There are three things you can never spend enough time doing:
- Spending time with loved ones
- Reading books
- Looking outside your window.
And the best is when you can combine all three activities!
Do you enjoy these three things, too? Find out how I’m blending all three of my favorite activities for wonderful learning fun with my boys. With a few brilliant resources and a touch of creativity, we’ve been experiencing these children’s books as Windows of the World!
Disclaimer: I received product for free and was compensated for my time. All opinions are completely honest and I wasn’t required to post a positive review.
Creating Fond Memories with Children’s Books & Windows
When I look back over my years as a mom, reading to any mix of my five boys crammed onto our snug little blue loveseat warm my memories.
Piles of books, precariously stacked on a corner shelf and spilling out of baskets, easily within reach and begging to be read. So many giggle fests, over silly stories and voices that Mommy uses for outrageous characters, that tumble onto the floor with a massive heap of little boys clutching at their tummies from laughing so hard.
And those children’s books taking us to places beyond our wildest imaginations!
Neverland. The Hundred Acre Wood. Down rabbit holes with Alice. In deep seas and over dry deserts.
Oh, and how can I forget all of our times spent gazing out our windows?
Hours of idle chat filled with observations and discoveries. Or just sitting there, comfortable in our quiet.
Twenty-eight windows, to be precious, including two skylights in our great room. I thought my husband was nuts for adding so many windows when he built our home. “You know, I’m going to be the one to clean all those things!,” I’d mutter under my breath.
Now, I’m so thankful we have those windows to collect fingerprints and make memories!
As a new mom, I’d walk from window to window, whispering observations about what was going on outside our home.
With toddlers and preschoolers, we’d have such fun poking at the cool glass as we’d point out colors and count leaves.
Counting cars that drive by. Watching raindrops collect in an old yogurt container so we could measure how much rain we got in a day. Recording birds that happen to stop by and visit.
Making suncatchers for all sorts of holidays and just because. Using window markers to decorate, teach, and practice. Creating sticky art with only contact paper and whatever small objects we could find around our home that would make for a delightful DIY masterpiece.
All these wonderful activities, just using our windows!
So, when I asked to select a theme using children’s book from Candlewick Press, combining my three favorite things just made sense. These books and resources have now been added to our collection for learning fun and creating precious memories.
And I just know they can do the same for your family, too 🙂
Children’s Books as Windows of the World
When I think about all the beauties and benefits of books, my first thought is how books open the windows of the mind for imagination, curiosity, and discovery. Into the past, present, and future. Undiscovered worlds and lands of make-believe.
In our modern world, we can access facts, figures, and pictures from anywhere around the world in a few seconds. Fast information retrieval is awesome when you have a 7-year-old pulling on your sweater sleeve, needing to know more about blobfish and their current status on the endangered list.
And as wonderful as it is as a homeschool mom to be able to do a quick search and pull up how to say “What is your name?” in thirty different languages or “best brownie recipe for kids” for a special poetry teatime, all that screen time and fast-paced stuff is lacking.
Because computer screens, tablets, even Alexa, can never replace a good old-fashioned read-aloud.
And all that tech stuff can never replace the warm snuggles, giggles, and chats shared over a good book.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to find and use books and resources that you can touch and experience together.
Children’s books that engage with beautiful illustrations and rich descriptions. Books that light a spark to search for more information about a topic and discover the world outside your window. Such books provide opportunities to think outside the box and make new connections.
Candlewick Press Children’s Books to Spark Curiosity & Exploration
After checking out the Candlewick Press New Fall 2018 books, I had a large list of books that I was salivating over. You drool over book catalogs, too, right?
Tantalizing titles like Norse Myths (my boys are all about Thor and Odin) and The Great Grammar Book (hands-on fun with grammar!). Scintillating series like Peppa Pig (Xman-4-loves these cute characters) and Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Four (by Kate DiCamillo. Boom!).
And that’s why I had to give myself a theme of books: Windows of the World. Because even this homeschool bookworm mom has to stick to a budget! (And those other titles will be placed on Christmas and wish lists 😉 )
After much deliberation, I selected six delightful children’s books for our theme. We ended our study with a special craft to celebrate and share all that we learned. We used the books in this order:
1. Discovery Globe: Build-Your-Own Globe Kit
This amazing resource contains both a guide and complete kit to create your own paper globe!
Our first step was to build the globe. My two younger boys helped me punch out the pieces. Smiley (9) was my assistant globe assembler. Our tip for you: have all pieces ready to go and in numerical order for an easier assembly process.
Smiley also suggests having “children under the age of 8 be busy with something else so they don’t want to touch everything and make it fall apart and make you lose your temper”. Wise advice!
Once the globe was assembled, my three younger boys and I enjoyed locating the icons on the globe associated with the interesting facts in the guide.
This Discovery Globe kit is sturdy enough to use in our homeschool this year and beyond. The best part of this collaborative project: the proud looks on my boys’ faces whenever we use the globe they built together.
2. Flying Machines
After chatting about different areas of the world, I posed the question: How would you explore your world?
The book, Flying Machines by Ian Graham, took us on a walk through history with some incredible flying machines.
With over forty lift-the-flaps (interactive fun!), my boys oohed and aahed over our discoveries. Smiley decided that he’d use a flying boat. Bear went for a huge helicopter with skyhook because he’d “bring food and water to people that need it”. Xman chose a supersonic jet because he “likes to go super fast”.
We’ve added Trains and Giant Vehicles (both by Ian Graham and published by Candlewick Press) to our wishlist to revisit our theme very soon.
3. Around the World in 80 Puzzles
This look-and-find book was a delightful way to interject more interactive fun into our study and continue our conversation about creative ways to explore our world.
Around the World in 80 Puzzles is one of those books that your kids can use again and again, even after solving the printed prompts. My boys study these beautiful illustrations to pose new questions for the others to solve. A fabulous resource for encouraging outside the box thinking!
4. Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth
Oh, this book touched our hearts! Gorgeous illustrations reinforce the importance of celebrating and protecting diversity on our planet. We’ve revisited the concepts in this book again and again, even during our homeschool field trip to the Natural History Museum in Pittsburgh.
Such a lovely book to teach about the correct names for groups of animals (who knew a group of hummingbirds is called “a bouquet”?) and have interactive fun!
Fair warning: If you’re reading this book with more than one child, explain in advance to raise hands or take turns when answering the questions. My younger boys got so excited about being the first to correctly answer the questions. (Xman practically jumped into the book at one point. Luckily, it’s sturdy!) Not a bad problem per se just be prepared so it doesn’t turn into a wrestling match. Or does that type of read-aloud excitement happen just at my house?
I saved this book for last for several reasons. First, it reminded me of one of our all-time favorites, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Windows, by Julia Denos, follows the dusk-time journey of a little boy and his dog through his town.
Also, the message of paying attention to and appreciating your surroundings is one that I try to reinforce with my boys every single day.
And finally, I used it to lead into this fun observational art activity: Window of My World.
This simple art activity is designed to get your kids making close observations and thinking about their world. You can easily modify this art project for different ages, abilities, and budgets.
- Print out the window templates in the free instant download (see below) OR have your child select a piece of paper or cardstock to draw a window on. Any size or color. Whatever they fancy today 😉
- Your child can use paint, crayons, markers, colored pencils, Kwik Stix-whatever they’d like (and will help you maintain your sanity a.k.a. control the mess).
- Invite your child to look outside one of your windows. You can set a timer for a few minutes or put on a song. But, ask your child to make careful observations.
- Your child draws what’s going on OUTSIDE their window. Ask questions like:
- What’s going on outside?
- Where are you?
- What are you looking at?
- What would you like to share with others?
- Notice BIG and LITTLE things. Add those to your picture.
- Will you use the colors you saw or the color you felt?
- If your child would like, they can decorate the window frame and wall, even add fun extras.
- Your child can add their name to the front or back of their creation.
- Invite your child to tell you and your family about their window and what’s going on in their world.
Fun ideas to adapt this observational art activity based on these children’s books:
- Your child can draw a picture about what’s going on INSIDE their window.
- Your child can draw a picture as a window to one of their favorite books (including any of the Candlewick Press books listed here).
- In addition to (or instead of), your child can write what’s going on outside or inside of their window.
- Take a picture or video of what’s going on outside your window and then paint or write.
- Imagine that you are in a different part of the world and draw/write about that!
Just click on the image below to get your free instant download (click and print!) of window templates to use for this observational art project:
These six books are wonderful ways to show your kids that children’s books can be windows to the world. Make sure to browse through the Candlewick Press New Fall 2018 books for more resources that will expose your kids to the wonders of our world.
**When you order directly from Candlewick.com and enter discount code CANDLEWICK at checkout, you receive a 25% discount!!
Giveaway of Children’s Books from Candlewick Press
What other Candlewick Press children’s books do you think could be included in our study of Windows of the World?
What books would you add to your wishlist? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂