Thursday, September 21, 2023

From Seed to Pumpkin

While I am not a huge fan of the cooler weather (give me 85 degrees all year around, please!), I do love the fall colors!

Along with all the beautiful fall colors come pumpkins!


As a child, I lived by an apple orchard; each fall, they had THE BEST pumpkins to choose from. My sisters and I would walk through the vines debating which pumpkin would be perfect to carve! At the time, I didn't know there were many different varieties of pumpkins!

In spring 2022, we planted cooking pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns here at Books By The Bushel.

We documented and posted pictures and information on our website as they grew.

Last fall, we carved our Jack-o-lantern pumpkin and canned our cooking pumpkins. Yum!

And a few of our feathered friends enjoyed a yummy pumpkin meal!

Visit our website to follow the journey From Seed To Pumpkin! 

And be sure to check out our FREE downloadable activities!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with an Award-Winning Children's Book!

 Our buying team spends countless hours pouring over the latest in children's books. Some of the characteristics they look for in a book are:

  • Award Winning books
  • Relatable characters
  • Developmentally Appropriate
  • Important and teachable lessons
This month (September 15 to October 15), we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with an award-winning Children's Book.


Green is a chili pepper, spicy and hot. Green is cilantro inside our pot.

In this award-winning book*, children discover a rainbow of colors in the world around them. Many of the featured objects are Hispanic in origin, but all are universal in appeal.

This colorful book checks all our buying team's boxes with rich, exuberant illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary! 

We think you will love it too!

*An International Latino Book Awards Finalist, A Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Book, An ALSC Notable Children's Book, A New York Public Library Title for Reading and Sharing, A Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature Best Multicultural Book of the Year!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Tad the Tadpole Project 2022


Books by the Bushel has added a new section to our website called "Interactive Literacy Activities" to encourage a learning experience along with some of our great titles. Our latest addition to the butterflies is "Tad," the tadpole. Originally BBTB had purchased two tadpoles, and over a couple weeks, we learned that one was not going to progress the way the other tadpole was. And then there was only Tad. 

The BBTB tadpole project was underway as we patiently waited for something called metamorphosis to take place. Originally, Tad would have started as a tiny clear jelly-like egg. Found floating in ponds or rivers. This would have been stage one of the life of a tadpole.

Next, the tadpole grows into more of a fish with gills and a tail. Tad will hatch and swim along the pond edge, looking for algae and plants to eat. Making this stage two of the life of a tadpole.

Within three weeks of having Tad, the tadpole had grown in length and started to take shape more of a frog with a tail. Still no sign of legs. Research said that Tad would develop the back legs first. This would be the first sign that Tad was becoming a "froglet." Once Tad has grown back legs, it can leap around instead of just swimming. Tad will also grow lungs and prepare to breathe outside of the water.

The BBTB team had upgraded Tad's habitat to a larger tank with a bubbler. Added a faux rock and branch for Tad to climb up on when the time was needed to take a break and breathe. Tad really enjoys the bubbler! We watch Tad swim up to the bubbler and let it twist and twirl his body around. 

The Time Had Come, And Tad Has Legs!

The day had come that Tad had finally grown a start of a leg! Every day for several weeks, the BBTB team would check on Tad and observe for physical changes. What seemed like forever. One day a team member noticed Tad starting to grow a clear camouflage leg. It was small and tough to see. According to research, Tad was between 6 and 9 weeks old and officially was in the metamorphosis stage. Over the next 4 to 6 weeks, we will observe Tad becoming more like a frog. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 BBTB Painted Lady Butterfly Project

What a great experience we had here at the Books by the Bushel. Looking at the previous years with how Covid had affected things in many businesses. Most had foreseen ramping up their online and social media activity, bringing their customers into what is happening more behind the scenes. We had, and still currently, brainstormed for ways to interact with our beloved customers. This is what brought us to growing the Painted Lady's project. It was an exciting team-building project as well. Once the kit was ordered through amazon, our team anxiously waited to see them arrive in the mail. Finally, the day had come, and curiosity was in full motion.

Arrival Day

We each submitted a name we felt would fit our project. Considering we only purchased five caterpillars and we have eleven team members. We had to do a hat draw. The names chosen were Crunchy, Felicia, Fitzwilliam, Poppy, and Simon. Our team set up their habitat, and we were ready to start observing. We paired up this project with our book, The Life Cycle of Butterflies, written by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

At first, the caterpillars had to be observed from the jar they arrived in. They were about an inch in length and dark-colored with fuzzy hairs on their back. Nothing too distinctive about them yet. We noticed they would be particularly active in the morning and slow down throughout the day. Eat and sleep is what several of us would say they did. 

The interest grew immensely over the next couple of days as the caterpillars started to hang from the jar's lid. Curling into a "j" like figure and no longer moving about among the food. Periodically our team members would come in throughout the day to observe if any changes had occurred. Until one morning, we came in from the weekend to be very surprised. All of the caterpillars had morphed into the chrysalis stage. Four had made a secure webbing to hold onto the lid, and one had taken stage within the bottom of the jar among the food. The appearance of a gray-like shell with tiny gold specks now covered the "j" shaped caterpillar.

We had read that waiting an excellent solid three days would ensure the chrysalides were safe to move to the next part of the habitat. Removing the lid and placing them upright in a base provided. We needed to clear any extra webbing away from the chrysalides to prevent wing tangling once they were ready to emerge. Which was said to be in seven to ten days.

Now we wait.
Our team continuously checked on them throughout the week. Occasionally the chrysalides would shake and wiggle to "warn off danger" if we observed them too close. It was funny and fascinating to watch how this life process works. Imagine being out in nature and having no way to warn off your predators other than wiggling. Some say the chrysalides look like jewelry pieces from the gold sparkle specks. What if we were in ancient times and had no idea that this chrysalis was a living creature? What a surprise you would have once it broke free! 

Oh no!

A few days had passed, and to our excitement, Friday was a new stage for one of our chrysalides. A butterfly had emerged and was resting on the side of the lid. We noticed it was the darker one of the five. We had missed it! That morning we knew it was still in chrysalis form, and within a matter of minutes, we had a butterfly. We mixed up the "nectar" of sugar and water and soaked the sponge in the flower dish so that the butterfly would have it when ready. The other four were still holding strong and didn't show any signs of wanting to change, so we left the office for the weekend. Only to return Monday and find that the other four had made their appearance, and five butterflies were latched to the sides of the habitat. Sadly, we had missed all the transformations. But it was fantastic to see all the butterflies doing well in their netted habitat. Our team decided they should have a couple of days to dry out their wings and eat before releasing them. 

Releasing Day
Even though not all went as we had hoped for, the Books by the Bushel team really enjoyed this project. On our final day with our butterflies, we gathered outside and watched them fly off to find their new habitat in someone's garden. 

I imagine and hope they will bring someone else joy where there is a garden full of Hollyhocks, Verbena, and Coneflowers. So next time you are out and about and spot a Painted Lady butterfly, it could be one of our own Books by the Bushel's friends CrunchyFeliciaFitzwilliamPoppy, or Simon.


Friday, May 13, 2022

 Something Is Happening!!

It appears that two out of the five are preparing to morph into the next stage!
Our book says when it's time for them to pupate,they will hang upside down and shed their skin one last time before forming the chyrsalis!
We couldn't be more excited!!

 Say Hello To Our Five Little Books By The Bushel Caterpillars!

Meet Crunch, Felicia, Fitzwilliam, Poppy, and Simon! 
Soon to grow into painted lady Butterflies, these little guys arrived yesterday to much excitement here at Books By The Bushel!
Over the next three weeks, we will watch and update you on how they grow!
Follow along in our book "The Life Cycles of Butterflies"

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Benefits of coloring

With the development of technology, coloring has taken a back seat in children's learning. Coloring seems like a simple task but there are so many learning benefits for children when they are coloring.
Here are six learning benefits of coloring activities.
        1.  Fine Motor Development: Coloring helps children develop good finger grip. It provides an opportunity to practice holding a pencil the correct way and aids in developing those fine motor muscles in their hands, fingers, and wrist.
Includes stickers!
        2.  Concentration: Children’s length of concentration develops and improves over time. Coloring requires good concentration and this type of focusing on one task can help a child develop his or her overall concentration levels.
With over 90 pages of favorite nursery rhymes to color and more than 100 stickers to use, our Nursery Rhymes Coloring Book is perfect for practicing your coloring skills!
        3. Color Recognition: Using different colors gives children an opportunity to explore different combinations and lets them see how they can change the appearance of the picture. It is great also for gaining awareness of the lesser known colors.
        4.  Hand & Eye Coordination:   Coloring assists in the development of hand & eye coordination as the child learns to color within the specified area. Staying inside the lines takes considerable skill and when they master it, they gain a sense of pride and achievement.
         5.  Sense of Pride and Achievement:   We need to give young children every opportunity to gain self-confidence and a sense of self-worth. If they can create something that is aesthetically pleasing, then this will help in the positive development of their personality.
         6.  Creativity: Coloring stimulates creative thinking. As their confidence grows, they are more likely to take risks and experiment with color, patterns, and special effects with pencil or marker strokes.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Preschool Sports

Engaging in an athletic activity outside is very important for your preschooler’s development, and it can be a lot of fun too. Read on to learn about some of the other reasons why you will want your child playing sports.

Social Development and Benefits
Playing games of any kind is especially important for children when they are between three and five years old. When they start to play games, they will learn about following rules, taking turns, working with others, and how to win and lose. Sports can help your child learn these important lessons in a way that’s fun.
Let's Play Ball!

Great for Their Health
Playing and running outside will be really beneficial for your child’s health and physical development. Children are spending more and more time inside the house and this is reducing the opportunities for them to develop strength, balance, and coordination.

Meeting New Friends
Learning a sport with other children his age is a great way for him to meet other kids and make a few friends. It’s also a great way for you to make friends too.

Boosting Their Self-Esteem
There are dozens of studies that show the effects of sports on a child’s self-esteem. Giving your child an opportunity to play with others and compete can have powerful effects on your child’s confidence, even at a very young age.

Let’s play ball! Learn all about Soccer with this shaped board book that looks and feels like a real soccer ball!

Perfect for anyone who wants to get their child started early, Let’s Play Soccer teaches little ones the basic terms of the game. Shaped like a soccer ball, the book also features a textured, padded cover with stitching that feels like the real thing! Photographic interiors feature simple text that focuses on the joy of the game for kids and parents alike. Because having fun is the most important part!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Books for Buggies!

What are the jungle friends doing today?

Infants will love this sweet storybook perfect for reading while talking a walk with mom or dad! 
Buggy books include an attachment for strollers or buggies. Featuring bright, bold colors that provide visual and interactive stimulation for babies on the go!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Hello Summer!

The first day of summer (or the summer solstice) is the longest day of the year! What a great excuse to make a creative summer craft!

Hello Summer!
(Mixed media sunshine)
You will need:

  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Piece of cardboard or sturdy paper
  • Yellow craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Assorted items such as
    • buttons
    • felt shapes
    • wood pieces
    • textured paper
    • beads
    • foam
    • macaroni
How to:
  • Cut out a circle in a piece of cardboard
  • Glue assorted items to the cardboard and let it dry (try setting it in the sun for quicker dry time)
  • Cut out rays using the yellow construction paper
  • When the circle is dry, paint over the entire thing with the yellow craft paint
  • Glue the rays to the back of the sun circle
  • Hang and enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Beach and Ocean Sensory Bin

Beat the heat with this fun water sensory bin!

You Will Need:

  • Under bed storage bin
  • Ocean animal toys
  • Decorative shells (try the dollar store)
  • Play Sand
  • Water
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
How to:
  • Pour sand on one side of the bin
  • Place shells at the edge of the sand to create a barrier between the sand and water
  • Add food coloring to the water and stir 
  • Slowly pour water in the other side of the bin. It will need to be shallow to keep the water from going over into the sand.
  • Add the ocean animals

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the freedom of the slaves in the United States. The name Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and nineteenth. The day is also called Emancipation Day and Freedom Day.

Here are some Juneteenth Facts:

  • On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect abolishing slavery. Texas would not accept the Emancipation Proclamation and kept their slaves. 
  • More than 200,000 African Americans were still enslaved in Texas after the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger along with Union soldiers entered Galveston Texas and forced them to free their slaves.
  • Texas was the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday on January 1, 1980.
  • There is a flag that represents Juneteenth. It has a rectangle on it. The top of the rectangle is blue and the bottom is red. There is a white 5 point star in the middle.
  • Juneteenth is celebrated in many different ways with BBQ's, reading of poems, singing songs and more.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

It's International Picnic Day!

Summertime is made for picnics! It doesn't matter if they take place in the backyard, at a local park or at the beach.
Pack a picnic basket, bring some sunscreen, lots of water and plan some easy picnic games!

Need some ideas? We've got you covered!

Easy Volleyball
Tie a length of string or yarn between two trees. Let the kids try to hit balloons or foam balls back and forth.

Frisbee Throw
Line all the kids up behind a line. Let them each take a turn throwing the frisbee as far as they can. Mark the spots with craft sticks with their names on them. Who threw the farthest?

Bucket Races
Place a bucket with water on one end and an empty bucket on the other. Make sure each team starts with the same amount of water. Have the kids dip a cup in the bucket of water and run to put it in the empty bucket. Then run back and give it to their next teammate. The team who can fill the empty bucket with the most water wins.

Face Painting
This homemade face paint comes off with soap and water!
For each color you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • food coloring
Stir together the corn starch and cold cream until well blended. Add the water and mix well. Add food coloring one drop at a time until you have the color you want. Use small paintbrushes to apply.
*Leftovers can be stored in small containers

Monday, June 17, 2019

Paper Plate Frisbee

Here's a fun craft if you are looking for an easy and inexpensive activity this summer!

All you need are:

  • Paper plates
  • Shipping Tape
  • Colorful markers
  • A little imagination!

Friday, June 14, 2019

How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin

A classic Rudyard Kipling story has been simply retold for little ones in this beautiful picture book.  Bright illustrations on every page accompany the wonderfully funny tale, making it perfect for reading.  

After reading this fun tale, make your own Rhinoceros!

You Will Need:

  • Paper Plate
  • Grey, black, and white paper
  • Grey paint (or mix white and black)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
How To:
  • Cut the paper plate into the shape of the rhino's face
  • Paint the face
  • While the face dries, cut out ears, tusks, eyes, and nose
  • Glue all pieces 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

June is National Zoo Month

Foam Cup Lion Craft 

You Will Need:
  • Small Foam Cup
  • Yellow Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Orange yarn
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Googly Eyes
  • Brown Marker
  • Scissors
  • Tacky Glue
How To Make:
  • Paint the outside of the foam cup with your yellow paint. Let it dry
  • Cut out orange strands from your yarn roll
  • Add a line of glue in an oval around the cup
  • Place the yarn pieces all around the cup
  • Cut out the lion's ears from the construction paper and glue to the cup
  • Add eyes and the mouth, nose and whisker dots

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

June 15 is National Smile Power Day

Create Silly Smiley Faces!

You will need:
  • Construction Paper
  • Popsicle stick (or similar)
  • Crayons/colored pencils
  • Glue
To make:
  • Cut construction paper in the shape of a smiley face
  • Have children draw their smile onto the construction paper
  • Glue the popsicle stick to the back 
Have a smile parade! How many different smiles do you see?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Flag Day is June 14

Celebrate our flag with this 
Stars and Stripes Sandwich Bag Craft

You Will Need:
  • Ziploc Sandwich Bag for each child

  • Star shapes cut out of red, white or blue construction paper
  • Ribbons, glitter, sequins, or stickers in red, white and blue colors
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Two hand towels
  • Iron
  • Scissors
How To:
  • Have children choose their decorations
  • Allow them to place their items in their bags sparingly and evenly (bags should be flat on a table)
  • Place the bag between two pieces of foil with a towel between the foil and the table and the foil and the iron
  • With the iron set on warm "iron" the bag
  • Peel away the foil and allow to cool
  • Have children trim their bag into star shapes

Monday, June 10, 2019

June 25th is Eric Carle's Birthday!

Celebrate Eric Carle's birthday and the arrival of summer with this cute "Tiny Seed" paper plate handprint flower.

You will need:
  • Small Paper Plate
  • Yellow Tissue Paper
  • Green/Orange Construction Paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pencil
How to:
  • Cut the yellow tissue paper into small squares (let kids practice their cutting skills)
  • Place a good amount of glue all over the paper plate
  • Place the tissue paper on the paper plate to completely cover it
  • Set the paper plate aside to dry
  • Trace child's hand on the construction paper
  • Cut out handprints to make the petals of the flower (depending on the size of the child's hand you will need 6-10 handprints)
  • Staple the handprints around the paper plate
  • Draw and cut out a stem and staple it to the plate 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Handprint Corn on the Cob

This handprint corn on the cob is the perfect way to celebrate Corn On The Cob Day on June 11th!

You will need:
Yellow Paint
Paintbrush or straw
Green construction paper
Plain paper
Any other color of construction paper

How to do:

  • Trace child's hand on plain paper
  • Cut out the handprint
  • Glue it to the full-size sheet of construction paper
  • Cut out two green corn husks
  • Glue the corn husks as shown
  • Use a paintbrush (or a straw) to paint yellow corn kernels on the hand print only
  • Allow the paint to dry

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Father's Day Book

Father's Day is a day for fathers and father-like figures

Show dad how much he is loved when you create 

this cute Father's Day Book!

Need some inspiration? Take a look at the book I made for my dad a few years back. Even though I am all grown up, my dad still had tears in his eyes when I gave him his book :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

National Gingerbread June?!

Each year on June 5, gingerbread lovers across the nation observe National Gingerbread Day, a day that was created to bring attention to gingerbread.

Make a No-Mess Gingerbread Sun Catcher

What you will need:

White flimsy paper plates or white card stock
Sticky (Contact) paper
Tissue paper squares in various colors
Wiggle eyes
Assorted colors of yarn
Double-sided clear tape

Preparing the gingerbread suncatcher ornament:

Draw a gingerbread person in the middle of the paper plate

Cut the shape from the center

Cut the contact paper so that it covers the gingerbread space on the paper plate

Place the contact paper sticky side down on the cut-out area of the paper plate

Creating the gingerbread suncatcher:

Press the tissue paper squares on top of the sticky side of the contact paper

After tissue paper squares are stuck on the paper, cut another piece of contact paper to cover the open side

Now both sticky sides are touching each other, so the tissue paper is secure. 

Cut around the gingerbread shape so that you leave white trim around the entire shape.

Punch a hole near the top of the gingerbread suncatcher

Tie a piece of yarn through the hole near the top of the sun catcher to create a loop for hanging.

Place the double sided tape on the areas where the decorations will go

Have children decorate their gingerbread person

Hang and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

June is National Aquarium Month

Make mini aquarium sensory bottles so kids can tap on the aquarium wall without getting in trouble as they shake up some ocean animals, make some waves, and learn about the creatures of the sea.

You will need:

  • Sand
  • Empty bottle
  • Small ocean toys
  • Water
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
  • Small Shells (optional)

How to make:

  • Fill the bottle with approximately 2 inches of sand
  • Fill bottle with water. If the sand is dusty overflow the water bottle so the dust runs out
  • Have the child add small shells and a drop of blue food coloring
  • Close the bottle tight and the sensory bottle is ready to be played with!
  • You may want to seal the bottle shut by gluing the lid. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

National Donut Day!

Everyone loves donuts, there's something about that delicious deep-fried treat that brings a smile to everyone's face.
Celebrate National Donut Day this Friday, June 7th with this fun game of Donut Ring Toss!

Donut Ring Toss

Be prepared for infectious fun and giggles when you transform some humble scraps of cardboard into a DIY Game of Ring Toss for classic garden fun and healthy competition. 
You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Paint/crayons/colored pencils
  • Stake or basket to throw the ring onto/into
How To:
Cut cardboard pieces into same size circles. Cut out the middle of each circle to create the donut. Decorate using paint, crayons or colored pencils.
Set up your game outside and have fun!

Check out our FREE June Activity Calendar for a fun Donut Recipe!

Friday, May 31, 2019

National Egg Day

June 3 is an excellent day to practice egg puns and recognize National Egg Day.
One of the most perfect foods, eggs are packed with protein, amino acids and have no carbohydrates or sugar. Use #NationalEggDay on social media to show how you like your eggs!  And make some......


You will need:
  • Balloons (round work best)
  • Small toys/colored rocks
  • Water (tap)
  • Freezer
  • Optional
    • spoons
    • magnifying glasses
    • food coloring
How to make:
  • Find small objects to freeze inside the balloon
  • Using both hands open the top of each balloon by working your fingers down the narrow neck of the balloon
  • Drop one small object inside the balloon
  • Fill the balloon with water
  • Optional
    • Use food coloring to color the water inside the balloon
  • Tie the balloon
  • Place in the freezer overnight
  • The next day
    • remove the balloon (you may need scissors)
  • Ice Egg bowling
  • roll them around the ground
  • smooth them with your hands
  • Hold them up to the sky to see the objects inside
  • Crack the eggs open using the spoon to find the treasure inside
  • Use the magnifying glasses to study the patterns and objects inside