No matter what type of animal your child likes, you can find a book to match those interests. Animals can be superheroes, villains, and every type of character in between.
These books, which range from pictures only to chapter books, will spark your child’s imagination and create a sense of excitement that even the best TV shows may not capture!
“Babe, The Gallant Pig” by Dick King-Smith
We’ll start off with a classic. Dick King Smith’s book is about a pig who encompasses some of the best human traits — manners, intelligence, and compassion. Babe wants to be a sheepdog and has to convince his owner that he should be roaming the fields instead of on the table for Christmas dinner.
This book was developed into a successful movie that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996.
“How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild” by Katherine Roy
Elephants are a mainstay of children’s literature, but you’ve probably never seen them in quite this way. This picture book is based on the experiences of real-life elephants during their first two years of life. It provides some great lessons in how animals grow and adapt to their communities.
Open this one up for discussion by asking your child to draw comparisons between baby elephants and baby humans.
“Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail” by Kate Messner
Dogs make great heroes in children’s books, and Ranger the golden retriever is no exception. After doing some digging in the backyard, he’s transported back in time to help a family trying to cross the Oregon Trail to the American West.
Ranger quickly bonds with his new family and will make you fall in love with him by the time the book is finished. This chapter book also provides history lessons about what it was like for families heading west in the 1800s.
Science and technology are transforming the ways we teach, work, learn, and live. Parents and teachers should work together to equip students with the STEM skills they may need to succeed in the future. Fifteen of the 20 fastest growing careers require a background in STEM subjects, while the Department of Education estimates that 33% of occupations will be STEM-based by 2020.
One of the most fun – and most effective – ways to teach STEM skills is through interactive apps. The following are just a few of the many age appropriate and educational STEM apps available for students. Using these apps can help children develop STEM skills that they can use both in and out of the classroom – as well as in their future.
Children explore the fun side of physics as they design their own experiments using the six simple machines. Using levers, pulleys, inclined planes, wedges, axles, and wheels, students can create devices to destroy castles, send satellites into orbit, and more. The app also includes the free download of a handbook further explaining concepts such as force, conservation of energy, and mechanical advantages.
An educational app disguised as a game, Basketball Fall encourages students to hone physics concepts such as the effects of gravity, arcs, and predicting angles as they work their way through progressively difficult scenarios.
Hopscotch teaches children to code and create their own games. Easy-to-follow tutorials allow students to work at their own pace and keep new learners from becoming frustrated and giving up. Kids can write code to mimic their favorite games or create entirely new programs.
In The Robot Factory, students can build and design their own robots. With 100 different available parts, there are thousands of unique combinations children can create. Once a robot is complete, it can be tested on a physics-based obstacle course on its ability to jump, move, and avoid obstacles. This encourages students to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills.
Blokify teaches the basics of computer aided design and 3D modeling software; children can opt for a guided building experience or create free-form Blok models. When finished, models can be printed using 3D printer software either at home, at school, or through a service provided by the Blokify app.
Searching for scholarships takes more than a single weekend. With tens of thousands of potential scholarships that each have their own vastly different applications and requirements, the entire process can seem overwhelming. However, there are a number of ways to make finding and applying for scholarships easier. The following tips can help students jump start their scholarship research and help make college more affordable.
1. Apply for as many scholarships as you can
Applying for only a handful of scholarships can minimize your chances of being awarded financial aid. Instead, treat searching and applying for scholarships as a part-time job; set time aside each week to research scholarships, work on essays, and follow up with submitted applications. With scholarships available for different academic interests, extracurricular activities, geographic location, sports participation, and more, there are hundreds of potential opportunities for every student to receive additional aid.
2. Check the requirements for prospective schools
Many students falsely believe that their college application includes an automatic application for school-specific financial aid. In fact, many universities have different application requirements – and deadlines – for financial aid. Check with both the admissions and financial aid offices at prospective schools to ensure you are maximizing your chances at receiving scholarships.
3. Network within your groups
Local clubs, churches, clubs, and organizations may offer small scholarships to members, children of members, or students within the community. Check with churches, civic groups, unions, and other organizations to which you or family members belong to see if there are any scholarships available. These scholarships are typically smaller but may have less competition as they need to be awarded locally.
4. More work means fewer applicants
Scholarships that require more than a simple resume – such as those that ask for a long essay, video, or other project – often have significantly fewer applicants. On average, scholarships that require essays with more than 1,000 words have fewer than 500 applicants; comparable scholarships with shorter essay requirement average more than 5,000 applicants.
5. Ensure you meet all the requirements
If the application asked for a list of five strengths and you only provide four, you may be disqualified. To avoid having your application thrown out, ensure you meet all requirements such as GPA, geographic location, and group membership; likewise, staying within the word limit and removing personal identifiers from essays can keep your application from being thrown out.
Books can be a powerful tool to help children of all ages learn about positive character traits. While it feels like these lessons often go unheard when given by parents and teachers, books are a subtle way to reinforce things like sympathy and empathy. The following are just a few of our favorite books that will help inspire kindness and grow compassion in children.
The Smallest Girl In The Smallest Grade – Justin Roberts
Sally McCabe is the smallest girl in the smallest grade, but that doesn’t stop her from noticing everything from the number of keys on the janitor’s key ring, to the bully on the playground. When she decides to make herself heard, Sally learns that sometimes the smallest girl can make the biggest difference. Ages 3-5.
A Sick Day For Amos McGee – Philip C. Stead
Caldecott winner A Sick Day For Amos McGee follows zookeeper Amos as he takes care of the various animals in the zoo day in and day out. However, one day Amos is too sick to go to work; he is surprised when the animals show up to take care of him for the day. This gentle story emphasizes friendship, kindness, and loyalty. Ages 3-6.
Why Am I Me? – Paige Britt
Two children ride the subway home from school one day, unaware they are thinking the same things and asking the same questions about the diverse people around them – who would I be if I were someone else? Gorgeously illustrated, Why Am I Me? invites readers to appreciate the differences that make us unique – and the similarities that bind us together. Ages 4-8.
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed – Emily Pearson
Mary is an ordinary girl on her way home from her ordinary school to her ordinary house when she discovers some ordinary blueberries. But when Mary picks the blueberries for her neighbor, something extraordinary begins to happen. This one deed starts a chain reaction of kindness that spreads around the world – and will inspire children to do the same. Ages 4-12.
Come With Me – Holly M. McGhee
The world can seem like a scary, mean place to children – especially when all they see is hatred and fear on the news. When a little girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place, he responds with a simple “Come with me.” What follows is an inspiring story that will help children spread kindness wherever they go. Ages 5-9.