If you are looking for something to entertain the kids over the Easter break, our Bear Hug book box (for 3+ year olds) will certainly take the sting out of some long days! An added bonus of our book boxes is that #winning feeling you get knowing you are doing something really positive for your child’s communication and literacy development. We at Little Birdie Books are so much more than books in a box and this blog post will give you a little peek inside one of our best book boxes yet…’Bear Hug’!
As speech pathologists, we make it our business to ensure every activity will enrich your child’s communication skills through visual and interactive ideas. As mums, we make it our business to avoid messy, boring or lengthy activities or books and ensure there is an element of fun and creativity.
Here’s a rundown of what we put in this box of goodies:
Every box contains two quality picture books. This month, we have an all Australian box with ‘No Place Like Home’ by author Ronjoy Gosh and ‘Bertha and Bear’ by Christine Sharp (Mount Tamborine local). Both books are hidden gems that contain sophisticated vocabulary, strong story structure and beautiful illustrations all perfect for 3+ year olds.
Alongside these beautiful picture books, there are six activities inspired by the stories and theme that will enrich a child’s language and emergent literacy skills PLUS teach Mum and Dad a few things! So in no particular order, here are the six activities in a nutshell.
RichREADING: Little People ~ Big Feelings
Little people have big feelings! Research tells us that children who understand emotions are more likely to act kindly towards others.
Picture books are the perfect platform to explore emotions as it is a safe, engaging and visual space. Understanding characters feelings and motivations is paramount to successfully comprehending a story.
Join George, the homesick polar bear, on his mission to find his true home and read about Bertha the bee’s brave adventures that lead to her befriending a honey-obsessed brown bear.
Your job? Link the characters’ feelings to a time you or your child might have felt like that. This is powerful!
BoxPLAY Barrier Game: ‘Bear Hugs and Butterfly Kisses’
Barrier games are the perfect way to teach the importance of successful communication through clear message exchange. Using the box as a barrier, give your child instructions to draw a butterfly kiss (cross) or a bear hug (circle) on one of the Panda, polar or brown bears. You and your child then check if your pictures match! Drawing circles (knots) or diagonal lines (crosses) are a great pre-cursor skill to forming letters.
But parents don’t fret if they play another way! If you have a three year old like me who prefers to call the shots, you may end up drawing claws, bows in their hair and shelters to keep the bears dry in the rain.
Your job? Three little words…‘just add language’ (regardless how they play).
PrintPLAY ‘Find your Bear-ings’: NSEW
Learning to read begins with a budding interest in the surrounding print-rich environment. In this PrintPLAY activity, help your child retrieve the lost bears (pegs) from around the ‘world’ using these universally known symbols (NSEW) and return them to their dens.
Here are a just a few hidden gems inside this PrintPLAY activity:
- Fine and gross motor skills (pincer grip with pegs and running)]
- Receptive language skills (understanding and following instructions)
- Letter knowledge (identifying capital N, S, E, W)
- Print awareness (NSEW carries meaning of directions – North, South, East, West)
- Creative thinking (who are the bears, why are they lost, how will they get home?)
Oh and did we mention kids are obsessed with pegs, especially cute teddy bear pegs?!
WordPLAY: Big Words for Little Birds
Did you know that a child’s vocabulary skills in Kindergarten predicts their later reading success?
Words like ‘hibernating’ and ‘ravenous’ have been specifically chosen because they don’t just relate to ‘bears’ but will continue to pop up in all different scenarios making them words that are ‘good bang for your buck!’
In this WordPLAY activity, aptly titled ‘Bear-y tired and hungry’, your child will:
- experience a life-size chalk outline of themselves
- delight in the transformation of their body into a bear (draw bear ears, paws and claws on outline).
- lead a scavenger hunt for food to feed the ‘ravenous’ bear
- pretend to sleep like a ‘hibernating’ bear
Your job? Just keep repeating the target vocabulary: ravenous (really, really hungry) and hibernating (sleeping for a long time).
StoryPLAY: Retell using a ‘map’
Did you know there is a formula to writing a story? This ‘formula’ is known as ‘story grammar’ (characters, settings, problem, feelings, plan, attempts and resolution) and is crucial for successful comprehension; predictions and narrative development.
In ‘No Place Like Home’, George the polar bear is homesick. Create a collage of settings which acts as a ‘story ‘map’ to help George find his true home. The added bonus of this activity is the super cute finger puppet of the main character George.
Your job: Sit and have a coffee while you chat to them about George and his quest to find home.
SoundPLAY: Rhyming Bear Words
Do you remember as a child being hysterically happy trying to keep a balloon from hitting the ground? Well this SoundPLAY activity is even better as you get to build a bear paw to whack your balloon as you yell out rhyming bear words. “Scare Bear!” “Dare Bear!” “Care Bear!”
Rhyme can be found in children’s books, songs, poems and everyday lingo. Early exposure to rhyming words and later the ability to produce rhyming families (bear, wear, tear, pear) will make it easier to learn to read and spell.
Your job? Be a BIG kid…and relish in the nostalgia!
Books, bears and hugs = the perfect combination. With so many bear books to choose from (see our blog post on the top 5 books about bears), choosing the perfect two books was a tricky task. There’s Winnie the Pooh, the Berenstein bears, Goldilocks and the three bears and the list goes on.
Do yourself a favour and check out our all Australian bear line up in this month’s book box, you won’t be disappointed. Or if teddy bears aren’t your thing, have a squiz at our shop page for all our box themes and choose the theme that will tickle your child’s fancy! Little Birdie Shop Page
Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies