Tag: fall

Baking with Kids to Shape Their Future

Baking with Kids to Shape Their Future

Fall has arrived, and I am on the hunt for indoor activities to do with my children! Since Thanksgiving is the week, I thought it would be the perfect time to reach out to Cynthia of Mom’s Bread Bites to get her thoughts on the benefits of baking with kids. Grab some ingredients, and bake a loaf of bread together this week!

Why Bread?

The act of how to make your own bread has been a basic life skill for almost a long as we humans have been around.  It’s easy and more convenient to pick up a couple super big, chewy loaves at the store than to measure ingredients, mix them together, let it rise, shape it, then bake and cool it down.  Sounds more like an exercise regime, doesn’t it? Reading into the history of bread, YES, it used to be very labor intensive!

Yet more people are becoming aware of ingredients and for choosing to make what they can from scratch at home.  Even if allergies and diet aren’t high on your priority list, the benefits of bread making are so much more than just knowing what’s inside of your food. It can, in essence, help to build character and improve mental health.

Bread baking can be incorporated into busy lifestyles if you truly want to make the time. And starting children off young is half the effort. We all want our children to be their best, so invest in them.

Baking with Kids | kids in the kitchen, indoor family activities, making bread with children, learning activities, Thanksgiving cooking

Your children can start helping in the kitchen as young as two years old and contribute until they are baking all on their own. Making bread is an inexpensive way to get them started contributing.  Much like chores and routines, the actual act of making bread gives your child a sense of value and a role to play in your family. When everybody has a job to do, including dumping and mixing, there is a certain peace in the home.  The kneading and shaping bread is very hands on. You can get elaborate if you like, but the goal is to share an enjoyable activity together while creating something.

Baking has also been proven to be therapeutic is using various ways of therapy!

It’s a Creative Outlet

There are many people who have children with special needs and it is harder for them to learn basic life skills be they social or otherwise. There is an art and level of creativity that can be used when learning how to make bread because there’s a lot that goes into simply feeling what it is in the dough and tweaking based on what it needs. Yeast bread is a living thing and needs care and attention.

Baking for Neighbors

I love baking for my neighbors, who almost never refuse one of my test recipes.  As an extrovert, it gives me a reason to knock on their door and bring along my littles so they can meet us. I have yet to have anyone refuse, and often they follow up later in the week with “that bread was GONE the same day!”

I believe that bread making can serve an important and vital role in our communities, be it an outlet for a child having “Big Feelings” and no words yet, or a local bakery offering an apprenticeship to at-risk youth. Children matter, no matter how small. Or big. Their future is based on their todays, so we cannot remind them enough that they are important and have value to the family and their community. We all want to belong and be loved.

I recently read a story about a downtown LA bakery that offered job opportunities to former gang members. Unfortunately, it was burned down in the 90s. The idea resonated with me about offering opportunities to people who need them, especially our kids.

People often need chances to prove and reprove that they are.  While I certainly don’t assume anyone’s child will become related to a gang or have less than desirable friendships, the benefits are clear. It’s very much a “teach a man how to fish” kind of thing. As our children grow, they gain more experience, and we offer more responsibility, more freedom, and more individuality.  Right in their home.


Baking with Kids | kids in the kitchen, indoor family activities, making bread with children, learning activities, Thanksgiving cookingMom’s Bread Bites

Cynthia is a self-taught bread baker and homeschooling mom of three. She began making bread as a way to cope with a tragic loss and it helped her to fight depression and work through grief in a healthy way. Now, she teaches moms how to use breadmaking to create lasting memories with their children.

You can visit Cynthia’s website, Mom’s Bread Bites, or follow her on Facebook!

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions + Gratitude Journal

Growing up in Texas, cooler weather and changing leaves usually arrived at the same time as Christmas. Now that we have moved to the Midwest, our girls get to experience a TRUE fall: harvest, apple-picking, pumpkin patches, and jumping in HUGE piles of leaves in the yard. We also have been able to start new fall family traditions! 

Image of fall foliage with text: 8 Simple Fall Family Traditions

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

8 Simple Fall Family Traditions:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard.
  • Rake up leaves from the yard and jump in them. (Bonus points for raking a neighbor’s yard, too!)
  • Go on a nature hike and gather items for a homemade wreath craft.
  • Complete a family puzzle or LEGO set over a few weeks’ time.
  • Listen to an audiobook on the couch while doing a project.
  • Invite a family over for a meal.
    This can be for Thanksgiving (think of someone who doesn’t have extended family nearby) or another meal during the month of November. Have your children help plan the menu, go shopping, set the table, and prepare the meal together. Teach your children about serving others and being hospitable.
  • Do a family service project.
    Gather items for the local food pantry or women’s shelter. Snuggle dogs or cats at the animal shelter. Write letters for veterans. Create small care packages for the homeless (warm socks, toiletry items, snacks). Participate in Operation Christmas Child or Angel Tree.   
  • Bake (or buy) cookies and talk about what each family member is grateful for. You can make a gratitude jar, banner, or start a gratitude journal to add to each year.

Make a Gratitude Journal:

When your children are old enough to understand what “thankful” means, go out and buy a family journal. I would recommend one with unlined pages and a spiral binding.

 

Decorate the cover together with fabric or scrapbook paper. Trace each child’s hand on a page in the journal and allow them to fill it in with markers, stickers, colored paper, magazine scraps, etc. Write down what they are thankful for (or let them write in the journal) and date the entries. Each year, bring the journal out and reminisce about previous years.

Start a new family tradition: create a gratitude journal!


What are your family’s favorite fall traditions? Leave a comment below or join the discussion in our Facebook group!

Did you find this post helpful? Be sure to save it.

Fall Family Traditions | family activity ideas, teaching kids to be grateful, helping others, gratitude journal for families, making a difference

 

 

Join our Fall Reading Challenge:

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!

You can grab our FREE printable reading log and get details about our November book giveaway below.

Grab our free printable reading log at rollingprairiereaders.com!

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. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)


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


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? (See our Little Blue Truck sensory bin here.)

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.

12 incredible fall themed books for kids

Best Fall Books for Kids

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!

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