Kids Summer Reading Book List

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Summer has officially begun for some already and I thought a summer reading book list for kids might be handy!

There is nothing that reminds me of summer vacation like the idea of sitting against a tree on a beautiful summer day getting lost in a new land.  When I was a kid books were my way of traveling to far off places (and times).

One thing that I suggest when choosing some summer reading books for your kids is to choose books that are easier reading than they are normally used to.  There is no reason that they need to read a 500 page novel (unless they want to of course) and summer reading is supposed to be fun….not work!

Don’t forget to check out all of these FREE Kids Summer Reading Programs!

Also most of the books listed below are on sale Buy 3 Get One FREE!

Elementary School

Pinkalicious - Ages Kindergarten & Up

This sparkling picture book, filled with such favorites as pink bubble gum, pink peonies, pink cotton candy, and pink fairy princess dresses, celebrates all things pink while showing that being yourself is best of all.

My Father’s Dragon - Ages 6 & Up

The Giving Tree - This is one of my families favorite childhood books!  

The Magic Treehouse Books - Ages 8 & up

Jack and his little sister Annie are just two regular kids from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. Then they discover a mysterious tree house packed with all sorts of books…and their lives are never the same! Soon they are traveling through time and space in the magic tree house and having amazing adventures. Whether it’s watching baby dinosaurs hatch, finding a secret passage in a castle, helping a ghost queen in an Egyptian pyramid, or finding pirate treasure, readers won’t want to miss a single story!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid- Greg Heffley is in big trouble. School property has been damaged, and Greg is the prime suspect. But the crazy thing is, he’s innocent. Or at least sort of.

Junie B Jones – These are the stories of a girl that trouble always follows.

The Boxcar Children - I LOVED this series when I was younger and so did my kids!

The Chronicles of Narnia – This is another series that my family and I enjoyed reading aloud together!

The Black Lagoon Books –  These fun-filled chapter books mix school, monsters, and common kid problems with hilarious results.

Percy Jackson - My son was a very reluctant reader and I had pretty much given up hope when I stumbled upon Percy Jackson!  You can read how one book had the ability to turn my son into a voracious reader (at least until he’d read the entire series).

Mike Lupica Books - Ages 8 & Up  These look to be mostly sports themed and comes highly recommended by a Paula, the mom of 3 boys.

Gary Paulsen Books – Ages 10 & Up These also come highly recommended for boys.

Little House on the Prairie -  You could let your child loose with these books, or sit down and read them aloud with them.  We read them aloud and it has become a family favorite memory.

Rick Riordan Books - Ages 10 & Up My son LOVED all of the books by Rick Riordan that he has read.  And that’s saying a lot since whe would rather have a tooth pulled than actually read for the fun of it ;)

High School

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Thanks to the popularity of the movie based on the first book, people of all ages are curious to read the series.  I read it and loved it, as did my son who is 14 years old and not a huge fan of reading.  in fact the following book is the only reason I was ever able to get him to read anything “for fun”.

The Lord of the Rings – This series is even better than the popular movies based on the story.

Nicolas Sparks - My daughter read every one of his books that she could get her hands on one year when she was about 17 years old.

Cornelia Funk Books - There are several highly recommended books by this author.

Don’t forget to pick up a couple of Craft & Activity Books! These are great to keep on hand for long car rides too. Also it would be a lot of fun to have a nature activity book available for spur of the moment backyard fun!

Are there any books missing from this list that you would recommend?

Baking Soda Activities For Kids

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baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Baking Soda and kids: two things that go together so beautifully, I am learning!

Darah, my almost 4-year-old daughter, was recently well into another summer day at home (and by “well into” I mean that it was 8:30 am) when she announced, “I’m bored!”

Oh really? You’re bored? How fascinating. And what’s that? Oh, this is my problem? I see. Hmm…well, Pinterest told me to get out a baking pan, some vinegar, food coloring and a butt load of baking soda. Let’s see what happens when we put it all together, shall we?

Fizzy Colored Sand

Step 1: Lay out all the above mentioned ingredients. I added just one drop of food coloring into the small bowls of vinegar. The next time we do it, I’ll add two to give the colors more pop. Be sure not to forget the smock or bib for your little artist, as well as a small stuffed tiger. Ok, you don’t actually need the tiger, but it does add something rather exotic, I think. :-)

baking soda kids acndtivity: fizzy colored sa

Step 2: Show your child how to use a dropper to collect the vinegar they want to use.

baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Step 3: Watch the vinegar color the baking soda and produce a fun fizz.

baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Step 4: Relish the moment where your child thinks you just made some magic.

baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Step 5: Admire all the beautiful colors. This is the last moment where everything will look nice and neat.

baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Step 6: LEAVE THE ROOM! Go enjoy a little peace and quiet while your artist/scientist/magician/no longer bored child plays and plays.

baking soda kids activity: fizzy colored sand

Step 7: Admire the mess your child made while you got a little bit of work/cooking/watching reality tv accomplished. Be absolutely tickled by how much of the mess stayed in that baking dish! Vow to repeat this exercise weekly. :-)

I hope this activity helps cure some of the summer boredom in your house. Have you got any “go to” projects that your kids are enjoying? I’d love to hear about them!

You can find more simple summer tips and tricks from Tiffany, as well as the latest on all kinds of things that make parenting a little less hectic and a lot more fun over at Stuff Parents Need. You can also steal be inspired by other great ideas Tiffany finds on Pinterest. See you over there!

Disney’s Inside Out Activity & Coloring Pages

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The newest Disney movie Inside Out hits theaters June 19th!

Fun Facts from the Indie Out movie:

PICTURE THIS – The background memories on shelves inside or outside of Headquarters are shots from the “Married Life” scene in “Up.”

ROAD TRIP – As Riley and her parents trek to San Francisco, they come across birds on a telephone wire from production designer Ralph Eggleston’s 2000 short film “For the Birds.”

GLOBAL DÉCOR – The globe in the Riley’s classroom has been used in all the “Toy Story” films.

FAMILIAR FASHION – One of Riley’s classmates is wearing a camo pattern made up of “Toy Story” characters.

STUCK ON YOU – Some of the background city cars of San Francisco have bumper stickers from “Cars.”

TECH SAVVY – Dad’s company, Brang, is a nonsense word intended to sound like a startup that would fit in in the San Francisco tech scene.

SIGN HERE – A sign on a parking meter in San Francisco reads, “Quarters and Dollar Coins or Barter During Burning Man.”

IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION – As a tribute to the Walt Disney Family Museum, the filmmakers set Riley’s hockey rink in the exact spot the museum is located in San Francisco.



Print out the Inside Out Coloring pages and Activities for your kids to enjoy in anticipation of what many are saying is the best Disney animated film yet!

Spot the Difference

Joy & Sadness Coloring Page

Headquarters Door Hanger

Emotions Around the World

Connect the Dots

Crazy MazeInsideOut5473b3b17344e

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco.

Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life.

As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters.

Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Free Kids Plane Ride

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Are you looking for a unique experience for your child this summer?


Might I suggest the FREE Flights for Kids from EAA?

We did this with my son several years ago and he loved it. How many of us can say we have flown a real airplane?

This is not just a plane ride, the pilots allow each child the opportunity to take control of the plane and fly it themselves!


After they finish their flight, they get a neat certificate, but I am willing to bet that it pales in comparison to the actual bragging rights of saying you’ve flown a plane.



Ever wondered what your neighborhood looks like from the sky? Or maybe you’re curious how airplanes even work. You might even dream about being a pilot.

If you’re nodding your head “Yes” and are between the ages of 8 and 17, you’re ready to take a free Young Eagles flight and see what real pilots do on the ground and in the air.

Since 1992, more than 1.8 million Young Eagles have enjoyed a flight from EAA’s network of volunteer pilots. For many, it was the start of their journey to becoming a pilot, aircraft mechanic, air traffic controller, or many other career possibilities.

Find a location near you.


Free Microsoft Kids Summer Camp

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Microsoft Stores around the country are offering free Summer Camps for kids.

Kids ages 8 and older get hands-on experience with the latest technology as they learn how to code, create games, and use their creativity and imagination.

This summer’s four camps are all-new, with two designed for coding beginners and two for intermediates looking to take their skills to the next level with Project Spark, Kodu, and TouchDevelop, and more.

YouthSpark Summer Camps:

    • Smart Game Coding (Beginner, ages 8 to 11)

    • Smart Game Design (Beginner, ages 8 to 11)

    • Smart Game Coding (Intermediate, ages 11 and older)

    • Smart Game Design (Intermediate, ages 11 and older) 

Each camp run four consecutive days, and last two hours per day. While your child is in camp, parents can learn about online safety for their kids, try out a Surface 3, get a PC tune-up, and more.

Please note: The parent, legal guardian or authorized adult caregiver of every camp participant under 18 must sign a Participation Agreement on the first day of camp and remain in the Microsoft store for the duration of the event.  

Find out more details and register here.

Five more fun summer freebies for kids:

FREE Kids Summer Reading Programs
Kids Bowl FREE Program
Kids Fly a Real Plane FREE
FREE Kids Gardening Program

Let’s make this the best summer break ever!!

Free Kids Gardening Curriculum

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Organic Gardening is offering a FREE Kids Gardening Curriculum!

This is a fun and educational way to keep your kids happy on long Summer days, while teaching them new and valuable lessons.

When my kids were growing up, I always included them in my gardening.  There is evidence to suggest that kids who garden are more interested in eating their veggies along the way!

In fact even their friends from the neighborhood would come over looking for fun things to eat from the garden, helping me pull weeds, harvesting seeds, and watering the garden which almost always turned into a water fight!

Many recent studies have been conducted which prove that gardening increases nutritional awareness and may even affect children’s vegetable consumption!

This statistic, coupled with the fact that kids today spend two hours less on sports and activities per week than they did 20 years ago, makes DIG, PLANT, GROW! not just a fun educational tool, but a necessary one – getting children outside, seeing the fruits (literally!) of their labor is a great way to teach lifelong valuable lessons and empower kids to build a sustainable agricultural future.

Might I suggest the Sweetpea TeePee for a fun way to create a fort your kids will love!

Get your FREE Kids Gardening Curriculum today!