Best Free Books for Kids {+Amazon Fire HD Kids Edition Review}

Best Free Books for Kids on Amazon

There are some great free downloadable ebooks for kids on Amazon, if you dig around a bit.  These are free for Kindle, but you don’t need a Kindle to read them. You can download the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet.  As with all Amazon products, prices are subject to change.

free ebooks for kids

{This post contains affiliate links.} 

The Night Before Christmas and Other Popular Stories For Children

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Treasure Island

The Secret Garden

The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights

Little Women

Hobbit Lessons – Sampler: A Map for Life’s Unexpected Journeys

The Declaration of Independence of The United States of America

The United States Constitution

United States Bill of Rights

Gettysburg Address

Dolphins: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature (Our Amazing World Series Book 3)

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know


The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection

  [Read more…]

Ultimate Gift Guide for Homeschool Moms

Have your in-laws bought you ugly sweaters too many years in a row? Does your husband think a cheese slicer is an adequate way to show his love at the holidays?  Homeschool Moms, this one’s for you. Feel free forward a link to this post to your family or friends with a note like, “Hey, #3 is really cool!”  

What do homeschool moms need? Gifts for any budget.


{This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click a link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission but it doesn’t cost you more. This post also contains sponsored links. I only recommend products I love to my readers.}

Gifts for Homeschool Moms

1. Laminator  List price: $80.49. Sale Price at time of publishing this post: $31.69. This one is worth watching prices for as it goes on sale several times throughout the year.   I use this to laminate maps, chore charts, math games, and more. It enables us to re-use things and save them from one child to another. Plus, it’s really fun to laminate stuff. 

Ultimate Gift Guide for Homeschool Moms from Creekside Learning

 2.  Laser Printer with Wireless Networking  List price: $139.99  Sale price at time of publishing this post: $93.99.
Superfast and perfect for printing downloaded materials–especially curriculum and ebooks with a lot of pages– and the ink drum lasts FOREVER.  We use this printer daily and we’ve only replaced the ink drum 3 times in 3 years. Hint: If the printer tells you it’s low on ink, take the drum out, shake it and put it back in. This buys me several more months of use each time. 


Ultimate Gift Guide for Homeschool Moms | Creekside Learning

Drawback:  It only prints in black and white.
Solution:  Printing on colored copy paper. I don’t miss color printing nearly as much as I thought I would and the savings on expensive color ink cartridges is so, so worth it.  

3.  Homeschool Planner. $8.00  I’ve been using this planner since last September and I adore it. It’s super customizable. Melissa at Mama Miss Designs used real live homeschooling mommas to give her input on what to include in this planner. Print only what you’ll use. Print it out yourself or take it to a copy store. 

I love this homeschool planner. I'll be using it again next year!


4.  Basket full of office/school supplies:  Put together a pretty basket of Post-It Notes, Sharpies, mechanical pencils, paper clips, an extra stapler and tape dispenser (my kids are always taking my stapler and tape dispenser) and maybe a gift card to a local teacher supply store. 



Gifts for homeschool moms to fit every budget.



 5.  A Gracious Space: Daily Reflections to Sustain Your Homeschooling Commitment.  $9.95  Inspiration from Julie Bogart, homeschooling mom alumni.  In the one-per-day format, this book of 50 essays reminds us of why we do what we do. Although this is the fall edition, the essays are applicable to every season. A truly wonderful resource full of encouragement.

Love this daily inspiration for homeschooling parents. I read it every morning with my cup of coffee. Starts the day right.


 6.  The always loved  Amazon gift card for books, books, books and everything else, too. What can’t you get at Amazon, really? Live shrimp?  Actually you can buy live shrimp on Amazon. {Please note, if you are a husband reading this post for gift ideas for your wife, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT buy her live shrimp as a gift, unless she specifically asks for it.}

Gifts that homeschool moms love.


 7. Comb Binding System. I use this for many things, including downloaded curriculum that I’ve printed out, my homeschool planner, saving major space instead of using 3-ring binders for anything, and for special projects my kids are working on that contain a lot of pages, such as this book my daughter wrote and had on display in our local public library (I’m super proud of this kid!). 

Using a comb binding system in your homeschool.


 8.  Restaurant Gift Cards.  This is a great response when your in-laws ask you what you want for a gift.  Because saying “a laundress” seems a little over the top, even though it would be quite useful.  But I digress.  Gift cards for family favorite eat-in or take-out restaurants will be very much appreciated by any homeschooling family.  And, you can order them on Amazon. You don’t even have to leave your couch. 

Great gifts for homeschooling families.


9.  Babysitting Coupons. Cost: Your time.  People often ask homeschooling moms how we can spend all that time with our kids.  Guess what? Mostly, we can and we enjoy it and we cope with whatever happens on those not-so-good days but we all need a break.

 Bonus points if you babysit a homeschooling mom’s kids at your house, leaving her alone in her house to wear her fuzzy slippers and read a book. Make sure you tell her no cleaning, cooking or lesson planning allowed.  Do you know what silence sounds like in your own house?  Me, either, but I bet it is really lovely.  


This gift guide is part of the Gift Guides for Kids series, hosted by the fabulous Erica at What Do We Do All Day? Want to see more gift guides for all ages, interests and budgets? Click the photo below to go to 75+ more unique gift guides.

gifts for all budgets

Or stop by our collaborative Pinterest board and give your pinning fingers a work-out. 
Follow Erica • What Do We Do All Day?’s board Gift Guides for Kids on Pinterest.


Disclosure:  This post sponsored, in part, by Brave Writer. Affiliate links from Amazon and Mama Miss Designs. All photos used with permission. 


Fun Science Experiments for Kids ~ Hydrofoils

This fun and easy hands-on science experiment, using three ingredients you already have, is perfect for warm weather outside, or not-so-nice weather inside. Hydrofoils use water (that’s the hydro) and tinfoil (yup, you guessed it) to demonstrate the concept of buoyancy.  

Big thanks to Holly Homer and Rachel Miller of Kids Activities Blog and their new book {affiliate link}101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters! for some fun science experiments for kids, including this one. More on their fab book in a minute.

Hydrofoils:  Water Science Experiments for Kids from "101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!"

Supplies Needed

  • Water in a container, bathtub or sink.
  • Tinfoil.
  • Pennies.

This experiment is about design:  Designing a boat that can float well and hold the pennies without taking on water, testing it and re-designing it again uses critical thinking skills

Fun Science Experiments for Kids - Hydrofoils @creeksidelearn

I gave the kids two different types of tinfoil, one was heavier than the other, but I let them discover that for themselves. They each set out to build, test and re-build their boats.  

While they worked, we talked about the concepts included in the experiment from the book:  Water pressure pushing up and gravity pulling the boat down. That’s buoyancy. 

 Fun Science Experiments for Kids - Hydrofoils

They made big foil boats and small foil boats and experimented with flattening the bottoms of the boats by pressing them on the sidewalk. 

Hydrofoils were a hit! We hope you will like them, too.

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest Funnest Ever by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters! contains even more fun science experiments for kids, as well as crafts, games and boredom busters.  I love how each activity contains clear instructions and way to modify things for older or younger kids.  Each activity is geared towards kids from toddlers to 12-year-olds. Holly Homer and Rachel Miller are on a mission to create great activities for kids every day. You can find them at Kids Activities Blog and on Facebook and Pinterest

For more summer fun and learning ideas…

 Follow Julie Kirkwood, Creekside Learning’s board Summer on Pinterest.

I received this book for free for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. Read my disclosure page. Affiliate links in this post go to Amazon. I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if a purchase is made via these links. Thank you. 

Book Reviews: Helping Kids Understand and Manage Big Feelings

Our friends at Free Spirit Publishing were kind enough to send us some books to review from their Emotions and Behavior series. These picture books are a great way to introduce kids to understanding big emotions, the kind that often get so big so fast: anxiety, anger, fear.

Take a Deep Breath shows children in various situations that they find fearful:  swimming lessons, greeting unfamiliar dogs, going to the doctor, etc.  In each scenario, a trusted friend or family member talks the child through deep breathing and helps them get calm or be brave.


[Read more…]

The Day She Didn’t Give Up


My daughter watches, as her friends do things with ease: they open snacks, they button their coats, they ride their bikes without training wheels. These are things that don’t come easy to her. She is 7 and she has some challenges with motor planning, the way her brain tells her body when and where to move. She is aware that she is doing some things at a different pace than many of her friends. Sometimes, even her little brother reaches milestones that she still struggles with.

We talk a lot about how normal and okay that is. All babies learn to walk at different times: Some are on the go by 10 months, others at 15 or more. And we all have to work harder at some things. We tell her that she can–and will–get to the same place as her friends, eventually. She may have to work harder, but she will get there. We often turn to books and movies that have characters who persevere and reach their goals, to inspire her. Our most recent inspiration:  Monsters University.  

In this prequel to Monsters, Inc., Mike Wazowski, the little green guy who is all eyeball, heads to college, intent on being a professional scarer.  He works very hard, hitting the books constantly and practicing his scaring techniques. Enter James “Sully” Sullivan, the big, furry, blue monster. He barely cracks a book and fully expects to coast through college on his family’s reputation as famed professional scarers.

Much like Mike, my daughter has to work harder. She watches her friends, like Mike watches Sully, as they navigate things with ease. And sometimes, she gets scared and she gives up.

That’s what happened with the training wheels.

She insisted she was okay with still using her training wheels. She was afraid to fall, afraid she would not be able to balance her bike. So she settled in with her pink princess bike and it’s training wheels. And she grew bigger. Age 5 turned to 6 and she outgrew the bike. We bought a larger bike, with another set of training wheels. And she was content for another year.

Soon, her younger brother began to take an interest in riding his bike without training wheels. She watched him practice. Then one day, her training wheels broke. I had a hunch. I asked my husband to take them off the bike and sort of not get around to replacing them. I thought maybe if I could get her on the bike without them, assuring her that I would not let go unless she wanted me to, that maybe, just maybe we could start working on this.

But then I hurt my foot and I could do nothing but sit in the driveway while the kids played outside. Little brother, seeing that I was out of commission, asked Big Brother for help riding his bike without training wheels. And Big Brother dutifully walked Little Brother up and down the street, back and forth, helping him practice to balance his bike. It was completely adorable.

Then my daughter asked Big Brother to help her, too. Oh, my, I thought. This isn’t going to go well. These two are rivals and this plan, I feared, was bound to end poorly. But I saw something new on my daughter’s face. She was not afraid. She could see the goal.

And as her brother held on to her handlebars,  she wobbled and wiggled and soon fell, onto the grass. She was afraid again and said she was done. But then, Big Brother stepped up. He isn’t always her biggest cheerleader, but that day he was. Come on, you can do it.

He encouraged her to believe in herself. That made all the difference. In twenty minutes –yes, twenty minutes– she was riding that bike by herself. She was wobbling, but she didn’t fall and she wasn’t afraid. In fact, she was grinning from ear to ear.

First solo ride, just after Big Brother let go.

First solo ride, just after Big Brother let go.

She got there!

Mike and Sully got there, too. They wanted to be professional scarers but college didn’t quite work out. Instead, they started in the mail room at Monsters, Inc. and worked their way up to their original goal with perseverance.

Much like the Mike/Sully partnership, my daughter needed three things to succeed:

  • She worked hard. Very hard.
  • She had a friend to help. A friend who seemed unlikely at first, her Big Brother.
  • She took a different path than many kids her age, but she got there.

She hasn’t looked back. The next day she worked on using her brakes and turning and pretty soon she was riding in circles, riding fast and slow, zooming up and down the street.
I’m proud to be a part of  Walt Disney Studio’s Believe in Yourself, Never Give Up on Your Dreams campaign. Monsters University is coming!  
You can own it first on digital HD 10/8/13 and Blu-ray ™ Combo Pack 10/29/13.  
Monsters University Giveaway!
Comment on this blog post to win a $50 Visa Gift Card and a Monsters University Blu-ray™ Combo Pack.  In your comment, tell us how you believed in yourself and achieved a dream you had for yourself. BlogHer Ad Network will randomly select a winner from the comments. Winner will be notified via email. Open to US only. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By entering this contest, you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any or all liability in connection with this contest.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walt Disney Studios via BlogHer Ad Network.  All opinions are my own. For more information, see my full Disclosure Policy.

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