Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

This month’s book club meeting was about learning to adapt (and react positively) when things don’t go your way (and also a little math fun). This lighthearted book, featuring the very popular Pete the Cat character struck a cord with several parents. After all, what parent of a young child doesn’t need a little extra help teaching their children to adapt when they don’t get their way (especially those going through the temper tantrum phase)?! Pete the Cate and His Four Groovy Buttons gives kids language to help when things don’t go their way (like: “It’s all good). In this story, Pete starts the day with four buttons and progressively loses each one as the day goes on. As he loses the buttons, the book teaches basic subtraction. (Ex: 4-1=3). As our group read, we made Pete the Cat “button” bookmarks inspired by THIS project. Prior to the meeting, I cut out yellow pieces of card stock into strips (you could make yours any size that works for you, but I made mine about 4 inches long by 1 inch wide). With a black marker I then drew a line down the middle vertically. At the bottom, I drew another short vertical line on either side of the center line and a perpendicular horizontal line from the small vertical line outwards (see the photos in the slideshow below). At the top, I drew a small “v” which I then cut out. The bookmarks were supposed to vaguely resemble Pete’s yellow shirt. I then covered each bookmark in clear contact paper and cut them out. Each child received one bookmark along with a sheet of four colored dot stickers (I just cut out one of each color on a sheet of Avery dot stickers). Each sticker had four circles drawn on to represent button holes. As Pete lost each button in the book, the kids took a sticker off of their sheet and put it on their bookmark. It was easy for the kids to count how many “buttons” were left as they removed and adhered each sticker. Since the bookmark is covered in contact paper, in theory, the kids could pull off the stickers and repeat the activity at any point. Our snack was healthy peanut butter button “cookies”. I adapted the recipe found at this link in 4 ways. First, I used all natural creamy peanut butter (about a 1/2 cup) and no other nut butter. Second, I increased the cinnamon to about a teaspoon. Third, I pressed each ball down softly to form a circle and then used a straw to poke four “button” holes into each cookie. Fourth, I baked the cookies several minutes longer than the recipes calls for. I suggest using the time recommended on the aforementioned blog, but watching the cookies carefully and increasing the time in small increments as desired. Both the activity and snack were fairly easy to prep ahead so made facilitating the meeting very easy. Not only do I highly recommend the Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons book, but also the snack and activity if you are looking for a low-stress, low-mess accompaniment to the story.

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