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Developing Emotional Intelligence with Children’s Books

Developing Emotional Intelligence with Children’s Books

As I have mentioned before, our entire family represents the feeling side of the Myers-Briggs spectrum (ESFP, INFJ, ENFJ, ISFP). We have regular conversations about our emotions, identifying feelings, and working through conflict in a healthy way. And since we LOVE reading, we often jumpstart these discussions with our read-aloud choices. After all, developing emotional intelligence with children’s books is a great parenting strategy!

Click here to read more about our strategy for dealing with emotional outbursts.

image of books with text overlay: How to Develop Emotional Intelligence Using Children's Books

Developing Emotional Intelligence with Children’s Books

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Recently, I connected with author and licensed marriage and family therapist, Leanne Richter, who has written two children’s books about developing emotional intelligence along with two of her colleagues, Shauna Havlina and Ceth Ashen. She sent us both books in exchange for an honest review.

Using picture books to teach kids about growth mindset, stress and anger management, and the power of positive self-talk makes parenting much easier! After all, books frequently become part of the family culture, a “shorthand” if you will. Both of our children enjoyed reading Jameon’s Closet and Maribel’s Rainy Day. These books will be treasured for years to come.

Jameon’s Closet is all about dealing with hard things (overall theme) and talking about feelings (specifically).

Jameon is a boy who lives with his grandma. He is asked to clean out his closet, but feels overwhelmed by the size of the task. His counselor Jon comes over to help him work through the process step-by-step (“little by little”) until he is done.

Since both of my girls are often overwhelmed by their feelings, I loved the message of Jameon’s Closet. Any book that features strong adult-child relationships is a win in my book!

Maribel’s Rainy Day is about asking for help and positive self-talk.

Maribel is a girl who lives with her foster mother Ana. She is trying to get to her friend’s house, but it is raining and she keeps getting soaked. The book goes through a few humorous scenarios before Ana helps her put on her rain gear.

The scene with the cat makes both of my girls giggle every time we read it. There are family activities included in the back to help develop growth mindset skills, like breathing, visualization, and calming techniques.

Each book starts with a relatable story before getting into the specifics of developing emotional intelligence. It is clear that the authors have spent tremendous amounts of time with children and respect the sometimes-difficult journey of childhood.

The books include:

  • diverse characters
  • non-traditional family structures (grandparents and foster parents)
  • and concise language that makes the point incredible clear (without being heavy-handed)

There are no religious overtones in either story, but it would be incredibly easy for families of faith to include verses and prayers into the techniques taught in the books. (The idea of Maribel’s “worry gear” definitely reminded me of the armor of God passage from the Bible.) Helping children write down positive affirmations from the book would be a simple, healthy activity.

If you are looking for books for developing emotional intelligence, I would recommend both Jameon’s Closet and Maribel’s Rainy Day for any family or classroom teacher!

What are your favorite books for developing emotional intelligence?

images of picture books with text overlay: Teaching Our Kids Emotional Intelligence Using Picture Books

6 Fun Activities for Teaching Colors to Kids

6 Fun Activities for Teaching Colors to Kids

When you have young children in the house, the three most important concepts to work on are letters, numbers, and teaching colors. When my own girls were preschool-age, we did everything we could to make learning colors easy for them!

If you are teaching colors to your toddler or preschooler this year, check out these fun and simple ideas!

Pictures of toys with text overlay: 6 Simple Ways to Teach Colors to Toddlers and Preschoolers

6 Activities for Teaching Colors:

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

  • “Color of the Week” Basket

When our kids were little, toy rotation worked the best for us! Every week, we included a big bowl full of toys from our weekly color: bristle blocks, large magnetic letters, musical instruments, vehicles, plastic cookie cutters, play food, Duplos, etc.

  • Songs & Sign Language

For four years of my girls’ preschool years, I taught “Mommy & Me” sign language classes in our home. We reviewed counting, ABCs, and colors each week using Rachel Coleman’s Colors of the Rainbow song and Laurie Berkner’s Balloons song. Our girls learned the signs for colors before they could say the words.

  • Lots of Props!

Along with singing songs every week, we also used scarves and balloons to practice our color words! Katie especially loved using the scarves while she read (looked at) one of her favorite books, Color Dance.

  • Color Sorting

We sorted toys by color ALL THE TIME. Our favorite tools were a large, green “chip and dip” container from Dollar Tree (with six compartments) and a muffin tin! We sorted magnetic letters, fuzzy pom poms, animal counters, and even cut straw pieces. As you can see in the image, I added labels with the color sight words to each of the compartments for a little extra literacy fun.

  • Rainbow Noodles

Back in March, I dyed a box of rigatoni noodles with food coloring to make “rainbow noodles.” These have been great for stringing, patterning, and stamping in playdough! (See the tutorial here.)

  • Color Mixing

One of the things I recommended to preschool parents all the time is to buy only a few colors of paint (red, blue, yellow, white, and black) and mix up shades every time we did an art project. We have learned how to make secondary colors (green, orange, and purple) and combination colors like brown and teal. The book Mouse Paint is a great one to read with kids if you’re looking to learn more about color mixing!


Grab your FREE Ultimate Guide to Learning at Home from Melissa Droegemueller of Rolling Prairie Readers


Hopefully, these six simple activities, games, and songs make teaching colors FUN! Remember, the goal is to connect with your kids through play, so try to follow their lead and match their interests.

Which of these activities for teaching colors will you try first?

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Picture of color toys with text overlay: "6 Fun Activities for Kids who are Learning Colors"

17 Awesome Space Books for Kids

17 Awesome Space Books for Kids

As much as I would love to take my girls into space to learn more about our solar system, technology isn’t quite there yet! Thankfully, we do have the ability to see videos of the Earth and moon from outer space–thanks to NASA and companies like SpaceX. We can also explore the Milky Way from the comfort from our couch, thanks to a variety of space books for kids that are available at the library.

Whenever we start a new unit of study, I like to provide a big stack of books for my kids to peruse. Space is such a fun topic to learn more about, from the sun to the planets, past missions to the moon and future expeditions to Mars! Books about space can inspire, educate, and engage even the most reluctant reader.

17 Awesome Space Books for Kids

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Space Books for Kids: Solar System

Space Walk by Salina Yoon

The Solar System by Emily Bone

National Geographic: Planets by Elizabeth Carney

The Sun’s Family of Planets by Allan Fowler

The Planets by Gail Gibbons

Demoting Pluto: The Discovery of the Dwarf Planets by Steve Kortenkamp

Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey

Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids by Seymour Simon

Space Books for Kids: Astronauts and Exploration

Space Travel by Martha Rustad

Rocket to the Moon: The Incredible Story of the First Lunar Landing by Lisa Combs

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown

Neil Armstrong and Traveling to the Moon by Ben Hubbard

On the Space Station {A Shine-a-Light Book} by Carron Brown & Bee Johnson

Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed

You Should Meet Mae Jemison by Laurie Calkhoven

Space Books for Kids: Fiction

Life on Mars by Jon Agee

Meteor! by Patricia Polacco

Learning more about the solar system with your kids is a fantastic way to make learning fun at home! I have never met a child or adult who isn’t interested in space and there are so many subtopics to explore.

Let me know which of these you read with your kids in the comments below!


Want even more space fun?

Picture of Earth and moon with text overlay: "Space Activities"

The summer months are a great time for learning together as a family! Grab our space-themed Family Activity Guide today for a full month of fun as you discover more about the sun, planets, and the moon.

Click here to purchase our space activities!


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17 Space Books for Kids