Summer Book Club: The Giving Tree

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 6: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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This story is one of my favourite all-time Children’s book. It’s beautiful, simple and preaches a timeless message of kindness and giving. It’s a must-read!

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Story Extensions:

Apple Tree Playdough Mats

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I cut out, glued and laminated a simple tree pattern ahead of time. During our lesson, I had the kids tear off small pieces of red modelling clay to make apples for the tree. I used modelling clay in lieu of playdough this time for some added fine motor strengthening.

Once the kids had added their apples we solved a few math problems using the apples as manipulatives. For Mr Man (3), I would ask him to ‘pick’ a certain number of apples, this allowed him to count and verify his number sense. Little Momma (4.5) did a few subtraction questions, by first counting the total number of apples in the tree (we started with 5) and then solving how many were left after were eaten. (i.e. How many apples would be left in the tree if Daddy came and ate 3? Answer: 5 – 3 = 2)

Apple Tree Fingerpaint Craft

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This fun and simple craft incorporated a number of art mediums, giving way to many sensory experiences through the process!

First, the kids glued a pre-cut foam tree top onto a pre-cut sandpaper trunk, using white glue. Then they got to trace a heart on the sandpaper trunk, which was an interesting sensation! Last, they used red paint and their fingertips to add apples to their trees. The end result was cute and our conversation about the various textures throughout was an added bonus – I love when an art activity is about more than the finished product!

Collecting Leaves & Counting Tree Rings

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A few of our crafts required leaves and so we headed out for some collecting and exploring.

We also had a few smaller tree logs in the garage, that we used to count tree rings and find their age. This was fascinating to my littles, who then looked for rings on all things 😛

Mini-Giving Trees

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Using the leaves we found and some mini cardboard planters the kids arranged some little trees by poking the stems through the cardboard.

With each leaf they added we discussed a way we could be giving like the tree was in the story. Some of our ides were: share snacks, draw pictures for a sick neighbour and giving hugs!

Leaf Prints

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The kiddos really enjoyed making leaf-prints by stamping the various leaves we collected onto some rolled out playdough. It was fun to compare all the markings they left, too!

What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Is There Really a Human Race?

A Bad Case of the Stripes

Summer Book Club: A Bad Case of the Stripes

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 5: A Bad Case of Stripes (Scholastic Bookshelf) by David Shannon

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With the start of a new school year, and Little Momma beginning Kindergarten soon, our August books are focusing on back to school themes, anxieties and excitement. This book is a cute story about a little girl who is so worried about what people think of her that she breaks out in a case of the stripes! It is a wonderful reminder of the importance of staying true to yourself and the beauty in being unique!

Story Extensions:

Face Painting

The kids chose what their ‘case of the stripes’ would look like. I attempted an airplane for Mr Man, while Hubby had a go at a pig for Little Momma! FYI: We used costume/Halloween face paint sticks from the dollar store and they wiped off with ease.

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Stripe Building

Using Mega Blocks, the kids were set with the task of building stripey towers.

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Lima Bean Counting (and tasting!)

We opened up a can of Lima beans (in the story the main character, Camilla Cream, is embarrassed by the fact that she LOVES Lima beans!) and the kids each tried one. Both kids said the had no worry about breaking out in stripes, seeing as they didn’t like Lima beans at all! I poured the can into a bowl and let the kids feel the slimy beans too, this STILL did not win them over ;P

I had been planning to use dried Lima beans with the chalkboard as a counting surface, but I got too excited about the sensory portion that I ended up just covering my prepped chalkboard with plastic wrap! I wrote numbers, 1-10 for Mr Man (who is 3) and 11-20 for Little Momma (who is 4.5), inside circles and had the kids count the appropriate number of beans for each number, for some simple one-to-one correspondence.

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B&W Photos

Colouring black and white pictures of themselves was a favourite for my little narcissists 😉 We used markers to add colour to the photos, with each kid giving themselves a unique case of the stripes!

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What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Is There Really a Human Race?

Summer Book Club: Is There Really a Human Race?

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 4: Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

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If you’ve never read this one, do it – now! It is a cute story about a little boy with many questions for his mother about life. It’s a refreshing and fun reminder that even the most weighted terms we use are both simple and silly in the eyes of a child :p Plus, it teaches us to be kind…and kindness is king around here!


Story Extensions:

M & M’s

A yummy treat and a good visual lesson to go along with it!

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I gave both Little Momma and Mr Man a few M & M’s and we talked about how each was a different colour. Then they bit into each one to see that they were all chocolate on the inside. It gave us a great opening to talk about how finding similarities in others trumps pointing out the differences.

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Hockey Players and Princesses

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Tapping into their interests, we flipped through a Hockey Magazine and a Princess Song Book. There was great variety in how the hockey players and princesses looked, however the kids had fun finding similarities instead.

“They have hockey sticks”

“They talk to animals”

“They wear helmets”

“They love to sing”

We all agreed these common interests were far more interesting!

 

Colour a Rainbow

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Take out a box of crayons and then choose just one colour and begin to draw a rainbow.

Little Momma was very quick to interject that I was missing colours, and that a rainbow could not be all red. Together we drew a rainbow and talked about how all the colours added something special, and saw how our own differences are much the same.

 

Rhythm Flags

I poured out 6 colours of paint onto some paper plates and lined up 6 music selections from around the world. We headed outside with some white fabric and barefeet and let the rhythm guide our painting!

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With each song the kids would step into a plate of paint and then dance on their respective flags however the rhythm moved them. The end result was messy, colourful and all kinds of fun 🙂

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What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Summer Book Club: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book. This summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 3: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day 

by Judith Viorst

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Bad days, we all have them…even kids. This story tells the tale of a young boy, Alexander’s, horrible day, from start to finish and teaches that no one is exempt from having a terrible day every now and then.

Story extension activities:

Balloon Emotions

We used our playdough-filled Emotion Balloons to talk about the various feelings we have. Then we did a picture walk through the story and described how we thought Alexander may be feeling at different times.

To make your own Emotion Balloons you will need balloons, playdough and a Sharpie marker. Fill each balloon to the desired size with playdough (approximately half of a regular-sized Play Doh container worked for us), tie each balloon and draw on some expressions (we have happysadsurprisedmadscared, and silly.

These also make wonderful stress balls for those fidgety kids who may need an incentive to sit still or to help children build fine motor strength!

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Silver Linings

We then played a little game of Hot Potato with our balloons. Whoever ended with the balloon had to identify the feeling and tell about a time or situation when they felt that way.

For the ‘negative’ ones (sad, mad, scared) we discussed how the issue was resolved or how it could have been avoided. It was a great conversation and lesson in empathy!

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Food Collages

In the story, Alexander is not happy about some of his meals. I put out some grocery flyers and magazine picture of food, along with scissors, glue and construction paper and asked the kids to make collages of foods they like. And even though Little Momma was certain she wouldn’t find any because she’s a “picky eater” she managed to fill 2 whole pages (and shockingly it wasn’t all junk either!).

This activity gave the kids a chance to practice their cutting and try to hone that ever-tricky scissor grasp!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   What are you reading this week?

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Summer Book Club: Amazing Grace

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 2: Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman 

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A beautiful story about a little girl who is blessed with a lovely family who encourages her that she can do anything she puts her mind to!

Story extension activities:

A Caring Manual

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Flipping through the story we found images that demonstrated caring. Then we made our own manual for showing others that we care.

Giving hugs.

Telling stories at bedtime.

Listening when someone is talking to you.

 

Amazing Portraits

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I gave each of the kids a mirror and some drawing materials and then they began to sketch a self-portrait of their AMAZING selves!

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Drama and Dress-Up Fun

In the story, Grace, loves to dress-up and act out pantomimes and so we followed her lead! Little Momma requested that the entire family act out Cinderella and so we chose our characters over dinner:

Little Momma – Cinderella

Mr Man – Step-Brother (in lieu of sister!)

Baby Girl – Step-Sister

Daddy – Bruno (the dog)

Mommy – Fairy Godmother

As everyone got into character, I snuck to the basement and put on my prom dress. The kids were in awe of Mommy’s pretty dress, especially Little Momma, who wanted it all for herself! And you know what? It didn’t even matter that I can’t zip it up anymore…any wishing for my pre-baby body was replaced with the utter joy of playing with my kiddos!

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Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Summer Book Club: The Troll

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do as extensions with your own littles at home!

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Week 1: The Troll by Julia Donaldson

A fun and silly story of how a bridge-dwelling troll and a band of thieving pirates come to befriend one another. The characters are great and the wit will have everyone chuckling along!

Story extension activities:

Wooden Peg Characters

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We had great fun colouring some wooden pegs in the likeness of the book’s characters using oil pastels. Now we can act out the story and play along with the characters whenever we’d like!

Family Cookery Book

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Little Momma and Mr Man each chose a few of their favourite family recipes and helped me record the procedures for preparing them and then illustrated accordingly. Among them, strawberry jam, cranberry-pecan granola bars, PB & J (apparently I make a mean one!), pancakes, peanut butter cookies, eggy pies, playdough and banana chocolate chip muffins!

Trip-Trapping Adventure

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Off we went on a trip-trapping, treasure-hunting adventure. It’s always great fun to let the kids lead the way and watch the wonder unfold!

Some of our other favourite Julia Donaldson books:

                                                                       

The Gruffalo

The Gruffalo’s Child

Room on the Broom