Educational Resources

3 posts

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Just before you read the entrance to the zoo, you will see a couple of signs for the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. This cute little non-profit organization is packed with charm and history. It opened in the summer of 1956 and continues to be a unique location for rail enthusiasts of all ages to explore.

Read the full history here. 

Hours and Pricing

At the time of this post, the hours are from 10a – 4p Monday through Friday and 11a – 4p on Saturdays and Sunday. The cost to enter the museum is $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for children ages 2-12.

FREE FIRST SATURDAY

The museum offers free entrance on the first Saturday of the month. My sister was in town visiting on the first Saturday of July so our family decided to go check out the museum on that day. If you are planning to head over to the museum on one of the free admission days, go early. When we first arrived the trains were fairly empty so we were able to explore, take some fun photos and take our time. As the day went on the museum did fill up.

What to Expect

There are several rows of trains, some of them you can go inside and some of them you are only able to view through the window. For example the Presidential Pullman Passenger Car “Ferdinand Magellan”. This is truly a must-see at the museum. It is the only passenger railcar to be designated as a National Historic Landmark. In order to preserve the car for future generations, you can only view the car on a guided tour.

Train Rides are also available on the weekends for just a few dollars a person. You can select from a small “link” train to one of the speed trains.

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5 Thanksgiving Books to Read with your Preschooler

The Importance of Reading

Around the age of 5 years old, children will begin to read. It’s an exciting time in the life of a child. One of pride and accomplishment, another step in the direction of independence. The road to reading begins LONG before your child reads or even says their first words. Research even recently proved that reading aloud to children actually changes their brains. – Read about the study here. 

When should I start Reading aloud to my children?

Now. Right Now.

I believe that no time is too soon to start reading aloud to your children.

Even when your baby is still in the womb, reading to your children will create such a special bond. Your baby will start to become familiar with your voice. I remember when my first daughter was born. Even in her earliest days she knew our voices and would love to listen to her dad read stories to her.

Preparing Our Hearts for Thanksgiving

Happy First Week of Fall!

It doesn’t feel like Fall here in South, Florida with temperatures still in the 90’s. However, since Pumpkin Spiced lattes have arrived, it must be time to start preparing our hearts for Thanksgiving. Last year during the month of November we worked on memorizing a bible verse together and created a little bucket list of things to do together.

This year we have been reading through several books to help prepare our hearts for the season. Also, since the girls are a little bit older (4,3 & 2) they are able to understand more about the first Thanksgiving.

Top 5 Thanksgiving Themed Books for Preschoolers

These books are not ranked in any particular order. These are just five of the many Thanksgiving themed books we have been enjoying this season. This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase it won’t cost anything extra for you, but our family will receive a small commission. I thank you for your consideration and support.

‘Twas the Night Before THANKSGIVING

Written and Illustrated by Dav Pilkey.

This story is about eight students who ventured off onto a field trip to see Farmer Mack Nuggett and his 8 tiny turkeys. During the field trip, the students learn about the farm and befriend the turkeys and you won’t believe how the story ends…

My girls loved the rhyming and adorable watercolor styled images in this story.

Balloons over Broadway

Written by Melissa Sweet, A Caldecott Honor Winner

A Thanksgiving tradition for our family is to participate in a turkey trot.  However, for many families, it might be to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Balloons over Broadway is a whimsically written story based on the history of the Macy’s Day Parade.

In this book, you will learn all about how Tony Sarg began his work for Macy’s by designing the window decor, and eventually started the famous balloons we watch each year on Thanksgiving morning. This book was also awarded The Robert F. Sibert Medal.

 

The Thanksgiving Story

Written by Alice Dalgliesh and Illustrated by Helen Sewell

This book is a great way to introduce your preschoolers to chapter books. There are limited images in this book, but with 5 short chapters (2-3 pages) this book is a great tool for 1) teaching your child about Thanksgiving and 2) reading comprehension and recall. This book also received the Caldecott Honor.

 

Turkey Trouble

Written by Wendi Silvano and Illustrated by Lee Harper. 

Follow along as one turkey discovers he’s in trouble. This cute little story is a quick and easy read for your family. One that’s sure to make you laugh.

Bear Says Thanks

Written by Karma Wilson and Illustrated by Jane Chapman 

The “Bear Books” are a popular series of stories written by Karma Wilson. Each story teaches an important lesson for toddlers and preschoolers. Bear Says Thanks is no different.

This story recreates the first Thanksgiving, and Bear learns to be grateful. With large beautiful images and limited text per page. this Story is perfect for your toddlers and preschoolers. It is also an option for beginning readers.

These are just five of the books we’ve been reading to our family. There are so many more available. Comment below, what are your favorite stories to read to your family during Thanksgiving?


Looking for more fun things to do with your Preschooler for Thanksgiving? Check out this Pinterest board

Toddler Activities Featuring Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is one of my favorite stories. I first discovered it when I was doing my student teaching internship, and fell in love! There are so many activities to do with this book and can be modified to encourage learning at any age. I’ve been using this book for the last couple of months, and today I wanted to share some of the fun activities we have been doing.

About Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

The book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, and is a number one best seller on Amazon.com This simple story helps children identify all 26 letters of the alphabet in a fun and rhythmic way. The beginning starts with a challenge from the Letter A to the Letter B, claiming that they will beat them to the top of the coconut tree, as you can imagine, the dare trickles down the alphabet and to find out what happens, you’ll have to read the story.

Here are a couple of my favorite ways to use this story to encourage higher learning with my toddlers and preschooler.

Music: Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom

Did you know this book has also been translated into a song? This adorable song has helped my 2 and 1-year-old learn their alphabet. It is absolutely adorable to hear the voice of my sweet little 1 year old try to sing her alphabet to the tune of the song.

You can find the song by searching Chicka Chicka Boom Boom on Youtube or purchase it from Amazon Music*.

 

Art: Draw the Coconut Tree

An activity for all ages is to actually draw the coconut tree. I purchased some large drawing paper and crayons from my local Dollar Tree.

Reading: Letter Recognition

Since the entire story is about the alphabet, this story is great for helping children identify their letters. To help me understand exactly what my girls are understanding and how much they know about the letters, I developed a quick little Letter Quiz.

The front cover of our book as the enter alphabet, both upper and lower case letters. Before reading the story to my girls we would open the book and I’d point to a letter and quiz the girls on them. This is especially important because it’s easy to memorize the letters and what comes next, but are they really understanding the shapes of the letters? When you quiz them in this fun and casual environment, you can really see what they are understanding!

Reading: Book Knowlege

Perhaps it is the teacher in me or the fact that my husband is a librarian – who knows. But, we always take our time to go over the parts of the book with our girls before reading. This simple task will increase your child’s vocabulary, and assist in school readiness.

Build Vocabulary with your Children

Math: Counting

Confession time, Math is not my strongest skill. I’m actually a little terrified for when my kids start school because I’m pretty sure their math homework is going to intimidate me a bit. Even though I am terrible at Math, I try very hard to incorporate math into daily routines, even with simple things like reading a story.

Ways to encourage Math with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

  • How many pages?
  • Count the Letters of the Alphabet.
  • Can you count the letters on the coconut tree?

As you can see, this book can be used in so many ways to encourage learning with your toddler and preschooler.

The question of the Day: What is your favorite children’s book? 

 

Storybook Erin is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.