Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pair a Book with An Activity: Fancy Nancy, Gerald & Piggie, and a Spike Lee Book Plus Related Activities to Faciliate Learning

As usual, baby bookworm and I are still attending our weekly toddler storytime at our local library.  This Fall they have added a craft at the beginning of the storytime that is in line with the theme for the day.  I like the idea of the craft very much because it adds more meaning for the kids to the stories being read (not to mention interest too, because let's face it, 11 moms with their toddlers in a room can get a little crazy sometimes).

So, at our last storytime, we made a dog puppet (I would share a picture, but it got lost somewhere in the storytime room!?).  He was cute, although, baby bookworm wasn't so interested in the coloring part of the activity as in the gluing part.  All of the toddlers then used their dog puppets in the rhymes and stories for the day. 

Of course, after storytime we had to check out as many books as our little canvas bag could carry.  Here are a few that are particularly noteable in my humble opinion. 

And, as a way to make these take-home stories more meaningful to baby bookworm too, I paired them with a bunch of activities!

Fancy Nancy
Fancy Nancy
by Jane O'Connor

This is a story about a little girl, Nancy, who likes everything to be fancy - from her bedroom, to her dolls, to her food.  She even likes French because everything in French sounds fancy!  What I love about this book is that it uses lots of "fancy" words like plume, fushia, tiara, and stupendous (can you say a vocabulary lesson in disguise?).  As a little girl this book would have been one of my favorites, and as a mom I don't mind reading it 10 times a day at all!  Nancy is an adorable, lovable character who is full of spunk, attitude, and personality. 

Not sure why we hadn't checked out this book earlier because baby bookworm is such a girly girl.  And not surprisingly, Fancy Nancy has become her new best friend. "Ooh, la, la" has also become the expression of the week.

Do I think a little boy would love Fancy Nancy just as much?  I'm honestly not sure.  But it can't hurt to try.  At the very least he may develop an appreciation for the "fancier" things in life, and learn a few new words.

Activities we did based on this book:
Since Fancy Nancy is full of fun, fancy vocabulary words, I came up with a few arts and craft projects to really help baby bookworm understand these words from this book even more.
  • We made a Fancy Nancy puppet with a boa

    Fancy Nancy puppet- we used construction paper for the face; crayons to
    decorate; pipe cleaners wrapped around a finger made the curly hair; glittery
    foam paper made the crown; and feathers made the BOA
  • We decorated our own tiara

    The TIARA was made from a crown bought at a craft store; we used stickers, feathers,
    and pom poms to decorate
  • We made a plume

We made a PLUME pencil from colored feathers and
masking tape.
I kid you not - she now asks for her PLUME to write with.
Other suggested reading: Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany

For other ideas on vocabulary learning, check out my other posts on Big Words and Rare Words.

I Will Surprise My Friend
by Mo Willems

A Gerald and Piggie Book.  Another cute one.  Oh, wait, they all are cute.  Why?  Because kids love these characters, and parents love the somewhat adult humor.  I Will Surprise My Friend is a book exactly about what the title suggestions.  These two best friends decide to surprise each other by a rock (each sitting on one side, not seeing the other), only to realize that maybe it wasn't such a great idea after all.  What I love about this book is how each character's personality have the worry wort Gerald who is polar opposite to happy-go-lucky Piggie. 

I think it's safe to say that baby bookworm loves all Mo Willems' books, especially those from the Gerald and Piggie series.

My Friend is Sad
by Mo Willems

Well, since the Mo Willems books are generally checked OUT of the library, when I saw ANOTHER one on the shelf, I had to (of course) get it too.  My Friend is Sad is about Piggie's adventures in trying to cheer up his good ol' pal Gerald, who is sad.  Piggie tries everything - dressing up as a clown, cowboy, and a robot - but nothing works.  When Piggie shows up, though, Gerald finally shows his happy face.  There is an adult level of humor to this book, too, which makes it clever and fun for both adults and children alike.

Baby bookworm has grown to love this humorous duo to say the least!

Activities we did based on these books:
At an age when tantrums are common (I wouldn't know anything plenty about that), these books provide a great opportunity to talk about feelings and to build communication skills in toddlers.
  • We talked about what the characters in each book were feeling at particular moments; I pointed out Piggie and Gerald's expressions and how that corresponded to their feelings; we also talked about what actions contributed to each character's feelings
  • We made a list of different feelings (I kept it fairly simple, though): Happy, Sad, Surprised, Angry, Excited, and Shy and we talked about things that make baby bookworm feel each emotion.  For example, baby bookworm feels sad when she doesn't get an oreo cookie, and excited when she goes swimming or to the library.
  • Lastly, we cut pictures of faces with different expressions out of magazines; we glued the faces on popcicle sticks and filed them in a feelings folder.  Next time baby bookworm throws a tantrum, I plan on getting them out so she can show me how she feels. 
  • Baby bookworm gluing her faces on the popcicle sticks
    I added labels on the sticks.  We found happy, sad, shy, angry, excited, and surprised.
    Other suggested reading: The Pigeon Has Feelings Too!

please, baby, please
by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

This is a tale that most parents of a toddler can probably relate to; it takes the reader through the joys and the frustrations of a single day bringing up a baby who is on the move.  How many times in a day do you say "Please baby please?"  The vibrant and detailed illustrations in this book really brings the story to life.

Baby bookworm thinks this book is funny because the toddler does all the things she's not supposed to do.  I don't THINK she's getting any ideas....

Activities we did based on this book:
This book provides a good opportunity to teach your child about routines, times of the day, and decision making.
  • We talked about all of the things baby bookworm and I do in a typical day - we eat breakfast, go to the playground, go to an activity such as story time, take a nap, eat lunch, and so forth
I recorded all of the things we do in a day and then cut each activity out

  • We categorized our activities into things we doing in the morning, things we do in the afternoon, and things we do at night.

    I made 3 categories: morning, afternoon, and night and we categorized
    each thing we do in a typical day; baby bookworm needed a lot of guidance
    but enjoyed herself 
  • If you find yourself saying "No" or "Please baby please" quite often throughout the day like the mom in the book, when the opportunity arises, try to get your child to make his own decision.  Ask him, "would you like waffles or toast for breakfast?" or "would like to play with blocks or with puppets?" Offering choices helps to teach decision making and to eliminate conflicts.  We'll be trying this tactic out this week!
Don't forget that young children need supervision and guidance in all of these
activities, which will maximize learning!

Have fun with these ideas, or pairing your own favorite books with an activity.  Feel free to share your ideas!

1 comment:

  1. I have a deep love for Fancy Nancy and subject my boys to her as much as possible... without causing a revolt!


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