Engaging Elephant Reads and Rhymes

National Elephant Appreciation Day is coming up on September 22, so this is a great opportunity for me to share my favorite elephant books and rhymes with you. The kiddos in my story times have loved these, and I hope you do too!

Books

"There Is a Bird on Your Head" book cover

There Is a Bird on Your Head!” by Mo Willems

Like all of Mo Willems’ books, “There Is a Bird on Your Head” is full of slapstick comedy that both children and adults adore. Piggie tries to help Elephant get some feathered friends off of Elephant’s head, but her plans don’t work out how she’d hoped. This book can be performed by two readers, bringing the hilarious story to life! Continue reading

Are You Ready for a Picnic?

Spring is such a wonderful time of year for a picnic in the park. Here are some fun ideas to try on your next picnic adventure!

Start out your picnic with some rhymes:

Photograph of teddy bears on a picnicWe’re Going on a Picnic

We’re going on a picnic.
Gonna pack a lunch.
What should we get to munch munch munch?
(Ask kids to name some yummy foods for a picnic, and then chant the song again.)

Carrots, Peas and Broccoli

Carrots, peas and broccoli,
Vegetables are good for me.
For my snack and in my lunch,
Veggie sticks are great to munch.
Carrots, peas and broccoli,
Vegetables are good for me

Next, make some picnic snacks:

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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.