Dandi Daley Mackall Posts

How to Broaden Your Child’s Vocabulary This Summer

Fun-legos-bright5 Fun Activities That Put the Focus on Words


During the summer, when school is out of session, your child’s word choice may dwindle down to a few common phrases: “It’s hot!” “I’m bored!” “Mom, [insert request or complaint here]!”

By the time summer comes to an end, you may even wonder if all those hours your child spent studying spelling and vocabulary words during the school year were even worth it. It’s as though a leak was sprung in your child’s head and the first thing to go was language!

Well, have no fear! There are plenty of activities you can do with your child this summer so they can continue to learn new words in fun, engaging ways (and, in some cases, without being hot!).

Below are five games or activities to plug up that “summer brain leak” and keep that knowledge flowing in!


Kid-Spying-Telescope1. Super SpyDay!

You will need:

  • A notebook
  • A writing utensil
  • Sticky notes
  • A top-secret prize
  • A costume for your child to wear as a “super spy disguise” (optional)

Instructions:

  • Before the mission begins, select a word of the day.
  • Hide sticky notes with this chosen word written on them throughout the house.
  • Give your child their mission: to find as many instances of the word of the day as possible, recording their findings in their notebook. Before they head out on their mission, be sure to explain to your child what the word means and how to spell it. As your child is searching for the word throughout the day, encourage them to learn how to use it in a sentence as well.
  • Ask your child to record in their notebook each time they come across the word. Have them
    • Search throughout the house for the sticky notes
    • Look for the word in books, reading out loud the sentence in which the word is used
    • Listen for the word being said on TV (you can skip this suggestion if you are limiting summer screen time).
    • Ask others what they think the word means
  • At the end of the day, have your child return their notebook full of research in exchange for whatever prize or reward you have chosen.

Child-Drawing-Crayons2. For the Artist

You will need:

  • Paper
  • Drawing utensils

Instructions:

  • Have your child write out a list of five to ten vocabulary words on separate sheets of paper.
  • Encourage them to decorate each sheet with images of whatever the word is. If the vocabulary word is not a drawable object, they can draw out how it makes them feel instead.
  • If you want this activity to help expel some energy, spread the sheets of paper out and have your child run or jump from one word to the next as you call out the word or definition.

Water-Balloon3. Water Balloon Smash & Splash [Source: https://www.mybigfathappylife.com/water-balloon-fight-with-sight-words-and-cvc-words/]

You will need:

  • Water balloons
  • Chalk

Instructions:

  • Write out the words your child has been learning on the sidewalk or driveway, being sure to leave some space between the words.
  • Call out a word, then have your child throw a balloon at the corresponding word.
  • For an extra challenge, have them use the word in a sentence before they throw the balloon, or give them a definition and have them throw the balloon at the word that you are describing.

Child-in-sandbox4. Sandbox Diggin’ and Matching

You will need:

  • A sandbox
  • A sand shovel
  • Vocabulary words and definitions, written out on little pieces of paper and covered in clear tape

Instructions:

  • Bury the slips of paper with each word or definition throughout the sandbox.
  • Hand your kid a shovel and let them have at it! After your child unearths all the words and definitions, ask them to match each word to its definition.
  • For an added challenge, as your child finds words, have them use the word in a sentence. As they discover definitions, have them guess the word that corresponds to that definition.

5. Letter Writing

For your ten-to-fourteen-year-old reader, Just Sayin’  by Dandi Daley Mackall is the perfect way to grow their vocabulary. Told through letters, Just Sayin tells the story of an almost-blended family that experiences a breakup between the mother and father before the wedding. The kids attempt to get the family back together and get caught up in a game show that focuses on “the art of insult.” As only Dandi can accomplish, this story weaves together, in a contemporary way, an old-time game show, letter writing, outstanding vocabulary, and reminders from God’s Word that taming our tongues is both difficult and important!Just-Sayin-Dandi

After your child finishes reading the book, they can practice using new words they have learned by writing letters to friends or family on this free, printable Just Sayin’ stationeryJust Sayin'- Stationery

 


Did you try one of these activities? We’d love to see you and your kids in action! Use the hashtag #TyndaleKids on social media to share the fun with us.

The Best Habit to Cultivate When Joy Is Eluding You by Dandi Daley Mackall

Tyndale Kids

Katy wore her purple jersey proudly, thrilled to be part of the Dragons. The thump, thump, thump of a dozen practice balls echoed in the gym.

I watched my daughter smile at every player on the basketball court, even those on the opposing team, the Bears.

“Go, Ka—Dragons!” I shouted from the bleachers. Katy had coached her dad and me not to cheer, “Go, Katy!” Only, “Go, Dragons!”

She jogged out of sight. When she returned, she was pushing a wheelchair with a man I judged to be about forty, twice Katy’s age. He was wearing a Superman T-shirt, and his smile matched Katy’s.

I didn’t think he was on either team, but I wasn’t sure.

A whistle blew, and athletes were introduced as they ran to center court to the cheers of the crowd. Brian skipped onto the court, hands clasped above his head as if he was already the champ. Leslie pranced out, looking paler than the snow we all drove through to get here.

And Craig. Too shy, or frightened, to join his team on the court, he paced just out of bounds until Katy ran over and took his hand, leading him out as far as he’d allow.

Unable to help himself, my husband yelled, “Go, Katy!” She shook her head at him. Someone shouted, “Play ball!”

Katy didn’t come off the bench until third quarter. Even then, she couldn’t get her hands on the ball because the Dragons’ two best players were ball hogs.

Poor Katy ran up and down the court, arms outstretched, pleading for the ball. The boys paid no attention.

But it was obvious that one boy on the Bears team couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Each time they passed on the court, he stopped and smiled, mesmerized.

Someone passed him the ball. The kid’s smile turned back to Katy. He handed that ball to her.

Confused, Katy glanced up at us and shrugged. She returned the Bear’s grin, then shot the ball. Nothin’ but net!

It was the only shot she made all year. The gym erupted in shouts of joy. Even the Bears and their parents cheered.

The Dragons trailed by one. Katy had the ball with two minutes left in the game. Then a wonderful thing happened. Katy walked toward Craig, who still paced the out-of-bounds lane.

The gym hushed as Katy stepped out of bounds and took Craig’s hand.

The clock ran out, but nobody moved. Craig tried to squirm away, but Katy held on until he stepped across the line. She put the ball in his hands, and his arms sprang as if on coils. He missed the backboard. But the bleachers emptied, with both sides cheering their hearts out.

Every person in that gym experienced true joy, shared joy.

And I prayed that God would show me how to share joy in other areas, instead of competing for only one joy—mine.

That evening in the gym, joy poured out of me abundantly, spontaneously. But the truth is that joy doesn’t always come so easily.

Sometimes I find myself wishing that parenting a child with special needs brought with it more moments of straightforward joy. Or perhaps that my joy looked more like other people’s joy.

I knew a couple of weeks after Katy’s birth that she wasn’t developing the way other babies did.

By age two, she required speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

When she was three, she lost 40 percent of her hearing overnight and was diagnosed with nephritis and Alport Syndrome, a nasty neurological disorder.

I don’t recall feeling joyful as other moms chatted about their precocious toddlers.

I do remember my daughter, big grin and wide eyes, rushing home after kindergarten one day and shouting, “Guess what! Allyson can tie her own shoelaces her own self!”

She was ecstatic, but my first thought was: And you can’t.

Why is it easier to share the sorrows of others than it is to share their joy?

I’ve always marveled at Mary’s relative, Elizabeth, wife of Zachariah and mother of John the Baptist.

When Elizabeth received a visit from Mary, the future mother of the Messiah, wouldn’t Elizabeth’s natural response have been, Why not me? I’m from the priestly line of Aaron. I’m married. Zachariah is a priest and would make the perfect father. God considered me righteous. Yet my son will not consider himself worthy to tie the sandal straps of your Son? Jesus must increase while John decreases?

Instead: “Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.’” (Luke 1:42-44, NLT)

Elizabeth was overjoyed because she shared Mary’s joy.

And it’s not an accident that Katy is one of the happiest people I’ve met.

She gets more than her share of joy . . . because she, too, shares other people’s joys.

I am still learning from Katy.

Perhaps we all can.

Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. Philippians 2:18


Dandi Daley Mackall is an award-winning author of nearly 500 books for all ages. She is winner of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children’s Literature, ECPA Children’s Book of the Year 2015, the OCIRA (International Reading Association’s) Hall of Fame, the Edgar Award, ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Mom’s Choice Awards, and others. She was a missionary behind the Iron Curtain (the basis for Eva Underground). Her new book, Larger-Than-Life Lara, is a unique and multilayered story for young readers, with equal parts humor and angst. The central character, Laney, communicates the art of storytelling as it happens while weaving an unforgettable tale of the new girl, whose Christlike kindness and forgiveness transform the entire class…until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader. This is a powerful and emotional story.


This piece was originally written as a guest post for Ann Voskamp’s blog. Ann is the New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of the Greatest Gift, The Greatest Gift, and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.  

the-wonder-of-the-greatest-gift-book

the-greatest-gift-book

unwrapping-the-greatest-gift


 

Start Your Year with a Powerful Non-Resolution by Stephanie Rische

Tyndale Kids

It’s the beginning of another new year, and I might as well make my confession now: I am terrible at resolutions.

Oh, I might make an impressive list of goals with corresponding sub-points. I might write them down in a pretty journal and even color-code them with fancy pens. But don’t be fooled. Before the Christmas decorations have had time to gather any dust, I will have forgotten all about my lofty aspirations and bullet-pointed lists.

So I’ve made a new resolution: No more New Year’s resolutions! Instead, I’m shooting for the “New Year’s for Dummies” version of goal-setting and choosing a word of the year instead. That’s right—no lists, no striving after a bunch of unattainable ideals, just a single-word theme.

The idea is that throughout the year, my heart and mind can settle on that one word and be open to what God wants to show me on that topic. This is a relief for a recovering perfectionist like me, because it offers a lot of room for grace. My yearlong quest won’t be about succeeding or failing; it won’t be about how many boxes I check off or how far off the mark I find myself come December. It will be about anticipating the transformation God is going to do inside of me in the year ahead.

As this new year begins, I’d like to invite you to join me on this adventure of non-resolutions. Whenever you can sneak in some moments of quiet—in the morning, while you’re in the car, or over a cup of coffee, ask God if there’s a word he wants you to focus on this year. And then, once you’ve settled on your word, jump in with both feet.

The beautiful thing is, there’s no wrong way to pursue your word. Maybe you’ll write the word on a sticky note and post it on your mirror or your refrigerator to recalibrate your thoughts throughout the day. Maybe you’ll read the Bible with an eye open for what God has to say on the topic. Maybe you’ll meet with a friend each month to share how you see this playing out in your life. Maybe you’ll find a book that speaks into this topic or tells the story of someone who lived out this word well. You might even have a family meeting and decide on a word of the year for your whole family.

If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few ideas to get you started, along with some books that go along with each theme. Some of the books are for you, some are for your kids, and some are read-alouds for the whole family. I trust that they will be good company as you pursue your word of the year.


 

story-travelers-bible-tracey-madder

 

breaking-cover-michele-rigby-assad

 

treasure-island

 

jungle-book-rodyard-kipling


 

the-giraffe-that-was-afraid-of-heights-amy-carlson

 

under-the-cover-of-light-carole-engle-avriett

 

the-red-badge-of-courage-stephen-crane


 

wow-dandi-daley-mackall

 

so-close-to-amazing-karianne-wood

 

loving-luther-allison-pittman


 

give-thanks-board-book-kathryn-obrien

 

long-days-of-small-things-catherine-mcniel

 

little-women-louisa-may-alcott

 

great-expectations-charles-dickens


 

one-year-book-of-bible-trivia-for-kids-kathy-cassel

 

oy-book-of-did-you-know-devotions-for-kids

 

chronological-life-application-study-bible


 

i-can-be-kind-amy-carlson

 

daily-acts-of-kindness-devotional

 

love-kindness-barry-corey


Once you decide on your word for the year, we’d love to hear from you. What word did you choose? How do you hope to see it play out in your life and in your family in the year ahead?

Happy 2018!


Stephanie Rische is a senior editor and team leader at Tyndale House Publishers, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman, Christian Marriage Today, and Significant Living magazine. You can follow Stephanie’s blog at www.StephanieRische.com.

Letters from War – Veteran’s Day 2017

One of our very own Tyndale Kids authors, Dandi Daley Mackall (author of Wow! The Good News in Four Words), has two veteran parents. Her mother, Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, and her father, Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D., both served in World War II. Dandi recently published a fiction book based on their lives and their love story, called With Love, Wherever You Are. Dandi also frequently shares pictures and memories of her parents on her blog, keeping their memory alive.

Below are some photos and captions taken directly from Dandi’s blog. To see more, head to Dandi’s blog, or find Dandi at her website.


“Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D. (Early pictures find him still a lieutenant in the Army, however.) As I was writing and revising and rewriting With Love, Wherever You Are, I used each of these photos to help me describe locations and to help me visualize my young parents in such strange circumstances. Helen is pictured in Rennes, where she served in an Army hospital during the war. Frank is in a Battalion Aid station inside Germany, then in Heidelberg, and in a temporary camp. In the old Army trunk, I found both the sleeping bag on his back and the canteen pictured in the bottom-right photo”.


Imagine yourself serving in a makeshift hospital overseas. Now, imagine you’re in the middle of World War 2, trying to care for desperately sick, wounded, terrified soldiers. And on top of that, you are a newlywed, and your spouse of only a few weeks is also at the front, caring for battlefield wounded . . . in a different country. How could such a marriage survive?

Letters. These are just two of the Army trunkful of letters from my mom and dad, Dr. Frank Daley and Nurse Helen Eberhart Daley. They lived for mail call, when they would hear from each other and know they were safe and still in love, in spite of the physical distance between them. Imagine waiting for a letter, hoping, praying . . . and nothing for days and days. You had been writing 2 or 3 times a day, every day. And then, imagine receiving a treasure–11 letters at once”.


To those who have served, are serving, or will serve our country, we thank you.

Happy Veteran’s Day!


Looking for a fresh way to present the gospel to young children? Wow! The Good News in Four Words (by Dandi Daley Mackall) is a perfect resource. Head to tyndale.com to learn more!

5 Letter-Writing Prompts for Kids (Plus Free Stationary Printable!)

Tyndale Kids

letter writing stationary with just sayin Is there anything more fun than getting a letter in the mail from a friend? In this world of quick text messages and social media posts, a note written on paper and dropped in the mail can brighten the day of both the sender and the recipient.

In Just Sayin’, the main character Cassie isn’t allowed to use a cell phone. That means that when her friend Nick moves away, the only way she can communicate with him is through letters. Just Sayin’ is an epistolary novel, which means it is told entirely through letters written by the book characters. As Cassie and Nick write their letters, they start to understand that words can hurt and heal those around them. They also learn that writing and receiving letters is a really fun way to communicate!

Letter writing is a great way to teach kids to think about others, but the thought of sitting down and looking at a blank page can be intimidating. To make letter writing a little easier, we created some cool printable stationary for kids! The stationary has blanks to guide your child through the proper formatting of a letter. Encourage your kids to show their creativity as they write their letter. Use the stationary as a jumping off point, but allow them to play with the format as they write!

From the Desk Of: This is for their name, of course! They might want to put their full name for a more formal effect, or perhaps they want to put a nick name, or even a made-up name!

Date: Write the date the letter is written, or maybe they could write the occasion. It could be March 15 or “My Birthday.”

Location: The location could be their address, or maybe “my house,” “Planet Earth,” or “by the lake.”

Dear _____ : This is where they write the name of the recipient. It could be the recipient’s real name or a fun nickname.

The Body of the Letter: This is where your kids can really let their imagination run wild, but it can also be challenging to think of something to write to fill up all that space. Try these prompts with your kids! Remind them that the letter should be about both them and the person who will receive the letter. They can tell the recipient about their own lives, but don’t forget to ask questions!

I think the tastiest food is _____. The best place to eat this food is _____ with ______. What is your favorite food?

My favorite place to go is _____. To get there, I have to ______. When I am there, I love to ______. Where is your favorite place to travel to?

The best present I ever got was _______. ______ gave it to me. I love to use it to _____. What is your favorite gift you’ve ever received?

My favorite subject in school is _______. I like it because I learn about _______. What is your favorite subject?

When I grow up, I want to be a _______. I think this is a good job for me because _______. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Sincerely, _____ : “Sincerely” means “honestly.” To sign your name to a letter means that you meant everything you said! Encourage them to use their own special signature that is unique to them. Maybe that means they use cursive, or maybe they dot their Is with hearts or stars!

P.S.: P.S. stands for “postscript” which means “after the rest of the letter.” This is where they can write an additional note to their friends. Some great examples of postscripts are…

Oh, I forgot to tell you…

I can’t wait to see you next time we…

Don’t forget to…

I will pray for you when you…

Good luck on…

Download your free Just Sayin’ stationary here or click on the picture below.  and give your kids the gift of letter-writing. Be sure to let us know if you download the stationary! Post a picture and tag us on social media with #tyndalekids.

just sayin stationary

Looking for more books to encourage young writers? Check out Love, Lexi: Letters to God and Larger-than-Life Lara!