School is back in session, there is a chill in the air, pumpkin spice lattes are back and I even had a fire in the fireplace for the first time in over five months… Fall has arrived!
As an educator and mom, I love the combination of reading books followed by an “extension activity”. Extension activities have lots of benefits such as getting children excited to read and teaching them how to connect a book to real life. Activities give a child a chance to use the language from the book in a new way and of course, you have more positive parent-child interaction! Extension activities take reading to a whole new and exciting level and don’t need to be time consuming or cost money.
This summer I fell in love with Usborne books after a friend of mine introduced them to me. There are a unique company that makes books for all ages that include fiction, non-fiction, activity books, pop up books and more! I ordered a bunch of them this summer for birthday gifts as they are typically a bit harder to find so I don’t have to worry about kids already owning the book. The best news about these books is that they can be found right here at any of the Denver Public Libraries. Just enter the titles and place a hold at your closest library.
- “ A Tale of Two Beasts” by Fiona Roberton- When a little girl rescues a strange beast from the woods, she takes him home. But for some reason, the little beast is not happy! There are two sides to every story, and this funny and charming tale is no exception. Fiona Roberton offers both points of view in this discussion-starting tale of the importance of seeing the world in different ways
a) Have your child create their own story with two perspectives. Older children could write their story themselves, younger children could verbalize it to the adult.
b) Ask a child to think of a situation in their own life that presented a problematic encounter with a friend or adult. Encourage them to share the situation that made them feel unhappy, mad, embarrassed etc.. Try and have them see both sides of the event from each persons perspective (just like in the book). This is a wonderful way to teach empathy, understanding and problem solving.
Explore a tree up close and you will find a small world filled with great surprises! From worms wriggling among the roots, to birds nesting high in the branches, the hidden wonders of this amazing habitat are revealed when the page is held up to a light.
a) Do your own apple picking at a near by apple orchard! Look and touch the tree- the leaves, bark and fruit. Here are a few favorite around Denver: YaYa Farm & Orchard 6914 Ute Hwy Longmont, CO 80503; Happy Apple Farm 1190 1st Street, Penrose, CO 81240
b) Head to the grocery store and let your child pick out their own apple for a healthy snack. Talk to them about the different colors, textures and flavors. Have a taste test with a few different types of apples. Finally, cut open the apple horizontally across the middle and you will see a star with the seeds. There is a story you can share about the star here.
c) “ 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm” Usborne – This charming picture book shows scenes from farms around the world, and on every page, there are dozens of things to spot. The detailed pictures provide hours of looking and talking, and dedicated spotters will be unable to put the book down until they have found all the water buffaloes in the rice fields, the cocoa pods on the tropical farm, or eight lambs on the sheep farm. Counting sheep has never been so much fun!
- Bring the book with you in the car and have you child find what they “spot in the book” out the window! They will be amazed how many things from the book they find within their own world.
- Create your own Things to Spot. Use a sheet of paper and crayons or markers and have your child create their own Things to Spot page or book! Suggest they draw their house, playroom, or favorite place to play like a park or zoo and place special things to spot in their picture.
Elissa Sungar is the Co-Creator of If Not You, Who? a free website that offers easy and fun in-home educational activities that help prepare children for kindergarten and life! Her passion for early childhood education grew out of her experience as a pre-school teacher at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. Elissa loves spending time with her family and 1 year old son, hiking, running, tennis, yoga, cute workout clothes, good cheese, great baked goods and exploring Denver! Twitter: @ElissaINYW