Here it is, the first instalment of the Happy Blurry Beautiful Toddler book club!
Book: King Jack and the Dragon, by Peter Bently with illlustrations by Helen Oxenbury (2012)
Synopsis: “King” Jack and his friends have a brave adventure, fighting off dragons…until one by one they all have to go home for the night!
Love the rhyming structure of the book! Also, the theme of the book is all about imaginative play – a great way to have fun while developing creativity and learning. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!
- Become fire breathing dragons. Use a paper cup or toilet paper roll as your frame, paint it dragon green (or any other colour you want!), add crepe paper for the fire, give it some eyes, and voila! You have your dragon!
- Make crowns. Use construction paper to get the basic shape of the crown, decorate with paint, crayons, felts, glitter, etc. Here is a great little tutorial on making your own crown.
- Make swords. Draw out the basic shape of a sword on a cardboard box. Cut out, reinforcing with more cardboard at the handle if necessary (depending on how strong your box is). Decorate with gems, aluminum foil (for the metal), or colour in with markers or paint.
- Make a fort. Use blankets and sheets draped over chairs or your dining room table. You know the drill – I’m sure you made one or two when you were a kiddo. Another option is to use cardboard boxes to build up the walls of your fort. If you don’t have any at home, you can probably pick some up at your local grocery store or Costco! Use your crowns and swords to protect the fort from dragons, wild kangaroos, or shih tzus trying to conquer your kingdom.
- King Jack has his trusty torch with him in this great book. Pull out the flashlight and play around with the light and shadows. Make shadow puppets and encourage your tot to do the same. Don’t worry if they’re not successful – they probably won’t be. It’s more important that they are using their imagination and giving a name to the creatures they are creating!
- Go on a field trip to a reptile refuge/sanctuary to visit the lizards. While you’re there check out all the other cool and creepy creatures! Don’t have a refuge nearby? Most pet stores carry lizards as well, and some are very good about educating young children on which ones they can handle and which ones they can’t.
- Song (also available as a book): Puff the Magic Dragon
- Here Is:
Here is the knight with his feathered cap (take off hat, bow)
Here are his boots which go tap, tap, tap (tap feet)
Here is the dragon, listen to him roar (roar)
Here are his wings to help him soar (soar)
Here is the princess with her golden crown (four fingers over head)
Here is her lovely blue ball gown (curtsy)
(Credit: Storytime Katie’s Master List)
Book: The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (1995)
Synopsis: A day in the life of…the animals on the farm. No children, no farmers, just all the animals.
This book features beautiful illustrations and calm, rhythmic writing. Teaches animal names and animal sounds. Little Bear loves reading along and chiming in with all the sounds (“tiger tom cat, yeow yeow!”).
- Handprint farm animals: You can make a handprint into almost anything with a bit of imagination. Check out Fun Handprint Art Blog for some inspiration – I know Little Bear will definitely want to make the tractor handprint!
- Mask Making: Create a mask using a paper plate, some paints, scissors, and an extra large elastic band. Cut out the holes for the eyes, nose and mouth for your child, and then let your child decide what farm animal they want to be. For a bird, your child can glue down feathers and paint the mask, while you add a beak to the face. For a cow, you can add some ears while your toddler paints the mask. For a horse or donkey, use yarn as hair, and for sheep, use cotton balls that your toddler can help you glue down.
- How cute are these Popsicle Stick Farm Critters from Make and Takes? You can use them as you re-read the story or sing Old MacDonald! How much your child can help you with this activity will depend on their age, of course – for Little Bear I will need to add in some of the line details after he paints and glues down the features.
- Play dough bin: Using plastic farm animals, make paw prints, march the animals through the play dough, and simply allow your little one to play with plastic farm animals and play dough as they see fit.
- Sensory bin: Use the plastic animals from the play dough bin and put them in a tub with rocks, sand, marbles, beans or rice. Add in farm elements like a picket fence (you can easily construct one from popsicle sticks), trees or bushes, and a red barn.
- Matching game: Have pictures of farm animals that your toddler can match to toy animals. If you don’t have access to plastic toy animals, you could also simply print out pictures of farm animals, cut the animals in half, and then work on trying to “complete” each animal.
- Garden (“farm”) exploration: Working out in a garden, looking at fruit and vegetables, watering plants, pulling weeds. If you have access to a community garden, that is a great option as well!
- Petting Zoo: Visit some animals out in a farm or a local petting zoo. Be sure to pack the camera!
- Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm
- Song: B-I-N-G-O –> Customize this classic song with your child’s name, a family member’s name or a pet’s name (5 letters isn’t necessary, you just have to change the pace a little!).
Our favourite version is: There was a dada had a dog, and Ziggy was his name-o! Z-I-G-G-Y, Z-I-G-G-Y, Z-I-G-G-Y, and Ziggy was his name-o!
- Rhyme: Ten Galloping Horses – This is one that Little Bear learned at a local early education program, Strongstart. You can use 2 toy horses, or just use your fingers to make the actions of the horses galloping. Make sure to make the galloping noises at the end of each line too!
Ten galloping horses came to town, (gallop in from behind your back with fingers, make galloping noise)
Five were white (gallop noise and make one hand gallop)
and five were brown (gallop noise and make the other hand gallop)
Five went up (move your hand up as you make the gallop noise)
and five went down (move the other hand down as you make the gallop noise)
And the ten galloping horses left the town! (gallop away, hands behind your back)Variations of this rhyme could include: Ten Clucking Chickens, Ten, Honking Geese, Ten Mooing Cows, Ten Running Pigs, etc.
Book: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy (many versions available)
Synopsis: The teddy bears all gather to have a picnic – if you want to see what’s happening, you better put on your teddy bear disguise before you join in the fun! This is the book version of the classic song by Jimmy Kennedy from 1932.
Since this book is a song, get right in there and sing the words! If you’re not sure of the tune, you can find this song on YouTube, although Little Bear hasn’t loved any of the versions I’ve found on there so far! But it’ll give you a starting point.
- Teddy Bear Disguise:
- For the nose: using an old egg carton, cut out one egg cup. Punch holes in the side, and work with your toddler to decorate the “nose” like a teddy bear nose (paint it dark brown or black, draw on nostrils). When it is dry, cut open an extra-large elastic band and string it through each of the holes that you punched earlier.
- For the ears: With some construction paper, scissors, and glue, you can easily design some cute ears. Using brown construction paper, measure a thick band that will go around your child’s forehead. Draw semi circles (these are the ears) on the construction paper at the top of the band. Cut out and staple or glue the band together.
- How adorable are these RAWR Creatures sock teddy bears? Too cute for words. I want one for myself! While with this craft you will have to be doing a lot of leading (and all the sewing), your child can help you stuff the teddy bear (think outside the box: use traditional stuffing or use rice, beans, or plastic bags for a crinkly teddy!).
- You knew this was coming…a Teddy Bear Picnic! Teddy bear costumes, teddy bear themed food, and most importantly, bring your best stuffed teddy along for the picnic!
- Preparation: Get your toddler to help you prepare the snacks for the picnic. From pouring snacks into Tupperware, to helping assemble sandwiches, there’s so much that your toddler can do in the kitchen! Little Bear helps me prepare food in our kitchen everyday. Of course, you should always use caution and have ground rules for kitchen time. Little Bear is great standing on a chair right next to me at the counter, but your little one may not be as good with standing on a chair. Use your judgement and modify. Bring prep work to a lower surface (dining table, coffee table, or even the floor) if necessary. For example, anything that Little Bear pours will usually be done on the floor as opposed to at the counter. One activity that toddlers love is using the salad spinner! I personally hate having to deal with the salad spinner, so it’s perfect that Little Bear will do half the work for me and have a great time while doing it!
- Dress up Time!: Pull out the teddy bears (or other stuffed toys) and practice dressing and undressing them. If you don’t have toys specifically for your teddy bears or toys, pull out some of your little one’s newborn clothes, hats and shoes! This is a great way for your toddler to practice getting dressed, doing buttons or snaps, and zipping zippers.
- Glue practice: Draw or print a picture of a teddy bear. Cut up squares of brown construction paper (you can do this, or if your child is good at using safety scissors, you can get them to do this step). Invite your toddler to glue paper in the teddy bear’s body. It’s more important that they practice gluing than actually get the paper IN the lines. I usually use glue sticks at home, but if you have liquid glue, check out this great little rhyme from Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching.
- Play dough & teddy bear cookie cutters
- The Teddy Bears’ Picnic Song (original and remakes can be found on YouTube)
- Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, reach up high,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the sky,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, bend down low,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch your toes,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go to bed,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, rest your head,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the lights,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say good night.
- Round and Round the Garden
Round and round the garden (use your fingers to draw a circle on your child’s belly, palm, or foot)
goes the teddy bear.
One step, two step, (walk fingers towards a tickle spot – belly, under arm, under knee)
Tickle him/her under there! Round and round the garden
through the wind and rain.
One step, two step,
Tickle him/her again!
- This one is a newer one for me, but is very cute, especially if you do it with the actual objects! Hide them under a blanket or around a room!
Teddy Lost His Coat
Teddy lost his coat.
Teddy lost his hat.
Teddy lost his rubber boots.
What do you think of that? Teddy found his coat.
Teddy found his hat.
Teddy found his rubber boots.
He’d left them on the mat!(Credit: CanTeach)
Book: One by Kathryn Otoshi
Synopsis: Where to start? In this beautiful and extremely well-written book, Kathryn Otoshi manages to deal with bullying, uniqueness, group causes, the numbers 1-7, colours, shapes, and sizes!
This book was gifted to Little Bear for his first birthday. It is clever and sweet and is a book that will be valuable for many years due to all the different lessons it teaches.
- Finger painting
- Bubble painting: I’ve seen this idea all over Pinterest and have wanted to try it for some time. Basically you take a straw, and blow into a cup of water + dish soap + paint, then lay a piece of paper over the resulting bubbles to get some really cool bubble prints. I am going to try this out with food colouring first, as I’m certain my curious Little Bear will want to see how the concoction tastes. The dish soap should (I would hope) turn him off of drinking it, but if he does, then he at least won’t have tried out any paint! :S
- Rice & Numbers Activity Tray: Fill a bin with rice or beans and magnetic numbers. Invite your toddler to either fish out the numbers (and talk about each one) with a magnetic fishing rod or pick them out with some child-safe tongs.
- Colour Sort: For sorting, use a chip & dip tray with different coloured paper at the base of each compartment, different coloured bowls, or just different coloured papers spread out on a table. Invite your child to sort soft pom poms into their different colours.
- Magic Numbers: A very popular activity with toddlers. Take white paper and a white crayon. Draw different numbers on different pages. You won’t be able to see anything, since it’s white on white! Invite your child to paint over the numbers with water colours. Magic numbers will appear!
- Five Little Monkeys
Five little monkeys
jumping on the bed.
One fell off
and bumped his/her head.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
(Continue going until there are no more monkeys on the bed)
- One, Two Buckle my Shoe
One, two,Buckle my shoeThree, four,Knock at the doorFive, six,Pick up sticksSeven, eight,Lay them straightNine, ten,A big, fat hen
- Song: 7 8 9 by Barenaked Ladies
- Ten In the Bed:
There were ten in the bed and the little one said, “Roll over, roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out!
(Continue counting until there are none left in the bed)