, kids will keep giggling and following these engaging characters.

Burningham’s familiar and beloved artwork lends a lighthearted, cheerful atmosphere to the friends’ day, and the colorful, oversized format is as open and welcoming as the airy field they picnic in. Girl, Boy, Duck, Sheep, and Pig frolic in lively scenes, and the hidden objects they search for take just a perfect moment’s scan of the page for young children to find.

Picnic is sure to be a favorite story-time request.

Ages 2 – 5

Candlewick, 2014 | ISBN 978-0763669454

International Picnic Day Activity

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Match the Picnic Baskets Puzzle

 

Six friends packed three identical picnic baskets, but somehow they were mixed up! Help the kids find the picnic baskets that are the same, so they can eat lunch. Print the Match the Picnic Baskets puzzle here!

June 17 – Flip-Flop Day

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About the Holiday

Nothing says “casual” like a pair of flip-flops! These open-toe, open-back, open-side (you can hardly call them shoes!) shoes have been trending since 4000 BC with no limits in sight! Flip-Flop Day was initiated by Tropical Smoothie Café. Customers wearing flip-flops receive a free smoothie and the Café also uses the day to raise money for Camp Sunshine, which offers respite and support to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Today if the weather’s warm slip on a pair of flip-flops and head out for a casual day at the beach or on the town!

At the Beach

Written by Anne Rockwell | Illustrated by Harlow Rockwell

 

A little girl with a yellow pail and red swimsuit and her mom who’s carrying a tote and umbrella head out for a day at the beach. They find a spot to lay their striped and polka-dot towels and plant their blue-striped umbrella. Waiting in the tote is their lunch—two foil-wrapped sandwiches, two peaches, and a thermos of lemonade.

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After the little girl is covered in nice-smelling sunscreen, she follows a line of sandpipers, adding her footprints to theirs in the wet sand. For her bucket she finds different types of seaweed and a variety of shells. She joins a group of kids playing among the dunes. “I build a castle with my shovel and pail. The boy next to me digs a channel where his boat can float,” the little girl says. The girl ventures out into the shallow water where “a little crab tweaks my toe” and “little silver fishes swim past me.”

The girl likes to “walk past the lifeguard station to the big brown rocks” to look for barnacles, snails, and muscles. She and her mom then swim in the waves near a drifting seagull. Back on land, the girl lies on her towel and lets the sunshine dry her off “until it is time for lunch.”

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Like the best laid-back days, Anne Rockwell’s classic At the Beach takes a tranquil, unhurried look at a mother-and-child seaside outing. For young children the straightforward, but lyrical text will evoke happy memories of their own beach experiences; for children who don’t live by the ocean the story will pique their interest in the shoreline environment.  This book, anchored in universal details yet inviting imagination, will soon become a favorite.

Harlow Rockwell’s sweet drawings of the little girl enjoying all a busy beach has to offer will captive young children. Scenes of a diverse group of children playing in the sand, a stalwart sea gull afloat on the current, a parade of scurrying sandpipers, and even the up- close look at scavenger hunt finds and the always welcome lunch engage all of a child’s senses. The clean lines and soft colors of the sand, sea, and sky contribute to a book as lovely as a sun-drenched beach.

Beach Day Scavenger Hunt Idea: At the Beach would be a wonderful take-along on any beach outing. Take a stroll along the shore and see if you and your child can find the shells, seaweed, sea creatures, and other seaside sights in the book.

Ages Birth – 8

Aladdin reissue edition, Simon & Schuster, 2016 | ISBN 978-1481411349

Flip-Flop Day Activity

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Flip-Flop Plant Holder

 

Flip-flops don’t only have to be for your feet! With this easy craft you can make a sandal-ightful way to hang succulents and other light plants on walls or even windows!

Supplies

  • Child’s flip-flops with elastic heel straps
  • Buttons or charms
  • Small plastic, terra cotta, or ceramic solid-bottom pot
  • Small plant
  • Dirt
  • Hot glue gun
  • Heavy duty mounting strips
  • Small shovel or spoon

Directions

  1. Place the flip-flop toe down on your work surface. With the hot glue gun, attach the buttons to the plastic toe straps of the flip-flops.
  2. Add dirt to the pot
  3. Add plant to the pot
  4. Slip the pot into the elastic strap and gently push down so it is also supported by the plastic toe straps
  5. To hang, use appropriate weight mountable strips.
  6. To make an interesting and attractive arrangement, use various sizes of flip-flops