The Best Picture Books to Add to Your Easter Baskets

The Best Picture Books to Add to Your Easter Baskets

Picture books are such a great way to teach our kids about faith and the love of Jesus. I love including books in my children’s Easter baskets. Here are a few of our favorite engaging stories that are sure to spark wonderful conversations about our Lord.

I hope your family enjoys these books as much as we do! I really find that exposing my children to Jesus through picture books fuels their understanding, curiosity, and love for the Lord in an exciting way. If your kids aren’t that in to books right now, have no fear. Go check out this post to spark a love of books in your child.

Help! My Kids Don’t Like Books

Help! My Kids Don’t Like Books

Sometimes you have a child who just loves and loves to look at books. But what if your child doesn’t want to be read to or read a story before bed time? How can we as parents cultivate a love for books? The stress on parents to get their kids reading and reading early is strong. So often we here about little Susie who is reading beginning chapter books by age 4, but we never really hear about little Janie who can build an elaborate block city, or little Stevie who is unbelievably kind and empathic with his friends. All of these things are equally important for child development, but somewhere along the way reading got put on this pedestal. What I’m getting at is this, it is okay if your child doesn’t naturally love books. The best part is that there are things you can do to actually encourage a love of reading.

Spoiler alert, I’m writing this post as a parent who has a reluctant reader. Learning to read is just harder for her than other subjects. It’s not a bad thing; it just is what it is. But I want her to LOVE reading. I grew up seeing my parents devour books, so reading as a hobby was never a foreign concept for me. So that is step one. If we want our kids to enjoy reading, then they need to see us enjoying reading. Mama, when was the last time you read a book for pleasure? Probably quite some time, especially if you’re in the early baby and toddler years. But, this is an important thing we can model for our children.

The second step for encouraging a love for reading in our kids is audiobooks. Seriously, listening to audiobooks in the car is what sparked my child’s interest is even listening to stories. I can’t thank Junie B. Jones enough! (These are good books for the car because there is a lot of funny dialogue) Another wonderful resource for audiobooks is Epic! (Read the best books for early readers on Epic!). Epic! is an app used in homes and schools all over. You’ve probably heard of it. I like that I can tailor each of my kid’s profiles to their interest and reading level. For example, my pre-readers have all read-a-loud books to choose from, and my early reader has a mix of read-a-louds and age level books. We have independent reading time as part of our homeschool, and Epic! is always a popular choice. I feel like audiobooks has been such a great jump start to their love of stories, and it’s not something I see talked about very much.

Lastly, it is so important to set appropriate expectations. I’ve seen conversations in the homeschool community especially, saying that we need to be reading these long classic books to our young elementary school aged kids. And yes, I totally get it. I want to read Little House and Charlotte’s Web too. But, also, it’s fine if your kid isn’t ready for that just yet. Meet them where they are at first, then slowly build. For us, that meant reading some Shimmer and Shine books that basically retold a TV episode they’d seen. So, what? It was a book they were excited about, and excitement was my goal. They’ve since built up their reading stamina, and now ask for more complex storylines.

Developing a love of reading a books takes time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We did audiobooks for probably a year before my kids started showing an interest in hard copy books at home. And that is a-okay by me, because now I’m seeing them consistently excited when we sit down and read together. They shout “more! more!” when I tell them that’s all for today. So, turn off the noise and pressure you might be feeling from seeing what other kids are doing. Turn your attention to your sweet little ones and meet them right where they’re at.

Below, you will find a list of books my kids have loved:

Owl Diaries https://amzn.to/3iPPtnC

Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows https://amzn.to/3jUDwOF

Greetings from Somewhere https://amzn.to/373Nlq9

Tum Tum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall https://amzn.to/36WyxJN

Junie B. Jones Books 1-4 https://amzn.to/3nK03Ac

Living in Zones

Living in Zones

I decided to create zones for my kids and myself in our home. This all cam about because I felt like there was zero order to my home. Do you ever feel like that? Like there are people and things all over your house all the time? I think this is so common, especially when you have kids. I think it is especially so when you are homeschooling, because you are using your house each and every day. Toys migrate from the play room to the living room to the bedroom to even the bath tub. By the end of summer, I’d had enough of this mess, literally and figuratively.

What Do I Mean?

What do I mean by zones? I forget where I first heard of turning your space into zones, but I was reminded of them by Erin from Cotton Stem. The idea of creating zones means using your space intentionally to provide a change of scenery, spark creativity, or just a place to go that has a purpose. For example, that random corner in your kitchen that’s kind of dead space – let’s turn it into something useful!

Book Nook

made a little book corner in her kids’ bedroom. I thought, “Wow, I can do that!”. And I did. I went around my house and grabbed my son’s Anywhere Chair, a cozy blanket my kids love, an extra end table we randomly had, the basket of books which was not getting read in our playroom, and voila! We had our own reading corner in the upstairs loft. We named it the Book Nook, and it is now where my big kids do their independent reading each day. They LOVE it, and they are actually reading the forgotten books that were formerly in the playroom.

Bonus School Space

With the success of the Book Nook, I looked for other ways to implement zone . We have a large loft area upstairs that wasn’t really being utilized well. I took this space that now had the Book Nook and divided it into more zones. I moved a desk that was in my daughter’s room (it was only storing doll clothes) to the loft. I found a lamp and a globe. BOOM! A bonus zone for school work other than our homeschool room. We use this when someone needs to move to a quiet space. I moved our keyboard to the same wall as the desk to be included in the “school zone,” since the kids take online piano lessons.

TV and Video Games

I positioned the TV and Nugget couch to the next area in the loft to create a “lounging zone”. The TV cabinet also stores our LEGOs, so these are out of the kid’s bedrooms. This little TV zone get a lot of use on the weekends when my kids watch more shows and enjoy playing the Wii. It’s a small area. It’s literally just the Nugget and the TV, but the special thing about creating zones is you don’t have to have a lot of space to make something special.

Gross Motor Zone

The last zone I created in our loft is the “gross motor” zone. This is the biggest zone. I have a toddler trampoline in a corner and a sensory swing to hang from the ceiling. The Nugget couch is right there, and can be pulled over to make an obstacle course or slide or whatever. I also added the little toddler slide from the backyard. It was important to me to have a gross motor zone. I wanted an area where kids could play rough and get their wiggles out. We live in the Midwest, and the days are coming when it will be too cold to play outside. Our typical indoor playgrounds are closed because of the pandemic. Having this play space is essential, and it’s already getting used.

Now It’s Your Turn

I know not everyone has a large unused loft in their home. But the idea behind creating zones is using the little corners and nooks you do have. Turn them into a special place for your kids to go. Maybe it’s setting aside the end of your kitchen table and leaving out crafting supplies, or trays and tubs of playdough that the kids can access on their own. Maybe it’s taking that kids table that isn’t really getting used anymore and turning it into a board game table. Maybe you need a “mom zone” to keep your calendar, file mail, and meal plan. I created my “mom zone” in our kitchen. It is so nice to have all my things in one place. Assess what’s not working or take a space that isn’t being used efficiently, then let your imagination flourish. Take a look around and share what you come up with!

Below are a few links to some things that we have in our zones, but don’t feel like you have to buy a bunch of stuff. Shop your house first, then see where you need to fill in the blanks.

Indoor Sensory Swing:

Toddler Trampoline:

Cozy chair for your own Book Nook:

Toddler Slide: