Category Archives: Children’s Apps

Learning to Love Nonfiction

Girl_Reading

I have always been more fascinated by stories than by facts. Traditional fiction is what I choose to read in my free time, as limited as my time is. It’s taken getting through graduate school and now having a curious preschooler at home to really prompt me to check out nonfiction to read. I think some of the best nonfiction for children can be just as captivating as a story.

According to Reading Rockets, “Nonfiction books present many opportunities to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden a child’s view of the world. Nonfiction books are written differently than picture books in that there are often more pictures, graphics, charts and photographs included within the pages.”

My son was recently fascinated by the ants he saw crawling across our kitchen floor. The next library trip included a search for a good ant book so we could learn together what they eat, where they live, etc. We’ve also enjoyed getting books that coincide with experiences he’s having- whether it’s a trip to the dentist, or a new sibling; a question about how his eyes work, or what a groundhog is. A recent favorite is Building Our House by Jonathan Bean which details a family with young kids who build their own home.

Whatever makes your child curious, what prompts them to ask why or frequently grabs their attention is a good place to start. Here are more tips from Reading Rockets, as well as some wonderful age appropriate book suggestions along with related activities and mobile apps organized by theme. Do you enjoy nonfiction? Do your kids? I’d love to hear what your experience is.

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It’s Common Sense

Child_TVI recently wanted to find a movie for our family’s first “movie night” at home and was a bit overwhelmed by all the options.  As a parent, it’s impossible to preview every single book, movie or tv show your child wants to consume (especially if you have more than one kid!). Finding age-appropriate books and movies can be daunting.

Common Sense Media is a great resource for helping determine what materials are right for your family. This rich resource offers reviews of books, music, movies, apps, games, and more. They are a nonprofit, independent organization “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology”.

There is an easy-to-use search box in the upper right corner- just enter the title of the book, movie, etc and choose from the list.  For each entry, there is a brief summary and review as well as “what parents need to know”, an age appropriateness rating and discussion of content (things like violence, positive role models, consumerism, language, substance use). There’s a place to read both parent and kid reviews and a list of questions to discuss with your kids.

Check out the “Best Movies” for Kids page, categorized by age group and genre. They also offer other “Best of” lists, such as music, books, apps, games, etc.  I love that you can narrow down searches by age.  Finally, here are some recommendations for the preschoolers in your life.