Smart Start Series Online Resources

Early literacy development begins with spoken language. The more your child talks, the more vocabulary words your child will learn. You will enjoy talking to your child when discussing his or her own ideas! The Smart Start series promotes early literacy by engaging you and your child in conversation about each book’s photographs. Following the questions provided in each book, the additional questions and activities below will provide even more opportunities for extending your child’s thinking.

Smart Start: Around My House

  • In the Kitchen: Write a grocery list, plan a menu, or cook a meal together.
  • In the Bathroom: Tell a story about the bubbles in the bath, give your pet a bath, or play with funnels in the bathtub.
  • In the Playroom: Paint a mural; create a collage with pictures cut out of newspapers, advertisements, or magazines; or make a mural with your footprints!
  • In the Garage: Build a birdhouse from recyclable materials; measure how tall you are, how far you can jump, your arm span; or measure some material and sew a pillow for your bedroom.
  • In the Living Room: Dance to music, play a game, or create a variety of music and musical instruments.
  • In the Bedroom: Create a story with illustrations, read a story backward only using the illustrations and picture, or make a tent or fort for a new location to read.

Smart Start: Let's Go to the Market

  • Selecting Vegetables: Make pickles, make a salad, or compare the texture of different vegetables.
  • Shopping With Dad: Write a grocery list, weigh different vegetables, or shop for dinner.
  • Choosing Bread: Make bread pudding, take a tour of a bakery, or make a sandwich on a hot dog bun.
  • Buying Fish at the Market: Go to an outdoor market, sample sushi, or compare the market photos in this book, how are they similar and different.
  • Picking Just the Right One: Make a tropical smoothie, make a fruit salad, or taste test red, green, and black grapes.
  • Looking For Dessert: Make and decorate cupcakes, make your favorite nutritious dessert for your family, or survey your family and friends to find out their favorite types of dessert.

Smart Start: Let's Play!

  • Playing in the Rain: Make mud and use it to create a story, a picture, mud pies, or a celebration; investigate rainbows and rainbow stories, and make pictures of rainbows; or predict and measure rainfall at your home.
  • Playing in the Backyard: Experiment with throwing a ball a variety of ways and measure the distance, try a variety of ball games (whiffle ball, cricket, soccer, football, etc.), or play a game in your backyard with no equipment.
  • Playing in the Snow: Build a snowman with snow, clay, or Play-Doh (what features would it include?); create a snow fort or build a fort outside; or make a snow, sand, or leaf angel.
  • Playing in a Box: Participate in a scavenger hunt around town for recycled art or objects that have been repurposed; use recycled materials to create props, art, or unusual creations; or create a play space using a box and create the story to go with it.
  • Playing at the Playground: Create an obstacle course at the local park, compare and contrast parks around you and create your ideal park with features from different parks, or experiment with ways to go down the slide safely.
  • Playing on the Sidewalk: Create a treasure map, take a walk on a path and draw pictures or take photos of interesting things, or find something interesting on the ground and look at it closely with a magnifying glass.

Books in the Smart Start Series

Through the use of interactive questioning, the books in the Smart Start series fosters engaging conversations for parents and their children. These books prompt children to think at critical, creative, and mathematical levels about their everyday surroundings, and the open-ended questions stimulate curiosity and invigorate conversations between the parents and children. The books in this series highlight the vast world of a child's imagination and encourages children to think deeply about the objects and situations they're faced with every day.

Smart Start: Around My HouseSmart Start: Around My House

Images in this book convey children in realistic and familiar settings around the house: in the kitchen, the playroom, the bedroom, the garage, and more.

For more information or to order this title, visit Around My House product detail page on our website.

Smart Start: Let's Go to the MarketSmart Start: Let's Go to the Market

Images in this book convey children and parents in a familiar shared experience: going to and exploring the market.

For more information or to order this title, visit Smart Start: Let's Go to the Market product detail page on our website.

Smart Start: Let's Play!Smart Start: Let's Play!

Images in this book convey children in realistic and familiar stages of play.

For more information or to order this title, visit Smart Start: Let's Play! product detail page on our website.