Can you nest in a nest?

Did you check out the Monday Book Club suggestion, “Mama Outside, Mama Inside”? The outside mama was busy building a nest for her eggs to hatch and grow in until they were ready to fly off and be grown-up birds. A nest is a cozy, warm, safe place for baby birds to grow.

So, how do we use this word to build a child’s vocabulary? Here’s 3 quick tips to teach the word nest:

  • nestAsk your child what a nest is. Perhaps there is a nest in your yard or neighborhood. Quickly, before the leaves pop on the trees, go look in the branches for evidence of nests. Do you have a birdhouse near? Perhaps in a bird refuge or park? Read a book about birds (check out our April Book List for suggestions at: ) and point out the nest in the pictures.
  • Explain that nests are built by the birds. Each different bird uses different materials to build a “perfect for them” kind of nest. And if you want to see nests (and eggs and birds in action) check out this link to the Cornell University bird site:
  • To show your child that nests are nice for humans, too, build a nest out of blankets and pillows and snuggle in your nest for a family story time and maybe even a little nap!

Try these ideas and your child will always remember what a nest is!

All Moms have a lot in common, regardless of species!

Two expectant moms, waiting for their babies to arrive; one on the inside of the window, one on the outside of the window. mama inside

In Mama Inside, Mama Outside by Dianna Hutts Aston a mama bird prepares for her eggs to hatch, building a sturdy nest with papa bird. Inside the house, human parents prepare for the arrival of their baby by getting the nursery ready. The story weaves a connection between the 2 expectant mamas as they go through the steps of preparing for the new arrivals.

To see what’s going on in bird nests around the country, check out the website for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: all About Birds at

You can see baby eagles and owls and hummingbirds and lots more! Have fun learning about baby birds!




Another great Spring book to share on this glorious day!

If by chance you are reading Make Way for Ducklings to your little ones while visiting Mrs. Mallard and family at the Boston Gardens or your local duck pond, here’s another great duck book to grab at the local library before you go!

A Mama Duck and her 8 ducklings share a snug nest on the side of a pond in this Caldecott Honor Book by Nancy Tafuri. (Look for the Caldecott Medal on the book’s cover; it represents the best illustrations for the year the book was published.) In the book, Have You Seen My Duckling?, the story is told through pictures and very few words.

ducklingsBe sure to look carefully at the title page or you will miss the beginning of the action in this sweet story about a family of 7 ducklings who stay where they are supposed to and one who is a bit of a wanderer. Mama Duck looks everywhere for her missing baby and asks her friends around the pond, “Have you seen my duckling?”

Be sure to look for the missing duckling on each page! After you have shared the story of Mama looking for her missing baby, go back through the book again and tell the story of the wandering duckling. This is a great time to remind your own little one that it is not safe to wander away from your parents no matter how interesting something looks!

Boston Marathon bound? Check out this family reading idea!

In Boston for the Marathon?

Make the Boston Gardens a must do for the family!

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey tells the story of soon-to-be parents looking for the ideal neighborhood to build their first home. Yes, the expectant parents are ducks, but the lessons to be learned apply to all species!



Things like:

  • Listen to your parents! Come when they call you!
  • Stay together! Don’t wander off!
  • Drink lots of clean water! Eat healthy food!
  • Look both ways before crossing the street!


Check out this fun story with your child. Practice walking in a line. Rhyme with your child’s name. Build a nest out of pillows and blankets for nap or rest time! Practice quacking and waddling!

And the entire story is set in Boston! If you are traveling to Boston for the marathon this weekend or over the summer for vacation, be sure to grab this book and walk the path Mrs. Mallard took with the ducklings ending up at the Boston Public Garden for a swan boat ride and a picture with the famous ducklings!

Do thoughts of bedtime give you nightmares? Check this out:

Think about the perfect night of sleep!

Where are you?

In a hammock on a warm island beach?

Buried under a down comforter in a soft feather bed?


We all have different ideas about that perfect sleep experience. I need a dark, quiet room preferably with some white noise, cool temperature, MY pillow, sheets tucked in tight at the foot of the bed, and the top sheet folded down 3 inches over the top of the blanket. Yes, I have issues. If I was a princess, I would have felt that pea! Your child has preferences, too.

bedtime routineSome uneventful morning, while your child is still in bed, talk about perfect sleep. Have them tell you what it feels like and sounds like and looks like. Then just like the magical wizard that you are, you can make it happen. At the right time!

The key is to have the room ready when your child walks in. There can be no question that it is bedtime in that room! Prep it before dinner or during the bath or teeth brushing time:

  • Turn off all but the one light needed to read. Book already picked out, maybe before supper is a good time to make bedtime book decisions.
  • Have soft music playing, the bed turned back and ready to climb in, maybe a white noise machine.
  • Stuffed animal lovies should be waiting in bed.
  • If you do a glass of water near the bed, have it ready to go.
  • You may need to cover toys with a blanket to keep them out of sight.

We all know that bedtime is not the time to be thinking about things, having discussions, and making choices. But when you prepare the room before bedtime, the room itself will help send the message that the fun day is over and there is nothing left to do but get in bed and go to sleep. Try it, the prep work is worth the extra effort. (It may take a few nights to change your bedtime culture, but stick with it. You could be having evening adult time a little sooner in your home and that would be worth the work!)