Kids Making Movies

filmreelLooking for a quick winter activity with housebound kids?

When it’s time to turn off the TV, kids can make their own movie!

It’s a powerful form of storytelling, a way to make sure a kid’s favorite story never ends. All you need is a smartphone, stuffed animals, or action figures.

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Free Born Reading Newsletter for Parents

school-kids-on-rug-listening-to-books-black-whiteBorn Reading is a work in progress.

In Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, I share hundreds of books and apps that parents can use with kids. Now that the book is published, I still find great new apps and books every week.

To keep parents and kids informed, I launched a free newsletter for parents. Follow the link below to subscribe for free book, eBook, app and craft recommendations every issue.

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Creative Galaxy Inspiration

creativeWhen was the last time you visited an art supply store with a kid? Even though smartphones and tablets help kids make creative projects, it is important to keep real life art around the house as well.

You can also try Creative Galaxy, a kid’s TV show created by Amazon Studios. The show follows the adventures of an alien who flies between different planets, learning about different styles of art.

While watching, kids learn about action painting and Pointillism. But even better, the show always inspires my daughter to make some art when we turn off the television. THAT is an amazing feat.

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BOB Books & Early Reading

BOB-2013-BBSet1_editA few months after I published Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, my daughter took an interest in learning how to read.

We started with a set of BOB books, a beloved 35-year-old series that helps kids take baby steps into the world of reading.

Olive loves shuffling through this boxed set of skinny books and reading them to her grandparents. To expand the experience, I just discovered This Reading Mama’s excellent printable activities for the series.

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Playing Pokémon Go Together

pgHave you tried Pokémon Go with the kid in your life?

I loved playing the popular app with my almost 6-year-old daughter. The game turns your real life neighborhood into a digital map filled with creatures to discover.

We walked around our neighborhood, photographed digital creatures in the bushes, captured Pokémon and met other kids playing the game. Best of all, we shared my smartphone for a couple hours–a truly rare experience.

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Nate the Great Born Reading Bundle

Nate the Great

Did you ever dream of becoming a detective? My daughter and I have been reading Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Craig Sharmat. We kept the experience going all weekend with more books, activities and detective apps.

This funny series features the adventures of a pancake-loving kid detective and his kooky friends. I always wanted to grow up to be a detective, and love watching my daughter discover her first mysteries. The ending of this book always makes her laugh.

In Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, I collected stacks of books and apps that parents can use with kids. You can find more recommendations on this site or subscribe to my free newsletter for parents.
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Sanjay’s Super Team Inspiration

deitiesDid the kid in your life love Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur?

The film included the Academy Award-nominated “Sanjay’s Super Team,” a brief animated movie that told the story of a boy learning to appreciate his father’s religious traditions.

The animated short ended with an epic superhero-style mythological battle inside the kid’s imagination, and all the art was literally inspired by “The Little Book of Hindu Deities” by Sanjay Patel.

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Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

jetpackDoes the kid in your life dream about visiting the stars?

For the second year in the row, I served as a book app judge for the Cybils Awards–the annual Children’s and Young Adults Bloggers Literary Awards that celebrate the best books and apps.

The winning app was Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System, an interactive science textbook about our space neighborhood.

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Building a Diverse Digital Library

cometHow diverse is your child’s library? How diverse are the apps on your digital devices? I’ve collected some resources to help parents and caregivers build diverse digital libraries.

At the American Library Association’s annual conference, the “Promoting Cultural Competence in Digital Storytimes” session explored apps that parents can use to build a more diverse digital library. I’ve embedded the slides from that presentation below…

University of Alabama School of Library & Information Studies associate professor Jamie Naidoo defined cultural competence as “the ability to come to know and respect diverse cultural backgrounds and characteristics through interaction with individuals from diverse linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic groups.”

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Homemade Digital & Print Books

In Born Reading: Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age, I included a whole section about making books and digital books at home. Homemade books will help your kids stay creative for the rest of their lives.

My friend Ethan Minsker is an author and zine maker in New York City. For years, he’s created homemade magazines with other writers, artists, and East Village characters. In Born Reading, he  explained how he turned bedtime stories into simple homemade books:

“At bedtime, I make up a story with my daughter as the central character. Each night I refine the story paying attention to how she reacts. Then I write them down and have my wife illustrate them.”

Minsker then prints these homemade books like a ‘zine (two are pictured above): “It becomes a family project. Now that they are printed my daughter sometimes selects her own books to read at night.”

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