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"we are as sweet as strawberries"
READING | LEARNING | CREATIVE MINDS | FAMILY FUN
After taking a month-long break, Smile Play Learn is back with one of my favorite activities: the Virtual Book Club for Kids initiated by Toddler Approved. So many things have happened during our absence from the bloggosphere (I love this word :). First, the Virtual Book Club will continue beyond this summer (yay)! Second, the book club has its own Facebook page. Make sure to visit and like it: it features endless ideas for book-related activities. In July, we explored the creative world of Don & Audrey Wood.
The World of Don & Audrey Wood
"Quick as a Cricket": Promoting Self-Reflection & Building Self-Awareness
Building self-awareness is a crucial but not an easy process for young children. "They are [just] beginning to understand things about themselves that are unique to them... They are learning things about themselves and beginning to compare themselves to others," explain Carol Seefeldt and Barbara A. Wasik, experts in early childhood education. Parents are usually great in helping their children develop the concept of "physical self" through activities that encourage body self-awareness. We teach children to point to their body parts in front of a mirror, we play Simon Says, and we love to sing (and perform) Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes with them. Developing children’s perceptions of their bodies is vital to their development and cannot be underestimated. Practicing self-reflection is of equal importance but it is often overlooked. It is certainly not an easy task to teach children about feelings, beliefs, characteristics, natural inclinations and tendencies. After all, even adults have a hard time understanding the concept of "whole self," determined both by physical appearance and inner personality.
There are many children's books that can help the young ones explore their "selves." Quick as a Cricket has to be one of my favorites. After reading it with Dominik and Filip several times, I asked the boys to tell me how they perceive themselves through the lens of the main character (using less complicated language, of course :). To do so, we went through the book page by page and I listed the boys' self-descriptions after each statement. It was an insightful but also fun-filled exercise. At some points we laughed quite hard, for example when Filip stated that he was "as mean as a fossil" or "as cold as a toothbrush!" At other points, it was somewhat surprising to learn what's on their minds. For example, I did not know that Dominik had been concerned about "bad guys who trap animals in cages." I also did not know that Sponge Bob was brave; in fact, we hardly ever watch that cartoon!
"The Little Mouse...": Irresistible Strawberries & the Concept of Sharing
Regretfully, our plan to go strawberry picking this year fell through, but we enjoy them pretty much on a daily basis. When it comes to berries, I always try to select the organic kind. They not only taste better; they are proved to be much healthier.
We did not do any exceptionally creative activities associated with the book, but sometimes even simple tasks turn out to be a lot of educational fun. What is great about strawberries is that they are soft and can be easily cut with a plastic or a dull knife. And that's what we did. We pretended to be little mice, and we sliced our strawberries, counting the pieces and talking about division.