Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fun Day Sunday!

So this week's fun learning activity to do with your child over the upcoming weekend is...LADYBUGS! First you'll read a book together and then you'll "cook" and enjoy a snack together. Your child will have a blast and you will have sneaked in a lot of learning in the process!

First, locate the book: any children's book about ladybugs will do. Our local public library lists 21 ladybug books in the juvenile section, both fiction and nonfiction. A favorite fiction ladybug book of mine, which should be readily available at your local library, is Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug. Other great fiction books include The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn and Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis (Ladybug Girl actually stars in an entire series off books now.) There's also a really good nonfiction ladybug book by Melvin and Gilda Berger that's called Grub to Ladybug. Check out your local library to see what they have!

For the snack, you will need the following ingredients:

round crackers (such as Ritz), strawberry cream cheese (or strawberry frosting if cream cheese is not going to work for you), red licorice laces (or licorice bites cut into strips...black licorice is more accurate, if your child likes the taste) and raisins (or chocolate chips).
Assemble the ingredients, then grab the book, get comfy with your child on the couch or snuggle up in a chair together and READ. Ask this question every so often (this works better in fiction than nonfiction books), "What do you think will happen NEXT?!" Asking that simple comprehension question will help your child learn to make predictions as he/she reads - and that's a very valuable reading skill. Once the book is finished you and your child can take turns making up different endings or talking about how the story would change if it were about a different insect, or a spider or even an animal.

Next, the snack!! Here are some pics of how the snack is assembled. Remember to allow your child to do everything he/she is able. Who cares if the cream cheese is not spread evenly and the legs all wind up on the same side. Symmetry is a developmental concept that your child will understand better as he/she gets older.

The crackers...

the cream cheese...

the licorice laces...

The finished ladybug!

If your child will not eat the raisins or chocolate chips, have him/her count them out and put them on anyway. Same with the legs. Any items he/she won't eat can be picked off. For that matter, if he/she doesn't want to eat the finished product at all, so be it! Maybe someone in your house (if all else fails, the DOG) will enjoy the snack. The important part is that you have spent some quality time with your child, UNPLUGGED from electronics, communicating and most of all, having fun together. This snack activity covers a whole host of educational concepts...following oral directions and counting objects, to name two. Here is a pic of some recipe cards I created. If you would like a full-sized copy, email me and I'll send you a pdf to print and cut out for use with the snack activity. Enjoy!

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