Encourage Curiosity!

butterfly nonfiction booksWe often want to build on our children’s curiosity, but do you always have the right answer when they ask, “Why?” We can often discover the answers together in books shared between parent and child. Knowledge about the world, even in very young children, is key to understanding. Pairing a story and a factual book on nature or science helps expand children’s scientific knowledge. Read aloud “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, and then explore a nonfiction book on butterflies. Since related activities can help reinforce learning, you may also want to perform a fingerplay of “Little Arabella Miller.” Here’s how.

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Rhyme Time: Georgie

Waking up early to get ready for school is a true chore for some kids. I try my best to make early mornings a positive experience in my household. What I have found (at least with my kiddo) is that a funny song encourages waking up with a smile. A friend of mine taught me a song that I really like, and I can change some of the words to tailor it for my needs. It’s an old camp song called “Georgie.” How I learned the song differs from what I found in the Girl Scout Songbook, but here are the lyrics I learned:

photo of sleeping child by Katrina Br*?#*!@nd (katrinket) via FlickrEvery morning at half past eight,
I go oooey, oooey, oooey to Georgie.
And every morning at half past eight,
He goes oooey, oooey, oooey to me.
No need to knock. (make knocking sound)
No need to ring. (I say, “BING BONG!”)
As I rub my eyes. (Pretend to rub eyes)
I just open the window and stick out my head.
And go oooey, oooey, oooey to Georgie!

When it is time to wake up my child, I sing this song and replace “Georgie” with his name, and I change the time to whatever time it is. When I “open the window,” I lift up his shirt and tickle him. It’s a fun way to wake up…if you have to!

Four Fingers and a Thumb

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.

wormsIn 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.

Happy Turkey Day!

Turkey by lovelornpoets via flickr, used under a creative commons license

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!

Rhyme Time: Fall

picture of child with pumpkinsFall is here!  Celebrate with these seasonal rhymes.

Pumpkin, Pumpkin
Pumpkin, pumpkin sitting on a wall.
Pumpkin, pumpkin tip and fall. (Lean over.)
Pumpkin, pumpkin rolling down the street. (Roll hands or entire body.)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on your feet. (Stand up.)

Chicken in the Barnyard
Chicken in the barnyard,
Staying out of trouble.
Along came a turkey,
And gobble, Gobble, GOBBLE!

I love the versatility of this rhyme! Have a baby? Build anticipation by slowly walking your fingers to a ticklish spot for the “gobble, Gobble, GOBBLE!” With older children, act it out with one hand as the chicken and the other as the sneaky turkey. Need the kids to work their wiggles out? Appoint one child as the turkey and let him sneak up on the “chicken.” Switch roles.

If your kiddos love these simple activities, add more to your repertoire with fingerplay books and DVDs at the library.