This article contains affiliate links of some of my favorite products. Purchasing them is at no extra cost to you.
Spring andliteracy! Two of my favorite things. Being a teacher and having my Master's in Reading Education, I sometimes go a little nuts with buying books or checking out books from the library for my son.
But with spring approaching and warmer weather in the forecast, I thought what better way to combine some of our favorite spring books, literacy activities, and the outdoors all into one neat, little spring package. We are all tired from being cooped up inside and on our computers, so let's get off our devices and outdoors with this ultimate spring literacy guide for toddlers and preschool aged children.
1. Become a Meteorologist With Usborne Weather Books
Spring brings a variety of weather from sunny, rainy, windy, and even snowy days depending on what part of the country you live in. What better way to talk about the different weather patterns your children see, then with Usborne's collection of weather books.
They have the Windy Day, Rainy Day, Sunny Day, and Snowy day. Read these books with your little ones and then spend the rest of the week having your child be a meteorologist and getting outside to track the weather. Use the premade template below or make one of your own.
2. Go on an Alphabet Easter Egg Hunt with Llama Llama Easter Egg
With Easter being one of the premiere events of the spring, it is only fitting we take our kids on an Easter egg hunt, but instead of chocolates and candies inside the eggs (save those things for actual Easter), put magnetic letters inside of eggs.
First, read Llama Llama Easter Egg or any other of your favorite books that feature an Easter egg hunt. Then, take your magnetic letters and put them in plastic eggs. For preschool aged kids, hide the eggs around the yard. Your kids will have to hunt for the eggs to find the letters that spell their names or any other word (Spring, Easter, Jesus, etc). You can add in a time limit or have kids compete against one another for bonus fun.
For the younger toddlers, simply have them open the eggs with the letters in them. Your toddlers can try to match the magnetic letter to pre-drawn letters or identify the letter. Either way, your toddlers will delight in the element of surprise of opening egg after egg.
3. Sign Language Scavenger Hunt with Sign Me Up
Spring is the time to try new activities. One of my favorite activities is sign language. I've already written a lot about the benefits of teaching sign language to your children as well as my favorite sign language resource, SignMeUp. So now, let's get outdoors and practice our sign language skills.
First, expose your children to sign language with SignMeUp or ASL Nook. Then go on a walk around the neighborhood trying to check off all the things you can you find on a premade list (see below). Once you find the object, have your little one sign the word. For repeated exposure to a word, make sure you are signing and saying the word yourself, having your kid sign and say the word, and showing them the picture, written, and real life form of the word. Multiple connections for the win.
For an added level of competitiveness, split off into teams. Some kids can go with Mommy and some kids can go with Daddy. Whoever can find the most words on the list wins!
4. Go on a Little Blue Truck's Springtime "Drive"
Little Blue Truck is always going on an adventure throughout town and stopping to see his friends. With Little Blue Truck's Springtime, you can too.
Before going on your own cruise, read the book first. Little Blue Truck is a favorite in our house. The books teach sounds, rhymes, onamonapia, and repetition, and they have some beautiful illustrations.
After reading the book, step outside into Little Blue Truck's world and recreate the drive he went on in the story. Have your little one hop into his own mode of transportation: the stroller, Cozy Coupe, Power Wheels, or a tricycle.
Along the way, Blue sees Sheep, Duck, Goat, Cow, Pig, Bunny, and Hen. You, too, will place stuffed animals or pictures of these animals throughout your yard or neighborhood. As you go on your stroll, stop to collect the animals and talk about what sounds they make. Have them hop into your car with you.
End the drive back at the house for a Springtime Celebration with all the animals. Have spring snacks and talk about what you saw on your "drive" as a sequence of events activity.
5. Batter's Up with My First Book of Baseball
Spring brings baseball, and baseball is a favorite in our household, so to honor America's favorite past time what better way to slide into spring with a little baseball literacy.
Start off by reading My First Book of Baseball and talking about all things baseball. Then head to the diamond, real or makeshift, and hit a homerun with this fun activity. You can do it a number of ways.
I hope these books and activities bring joy and a breath of fresh air to a long winter. Let me know what ones you tried and if your kids liked them in the comments. For more activities, subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest info.
After I had a year of letting go in 2019, I decided that 2020 was the year of putting myself out there.
I had written a children's book (more on that later) and was given some advise that I needed to join social media and be an active participant on it.
I had been dragging my feet with joining the photography platform. I don't have any photos to post. I'm not that interesting, I mused on more than one occasion.
But, I am so glad I succumbed to the peer pressure and joined the site. I have learned five major lessons in this year.
1. Failing Is Inevitable But Often Opens Doors To New Avenues
I set out on this journey to publish a children's book. I have not done that yet. Of the upward of 40 + publishers I have sent my edited and reedited and reedited one more time manuscript to, I have heard back from three and they were a no.
I have not given up, and it looks as I will have to go the self-publishing route, but I am thankful for this failure.
Failing with the children's book has led me to discover that I really like blogging. After posting blogs on my own website, I tested the waters with guest blogging.
Some big name sites like Scary Mommy, BluntMoms, The Mighty, Motherwell Magazine, and Her View From Home accepted my work. Soon some of my work was getting thousands of shares, and I even started getting paid on a regular basis for some of work.
But what you don't see for every success is about ten failures. Some of my published articles got rejected five, six, seven times before they made it onto a site. Some never do.
An article I wrote in the spring finally just got accepted to be published after I sent it to an 11th different publisher. Failure isn't fun, but it is inevitable and very valuable.
After every failure, I have learned lessons to help me improve. As Bobby Bones says, "Fail until you don't." And when you are doing something you love, it's very hard to fail.
2. I had no real idea how Instagram worked.
I am so glad I had no clue how Instagram worked or I would have never joined it. Here is what I was clueless about.
A. More Like Lauren Barrett Creeps
I need to come clean. I did, in fact, have Instagram before I had Instagram. After my husband, James, got tired of me borrowing his phone to stalk the members of the Bobby Bones Show, a radio/podcast show that I am obsessed with in a totally normal and healthy way, I made my own burner account if you will. I had no pictures, no information, and no posts. I only used it to creep on Bobby Bones, Radio Amy, Lunchbox, and Eddie.
But, then, people I knew kept popping up under the Suggested for You list, so I hypothetically started to click on them and potentially viewed their stories on perhaps more than one occasion. I had no idea that people can see who views their stories!
For the record, I don't look, but I was so embarrassed by my faceless lurking once I found out when I got Instagram.
B. No Links For You!
I also had no clue that you couldn't post links on Instagram. The date was October 24, and I finally decided it was time to make a post with a link to one of my blogs. The blog was about tips to de-stressing your life. I pressed post and waited.
My mom, a technology novice and social media newbie, texted me that she couldn't open my link to my blog post. Exasperated that once again my mom couldn't comprehend simple technology, I went to have a look for myself.
And much to my dismay, I couldn't click on the link nor could I copy and paste it. What!!
A quick Google search showed that you can't use links in an Instagram post. The phrase, "link in bio" suddenly made sense. What a fool I was! Such a posting plebeian.
I felt like that emoji with her palm in her face. I have learned from my amateur ways and now use the popular line to direct people to my blogs.
I have also learned that you can, though, post links in your Instagram Story if you have 10,000 followers. Only 9,500 to go!
C. Holy Filters!
I knew that Instagram was notorious for their filters and photo editing, but I was unprepared for the sheer amount of alteration you can do to one photo. Not only are there upwards of fifteen filters, all with their subtle differences, but there are ways in which you can change the saturation, tilt, contrast, brightness, structure, warmth, color, and fade, among other things that I have no clue what they are.
Literally, you can spend hours doctoring one photo to get it just right, and then when you go back to look at the original one it's like you have two entirely different pictures.
Talk about option overload and decision fatigue. If I do decide to go with a filter, I usually don't venture much farther past Juno before I throw in the towel and pick one.
Overall, I do like the editing abilities like adjusting the brightness because I am not really good at taking clear photos.
D. Damn Scams!
Lastly, I am a sucker for those FaceBook ads. They get me. That's how I discovered Lulus and Shein. I thought Instagram would be no different.
The beginning of fall was right when I joined Instagram, and you know what that means. Sweater Weather! As I was absentmindedly scrolling through my feed, the most adorable sweaters popped up. "Ohemgee," I shrieked, "I've literally got to have them." None of that was said, but for the effect of the story pretend that I did.
After discovering the super cute sweaters, I hemmed and hawed for a bit, even going as far as to ask the girls on the Cross Country team what they thought.
"Soo cute," they squealed (They didn't but you get the idea). My decision was made. I bought them. I anticipated their arrival. So many basic places I could wear them. To the pumpkin patch. To our Fall Mountain Getaway. A football tailgate. Frolicking in the leaves.
But after a month they still hadn't arrived, and every time I tried to track the package I was directed to a Chinese site. I had been scammed!
Eventually, they did arrive, but they looked nothing like the advertisement and the material was so shoddy that they didn't even bother to affix a tag to the inside. So I had been scammed and a lesson learned. Don't trust everything on Instagram.
P.S. The website is Flookmiki for any of you who might be duped like me.
3. Social media and blogging can be tiring
As much as I love blogging and social media, it can be very tiring and mentally draining. I've learned that I have to take breaks.
There is so much more to blogging that's behind the scenes. I've had to learn about SEOs, keywords, tags, affiliate links, analytics, subscriber links, opt-ins, call-to-actions, guest posts, and other very boring but important words to making a blog and website grow.
I have had to set myself up with my guidelines and rules. I only get on social media three times a week.
I abstain from it all other days. I shut off my laptop and phone an hour before bed, and I don't get on my phone at dinner.
These breaks are a necessary time to regroup and clear my mind from all the noise on social media that can sometimes be overwhelming.
4. I had to stop caring what people think
When you decide to put yourself out there as is the case with blogging, you have to stop caring what people think about every little thing. I've had to stop caring about all the unwritten rules of Instagram like how often you should post, what kind of filters to use, how many hashtags to throw out there, how many followers and likes one should have, and if my son or I are wearing the same outfit twice.
If I started to care about all those trivial details, I would start to get into my head and second guess what I write and post.
Sure, doubt creeps into my mind every now and then right before I hit the post button.
Sometimes, I almost convince myself to play it safe and be comfortable and just skip a week.
But, I set a goal to post every week, and I was going to honor that goal. I couldn't let hypotheticals of what people might think stand in my way of what I love.
5. Women are very talented
If Instagram has taught me anything, it's that I am amazed at the talented, positive women (and men) out there.
It's full of women showcasing their talents. I see women starting business. I see women writing and blogging and sewing and designing and traveling. I witness women being great moms and wives and friends and daughters and aunts. I've looked at posts in admiration of women taking beautiful photos of their children and planning cute, carefully crafted themed birthday parties for their children.
I've viewed stories of women decorating and making over their homes. I've liked posts of women selling products, modeling clothes, demonstrating a workout routine, and making food.
I've been in awe at the women standing up for what they believe in and pouring their heart and soul into their causes. Instagram is so uplifting!
Sure, social media is often a "best of" or highlight reel and if you dive deep enough, you probably will find a dark abyss of a lot of negativity and fakeness.
But the Bible says, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Women shouldn't let anyone stop them from sharing their talents with the world.
I'll never be the type of mom who can take those cute photos of their child with all the props and signs nor will I ever throw a Pinterest party.
I'll never have the skills to design a room or refurbish a piece of furniture nor will I ever make a gourmet style meal, but I can appreciate those women who can.
When you stop comparing yourself to everyone and instead root for all those women out there, Instagram is a inspiring, beautiful place full of people just doing what they love. Isn't that what we all want?
Thanks for following me on my year-long journey of posting a blog a week.
I will still continue to do so for the time-being, but in the year to come I would like to expand a bit by posting more videos and building an email list for a monthly newsletter and then just maybe I will take a break.
How to Publish a Blog
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Step 1: Research a website you like and find out the kind of blogs they publish. Read. Read. Read.
Step 2: Read their editorial guidelines and submission rules carefully.
Step 3: Write something you are passionate about.
Step 4: Aim for 500-800 words. That is the sweet spot.
Step 5: Proofread and edit. Take out any unnecessary words.
Step 6: Add pictures and graphics where necessary.
Step 7: Submit!