Category Archives: Family

Fun Children’s Books About Dinosaurs

a tall stack of kids books about dinosaurs

A few weeks ago I shared a list of great books for kids that love trains. Trains weren’t the only thing my son loved to read about. We also checked out mountains of books about dinosaurs and construction vehicles! Today’s post is a list of children’s books about dinosaurs.

Having fiction books organized alphabetically by author makes it easy to find books you know you want, but if your child just wants dinosaur books if takes some work to find them!

That’s where this compilation will come in handy.

If your toddler to first grader is as obsessed with dinos as my son was (and actually still is) hopefully this list will help you on your library runs and as you add to your home book collection. It might even save you from having to read the same 5 books over and over again.

I recommend checking books out from the library before buying them if possible- every kids seems to gravitate towards different favorites.

Don’t forget to check out the non-fiction dinosaur section. Even for little kids! From a young age my son would gravitate towards non-fiction books and just pour over the pictures. When he asked us to read them to him, we’d read an abbreviated version of each page according to his comprehension level and attention span.

If you are a young earth creationist, know that most of dinosaur themed books reference old earth in some way. If that bothers you, be sure to preview the books (or edit as your read them aloud) or just have a discussion with your child of the different viewpoints people have. (Keep reading to the end of the list for some books suggestions from a young earth, Christian perspective.)

Children’s Books About Dinosaurs

4 board books about dinosaurs

Dinosaur Board Books:

That’s Not My Dinosaur

Dinosaurs A-Z (Poke a Dot)

Dinosaurs Dinosaurs

My First Dinosaur Touch and Feel (This was my son’s favorite when he was little)

Roar! Roar! I’m a Dinosaur!

Rex Wrecks It

I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur

Little Dinos Don’t Bite
Also in the series: Little Dinos Don’t Hit, Little Dinos Don’t Push, Little Dinos Don’t Yell

1-2-3 Dinosaurs Bite

Dinosnores

a pile of dinosaur easy pictures books

Dinosaur Easy Picture Story Books:

These children’s books about dinosaurs are all very fictional stories! Even though my dinosaur loving kids have non fiction books as their favorites, they still enjoyed many of these.

Dinos in the Snow

Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp

Dinosaurumpus

The Dinosaur Who Lost His Roar

Dinosaur Farm

Bang! Boom! Roar!

The Itchy Book

Dino Pets

Dini Dinosaur

10 Little Dinosaurs

Ten Little Dinosaurs

The Lost Dinosaur Bone (Little Critter book)

Dino-Sports Series

Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything

Lizard from the Park

How do Dinosaurs series

A stack of dinosaur easy picture books

Dinosaur Easy Picture Books:

This group of children’s books about dinosaurs are still in the easy picture section at my library, but include some dino facts and aren’t exclusively stories!

I Am A Tyrannosaurus

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones

The Field Mouse and the Dinosaur Name Sue

Dinosaur Bones

Roar: A Dinosaur Tour

Kids non fiction dinosaur books

Dinosaur Non Fiction Books:

My kids have loved reading these. Most we simply check out of the library (and have done so over and over). Some are quite easy and other a little longer. I’ll include a picture below of all the options in our library’s non-fiction section.

Digging Up Dinosaurs

My Visit to the Dinosaurs

Here We Go Digging For Dinosaur Bones

Dinosaur Lady

A Dinosaur Named Sue: The Find of the Century

Lizard Tooth

Double Bones

Long Arm

It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Inside Out T-Rex

Dinosaurs at the End of the Earth

How Tall Was a T-Rex

What Has a Pointed Head and Eats Lizards?
What Has Armor and a Tail Club?

A-Z of Dinosaurs by Kieron Connolly

the non fiction book section at the library

This is a picture of the dinosaur books in the children’s non-fiction section. I think it’s safe to say, my kids have checked out all of them before!


If you believe in a literal 7 day creation, Answers in Genesis also has some kid themed dinosaur books from a Christian perspective you might want to check out:


Phew, that is quite the list of children’s books about dinosaurs! What have I missed? And I know I sound like a broken record, but check these out from your library (or at minimum look at the preview pages on Amazon) before you buy! With so many great dinosaur book options, you will want to only own your child’s very favorites!
a stack of dino books with a graphic overlay

Easy May Day Basket Ideas

A homemade pink paper May Day Basket

Spring is just around the corner and we all know that March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. Once spring arrives, one of the fun things to look forward to with your kids is May Day and May Day baskets! Today, I have several great May Day basket ideas for you!

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What are May Day Baskets?

May Day baskets are small baskets (purchased or homemade) that you fill with flowers and even little treats or gifts! You can make them as simple or as elaborate as you want. If you are struggling with coming up with what to put in your May Day basket, I have some ideas coming up below.

Once you have your baskets compiled comes the fun part.

Make a list of people you want to deliver the baskets to, and then you go and hang them on doors or place them on the front porch ring the doorbell and run back to the car and go to your next stop.

Of course you could also ring the door bell and hand deliver the basket or leave it on the porch and send a text after you leave!

What kid wouldn’t love that? And as a parent it’s always great to find ways to have our kids think of others.

[Check out this post on other service project ideas you can do with your kids!]

A purple May Day basket

May Day Basket Ideas

Baskets:

If your kids like crafts like mine do, they will love the DIY baskets! I love that most of these options don’t take long to make. That’s especially important if you are planning on making a lot!

Paper Plate Basket
Construction Paper Woven Basket
Purchased Basket
Mason Jar (Add a wire handle or use a ribbon)
Flower Pot (You could even paint them like this)
Paper Cone
Paper Cup with pipe cleaner handle (something like this)

What to Put in May Day Baskets:

Now comes the fun part, figuring out what should go inside!

  • Fresh flowers
  • Plant
  • Homemade paper flowers. Here are some cute options.
  • Flower seeds and gardening gloves or tool.
  • Cupcakes
  • Cookies
  • Trail Mix
  • Candy
  • Other treat (Brownie Brittle would be yummy)
  • Tea bags or coffee
  • Pinwheels (Buy them or make them)
  • Bubbles or sidewalk chalk if there are kids

Pink paper May Day basket with tea, flowers and candy

As you can see from these May Day basket ideas, you can make your basket as elaborate or simple and has expensive or frugal as you’d like! Just pick something within your budget and go for it. Your friends will appreciate whatever you do.

Even the simplest option will bring smiles to their faces and make their day just a little brighter.

I promise that your kids will look forward to this each year. In fact, they probably won’t let you forget it. We dropped off cinnamon rolls at Christmas and heart sugar cookies at Valentine’s Day to a lot of friends and neighbors and the kids thought it was the greatest thing. It’s fun to see our kids get exciting about giving, even if it’s such a little thing.

For even more ways to celebrate May Day, keep on reading!

What is May Day?

It’s a celebration of spring and is always on May 1 which is about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. (Learning about the spring and autumn equinox and summer and winter solstice would make a great mini science lesson!)

This holiday is an ancient one and as such as pagan origins. When the Romans began celebrating it, it was for their goddess of flowers. In more modern times, it became a celebration of the return of spring!

May Day Traditions.

We already know about the tradition of May Day baskets, but there are even more things you can do to celebrate.

Other Ways to Celebrate May Day

I hope that you are inspired to start a fun tradition with your family this year! A great way to surprise and encourage those around you. May Day baskets are such a simple thing but will be so enjoyed.

Purple may Day Basket with bubbles and goodies

 

Tips for a Road Trip with Toddlers

Two little girls sitting in the back of a car

Does thinking about vacations and holidays have you a little stressed because you have young children? Here are some simple things you can do to help you have a successful road trip with toddlers!

For some background I have 3 kids. They are now 10, almost 8, and 5.

Neither my family nor my in-laws live near us so our kids have been taking road trips ever since they were born.

These are the trips we take on about a yearly basis. This is the actual driving time one way, stops not included.

  • 2 1/2 hours (one way) to my husband’s parents
  • 7 1/2 hours to my parents
  • 10 1/2 hours to a sister
  • 3 1/2 hours to another sister

We have also gone on a few vacations, some fairy lengthy.

  • 9 1/2 hours (one way) to Colorado with a newborn, just turned 3, and 5 year old
  • 4 1/2 hours (one way) with a 2 year old and newborn; 3 and 1 year old; 1, 4 & 6 year old
  • 19 hour drive (one way) to Orlando, FL with a 2, 5, and 7 year old
  • 15 hour drive (one way) to West Virginia with a 2, 5, and 7 year old

All of that to say, we have put a lot of miles on our van and are no strangers to taking road trips with toddlers and kids.

(However, when it comes to airplanes, I have no advice – we haven’t done that yet.)

We do not have DVD players, ipads, or any other movie/streaming devices that we use in the car. If you want to utilize them, that’s up to you but do know you can have fun, successful road trip with toddlers without electronics!

This means that this list does not including movies as one of my tips. If you choose to use them, I’d suggest spacing out when they are allowed. A show in the morning and one in the afternoon or whatever you decide rather than giving them to your child all day long.

an empty road with words road trips with toddlers

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Tips for a Road Trip With Toddlers

Naps and Bedtime

Work with naps and bedtime. Plan to be driving for nap time and make your stops when they should be awake.

For long trips, after you stop for dinner put your kids in pajamas and a night diaper for the remainder of the drive. This will help them know night time is coming and hopefully they will fall asleep for you. When you arrive at a hotel or your destination, carry them in and put them straight into bed. No need to wake them for potty or pjs.

Some other ideas to consider:

  • Wake your kids up super early and carry them into the car still in pajamas (or have them go to bed already in their clothes for the next day). If you are lucky, they will go back to sleep and you can get a couple of hours of driving in before they are awake.
  • For some families it works to leave the house at bedtime and have the parents rotate driving shifts through the night. Again, the hope is that your kids will sleep all night for you. This is one option we have not done.
Don’t Stop When They Are Asleep

This one is huge for me and I try to avoid it if at all possible!

Wait on food and try to avoid a bathroom break for the grownups if the kids are asleep. As quiet as you try to be, I can almost guarantee your kids will wake up when you stop. And trust me, that is no fun.

Coordinate Stops

To help make the previous tip possible, coordinate your stops. Use the bathroom when eating your lunch. Fill up with gas even if you still have a half a tank left. You don’t want to have to make a separate stop just for gasoline – especially if your kids have fallen asleep or are traveling well. Don’t ruin the momentum.

Snacks

Bring a bag of snacks along with you. Have them portioned out into toddler sized amounts and every hour or two pass the kids a little treat. It can be a few crackers, some berries, a sucker, or whatever your toddler favorite snacks are. The food helps break up the trip for them and gives the kids a little distraction.

You might find some new snack ideas on this list!

Entertainment

That’s right, you can find other forms of entertainment for your kids besides screens! We always pack a few car appropriate toys and activities. On a road trip with toddlers these are obviously pretty simple but still useful. Find things around your house or check garage sales and the dollar store to find things you won’t mind being ruined.

Do just what you do with the snacks and rotate through the available options every hour or two.

  • Small toys. A new car, toy animal, doll etc.
  • Stickers. Kids love stickers. Yes, their skin, car seat, and window might be covered with stickers but they will think it’s awesome.
  • Magnets. Bring a metal pan and magnets for the kids to play with.
  • Books. Board books tend to be sturdy and you might be surprised how much kids enjoy looking at the pictures when they are confined to a car seat.
  • Pen and paper. For toddlers that are a bit older, they love to doodle. Keep a few coloring items and a blank notebook or a coloring book in a bag.
  • Music. Yes, I know they are just toddlers but music can still be fun and soothing. Introduce them to some of your favorites and you can also bring along some classical music and kids cds. Yancy, Slugs & Bugs, Seeds Family Worship, and Hide ’em in Your Heart are fun Christian ones.
  • Audio Books. You can find children’s audio books and ones for adults that are appropriate for children. Don’t be too skeptical, well written kid’s books are great even for adults. My husband has been surprised several times by a book he thought would be stupid. Bring shorter picture book length options and even consider chapter books like Tale of Despaurex or Charlotte’s Web for little kids. Obviously 1 year old toddlers probably won’t pick up what’s going on, but for the 2 and 3 year olds you will be surprised what they comprehend. Check your library or library app for for audiobooks you can checkout for free!
Drive Length

One last thing that people have multiple perspectives on is whether you should spilt the drive up into multiple days. You may need to try both ways to see what works best for your family.

If our trip is under 12 hours of driving (one way) we drive it all in one day. Our vacations that were 19 and 15 hours away, we split into 2 days. (This summer we will be going on our longest trip yet and our first day will include a 16.5 hour drive so that the following day we will only have 7 hours left.)

Some people like breaking trips that are just 8 hours into two days. We much preferred knocking it out in one (long) day knowing that the following day we’d be able to enjoy our destination instead of being in the car again. Give both methods a try if you need to!


These suggestions have helped us on our many road trips with toddlers! Yes, we still had our fair share of tears and fighting but overall I never minded traveling with kids. It was (mostly) enjoyable and fun.

Don’t be scared to travel with your kids, short distances or long. You will make a lot of fun memories!

two kids sitting in the open back of a car with suitcases

The Best Children’s Books About Trains

Stack of children's books about trains

This post is going to be on children’s books about trains – a book list perfect for a young train lover. It will include board books and picture books that your toddler, preschooler, and kindergartener will love. My son is now 7.5 and he still eagerly listens to even the simplest of these books when sister pulls one out.

My middle child is a boy and he was obsessed with trains, trucks, and dinosaurs. I’m sure you relate! Every trip to the library included many books on those 3 subjects. The books he pulled out of our bookshelves at home were on one of those things.

To help out other parents with kids obsessed with these things, I am going to share books lists on what we checked out of the library and own to help you on your own search.

Today we will tackle all the children’s books about trains!

Use this list to see what your library has and then you can buy your child’s favorites! You can also use Amazon on most of these to get previews of what the pages are like.

The first two on this list we own and our copies are worn and falling apart – that’s how many times we’ve read them.

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What have been your kids’ favorite train books?

horizontal picture of books about trains for kids

Children’s Books About Trains

 

 

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis 
This was my son’s all time favorite book! It’s easy but he loved this and read it daily up until he was probably 5 1/2. Though, even at 7 1/2, if my daughter pulls it out to read he’ll some come running over. He still called it his favorite book when we took it out for the pictures.


Freight Train by Donald Crews
I’d say this was Spencer’s second favorite book. Our copy is very tattered. Another quite easy one great for young kids (1 and 2 year olds even, though he still loved this when he was older).


That’s Not My Train by Fiona Watt
I’ll be honest and say we have not read this book by we have read many others of the Usborne “That’s not my” series. Again, perfect for even the 1 year olds but at 5 my daughter still grabs these from the library on a regular basis.


Trains by Byron Barton
Another simple board book option for your train loving toddlers.


Trains Go by Steve Light
The last of the board books on this list. I love that board books hold up so much better under normal toddler use!


A Train Goes Clickity Clack by Jonathan London
An easy, fun picture book that we also own. Recommended for 18 months to age 5.


Trains Coming Through by Stephanie Morgan
This book, although not a board book, is advertised for ages 0-3. Again, though, they will still love it when they are older.


Trains by Gail Gibbons
My kids all love books by Gail Gibbons. This one is a simple one that is again perfect for your 2-4 year olds.


Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
These next three are by the same author. This one is a story and preschooler (age 3-5) kids love it. The other two would be recommended for younger ones – they introduce colors and numbers with little rhymes. So most likely baby – age 3 or 4. Again, I recommended checking books out from the library and then deciding what you want to buy.


Steam Train, Dream Train 1-2-3 by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld


Steam Train, Dream Train Colors by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld


This Train by Paul Collicutt
Fun, easy book with just a couple words on each page. Your train lovers will enjoy this from probably age 1-4.


My Big Train Book by Roger Priddy
We do not have this book, but we have the Priddy Big Truck Book and it was a favorite of my sons. He pulled it out to look through by himself or have it read to him many times. Don’t discount giving little kids non-fiction books for those topics they are obsessed with! Recommended age is 1-4. (Though he read it past that.)


The Goodnight Train by June Sobel and Laura Huliska-Beith
Even though this book is for ages baby-3, it’s one that my just turned 5 year old still reads. In all of these books, she still finds them fun and enjoys the pictures. There are 2 other books in this series if your child likes the first one. The Goodnight Train Rolls On and Santa and the Goodnight Train.


The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet
These two books by Bill Peet are more like a traditional picture book. There are more words on each page but they are fun and I love his illustrations. They say recommended for ages 3-7.


Smokey by Bill Peet


Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing!  by Patricia Hubbell
This is another book we haven’t read but our library has some of her others in this series that we’ve read many times. They are easy and fun. We’ve read these from about ages 2-6. (Though it is simple for a 6 year old)


The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
I’m sure you know this book. It’s one we’ve probably all read as a child. The listing recommends it for ages 3-7.


Prairie Train by Marsha Wilson Chall
A fun story about a girl who travels via train to go and visit her grandmother. Ages 4-8.


Locomotive by Brian Floca
This story is a bit more lengthy. It’s a picture book for ages 4-8. A 3 year old might still sit through it depending on attention span. (Don’t forget you can always abbreviate the pages too)


The Little Train by Lois Lenski
It’s not an exciting book nor does it really have a story, but it’s fun for train lovers (or fans of Lois Lenski).  Ages 2-5.


Train Song by Diane Siebert
As the name suggests, this book is written in song/or poem form. It lists the recommended age as 4-8, but I think age 2 or 3 to 7 is more accurate.


Steam, Smoke, and Steel: Back in Time with Trains by Patrick O’Brien
This book is for age 3 or 4 to 8. For the younger kids, you can skip the lengthier text pages and just read the caption.


Trains (Mighty Machines) by Jean Coppendale
A fun, non fiction book of trains and train facts for train lovers from 3-7.


The Big Book of Trains by DK
My son has always gravitated toward non-fiction books in the Youth section over fiction books for the topics he’s crazy about. (That means dinosaurs, construction trucks, and trains.) Starting from even 4 and 5 he’d sit and pour over the pictures in these books and we’d read (or summarize) the information on the pages for him. Don’t limit your library adventures to just the board book and picture book section.

One last tip! Don’t forget to check out your kids’ favorite series to see if there are train themed books. From Curious George to Daniel Tiger or even early readers like Henry and Mudge you might find some more options.

What other children’s books about trains am I missing?

graphic with a pile of kids' books about trains

Easter Basket Ideas for Tween Girls

An Easter basket full of gift ideas for tween girls

Easter is right around the corner! Today’s post is full of Easter basket ideas for tween girls. Tweens are kids between ages 9 and 12.

My oldest daughter is 10. Honestly I’m loving these years and she is so fun to buy for. She has new interests and likes more grown up things but also still really enjoys the more “kiddie” type of things as well.

We actually keep Easter gifts quite simple in our house, and don’t even use the basket. Each of the kids will just get a couple of inexpensive items (often candy and something else) and they are happy and look forward to it each year.

On Easter, we start our day with a big service and breakfast at church and afterward go home for a lunch and the kids’ treats. The baskets aren’t the main focus of our day, which helps with the ability to keep them simple.

All that to say, don’t feel that you have to go overboard on Easter baskets – do as much or as little as you’d like. Set a budget and stick to it.

Now, let’s get on to this fun list of tween girl Easter basket ideas. My daughter even helped compile this list for you.

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An easter basket loaded with goodies for a tween girl

Easter Basket Ideas for Tween Girls

For even more Easter basket ideas, be sure to check out this post!

What are your favorite Easter basket ideas for tween girls?

A close up picture of an Easter basket for tween girls