Will your child be ready for kindergarten?
Will your child be ready for kindergarten?
Pinocchio is not just a puppet, he is a character with a dream. Even though he’s made of wood, he shares many characteristics with kids and adults too.
Gepetto, a wood carver, creates a boy puppet. He loves Pinocchio very much but Pinocchio, like real children, doesn’t like to be controlled by others and yet is sometimes easy to manipulate. He makes mistakes, goes to school, and has adventures, both good and bad. When under stress, he tells lies and his nose grows longer and longer. Pinocchio learns along the way and, aided by the Fairy with Blue Hair, becomes real.
The story of Pinocchio has been translated into more than 240 languages. Most of us are familiar with the Disney version, but there are other versions based on the original. This translation, by Geoffrey Brock, has more than fifty gorgeous watercolor illustrations of Fulvio Testa. You can read or tell the story to your child and maybe use a puppet to help.
Children do not understand the symbolism of the story but they can relate to the struggles. One of the challenges is what is real. Figuring out what is fantasy and what is reality isn’t easy. Kids use their imagination to help make sense of the world around them. In the words of John Holt, from the book How Children Learn, “Children…are like someone trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with only 10 percent of the pieces–they have to invent imaginary pieces to fill in all the gaps….They have to make some kind of sense of it right now.”
Imaginary and pretend play is an important activity for kids. You and your child can make puppets out of socks, paper bags, wooden spools, popsicle sticks, styrofoam take-out containers, and fingers and hands. The video below has some easy instructions for little puppets. While the puppets have adventures, kids talk, interact with others, solve problems, move their bodies, explore emotions, make brain connections, and more. You can see the imagination at
work play in this version of Jack and the Beanstalk. At your house today, can the puppets come out for some play?
The story of Rapunzel can inspire a science experiment with hair for a play-of-the-day. All of us can do magic with our very own hair. To do this magic, blow up a balloon and then have your child stand in front of a mirror. Now, rub the balloon a few times on your child’s hair…the static electricity that has built up on the surface of the balloon should lift the hair. With a blown-up balloon ready to go, kids can launch it up into the air and tap it as it floats down.Continue Reading
The story of Beauty and the Beast and today’s play-of-the-day can help young children deal with the common fear of monsters and scary creatures. After sitting and reading this story, it’s time to get up and move around. Ask your child to walk like a beast or monster. Then, kids can try hopping crawling, jumping, and, if there’s enough space like a whole yard or gym, running like monsters. Monsters can also make very scary faces and check themselves out in the mirror. Children can use toys to be the characters.Continue Reading
Cinderella is another fun fairy tale that can inspire play activities, not just for girls but boys also. After reading or telling this story, you can ask your child, “How would Cinderella get the ball if this happened today? Together, you can think of all the ways we have to travel. With blocks, lego, or other construction toys, kids can build some different ways for Cinderella to get around. The story of Cinderella can inspire some construction, art, and pretend play. Continue Reading
Sensory stimulation and play activities are vital for young children. The story of The Princess and the Pea inspires a play-of-the-day for the sense of touch. After reading this story, kids may want to explore their sense of touch. They can first lie down on the floor and test out how that feels. Then, they can put a few items down and check how they feel. One of the best things to feel is a hug. Can your child’s play-of-the-day include some fun for the sense of touch?Continue Reading
Books are important to share with children for more than just reading. Stories put clothes on bare words, unlike the emperor in the Emperor’s New Clothes. An underlying assumption in this story that clothes can give us information about someone. This is one of the reasons why children use clothes and costumes in their play. For a play-of-the-day, do you have some dress-up clothes your child can use? Playing dress-up is fun for kids—and adults. Costumes is a category in the Oscars.Continue Reading
Grab a basket and we’ll go along with Little Red Riding Hood for today’s play-of-the-day to have some fun with colors, walks in the woods, and picnics. After reading or telling the story of Little Red Riding Hood, how about some fun with the color red?Continue Reading
The tale of Three Billy Goats Gruff inspires a variety of fun activities for today’s play-of-the-day and encourages us to spend some time outside. Watch out for trolls! Making bridges is an obvious activity. Outside, instead of making bridges, you might be able to go for a walk to find one. Kids can run across the bridge and back…stop in the middle and check out the water below…tuck a few rocks in their pockets to drop over the side. Did you wake up the troll?Continue Reading
Goldilocks and the Three Bears is another children’s story that can be used as a play-of-the-day inspiration. What adventures can Goldilocks have at your house? After reading or telling the story, ask your child what might happen if Goldilocks knocked at your door. If Goldilocks came to our house, the first thing she could do is help make the oatmeal….Kids like to be helpful, and chores can be play to them. Once the jobs around the house are done, how about a cup of tea? Maybe the three bears would like to come for a tea party?
Snuggle under a cozy blanket in case you get sleepy after reading the story of Sleeping Beauty and need a nap. Then wake up for some stimulating fun and play. With the time change coming up, this story is very timely, pardon the pun. The sense of time develops slowly for kids and needs lots of experiences. There’s a fun game about time that kids can play outside or inside in a big space called What Time Is It Mr. Wolf? After playing the game, everyone might need a nap. Sweet dreams.Continue Reading