October 20, 2009

Bible Review, Part 1

I spent this summer reviewing Children’s Bibles to use for the Joyful Learning curriculum. At first it was overwhelming, seeing an entire wall stocked with “Children’s Bibles,” but as I started looking through I was less than impressed by many. My criteria included: 1) number of stories included, 2) quality of illustrations, 3) age appropriate language, and 4) text size. After hours of clicking through online reviews, then sitting on the floor of the Christian bookstore scrutinizing the finalists…I found a couple that I really love!

My favorite for 2-4 year olds is...

Read and Share Bible by Gwen Ellis: $14.99

1) There are more than 200 bible stories

2) Every story has one or two delightful illustrations.

3) The stories chosen give a good chronological overview of the bible in simple, yet accurate language that preschoolers can understand.

4) The text is large and clear, making a nice transition for preschoolers who are becoming interested in recognizing letters and sounding out words.

A bonus feature is a little box at the end of each story commenting or making connections to a preschooler’s life.

Another huge plus for this bible is that you can buy it on DVD! The stories are not presented in order, there are four volumes each containing multiple stories using the same illustrations and language from the bible.

Note: I see that they just put out a toddler version in July. I would NOT recommend the toddler version for our purposes, as it only has half of the stories along with parent activities integrated after each story. Also, they have Christmas and Easter specials which are basically just the stories extracted from the bible and DVD and packaged together in a holiday theme. (I would save your money since it would just be repetitious, but it would be a great gift idea.)

October 16, 2009


When I first came to Panama, Geoboards were unheard of.  So, I had my wonderful husband cut, saw, paint, and nail until our Kindergarteners had a class set.  They worked fine, and bending the nails back into position just became part of the weekly routine.  (If anyone would like to try it as a family project, I have a pattern.)  However, now you can buy one at Ultracom for $5.49!  Pick up some colored rubber bands, and your child should be ready to go. 

As with any manipulative, children need lots of time just playing and exploring independently.  When they are ready for more of a challenge, here are some ideas you can suggest...

- Make a picture "Can you make a _____?"

- Copy someone else's picture

- Make shapes

- Make numbers (I have a master if anyone would like a copy)

- Make letters (uppercase are easier)

- Copy a geo-board design on a paper grid like this one

- Follow verbal directions of the teacher or another classmate