Books Children Must Read This Summer (by Age Group)

Summer has arrived! If your kids are like mine they are trying to pack everything into one week. Virtually impossible.

Somewhere in all of the hustle and bustle of summer time, R & R and fun activities for kids, we have to squeeze in some reading time. Reading for some amazing books children must read this summer?

My boys love trips to the library and its fun to watch them each pick out books on topics they are interested in. Reading is so vital and important for kids and adults. Reading is fun, interesting, and captivating building vocabulary skills, comprehension, and imagination.

Check out our summer reading bucket list for all different ages!

summer reading list for preschoolers

Reading List Ages 3-5:

1. Bugs in My Hair is a hilarious tale of head lice, although it sounds gross the book is humorous!

2. Encourage your  kids to explore the world with this book of My Five Senses.

3. Its a noisy day at the barnyard in Meow Said The Cow and other hilarious animal sounds.

4. Chicken Little says the Sky is Falling and your kids will enjoy this tale.

5. This hilarious adventure of Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure ends in a squeaky clean twist.

6. This sweet story of If You Take A Mouse To School explains the needy expectations of a sweet mouse.

7. Pete the Cat: Pete At The Beach is a first level reader with a super cute story line perfect for early readers.

8. This Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Edition has all of the Dr. Seuss favorites and a great for bedtimes.

9. Your kids will love hearing the importance of sharing in this cute storybook Llama Llama Time To Share.

10. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is full of lively rhymes and alphabet fun as they race up the coconut tree.

summer reading for kids

Reading List Ages 6-8:

1. This cute book of Flat Stanley includes a tale of a boy who is smashed flat by a bulletin board and his adventures!

2. The young easy readers of this Junie B. Jones Series will have you kids laughing and building grammar skills.

3. Get your kids interested in all things weather related with National Geographic Weather full of fun facts, interesting photographs, and other stuff that will blow them away!

4. Your kids will love this imaginative book of What If You Had Animal Teeth where they can imagine having teeth of different animals and discover fun information about animals.

5. Check out Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life with awesome facts about why plants are so important and a journey of why energy is important.

6. The history of the underground railroad is told in Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad that includes a sweet story and longing for freedom.

7. The powerful story of Lon Po Po includes a version of Little Red Riding Hood from China with amazing illustrations and a captivating tale.

8. Discover the amazing things and cool fun facts that happen While You Were Sleeping.

9. Capture all of the humor, awkwardness, and fun of Star Wars: Jedi Academy in a galaxy far, far away.

10. This boxed bonanza of the Judy Moody Series includes all 9 books for tons of reading enjoyment!

read with your kids this summer

Reading List Ages 9-12:

1. The adventures in this collection Harry Potter Series never get old and will have your young reader occupied in this stunning and spellbinding saga.

2. This book A Handful of Stars explores the friendship of a young girl and migrant workers.

3. Brush up on the historical events, facts, and presidential information of all of the presidents to date in National Geographic: Our Country’s Presidents.

4. There is big adventure in the Big Nate Triple Play that includes 3 awesome books!

5. James grows the wonder of a giant peach with magic crystals in this exciting tale of James and the Giant Peach.

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid books series are a popular hit with stories of the woes of middle school for one silly boy.

7. Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII includes amazing facts of the Japanese invasion of Alaska in this riveting tale.

8. This award winning piece Titanic: Voices From the Disaster is great read for kids with a woven story of the tragic moments of this ship.

9. Lawless is an action packed adventure that breaks the rules to save the world through mystery and excitement.

10. A story of three sisters who travel to meet the mother who abandoned them in One Crazy Summer with fun adventure and things they never expected.

books for tweens and teens

Reading List Tweens and Teens:

1. American Born Chinese is a story of a young Chinese-American student who wants to be himself including his heritage.

2. The chilling tale of Trapped includes the struggles of keeping warm and staying alive in a week long snow storm.

3. The notable Social Studies book Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom tells of how women were liberated and improved their lives.

4. The true crime thriller Lincoln’s Grave Robbers tells the attempt to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body.

5. The Hunger Games Trilogy is a hit with thrilling attempts at survival, life, and love.

6. The contemporary classic of Hatchet is full of page turning, heart stopping adventure.

7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a powerful and unsettling story during the Holocaust.

8. In the blink of an eye the world of one girl totally changes after an accident in If I Stay.

9. This book Endangered tells the story of a girl fighting to save herself and a group of bonobos from violence.

10. The Book Thief includes an extraordinary tale of a girl in Munich, Germany in the late 1930’s who can not resists books that encourage her love for reading.


What is on your summer reading bucket list? Please share your favorites!

Don’t miss these bedtime stories for kids too!

bedtime stories for kids

Over 25 Letter B Crafts Your Preschooler Will Love

Are you looking for some super fun letter B crafts for do with your preschooler?

This list of over 25 letter of the week activities is full of amazing ideas to share and teach your preschooler all about letter B!

With fun Letter B activities, printables, and even an awesome snack your preschooler is sure to be excited and love learning all about the letter B and its sound!

letter b activities for kids


Over 25 Letter B Crafts and Activities

  1. Buzzzzzzy Bee Activity– No Time for Flash Cards
  2. Letter B: B is for Butterfly– Crystal and Comp
  3. Best Preschool Books for Letter B– Wildflower Ramblings
  4. B is for Bubble Blowing Bear– B Inspired Mama
  5. Letter B Bubble Painting– A Mom With A Lesson Plan
  6. Letter B Worksheets– Kids Activities Blog
  7. Letter B Book of Rhymes and Songs– The Measured Mom
  8. B is For Birds of The Everglades– Ben and Me
  9. Spring Butterfly Craft– Fantastic Fun and Learning
  10. Letter B: Baskets, Bins, and Books– The Good Long Road
  11. Preschool Letter B Worksheets– Crystal and Comp
  12. Letter B Printable Pack– This Reading Mama
  13. Letter B: Blue Balloon Bounce– A Mom With A Lesson Plan
  14. Loving Letter B– Carrots Are Orange
  15. Books Children Must Read: Letter B– Crystal and Comp
  16. B is For Buttons: Letter B Printable– Teaching Mama
  17. Letter B Books Book List– This Reading Mama
  18. Free Romping and Roaring B Pack– 3 Dinosaurs
  19. Letter of The Week Snack: B is For Butterfly– Crystal and Comp
  20. Letter B Sound Activity– Mommy Crusader
  21. Bb is For Bus Pigeon Craft– Royalbaloo
  22. Banana B!– No Time For Flash Cards
  23. Letter B Sensory Bin– Life With Moore Babies
  24. Find the Letter B: B is For Bells– 3 Boys and a Dog
  25. Handwriting Practice: B is For Butterfly– Crystal and Comp
  26. Superhero Upper and Lowercase Letter Match: Letter B– B Inspired Mama
  27. Letter B and Blueberries for Sal– Royalbaloo
  28. Alphabet Sensory Bin Letter B– And Next Comes L

Have fun learning and teaching the letter B. Which ones are your favorite?

How to Make an Alphabet Flip Book for Your Preschooler

As we get further along with our letter of the week crafts for preschoolers, I am looking for more learning activities to do with my little Matthew so I can teach him his alphabet and letter sounds.

While we have been homeschooling since May 2012, Nick and Luke learned their ABCs and letter sounds by attending Mother’s Day Out when they were four and five years old.  I have to teach Matthew (who is 4) from scratch. A little scary- I have been pretty nervous about it.

Subsequently, I ran into Nick and Luke’s preschool teacher at Target, Ms. Patty, a few weeks ago. We hugged and were excited to catch up. She wanted to know how everyone is doing and how homeschooling is going. I shared with her my fear of teaching Matthew the alphabet all by myself.

She told me her secret. You make a flip book of the alphabet and every morning you go over it together. Say the letter. Say the picture. Say the sound. She said by the end of the school year all of the kids knew their letters and the sounds they make. It’s like magic.

Redundant magic.

Clearly she knows what she is talking about. She taught my boys their letter sounds three years ago.

I wanted an alphabet flip book that Matthew and I could use each day to review the letters and their sounds. I searched online for ABC flip books and the few I found were pricey.

I searched Pinterest for ideas so I could make one myself, but could not find one I really liked.

I then headed to our local teacher supply store and perused the shelves. Again, what I found was pricey and I knew there had to be a way to just make one easily.

I am going to show you how inexpensive and simple this is!


how to make an alphabet flip book for your preschooler

You Will Need:

I explained my dilemma to one of the employees at the teacher supply store. If I was going to make a flip book myself I preferred to use something larger than flashcard.

She had the perfect solution. There was a bulletin board set that we could use and laminate the cards. Each card measures 8 1/4″ x 5 7/8″.  The cost for the set was $10.00.

This teacher supply store also offers laminating service on-site by the foot. It cost less than $4 to have her laminate the entire set for me.

how to make an alphabet flipbook

I came home and cut out the cards leaving about a quarter inch of laminating material around each card all the way around.

cut the laminated cards out

I put them in order from A-Z.

use bulletan board photo alphabet cards by trand to make an ABC flip book

I used a hole punch to punch holes in the upper left corner of each card.

use a hole punch to make a hole in the upper corner

Once each card had a punch in it, I fed the large book ring through the cards keeping them in order from A-Z.

how to teach your preschooler their ABCs

Close the ring and you have a flip book!

how to make an alphabet flipbook on the cheap

Matthew and I sit down and go over the alphabet together.

Like Ms Patty said, the idea is to say the letter, say the picture, say the sound. We are working our way up to that. Right now Matthew says the name of the picture and then I say the letter and ask him to repeat the letter.

We will slowly add in all of the elements until he can say the letter, the picture and the sound the letter makes.

how to use a flipbook to teach your preschooler the alpbabet

Most of the time I hold the card and he sits across from me. I flip the cards as we move through the alphabet.

Sometimes I let him sit and hold the cards and lead the way.

preschool alphabet flip book

You’ll notice he has his dog, McCoy, right beside him.

Sometimes we do this on the couch. Sometimes we do this at the kitchen table.

abc flip book

The idea is to make learning fun. No pressure.

While you’re here, check out our collection of letter of the week crafts for your preschooler as you enjoy exploring the alphabet together!

Handwriting for Preschoolers: I is for Ice Cream

Are you on the hunt for handwriting practice for preschool aged kids?  Search no more because we have an awesome (and free) printable you can use while you’re teaching your little one.

Handwriting for preschoolers does not have to stressful, it can be really fun! What better way than having fun recognizing that I is for ice cream.

This printable allows you to help your young learned trace the the letter I, both capital and lowercase, with his finger. There are numbered steps to help along the way.

handwriting practice for preschoolers i is for ice cream


Then, there is a line dedicated to tracing the uppercase letter I. Encourage your little one to trace all of the big I’s with his pencil or a crayon or a marker.

Next, trace all of the lowercase letter i’s.

The third row is alternating uppercase and lowercase letters to trace.

Finally, the last row is for them to independently write uppercase and lowercase Ii’s.

Honestly, my youngest is six and his attention span and desire to do busy work like this is limited. We do one or two rows of this work in one sitting. Spread this work out over the course of a couple of days if you need too!




More Letter I Activities for Kids

handwriting practice for kids

Preschool Do a Dot Printables: Bugs

Just because it is summer does not mean we can’t have fun learning at home.

Maybe you’re a homeschooler like us and you will continue to learn through the summer.

Either way this printable packet is perfect for boys or girls. It is all about bugs. Preschoolers, Pre-k’ers and Kindergartners will love it!

Let’s dig in!

preschool do a dot printables bugs


You Will Need:

There are seven pages to this packet.

The first page focuses on the better Bb.

Grab your do a dot markers.

Find all of the big B’s. Mark them with the yellow do a dot.

Find all of the little b’s and mark them with the green do a dot marker.

How many big B’s are there? How many little b’s are there? Count them!

preschool do a dot printables bugs

Now let’s take a look at all the bugs that fly.

Use the blue do a dot marker to find all the bugs the fly.

Use the red do a dot marker to find all of the bugs that crawl.

preschool do a dot printable bugs

My kids love to color.

Use crayons, markers, map pencils or watercolors to color the page all about bugs.

kids color pages: bugs


Does your little one know what odd numbers are? No worries, they do not have to know odd numbers to do this page, but it is a great way to expose them!

There is one caterpillar.

There are three dragonflies.

There are five snails.

And, there are seven ants.

One, three, five and seven.


preschool do a dot printables bugs


How many circles are on the caterpillar? Fill them in.

preschool do a dot printables: bigs

Find the letter B.

Use your green do a dot marker to find all of the big B’s.

Use your orange marker to find all of the little b’s.

find the letter b


Help the bee find it’s way to the hive.  How many dots does it take?

preschool do a dot printables: letter b maze


Have fun learning this summer!

Letter of the Week: Find the Letter (Ii is for Igloo)

These Find the Letter Printables: Ii is for Igloo will help your preschool and early-elementary aged children work on recognizing the letter I among many other letters of the alphabet.  This Ii themed worksheet is a perfect extra for your Letter of the Week studies!

Letter Recognition is one of the first skills our toddlers and preschoolers need to help them learn to read.  Before they can read they have to understand what sounds letters make!  So, as your child finds the letter I on this printable, play a game of what starts with I or just sing a song of I :-)

letter of the week - alphabet recognition - find the letter I is for Igloo

I love sharing my free Find the Letter Printables so that you have the necessary resources to teach your children all about the Alphabet.  I hope you find these homeschooling freebies useful for you in your educational adventures!

Ideas For Using This Worksheet:

You can have the kids learn shapes by putting a circle around the capital ‘I’ and a square around the Lower Case ‘i’.  They could use different colors: for example, green around the “big I” and blue around the “little i”.  You could also grab a set of Do A Dot Art Markers Find The Letter: A is for Angels (affiliate link) so they can just dab over the right letters!  No matter how you decide to use these worksheets, they are a simple way to reinforce alphabet recognition!

Plus, it is a coloring page – woot!  So, add a bit of fine motor development to this educational task as well. :-)

More FREE Find the Letter Resources:

More FREE Letter of the Week: Letter Ii Resources –

Name Practice for Preschoolers: Easter Printable

Most of the time Matthew loves to work on writing his name. I say most of the time because he is a boy and boys don’t always want to sit down and work with pencil and paper. This is one of the great benefits of homeschooling- I lead my day based on the needs of each child.

Name practice for preschoolers is fun. I enjoy sharing these themed printables for our little ones to use and work on handwriting skills.

Today I am going to share with you a three page printable that is perfect for practicing writing their names, create a story or just being creative. This packet really is versatile with many possibilities for learning.

name practice for preschoolers easter printable

You Will Need:

Matthew loves when I give him school work on a craft tray. I think it gets him in the mood for learning and all of his things are all together in one place.

Print out the three page printable set. I like to use cardstock, but print it on regular white printer paper if you want.

I take a bright colored highlighter and write his name neatly on one line of the printable.

name practice for preschoolers easter printable

 Matthew uses the pencil to trace over it.

Repeat on other lines working together to spell his name.

Say the letters aloud as each of your write them.

The purpose of this is to increase motor skills with pencil holding and writing, as well as improve writing skills and learn the order of the letters in the child’s name.

Matthew’s handwriting is not perfect, but I firmly believe in letting them lead the way. His writing skills will develop and grow as we work on this more and as he matures.

name practice for preschoolers Easter printable

 Like I said before, there are three pages to this printable.

The first page has bunnies.

The second page has Easter eggs and a basket.

The last page celebrates Spring.

name practice for preschoolers Easter printable

Another activity you can do when working on name practice for preschoolers is to incorporate reusable dry erase pockets. I love these for two reasons.

First, it keeps learning fun. My boys love to use markers and alternatives to just paper and pencil.

Second, I love that this allows us to recycle. We can reuse this paper over and over again using the paper sleeve. Just write, erase and create again.

preschool name practice easter theme

 I use the same method where I use a highlighter to write his name for him and then let him use the dry erase marker to trace over it.

We say the letters aloud as we go along, reinforcing how to spell his name.

reusable dry erase pocket


Get creative and have fun learning.

This preschool season is so short. Enjoy each and every day and never make learning a chore for you or your preschooler.

name practice for preschoolers Easter printable


Preschool Do a Dot Printables: Spring

Matthew and I’ve had so much fun doing these preschool do a dot printables! We love to incorporate them into our homeschool day. These printables are also perfect for parents doing preschool at home with their kiddos or just supplementing as time together at the kitchen table for extra skill development and enrichment.

This month our theme focuses on Spring, just in time for the seasons changing!

We are going to incorporate many skills. The do a dots are a great fine motor skill and following directions activity. We will do letter recognition, counting, adding, recognizing colors and using crayons for the kid color pages.

We like to break these pages up over a couple of days. I prefer that learning is fun for Matthew (who will be 5 soon). You do what works best for your little one. You can do one a day, all at once, or in small chunks.

Also, feel free to do these in any order you want.

Let’s get started.

preschool do a dot printables spring

You Will Need:

This page focuses on recognizing the big S and the little s.

Have your little one use a yellow do a dot marker on all of the big S’s.

Then have them use an orange do a dot marker to find all of the small ones.

preschool do a dot printables spring

Next let’s count!

Let your little one use whatever color do a dot marker they want to count each section.

1 sun

2 pinwheels

3 swings

4 tulips


preschool do a dots spring counting

This page is fun for building those fine motor skills.

Find your green do a dot marker and fill in all of the circles on the tree.

Then use the yellow do a dot marker to fill in all the circles on the sun.

Use the red do a dot marker for the wagon and which ever colors you choose for the flower-pot, watering can and wagon wheels.

This is such a fun page!

preschool do a dot printables tree wagon and sun


This page involves process of illumination. You can skip it if your little one is too young.

Mark the things that happen in Spring with the orange do a dot marker.

Mark the things that happen  in the Fall with a blue do a dot marker.


preschool do a dot printables what happens in spring

Now let’s add!

Mark the dots under each image and count out loud.

This simple math is so much fun!


spring do a dots adding by 2s

We love kids color pages! This is perfect for older kids too.

Be creative and color the Spring picture as we welcome the warmer weather!

preschool do a dot printables color pages


And finally there is a simple maze.

Use a do a dot marker of your choice to follow the bike to the park! Another great fine motor skill!

preschool do a dot printables mazes



Easter Activity Ideas: Math Printables for Kids

Who is ready for some Easter activity ideas that involve learning with your kids?

I created a five page packet of Easter printables that are perfect for most preschoolers, all Pre K aged kids and many Kindergartners would find this collection fun as well.

These are great for homeschoolers as well as moms and dads doing their own preschool at home. Parents wanting to do extra enriching at home with their kids who attend school outside of the home, will enjoy these printables as well.

If you are hosting Easter festivities at your house this year, these would be fun to print out and have at the kids’ table to keep them occupied while dinner is coming together.

easter activities for kids math printables

You can print these math printables for kids here.

Feel free to do all of the pages at one time or space them out over a couple of days.

The first page is simple addition using the numbers 0-9 within the math problem.

There are seven math problems total.

The blue egg is the space for them to capture their answer.

easter activity ideas math printable for kids

 The next page asks that you fill in the missing number.

There are six separate rows.

For some rows you need to fill in one missing number. For other rows there are two missing numbers, etc.

Again, you are working with numbers 0-9.

easter activity ideas math printable for kids

 The next printable is counting eggs.

How many eggs are there? Circle the correct number.

easter activity ideas math printable for kids

 Let’s count eggs again.

Draw a line from the number on the left to the number of eggs on the right.

This is the perfect time to talk about left and right as well.

easter activity ideas math printable for kids

 This printable requires the most work.

There are 25 empty eggs.

Start at the left and work your way to the right numbering the eggs from 1-25.

This is the perfect time to remind your little one we work from left to right and from top to bottom.

easter activity ideas math printable for kids


Artwork for these printables are from


More Easter Activity Ideas:


Hand Print Art: Z is for Zebra

Hi everyone! It’s our last week posting over here on Crystal & Co. for the alphabet hand print art series. Our last post is ‘Z is for Zebra‘ made with a hand cutout instead of a hand print. If you’d like to see a painted one, you may like this safari handprint craft we made a few years back. Instead of using our usual white paper for this letter craft, my preschooler and I turned it into a collage art project. We love the look of collages! It’s rather simple to make.

Hand Print Art: Z is for Zebra

Supplies Needed:

Instructions for making the Hand Print Zebra:

Trace the child’s hand on white paper using a pencil. Cut around it. Ask them to draw on zebra stripes, the hooves, and eye. For some extra learning, have them count the stripes as they are drawing them.

Take a sheet of brown construction paper and have your preschooler rip a few strips from it. Use a paintbrush to add glue to the strips. The paintbrush is optional and was used to ensure that all the edges stuck down. A glue stick would also work. Stick them along the bottom edge of a blue sheet of construction paper.

Glue the zebra on. Make the black hair and a tail using a marker or black paint.

Hand Print Art - Z is for Zebra

Tear a circle shape from yellow and about 5 thin strips. Glue on as a sun. Take a cotton ball and spread it into two sections. Glue these on as clouds.

Optional: Write Z is for Zebra.

Now you have a really cute collage art project to display on the refrigerator!

Hand Print Art Zebra - Letter Z Craft


Now that we’ve finished the entire hand print art for the alphabet series, which one has been your favorite? 

My favorites are the alligator, butterfly, and watermelon. My preschooler’s favorites are the butterfly and dog. You can see them all here. Hope you enjoyed the series and please do stop by our blog to say hi!

– Amanda