Written and images on this blog are Judie Ryan's sole property unless otherwise indicated.

Friday, November 18, 2016


One of the great experiences for very young children is watching the leaves turn colors. Then, when the leaves fall to the ground jumping in, rolling in, throwing them into the air. In my Books-in-Action Classes, I want to make sure that kids, even the ones with handicaps or severe allergies, have this experience. You can do the same thing at home. Find inexpensive bags of colored silk leaves, available anytime of year but mostly before Halloween or Thanksgiving, or on sale afterwords. Be sure to have adult rakes and kid plastic rakes on hand. Then, drop the leaves as if they were falling from a tree ot the sky. The more leaves the better. Let the kids roll in them. Pile them. Play in them. Get your munchkins to help you rake the leaves up or carry them into a big pile and jump in them.  After all play is done and the kids want to start over, help the kids rake and put them in a children's wheel barrow or whatever you'd like to put them in. Tschaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy or Waltz of the Snowflakes make great musical accompaniment for leaf play or just plain spinning and dancing.. It also helps to find books-fiction or non-fiction about fall and leaves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Here it is National Adoption Awareness Month and I'm too sick with allergies and asthma to let you know. My apologies for being so far behind, I've just been very sick when  I get asthma. Adoption Month is the most important month to me, because my daughter is adopted. Not just that, many of my cousins and other family members are adopted. I never forgot the adoption story of my cousin Pam. She was born a blue baby because she had a hole in her heart. She didn't get enough oxygen, so she had to have open-heart surgery. It sounded like a really scary thing because I was only about six myself and I can't imagine what I thought a blue baby was. Most of my husband cousins are adopted too. It's just something that is totally normal to our family. We could never consider an adopted child to be any different from a genetic child. But that's not true of every family. I wanted to introduce my baby to a friend I'd had since seventh grade. Her sister had two adopted children and finally gave birth to a genetic child. When my friend talked about the genetic child, she described him as "perfect.'"He doesn't try to be that way," she'd say, "He just is." That didn't bother me a whole lot until I adopted my own baby. My friend's two genetic nephews were nearly grown by the time I adopted Julia. I wanted her to meet Julia because I was so excited and because we'd been friends with all the ups and downs of long term friendship for many years. I can't what restaurant my husband and I and Julia met her, but soon after we were all together, my friend started talking about her adopted nephews (Not the perfect genetic one). She said, "I'm always telling them, they're too smart to be in our family." Well. what family do they belong in? I thought. I could just imagine her saying something like that to Julia as she grew old enough to know what adults were talking about. Having read a million books (well not really a million) on how to talk to children about adoption, I said, "You know, _______, you're adoption language isn't very good." To my surprise, although I'd known her for more than 20 years, she got up and left and I haven't heard from her since. Adoption is a sensitive topic for everyone involved and I can't imagine anything more wonderful happening to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


FROM JUDIE" Good for rainy days in October or November. Right? I'd make the craft last longer, by using white paper and letting kids paint or marker the circles with fall colors. Each child's pumpkin would be different. A collection of pumpkins could be made into garlands or mobiles. Link this craft to literacy by starting activities with a pumpkin children's book like "Too Many Pumpkins."