Reading three books is a bit of a break from our traditional Baby Toddler Book Club model (we usually select one book per month), but Waddle!, Gallop!, and Santa! are all fun short “scanimation” books by Rufus Butler Seder that actually fit quite nicely together and made for a lively December meeting!
We started out with the intent to feature Waddle! and Gallop! at our December meeting. These books have very similar content and are quite short, so to make it easy on everyone who was trying to obtain a copy, we just said, “bring whichever you can get your hands on; we’ll read both”. These books ask readers if they can behave like the animals in the book (i.e., waddle like penguin, gallop like a horse, etc.). What makes these books notable is not necessarily the content, but the “scanimations,” which are illustrations that move as you turn the page. These are quite amusing for both little ones and even for grown-ups who have never seen anything like this before. These books are simple enough that they appeal to very young toddlers and even babies, so if your group has younger members, you can still use these books (but perhaps adapt the activity and snack).
We discovered shortly before our meeting, that the author also came out this fall with a book very similar in style called, Santa! and since our meeting was planned in December and we hadn’t done anything this year with a winter or holiday theme, we decided to go ahead and throw this book into the mix. The book really has very little to do with Christmas; it’s just a collection of silly activities performed by Santa (hula-hooping, ice-skating, etc.).
After we read the books, we played a “giant dice” game for our activity. Our “dice” were square tissue boxes covered in white paper. Each side of the dice featured a phrase from one of the books and a corresponding picture of the animal (or Santa) associated with that phrase. These were fairly simple to make and would be made even simpler if you used clip art for the pictures. I chose to draw the animals, but you certainly wouldn’t need to do that for use at home or with your club. The kids then took turns rolling (or what was really throwing) the dice. Everyone then acted out whatever phrase the dice landed on. I tried to pick the phrases from the books that I thought 2 to 3 year olds were most likely able to imitate. For example, I skipped things like “backflip”!
The dice game is a good way to get the kiddos moving during these cold winter months cooped up inside. We’ll be keeping the dice at our house and reusing them when we need inspiration to let out a little energy! We aren’t the only parents with this idea, I’ve seen similar dice around the blogosphere, for example: http://www.boredblogalmighty.com/2012/03/get-physical.html.
Keeping with our “animal theme” we chose animal crackers for an easy snack. We also added fruit and cheese “Santa” hats to our mix when we added the Santa! book to our repertoire. One of the moms in our book club found these similar “Grinch Kabobs” online: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/31/05/cb/3105cb64ea11f53597883add01206978.jpg and we just adapted. Ours were a slice of banana, a strawberry, and a slice (not string) of string cheese layered on a toothpick to look like a “Santa hat”. Truthfully, I bought the mini-marshmallows mentioned in the above link, and a little marshmallow wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the string cheese “healthed” it up a bit to keep with our attempt at providing generally healthy snacks and the kids didn’t know any difference. (Plus, they got their extra sugar in the animal crackers as a treat!)
Our slideshow below includes photos from the meeting as well as more detailed photos of the snack and dice for those looking to replicate.
We hope everyone finds some time to cuddle up with a good book as we end this year and begin the next! Happy New Year from our book club to yours!