Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mitten Tales

We brought the box of mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves out of hiding the other day.  I am a little sad to see these things, but my daughters are thrilled to try on old hats, look for matching gloves, and pile on the scarves.  It's time to seek out some of those winter stories.  We also discovered a new Catherine Rayner book that I like alot (although my 4-year-old thought it was too short (?!??)...) Ernest the Moose Who Doesn't Fit, isn't exactly a winter book, but it is a charmingly-told book cleverly created, and it really made me want to dust off one of our winter favorites, The Mitten.  These two books are a programing match made in heaven.

The Mitten is a Ukrainian folk tale, and there are a few versions available.  The 1990s Putnam publication of the story, written and illustrated by Jan Brett is succinctly told and richly elaborated in her illustrations.  Brett's work is luscious.  Whatever version you choose, it is a wonderful story to share over and over again, encouraging your children to explore the straightforward tale in different ways.


This is a dramatic story.  Encourage your little audience to act out the story with you, twisting and turning and squeezing until POP!

Pull out whatever mittens, socks, or hats you have on hand and then raid the Duplo box, the Playmobil, the Legos and dollhouse and Little People.  Gather as many finger puppets and little dolls and stuffed animals as you can find.  Exercise your children's memory and build their narrative skills by encouraging them to retell the story....then step back and let them develop their own tales with the props.

Cut out felt, fleece, or paper mittens, match two pieces up, and punch holes around the perimeter.  Children can work on their gross motor skills by weaving a piece of yarn in and out of the holes around  the mittens.  Gather as many real mittens or cut out mittens and encourage children to find matching pieces or group them by color or pattern or size.  Use the dolls and props and encourage children to notice and identify small, medium, and large.  Help them find a sock or mitten that is appropriately sized (early math skills at work!).

Visit for free downloadable coloring sheets from The Mitten and her other titles.

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