‘Tis the Season for Holiday Traditions!

My favorite part of the holiday season are the traditions we revisit year after year. Our family crowding around the dinner table to enjoy grandma’s famous mac and cheese recipe, driving around with warm blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate to see the neighborhood lights. This season is all about spending time together and doing things we love with the ones we love.

holiday blog melissa

Continue reading “‘Tis the Season for Holiday Traditions!”

Holiday Activities from Novel Effect

The holidays are all about spending time together – which is why we think these five festive activities are great fun for the whole family!

Novel Effect is celebrating The 5-Days of Bookmas!

Each day we are featuring a holiday title found on Novel Effect via social media and pair it with a family-friendly activity to get into the spirit of the season.

chris-benson-489184-unsplash

Continue reading “Holiday Activities from Novel Effect”

How to Do Story Time Like a Pro: Parents

For the next three months, we’re bringing you a series of tips on how to be a master storyteller in any situation. This month, we’re focusing on story time at home. Here are seven ways you can jazz up story time at home to get your little readers coming back for more…

At Novel Effect, we LIVE for story time. We’ve spent years mastering story times, so we thought it was high time we shared some of that info with you! For the next three months, we’re bringing you a series of tips on how to be a master storyteller in any situation. This month, we’re focusing on story time at home. Next month, it’s educators in a classroom. We’ll end the series with story time events like at libraries and bookstores.

As the school year winds down (whoa, that was fast) we want to keep our little learners engaged in literacy experiences even when they’re not in the classroom. Here are seven ways you can jazz up story time at home to get your little readers coming back for more…

 

  1. Set up an awesome story corner

alisa-anton-182057

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just fun. Get a bunch of pillows to lean up against and a snuggly blanket.

 

  1. Review the story before you read

Get to know the story so you can ask questions and expand on your child’s enjoyment and understanding.

 

  1. Get a special book box

Decorate or wrap a box with a lid, place a few favorites and maybe a new title in it and let your child “unwrap” the day’s selections. Novel Effect has over 130 titles, check out the stories you can read with our app and include one of those for a magical story experience.

 

  1. Read the title and the author names

WEREALLWONDERSRJPALA-W

The simple but oft overlooked step of reading the title of the story and the author name provides children with book understanding basics they’ll use later in life.

 

  1. Relate the story to personal experiences

Discuss family happenings and events to develop a connection to the text and your child.

 

  1. Use Novel Effect to enhance the experience

Summer days are exhausting (who am I kidding, every day is exhausting when you’re a parent!) Reading stories out loud with our app will enhance the experience and add some much needed energy to tired moms and dads.

 

  1. Have fun!

Mother And Baby Daughter Reading Book In Playroom Together

Story time shouldn’t be a chore, it should be quality time, well-spent. You’re doing everything right already, because you’re reading your child a book! Way to go!

4 Ways to Survive Winter When It Starts to Get Cold

For the first month or so of winter, we embrace the colder temperatures, shorter days, and festive spirit of the season, dazzled by the snow and the outdoor activities that go along with it. The onset of winter is synonymous with the holiday season and all the celebrating and merriment that envelope it.

This winter magic feels good for a while, but not too long after New Year’s it can start to get old! Reality sets in that winter also means cold & flu season, shoveling driveways, slushy sidewalks, frozen toes, and cabin fever. If your winter wonderland excitement has worn off, we’ve got some fun tips and practical ways to utilize your time to help you survive until spring!

 

1. Stock Up on Cold Remedies Early

Sure, you don’t feel ill right now, but when the cold eventually hits your household, you will want to be prepared. Now’s a great time to check your medicine cupboard for the essentials. Is there anything expired? Anything running low? Head to your local grocery store now to pick up refills on cough drops and cold remedies, that way you won’t be stuck headed to the store sick as a dog or spending money on delivery. Load up on fresh fruits and veggies so your immune system has the nutrients it needs to fight off invaders.

2. Game Night In

Baby, it’s cold outside, and that means people want to stay indoors in the comfort of home! So there’s truly no better time of year to start a game night tradition with family and friends. Board games are a fantastic way to unplug, reconnect, and have a blast with those you love, especially during a season that tends to be stressful or sad for some.

3. Embrace Being Active

Sure, it’d be easy to loaf around on the couch and binge on Netflix over the chilly months. But think how you’ll feel when everything thaws out in the spring? Take up a new hobby, explore free home work-outs on YouTube, and spend time playing with your kiddos in the snow! Whether sledding or building a snow fort, you’re not only burning off all those Christmas cookies but creating memories your child will cherish always.  Whatever activity you choose, remaining active in the winter will not only keep your body healthy but also keep the days and weeks from dragging on!

4. Change Up the Bedtime Story

Winter nights are the perfect time to introduce your kids to Novel Effect! Before they drift off to sleep, get their giggles out and switch things up by reading a bedtime story that pops right out of the book! We have tons of stories ready for you to check out on the app, and it turns story time into a fun, involved experience for you and your kids. With new titles added every week, it’s easy to find new stories that you’ve never read before!

 

5 Holiday Break Activities to do as a Family

When the last bell rings at your kid’s school before break, to them it means one thing only: freedom!  Many kids would be perfectly happy to spend a good chunk of that time watching Netflix or playing video games, so turn to old-fashioned, inexpensive activities to limit screen time. They might bemoan the idea at first, but before you know it, they’ll be absorbed in their own imagination and the magic of quality time together!

Holiday memories are some of the most special that kids hold onto for a lifetime. Here are a few ideas to keep in your arsenal of activities this holiday break, Moms & Dads:

1. Build a Blanket Fort

The simple things can remind us what is important, and that includes revisiting activities that never go out of style. Pull out those sheets, round up the dining chairs, and turn the den into an epic fort. Add panache by stringing white lights inside. Pretend you’re on a camping adventure or read books together with the help of our app and bond under the “stars.”

2. Have a Giving Party

The holidays are a time to give thanks and, even more importantly, to give. It is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about being charitable to fellow family members, the community, or even complete strangers. An excellent way to give back beyond monetary donations is by creating care packages for our armed forces stationed overseas or your local homeless shelter. Be sure to check online for what is acceptable to pack – not all items are accepted. Make a festive party out of it by inviting their friends over, setting up an assembly line, playing holiday music and serving yummy treats. There’s no doubt everyone will be feeling the holiday spirit!

3. “Lights” Show

Every family seems to put their blood, sweat, and tears into their holiday decorations. For every Christmas Vacation-esque house, there is a dad just itching for people to see the lights. What better way to spend your holiday together by seeing what your neighborhood has in store? Get bundled up and go on a neighborhood stroll or drive. Bring hot chocolate, pick your favorites, and enjoy a moment in the present with your family.

4. Competition

If your family is competitive, maybe it is time to take old traditions to a new level. Plan a Christmas cookie baking and decorating contest. Alternatively, how about turning your tree de-trimming into a playful game that kids will love (and you get some much-needed assistance). Give each child a small box or bucket and see who can collect the most ornaments in a certain period. A little competitions can be fun!

5. Ornament Making

Little and big kids alike will enjoy this one! If you have never made ornaments before, it can be a fun way to sit around the table and tell stories to each other while you explore your creative side. For the little ones, you can start with easy ornaments with foam and pipe cleaner. For older kids, you can make glass ball ornaments with paint or stuff them with glitter. Make a theme for each year so as they get older your family can look back on memories made.

……………

Sometimes over the holidays, it can be easy to plop in front of the TV and zone out to endless Christmas movie reruns and football, but in several years those moments will not be the ones you necessarily remember. Being active with your kids, engaging, creating, talking, reading…. those are the times your kids reap the most rewards and the ones all of you will cherish for years to come!