This morning I’m joining The Chaos and the Clutter and participating in their conversation about 

Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers.

It’s official. Summer is here! (And then alternately I say in my head summer is here.) Maybe you too are familiar with that strange dueling feeling I get when summer begins. The strange feeling that is part elation at having my kids to myself without schedule or routine and then alternately part terror at having my kids to myself without schedule or routine. Please tell me you know what I mean. And all three of my children are at such different stages and interests that planning an activity becomes a risky roulette game. (Go ahead spin the wheel you never know who will end up in tears – me or them!)

That’s why I love finding a book that whiles away the summer – a book that lasts hours and hours. A book that entertains, gives ideas, spurs creativity and can engage all three ages and stages. So this morning run, don’t walk, to your library and check out all three of these beauties to stave away the summer doldrums.

revolting recipes 2

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes is a godsend for the four-year-old set. You might know Dahl as the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach, but Revolting Recipes is a compilation of all the crazy and disgusting recipes from his works that leaves my four-year-old squealing with delight – and making plans with his sisters. Actual recipes engage them and make for weekly summer fun. Heard around our house, “Don’t know what’s for dinner? Let’s make something revolting!”

American Artists for kids 2

MaryAnn Kohl’s Great American Artists for kids is my go-to summer boredom buster book going on three summers now. In it Kohl introduces kids to an American artist and their genre and then gives project ideas to follow in their footsteps. There are recommendations for the preschool set as well as the older child so each feels that they get the opportunity to experience art on an appropriate level.  You’ll find everyone from Audubon to Warhol and everything from pop-art to oils. What I love is that they learn while creating and isn’t that what we want from our summers?

The-New-Way-Things-Work 2

David Macaulay’s The New Way Things Work is a boon to my ten-year-old. She is obsessed with gears, electricity, air pressure, weights, and wants to take everything in the house apart in order to discover just what is making things tick. This book joyfully and whimsically displays the inner workings of just about everything. She pours over the book giggling (yes, giggling) and then disappears to her ‘Invention Station’ in the garage to engineer what she has just learned about. What she learns she can then show and tell her younger siblings who proceed to co-create the same ideas from legos, blocks, and pulley systems. It’s a win-win for both kids and adults. Trust me, you will want to write a love letter to Mr. David Macaulay.

So join me in saying summer is here! And with these books I face the long, dog days of summer with a little less trepidation.