Tails (Our first meeting with the new group of one-year olds!)

School is back in session for many children and in that same manner, so is our book club! After a short break this past month, we are back with a new book list and a (mostly) new group of participants. We have decided to focus again on the one to two year olds and follow them as they grow and learn with books!

(For those who were following our, now, older preschool readers, check back soon to read what they will be up to in a “big kids book club“.)

Our first book with this new group is highly interactive and perfect to engage busy one-year olds! Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet has it all: Lift-the-flap, pull-the-tab, touch-and-feel, scratch-and-sniff. The rhyming book features tails of all kinds on all sorts of animals (“Tails fluffy, tails stringy, scaled tails strong and clingy…”). The descriptive words help children learn new vocabulary and the interactive nature of the book will surely engage even young readers with short attention spans. While the book is fairly sturdy, we all discovered that there are parts that can easily be pulled apart by curious little hands (I’ve already taped several parts of our copy)!

We all gathered to read the book outside under a tree for our first meeting. Each family had a copy of the book, which I highly recommend at this age (and with this book) so that they can engage with the book as it is being read. After reading, we extended the tail theme by making tail sensory boxes. To make the boxes, we used small favor boxes (like you might find at a craft store for a wedding.) Each child received three boxes, but I’ve done this activity with my children and filled many more (up to 15), each with different textured items. For our purposes, the toddlers filled their boxes with three different textured “tails”: a fluffy tail (large pom pom), a feathery tail (feather), and a soft tail (a strip of fleece). While we were making the boxes, the little ones had fun exploring the different textures and required little invitation to help themselves! The boxes can be closed loosely to allow the children to “discover” what is inside. They can then explore by putting the textured items in and out of the boxes (since we know they LOVE to put things in and out at this age)! The boxes probably will get smashed and won’t last forever, but they can be put back together, and actually, I found that our boxes lasted for quite a long time before they were un-usable. A little tape might provide some reinforcement too.

After activity time, it was time for a snack: bunny tails and tiger tails! The bunny tails were banana slices dipped in unsweetened coconut and the tiger tails were cooked carrots and olives strung on a piece of uncooked spaghetti as a skewer, which we removed before eating. The spaghetti is safer than toothpicks for little ones, however, it does get soggy, so the tiger tails really need to be prepared right before serving. My inspiration for the tiger tails came from this blog, but I adapted it quite a bit to make it appropriate for our little book club members!

Below you’ll find photos of the meeting. Thanks so much to one of the moms in our group for taking many of these great pictures!

I’m so excited about our new group and watching these little ones grow and learn through books! We hope that you’ll let us know if you’ll be reading with us this year!

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