As a parent, I’m obsessed with cultivating a love of reading in my children. It’s one of my favorite things about my parenthood journey thus far. Before becoming a parent, I read countless books and studies that have proven the many benefits of reading. I knew before having children that I wanted to instill a love of reading in them starting at birth. I take pride in seeing how well both of my children read (and write) and how they often choose to pick up a book and read on their own without being told to.
When it comes to children, the ideal time to begin sharing books with them is during infancy, even as young as six weeks old (or sooner). From early on, children should own books, be read to often and see others reading and writing. Children are rapidly learning language. They often quadruple the number of words they know between the ages of 1-2. Therefore, as parents and caregivers it’s crucial to read aloud with them often to increase their vocabulary.
Below I’ve rounded up 20 Black parents I follow on Instagram who value reading and work to instill a love of reading in their children. These parents get it and understand the importance of establishing a reading habit with their children early on. I thought some of you may be interested in following some of these people as well for inspiration, tips and Black family joy!
Your turn: Did this list help you discover new people to follow? Who are some of your favorite Black parents to follow on Instagram who value the importance of reading with their children? Feel free to share in the comments as I’m always looking for new like-minded people to connect with.
March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women trailblazers and also inspire a new generation of young women and men. How do you plan to celebrate Women’s History Month this year? I hope some of you will take time this month to post about women on social media, share women’s stories with family and friends, and ensure that women’s impact on history and society is valued and commemorated.
To create this printable, I collaborated with Briana James of Notebooks and Nibbles, a talented Art student who reached out to me on Instagram. She’s currently building up her portfolio and asked to collaborate. I gladly accepted her offer after seeing her amazing work! Get in touch with Briana, give her a follow on Instagram, and support her as she continues to build up her art portfolio. It was such a pleasure to work with her and help support her at the same time.
This coloring printable is a fun way to celebrate 31 days of diverse, inspirational, female leaders. It features women and girls who are strong and brave leaders, authors, politicians, inventors, humanitarians, women’s rights activists, and activists for other causes. You can enjoy this coloring page printed in various sizes from 8.5 X 11 up to 24 X 36 if you’d like jumbo poster size.
Each day during the month of March (or any time of the year), color in one woman until the whole poster is complete. If there are books written about any the women, feel free to read them on your own or with your little readers. Otherwise, take time to research any of the women you may not be familiar with.
Some of the women featured include: Jacqueline Woodson, Anna May Wong, Maria Tallchief, Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Wangari Maathai, Jazz Jennings, Mari Copeny, Michelle Wie and more!
Today libraries offer library card holders so much more than just something to read. For anyone on a budget, there are amazing perks and services available to take advantage of with your library card.
For example, my daughter learned how to use the sewing machine for free at our local library. They made adorable fabric place mats and she’s so proud of how hers turned out. Although she already knows how to sew by hand, I also signed her up for the hand sewing class at the library.
Here are some of the other perks and resources available at different libraries across the country:
Check out tools from the tool-lending library
Check out toys for children ages 2-6
Discounted or free passes to local attractions
Foreign language classes
Seed library to try out seeds in your garden or windowsill planter
Borrow infrared thermometers to improve the efficiency of your home
Try out podcasting microphones and equipment
Borrow board games
Learn a new skill by taking free courses online
Borrow knitting needles for your next knitting project
Check out a telescope! (My local library has one you can check out and borrow)
When I asked my Instagram community for some things their libraries offered, here are a few responses I received:
I checked out a telescope!
We’ve checked out power tools for home projects.
All time favorite library experience was the library that will order any book from Amazon and have it delivered to your house if they don’t already have it at the library and then you just turn it into the library when you’re done! Who knew!!
My local library has a 3D printer and some amazing kids STEM activities!
The most unique thing we offer is dinner and a movie at the library. The library is transformed into a restaurant with decorations, candles, music playing, etc. Our teen volunteers work as servers.
We checked out a state parks pass from our library to go camping for free.
We LOVE our library! We’ve checked out board games, video games, toy kits (like musical instruments and building blocks), and even a coding robot! Ours now offers local museum and zoo passes to check out too, which is great for families with a tighter budget.
We do so many great activities at our local library from having a Pinterest live class, learning macrame to making 80’s crafts. I love trivia nights. I have learned how to knit with my arms. We had adult science night and we had fun making rockets and testing them on a summer night.
Our library has a “nature backpack” with a parking pass to the state parks, animal and plant ID books, and binoculars.
My daughter went to a week of summer camp at the library. The theme was Spellbound. They did all sorts of magical activities: writing in invisible ink, making wands, and reading stories about magical creatures.
Ours offer free tutoring to children, by certified teachers, during the week and on Saturdays. Our public libraries also offer movie nights, and theater performances. Without their help I couldn’t have the books, audio books, music and films my students enjoy in the classroom. I’m so grateful for public libraries!
At my previous library gig we offered circulating bakeware! It was a lovely way for people to test different baked goods or create a treat for a loved one (or themselves!) without having to pay 20 to 30 dollars to procure the baking dish. We made some delicious cake donuts using a donut pan from the library.
We love our library. Next week we are taking a Toddler Music Class in Spanish at our library.
As you can see, you don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy everything the library has to offer. I encourage you to check with your local library and see if they also have a Library of Things you can check out besides books and audiobooks.
Your turn: Are you a regular library user? Let me know the most unusual or interesting thing you ever did or checked out from a library.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details. All opinions are my own!
Dressing up for Halloween isn’t just for kids—our family (excluding my husband) enjoys making it a family affair. Maybe one year I’ll get my husband to dress up with us as an entire family. Wishful thinking? Maybe. Halloween just isn’t his thing and that’s okay. As for me and the kids, I like to come up with creative and inexpensive costumes each year. Check out our 2019 Halloween costumes below.
MADISON AS A WORK OF ART
Let’s just all agree my daughter Madison stole the show! There is nothing better than a creative and inexpensive costume that will turn heads. Amiright?! My daughter and I had this costume picked out since last Halloween after scrolling on Pinterest for unique ideas. Once I saw this costume, how simple it was to re-create and how much my daughter loved it, I knew it would be a winner and it was! Everyone absolutely LOVED her costume and she received so many compliments.
To re-create this costume. Grab a t-shirt, a picture frame from The Dollar Tree and a little non-toxic face makeup and you’re done. We ordered this t-shirt and this non-toxic face makeup.
BARRINGTON AS WALDO
Who says Waldo can’t be a Black boy? This Where’s Waldo costume for kids absolutely KILLS me and I LOVE it! It was my hope that at least one of the kids would be a bookish character so I was thrilled when my son chose to be Waldo. Barrington loves all of the books in the Where’s Waldo series so it was only fitting to pair his costume with the latest Waldo book for Halloween.
To re-create this costume. We ordered this Where’s Waldo costume. We also used a pair of blue jeans and black boots that my son already owned.
CHARNAIE AS THE GIVING TREE
If you’re feeling crafty and you love books. This Halloween costume may be for you (hello, DIY!).
When it comes to Halloween costumes, I’ve always been the do-it-yourself type. Mainly because I don’t like the selection of costumes I see in stores. Especially for women and girls. But also because I like to create. I’m not sewing savvy enough (yet) to make a whole costume from scratch, but adding little pieces or DIY-ing certain parts? Oh yeah. I can handle that. That’s why I was all over this costume when I saw the idea online.
This costume was super simple to create. I bought this plain green t-shirt and these green jeggings. Green felt, red felt, white letters, a foam board and a dowel from Micheal’s, and a headband from The Dollar Tree. I cut out some leaves and an apple and done! I grabbed our copy of The Giving Tree off our bookshelf to complete the look.
Sharing Halloween with your kids, whether they’re babies, toddlers, or older kids can be such a fun experience especially when you’re all dressed up and feeling festive.
So, take your pick from these Halloween costume ideas or come up with your own to create happy memories on Halloween night!
Which of the Halloween costumes listed above would you like to try (if any)? Tell us in the comments section!
Disclaimer: Workman Publishing sent me a copy to check out and is partnering with me for a giveaway!
THE KIDS’ BOOK OF PAPER LOVE
From the editors of Flow magazine by Irene Smit & Astrid Van Der Hulst
Release October 15th, 2019
Recommend ages 7-14
About the Book
A surprise on every page!
Brimming from cover to cover with projects and other paper surprises, The Kids’ Book of Paper Love, from the bestselling editors of Flow magazine and books, is a bounty of a book that begs to be folded, cut up, collaged, doodled on, and shared.
Loop paper strips into a paper chain. Snip out bookmarks. Fold a paper house. Make photo booth props—a silly mustache, a crown—to pose with friends. Bind up a DIY storybook and use it to sketch out adventures and dreams. Construct a paper flower bouquet, a paper terrarium, a fortune-teller with prompts like Lend someone a book and tell them why you recommend it.
The Kids’ Book of Paper Love is from the bestselling editors of Flow magazine and books including A Book That Takes Its Time and 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life. Now Flow enters the children’s section for the first time. Take a look at the video below to see the book in action!
With this book, kids will enjoy HOURS OF UNPLUGGED FUN and the pleasures of paper. The Kids’ Book of Paper Love invites children to write, craft, play, and share in a completely screen-free way. Each page throughout the book can be folded, cut up, collaged, doodled on, and shared. We enjoyed cutting out our own bookmarks, making DIY photo booth props, and making a paper “boredom buster”. We plan to do the paper chain activity to countdown the days until Christmas this year! This is such an amazing book that can be enjoyed so many different ways. Ready for your chance to win a copy? See the giveaway details listed below.
Disclaimer: My family received a free Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox to review and enjoy with our family in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
If you’re like me and have little to no experience playing the game of chess, you may be wondering how to teach kids to play chess when you don’t even know how to play yourself! Thankfully, Brainblox is here to help! They recently introduced a beautiful Family Fun Chess set to their product line and it’s so great.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me talking about it recently in my Instagram stories. I also hosted a giveaway in partnership with Brainblox where we gave away one chess set to a lucky winner.
What is Family Fun Chess?
It’s a color-coded, FUN, learn-as-you-play game for kids and adults to learn chess!
When it’s your turn, simply roll the Chess Cube to see which piece to move! The Reference Cards make it easy to learn-as-you-play, while the full-color Instruction Book and videos tell you everything else you need to know.
The chess set includes:
a folding wooden chess board
32 wooden chess pieces
2 reference cards
a full color chess book
a wooden cube
Learning how to play chess the “Family Fun” way was very easy to understand for me and my kids. We found the reference cards to be super useful in helping us all understand how each of the chess pieces are able to move on the board during the game. I also appreciate the fact that Brainblox included instructions for playing chess the standard way too. This will come in handy once we’ve fully grasped the rules of chess and are ready to move on to learning how to play standard chess.
The thing I love most about learning to play chess and teaching my kids to play is all of the benefits associated with understanding the game.
Here are just a few of the benefits of playing chess:
increases concentration and memory
helps with paying attention to detail and strategic thinking
improves problem-solving and spatial skills
exercises both sides of the brain
Even more importantly, I find learning to play chess alongside my children to be much more meaningful because offers quality time and experiences that we will remember for a lifetime. If you’re sold on learning to play chess with your little ones, you’ll first need to get your family a chess set. If you can’t already tell, I’d highly recommend the Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox. It makes a great holiday or anytime of the year gift for ages 5 – 105!
Not ready to invest in a chess set of your own yet? You can also look into local chess clubs for kids in your area. Find out if your child’s school or your local library has a Chess Club. That’s a great place to start, so kids can get basic instruction and have peers to play with. There are also many online resources and apps available to use too. You can choose to play against friends, connect with other players at your level, or get live or virtual tutoring.
Your turn: Do you or your children know how to play chess? Are you excited to learn about the Family Fun Chess set from Brainblox? Feel free to share in the comments.
Tomorrow my children start their first day of school in a brand new environment. Although I’m excited for them to start this new journey in a new school, I am also filled with a bit of anxiety and I just feel like praying—and I thought you might pray with me—for our children as they start a new year of school.
I believe the best gift we give our kids as they head back to school is our prayers. Whether it’s the first day of kindergarten, middle school, high school, or college, children need our prayers. If you believe this too, I hope you’ll join me in a 5-day prayer challenge you can do on your own.
In order to participate, all you need to do is recite the prayers below each morning for the first five days of school. If you don’t like any of the prayers I’ve chosen, feel free to come up with your own prayers. And of course, if you’re not the religious type then this challenge isn’t for you and that’s okay. If your children already started their first day of school, no worries you can still participate. Just recite the prayers each morning for five consecutive days with your children or on your own.
I hope you find this prayer challenge to be helpful and will help spread the word if it’s something that resonates with you.
Dear God, Father of heavenly lights, Giver of perfect gifts,
I give my child(ren) to you today and everyday. Keep him/her and his/her schoolmates safe and protected, Father God. I ask that this school year you would use every person, every experience and every lesson to shape him/her into Your image, to grow in his/her fruit of Your spirit. God, grow in his/her heart. Teach him/her to sacrifice like You did, giving up what he/she values for the good of others. Bless the teachers and administrators, God. Keep them safe. These men and women who have committed to invest in the next generation. Give them discernment and wisdom to see each student’s unique abilities and gifts. Multiply their preparation and may their plans be fruitful. Fill the day with moments of wonder. Remind them of their special place in the lives of their students and give them confidence in their abilities. And for all the parents/grandparents, Lord, I pray for peace. Give us plenty to do so we don’t have time to fret. Let us be extraordinarily grateful for the privilege of parenting. Fill us with wisdom as we watch our babies grow. Grant us patience and kindness as they stretch their wings. Hold us close to You as we learn to let them go. In Jesus name I/we pray, Amen.
Dear Father God,
Today, I ask You for godly, loyal friends for my child(ren). Friends who love purity, who are pure in heart, and gracious in speech, friends that will sharpen them and love them at all times. Please give my child(ren) a heart of compassion. Help him/her/them to see situations from every perspective and to treat others like they would want to be treated. Give him/her/them a friendly and kind spirit. May he/she/they welcome friends with a smile. God I pray my child(ren) would be wise when choosing friends. Give him/her/them discernment to find true friends and help them to build each other up. Give them the ability to say no when necessary and bravery to stand up for what is right. In Jesus name I/we pray, Amen.
Dear Father God,
Today I pray for Your care and protection throughout the school year. Cover the schools in our area and across the nation with Your covering and protection. I/we pray for vigilance among administrators and teachers as well as security personnel. Lord I/we pray that would-be perpetrators will be turned from their intentions and receive the corrective influences that are needed in their lives. Lord, I/we pray that the school year will be successfully completed without incident. It is so. In Jesus name I/we pray, Amen.
Today I come to you in prayer Lord, asking you to help my child(ren) experience peace this year. I pray he/she/they will not worry about things they cannot control, but that You will guard his/her/their hearts and minds and keep him/her/them trusting in You. I pray he/she/they will not only enjoy the peace of God, but peace with God. I pray he/she/they will develop a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving as they look to You daily for their needs. Grant him/her/them Your peace in their hearts and minds in great measure. In Jesus name I/we pray, Amen.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Let this school year be their best year ever with excellent grades, favor with teachers and classmates and good behavior all covered by Your protection. Enable our children to continue growing in wisdom and stature all the days of their lives. Let Your peace and understanding envelope them at all times. Let your joy be their strength. Help them to trust You as their refuge and fortress. Guard their minds from bad counsel and peer pressure. Bless them with Your Spirit of discernment to know and do what is right at all times. Strengthen their heart and spirit to resist the devil, so that he/she will flee from them. Teach them to cast all their anxiety upon You, trusting and genuinely knowing that You care for them. Let Your light shine in their lives and cause all forms of darkness around them to flee. Make them strong and courageous in the presence of danger. Let them be assured You will never leave nor forsake them as they remain strong in You and Your mighty power. In Jesus name I/we pray, Amen.
Below I’ve also included a few short prayers for parents or kids to recite daily. Source: Living Prayers.
First Day of School Prayer
(a parent’s prayer poem for their child starting school)
Fill her (his) heart with peace,
Hold her (his) hand today,
Help him/her feel secure and loved,
Be with him/her we pray.
May him/her smile and make new friends
Paint and learn and play,
Bless the teaching staff who care
For little ones today.
Lift my heart to trust that he’ll/she’ll
Be overseen by you,
Father God cover us
On his/her first day at school.
Prayer for a child starting a new school year
(a simple prayer for a child of any age to say)
Thank you for being beside me,
Thank you for this new school year.
Please be there to hold my hand,
Please help me to relax and enjoy the day.
Bring new friendships into my life,
Bring new possibilities to learn and grow.
Help me to pray in my heart to you if I am anxious,
Help me to remember that you are always with me.
School Morning Prayer
(a simple prayer for primary school aged children to say)
Be with us today
Fill our hearts with joy
Fill our minds with learning
Fill our classrooms with peace
Fill our lessons with fun
Fill our friendships with kindness
Fill our school with love
If you’re looking for a few religious picture book recommendations for children, you might enjoy this post.
Your turn: What will you pray for your children (grandchildren) as they go back to school? Feel free to share in the comments.