Happy 2013, everyone! I am so excited to share a new tot school post with you today!
This week we have been doing activities from Goodnight Moon, the classic children’s book written by Margaret Wise Brown. You can see from the picture that our copy of the book is well-loved by the wear-and-tear around the edges.
I designed this activity as the opening activity of our group time to reinforce the vocabulary from the book. I don’t have many pictures from our group play session this week because, frankly, I had my hands full (our children were VERY excited to see each other after the long holiday break)! However, the twins and I have played with the materials from this activity at least once a day since I introduced it, so I had other opportunities to photograph them in action for you!
Creating the Activity
To begin, I downloaded free printable Goodnight Moon activities from Homeschool Creations and printed the vocabulary pictures from the packet. I cut stars from some old yellow file folders I had and the twins helped me glue each picture to its own star. Next, I punched a hole at the top of each star and my little ones helped me thread half a colorful pipe cleaner through each one. Finally, I twisted the pipe cleaners around each other and bent them so that each star had its own hanger.
After the stars were dry, I lined them up in a tabletop pocket chart that I have from my speech therapy days. Then I collected small toys and objects from around the house to represent the vocabulary words in the star pictures. You can see some of the objects I collected in the photo above. I placed all of the objects together in a colorful bag.
After preparing my symbols and objects, I wanted to create something to hang our stars from to add an active element to our play. I took two child-sized folding chairs, cut a single long piece of twine, and tied one end of the twine to the back of each chair. Then I spread the chairs across the playroom, suspending the twine between the chairs.
Presenting the Activity
To present the activity, I had the children take turns putting their hands in the bag, pulling out an object, naming the object, and then finding the matching star from the pocket chart. Then they got some fine motor practice by hanging the stars on the twine using the pipe cleaner hangers.
After all the stars were hung, we hung the big round moon from the middle of the twine (also from Homeschool Creations) and had great fun using prepositions by tossing our cow beanie babies over (and under) the moon, just like in the book!
Going under the moon with the cow!
So proud! (He looks huge in this picture! What happened to my baby?)
Other Ways to Play
As I mentioned earlier, I have used these materials with the twins multiple times since I initially introduced them. In addition to repeating the original activity, we have used them in several different ways:
- We practiced putting the stars in and out of the pocket chart (good for fine motor skills).
- We read the book together and found the matching stars as the vocabulary was introduced in the book. (i.e. “In the great green room, there was a telephone…can you find the telephone?”)
- As more of a tot tray or tabletop activity, I laid out the stars on a tray and handed the matching objects to the twins a few at a time so they could practice matching objects to pictures. Both of them really enjoyed this activity and were very proud when they completed the whole tray! *Click here for more about why this simple activity is so beneficial for your tots!
“…three little bears, sitting in chairs.” – Goodnight Moon
Pictures to objects matching activity
Making her first match!
So proud of herself!
Other activities to try:
- After nap today I am going to hide the stars around the playroom and engage the twins in finding and naming them.
- We will also try spacing the stars out on the floor and jumping from star to star, naming them and perhaps talking about their functions as we jump (Little Man loves telling the the functions of objects through words and/or gestures).
This activity really got my “speech therapist brain” going and I was thinking of all sorts of ways these could be used with children in different ages and stages of language development. Since many of the vocabulary words from this book rhyme, you could use the stars to match rhyming word pairs. Scatter the stars around the room and play “Eye Spy” using descriptive language (i.e. “I spy something yellow that you sit on”). Turn off the lights and hang or tape the stars up around the room; use a flashlight to find the stars and talk about them. Be creative and think of ways to adapt these to your particular goals and targets- there is lots of fun to be had with this simple activity!
This is the first in a whole series of Goodnight Moon posts planned for this week. Wednesday I will be sharing some fun Goodnight Moon Light Box Activities, and then Friday I will end the week with five more Goodnight Moon activities for toddlers. Be sure to visit our themed units page for more themed tot school ideas.
*Thank you to Craft Project Ideas for supplying the colorful pipe cleaners for this activity! Click on the text link to visit their website for tons of great craft ideas for your little ones!