Good day!

I wanted to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! Please enjoy the time with your friends and families and always remember to give back to those in need.

For this month’s book recommandations theme, TADA! Christmas! I’ve also added an educational games recommendations list as I was getting a lot of emails from parents asking me which educational games are out there so they can work on specific school skills at home. These recommandations are an alternative to paper-and-pencil and digital tablets. Enjoy!

BOOK RECOMMANDATIONS LIST

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1. The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt
‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wishlists. But everyone–even the crayons–know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays. With real, folded letters from the Crayons that you can pull from their envelopes and read, games, punch-out ornaments, a poster, and a pop-up tree, this book is the perfect gift for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.

2. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up—by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents of all!

3. Sounds like Christmas by Robert Munsch
Grandma is baking Christmas cookies, so she asks Lincoln and Georgia to decorate the tree. And what a tree it becomes! In addition to the lights, garlands and balls the kids compete to add some very special and extremely noisy ornaments, including a talking doll, a chirping bird, the neighbour’s dog and more. What will their grandparents – and Santa – think? The grandma in this story is Robert Munsch’s long-time assistant Sharon and the kids are her grandchildren, Georgia and Lincoln.

4. Peppa’s Christmas Wish by Scholastic
Snuggle up with Peppa Pig in this 2-in-1 wintertime storybook! It’s Christmas Eve, and Peppa is hoping for a very special gift from Santa Claus. Will her wish come true? Then, Peppa and George decide to build a great, big snowman. This charming book includes two stories and a sheet of stickers!

5. Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Little Blue Truck is spreading cheer by delivering Christmas trees to his animal friends. Can you help count each green tree from one to five and back again? Don’t forget to save one for Blue! Beep! Beep!

6. Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, watch Mom make the Christmas dinner, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung, and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Whew, being helpful during the holidays is exhausting!

7. Dragon’s Merry Christmas by Dav Pilkey
Dragon tries to make Christmas special each year. He picks the perfect tree and buys the perfect presents. But Dragon just can’t bring himself to cut down a tree, and as he walks home from his shopping trip, he gives away his gifts to needier creatures. Dragon’s sweet antics paired with Dav Pilkey’s bright illustrations will warm readers’ hearts as they laugh out loud. Dragon’s Merry Christmas is truly a Christmas story to be read each year.

8. The Twelve Days of Christmas in Canada by Ellen Warwick
O Canada, in Christmastime! Take a holiday trip across the country, all the way from Prince Edward Island and VieuxQuébec to Winnipeg and Vancouver. The really fun Canadian gifts for each day include everything from 8 bears a-swimming and 6 Mounties marching to a loon in a maple tree!

9. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Barbara Reid
Barbara  Reid’s brilliant, detailed Plasticine art is the perfect complement to this classic poem. A charming family of mice romp through the story, in their frenzied, detailed household, bringing a lively and very Canadian slant to these iconic words words. This beautiful, sturdy board book is the perfect introduction to a holiday read-a-loud tradition.

EDUCATIONAL GAMES RECOMMANDATIONS LIST

Many parents and/or teachers are looking for the perfect gift for their children/students that will combine fun and learning. Fortunately, I’ve created a list to help all of you out! Enjoy!

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1. Speedy Words by Foxmind Games
Speedy Words challenges players to quickly come up with words that start with a given letter and that represent a certain category (e.g. words starting with the letter D that represent a profession – possible answers: detective, driver, dentist…). Use easy rules when playing with children or “expert” rules for teenagers and adults.

2. Rory’s Story Cubes by Gamewright
Rory’s Story Cubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play for all ages.

3. Blokus Game by Mattel Games
Perfect strategy game for the whole family – less than a minute to learn with fun challenges for all ages! Players take turns placing their 21 pieces on the board: each piece must touch another of the same color, but only at the corners!

4. Catch Phrase Game by Hasbro Canada Corporation
Play The Grab It, Guess It, Pass It Game! The Catch Phrase game is an electronic game with 5,000 words and phrases that’s fun and challenging for family and friends to play. Try to get teammates to guess the word or phrase that appears on the screen by describing it any way possible — but do it fast!

5. Sequence for Kids Game by Pressman
Even if they can’t read yet, younger children can enjoy playing this great strategy-building game. The Sequence Game for Kids is easy to play yet challenging and exciting. Just play a card from your hand, place a chip on a corresponding game board space and when you have 4 in a row, it’s a “sequence” and you win. But there’s more. Use a unicorn card to place your chip anywhere or a dragon card to remove your opponent’s chip. The game comes with 4 colors of playing chips, playing cards and a folding game board.

6. Alphabet Island – A Letter and Sounds Game by Learning Resources
Hunt for alphabet treasures on Alphabet Island, the perfect place to practice letter recognition and strengthen early vocabulary skills. Race to match upper-and lowercase letters or beginning sounds with corresponding pictures-collect the most letter discs to win.

7. Word Building Dominoes by Educational Insights
Make hundreds of words – Features root words, prefixes, and suffixes.

8. Wordical Game by Educational Insights
Roll the vowel dice and combine the letters with the consonant cards in your hand—build the highest-scoring word and you win the round. Includes 108 consonant cards, 2 vowel dice, and guide. Develops word building, spelling, and vocabulary.

9. Pop for Letters by Learning Resources
Practice alphabet recognition and beginning letter sounds. Includes 100 die-cut Popcorn cards—uppercase and lowercase letters plus the Pop card. Great grab-and-go game.

Happy reading (and playing)!
IB 🙂 🙂
Founder of Mind Growth Education

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