Tag: booklist

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier

Hooray, the holidays are here! Having our children home from school (whether it’s fall break, winter break, spring break, or summer break) is a wonderful gift of time and family togetherness. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to go on fun adventures and learn through play. However, school holidays often fall during the time of year when we are inundated with extra activities and a longer-than-usual to-do list.

How do we enjoy the break while still getting things done and keeping our kids learning and happy?

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables

Take a Break

It’s important that we build in time for kids (and ourselves!) to relax during school holidays. Getting up early, following a schedule, and doing things we don’t really enjoy can take its toll. Before your kids get out of school, block off a day or a few hours to do absolutely nothing. (YOU TOO!) Snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie, do a puzzle, or take a nap. If you know you’ll have a busy afternoon, take a slow morning. If you have a busy travel schedule, build in a “recovery day” for the entire family.

Offer Choices

Being a student is hard work. Children are told where and how to sit, when to go to the bathroom, when to eat lunch, and more. There are a lot of benefits that come from being part of a larger learning community, but our children also need to learn to self-regulate. Offering our children choices during school holidays can lead to more confidence and cooperation.

When your children are younger, offer them two choices that you like. (Would you like apple slices or applesauce with your lunch?) As they mature, you can give them a more open-ended opportunity to plan their entire lunch–or outfit or schedule, etc.

Designate a Line Leader

Several years ago, I grew tired of listening to my two children bicker constantly. I decided to use one of my tools from the classroom to make things easier on all of us: the line leader. On odd days of the month, my older daughter gets to go first in the shower, up and down the stairs, getting in and of the car, you name it. Our younger daughter gets to be line leader on even days of the month.

It sounds silly, but it can negate one hundred arguments each day. The line leader chooses the vegetable for dinner, who gets to push the cart at the grocery store, who gets dropped off first at AWANA, you name it! And of course, Mom and Dad always get a veto.

30 Winter Activity Ideas for Families | FREE School Holiday Survival Guide at flourishwithyourfamily.com

FREE School Holiday Survival Guide from Rolling Prairie Readers! Get yours at FlourishWithYourFamily.com

School Holidays Survival Guide

Over the years, I have created a handful of printables that make our home life a bit easier. I have bundled them up into a FREE downloadable guide to help your family flourish during the school holidays.

Here’s what’s included:

  • a weekly calendar template with tips for creating a flexible family schedule
  • a “menu” of more than 20 low-prep activities to keep your children happily engaged
  • lists of recommended seasonal books to grab at the library
  • a family reading log
  • our favorite resources for learning at home
  • AND 30 winter boredom busters!
FREE School Holiday Survival Guide | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables
Best Fall Books for Readers of All Ages

Best Fall Books for Readers of All Ages

Cooler temperatures are arriving all across the country! (If you’re still suffering from “fall heat” in Texas or California, I sympathize.) It won’t be long before we’ll all curled up on couches under cozy blankets, and if you’re anything like me–you’ll want a good book with you. Here’s my list of the best fall books; be sure to leave a comment with YOUR favorites.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.)


Scroll down to the bottom for information about our fall reading challenge and giveaway!


Best Fall Books for Babies and Toddlers

My toddler loved every book written by Liesbet Slegers. Check to see if your library carries them!

I’ve read the entire “Mouse and Minka” series too many times to count! These are definitely worth adding to the family library.

Little Blue Truck just feels like a fall book, doesn’t it?

Best Fall Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

While Fletcher learns about fall, he teaches us about kindness and being a good friend.

My girls love this book, and I do too! Frog and Toad is a classic; it sure reminds me of my childhood.

Kevin Henkes is most well-known for his sweet books about mice (Owen and Chrysanthemum are two of our favorites!), but In the Middle of Fall is also a wonderful book to read aloud! (Especially if you live in a part of the country that gets snow.)

Lois Ehlert might be one of my very favorite author-illustrators. Not only does she use interesting materials to create fascinating images in her books, but she also includes little details about how she came up with the idea of her story/illustrations, which is fascinating for adults and aspiring authors and artists.

Best Fall Books | fall books for kids, fall books to read, fall read aloud, fall books for adults, read aloud activities, free printable

Best Non-Fiction Fall Books

Now that we live in the Midwest, my girls are learning a lot about farming. This book is a great introduction for children who might not have experienced farm life for themselves.

One of my girls LOVES non-fiction text, and she loves this book. Full of photographs and information about identifying trees by their leaves makes this a great read for science-lovers and novices alike.

Best Fall Books for Bigger Kids

If you live in a climate without snow, this book is a great one to read by the Christmas tree with your iced tea. 😉

You may know Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny and Elephant & Piggie. This sweet story has a different feeling, but it’s a lovely book to read with your young writers to teach cyclical storytelling.

I found Wonderfall on a display at my local library. It’s full of clever puns and fun word choice. It’s a great example of a picture book that is just right for older readers. 😉

Best Fall Books for Tweens and Teens

I read this book in one afternoon and then immediately put it into the hands of my 9-year-old. It’s a beautiful story!

Kate DiCamillo is a gifted writer. Her stories are so worth reading aloud with your children. I would recommend starting with this one.

My own girls aren’t ready for the Wingfeather Saga just yet, but I loved all four books. This series is on par with Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. (How often can you say that?!)

I love Anne of Green Gables (as any reader alive in the 1980s probably does), but Emily and all the folks at New Moon hold a special place in my heart. This is a great series to binge read under a blanket.

I love this book. <3

Best Fall Books | fall books for kids, fall books to read, fall read aloud, fall books for adults, read aloud activities, free printable

Best Fall Books for Adults

Nothing helps your children fall in love with books like seeing you read a book! These are four I have loved.

Beautiful story.

Katherine Reay writes really engaging fiction. This is her first book, and it remains my favorite!

If you like non-fiction books, I highly recommend this one. Engaging story made even more amazing by the fact that it’s true.

I never expected to love this book, but I did. Fantastic story, but note: there is a lot of language sprinkled throughout.


Does your family love to read?

Reading aloud with your children for 15 minutes a day can have significant impact on your:

  • family bond
  • child’s love for learning
  • child’s emotional and academic success
  • and MORE!

Join our fall reading challenge by clicking on the image or scroll down to the signup form below!

Fall in Love with Reading Challenge from Rolling Prairie Readers | free reading log printable

Best Pumpkin Books for Kids

Best Pumpkin Books for Kids

October is a wonderful time to curl up on the couch and read the best pumpkin books with your children.

Head over to the library, and check out these titles!Best Pumpkin Books for Kids | read aloud, pumpkin picture books for children, recommended books, stories for kids

(Did you get your FREE pumpkin-themed invitations to play download?)

Before we kick off any unit of study, I always like to begin with a big stack of picture books. I place them all in a basket in the living room, near the couch. The girls browse through them often throughout the day, and make a list of activity ideas for later in the month.

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.)

Our all-time favorite pumpkin book is Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell. This classic book weaves a story about a boy named Tim and his jack o’lantern.  My girls love this book and talk about it all winter long.

Best Pumpkin Books: Fiction

One book we love is Pumpkin Day by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. The end pages show the pumpkin patch in all four seasons, and the book blends an adorable story about a mouse family with lots of additional resources like:

  • recipes
  • jokes
  • parts of a pumpkin
  • and the pumpkin life cycle

If you have a toddler, your family may enjoy Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yacccarino. This sturdy board book is a great introduction to counting to five and would be fun to act out with your little one. (Note: this book does feature “scary” Halloween characters, like a ghost and witch.)

We also love The Biggest Pumpkin Surprise Ever! by Steven Kroll. This book has lots of flaps to lift, pumpkins to count, and an incredible amount of conversation starters for 3, 4, and 5 year olds.

Finally, if your children can handle a longer story, you might want to check out Peter Rabbit and Pumpkin Patch based on the stories by Beatrix Potter. This book features beautiful illustrations and great vocabulary–a sweet addition to any family library.

Best Pumpkin Books for Kids | read aloud, pumpkin picture books for children, recommended books, stories for kids

Best Pumpkin Books: Non-Fiction 

While my girls love reading fiction, I think it’s important to include non-fiction text as well. Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson includes beautiful, real-life photographs from a pumpkin farm. Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie is another non-fiction book that features real-life photography from National Geographic. These books are perfect for families who can’t make it to a patch in real life.


Shop the Best Pumpkin Books for Kids:


As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we like to store our unit books in an obvious, can’t-miss spot in the living room. Since we homeschool, we often use picture books instead of a textbook for science and history studies–but many of these books can also be enjoyed during family read-aloud time.

Check out 12 Ways to Incorporate Reading Into Your Day!

Did I miss any of the best pumpkin books? Share your recommendation below!

Best Pumpkin Books for Kids | read aloud, pumpkin picture books for children, recommended books, stories for kids