Rain Fish: Rainy Day Play + Repurposed Art

In this rhyming adventure of debris that comes out to play on a rainy day, RAIN FISH by Lois Elhert is a lively story meshing art and nature

On a rainy day, whether it be after a night of heavy thunderstorms or during a lingering drizzle, it’s the perfect time to spot rain fish at play. In this rhyming adventure of debris that can be spotted on rainy days, RAIN FISH by Lois Elhert (public library) is a lively story meshing art and nature. Illustrated in Ehlert’s trademark collage style, Rain Fish prompts readers to take notice of “rain fish” swimming around their neighborhood, catch them, and repurpose them into something of their own imagination.

Rain Fish inside spread

Rain Fish

With each full page spread, discards and debris found by Ehlert transform into aquatic animal shapes swimming through the book and the playful text and bright colors are stimulating to even the littlest of readers. Now I know I highlight Lois Ehlerts books here on SfCT all the time, but I mean come on– Lois Ehlert! Her books are always inviting, creative, and accessible to kids. I didn’t even have to prompt my own children to go outside after reading Rain Fish. After our first time reading the books, they both turned to me and excitedly said, “Let’s go look for RAIN FISH!”


Looking For + Creating Rain Fish Collages

Art and nature collide making Rain Fish out of debris found after a rainstorm- A fun rainy day project for kids of all ages

Inspired by Lois Ehlrt’s new picture book, Rain Fish, debris found in alleyways, sidewalks, or at the park can be transformed into art supplies for fish collages. Help keep your town clean by picking up trash washed away by the rain and give it a new life.

Found “art supplies” (i.e. trash, leaves, feathers, etc. found outside after a rainstorm)
Colorful construction paper or cardstock

After a heavy thunderstorm or even during a light rain shower, take a walk to look for “art supplies”. These art supplies could be discards and debris found in a park, on a beach, or on your neighborhood sidewalk.

Looking for Rain Fish, a rainy day activity that promts kids to use their imagination and repurpose litter

Looking for Rain Fish inspired by the picture by Lois Elhert

trash found floating in the streets after a rainstorm

We found a ton of trash and objects to work with taking merely one loop around our block. Wash found debris in warm, soapy water before using, get out some glue and paper, and get your art on! I put some glue in small containers with paintbrushes for easy use for my 2-year-old. She has a hard time using the squeeze bottles, and paintbrushes offer more control.

Rainy day craft for kids-- Making Rain fish

Creating art out of debris inspired by Lois Ehlert's Rain Fish

Rain Fish kid art

Paper items such as tissue or paper bags can be molded while wet and maintain their shape once dry. Glue items to paper to create colorful, mixed media collages.

Rain Fish project

Rain Fish art

Art and nature collide making Rain Fish out of debris found after a rainstorm- A fun rainy day project for kids

We were inspired to make underwater scenes like in the story, but you can turn your newly found art supplies into anything your heart desires. When rain is forecasted, consider playing outside, exercise creativity, and cleaning up your neighborhood by taking a trip rain fishing.



* Source of inside Rain Fish page images courtesy of Simon & Schuster

**Source of book reviewed was borrowed from our local library




Whatever the Weather

Whatever the Weather Science Experiments and Art Activities That Explore the Wonders of Weather by Annie Riechmann and Dawn Suzette Smith

Weather is a part of our everyday. It dictates our daily schedules and natural rhythms and continues to be a timeless source of fuel to promote open-ended play in children. Annie Riechmann and Dawn Suzette Smith, the popular nature bloggers of Mud Puddles to Meteors draw from this inspiration to bring us their very first book of weather related fun for kids and their families, Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities That Explore the Wonders of Weather (public library)*.

Whatever the Weather book ice scupltures promt

“Basic discussions of the weather are common in the average elementary classroom, but often the discussions start and stop at the “what” of weather, leaving out the much more interesting “why”.”

Whatever the Weather aims to address the whys of weather with information and prompts that can be modified for preschoolers to middle school age children. This delightful resource is broken up into four categories:  Cold weather, rain and the water cycle, sun, and the wind. All highlighted activities in these categories are part science and part art complete with answers about the why’s of the weather around us,  like-minded alternative project options to explore, and fun side notes labeled “Wondering About the World” highlighting interesting stories or facts that relate to the activity.

Whatever the Weather frost painting prompt

Whatever the Weater evaporation prompt

What I enjoy most about this book is how extremely easy it is to follow along– The activities don’t need a long list of supplies or set up, there aren’t pages of prescriptions, or projects with a lengthy step-by-step explanation with a zillion materials required. You can literally look outside at what the day holds, flip to a prompt that fits the weather, and customize that prompt to your child’s age and interests. There are also many modifications to each project that may not need supplies at all, but still delve into investigating and questioning the state of the seasonal changes in the atmosphere. Whatever the Weather promotes scientific, motor, and creative experiences.

Whatever the Weather learning about wind and clouds

Out of the activities we’ve explored in Whatever the Weather, my 2 and 5-year old recently enjoyed leaf painting and leaf vein science.  To provide an example of what this wonderful book has to offer, here’s a look at this project prompt from the book!


Leaf printing with watercolors


After a morning rain yesterday, using Annie Riechmann and Dawn Suzette Smith’s book as our guide, the girls explored cohesion and followed leaf veins with their paintbrushes. Veins that mimic our own human veins, life force pathways that carry nutrients and water. Instead of doing this project outside while it was raining, we decided to enjoy it during an afternoon when it had rained earlier in the morning. Droplets of water still clung to tree leaves and tips of the grass while the sidewalks were already dry. We collected leaves in our yard including a couple of these enormous, beautiful Catalpa leaves. I set out a variety of liquid watercolors including the girls’ favorite metallic mixing agents, silver and gold, as well as several paintbrushes and they enthusiastically went straight to playing and painting their found leaves.

Leaf painting nature activity for kids

Leaf painting with watercolors to learn about leaf veins and cohesion

Watercolor leaf painting

With each underside of the leaves facing up, my 2-year old rubbed paint freely on her leaf canvas while my oldest carefully followed the branches of lines on her leaf. The metallic watercolors shimmered on the leaves and looked a little like morning dew.

Leaf painting with liquid watercolors is a fun and simple summer nature project for children to investigate leaf veins and cohesion

Leaf painting and printing nature activity for kids

One of the alternate suggestions in Whatever the Weather to further explore this project was to preserve the leaf painting by making leaf prints. By placing a sheet of paper on top of a recently painted leaf, and gently pressing the paper into the leaf, carefully peel the sheet of paper from the leaf, and you’re left with a spectacular expression of art and nature. We had fun holding our prints up to the sunlight, since the light seeps through the places where watercolors made the paper thin to create a stained glass effect. We noticed the same happens when you hold up a leaf to the sun– The light illuminates the green margins between the leaf veins.

Watercolor leaf printing summer nature project for kids

Learning about leaf veins and cohesion from leaf painting and leaf printing

Exploring the nature of weather doesn’t have to stop with the end of this book. You can follow along on Annie and Dawn’s adventures through their blog, where you can also sign up for a monthly newsletter and seasonal Nature Labs. Get social about your nature findings by connecting with other nature nuts on the Mud Puddles to Meteors Facebook group for follow along on Dawn’s adventures through the terrain of Nova Scotia.

Leaf printing with watercolors - Art and Nature Activity for Kids

And if you’re looking for more weather related reads, hop on over to this massive weather themed booklist for kids!


*Source of book reviewed was provided by the good folks at Roost Books.



Favorite Children’s Books About Summer

Favorite Children's Books About Summer | This seasonal booklist includes books about summer solstice, the beach, fireflies, camping, swimming, parades, vintage classics, & more!

Warm summer months are filled with lemonade, lazy days, swimming pools, and firefly nights. This booklist celebrates a few of our favorite children’s picture books featuring all things summer!

If you’re heading to the library, I’ve assembled a library list of these titles for easy browsing if your library uses the bibliocommons catalog system. If you’re looking for more seasonal booklists, be sure to check out these autumn, winter, and spring lists.


Children's books for summer solstice and midsummer

Nonfiction and fiction books that are about or take place on the summer solstice or Midsummer:

The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Linda Bleck
Mermaid Dance by Majorie Hakala, illustrated by Mark Jones
The Flowers’ Festival by Elsa Beskow
Summer Story by Jill Barklem
Ella Bella and The Midsummer’s Night’s Dream by James Mayhew


picture books about summer

Long days, no school, ice cream, gardens, farmer’s markets, family and friends, free time for imagination and wonder… These picture books highlight the joys of the summer season:

It’s Summer by Linda Glaser
Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
Summer is Summer by Phillis and David Gershator, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis
Bluebird Summer by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen
Four Friends in Summer by Tomie dePaola
Mama, Is it Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
Summer Wonders by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Judy Stead
It’s Summertime by Elaine Good
A Summertime Song by Irene Haas
Song for A Summer Night: A Lullaby by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Qin Leng
Westlandia by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Summer Sun Risin’ by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrated by Don Tate
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
The Shadow Chasers by Elly Mackay


summer books for kids

Summer in the northern hemisphere in many places is typically hot, hot, hot! These stories are about the summer heat during the day and at night:

One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews
Rattletrap Car by Phillis Root, illustrated by Jill Barton
Come On, Rain! by Karen Helle, illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Blackout by John Rocco


books about the beach

For families that live close to or vacation to the ocean or a lake, summer and shorelines go hand in hand. These books are all about visiting the seashore:

Magic Beach by Alison Lester
A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams
Wave by Suzy Lee
Beach by Elisha Cooper
Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
The Sandcastle Contest by Robert Munsch
At the Beach by Huy Voun Lee
Beach Feet by Lynn Reiser
Senses at the Seashore by Shelley Rotner
Beach Day by Karen Roosa, illustrated by Maggie Smith
Flotsam by David Weisner
One White Wishing Stone by Doris Gayzagian
If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! by Elise Farsley
Hello, Ocean by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Mark Astrella
Can You Hear the Sea? by Judy Cumerbatch
How Will We Get to the Beach? by Brigitte Luciani, illustrated by Eve Tharlet
Beach Party by Harriet Ziefert
All You Need for a Beach by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
Sea, Sand, and Me! by Patricia Hubbell, illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst


books about summer vacation

With kids out of school, some families look to the summer as a time to get out of town. Here are a few books about vacationing in the summertime:

Pictures from Our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins
Mayfly by Marthe Jocelyn
The Summer Visitors by Karel Hayes
See You Next Year by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Todd Stewart
Beach House by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Amy June Bates (public library)


books about fireflies

These twinkling insects are an icon of long summer evenings outside:

It’s a Firefly Night by Dianne Orchiltree, illustrated by Betsy Snyder
Fireflies by Julie Brickloe
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
Among A Thousand Fireflies by Helen Frost
Ten Flashing Fireflies by Philemon Sturges, illustrated by Anna Vojtech
Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman


children's books about camping

A popular activity in the great outdoors or in the comfort of your backyard, camping is a favorite summer getaway:

Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen
Sally Goes to the Mountains by Stephen Huneck
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Mélanie Watt
Quiet Night by Marilyn Singer
When We Go Camping by Margiet Ruurs, illustrated by Andrew Kiss
Flashlight by Lizzie Boyd
Into the Outdoors by Susan Gal


swimming pool books

These stories all take place poolside and/or are about learning to swim:

My Best Friend by Mary Ann Rodman
Pool by JiHyeon Lee
The Whale in My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan
Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins
Splish, Splash, Splat by Rob Scotton
Frog by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Jane Browne


books about parades

‘Tis the season of parades! Memorial Day, Summer Solstice, Puerto Rican Day, Gay Pride, Fourth of July… These books capture the heart of summer parades:

Mermaids on Parade by Melanie Hope Greenberg
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Gus Miller
Parade by Donald Crews


vintage children's books about summer

Old school picture books that still hold the magic of the season:

The Summerfolk by Doris Burn
Peter in Blueberryland by Elsa Beskow
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey*
One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Bayberry Bluff by Blair Lent
Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

*Time of Wonder is a beautiful book to read, BUT there is one page that I’d like to note has cultural insensitivities on page 56. When I read this story with my own kids,  I replace the word “Indian” with “Native Americans” and “white man” with “European settlers”. I almost left it off the list, but decided it was a good platform for discussion if you happen to read this title with children.


summer poetry books

Poems about lemonade, ice cream, berry picking, camping, flowers, and the highs and lows of summer:

Flower Fairies of the Summer by Cicely Mary Barker
From the Belly Button of the Moon and Other Summer Poems by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez
Fireflies at Midnight by Marilyn Singer
Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Jan Gilchrist
Lemonade by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Nancy Doniger
Summersaults by Douglas Floiran
Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George, illustrated by Kate Kiesler
Ocean Soup: Tide-Pool Poems by Stephen R. Swinburne, illustrated by Mary Peterson


children's nonfiction books about summer

All about the summer seasons, nature in summer, and seaside ecology.

What Happens in Summer? by Sara L. Latta
Summer by Anna Claybourne, pictures by Stephen Lewis
What Camping Can Teach Us by Willow Creek Press
A Kid’s Summer Ecojournal by Toni Albert and Margaret Brandt
Firelfies in the Night by Judy Hawes, illustrated by Ellen Alexandar
Ferdiand Fox’s First Summer by Mary Holland
Looking Closely Along the Shore by Frank Serafini
In One Tidepool: Crabs, Snails, and Salty Tails by Antony D. Fredricks, illustated by Jennifer Dirubbio
The Seaside Switch by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Seashells, Crabs, and Sea Stars by Christine Kump Tibbitts, illustrate by Linda Garrow
A Pod of Orcas by Sheryl McFarlane
What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoefeld, illustrated by Helen K. Davie


books for babies and toddlers about summer

Seasonal books for the littlest readers.

Summer by Gerda Muller
Baby Loves Summer! by Karen Katz
Summer by Roger Priddy
Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thomapson
Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Ruth Hearson
I See Summer by Charles Ghigna
Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito
Beach Baby by Laurie Elmquist, illustrated by Elly MacKay
Marshmallow Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan, Illustrated by Mari Takabayashi
Kitten’s Summer by Eugenie Fernandes
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Baby Lit Fairies Primer by Jennifer Adams
Summer Beach Day by Liesbet Slegers
At the Beach by Salina Yoon
At the Beach by Anne Rockwell



What’s your favorite book about summer for kids? Please share in the comments below!





The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read + Reading Buddy

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley and Kate Berube book + craft

Summer is almost here, which means it’s that age-old time when kids flood the library in search of books to read or have read to them. Books for outside picnics, books for vacations, books for summer day dreams, and books for hot starry nights with a side of ice cream. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Kate Berube (public library), is the perfect celebration of this time when both reading and one’s imagination are unrestricted with the ease of longer days and more free time. For some kids, an interest in reading doesn’t come easily or quickly and that happens to be the case with Nick’s two cats, Verne and Stevenson. In the summer, Nick, Verne, and Stevenson do everything together. Well, they do everything together except one thing– Reading. The cats couldn’t be more indifferent to books, so one summer Nick decides he will teach Verne and Stevenson to read.

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read 1

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to REad 2

The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read 3

Nick’s first attempts fail, but slowly Verne becomes more and more intrigued, and with practice and Nick’s encouragement he’s able to read stories on his own. Stevenson on the other hand continues to be grouchy and actively disinterested whenever books or talk of reading enters the picture. That is, until the day Nick finds something of Stevenson’s that he uses to help foster an interest in reading. Everyone (even cats) learn to read in their own way and in their own time. Sometimes it just takes one special book to get a beginning reader hooked on reading for life.



DIY Stuffie

Readers can be just like Nick (who loves reading with his cats) by making this easy DIY cat stuffed animal via a repurposed sock that transforms into a cuddly reading companion in no time!

diy sock stuffie


  • Sock
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Poly-Fil
  • Rubberbands
  • Buttons, felt, yarn, ribbon (Anything you’d like to use to decorate your kitty)

The sock you use can be any old sock. The one I used had been missing its mate for awhile and may have a tiny hole in the heel. Also, don’t be restricted to the materials I listed for decorating your kitty’s face. Sequins, fabric, beads, and anything you happen to find that might work are also fair game.

diy cat sock stuffie

Start by filling your sock with poly-fil. Stuff it to a huggable size and leave an inch of room at the opening of the sock.

cat stuffie tutorial

Cut off the opening of the sock in a “V” shape. These will be the ears of your cat!

diy cat sock stuffie 1

Flip your sock over so the toe of the sock is facing down and the opening is facing up. Wrap a rubber band around the two points you just cut out of the sock’s opening. Kitty ears! If there is still a little opening between the ears, glue those ends together with fabric glue.

diy cat sock stuffie 2

Using another rubber band, create a head by wrapping it around an inch or two below the ears. It’s starting to look like a cat!

cat stuffie reading buddy

Next, use whatever materials you’d like to make the face of your cat. I used yarn, felt, and buttons and glued them all on with fabric glue.

Summer craft - Make a cat stuffie made from a sock


DIY Cat Stuffie

We decided this cat was quite dapper and added an orange bow tie around his neck for the finishing touch.

Summer Reading Buddy - DIY Cat Stuffie inspired by The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read

Now you’re cuddly stuffed animal kitty is ready for all the reading adventures to be had! Not only will your child have a friend to read with, but the act of reading aloud to animals, stuffed or living, helps build reading skills and beginning readers gain confidence by creating a non-judgmental, nurturing environment (see here and here).



And if you happen to have a lovable furball at home, I’m sure they won’t be opposed to a story or two from time to time as well. Especially, if there’s petting and snuggles involved.




*Source of book reviewed: Review copy provided by the kind folks at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing



Enchanting New Fairy Books + Fairy Booklist

Fairy Books for Kids

I’m so excited about these books that I may or may not be wearing a pair of my kids’ dress-up fairy wings as I type this. Not only because FAIRIES, but because the enchanting books in this post are very near-and-dear to our hearts. Imelda & the Goblin King by Briony May Smith (public library) and A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Claire Keane (public library) are the latest additions that have made their way into the ranks of our favorite fairy books list, which I’ve also included below. Here’s a peek inside these two imaginative, stunning books about wee fairy folk:



Imelda & The Goblin King by Briony May Smith

Young Imelda lives behind a fairy forest where she often goes to visit and play with her fairy friends. All was fine and well, until the day the greedy goblin king arrives and kidnaps the fairy queen. Imelda and the fairies have to devise a clever plan to rescue the queen and restore the fairy forest back to it’s former happy state.

Imelda & The Goblin King by Briony May Smith

Imelda and the Goblin King

Imelda and the Goblin King Fairy Books for Kids

Sweet as can be. Imelda and The Goblin King is a tale about good vs. evil, greed, problem solving, and even has a delicious pie in the mix. Briony May Smith’s illustrations are stunning. Each time we read this story I notice a new detail that I hadn’t noticed before. Something else I love about this book is that the fairies and magical creatures are illustrated in a variety of skin shades from pink, to brown, to tan, to even blue. After reading quite a few illustrated books as a kid and now with my own children in which the majority of the fairies are predominately white, it was refreshing to see a broader spectrum of skin colors represented. Imelda is a strong, kind, and courageous heroine that uses her wits to defeat evil. She’s exactly the kind of character I’m glad is a part of our reading world.



A Fairy Friend

A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess, illustrated b Claire Keane

Okay… So, this book is darling. Its rhyming text and its almost-like-they’re-glowing illustrations won my kids over after the first page. Even though fairies are all around her, one girl learns no matter how hard she tries they’re quite difficult to spot. To lure them to her, she crafts a fairy house so maybe, just maybe, they’ll come to here. One fairy might even feel friendly enough to land in her hand.

A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Claire Keane

A Fairy Friend illustration

Adorable, right? Sue Fliess’ text rolls of the tongue like an evening lullaby and the frolicking, sometimes mischievous, fae illustrations light up each page making A Fairy Friend a magical read. No doubt it will inspire the construction of many fairy houses like these from it’s readers. The illustration style seemed familiar the first time I set eyes on this book and sure enough, Claire Keane is an illustrator who contributed to popular Walt Disney films’ Tangled and Frozen. Now that Sue Fliess and Claire Keane on my reading radar, I’m looking forward to reading whatever future books they may have up their sleeves.



magical fairy books for kids

After reading these two fabulous new fairyland books full of shimmer, whimsey, charm, and wonder,  I thought I’d pull together a list of our favorite fairy picture books (and one early chapter book!) for even more fairy folk fun:

Imelda & The Goblin King by Briony May Smith (public library)
A Fairy Friend by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Claire Keane (public library)
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter, illustrated by Quin Leng (public library)
Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane (public library)
Come To The Fairies’ Ball by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Gary Lippincott (public library)
A Fairy Went a-Marketing by Rose Fyleman, illustrated by Jamichael Henterly (public library)
Good Night, Fairies by Kathleen Hague (public library)
The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette (public library)
How to Find Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker (public library)
The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker (public library)

If you’re heading to the library and are interested in checking out these books, I’ve assembled this catalog list for easy browsing! If you’re library suscribes to bibliocommons, then this list can be accessed through your library catalog.

And if you know a fairy-loving kid (or grown-up) be sure to hop over to this Building Natural Fairy Houses post for more moon magic and star dust fairy fun!


**Sources of books reviewed: Imelda & The Goblin King provided by Flying Eye Books, A Fairy Friend and Piper Green and the Fairy Tree were checked out at our local library, and all other books were purchased at our local bookstores, The Raven and Dusty Bookshelf.



Storytime Anytime: Weather

Storytime Anytime Weather BEAR GETS DRESSED by Harriet Ziefert illustrated by Arnold Lobel

Storytime Anytime is a simple storytime experience that parents and caregivers can recreate at home. Each storytime focuses on a book about a specific interest, a song, rhyme, or fingerplay that complements the story, and then a few, simple extension activities. Storytime doesn’t just happen in the library, storytime can be anytime! 

READ: We’ve been reading a lot of books about weather lately, and the vintage gem Bear Gets Dressed: A Guessing-Game Story by Harriet Ziefert, illustrations by Arnold Lobel (public library) is the story most often picked by my 2-year old. The story starts with bear waking up in the morning and looking outside his window. Each page after depicts a variety of garments and asks the reader what would bear wear depending on the weather he sees outside– Open the flap and the answer is revealed. It’s a straightforward, sweet book for toddlers and preschools by two highly regarded kid lit authors.

Bear Gets Dressed: A Guessing Game Story

Bear Gets Dressed by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Arnold Lobel

If you’re a librarian or teacher, it would make a wonderful flannel board. I didn’t check to see if someone has already thought of that idea or not. So if someone in internet land has – Kudos! Bear Gets Dressed is a new-to-us classic that encourages kids to think about weather, seasons, and how the clothing we wear reflects both.

SING: There’s a fantastic selection of weather songs over on Jbrary’s YouTube channel, but their rendition of “What’s the Weather?” seems to be the weather-themed song we enjoy singing the most of the bunch. That one, and “Come Under My Umbrella” are big hits in my house. Try not to hum “Oh my darling, Clementine” anytime someone asks “Whats the weather?” after singing this song a few times…

What’s the Weather (sung to Clementine) via Perpetual Preschool
What’s the weather? What’s the weather? What’s the weather like today? 
Is it foggy, partly cloudy, is it raining or is there snow? 
Is it windy, is it cloudy or is there sunshine today? 
What’s the weather? What’s the weather? What’s the weather like today?

PLAY: These are a few no-stress weather activities to play after reading Bear Gets Dressed:

  • Play a weather dress-up game! Gather an assortment of clothing for all types of weather and lay them out in a room. Pretend to look out the window and say, “What will the weather be like today? It’s ___________ !” and ask the child to find and put on clothing that best fits the weather you describe.
  • When you go outdoors, talk about the weather you see and feel. Is it cold or warm? Is it cloudy or sunny? Rainy? Foggy? Is it dark or light? What time of day is it? Will the weather change during the day? What is the season? Do you have a favorite type of weather? Taking time to notice weather is just one way to connect children to the cycles of the natural world.
  • Dress up a doll or stuffed animal over the course of the week according to the weather forecasted each day. Does the doll or stuffy have to change outfits a few times to accommodate the weather? Or are they able to wear the same outfit for a majority of the week?

BOOK SUGGESTIONS: For more weather book suggestions for younger children, scroll down to the end of this weather booklist!



Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color + Face Painting Fun

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color + Face Painting Fun

“In a place where colors ran wild, there lived a girl who was wilder still. Her name was Swatch, and she was a color tamer. She was small, but she was not afraid.”

Open Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos (public library) and experience a stampede of color.  Young Swatch is a collector. Like most kids who are passionate about collecting, they try the best they can to accumulate as much of their desired object as possible. But unlike most kids, Swatch collects color. She enthusiastically plucks, nets, tames, and traps an array of every color she comes across. When she calls out their name “Bravest Green”, “Just Laid Blue”, and “Rumble-Tumble Pink” the colors come to her and she bottles them up to be added to the rainbow of colors already captured. But one day, instead of calling out the name of “Yellowest Yellow”, a coveted shade, she asks the color instead of calling it to her. “Yellowest yellow.. would you like to climb into this jar?” The shade politely declines and instead of plucking it up nonetheless, she leaves it be and something spectacular happens.

Swatch the Girl Who Loved Color 1

Swatch the Girl Who Loved Color

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos

Swatch illustration

Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color is not only visually stunning, but the story stars a strong, courageous female character- We can never ever have enough strong female characters in books for young children- and demonstrates what happens when we let go and allow creativity to flourish. A big thank you to my buddy Erinn Batykefer from Library as Incubator Project, for putting this book on my radar this past winter. It has not only become a favorite story in our home, but an inspiration for many color adventures since reading it.



Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color Face Painting

Throughout the story, Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color, Swatch seems to always have paint on her face. I thought expanding on this detail through face painting would be fun platform to talk about color mixing and also provide the opportunity for the kids to paint a canvas they are very familiar with, their own faces!


I used this DIY face paint tutorial for making the paints. You can swap liquid washable watercolors for the food coloring if you prefer. The food coloring might take a day or two to wash off. Using a water color tray, the kids mixed up some colors with food coloring and face lotion. Then I set up a mirror and let them have at it. Here’s our set up:

face paint color mixing art provocation

I have never seen these two smile and laugh during an art project like when they were face painting. It was a playful, color-filled sensory experience!

Face painting for kids

Face paint

face paint 1

Swatch the GIrl Who Loved Color Art fun


Face Painting Fun

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos Face Painting Fun

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color face paint

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color Art Project

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color face painting activity

After face painting, my oldest decided she wanted to LOOK JUST LIKE SWATCH and quickly changed into clothing similar to Swatch’s outfit in the book. Then, she asked for a jar to catch colors in and ran around the yard for a good part of the evening role playing the character of Swatch. She continues to this day to talk about color names and fantasize about colors.

Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color play

Swatch encouraged us to see colors in a new way and allow them, and our imaginations, run wild. Now more than ever, Lorelei makes up names for colors she sees. I’ve been hesitant to return a book that has sparked so much wonder in my girls, but tomorrow it’s going back to the library. It’s time to let Swatch be free and work her magic in our community.

For more color mixing magic that would also pair well with Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color, check out this Mix it Up! project.



Source of book reviewed: Borrowed from my local public library!



Favorite Children’s Books About Weather

Favorite Children's Books About Weather

“What will the weather be like today?” It’s one of the first questions we think of when we wake in the morning. Every day we experience weather. Some of us live in places where the weather is consistently the same throughout the year, and some of us live in places where there is a wide range of weather – especially during seasonal transition. Regardless of where you live, learning about weather elements is a fun way for children to take notice of and apply weather to their everyday world. Since we’ve been experiencing a lot of weather changes with the seasonal transition where I live, I put together a list of favorite children’s books that are both fiction and nonfiction about weather. What’s your favorite book about weather?


Children's books about weather

These books focus on a variety of weather and season:

What Will the Weather Be Like Today? by Paul Rogers, illustrations by Kazuko (public library)
On the Same Day in March by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Frane Lessac (public library)
Boom Boom by Savinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (public library)
Weather Words by Gail Gibbons (public library)
If Frogs Made Weather by Dane Marion Bauer (public library)
Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book by Lucy Cousins (public library)
Inside, Outside by Lizi Boyd (public library) – Full book review HERE
Whatever the Weather by Karen Wallace (public library)


books about the water cycle

A look at various forms of water and the phases of the water cycle:

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Marianda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin (public library)
This is the Rain by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Jane Wattenbern (public library)
Water Dance by Thomas Locker (public library)
All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Katherine Tiloston (public library)
Water Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija (public library)


children's books about rain

Rain showers, rainy days, after-rain puddles and all things rain, rain, rain:

Raindrop Roll by April Pulley Sayre (public library)
Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin and John Archambault, illustrated by James Endicott (public library)
Mushroom in the Rain by Mirra Ginsburg, illustrated by Jose Aruego (public library)
Come On, Rain! by Karen Helle, illustrated by Jon J. Muth (public library)
Float by Daniel Miyares (public library)
Worm Weather by Jean Taft, illustrated by Matt Hunt (public library)
The Rain Came Down by David Shannon (public library)
Rain Play by Cynthia Cotten, illustraed by Javaka Steptoe (public library)
The Rain Train by Elena De Roo, illustrated by Brian Lovelock (public library)
Who Likes the Rain? By Wong Herbert Yee (public library)
Split! Splat! by Amy Gibson, illustrated by Steve Bjorkamn (public library)
When Rain Falls by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Constance Bergum (public library)


books about storms

Thunder and lightning can be a bit frightening, but learning about storms can help calm nerves. These stories make storms fun!

The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (public library)
Waiting Out the Storm by JoAnn Early Macken, illustrated by Susan Gaber (public library)
Blue on Blue by Dianne White, illustrated by Beth Krommes (public library)
Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Braian Karas (public library)
Thunder Boomer by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Carol Thompson (public library)
Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll by Franklyn M. Branley, illustrated by True Kelley (public library)
The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi (public library)
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco (public library)


Children's Books about the wind

Wind causes the trees sway and kites to play. Silly, heartwarming, and informational stories about the wind:

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins (public library)
Like a Windy Day by Frank Asch (public library)
Wind by Marion Dane Bauer (public library)
Windblown by Édouard Manceau (public library) Full review!
One Monday by Amy Hutington (public library)
Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets (public library)
Bluebird by Lindsey Yankey (public library) Full review + author interview!
One Windy Wednesday by Phyllis Root (public library)
Kite Flying by Grace Lin (public library)


books about clouds

Laying in the grass and looking at the clouds is one of my favorite childhood past times. These stories invoke and explain the magic behind those white fluffballs in the sky:
It Looks Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw (public library)
The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola (public library)
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (public library)
Olga the Cloud by Nicoletta Costa (public library)
Sector 7 by David Wiesner (public library)
Clouds by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Frané Lessac (public library)
Clouds by Marion Dane Bauer (public library)
Explore My World Clouds by Marfe Ferguson Delano (public library)
Cloudy Day Sunny Day by Donald Crews (public library)


books about the sun

Our light, life-force, and reason for the seasons– The sun!

Sun Up, Sun Down by Gail Gibbons (public library)
One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews (public library) — Also is a good storm book!
Moonbear’s Sunrise by Frank Asch (public library)
A Sunny Day by Robin Nelson (public library)
One Light, One Sun by Raffi (public library)
The Sun is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch (public library)
Fun With the Sun by Melissa Stewart and Jeffrey Schnerer (public library)


books about rainbows

Other than puddles, I’d say rainbows are the best part of a rainstorm. These books explain how a rainbow forms and spectrum of colors it displays:

A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman (public library)
Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee (public library)
Ned’s Rainbow by Melanie Walsh (public library)
All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allan Fowler (public library)
Rainbows by David Whitfield (public library)


children's picture books featuring fog

Stories featuring the mysterious, lingering moisture that is fog:

Fog Hide and Seek by Alvin Tresselt, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin (public library)
The Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt (public library)
Fog Island by Tomi Ungerer (public library)
Hedgehog in the Fog by Yuri Norstein, illustrated by Francesca Yarbusova (public library)


books about snow

Snow and snowflakes and the water cycle during cold weather months:

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino (public library)
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman (public library)
Millions of Snowflakes by Mary McKenna Siddals, illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles (public library)
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqeline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian (public library)
The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats (public library)
A Snowy Day by Robin Nelson (public library)
Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stinger (public library)


weather books for older readers

Many of the books in this list are intended for older readers BUT have excellent images and activities that can be adapted and enjoyed by all ages:

The Kids’ Book of Clouds and Sky by Frank Staub (public library)
Weather by Seymour Simon (public library)
Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Ar Activities That Explore the Wonders of Weather by Annie Riechmann, illustrated by Dawn Suzette Smith (public library)
DK Eyewitness Weather by Brian Cosgrove (public library)
The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht (public library)
A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder by Walter Wick (public library)
National Geographic Kids Everything Weather by Kathy Furgang (public library)


Books for Babies and Toddlers About Weather

Stories about weather for the littlest readers:

Hello, World! Weather! by Jill McDonald (public library)
Bear Gets Dressed by Harriet Ziefert, illustraed by Arnold Lobel (public library)
A Windy Day in Spring by Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Laura Watson (public library)
Raindrops Fall All Around by Charles Gnigna, illustrated by Laura Watson (public library)
Little Cloud by Eric Carle (public library)
Sunshine Brightens Springtime by Charles Gnigna, illustrated by Laura Watson (public library)
Rain, Rain, Go Away! by Caroline Jayne Church (public library)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani (public library)
Kipper’s Book of Weather by Mick Inkpen (public library)
Raindrops: A Shower of Colors by Chieu Anh Urban (public library)



Interested in seeing if these books are available at your local library? I made this abbreviated weather books list on bibliocommons. So, if your library suscribes to bibliocommons you’re list of books to pick up is already started!

What’s your favorite children’s book about weather? Do you have a favorite that isn’t on the list? I’d love to know in the comments below!




Abracadabra, It’s Spring + Magic Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It's Spring and DIY Magic Wand Craft

Spring is a magical season– Every day reveals a new sight to be seen. Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal (public library) highlights these changes in a playful picture book about the exciting surprises of springtime. With rhyming text, each foldout page is a transition from winter to spring using popular magical phrases. “Sunshine warms a patch of snow. Hocus-pocus! Where did it go?”

Abracadabra It's Spring

Abracadabra it's spring 1

Abracadabra, It's Spring

Abracadabra, It's Spring 1

New blooms, cocoons, the return of birds singing, and the delight of running barefoot outside– This vibrant book is full of the wonders of the season. One thing I would like to note is that if you’re a teacher or librarian and plan on reading this book to a group of kids, you might want to practice saying the magic words. Some expressions like “Alizebu” may or may not be familiar to you. That one was new to me! Nature is a magnificent show if you take time to notice and Abracadabra, It’s Spring! highlights the prelude of spring magnificently.


Magic Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It's Spring + DIY Magic Wand for kids

After enjoying Abracadabra, It’s Spring!, try making some springtime magic of your own and explore the wonders of the season with a magical spring wand! Adding a seasonal twist to this project from Interaction Imagination, making wands from found sticks is a fun way to explore the surprises of springtime by looking closely and observing the differences in the environment. Some of the changes are quick and happen right before your eyes!

DIY magic stick wand 1

This craft takes maybe 10 minutes tops from start to finish not including drying time and uses materials you might already have laying around the house and in your neighborhood.


  • Found sticks from outside
  • Small cups (we used old yogurt containers)
  • White school glue
  • Glitter

DIY magic stick wand 2

DIY magic stick wand 3

Pour some glue into one small container and pour glitter in the other container. The amount you use will depend on how many kids will be doing the project, but for making one wand you’ll only need a small amount of glue and several pinches of glitter.

DIY magic stick wand 4

DIY magic stick wand 5

DIY magic stick wand 6

Take a stick and dip the tip of the stick into the glue and coating the tip. Then dip the coated tip of the stick in the glitter and swoosh it around so that the glue is entirely covered in glitter. Leave to dry for 30 minutes and you now have a magic wand!

DIY Magic Stick wand 7

Once your wand has dried, now it’s time to take it outside for a magical spring scavenger hunt! Take a walk in a natural place that is familiar like a backyard or a park you visit regularly. Ask your child/children to use their wands to point out any new signs of spring with their wands that they didn’t notice before. They can even pretend with their magic wands, saying the incantations used in the book and pointing to signs of spring as if they were spring fairies or nature wizards causing these incredible events to happen.

spring craft for kids

Magic Spring Wand

Spring Wand

Magic Spring Wand Craft

Abracadabra, It’s Spring!

I’m already looking forward to the followup title Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall!which will be released this summer. For more books about spring, checkout this list of favorite springtime kids’s books.



**Review copy of this books was provided by the generous folks at Abrams Appleseed



Favorite Children’s Books about Spring

Favorite Children's Books About Spring - Seasonal booklist for kids

The crocuses have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is rising earlier each day– Signs of spring are everywhere! The first official day of the spring season, the Spring Equinox or Vernal Equinox, is just around the corner and there are so many terrific kids books to  welcome the new season. My autumn booklist and winter booklists were a bit on the looong side, so in attempt to break them down a bit this will be more of a general “all things spring” booklist. In the following weeks, I’ll follow up with lists that tie-in with the season such as weather, ponds and wetlands, gardens, bugs, etc. If you have a springy booklist suggestion, please let me know!


books about spring for kids

Mostly nonfiction books about the Spring Equinox and what happens during the spring season in nature and culturally in the northern hemisphere.

A New Beginning: Celebrating the Spring Equinox by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Linda Bleck
What Happens in Spring? by Sara L. Latta
Sorting Through Spring by Lizann Flatt
Butterfly Birthday by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Mark Jones
Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum
A Kid’s Spring Ecojournal by Toni Albert, illustrated by Margaret Brandt


children's picture books about spring

Picture books about the joys, surprises, and wonders of spring.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Mud by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Abracadabra, It’s Spring! by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal
Crinkle, Crackle, Crack: It’s Spring! by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley
When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
Spring Thaw by Steven Schnur
It’s Spring! by Susan Swan, illustrated by Linda Glasser
Spring Song by Barbara Seuling


books about spring birds

Birds are very busy in the spring. They’re migrating south and building nest for their new family. These are a few books that highlight birds in spring.

Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Sam Williams
My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Harlow Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell
When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward
Forever Friends by Carin Berger
The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman
Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington


children's books about sugaring maple syrup season

In the spring, the maple trees come alive again. When temperatures get warmer, stored starch turns to sugar and then sugaring season begins.

Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell, illustrated by Jill Weber
Ininatig’s Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking by Laura Waterman Wittstock
The Sugaring Off Party by Jonathan London, illustrated by Gilles Pelletier
Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall, illustrated by Jim Daly
Sugaring by Jessie Haas
Sugaring Time by Kathryn Lasky


vintage children's picture books about spring

Timeless spring picture books that are at least 30 years old that you’ll enjoy reading time and time again.

The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Marc Simont
The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent
The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring by Lucille Clifton, Brinton Turkle
Spring Story by Jill Barklem


spring poetry for kids

Poetry books especially for the spring season.

Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera by Francisco X. Alacon, May Christina Gonzalez
Handsprings by Douglas Florian
Flower Fairies of the Spring by Cicely Mary Barker


spring books for babies and toddlers

Springtime books for littles! Kids ages 0-2 will take pleasure in these reads.

A Nest in Springtime: A Mandarin Chinese-English bilingual book of numbers by Belle Yang
Spring by Gerda Muller
Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson, illustrator Bauket Erdogan
Spring is Here by Taro Gomi
It’s Spring! by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
In the Spring by Craig McFarland Brown
Kitten’s Spring by Eugenie Fernades


I’m thinking about making the next book list about either the WEATHER or WETLANDS. If you have a preference, let me know! Other booklist suggestions are welcome as well!

Happy Spring!