reading to children

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #6

Sleeping Beauty Inspires Play-of-the-Day

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.

Sleeping_Beauty_Little_Golden_BookSleeping Beauty was cursed by a wicked fairy who was left off the guest list. On her sixteenth birthday, Sleeping Beauty would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and sleep for a hundred years. Despite a royal decree that destroyed all spinning wheels, she found one at the crucial moment and fell asleep until she was awakened by a prince. This is another traditional fairy tale with dozens of versions in books. If you do not have one at home, you can tell the story in your own words.

sense of time in childrenWith 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. With your child, talk about some of the words that we use for time, like second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and year. You can get an idea of your child’s level of understanding by asking questions such as which is longer a minute or a day? Or, which is shorter, a day or a week? Take a walk thru the house to see all the clocks there are. Which one is biggest? Which is the smallest?

What time is it Mr. Wolf GameAlthough there is no wolf in this story, he often makes an appearance in fairy tales. 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? Kids line up at one end, with a wolf in the middle. The kids ask the wolf “What time is it, Mr. Wolf? The wolf replies with various times and the kids take that number of steps. For 3 o-clock, kids would take 3 steps and so on. At some point, the wolf calls out “It’s lunch time!” and the kids all run away while he tries to catch them, although pigs are really his favorites.

After playing the game, everyone might need a nap. Sweet dreams.

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #5

Little Red Hen Inspires Play-of-the-Day

The Little Red Hen will help us stir up some fun and learning with her story for today’s play-of-the-day. Do you and your child know this story?

The Little Red Hen bookThe Little Red Hen is pretty talented. To make a loaf of bread, she plants the wheat, tends it, harvests it and takes it to the mill to be ground into flour. She does this all by herself, despite asking a dog, a cat, and a duck if they will help. Then, the hen takes the flour home and bakes it into bread, giving the animals one more chance. They still all say no. When the bread is done, she asks who will help her eat it? Of course, now the animals all answer yes, but it’s too late. She eats it herself.

Books of The Little Red Hen are fairly common. You can likely find one if you don’t have it, or you can tell the story. Your child may have a few farm animal figurines that can help tell the story too. The video below is updated with animals that check their phones and eventually help do dishes.

child imitating making pieMaking bread is pretty complicated, so maybe instead you and your child can make up some play dough. Use your preferred recipe and mix up a batch. Homemade play dough needs kneading just like bread. Set up some dishes, cutters, and tools and let your child play. As kids squeeze, roll, smoosh, pat, and pull, they are exercising the small muscles in their hands, fingers, and wrists. These muscles haven’t finished developing, so kids need lots of activities that use little actions and coordination.

The Little Red Hen is a good story to use to talk about cooperation and sharing. Should the hen share even when the others don’t help? Should the other animals get any when they haven’t helped the hen with the other parts? Even young children have a sense of fairness.

If you have a bread machine at home, you can also talk about it and how the machine is easier. Maybe kids will want to invent another machine that can do work. What would they invent?

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #4

Rumpelstiltskin Inspires Play-of-the-Day

rumpelstiltskin-usborneThe story of Rumpelstiltskin inspires today’s play-of-the-day with some name activities. What’s in a name? Lots of fun and learning for kids.

Rumpelstiltskin is the story of a little man who can spin straw into gold. He helps out a maiden and wants her first born in return. When the time comes, the deal will be cancelled if she can guess his name. Who could guess that name? If you do not have a book, you can tell the story to your child. There’s an adapted and updated version of the story in a video below. This book is an Usborne version.

For some fun today, talk with kids about their name. Where did it come from? Does anyone else in the family have that name? Do any friends have that name? Kids can make their name too.

learning to print nameA few ways to make names are to use magnetic letters on the fridge, peel and stick foam letters on anything, rolling out the letters with play dough, or stamping it out with paint dabbers. As early as 2 or 3 years old, children may ‘write their name’. At first, it’s just a few scribbles but these start to look more like letters. Often, there is a fairly recognizable first letter followed by a few more marks. About the age of 4 or 5, most children are printing their own names and maybe the names of other family members too. *Since most programs and schools will use a capital letter for the first letter in a name, followed by lower case letters, this is the best way to start.

Printing names is often children’s first venture into the world of written communication. We can help them in a variety of ways such as lightly printing the letters for them to trace over, drizzling it with syrup on a pancake, squeezing the letters on a plate with ketchup, and printing it out nice and big for them to copy. What better way to start the journey of learning to write than with a name?

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #3

Thee Little Pigs Inspire Play-of-the-Day Once you have read a book with your child, don’t stop there. It’s just a start to the fun. How about some building along with the Three Little Pigs? The Three Little Pigs is a fairly common story, but you might not have a book of it at home. If … Continue reading March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #3

Part Seven: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E

Spending Time Reading Books and Telling Stories to Kids One of the most powerful activities is to read to kids, but many parents don’t because they are not good readers themselves. Does this hold you back? Reading to kids is not just important to help master language, but makes an enormous difference in the lives … Continue reading Part Seven: To a Child, Love is Spelled T I M E