If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen my tweet on Sunday that we found a snake in our backyard. My husband was mowing and saw it. As soon as my son woke from nap, all three of us went searching, and found it again. I love finding wild life in my backyard ( well when it’s small and non venomous anyway), it makes learning about a specific animal so much more fun . We immediately went online to find the exact species, what it ate and how big it would get. Sadly after nap yesterday my son wasn’t as into making his own snake as I guessed he’d be ( or at all), although he liked the snake book we read . Oh well I can’t win them all!
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 toilet paper rolls, or a paper towel roll cut in two, some sticky back foam, some jingle bells, googly eyes ,glue, scissors , a knee high or leg of panty hose , and a pipe cleaner.
- Start by having your child cut the sticky back foam into shapes. We are using up scraps so they were already in smaller pieces, if you have large sheets you may want to make it easier for your child by cutting them into strips that are easier to handle.
- Put the rolls inside the panty hose, along with the jingle bells.
- Tie the end.
- Peel off the backing and add the shapes. You can even fit in a patterning lesson if you want !
- Add the tongue . I threaded the pipe cleaner through then twisted it into the right length with a v on the end.
- Add glue for the eyes.
- Add eyes. Let dry.
The Snake Is Totally Tail by Judi Barrett is a great book for teaching about animals. It doesn’t go into great depth for each animal instead if focuses on the one most obvious attribute of them all. What I love is that for toddlers they are able to see that easily in the pictures as you read the story. It seems simple and sorta average at first but sit down with a child, read it and it’s simple genius is blatantly apparent!
The Greedy Python by Richard Buckley and Eric Carle is a fun fable about a snake that is so greedy he eats all the animals in the jungle, even ones much larger than him like an elephant! My son thinks this book is hilarious and loves that the animals work together to escape their fate. The story gets even sillier when the greedy snake ends up eating his own tail!
Snake (Watch it Grow)by Barrie Watts is a wonderful non fiction choice to learn a little more about snakes. The book covers a snakes life from egg right through the life cycle to laying eggs. What I liked about this book was that each page offers the reader main points as well as more in depth text, which makes it easy to adjust to a wide range of ages. For toddlers or young preschoolers you can simply read the page titles and discuss the pictures, where older or more interested kids can sit for the full text. We enjoyed this book a lot.
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- Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard (cereal box), some markers, gold glitter paint , scissors and some thick ribbon.
- Start by cutting open your cereal box and drawing a diamond( or any shape you choose) on it.
- Have your child color the diamond with markers , we used markers because paint takes too long to dry and soaks into the paper , and crayons can make the glitter hard to stick .Write your puppy’s name on the tag if you want, this would be a great time to reinforce learning your phone number if your child is at that stage.
- Add some glitter ! Let dry. We wiped the glitter so it was thin and cut down drying time.
- When dry cut out.
- Make two holes in each diamond with scissors.
- Thread some ribbon through.
- Tie them onto your puppies.
- Share your snack with a buddy !
went the little brown dog one day
went the little brown dog
went the little brown dog one day
and they all went um um ah!
But we all know dogs go
la di da da da
la di da da da
la di da di da
we all know dogs go
la di da da da
they don’t go
um um ah!
“I Got Two Dogs” by John Lithgow will delight you. The book comes with a CD and I urge you to play it, hearing a book by the author is always amazing, but this song was thoroughly entertaining. As a dog lover who fondly remembers my childhood dog eating all the lasagnas at my first boy girl dinner party , I can relate to the naughty but lovable dogs. The message is about devotion and unconditional love and you don’t have to be a dog lover to get that.
“Otto Goes to Bed” by Todd Parr is a really fun and positive book. Otto is a dog who doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play, chase his tail and a bath and brushing teeth don’t help. Instead he figures out that there is something he likes about bedtime, dreaming! I like that this book addresses that going to bed feels like missing out on things for kids, I know I felt like that for years. Instead of blankly saying “Sleeping is great” or “You have to go to bed” this book finds something positive about going to bed . The illustration of Otto as a super hero dog makes my son howl with laughter every time.
- Gather your materials. You will need some fun scrap booking card stock, some white paper, markers, some yellow paper, double stick tape ( not pictured) and scissors.
- Start by making a template for your bird. I did a few versions before I settled on this. I cut it out and used it to trace the others.
- Trace out a bunch of birds. Add eyes.
- For your wee ones have them color the bird before cutting it out.
- Cut out
- Cut out some beaks, I used yellow paper that I folded so it was the same on each side.
- Using double stick tape attach the beaks to the birds.
- Make a slit in the birds back.
- Hand your child some plain paper and have them draw on it.
- Fan fold it. I was surprised that this was hard for my Sunday schoolers, I so often work with such young kids that I overestimate school age kids abilities. Help your child fan fold it , it needs to be a tight fold.
- Thread it through and bend in half.
- Tweet Tweet you are all done !
“Bird Talk” by Ann Jonas was enjoyable but I didn’t get it at first. I thought that the book was what the author imagined the birds would be saying while observing humans daily lives. In actuality what the birds are saying are the “memory phrases” that bird watchers use to remember the bird calls. The author has matched these up with scenes where they fit. My son laughed at the Common Night Hawk who’s saying was “Pork and Beans” and kept repeating that after we read the book. There is a full guide in the back of the book of all the birds included.
“A Poet’s Bird Garden” by Laura Nyman Montenegro is an enjoyable book about a little bird who escaped his cage and the poets and little girl who try and try to catch him. The poets come to help bring Chirpie back and each have lovely but unsuccessful ideas to bring him out of the tree. Finally Claude the cat comes out of the tree and then Chirpie and many other birds enjoy all the poet’s efforts ( seeds, yarn for nests , etc… ).
We went on a fun play date to the local marine science center, where my son was taken with the crabs. You would think an octopus or eel would have been the star of the show but for days he was talking about this plain old, can see it at the market shell fish! So of course, we made one!
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, a piece of light colored construction paper, scissors, red paint, a paint brush, glue and googly eyes.
- Start by painting your paper plate red.
- Next paint the paper red too, at this point he was using his hands, which is fine too. Let dry.
- When they are dry ( nap time is always a good drying time) cut the plate in half.
- Cut one half into quarters and cut out some claws.
- Cut 2 longer strips out of the paper and 2 small ones.
- Fan fold the longer strips.
- Add glue to the top of the 1/2 paper plate.Add the two smaller strips.
- Add glue to the ends of them and add the eyes.
- Add glue to the sides of the plate and add the folded strips.
- Glue the claws on the end and let dry.
“Beach Party” by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!
“The Seashore Book” by Charlotte Zolotow is a touching story of a little boy excited to go to the sea for the first time from his mountain home. The mother describes it so well that you will be aching for a trip too! I must admit though that my son and I barely paid attention to the words, we were both so moved by Wendell Minor’s paintings. We couldn’t help but ooh and awe every time we turned the page. My son’s favorite page was the one with the crab, of course!
- Gather your materials. You will need a washed out clear food container, some black foam, white and red paint, a paintbrush, 2 popsicle sticks ( or a tongue depressor would be awesome), scissors, glue and a hot glue gun.
- Start by pouring a small amount of white and red paint into the container. I like doing this instead of pink to help teach color mixing in an authentic way.
- Mix. Let dry.
- We painted a scrap piece of paper with the extra paint while we waited for the cup to dry.
- Cut out 2 small circles from black foam or paper.
- Glue them on the bottom of the container. Let dry. * you can glue these on before the pink is all dry and just set the cup “nose down” on a plate.
- Heat up your hot glue gun.
- Glue the popsicle sticks on. Let cool.
- Go play !
I decided on 3 different copies of the tale of the 3 little pigs!
“The 3 Little Pigs” illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay is a classic telling of this story. I am not really a fan of the story itself , the wolf has always really disturbed me the way he pursues this pig! But that’s my adult take on it, not a kid’s! My son loved it, he even smiled at me as he pointed out the fact that the wolf was scary, he didn’t get that from me! The illustrations in this book were really fun and I loved the details she put into them.
” The Three Little Pigs” by James Marshall who you may know from the wonderful George and Martha series. This another classic version and the illustrations are adorable! I love the three pig’s houses in this book, all three make cute houses even if only one survives the big bad wolf. Like the previous book the pigs and wolf do get eaten so if you are weary of that stick to the first book!