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Crafts & Activities - Tykemart

Crafts & Activities - Tykemart (7)

TykeMart bloggers are always looking for fun crafts and activities to do with their kids.  They share easy DIY projects and activities that are fun for the whole family.  Learn how to make a jar terrarium or cool bouncing bubbles.  Ideas and tips to keep your child active and entertained for little or no cost.

Members  share their tips and ideas too!

School’s out, summer is officially here.  We’re heading to Europe with the kids and grandkids in a couple of weeks, but when we get home there will still be another month before school begins again.

It’s going to be a long month!  The kids will be restless and complaining that they’re bored.  I find the last weeks the most challenging time of summer, when kids are not quite ready to go back to school, yet the initial excitement of summertime has waned.

Here are a 7 ideas to keep kids busy and entertained until it’s back to school time.

Haul out the old Slip n’ Slide, or buy a new one.  Or just use your lawn sprinkler.  Invite the neighbors over for a splashing good time. Grab a ball and head to the basketball court for a pickup game with the neighborhood kids.

Spend the day at the beach, if it’s not too far from home.  Kids can look for snails, fish, and other little sea creatures in the tide pools, sand board down the sand dunes, or build sandcastles.  Don’t forget the beach toys!  

Go fishing at a nearby lake or stream


Spend a weekday at a fun park.  Buy a day pass to ride and play all day.  Encourage your budding artist, set out paints, markers, and paper.  The next Picasso might be living right under your






Growing up the last day of school always came with a Summer Reading List.  It wasn’t mandatory, but students were encouraged to read at least a couple of books during summer vacation.

My father, an avid reader, would take me to the book store to choose a book or two from the list.  It was always a treat.  I would be promised more treats if I read all the books on the list, it was a challenge I always won.  I’d spend my free hours reading a book instead of watching TV. 

The list always had a wide variety of titles, some memorable, others long forgotten.  It exposed me to different types of literature and I soon discovered what genres I liked and disliked.  Most importantly it nurtured my lifelong love of reading. 

When I had my own kids the reading list became part of their summers, whether or not the school sent a list home.   Now that grandkids have come along it’s become part of their summers as well.

 I shared the books I loved with them and surprisingly they love them too.  Books really don’t go out of style!  We’ve added some new favorites to the old classics and have come up with a reading list to share with you and your kids to read this summer or any other time.

Strega Nona written and illustrated by

Tomie dePoala


1976 Caldecott Medal Honor Book


Strega Nono- “Grandmother Witch” an Italian Folk Tale.  She owns a magic pasta pot.  One day she goes to visit Strega Amelia leaving her helper Big Anthony alone with disastrous results.

My grandsons love this book, we read it at bedtime at least once a month.



Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Loca 

2014 Caldecott Medal Winner

2014 Sibert Medal Honor Book


It’s 1869 and crews, trains, and families are traveling America’s new transcontinental railroad. Experience the sounds, speed, and strength of this new mode of transport as it makes its way across the young country.

My 6 year old grandson loves everything on wheels.  This book was a big hit!

Me…Jane written and illustratedby Patrick McDonnell

2012 Caldecott Medal Honor Book

2012 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner

Heartwarming story of a young Jane Goodall and her beloved toy chimpanzee, Jubilee.  Dr. Jane Goodall grew up to be a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace.  She founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization thatempowers people to make a difference for all living things.


It's a great way to introduce young children to the plight of endangered animals.  My grandsons love animals and this book prompted my 12 year old grandson to look up endangered species.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  written by E. L. Konigsburg

1968 Newbery Medal Winner

Two run-away kids, Claudia Kincaid and her brother Jamie, hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, a place that according to Claudia is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant.

The kids get caught up in the mystery of a newly acquired angel statue.  It was purchased at an auction for the bargain price of $250, but art experts are arguing if it could possibly be the work of a young Michealangelo.  Claudia is determined to find out.  Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue.

I loved this book as a child and was happily surprised that my 12 year old grandson loved it too.  I credit this book for fostering my love of museums.  After reading this book my grandson was enthusiastic about the museums we visit on our trips.

A Wrinkle in Time written by Madeleine L’Engle

1963 Newbery Medal Winner

The story of Meg Murry, her brother, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe’s (the most popular boy in school) adventures in space and time. They are searching for Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while working for the government on the secret tesseract problem. (Tesseract means a wrinkle in time that allows time travel)

Another book that I loved as a child, it's a great way to introduce kids to science fiction.  My 12 year old grandson loved it.

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures    
Written by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol

2010 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book

This book was produced in association with The Anne Frank House. It is filled with never-before-published school pictures, and photos of Anne’s diary and the “Secret Annex”.

It is a lovely introduction to the tragic yet inspiring story of Anne Frank, the young lady who with her family in 1942 went in hiding from the Nazis.  She kept a diary until the Nazis arrested her and her family two years later. 

Doctor De Soto written by William Steig

1983 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book

1983 Newbery Medal Honor Book


Doctor De Soto is a great dentist.  He is aided by his assistant his wife Mrs. De Soto.  They are mice, they help animals with toothaches, except animals who have a taste for mice.  One day a fox begs for their help with a tooth that is killing him.  The De Soto’s can’t turn him away, they are faced with a dilemma, how can they be sure he won’t eat them once the tooth is fixed?


My 6 year old loves this book, it is a definite part of our bedtime routine.


Madeline written by Ludwig Bemelmans

1940 Caldecott Medal Honor Book

More than 70 years after its first publication this classic still delights children of all ages. 
Madeline is fearless, a trip to the hospital isn’t scary, it’s an adventure.

My grandsons and I enjoy reading the Madeline books, it is truly ageless.


Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  Written and illustrated by Mo Willems

2004 Caldecott Medal Honor Book

2004 Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended Title

This is my grandson’s favorite book, he never tires of reading it, we've read it so many times he's got the words memorized.  The bus driver takes a break and guess who volunteers to take over the route? He begs, pleads, and wheedles his way thru the book, only to get the same response every time!


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