Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Road Trip

I'm in a traveling mood I suppose.  I'm ready to pack up the car and head out to visit friends.  Below is a road trip inspired program and a few travel games that will help while away some miles.


Cars Galore by Peter Stein and Illustrated by Bob Staake

Get the Wiggles Out:
Variation of the nursery rhyme: "This is the way the lady rides."
Ask kids to stand up.
This is the way the tractor drives, bumpity bumpity-bump. Bending and shaking from side to side.
This is the way the race car drives, vroom vroom vroom.  Squat low and dart from side to side.
This is the way the fire engine drives. Whee-oo whee-oo whee-oo! Turn in a circle or let them run in a circle.
Make up anything that comes to mind

Follow the Line by Laura Ljungkvist Since this 2006 title, Jjungkvist has cleverly created 3 more "Follow the Line" titles.  Picture-walk for a large audience;  linger over each brilliantly rendered line drawing with a small group or one-on-one.

Flannel Board:  Our Jeep
Courtesy of Transportation Them-a-saurus by Totline Publications

First we saw a bump,
Then we saw a hill,
Then we saw a mountain
That was bigger, still.

Our jeep drove over the bump,
Our jeep drove over the hill,
Our jeep drove up the mountain
And it's up there, still.

Let's drive back down the mountain,
Let's drive back over the hill,
Let's drive back over the bump.
Then let;s just sit still!

Whose Driving? by Leo Timmers   Warning.  This book seems to be completely addictive for little kids.  Don't know why, but if you read this once, there is a good chance you will have to read it again and again and again.

If you are in a library (or any place that isn't a car/bus/etc) play a game of Red Light! Green Light!

Art Activity:
Lay out butcher paper or maps from old atlases and encyclopedias. Dip toy cars in tempura paint.  Race them across the paper or draw the way to a special place like grandma's house or where a child was born.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Festival of Lights

Our friend invited us to celebrate St. Lucia's Day yesterday.  Whether St. Lucia brought food to starving people during a famine, or to people in hiding beneath a city, it is her crown of candles--a gift of light and food-- that persists through all the legends.  Next week, we will celebrate Hanukah and the miraculous light that burned night after night after night.  Winter solstice is right around the corner--the shortest day of the year--when we look forward to the return of the sun and warmer, brighter days.   No matter what tradition you prefer, celebrate the light this season!

Winter is the Warmest Season, by Lauren Stringer salutes mittens, hot chocolate, toasted sandwiches, and candles...wonderful things that keep us warm on the very darkest, coldest days.  Stringer's book is a lovely read, and invites you and your family or friends to make a list of those things that warm up your winter season.

Make a St. Lucia Crown....our friend helped us make crowns out of strips of brown paper bag.  A few green leaves were glued to the crown, brown paper candles were glued on, and precut yellow or orange flames were glued to the candles.  A perfect 10-15 minute craft for any age.  Or you can get a little fancy with Kiddley.com :

Make a Mennorah.  Crayola has an adorable and unique handprint craft.  I love looking back at my daughter's little prints over the years!

Celebrate the setting sun (or the breaking dawn) with watercolors and pastels.  On any color paper, use white pastels to draw a snowy landscape (and a rising moon).  Using red, orange, pink, and lavendar watercolors illuminate your drawing.  A little glitter will really capture the sparkle of this special winter day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Soup 's On!

Brrrr....It's soup weather out there!  Stone Soup is one of my favorite stories for this time of year.  Yes, it's about soup (an obvious cold weather tie-in) but it's also about sharing and generosity--two things you can't talk about enough this time of year when little minds are working overtime on what they are going to GET rather than what they are going to GIVE.

Jon J. Muth's version of Stone Soup is especially lovely.  "Stone Soup" is traditionally a European folktale, but Muth sets his story in China, and his watercolor scenes seem to fade in and out of a drifting mountain fog.

In keeping with non-western images, and running with important holiday themes, open up a copy of Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee.  Written for preschoolers, it's nonetheless an interesting story for older children and a very accessible introduction to a Korean family and the Korean speciality Bee Bim Bop.  Yum!  You'll be inspired to throw your usual holiday meals a curve after reading this book together.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Traveling with Children? Stop by the Library (website) First

Whether by plane, train, or automobile we all know that traveling with our offspring is a whole other ballgame:  The pounds and pounds of extra clothes and toys, the bulky sippy cups and no-spill bowls, the strollers, boosters, carseats, portable high chairs, cribs, and more.  And then there is the fatigue, the boredom, the crankiness that comes from being slightly dehydrated, over dressed, cramped up, and completely out of the usual routine that you are constantly managing and trying to keep from exploding.  Sigh.

Common sense and all of your parent friends will tell you that distractions are key.  But how much more stuff can you possibly pack--especially if you're flying.  

Audiobooks are alot more travel friendly than print: no car sickness, hands free, and pre-readers can enjoy a favorite story while you catch up on some of your own reading.  Whether you download them to an mp3, or pick up a device like a PlayAway audiobooks are small and light and won't add to the tonnage that you are already humping around. 

Audios can be expensive, so be sure to check out your local public library's selection and visit the website, too.  Most large library systems are offering more and more downloadable books for all ages and interests.  Your library may offer ebooks for children, too.  If you're bringing your laptop--and you're comfortable letting your child use it--a library card may be enough to access dozens of electronic books that play like movies.  Of course, there are plenty of movies that you can bring along to play in planes, cars, and beyond...but the old-fashioned girl that I am, I refuse to tell my children that movies and TV can be watched anywhere but the living room on Friday nights.