There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves!

Everyone remembers the tale of the old lady who swallowed the fly (along with a few other animals).  This adorable book, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves written by Lucille Colandro and illustrated by Jared Lee, is a cheeky, fall-themed twist on a classic children’s story.Read this silly story to your little ones and hear them giggle as the old lady swallows leaves, a pumpkin, a shirt, a pair of pants, a pole and a few other items.  All these things cause her to sneeze.  (Don’t ruin it for your children, but the lady’s sneeze makes a SCARECROW!) Here is an adorable craft you can do with your kids after reading the book.


  • 1 skewer
  • glue
  • orange and black craft foam (or if you luck out you can score some foam jack-o-lantern craft kits after Halloween)
  • printed/colored foam or paper for the shirt, pants, and leaves
  • We used leaf stickers for the leaves (only because we had them – the cut out leaves are just as cute)
  • yarn

Cut out the pumpkin, shirt, pants and leaves from desired foam and/or paper.  With the help of craft glue, assemble the scarecrow.   Finish him off with a yarn belt.

Dice Games for Kids

With a few dice you can make math fun at any age.  Check out these fun ways we sneak in a little arithmetic on the sly.  You can use any dice you have at home, but these large foam dice were 2/$1 at the Dollar Store and add even more fun to the games.Preschool Kiddos

MORE OR LESS – Have little ones roll dice one at a time.  Let them count how many dots are on each and identify which one has more/less.  When playing with more than one kid, keep score using toothpicks, beans, pencil erasers or other small objects and award one to the person that rolls the highest number.  After 10 rolls see who has the most “points”.

MATH MOVES – As your preschooler rolls the die, call out a move.  Once the die stops rolling, encourage her to do the move that many times (i.e. 6 jumps, 4 hops, etc.).

Elementary School Kiddos

ADDITION & MULTIPLICATION – Roll a pair of dice and add or multiply them together.  Use an hour glass timer (we got ours from the dentist?) to see how many he can do before the timer runs out.  Compete against a sibling or friend for a little motivation.

MATH MANIA – Use 4 dice.  Designate one die to be the leader.  When the leader is rolled, the number displayed is the goal number.  Roll the 3 remaining dice and using them along with a variety of math concepts to reach the goal number.  EX:  Goal number is 4.  The value of each of the other dies are 6, 3, and 4.  You can only use these numbers, but you don’t have to use them all.  You little one may notice that 6+4=10, 10-6=4.  See, back to 4.  Or 6×4=24 and 24 divided by 6 is 4.  And so on.

The ideas go on forever, make up your own and comment!!

Rockin’ Summer Reading for Kids

Just because school is over doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop.  A great way to keep your kiddos on track is to get into a reading routine with them.  Whether you are reading to your child or he is reading independently, reading over the summer is important.  You may already be reading at naptime or bedtime, but it is time to incorporate some higher level questioning into your booktime. 

We have provided you with book suggestions as well as sample questions to keep your kids excited about reading.

Here are some of our family favorites.  We could go on and on, but this is the “short list”.

Pre-School Read-Alouds:

Mary’s 3 year old, Gavin and Holly’s 3 year old, Evie

  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (series)
  • Corduroy (series)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria
  • Dig, Dig, Digging
  • The Doorbell Rang
  • Are You My Mother?
  • Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
  • Franklin (series)
  • A Bad Case of Stripes
  • Press Here
  • Freckleface Strawberry
  • Where’s the Baby?

Holly’s 5 year old,  Cole and Mary’s 5 year old, Grant

First and Second Grade:

Mary’s 6 year old, Elaina and Holly’s 6 year old, Nate

  • Amelia Bedelia (series)
  • Frog and Toad (series)
  • Henry and Mudge (series)
  • Junie B. Jones (series)
  • Flat Stanley (series)
  • Nate the Great (series)
  • Cam Jansen (series)

Older readers (use these for your fluent readers or for read-alouds for younger kiddos):

  • The Magic Treehouse (series)–some have non-fiction companions
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series)
  • The Goddess Girls (series)
  • Rainbow Magic (series)
  • The American Girls Collection (series)
  • Fiction and Non-fiction works by Matt Christopher

This summer Mary’s 8 year old, Emily is excited about the Mysterious Benedict Society Series and Holly’s 8 year old son, Brett is sucked into The Heroes of Olympus Series.

Of course, whatever it is you are reading, you are helping to improve your child’s skills.  In addition to reading the text and enjoying the pictures, asking questions before, during, and after the story can help to hone your child’s comprehension skills. Make sure not to ruin this fun time by inundating your child with questions.  Ask questions at  appropriate breaks in the story and when the book naturally lends itself.

Here are a few sample questions.

Before reading:

  • “What do you think this story is about?” (Make predictions.)
  • “Do you think this is a real or imaginary story?”

During reading:

  • “What do you think will happen next?”
  • “Do you know what ________ means?”  (Then explain any unknown words.)
  • Ask questions about the illustrations.

After reading:

  • “Retell the story with beginning, middle, and end.”
  • “Did you learn anything new from this story?”
  • “Were any of your predictions correct?”
  • “Which character was your favorite?  Why?”

You and your child can track summer reading and even earn free books on sites like Scholastic and Barnes and Noble.  Also, check out your local library.  Many have summer reading and/or incentive programs to keep kiddos reading year-round.