Now that Wesley is a fully formed functioning kid we have stepped up our bedtime reading choices. Here are our favorite things to go through in the evening, that is when we aren't skipping them because we've been out late (again!) and we have to go to bed right now or you are going to be so sleepy tomorrow!! I mean....that never happens.
Anyway, first up isn't really a book but it does promote thinking skills and great conversations. It's called Q&A a Day For Kids. It gives a prompt or question every night, and then the questions repeat for 3 years. For example on February 5th it might ask "When were you proud of yourself recently?" and then you answer that same question in 2014, 15 and 16 and watch how your child's answers change and mature.
We started this activity in March of 2013, so we are about to start round two and I am very excited to see how she processes the questions as a 5 year old. When we first started I really had to dig some nights for answers that made sense. But after a few weeks I figured out the random answers were way better and completely stopped leading her. By December she even started answering for herself!
So after sticking with it for 11 months I give this bedtime book a big two thumbs up! And it runs about $12 on Amazon.
(disclaimer: I have never seen a kids bible that directly says that, I'm just saying sometimes that's how kids feel about the bible, and grown ups too)
If you don't own this book I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is just a wonderful way for children to process a very complex text deeply and on their level. There are a ton of resources out there that pair with it as well, if you are looking for more with an older child. It runs around $10 on Amazon.
My next favorite story we are reading a lot of right now is called Paper Bag Princess
For parents raising a little girl who is obsessed with all things princess, very much to our chagrin, this is the perfect book. Because when I say chagrin, I don't at all mean I don't love dress up, make believe, Disney, or girly girls. I don't like the superficial princess--- the one who has an attitude of entitlement or an idea that a Prince gives your life meaning. And I have to hand it to Disney, they have done a pretty great job flipping that stereotype lately with Princess and the Frog, Tangled and of course the end all be all Frozen! ( More on that one soon!)
So back to the book. I hate to ruin it for you, but **Spoiler Alert** the princess saves the day in this one. But that's not why I love it, because a lot of stories are doing that lately. I love it because not only does she save the Prince, she also exposes him for being superficial and entitled! When she gets to him, dirty, disheveled and left only wearing a paper bag he tells her to go fix herself up to look like a "real princess". To which she replies "Ronald, you look nice, your clothes are neat, your hair is fixed, you look like a "real prince"....but you are a bum." Love it!!
And FYI this story was published in 1980, so they were on it years before the princess craze!
It is $5 on Amazon, paperback, and I highly recommend it for girls and boys!
My last recommendation, for now, for children's story time is a set of cards my best friend Alexis got Wesley for Christmas. They are called Tell me A Story and there are actually several sets to chose from. We have the fairytale mix-ups set (because it has a princess card in it, duh!)
This is a great game with limitless possibilities for creativity. You just select a few pictures and then make up a story using those pictures for your child. It shows them they are allowed to create the story, which they need to be taught. They also start to notice sequencing and story structure- that all stories have a beginning, middle and end, which they will be expected to understand in Kindergarten.
After a few tries at it, pick cards for your child. Let them create a story for you. Wesley has never disappointed, she has come up with the most creative plot lines, I thought she would just regurgitate our stories or known stories for a while-- no way. She even does character voices, it is hilarious! In fact we all get so tickled some nights it actually turns into a bad bedtime habit because she can't calm down! Whoops...
These card sets run about $10 on....wait for it....Amazon.
What are your favorites? Anything calming...cause that's were we are lacking!
I leave you with what she actually does at bedtime, in case you thought from this post we picturesquely sat and read and grew smarter every evening.