Each month for the past couple of years, we have been donating a copy of our selected monthly book and supplies for a corresponding activity and snack. Recently, a local church donated several copies of multiple children’s books to our group. Their intent was originally to get the books back into the hands of the community to encourage youth literacy. In lieu of our book club pals bag for a few months, our group decided to pass the books onto a local group that sponsors monthly group literacy meetings for parents and children. To add our own contribution to the literacy efforts, we developed or adapted activity and healthy snack ideas for each book and included a print-out with the information in each copy of the book. The collection of ideas are below.
Book: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Age Range: Baby (6 mos.-1 year old)
Activity: Flashlight stars & red balloon bouncing
Supplies: Flashlight with batteries for each person, inflated red balloon
Directions: Turn down or off lights and use the flashlight to create “stars” on the ceiling. With lights on, bounce a red balloon with your baby (or around a circle of parents and babies). Be sure children don’t put balloons in mouths since balloons are choking hazards.
Supplies: Baby cereal or Cream of Wheat depending on the age of the child.
Directions: Prepare cereal or Cream of Wheat according to package directions and serve.
Book: Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera
Age Range: Early Toddler (1 – 1.5 years old)
Activity: Make a large cardboard bus
Supplies: Large utility box or tape a few smaller packing boxes together, yellow duct tape, scissors (for tape), black paper plates, brads, black marker.
Directions: Turn box(es) and fold down sides so that the top is open, cover the box with yellow duct tape, attach black paper plates as wheels using the brads, attach one black paper plate with brads to the inside front as a steering wheel., draw on windows using the black marker.
Snack: Animal crackers, cheese “bus” with Olive wheels
Supplies: Animal crackers, Rectangle of chedder cheese, olive slices
Directions: Layout a rectangular piece of cheddar cheese, place two olive slices underneath as “wheels”, serve animal crackers on the side.
Book: No David by David Shannon
Age Range: Early Toddler (1.5-3 years years old)
Activity: Make a calm down jar
Supplies: Clean & clear empty plastic jar, hot water, glitter glue, glitter in the same color
Directions: Grown-up fill the empty jar about ¾ full of hot water, child help squeeze a couple of tablespoons (eyeball it) of glitter glue in the jar, pour in a small container of glitter. Close the jar (glue the top shut for extra assurance the jar won’t open). Child can shake the jar when upset and watch glitter settle to help calm down.
Snack: Make a vegetable stick person (play with food like in book!)
Supplies: Small bowl of ranch dressing for head, olive slices for eyes, red pepper slice for mouth, carrots and celery for body and legs/arms.
Directions: Create the stick figure from the veggies and/or encourage the child to arrange the veggies into a “person” as they snack.
Book: Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack by Doreen Cronin
Theme: Alphabet Picnic
Age Range: Toddler (2-4 years old)
Activity: Have an alphabet picnic
Supplies: Printed and cut letters of the alphabet, picnic items (blanket, basket, plates, variety of food, silverware, etc.)
Directions: Print letters out on paper and cut out. Prepare a picnic lunch (if a group is participating, have everyone bring food items that begin with different letters). As you set up your blanket and eat your lunch, assign letters (based on the first letter of the word) to all of the different items that you use and eat. See how many letters from the alphabet you use.
Directions: Include watermelon as part of the picnic since that food item was featured in the book.
Book: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Theme: N/a (story-line focused)
Age Range: Toddler (2-4 years old)
Activity: Color with Crayons
Supplies: Crayons, paper, pen, and tape to hang up the picture like the mouse in the book!
Directions: The mouse in the book colors a picture—color just like mouse!
Snack: Milk & (healthy) cookies
Supplies: Small mixing bowl, mixing spoon, baking pan, cooking spray or liner like foil, 1.5 cups of oats, 2-3 super ripened bananas, 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon to taste, handful of raisins, dried fruit, carob chips, or chocolate chips as desired.; Milk & cup
Directions: Mash bananas in a bowl, add all of the other ingredients (except the milk). Stir to combine. Drop small spoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from pan, let cool, and serve with a glass of milk.
Book: How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
Age Range: Late Toddler (3-4 years old)
Activity: Treasure Hunt in Sand or Cornmeal
Supplies: Large bucket stocked with small trinkets from the dollar store (or similar). Dry sand or cornmeal
Directions: Mix the trinkets into the sand (or cornmeal) and let the kids dig and search for the “buried treasure”
Snack: Quesadilla Treasure Map (source: http://littlenummies.net/2008/11/treasure-map-quesadilla/)
Supplies: Kitchen scissors, whole wheat tortilla, shredded white cheese, red and green bell peppers, olives, pretzel stick.
Directions: Trim tortilla into a rectangle (use scissors) and sprinkle with grated cheese. Make an X out of red pepper. Cut palm leaves out of pieces of green pepper and use a pretzel stick for the tree trunk. Make “footsteps” with little bits of olive. Heat in the microwave oven until the cheese melts. Cool and serve!
Book: Frederick by Leo Lionni
Age Range: Late Toddler (3-4 years old)
Activity: Make Sun Catchers (source: http://babbledabbledo.com/art-for-kids-cosmic-suncatchers/)
Supplies: White glue, food coloring, toothpicks, plastic container lid (from yogurt, sour cream, etc.), hole punch, string
Directions: Pour generous amount of glue onto the plastic lid. Drop a few drops of food coloring onto the glue and swirl the colors with the toothpick (don’t over-swirl). Let dry for 1 to 3 days and remove when fully dry and sides begin to peel. Punch a hold in the top and hang with the string in a sunny spot.
Snack: Nuts and berries like the mice gather in the book
Supplies: a variety of nuts and berries
Directions: Serve and eat!
Book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz
Theme: Bad Days
Age Range: Older kids (4 +)
Activity: Make a Smile File
Supplies: An old shoebox, old magazines, glue stick, child-safe scissors, 4 x 6 notecards, writing utensil
Directions: Look through old magazines with child and help them pick out pictures of things they like or make them smile. Ask child to cut out pictures and glue onto their box—covering the box. Next, brainstorm a few people, things, or memories that make them happy and write each item on a note card. Then, each day (or periodically) write something happy that happened that day on the card. On a bad day, the child can look at the box and ask a family member to read them some of the cards as a way to lift their spirits!
Snack: Healthy Jelly Roll
Supplies: soft wheat bread, low (or no)-sugar added jelly or jam, no-sugar added peanut butter if desired, knife, rolling pin
Directions: Cut the crust off of a slice of bread. Roll it flat with a rolling pin, spread on jelly and peanut butter if desired, roll into a pin-wheel and serve.