Family * Travel * Food

Summer Reading Essentials From Nat Geo Kids + Giveaway

For many of us, summer break is already under way or is soon to come. During the summer break, there are several ways to keep your kids' brains engaged and active. Encouraging reading is a fantastic way to stimulate their minds, whether it's through a summer reading challenge or joining a local library program. Engaging in hands-on activities like arts and crafts, puzzles, and building projects can promote problem-solving skills and creativity. Encouraging them to explore nature through outdoor adventures, such as hiking or gardening, can foster curiosity and a deeper understanding of the world around them. Additionally, enrolling them in summer camps or workshops focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) can provide structured learning experiences and spark their interests in these fields. Lastly, limiting screen time and encouraging social interactions with friends and family can promote cognitive and emotional development. By incorporating a variety of activities, you can ensure a summer filled with fun and continued mental growth for your children.

There will definitely be times where kids have a lot of moments waiting in an airport, in the car, or even when they feel like they have nothing to do. Thankfully children's books from National Geographic are a perfect way to fill the time. It's even better when learning about animals is involved. I want to share some titles that your kids of many ages can enjoy this summer. *Please note that this post contains affiliate links. 

Little Kids First Nature Guide: Explore the Beach (ages 4-8, Flex-Bound, $9.99)

Make the most out of any trip to the beach wit this take-along nature guide that helps young children find, identify, and learn about the fascinating animals, plants, and other wonders to be found at the seashore. Young explorers discover a variety of cool creatures, shells, plants, and more at the beach, from crabs skittering across the sand to fish riding the waves to seagulls flying high in the sky. This sturdy take-along guide features:

  • Easy-to-understand profiles of a wide variety of plants and animals commonly spotted at the beach, as well as fan-favorites out in the waves like dolphins, seahorses, and jellyfish
  • Vibrant National Geographic photography that brings the subject matter to life and makes identification easy
  • “Check Me Out!” fact boxes that provide more information about each creature, including its size and color, where it’s found, and what it eat
  •  Gallery pages featuring various beach environments, such as tide pools and sand dunes
  • Cool fun facts sprinkled throughout
  • Simple text for reading aloud or for beginning readers
  • Games, activities, and tips for how and where to explore
  • Helpful glossary
  • Flexible binding for durability

Did you know that a giraffe’s eye is as big as a Ping-Pong ball? Or that about 19 million hot dogs are sold at major league baseball games every year? Or that there is only one bone in your body that’s not connected to another one?  This book is chock-full of fascinating facts, silly stats, and catchy little knowledge nuggets in all kinds of awesome categories, from amphibians to black holes to the gold rush.

Special features include Extreme Weirdness, Strange Places, What's the Difference, and more. Bold, colorful photographs in a supersized format and spectacular information create a winning combination for curious kids who can't wait to learn more about the world.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2024 (ages 8-12, Paperback, $15.99)

The New York Times best-selling Almanac is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, National Geographic exclusives, games, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. 

National Geographic Kids Personality Quizzes (ages 8-12, $9.99, Paperback)

What's your shark superpower? What kind of friend are you?

From weird and wacky (What stinky animal are you?) to thought-provoking and informative (What kind of explorer should you be? Which mountain should you climb?), there’s a personality profile for everyone in this totally unique book. Inside you'll find all kinds of quizzes: flow charts, multiple choice, this or that, and more and while you're at it, get to know about amazing animals, places, cultures, and even careers around the world!

Puzzle Book of the Ocean (ages 8-12, Paperback, $6.99)

Headed to the beach this summer?  Make the trip go by in a flash with this ultimate backseat boredom-buster!

Dive into pages and pages of crosswords, sudoku, word searches, mazes, quizzes, word scrambles, and spot the difference puzzles as well as fun facts and vibrant photos of fish, dolphins, sea turtles, and all sorts of ocean animals.  This book will have you swimming for hours through amazing information about the deep blue—just don’t forget to surface!

Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado as he joins an elite school for explorers.

In this fan-favorite fiction series, Cruz leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and augmented-reality expeditions, Cruz must tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him ... and why?  Readers can get in on the excitement with puzzles and codes embedded throughout. Learn more here:


These titles are really great and will provide many hours of fun! They are all available on *Amazon, and make a great gift to family and friends. Thank you so much National Geographic Kids for the sample books, and for providing a set for a giveaway for one lucky Mom Files reader to win. Be sure to visit the National Geographic Kids website:

If you are interested in winning a Prize Pack of these National Geographic Kids Books, enter below:
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This giveaway ends on June 17, 2023 and is open to U.S. and Canada Residents only. Please note that Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes since our sponsor takes care of prize fulfillment. All opinions are my own. Thank you for stopping by today! 

3 Tips When Reading To Children

Most parents know the value of reading to children. It helps them to gain a larger vocabulary, and it helps to learn and retain information. However, for some people, reading to children can be a little difficult, so here are a few tips to help you when reading to children.
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Read Books With Chapters

Reading a book with chapters has many benefits. One of them is that is takes a bit longer to get through the story which can help make a book last longer at bed time reading. The chapter breaks also create a natural time to discuss with your child about what is happening in the story and what they predict to happen next. This can help to spark a child's imagination, while also helping you understand if they are comprehending what you are reading.

Daniel Handler has created many children's books with chapters that help parents and children brush up on these skills.

Take Turns Reading

Much like anything else in life, you never get better at something unless you practice. Picking up a best author Daniel Handler book is an easy way to find an interesting story that both you and your child can take turns reading. By allowing your child to have a turn reading, you can be there to help them from getting discouraged by correcting mispronounced words, as well as being there to provide context or explanation for words they may not understand the meaning to.
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Life Lessons

In almost any story, characters make choices and decisions. By reading together, you can have a platform in which to help you child gain a greater understanding about the motivations one might have to make a certain decision. This can be very beneficial to help them gain empathy and compassion for others.

As you can see, reading a book to a child has many benefits, so pick up a great book and start reading together!

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Ways To Get Your Child Interested in Reading

When you were a kid, if you loved reading you probably don't remember how you discovered it. All you knew is you lost yourself in books for hours at a time. Now that you're a parent, you'd like your kids to develop good reading habits, too. Here are four different ways you can pique their interest starting now.

Read With Them

If you're not spending time actually reading with your child, they might not pick it up on their own. Set up a time each day for reading a good book together. Storytime is usually before bed, so make it a nightly routine. Your child will be excited about continuing the tale or starting a new one. Kids love to use their imagination when it comes to stories, so ask them plenty of questions.

Get Them a Personalized Book

One way to really get your little one's attention for reading is by giving them their very own adventure such as a personalized birthday book for child reading levels. In this story, they star as the main character and family members have roles, too. Not only is their very own storybook fun to receive, they'll ask to read it over and over. Remember to let a child read aloud as they're learning. It can help them to expand their vocabulary quickly.

Use Reading As a Reward

Reading is one activity that you can safely use as a reward for a job well done. Remember, reading is knowledge so more storytime is never a bad thing. If your child sees reading as a reward, the more they'll look forward to it. Reading in exchange for good behavior, or doing a chore, is much more beneficial than buying them another toy or handing out a sugary treat.

Set an Example

If you want your kids to be truly interested in the world of books, make sure you set a good example. Kids follow their parent's leads and by reading yourself, you'll demonstrate that reading is a lifelong love. Visit book stores often and keep plenty of books at home with your favorite ones in an important place where they can be treasured and admired.

Start Them Early

Reading can benefit your child in many ways, including expanding their vocabulary and letting them use their imagination. By starting as early as possible, you'll be setting them up for an activity they'll enjoy for the rest of their lives.
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18 Common Words & What You Can Use Instead

18 Common Words & What You Can Use Instead (Infographic)

Celebrate Halloween with Books! (Giveaway)

It's October and this means all things candy corn, pumpkins and little ghosts and goblins. Halloween has always been a fun and memorable time for my kids. We have done various craft projects, baking and decorating over the years. One thing every little kid loves is a good Halloween story. I have seen my kids at story time and they give their full attention to the pictures and stories.

I received 3 super cute picture books right in time to get my little guy excited for all the Halloween festivities. My husband plans on making a surprise visit to our son's class to read Pumpkin Time! since they are studying a unit on pumpkins in his first grade class.
Pumpkin Time! by Erzsi Deák

The day the cows strolled down Main Street in fancy hats...Evy didn't notice.
What was Evy doing? Evy is so focused on watching her garden grow that she misses all the silliness going on around her―pigs DANCING, donkeys FLYING, and sheep HAVING A PICNIC. But after Evy's spent all year taking care of her garden, everyone's invited to pumpkin time!
Happy Halloween! By Lillian Jaine 

It’s Halloween night, and Count von Count is dozing off in front of his fireplace. Suddenly, he hears someone knocking at his castle door, but when he opens the door, nobody’s there! Could it be a spooky Halloween spirit playing a trick on him, or is it something less sinister? Join Count, Elmo, and all of the Sesame friends as they celebrate Halloween!
A Halloween Scare by Eric James

It’s Halloween night, and creatures and critters from near and far are starting to gather outside the front door. And now here comes a whole army of monsters, on broomsticks, buses, and bikes, all clamoring in the darkness. What is it they want? Are they coming for you?This humorous, creative story is the perfect Halloween adventure for children and parents to share.

All three books have very nice illustrations that fall in line perfectly with each story. My son adores them all! These books would be perfect to surprise your little ghoul or goblin with for Halloween. Enter below to win a copy of all three titles.
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This giveaway is open to US and Canada Residents only and will end on October 11, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Books were provided to me, as well as giveaway prize from Sourcebooks. All opinions are 100% my own as always. 

Give Back summer initiative with Macy's and Reading is Fundamental

WHAT:  Macy’s and Reading Is Fundamental invite you to spark a child’s imagination this summer.

WHEN: From June 18 through July 13, customers can give $3 at any Macy’s register in-store to help provide a book for a child in their community.      

GIVE BACK: Macy’s will donate 100 percent of every $3 to RIF, and customers will receive a coupon for $10 off an in-store purchase of $30 or more.

MORE: Since 2004, Macy's has given over 10 million books and helped to raise nearly $30 million for RIF. Learn more at


TIME for Kids Dinosaurs 3D book review

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you would know how much my son loves dinosaurs. He knows most dinosaurs by their name and even if they are a carnivore, herbivore or omnivorous. William even calls himself a dinosaur explorer. When we received the book from Time for Kids entitled "Dinosaurs 3D", he was beyond excited. It was neat to get to wear 3D glasses to read a book. 
William wasn't sure what he was in for since he had never looked in a 3D book before. He was in for a treat. 

He was in amazement when he saw his favorite dinosaurs looking like they were about to jump right off of the page! He kept saying, "Wow! This is amazing!" He recognized almost all of the dino's and wanted us to read the facts to him. I took a look through the book and felt as if I was right there with them. It was very cool!
The neat part about this book was the extra pair of glasses that was included to have a friend (or parent) share the book with you. My husband and son were in awe of all the cool pictures and learning some interesting facts about the dinosaurs.

This has become William's favorite new book and he has already requested to take it for show and tell at school. I am sure his friends will love it too! Although the book is recommended for ages 8 and up, my dino-loving 5 year old is getting so much out of it and is always asking to learn more. You can purchase this book on Amazon. It makes a great birthday, holiday or 'just because' gift!

Anytime is #ThomasTime Facebook App and King of the Railway Prize pack Giveaway #spon

CLOSED- Winner is Vanessa Toscano. Congratulations! 
HIT Entertainment has asked me to help promote the “Anytime is Thomas Time” sweepstakes. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of HIT Entertainment.

I can recall the days of William being 2 years old and his love for Thomas and Friends. He loved watching the DVDs we received as a gift when he was a baby. I think it was then that William became a big fan of all things that go! I will never forget when he was getting his first haircut by his dad. He wore his vintage Thomas t-shirt. Isn't this the cutest thing ever?! I still have that shirt tucked away in a box of keepsakes. 
As he got older, he got into the toys and books. To this day, he still enjoys his "Right on track" board book that has a magnet board on top. It is designed for drawing on according to each page of the book. William likes to take it in the car when we travel. 

He owns a couple of the toy trains and loves to make them roll fast across the kitchen and dining room floor. Our next door neighbor purchased the big Thomas and Friends train table and William loves to go over and play. It's fun, even for older kids! 
Right now, you can go to the new "Anytime is #ThomasTime" app on Facebook. Parents are encouraged to upload photos of their children during “Thomas Time” moments on the Thomas & Friends Facebook page ( There will be daily prizes as well as one grand prize. For generations children have grown with Thomas & Friends, experiencing moments with Thomas in many ways, including:

Bedtime/Nap time (Thomas pillows, blankets)
Playtime (can encompass toys, trains, etc.)
Meal time (Thomas cups, plates, etc.)
TV Time/Movie Time
Learning Time (Thomas books, puzzles, etc.)
Summertime (Thomas beach towels, bathing suits, etc.)
Party Time (Thomas birthday parties)
Story Time (Thomas books, E-books, apps)
Family Time (Day Out With Thomas)

Giveaway: One Mom Files reader will win a "King of the Railway" prize pack including:
Thomas & Friends King of the Railway DVD
Thomas & Friends King of the Railway Book
TrackMaster Set
Thomas & Friends Backpack

Enter below...
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Giveaway is open to US Residents only. Giveaway ends on September 13, 2013 and one winner will be selected at random and contacted via email to claim prize. Be sure to follow contest rules stated in Rafflecopter widget. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: I am receiving a prize pack to thank me for helping to promote the Anytime is Thomas Time app. 

Mommy Mixology to the rescue! {Giveaway}

Moms, how often do you feel like you want to throw in the towel and run away from home? Sound familiar to you?  I think moms can get really overwhelmed with the duties of the day... from piles of laundry to walking through a sea of toys that you have should have been picked up hours ago. Of course, it's just not realistic to run away so we have to find alternative ways to relax. I received a fun book called Mommy Mixolgy by Janet Frongillo, that is designed just for moms to help you get through those crazy moments in motherhood. The thing that stuck out to me most is the blocks on the front cover of the book that reads "BAR" and also the part that says "A Cocktail for Every Calamity".

This book takes you through the stages of conception all the way to kindergarten. There are some cocktails called "Sleeptastic Sangria", "Cosmopotty" and "STFU Slushie". I couldn't help but chuckle and think, "Yeah, I sure could have used one of these when we were going through that stage!" There are so many great drink recipes for every occasion, even sickness and dealing with the PTA. There's a lot of great full-color photos of the fun cocktails decorated to suit the occasion. You have to check it out!
The book is filled with humorous content that is so easy to relate to. I think this would make the perfect baby shower gift. I guarantee that the mother-to-be would love it! It's a great conversation piece and I really believe any mom with kids of any age would appreciate it. You can purchase a copy of Mommy Mixology at Amazon for $14.95 or $9.99 for the Kindle edition.

How would you like to win a copy for yourself? (One winner) Enter below in the Raffecopter widget.
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This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on Sept 10, 2012. Please follow giveaway rules. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.

I received a copy of the book for review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Shelly, Mom Files

Word-full Wednesday

I bought this book on clearance about a year ago for William and it only occurred to me yesterday that the Dr. Seuss "I can read all by myself" logo was upside down. I can't figure out if it was a mistake and put on clearance, or if it was made like that on purpose because of what the book is about. Hmmm, they mysteries of life...

Needless to say, William loves this book and enjoys pointing all the wacky things he comes across throughout the day. It is our special Wednesday book and I found it fitting to share today :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

Look what I won!

I just had to share my latest tech gadget that I won from a Twitter contest that was hosted by Brillo for Father's Day. I got a brand new Kindle Fire with a case/stand! I think I might be in love. I have been talking about getting one of these and I am still in shock that I ended up winning one! A HUGE thank you to Brillo for hosting this contest. I am a VERY happy mommy! Please be sure to follow Brillo on Twitter and Facebook for updates on Brillo products, cleaning tips and more!

Please leave me any app recommendations or tips so I can get the most out of my new favorite toy. Thanks :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

The Oprah Magazine only $10 for 12 issues!

How would you like to get a full year of The Oprah Magazine for only $10? Well Purex has teamed up with The Oprah Magazine and is offering this great deal for a limited time. You can order your 12 issues here. Hurry before time runs out!

Note: I will receive a tiny fee if you sign up through my exclusive link. 

Shelly, Mom Files

My Very Happy Birthday Review & Giveaway

Today is our little William's 4th birthday. Although he does not fully understand birthdays, it has not dulled his excitement! He is at such a fun and curious age. We were so thrilled to receive a personalized board book from I See Me! in the "My Very Happy Birthday" version... right in time for his birthday! William recognizes his name and squealed in excitement when he saw a book that was made just for him.

This sweet book has cute pictures and personal details throughout. The ordering process is so simple. You can take a virtual tour here. William really enjoyed listening to the whole birthday adventure that was all about himself. I love that he can have this sturdy book for many years as a keepsake that he can show his own children. This is such a neat gift idea for your own children, grandkids, family or friends and also for the kid who has everything. Right now you can sign up for the Refer-a-friend program to get $5 off for each customer you refer. There is no limit to how many people you can refer!

I am so thrilled that my friends at I See Me! are offering one lucky Momfiles reader a chance to win a personalized birthday book. Enter below...

*Mandatory- Let us know who you plan to give this book to if you are selected as the winner. What other I See Me! titles do you like? 

For extra entries please leave a separate comment per entry method:
~ Like I See Me! and Momfiles on Facebook
~ Share this giveaway on Facebook 
~ Follow I See Me! and Momfiles on Pinterest
~ Follow I See Me! and Momfiles on Twitter
~ Tweet this giveaway (once daily):

#Win a personalized #book from @ISeeMe_Maia and @momfiles  #giveaway

~ Follow Momfiles via GFC and leave the name you are following as.
~ Subscribe to Momfiles via email (upper right hand side)

This contest is open to US Residents only and will end on April 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST. Please leave your email address in your comment if you do not have a Blogger profile. One winner will be chosen at random. Failure to follow the rules will disqualify your entries. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received a book for review purposes. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

I See Me! Book Review & Giveaway

*Contest Closed*- Winner is #18 JamericanSpice~ Congratulations!

I received the most adorable board book from I See Me! called "William's Very Merry Christmas". This book was made especially for my little guy because I See Me! books are personalized books. All you do is submit some basic information and your child's name gets incorporated throughout the story. What a neat way to make a child feel special! I love the fact that this book is so durable since my 3 year old is still pretty rough on books. I think this would make an excellent gift for little ones and you can choose from different titles for specific occasions. You can take a virtual tour of this book and others on the I See Me! website. You can also check them out on Facebook for exclusive offers and promotions for FB fans.

Little William is thrilled to have a book with his name in it and he loves to point it out each time he sees it! This book makes a wonderful keepsake and is truly a treasure. I enjoy seeing the look on his face each time he hears his name.

We are thrilled to be able to give away one of these cute books ($24.95 value) to one lucky Momfiles reader in the same title as I received. 

To enter: Mandatory- Let us know who you plan to give this book to if you win. What other titles would you love to see that child's name in? 

For additional entries: 
~ "like" I See Me! and Momfiles on Facebook
~ Mention this giveaway on Facebook
~ Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect
~ Follow I See Me! and  Momfiles on Twitter 
~ Tweet this giveaway (once daily) and leave a link to your Tweet 
Enter to win a personalized #Christmas children's book from @ISeeMe_Maia @momfiles #giveaway #gift 

Giveaway is open to US & Canada Residents only and will end at 9:00 pm EST on November 26, 2011. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Be sure to leave your email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Disclosure: I received a book for review purposes and all opinions are 100% mine

Shelly, Mom Files
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