Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun Day Sunday!

Okay, it's time to gather your materials for our second Fun Day Sunday! I promised something more boy-oriented than last week's ladybugs, so here you have it...SNAKES! The first thing you'll need is a children's book about snakes. Fiction books are great to start with, since they have a "story" that will draw kids in. If you find that your little one LOVES the whole snakey subject, there are tons of great children's NONfiction books available, too.

A particular favorite fiction book is Verdi, by Janell Cannon (you may be familiar with her other best-seller, Stellaluna). Verdi is about a little yellow snake who fears growing into an old, sluggish green snake. This book should be readily available at your public library.
However, if you can't locate a copy...The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash, by Trinka Hakes Noble is another great fiction book. It's a little more detailed than Verdi, but still a great storyline!
Other materials you will need: a thin paper plate, crayons/markers/poster paint & brush, scissors. This activity will be fun, simple and inexpensive.
1) Snuggle up and read the snake book of your choice. As you read, remember to stop at key points in the story to ask our simple comprehension question, "Oooh, what do you think will happen NEXT??" Discuss the story and how it could have been different with a different main character or with a different ending.

2) Art Activity time! Draw a spiral on a paper plate. You will probably want to do this for your child, because I can tell you, it's harder than it looks, LOL! (Hint: I cut a spiral freehand and then used it to trace the spiral on another paper plate.)
Have your child color the snake green, on both sides of the plate, if you want.

Or, you can have your child paint the plate, allow it to dry and THEN draw the spiral. That's what I did, plus I painted it on both sides. But I'm kind of neurotic, LOL! Then all your child will need to do is cut it out on the line!

Pierce a hole in the snake's head (I used a needle and clear thread) and hang your child's creation in a place of honor! Here's mine hanging on the front porch where it will turn in the breeze...or you could hang it inside near a vent so that the air flow will make it turn.

He's surprisingly happy-looking, don't you think?

While you and your child are admiring his/her work, you can have your child tell you his/her favorite part of the story and WHY he/she liked that. You can ask him or her to retell the story, using the prompts, "What happened at the beginning of the story?" "What happened in the middle of the story?" "What happened at the end?"
So there you have it! You've worked on comprehension/sequencing/retelling (more crucial reading skills) with your questioning and fine motor skills. You've encouraged the love of reading in your child. You've done a simple, inexpensive, UNPLUGGED learning activity with your child. Oh, yeah, and I made up these sequencing cards for you to use...drawing a spiral with my mouse is beyond my skill set, but you could print the cards and hand-draw the spiral.
(DUH, forgot to include the cards the first time I published this post. If you want a pdf of the cards, email me!)

OH, and don't forget the FOOD!! Food is a great reinforcer and the "glow" will spread from the sugary treat to the whole reading experience, especially if your normally don't allow your child to eat a lot of sugar! So how about some yummy gummy, I mean, gummy SNAKES! LOL

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