This month’s meeting was so simple to put together and was a refreshing reminder of how we originally envisioned book club when it began four years ago. The mission has always been to use activities that are easy, inexpensive, creative fun play. Our Baby Toddler Book Club has always been as much about the gathering of parents and children as it is about developing a love of reading and books by bringing them to life. If we get too hindered down in the preparations, busy parents don’t want to prep for the meeting. If we get too bogged down with complicated activities, we lose the important creative play element of early childhood. Now, don’t get me wrong, in my love of planning book club meetings, I’ve been known to plan some more, shall we say, extravagant, activities with a lot of preparation too! However, meetings like this remind me that it’s NOT how involved (or even sometimes how creative) the activity is, it’s that it connects to the book and it’s age appropriate.
What is more appropriate for a group of 2 to 3 year olds? A book about blocks (and one written by a classic children’s poet no less)! Block City is a book based off of a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. There are several version of this book each featuring illustrations by different illustrators. An older version was illustrated by Ashley Wolff, a newer hardcover version by Daniel Kirk, and a newer paperback version was illustrated by Anne Baasch. We used all three at our meeting. Whichever version parents could get their hands on was fine. The page turns come at slightly different times, but it was easy for parents to adjust while we were reading. My children fell in love with the Ashley Wolff version because it’s what we had first, but we chose to read the Daniel Kirk version at our meeting because it features beautiful, vivid illustrations that represent greater diversity than the Wolff version.
We read our book amongst a pile of blocks that we had set out before the meetings. The children began playing with the blocks as soon as they arrived. We had three different kinds of blocks in our house to set out: large cardboard blocks, medium sized wood blocks, and small alphabet blocks (also wood). Tower-making was very popular with this crowd! We had no structured activity–just free play with blocks.
Snack was remarkably easy as well. We ate cheese “blocks”! Also, known as cheese cubes. Cheese cubes can be purchased cut and ready to serve, but you could also cut your own. We used two kinds of cheese to provide a little color variety. The kids were definitely encouraged to play with their food for this meeting!
From blocks to paint–next month join us to read about some very colorful mice!