Just in time for Dr. Suess’ birthday at the beginning of March, we featured a classic Dr. Suess book at our meeting this month: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I know many are familiar with the concept of this book, but for those who aren’t, it’s actually a collection of short stories about silly nonsensical ideas using simple vocabulary that rhymes and is often from the same word families. While our kids aren’t yet “readers” some of our oldest toddlers are exhibiting pre-reading skills and an interest in words. A few can already recognize very familiar words (like their names). The kids also seem to enjoy the short story format of this book (which works well for a toddler attention span) and the goofy nature of the content.
Like many Dr. Suess books, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is actually quite lengthy when read in entirety. When we sat down as a group to read the book, we decided to read as much together as we could until the toddlers lost interest, at which point, we skipped around to some of our favorite of the remaining vignettes!
After reading the book as a group, we then did a little “fishing” of our own! On a blue towel (our pond), we spread out several fish that were printed on colored card stock and cut out prior to the meeting. Each fish also adorned a paper clip and a small piece of velcro on the back. Fish of the same color were each printed with a word from the same story and word family. For example, there were 5 yellow fish each of which had one of the following words on it: old, cold, gold, told, hold. To fish, we gave each child a fishing pole made from a pre-cut dowel rod (purchased at a local craft store), string (for the line), and a magnet tied and glued to the end of the string to attract the paper clips on the fish. When a child caught a fish, they pulled it off and placed it on our felt board. The board had a fish of every color along the top with the stem of the word family (OLD for the aforementioned yellow-fish family). By setting the activity up this way, it self-adapted based on the developmental stage of the kids. The kids who were interested in the words could see the connections, but otherwise it was a color matching activity. It was also a motor control activity because the kids had to maneuver control of the fishing pole to catch a fish, remove the fish, and attach it to the felt board. They also had to practice a little cooperation/turn-taking too! ** Please Note: Magnets are a significant choking hazard and extremely dangerous if swallowed, so only do this with children who are old enough and who will be under constant supervision. Paperclips also pose a choking risk. **
Every kid in the group got into this activity and with just a little introduction, picked up on what to do! This activity took a little time to prepare, but watching the toddlers’ engagement made it very worthwhile! We are certainly not the first to develop a fishing game with paperclips and magnetic fishing poles, but we didn’t refer to any one site or blog in particular to develop the activity. We did find a simple fish printable at this link that we adapted for our needs: http://www.artistichandsoffaith.com/?p=975. There are, however, lots of bloggers in the Pinterest world who have developed similar activities if you are looking for inspiration. This was simply our take.
We stuck with the fishing theme for snack time! Each child received a blue plate with Goldfish Colors crackers, petite carrots, and a greek-yogurt spinach dip. We showed the kids that they could use a carrot as a “fishing pole” by dipping it in the dip and then “catching” a Goldfish cracker with it. Parenting magazine gave us the idea for this one: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/healthy-kids-snacks?pnid=614938. Additionally, one of the stories in the book is about a “Yink” who drinks pink ink, so we decided to make a toddler version of “pink ink” to go along with the snack. The easiest/healthiest way to make a pink beverage? Milk blended with strawberries.
Snack time is much easier now that we’ve moved to a new location for our book club meetings that includes multiple tables and chairs. Our group has grown over the last few months as we have added new members, so we needed to find a larger space than a home to host. We are now using a local church building to host our meetings. We were lucky to find a place that meets our needs and is being made available to our group at no cost. I highly recommend a similar option to other Baby Toddler Book Clubs who wish to gather, but don’t feel they have a space in a home.
See pictures of our meeting in the slideshow below and happy birthday to Dr. Suess!