Thursday, November 25, 2021

Austin Day

 You probably came across this post because you have a child or student named Austin. It has become a very popular name over the past few years. In fact, it was at #80 in the U.S. in 2017, when my son was born. Today is his birthday, and coincidentally also Thanksgiving. We know at least 3 boys with the name in our town! We consider our son to be someone we are definitely thankful for! Anyway, I didn't have the most common name growing up and it definitely wasn't spelled like many others with the same pronunciation. Speaking of spelling, here's a freebie for you! 

Amanda Pertl at A to Z teacher stuff created more Austin Name Printables. Snag them here!

A few weeks before my daughters were born, we had Austin Day. I had purchased a puzzle and name train from a local mom who wanted to pass them on from her ton to another little boy with the same name. This led to me trying to find books with a character with his name, and then shirts and other things. We pulled all of these things out and had a blast that day before it all became about the babies.

Below, find some of the activities we've done and personalized items we've loved. Whenever I see something on Amazon, I grab it fast because I know it may not last!

We are really into geography and travel over here. My husband was in the military in Texas among other places, and the state is one our son can spot easily on a map, despite him never being there or living in the state.

Good Night, Austin by Adam 
Gamble is one of two books listed here where Austin is a place and not a person. Our son knows he is partly named after a Texas city, and he thinks it's fun to learn about landmarks there. 

Speaking of landmarks, Austin, Lost in America is a book by Jef Czekaj. It is a "geography adventure" that helps Austin, a lost dog, find the best place for him to live in the United States. He gets through 49 states before deciding on the perfect home state. Can you guess which one it is?

Here is an Austin, Texas coloring printable to go with the previously listed books!

Written by husband - wife pair and former NFL coach tony & Lauren Dungy, the book Austin Plays Fair is one of my son's favorites. It poses the question to kids whether it's more important to win or be honest and follow the rules. Many professional athletes and coaches have gotten caught in scandals, so it's an important lesson to learn young.

Check it out here in read aloud version.


This Austin has allergies. He has to advocate for himself and let others know what foods he is allergic to in Austin Goes to a Birthday Party and Austin's Allergies. These books are great social stories to help others navigate this situation and help advocate for others, too. It covers concepts such as epi-pens, cross-contaminations, and symptoms of exposure to allergens in a kid-friendly way. My Austin has seasonal allergies, so he can kind of relate to these concepts, but it's great for him to understand food allergies so he can support friends and family members who have them.

Download printables that go with the books here.

Here's an "Austin worksheet" Google search.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Sees Colors

 Today's post is all about colors, and more specifically books with bears and colors! Hope you don't mind my post title sounding like a Wheel of Fortune Before and After puzzle, haha.

Being able to read color words really helps kids with following directions in school and reading many early readers, as well as spelling and writing the words to add description to their stories.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle is an all-time favorite of many kids and parents. It teaches colors and animals and it's a quick, easy read. A quick Google search reveals tons of free activities and printables to do. Click "view web version" at the bottom of this post or here to view the read aloud video!


Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman is another must-read. We love the recipe this author has for books. The same group of friends, some rhyming and repetition, cute pictures, and a nice theme (message) that kids can relate to.  Click "view web version" at the bottom of this post or here to view the read aloud video!


We are all about play and experience-based hands-on learning here, but sometimes my son does worksheets when I'm putting the girls down for naps. These free fall color words worksheets were so fun for him to do with his Do-a-Dot markers. I did have to trace the outline a couple of times for him to figure out what the picture was, but he loved them and wanted to do more than one at a time.

Here are some other fun color worksheets.


When my son was younger, he learned his colors very early. "The Colors Song" from Cocomelon not only helped him learn them, but it also helped him associate foods with their colors. Click "view web version" at the bottom of this post or here to view the video!

Snag a free printable here. Kids can trace and color!


For more Karma Wilson, click here.

For more Eric Carle, click here.

For more rainbow posts, click here

For more book posts, click here

For more videos, click here.

For more songs, click here.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Pop-Up Books

Who doesn't love a good pop-up book? They make reading fun for kids and adults! We are going to share some of our favorites as well as some sites to learn how to make your own.

 I Will Never, Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

We LOVE this one. My son wasn't great about eating vegetables as a 6 month old, and we came across this book by accident as it was part of a box of books I randomly bought. It turned out to be one of our all- time favorites and our son also turned out to be an excellent eater! I highly recommend the book, pop-up version or not!

Check out the pop-up engineering video here.

Listen to the pop-up read aloud here.

Check out the TV show episode here.


The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

This book is great! Like the Little Spot books and others that are similar, emotions are identified by colors. The pop-ups here are creative and adorable. My son loves interacting with them and my daughters can't wait to get their hands on this fiercely protected book! The price for this version is not quite double the price of a regular paperback, but for us it was worth it. 

Here is a read aloud video showing the pop-ups.

Yellow (happiness)

Green (calm)

Blue (sadness)


This Book is a Planetarium by Kelli Anderson

It's actually many different things - a planetarium, a speaker, an instrument ,a decoder, a calendar, a spiralgraph.... Most of all, it's fun. I can see this being used for travel especially. I imagine my son using in on long car rides, in hotels, and on planes once we start going longer distances from home again. Kelli has thought of it all!


The Star Spangled Banner by Calvert Gamwell

This one is cute, and a nice and easy way to introduce the National Anthem of the United States. It's currently out of print, so you'll have to snag a used copy. Its pop-ups aren't anything too fancy, but they do show different ways and places people can be patriotic.


Auntie Annie has free basic printable pop-up cards. With the ability to print in color or black and white and picture directions, this is a great place to get started with making your own pop-ups.

Best Pop-Up Books has it all! From tutorials to a forum to book lists and even some freebies, you can find whatever it is you're looking for here. Paper engineering is a great skill to have to introduce kids into design and the engineering process. It's also a fun way to spice up projects you may assign students.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Learning about Frog Life Cycles with A Frog in the Bog

 Learning about Frog Life Cycles with A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson

We are big Karma Wilson book fans over here. We love the repetition and rhyme as well as the pictures. This one was great because we were able to tie in learning about biomes and life cycles in science while reading as well as practice our number words.

See the read aloud here.

Here are some printables I created for us to work with.

We also watched some videos about the tadpole's life cycle into a frog and learned about where frogs live.

Trials of a Tadpole video

I found a song called The Frog in the Bog. It's a little tricky for preschoolers, but it's fun when a puppet is included. 

Read another post about Karma Wilson books here.

Read more animal life cycle posts here.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Roll and Compute Dice Game


I spend a lot of my time blogging about books and reading, because that's what I spend a majority of my time doing both in school and at home with my children. However, I'm always looking for ways to modify and adapt materials others have created to make them more accessible for all children, regardless of age and performance level. 

Some kids struggle to add and subtract without tools, and they get confused when using fingers. Try these games to practice adding, subtracting, and comparing numbers while using dice.

Click on the images to download the Google Doc.

Feel free to add, change, or rearrange, but please don't sell the item if you've used my framework. Sharing for free is okay!