Many of our books this past year have focused on social concepts that we value sharing with our children. We want our children to accept diversity in their world and seek justice where there is a void. In addition to reading our children books that emphasize these concepts, we have to help our children develop emotional awareness and a general understanding of kindness. Fill a Bucket by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin, M.A. is a great book for discussing kindness and helping develop a concrete sense of emotional empathy. There are several “bucket filling” books, but this particular one is geared toward very young children. The concept introduced in this book is that everyone has a bucket that can be emptied or filled based on their own actions or the actions of others. Full buckets make us happy and empty buckets make us feel sad. For the most part, the children in our group seemed to grasp this basic metaphorical concept and love the playful, vivid illustrations.
The metaphorical bucket in this book was the springboard for our activity in which we made actual buckets using 9 oz. clear plastic cups and pipe cleaners. If you choose to replicate this activity, I recommend purchasing thin plastic cups. I used a thicker variety from Target and found it very difficult to punch holes in the side to attached the pipe cleaner handle. At our meeting, the children used foam letter stickers to spell their names on their cups to identify their buckets and as a literacy activity. Each child received a bucketful of pom poms which could be used at home as a positive reinforcement activity. In our house, my preschooler can put a pom pom in his bucket every time he does something bucket filling–he’s usually pretty good at identifying these behaviors on his own! Once the bucket is full, parents might decide if there is some kind of reward. We haven’t yet–for now, just the act of getting to add a pom pom is pretty exciting at our house!
We used the same size clear plastic cups with pipe cleaner handles for our snack, but on these cups, we had drawn faces in advance to replicate the bucket face on the book’s cover. We filled each cup with vanilla yogurt and chopped pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries to (sort-of) replicate the full-bucket illustration. This snack was replicated from Sommer’s Lion Pride blog. I think her snacks were much cuter, but you get the idea!
We have just a few more months of our book club in this format. More about the changes will be coming soon, but join us all summer to see what activities we still have planned in our current set-up!