PreK Activities Read and Play-Make Way for Ducklings

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Make Way for Ducklings

by Robert McCloskey

*For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

This Caldecott Medal winner is sure to win your heart as you follow Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their brood of ducklings as they embark on a journey to find the perfect home. Before reading the story, tell your child that the ducks’ adventure takes place in Boston, Massachusetts. Find a map of the United States and show your child where this is located. Next, find a map of the world and show your child where Boston is located in relation to where your family lives.

After finishing the story, here are a few fun and enriching activities you can do with your child:

1) Discuss whether Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were good parents to their ducklings. What makes a good parent? Have your child be “a good parent” to one of his or her stuffed animals or dolls for a day. Praise them when they are being responsible for and kind to their “child.”

2) The ducks in this story are mallards. Read more about them here:

3) Have your child color this picture of a mallard: Prepare a bowl of yummy peanuts (a favorite snack of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard) for you and your family to munch on while your child displays his/her picture and teaches everyone a few newly acquired facts about mallards. (Prepare an alternate tasty snack if there are peanut allergies in your family.)

4) Police officers look out for the welfare of people, and often (as this story depicts) even animals. Talk about how Michael, the policeman, and other police officers helped the Mallard family. Discuss other things they do to keep us safe. If possible, schedule a time when you and your child can visit your local police station to meet a real police officer. Encourage your child to ask any questions they may have.

5) Most birds, including ducks, can fly. Ask your child where they would fly to if they could fly anywhere they desired. Pretend to fly outside or around the house with your child to their specified location. Brainstorm other places that would be fun to fly to. End each flight with a hug and remind them not to try traveling anywhere without you!

If you and your child enjoyed this story, I highly recommend “Make Way for McCloskey: A Robert McCloskey Treasure.” It contains “Make Way for Ducklings” as well as seven other gems, including “Blueberries for Sal”, “Lentil”, and “One Morning in Maine.”

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

PreK Activities: Read and Play-The Magic Pebble

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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig

 *For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

Engage your child with this enchanting tale of a young donkey who stumbles upon a magic pebble. This pebble can grant any wish, but will Sylvester soon regret one certain request that he has made?

  • Before reading the story, ask your child what they would wish for if they were the owner of a magic pebble that could grant anything they asked for. Regale him/her with your own wish(es).
  • After reading the story, share your favorite part. Describe how you were feeling at that moment. Have your child do the same.

Here are a few fun activities to enjoy with your child that will help reinforce the concepts in Sylvester and the Magic Pebble :

1) Go on a pebble hunt! Find some interesting pebbles with your child and talk about what makes each unique. Select one to paint red. Feel free to paint the others various colors.

2) Talk about what it means to be unique. Out of all the pebbles he had collected, why was the red pebble so unique to Sylvester? Look through some photo albums with your child and talk about what makes him/her unique.

3) This story is brimming with the feelings of all the characters. Discuss how Sylvester, his parents, the lion, etc., felt at various points in the story. Cut out pictures from a magazine that portray different kinds of feelings. Glue them onto a piece of paper to create a feelings collage.

4) Play hide-and-seek with your child. (Simple enough, yet what young child doesn’t feel elated to participate in this classic game?) Pretend that the person hiding is Sylvester and the seeker is a dog scouring Oatsdale in search of the missing donkey.

5) Sylvester felt simply hopeless and helpless when he was transformed into a rock and couldn’t speak. Visit to learn some simple sign language with your child. Explain that sign language provides people who can’t speak with their own unique opportunity to communicate.

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

PreK Read and Play: The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

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The Little House

by Virginia Lee Burton

*For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

Would you rather live in the city or in the country? This is something that a sweet little pink house set high on a hill in the countryside has often pondered, but suddenly the choice has been made for her. The city encroaches upon her, and she soon wants nothing more than to be back in the fresh air amidst the apple trees and playing children. Your child’s heart will soar as this darling house truly finds her way home again.

  • Before reading the story, talk to your child about your own home (what kind of house it is, for example, a ranch, two-story, apartment, etc.) and whether you live in the city, country, or something in between.
  • After finishing the story, ask your child how the little house felt about living in the country and then how she felt after being moved to the city. What did she like/dislike about each?
  • If you and your child enjoy this story, I highly recommend Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury. This volume contains The Little House as well as three other high-quality, well-loved tales by Virginia Lee Burton. My preschooler, and even my toddler, adore this book, both for the captivating storylines and the beautiful, detailed illustrations.

Here are a few fun activities to do with your child after you’ve read the story:

1) Create your own city and countryside, complete with houses, cars, trees, and anything else that would be appropriate for each location! You can use cereal boxes for tall buildings in the city (tape down the flaps so they’ll stay in place), colored tape for roadways, smaller boxes for houses, animal figurines for a farm, people figurines, etc. Your child will love driving cars back and forth from the city to the country. Ask your child why each person or carload of people like it better in the city or the country. While playing, have a discussion about why some people prefer living in the country and some choose to the live in the city (or somewhere in between).

2) This story beautifully depicts each of the four seasons. Flip through these specific pages again with your child and ask them which season is their favorite and why. Tell them why a particular season holds favor in your heart. Make a seasonal collage with your child. Go outside and collect some items in nature (preferably those that can be glued to a thick piece of paper) that portray the specific season you are in (ie. tulip petals for spring, big green leaves for summer, color-changed leaves for fall, and dry grass for winter). Some of these items may overlap with other seasons, and that’s okay. You can also encourage your child to draw pictures on the collage that represent the season.

3) The little house loves watching the moon change phases each night. Explain how she was only able to view this lunar transformation (don’t be afraid to use big words—young children absorb much, much more than we give them credit for!) in the country because there were no other lights blocking her view. Point out the Big and Little Dipper constellations on the starry night illustration. (If you’re unsure of where they are, do a simple web search for these star formations.) Choose a clear night to star gaze with your child. Pop some popcorn and/or have some seasonally appropriate drinks prepared for the special event. Don’t be afraid to belt out a few refrains of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”!

4) Talk about the different modes of transportation in the story. At first, the little house was only accustomed to seeing horses pulling carriages. When the construction began on the road from the country to the city, she observed a steam shovel, dump trucks, tar and sand trucks, a steam roller, and various other automobiles. Once surrounded by the city, she witnessed trolley cars, an elevated train, and a subway. Ask your child which kind of transportation they would choose to use if given the chance.

5) Point out the cloud of pollution—smog—that sits right above the city, and explain why this is present (vehicle pollution, industry pollution, etc.). Explain the importance of taking care of our world, keeping it as healthy and green as possible. Brainstorm ways that your family can do your part. Ideas include recycling, not running water wastefully, and planting a tree. Choose one idea in particular to focus on with your child.

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

Pre-K Activities: Read and Play Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

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Horton Hatches the Egg

by Dr. Seuss

*For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

This heartwarming tale of an elephant faithfully sitting on a lazy bird’s egg will captivate little ears. Prepare yourself for repeat readings of this one!

*Before reading the story, ask your child what kinds of animals lay eggs. Show him the front cover of the book with an elephant sitting on an egg in a nest. Ask, “Do elephants lay eggs? Why do you think this elephant is sitting on a nest with an egg in it?”

*After reading the story (giving each character his own distinct, memorable voice accompanied by facial expressions), try some of these fun activities with your child:

1) Discuss whether it would be hard to take care of an egg. (A reminder that there is a baby inside may be helpful! Why or why not? Give your child an egg to take care of for a day. The kind of egg you give them (real, plastic, etc.) will depend on your confidence in their ability to properly care for it, and this will vary greatly from child to child. (All children will probably need at least some loving guidance. )

2) Talk about whether it was right or not for Mayzie to leave her baby so she could have some fun on her own. Describe how Mayzie cared more about pleasing herself than taking care of her baby, whereas Horton chose to care for the baby even when it was uncomfortable (in the snow and the rain, when others were taunting him). What are some ways that we can put others before ourselves and demonstrate that we love them? Decide with your child on a specific act of loving service he/she could carry out—perhaps baking a batch of cookies for a neighbor, “reading” a favorite story to family members after serving them a special snack, painting and sending a picture to someone in need of a pick-me-up, etc. The options are truly endless.

3) “Elephant” and “egg” begin with the letter “E”! Make an eggshell “E.” Crush eggshell pieces, rinse, and pat them dry, and let your child glue the pieces (using a cotton swab) to a large letter “E” shape cut out of heavy paper. If eggshells are not handy, you can use egg stickers or small egg shapes cut out of wrapping paper.

4) Make eggs with your child! Kids love working and watching in the kitchen. It could be scrambled eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs . . . whatever suits your fancy!

5) Inspire the inner elephant within your child! Visit this web site for instructions on how to craft an elephant nose and ears. Act out some scenes from the story (you will likely land the role of Mayzie! You could even use your imaginations to create a sequel to the story!

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

Pre-K Activities: Read and Play Lyle Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber

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Lyle Lyle Crocodile

by Bernard Waber

*For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

Lyle is a lovable crocodile who is able to delight anyone in his presence, that is, except for his curmudgeonly neighbor and his fickle cat. In the wake of imminent danger, Lyle is able to convince even his fiercest opponents that he is a reptile worth having around.

  • Before reading the story, ask your child what he thinks of a crocodile living in a home with humans. Would he be okay with this kind of pet?
  • After finishing the story, talk about how Lyle desperately wanted to please Mr. Grumps and Loretta. Why wasn’t he able to at first? Ask your child what he does now and can do in the future to be a good friend to others. Talk about his favorite friends. What are the things he likes most about these people?
  • If you and your child enjoyed reading about this winsome crocodile, consider reading some other stories about Lyle! The House on East 88th Street, by Bernard Waber, details the beginning of the relationship between Lyle and the Primms. Can you guess where they first met him when they moved into their new home? (Hint: SWISH, SWASH, SPLASH, SWOOSH.)

Here are a few fun activities to do with your child after you’ve read the story:

1) Take a bath! Your child, that is! Let him swish around in the tub just like Lyle so enjoyed doing so much at the Primms’ residence. Have him pretend he is Lyle, and you can be someone else in the Primm family. Talk about things pertaining to the book, such as, “What was it like for you, Lyle, being in the zoo, when you were so used to living at home here on East 88th Street?” Of course, you can venture outside the book to discuss new, fun adventures for Lyle just waiting to happen. Use bath crayons (or shaving cream with food coloring) to practice writing the letters “L” (for Lyle) and “C” (for crocodile) on the tub. Even if your child is not ready to write letters on his own, it’s great for him to see how letters are written and then to store those letters in his memory.

2) Lyle and Mrs. Primm took their lunch to the park one day. Enjoy a picnic lunch with your child, outdoors or indoors. Make these yummy crocodile Nutter Butter cookies for a scrumptious dessert.

3) Display some of your family’s pajamas and stage the scene between Lyle and Signor Valenti. Let your child choose whom he’d like to be or take turns acting out both roles! Create your own fun performance for the “shoppers” in your midst (grab those stuffed animals and dolls). Perform for family members once you’ve gotten your routine down.

4) Sing “The Crocodile Song” with your child.

5) Mold crocodiles out of play dough. If you don’t have green play dough, try this homemade recipe.

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

Library Lion

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Library Lion

by Michelle Knudsen

*For a list of all the books we have explored in Pre-K Activities: Read and Play, visit our archives here.

This is a delightful story about a lion who wanders into a library and wastes no time in making himself feel right at home! There are those in the library who have their suspicions about a lion patron, but everyone comes around to the idea by the last few heartwarming pages.

Children love the novel idea of an animal—namely one charming lion—entering into a place that is typically only inhabited by humans.

To make this story come alive for your child, give each character a distinct voice. Try making the faces you imagine the characters would be making as they carry on their dialogue. And, very importantly, look at your child as much as possible throughout the reading! I’ve noticed that all of these things keep my preschool-aged son glued to a story—and wanting to read that story over and over and over again!

  • Before reading this book with your child, tell them that the story is about a lion in a library. Ask them what they think about that! Is it crazy? Neat? How would they feel, or what would they do, if there was a lion in their library? It helps children to “get into” stories if they feel that you are also excited about reading the story! You can say something like, “I don’t know about you, but I’m really interested in finding out what happens when this lion goes into the library. Let’s start reading the story to find out . . . ” This really piques a child’s interest—they can’t and won’t be left hanging on the unknown!
  • After finishing the story (once or a couple of times), ask your child what their favorite part of the story was. You can flip through the pages of the book to jog their memory, or you could offer certain parts for them to choose from. Tell them what your favorite part was! Ask if it was okay for the lion to break the rules by running to tell Mr. McBee that Miss Merriweather was hurt.

Here are a few fun activities to do with your child after you’ve read the story:

1) Print out this color-by-number lion. (You will need to scroll about ¾ of the way down the page.) Color the appropriate areas yellow and brown, pointing out the difference between the lowercase and uppercase L’s. While they are coloring, you can talk about different words that start with the letter L.

2) Look through these pictures of lions with your child while helping them learn some interesting facts about this fun feline! There is also a video, and a map showing where lions live in the world.

3) Make a toilet paper tube lion with your child to act out “Library Lion (and Beyond!)”! Once the lion has been crafted, pretend that you are Miss Merriweather, or Mr. McBee, and have your child interact with you using the lion. You can quote lines from the book, or feel very free to spell out your own drama with characters from the story! The more you get into character, the more your child will LOVE this activity!

4) The library lion is a very helpful lion. Ask your child: what are some of things he helped with? (Dusting the encyclopedias, licking envelopes for overdue notices, helping children reach books on high shelves.) What are some ways that you can be helpful? Help them brainstorm a mental list. Have stickers on hand to specially recognize your child (on their shirt, on a little chart) when they have been helpful. If you want to take this activity and the understanding of helpfulness a step further, you can give your child his or her own sheet of stickers to award you when it is noticed that you are being helpful!

5) This site has some nice activities and questions to use with your preschooler while you enjoy this book. I like the “Introduction for Preschoolers” (a simple and quiet activity using your fingers), and having your child roar along with the lion when he roars.

For a printable collection of this week’s activities, click here.

Read and Play: The Little Engine That Could

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The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

This week we are reading the age-old, The Little Engine That Could, a long-time favorite of many parents. I feel sure it will become of favorite story for your child as well. Enjoy!

1. Learn more about the story here. Share a few interesting facts with your child. Help him write a few words on a blank sheet of construction paper and have him illustrate each one. You may choose to do this over a couple of days if it is too much to complete in one day for your child.

2. Try this craft for a little fun.

3. This Activity Booklet for The Little Engine That Could may be a fun way for your child to stay busy while you read or talk about the story.

4. Allow your child to complete this coloring sheet or this one. Discuss the engine’s determination and whether that may be a good quality for people to have, as well.

5. Make this snack, or this one, with your child to enjoy together today.

Enjoy a printable version of  The Little Engine That Could

Read and Play Pre-K Activities: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

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The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

ISBN: 978-0-7232-4432-5

This week we will be reading an old favorite of many parents and children alike! I truly hope you enjoy the activities and the familiar story.

  • Visit Peter Rabbit and allow your child to play games to re-enforce his learning from the story.
  • Perhaps your child will enjoy coloring one or several of these Colouring and Activities sheets.
  • Visit this link to learn more about the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter. Visit the library and check out some of her other published works, such as The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, & The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, or one of her other 20 books.
  • Visit this blog to gain inspiration for a Peter Rabbit-themed snack for the week!
  • Create this Peter Cottontail Stand Up Doll for some more storybook fun this week!

For a printable version of this week’s book activities:  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Read and Play Pre-K Activities: Corduroy

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Corduroy by Don Freeman

ISBN: 978-0-14-050173-5

This week we will be reading Corduroy by Don Freeman. Pick and choose from the list of activities below for some bear fun this week!

1)   What was Corduroy waiting for each day?

2)   After reading the story, give this Bear Craft a try.

3)   What was Corduroy looking for, and why? Did he find it?

4)   Take a look at this list of Teddy Bear Crafts for more opportunities to create with your child.

5)   What did Lisa do for Corduroy once she took him home?

6)   Enjoy a maze, a coloring page, and a letter-matching activity with these Corduroy Activities.

For a printable copy of this week’s book activities:  Corduroy by Don Freeman

Pre-K Read and Play: Polar Bear Night

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Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson

ISBN: 978-0-545-48558-6

This week we will be reading the book Polar Bear Night and journeying along with a polar bear cub as she explores the night. Try some of these activities just for fun this week!

1)   Try one of the craft ideas found in Story Art.

2)   Your child may also enjoy this Movement Activity and Rhyme.

3)    Here’s a yummy looking Polar Bear Snack that the whole family can enjoy!

4)   Ask some (or all) of these discussion questions and try the crafts, found here, for Polar Bear Night.

5)   Access as many or as few of these Polar Bear Printables with your child this week!

For a printable version of this week’s list, click here.