With Thanksgiving approaching, gratitude is given more thought and action, but gratitude shouldn’t be limited to the month of November or Thanksgiving.


Silver Creek Gardens


flowers from SC Gardens


Gratitude, a feeling growing deep within our hearts, should be nurtured and developed daily.

Sahnnon and Meghan Spring picts

We often hear of an attitude of gratitude. The saying has a catchy ring to it, but what does it mean? What is gratitude?

Gratitude is more than saying, “Thank you” when someone gives you something. Have you received a “Thank you,” but felt that the words were forced or felt there was no sincerity behind them? Perhaps what was missing was gratitude.

           Saying, “Thank you” is good manners, but gratitude comes from the heart and it can’t be forced into existence. 

I watched a child tear open her Christmas present and the body language oozed disappointment. She politely said, “Thank you,” but the spontaneous feeling of gratitude was missing. She was thankful for the new outfit, but what she actually wanted was an iPhone.

Gratitude is more than delighting in a gift and it’s more than feeling happy that you got something you wanted.


               Happiness … delight …

                                            … directed towards the  giver  of something good. 130815GraftonGap-055

That good thing may be an act of goodness, kindness, and caring.

Teach your child good manners as well as an appreciate toward the giver of something good.



  • Start Early-Children are not born with a desire to express thankfulness or gratitude. Very young children can express thankfulness for people, pets, and things. Preschoolers are beginning to understand being grateful for material things as well as acts of kindness and love.
  • Live It Daily-Show your children little things you’re thankful and grateful for: sunny days, smiles, pets, bus drivers, broccoli, picking up toys.
  • Let Children Help– By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, children realize that all these things take effort. They learn to appreciate the people who give them good things (clean clothes, hugs, ride to their friend’s house)
  • Encourage generosity- Share yourselves. Look for opportunities to be generous. With your child: make cupcakes for the mail carrier, donate and deliver dog food to the pet shelter.
  • Be Patient-Learning to be grateful takes time. Your efforts will pay off.
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Dinosaur Day

Children love dinosaurs and it’s not just a “boy” thing. Both girls and boys are fascinated by these animals of long-ago. Children love acting like dinosaurs—roaring and stomping. They enjoy dinosaur stories, want to watch dinosaur movies and play dinosaur games. They dress as dinosaurs and decorate their bedrooms with dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs may be enormous, dangerous, and powerful, but this only adds to their appeal.  While a pacing tiger in a zoo can be frightening to a child, a roaring, hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) creates no fear. Instead, dinosaurs are loved.  Dinosaurs can’t hurt them. Children know they are safe because dinosaurs are extinct. Very young children may say, “They aren’t real.” In time and maturity, extinction can be explained.

Many children’s books portray dinosaurs as mean, disobedient, compulsive, and getting what they want. Children enjoy seeing the dinosaur getting away with the behaviors and actions that are unacceptable for them. They can inwardly cheer for the defiant dinosaur. The underdog (dinosaur) wins. To the child, he/she wins. And many parents don’t view this as teaching and reinforcing inappropriateness to children. They would rather have their children reading about the dinosaur’s misbehavior than having their children continually acting defiantly, angry and throwing tantrums. The dinosaur’s behavior opens the door for conversation.

I love Mercer Mayer books (Little Critter books) so I decided to read his dinosaur book, TOO MANY DINOSAURS. A desperate boy buys a horn to call his run-away baby triceratops and ends up calling Mama triceratops and more. The children loved the twist at the end. We then decided to create our own dinosaur horns. If you make one, be careful what you call.


Dinosaur activities are included on my dinosaur activity page. //…nd-picture-books/

Check out the list of dinosaur books on the activity page.

Look for more ideas on my Pinterest page.


Enjoy your little dinosaur!


First Time Story Time

A new school year.
A new story time.
A new group of children.

Not knowing the ages, interests, or attention span of the children, it was difficult for me to select books for story time. So I decided to open with a favorite, Eric Carle’s, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Some children may have recognized the book from the library; some may have a copy at home or at their grandparent’s home.

It’s comforting to share a familiar, favorite book when the children may be feeling uncomfortable, timid, or apprehensive. This time, the children would help me with the story. I brought a bowl of toy food—all the foods found in story, a caterpillar puppet, a large leaf (mine was cloth), a lunch bag cocoon, and a homemade butterfly.

While I shared the story, the children fed the caterpillar, with munching, crunching, lip-smacking sounds until the caterpillar was no longer hungry and no longer tiny. It curled up in the paper bag cocoon and slept. Finally, the caterpillar “chewed” a hole in the side of the cocoon. And you know what emerged.
No longer tiny, no longer hungry, and no longer a caterpillar.

Inviting the children to participate in the story captured their attentions and hearts, setting the stage for other books I planned to read.

Are you reading to a new group of children? Consider starting with a favorite and bring your props.

Happy reading!