Due to the professional lives of my parents, as a young child I had many opportunities to be taken along to meetings and conferences. I would often pass the time by playing with my father’s hands. I would just lift up each finger and plop it back down, cross them over each other, play spin the wedding ring, make a hand sandwich and even quietly play a hand tower game where I’d trap my little hands in between my dad’s larger ones and try to “escape.” Every once in a while there would even be a small piece of hard candy hidden in his hand.
In the grocery store line, at the doctor’s office or on a rainy day at home, your hands can also be educational entertainment for your little one. If you want to see some hands in action, enjoy Kathy Reid-Naiman’s DVD, “Fingerplays! Hands That Tell a Story.” Make your finger a character in the book “The Game of Finger Worms” by Hervé Tullet. If you feel adventurous, make your own finger stage by cutting a couple holes in a piece of cardboard or a small box. Take turns telling stories with your child about the finger’s adventures! Don’t forget, we also have all of our favorite fingerplays in a booklet you can take home. Just ask for one at the children’s desk.
It’s December, and my list-loving heart rejoices! Websites and publications have been naming the best children’s books of 2013 since October. (October! Isn’t that a bit like Christmas carols before Halloween?) These lists are wonderful resources for gift ideas for the young readers in your life, or simply a nice reference if you want to make sure you didn’t miss any highly rated chapter or picture book published this past year. From the fantastically detailed and dazzling illustrations in Aaron Becker’s wordless picture book “Journey” to the antic adventures described in Gregory Hughes’ chapter book “Unhooking the Moon,” you’ll find something to satisfy any kiddo on your gift list. Here are a few of my favorites from these lists, followed by a round-up of links to the lists themselves for your browsing pleasure.
“Mr. Tiger Goes Wild” by Peter Brown
Any kid who has ever squirmed uncomfortably in dress pants or tight shoes, having been admonished to “sit still” and “be polite” (and what kid hasn’t?) will identify with Mr. Tiger. The animals in Brown’s not-too-preachy book about the joy of just being yourself are stuffy, formal and exceedingly proper. Mr. Tiger tries to fit in, but he finally sheds his finery and takes off for the jungle so he can go wild. When he begins to miss his friends, he returns to the city and is pleasantly surprised by changes that have occurred in his absence. A joyful, funny read about self-expression and finding a happy medium. Continue reading
Are you stuffed to the gills with delicious food? Need to do something active to wake yourself up? Let’s look back to 2012 for some nice fall rhymes and their accompanying actions. (There is even one about a mischievous turkey.)
You can also get in the spirit of the season with books and materials about gratitude. Happy Holidays!
December 4th is National Cookie Day. Can you think of a better way to celebrate than to read a silly story about the delectable treats? Okay…I can think of one other higher calorie festive act: eat a plate full. But first, read Missouri Building Blocks nominee “Duckling Gets a Cookie!?“ by Mo Willems. This book features the ever obstinate Pigeon, one polite Duckling and, of course, a coveted cookie. Heck, go ahead and throw a party using the publisher’s event kit; they give you the directions for games like duck, duck, pigeon, and provide patterns for inventing your own cookies.
To round out your National Cookie Day celebration, I highly recommend “Who Put the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?“ by George Shannon. I absolutely love how this book turns the traditional rhyme about who stole the cookies upside down. This delightful rhyming text depicts all of the hands that go into making cookies with love. You see people from around the world gathering eggs, sewing the oven mitts, transporting the goods and stocking the store shelves. The preschoolers in my story times love pointing out their favorite types of cookies and sharing memories of making cookies with their family. So go make some memories! And eat a cookie for me.
I have strong memories of my mother “needing” my help to count or stir things as she baked. She had me move toothpicks from one pile to another to keep track of the number of eggs, cups of flour and so on as “we” baked. Now I know she had me participate for many reasons. I was kept busy, and these activities helped my motor skills, math skills and even my communication skills. As you cook with your child and wait for something to finish baking, enjoy sharing some of these tales of baked goods.
Have a school-age child working on fine motor skills and who loves art? Decorate cakes in an art bakery. Explore fun ways to work on math. Enjoy!