By Shannon Cannon

      As always, I'm having mixed feelings about sending the kids off to school. It's not that I won't enjoy the quiet and getting back to the routine, but I always wonder if I've spent enough snuggling, chatting, splashing, reading, creating, hanging out on the couch time with them. Enough to last through a school year that will sometimes be lonely, sometimes frustrating, sometimes hard work, and sometimes just plain hard. School seems easy compared to what I do as a mother some days, but for a kid, it's not always so easy. So this year, before you put them on that big yellow bus, give them one more squeeze, read them one more book, and tell them how much you love them one more time, no matter how much their friends tease them.

      Now for the little ones left at home, here are some activities for F week:

      • Collect several objects in a paper bag and take turns feeling one and guessing what the object is. Describe how it feels (soft, hard, smooth, rough, fuzzy, squishy, wet, etc.). Go on a nature walk and talk about how different objects in nature feel.

      • Make a simple "fishpond" with a stick, string, and clothespin fishing pole and give everyone a chance to fish for a fun treat (we like to use our old Happy Meal toys or leftover Halloween candy). When you're tired of the fishpond, play a game of Go Fish. This is a fun game where several small people, most of whom cannot even say the word fish correctly, sit in a circle with a fistful of cards and take turns asking for cards that they do not have and then getting all excited when they get to "go fish". Ad nauseum.

      • Talk about fire safety and then arrange to take a field trip to the fire station.

      • Make some "Warm Fuzzies", by cutting 2 or 3-inch circles out of a towel or fuzzy material, then glue on some felt or plastic eyes. Start out by saying something nice about someone else and giving them one of your "Warm Fuzzies". The rule is that you don't keep a "Warm Fuzzy" for very long, you always say something nice and give it away.

      • Prepare several different kinds of fruit to eat. Then make a funny face out of the pieces of fruit and enjoy your creation.

      • Pretend to be dogs and play a game of "Fetch". Or if you have a real dog, teach him how to fetch.

      • Fill a huge bowl with water and gather several objects of different weight and size. One at a time, look at the objects and hypothesize as to whether or not they will float. Experiment and test your hypothesis. After testing all of the objects, try to decide what determines whether or not something will float. It doesn't matter if you come up with the true scientific answer or not. One of my more "creative" children, told me, with a total straight face, that the reason things float is because there are little people under the water holding them up. And then I had to keep a straight face.


Few things in life are more fun and rewarding than curling up on the couch with your kids and a good book. If you truly want your kids to learn to read well, then READ TO THEM EVERY DAY! There is no better way to teach your kids that reading is fun and interesting.
Click here to see a list of ALL the books we have read to our children.

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