Summer Reading With #QuartoKnows

Disclaimer: I received books for my children in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Yay for summer! In my house, we still do school in the summer, but we change it up a big. We do daily workbooks, bible study, reading, and a unit study. I try to work all subjects in to the unit study, in one way or another. I like to find awesome books to base our unit studies on.

During the summer, I also try some special creative projects and do a lot of research- while I watch the kids play outside. Quarto Knows was nice enough to send me some books to help make our summer awesome!

Gardening Lab For Kids

Gardening Lab for KidsWe love to garden, so why not bring more into it and turn a fun family activity into lesson plans? Gardening Lab For Kids ($19.99), by Renata Brown, has allowed me to do just that. There are 52 experiments in its pages, which is just perfect for all year, but especially the summer.

A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Author Renata Fossen Brown guides your family through fun opportunities learning about botany, ecology, the seasons, food, patience, insects, eating, and cooking. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on outdoor experiences. The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over - with different results each time! Garden Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new gardeners. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises. So, slip on your muddy clothes, and get out and grow! 

How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons

How to Code in 10 Easy LessonsSo, my husband and I are pretty much geeks. That also means that my children are geeks. Tbomb can work his tablet (regular Android tablet- DragonTouch) just like an adult. He can build amazing Minecraft worlds, and he is only 5. When he gets a new game, he figures it out on his own. Well, with technology becoming the way of the world, we want the kids to have a working knowledge early on. Who knows, he may end up being a game designer. When I saw this book, I knew we had to have it for the littles. These lessons will be for rainy summer days. Learn how to code in 10 easy lessons ($12.95), by Sean McManus, has not disappointed!

From writing simple coding instructions using Scratch software, to learning the coding skills to create your own computer game and even design your own website, this book leads the way. By breaking this daunting subject down into the 10 "super skills" needed, young readers can get familiar with computer coding and build on their skills as they progress through the book. Starting off with a short introduction that poses the question, "What is coding?," the super skills of coding then explains how to use Scratch coding software to give coding instructions, write simple code, and use loops; debug and fix code; and use coding knowledge to create a simple computer game and a webpage using simple HTML. With easy-to-follow explanations accompanied by clear, step-by-step graphics throughout, this is a great first coding book for middle-school children, ages 8+ interested in learning about computer science and web design.

The Loch Ness Monster and Other Unexplained Mysteries

The Loch Ness Monster and Other Unexplained MysteriesAs many of you know, I am a Bigfoot researcher and investigator. My interest goes well beyond the Bigfoot-like creatures, though. While I may be more interested in some than others, I love studying cryptid creatures. This book has been wonderful for my research, especially for my upcoming book. I just love reading about the first sightings and this book is full of them. Tbomb, my littlest squatcher, is also intrigued with this book- he loves the pictures and asks me to read them to him when he finds a picture interesting. The Loch Ness Monster and Other Unexplained Mysteries ($39.96), by JF Derry, is fun for the whole family.

It’s 80 years after the first modern-day sighting of the Loch Ness Monster and yet despite frequent eye witness accounts since then, sonar images and even video footage, still no one knows for sure whether there really is a serpent-like prehistoric behemoth inhabiting the famous Scottish lake. More amazing is that Nessie is only one of countless extraordinary terrestrial and extraterrestrial life-forms that have been reported worldwide over the course of the last century or so: the Yeti and Bigfoot; British big cats such as The Beasts of Bodmin and Stroud; paranormal manifestations in the form of ghosts, banshees and poltergeists; and visitors from other worlds, aliens and their UFOs. The list is astonishing and extensive, but the remarkable Daily Mirror archive has accumulated a wealth of articles and pictures from sightings, visitations, apparitions and alien abductions, many of which are now collected together in this otherworldly monster of a book, “Loch Ness Monster and Other Unexplained Mysteries."

Nature's Day: Out and About

Nature's Day: Out and AboutWe spend A TON of time outdoors, especially in the summertime. Even if we aren't camping or exploring trails, we are in the yard and woods around our house. We like to walk around the kids' great-grandparents' house - they don't have a fence and have more wildlife. Sometimes, when we are outside, the kids will get a bit too wild and even start to get irritated at each other. I like to change their focus and get them finding something or working together on something. This book makes it simpler than ever. In fact, I keep it in the tote I carry to the bottom part of the yard with me (its outside the fence at the edge of the yard and if I take a tote, I don't have to run back to the house for everything the kids need). We also keep a "nature book" with it, just in case- and some crayons. The kids love Nature's Day: Out and About: Spotting, making and collecting activities ($9.99), by Kay Maguire
and Danielle Kroll, and even ask to do some of the activities in it.

Following on from the success of Nature's Day, this beautiful activity book by the same author and illustrator shows children how to interact with their surroundings. Activities include spotting different leaves, birds, flowers, and insects, how to make plaster-cast animal tracks, how to mimic birdsong, and how to write a poem inspired by a walk in the woods. This activity book will inspire children to discover the world of wonder that awaits on their doorstep. 

Kids' Art Kits

My kids absolutely love these kits. They are great for travel too. They have everything that is needed for an art adventure- drawing diretions, paper, markers, colored pencils, and a pencil sharpener, all in an awesome case. Tbomb and Kodabug have spent hours with them. Tbomb loves Angry Birds, so he enjoys trying to make his own scenes. Kodabug loves Minnie Mouse, and loves pretending to be like her brother. These will definitely be going on our trip to Florida!

Learn to Draw Angry Birds: Learn to draw all of your favorite Angry Birds and Those Bad Piggies! ($9.95). The ever-growing popularity of the Angry Birds video game has sparked a worldwide phenomenon. What started as a fun, quirky game in 2009 has since evolved into a full-fledged movement with a huge online presence and fan base that includes hundreds of millions of children, teens, and adults. Now, with Learn to Draw Angry Birds, fans of the growing franchise will learn to draw all of the Angry Birds characters using easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.

Learn to Draw Disney Minnie & Daisy Best Friends Forever KitLearn to Draw Disney Minnie & Daisy Best Friends Forever Fabulous Fashions - Learn to draw Minnie, Daisy, and their favorite fashions and accessories - step by step! ($7.96) When Minnie Mouse isn't with her beloved Mickey, she's having fun adventures with her best pal, Daisy Duck. Now young artists can learn to draw these friends at their most stylish as the fashionistas show off their colorful wardrobes and accessories! Learn to Draw Disney Minnie & Daisy Best Friends Forever: Fabulous Fashions stands out among art books for children by combining a sought-after interest in fashion with two of Disney's most beloved - and fashion forward - characters. Fans of fashion and Disney will be delighted to get an exclusive look at how these two iconic friends play and have fun together. The book begins with an introduction to both Minnie and Daisy that includes a lesson on how to draw them from basic shapes, such as ovals and circles, followed by a brief look at the tools and materials young artists will need to draw the projects. The beautifully illustrated drawing lessons in Learn to Draw Disney Minnie & Daisy Best Friends Forever: Fabulous Fashions include step-by-step, simple-to-follow instructions with each new step shown in blue so young artists know exactly what to draw next. Each step builds upon the previous, progressing to a finished piece of color artwork. Along the way, professional Disney artists and illustrators share helpful tips and tricks for drawing Minnie, Daisy, and their fashionable skirts, tops, dresses, shoes, and accessories! With Minnie and Daisy acting as guides, each essential element of their wardrobes is easy and fun to draw for any young admirer!

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