MARDI GRAS FUN

Mardi Gras is March 4 this year.  It is a great opportunity to expose your child to different celebrations.

This is a list of five fun Mardi Gras Picture books recommended by Holidays Central:

King Cake for Cassius: A Mardi Gras Story by Diane Renton Boyle [Trafford Publishing, 2004]
Boyle explains Mardi Gras through Cassius, a boxer. Cassius discusses the traditions and terms associated with Mardi Gras. Boyle includes a Mardi Gras activity list, float ideas, and a recipe for king cake.  Ages 4-8.

Mimi’s First Mardi Gras by Alice Couvillon, Elizabeth Moore, and Marilyn [Pelican Publishing, 1991]
The history and traditions of Mardi Gras through the eyes of young Mimi includes descriptions of  the different groups in the Mardi Gras parades, delicious beignets, and experiences with trinkets,  doubloons, and floats. The illustrations are lovely in traditional purple, gold and green. Ages 4-8.

Throw Me Something, Mister: Two Young Children See their First Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans by Malcolm Wright [AuthorHouse, 2006]
Erin and Nathan travel to New Orleans for their very first Mardi Gras parade. They wear costumes and experience the floats, the bands, and different foods and catch beads and doubloons. Experience the celebration of Mardi Gras through Erin’s and Nathan’s eyes. Ages 9-12.

Jenny Giraffe’s Mardi Gras Ride by Cecilia Dartez [Pelican Publishing, 1996]
Jenny Giraffe learns about Mardi Gras and the entire Carnival season all the way through Lent. Children will get exposure Mardi Gras terms and activities in this Jenny Giraffe Series book. Ages 4-8.

Mardi Gras: A Cajun Country Celebration by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and Lawrence Migdale [Holiday House, 2005]
Joel, a young Cajun fiddle player, shares information on the history of Mardi Gras, and how it is celebrated in Eunice in South Louisiana. Joel also describes different types of Mardi Gras celebrations. In exchange for food for a large public dinner, partygoers and musicians entertain residents. The text is lively and photographs support the text wonderfully. Ages 9-12.

Also here is a really fun Mardi Gras craft project from No Time For Flash Cards:

twizzler candy necklaces for parties Fat Tuesday is March 4th this year and even though we don’t have any Mardi Gras parades locally I have been telling my kids all about it and showing them photos of the different parades and explaining how beads and other trinkets are thrown from the floats. We decided to make our own beads from purple, yellow and green Twizzlers. My daughter was game from the start but my son was not into the idea until his sister came down stairs and said I was letting her eat her finished necklace. Then he came up asking if he could make one too and honest to goodness I have never seen a child bead that quickly! These candy necklaces are fun ( and include a great patterning lesson) and could be made as party treats with any combination of colors.

Gather your materials. You will need some multi-colored Twizzlers , some stiff beading thread, scissors and tape.DIY candy necklaces

Cut your Twizzlers into beads. Even if the ends stick together you can give them a squeeze and the hole will reappear.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present for Valentine’s Day or any day.  When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.

Crafts and Books for the Winter Olympics

With the Winter Olympics starting this Friday, I thought it might be fun to give you a couple of books and crafts to get the family involved in those wonderful games.

The first are some easy craft ideas from The Imagination Tree:

How about making salt dough medals to celebrate with?! So quick and easy to do!

This paper torch is perfect for the opening ceremony, from Rainy Day Mum!

Try out these edible Olympic torches from The Fairy and the Frog!

Or threading some Olympic rings, also from The Fairy and the Frog.

Try sponge painting an Olympic torch like JDaniel4′s Mom!

How about having a mini-Olympics as part of a family fun night?! Shared from Creative Family Fun

And these ideas for Toddler Olympics outside are fab, from Inspire Imagination through Creation

How about setting up a small world play scene of the Olympic sports, like the one we made?

How about an Olympic rings hoopla game from  Multiple Mummy?

These gold medal winner biscuits from Domestic Goddesque look delicious!

Next are some books about the Winter Olympics and Russia from Reading Rockets:

 

Ancient Greece and the Olympics (A Magic Treehouse Research Guide)

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Where and how the Olympics began is explored in this factual companion to Hour of the Olympics (one in the fantasy series in which siblings Annie and Jack time travel). The informational book stands alone or can augment the novel (for 6-9 year olds) as they explore the origins of the Olympics.

Cross-Country Cat

By: Mary Calhoun
Illustrated by: Erick Ingraham
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What kind of cat would go sliding off on skis, and who’d believe it anyway? When the family accidentally leaves Henry, their sassy Siamese, behind at the ski lodge, he takes matters into his own paws in this beguiling adventure.

Freeze Frame: A History of the Winter Olympics

By: Sue Macy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The winter games began in France in 1924. This compelling examination of their start, the evolution of the games, and more are revealed in photographs and compelling text. It is current through the 2006 winter Olympic Games.

Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee

By: Chris Van Dusen
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In this rhyming adventure, Mr. Magee and his dog Dee learn to ski. They didn’t expect to run into a very curious moose, however, which turns their outing a real cliffhanger!

Olympics

By: B.G. Hennessy
Illustrated by: Michael Chesworth
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

All over the world, people are getting ready for the Olympics. Runners, swimmers, skiers, and skaters are practicing; teams are learning to work together. Meanwhile, workers are making flags, medals, uniforms and equipment. But soon the Olympic torch will be lighted and the games will start.

Russia ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Russia

By: Ann Berge
Illustrated by: Jeffrey Joseph Yesh
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Privyet! Welcome to Russia! Come along on this ABC exploration of the people, geography, animals, plants, history, and culture of Russia. Read about diamond studded eggs, the deepest lake in the world, and other fascinating facts.

Skating Superstars

By: Scholastic, Inc.
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Figure skating has become a popular Winter Olympics sport. Meet well-known figure skaters from around the world in full color photographs and a readable but brief text. A table of contents allows newly independent readers to easily find their favorite skater in this collective biography.

Snow

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Lauren Stringer
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Snow has a different impact on those who experience it. This lyrical celebration of snow and related activities allows readers to experience it in many ways, from seeing trees anew or getting out cavorting in it told in poetic language and evocative illustrations.

Snowy Sports: Ready, Set, Play!

By: Per-Henrik Gurth
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Bright, boldly colored illustrations depict how young animals prepare to play outdoor winter games and sports. This basic, primarily visual introduction will serve as a simple introduction to lesser and well-known outdoor activities.

Tacky and the Winter Games

By: Helen Lester
Illustrated by: Lynn Munsinger
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

While Tacky’s friends train for the winter games, he sleeps during sit-ups, pigs out on pizza and doughnuts, and goofs off late into the night. The author brings in many facets of the Olympics: training before the games, the march of the athletes into the stadium for the opening ceremonies that include the lighting of a torch. Of course, there are also differences between these games and the televised ones — for skis, the penguins strap frozen fish to their feet!

The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder

By: Mark Cassino
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What makes snow crystals unique? What conditions allow their formation? How does one catch a snowflake? These and additional information and activities about snow are explored in this lucid and attractive presentation just right as one watches winter games.

Also, don’t forget my book, Before I Was Born.  It makes a wonderful present for Valentine’s Day or any day.  When you buy Before I Was Born you are giving two gifts.  A gift to the child who receives the book and a gift to a unknown child who benefits from the sale of the book.  I donate 100% of the cost of the book to Story Storks.  The folks over at Story Storks give a new book and a packet on literacy to children born in two area hospitals.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the book, just send me an Email at blag515@gmail.com.  The cost of the book is $20 and will be tax deductible for you.