Ballerinas, Farms, and Pizza

Each week, Jason Boog (author of Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age) and I trade turns writing about one app, one book, and one craft that we have enjoyed with our family. Enjoy!

Book of the Week

I recently added read aloud chapter books to our nightly bedtime routine, which works out very well for our 4 year-old, and is a bit of a struggle with our youngest! While she can get a little wiley as we read Charlotte’s Web, I can usually keep her calm with the promise of reading Ballerina! by Peter Sís, to her. This simple board book references ballets like Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and more, and my kids love to join in to do leaps, twirls, and flutters right alongside the book’s main character, Terry. My nearly 5 year-old boy gets almost as engaged with the reading experience as our daughter does. This has also given me a jumping off point for introducing them to music from those ballets while we make breakfast (or rush out the door) in the mornings.


App of the Week

Our youngest has been in her obsessed-with-farm-animals phase for a while now, which is especially charming since she is petrified if any animal gets too close to her! I recently came across the wonderful Jump See Farm App, which includes original content, primarily mini documentaries, explaining how things work on a farm. You get a wonderful virtual tour of farms and their innerworkings. We have so many books that include farm animals, and this app helps us to go beyond, “What sound does the ____ make?” Instead, we have moved on to talking about how bees make honey, how to feed a pig, and much more. There is a lite version, but we went ahead and paid ($2.99) to unlock the additional content, and I’m still happy with that decision. By the way that our kids are now teaching me about farms, I can tell that the content is compelling for them, and I’m looking forward to our working farm visit this weekend to really bring it to life for them.


Craft of the Week

Order pizza on Friday night, and keep the box. Pizza boxes are fabulous for many crafts, and my particular favorite is using them to create stages or fields. Initially, we used a pizza box to make a baseball field, and then created cut-out figures to “play” games. Recently, we painted a box to look more like a stage. In this case, we propped up the box, so it was open but not flat, allowing us to create a backdrop, too. Using popsicle sticks, glue, paper, and crayons, we then made ballerinas in every different color costume, just like Sis’s book, and it has made for endless “recitals” in our dining room. Of course, you could also make a farm with the pizza box if the Jump See Farm App has you so inspired!