Welcome to Summer BOOK-TIVITY #1. Education World and barnesandnoble.com share with you fun activities for kids and families -- activities connected to some of the best recent children's books around. Check out Summer BOOK-TIVITIES! for summer projects that will entertain and educate.
Don't miss the other Summer BOOK-TIVITIES:
Get out the cameras -- Arlene Alda's 1-2-3 (Tricycle Press) is a natural for follow-up fun!
Share Alda's latest book with kids of all ages. Let them see how she captures in her camera's lens the numbers from 1 to 10. Do they see the number 4 in the crossed legs of a flamingo? Do they see the number 7 in the bend of a drinking straw?
Kids of all ages will enjoy finding the numbers in Alda's striking photo images. Her beautifully simple photographs will motivate kids to look at the world around them with a critical eye, an artist's eye!
Purchase a small disposable camera -- and let your children loose! Challenge them to find the numbers 1 to 10 in nature or at home. Snap! Kids can take photos as they find the numbers around them. Snap! Each child can create an album titled [Child's name]'s 1-2-3.
Alda's photo images are simple and clear -- perfect for young children. (You might also take a look at her earlier work, Arlene Alda's ABC.) But if you're looking to challenge students in the upper elementary and middle school grades, check out another book, City by Numbers (Viking) by Stephen T. Johnson. Here, the images are a little more sophisticated; some are almost like picture puzzles!
Hudson Talbot is the author of We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story, a book many children will know because of the popular movie it spawned. His latest book is a delicious concoction called O'Sullivan Stew (G.P. Putnam).
This time, Talbot has settled along the zigzagging coast of Ireland, where he stirs up the tale of a cranky old witch, an angry sea serpent, and a mean giant. Put it all together and you've got an absolutely delightful treat!
Young readers will love strong, confident, smart Kate O'Sullivan. When the angry king confronts her father, asking him, "Have you ever been in a worse spot in your life?", quick-thinking Kate steps in to rescue her stammering dad: "I have," she says.
And so the fun begins, as Kate regales the king with a series of stories -- each a taller tale than the one before -- explaining how one after another of the O'Sullivan clan has been "in a worse spot." At the end of each tale, the king is forced to agree with Kate. But Kate's tales are only a hint of the surprises that Talbot has in store for readers!
BOOK-TIVITY! Cook up a tale and some stew!
O'Sullivan Stew would make a great rainy-day read aloud! Follow-up by letting your kids invent their own tall tales of a time when they were "in a worse spot." Then hunt down in a world atlas the village of Crookhaven; it's a real place in Ireland! You might even purchase the audio-taped rendition of this story, or challenge kids to create their own. Finally, why not make a family project of cooking up a nice "O'Sullivan Stew"? It's a perfect lunch for a damp day! Find a great stew recipe or use the following simple recipe to make soup that's full of nutritious vegetables.
- 10 cups of water and 10 chicken bouillon cubes
- 5 carrots sliced
- pound green beans (cut)
- 2 onions chopped
- pound peas
- 3 peeled tomatoes
- 4 potatoes cubed
Bring to a boil the water and bouillon cubes (with salt, pepper and other spices to taste). Then add vegetables and bring to a boil again. Once the vegetables boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Taste and add seasonings as you choose. Serve with crackers or bread.
Author Sandra Markle has written more than three dozen nonfiction books for children, including such award winners as Outside and Inside Bats and Outside and Inside Spiders. Her newest title Outside and Inside Sharks (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster) is sure to be another award-winner!
How does a shark find its food? What is a shark's skin like? Do sharks lose broken and worn out teeth and get new ones for as long as they live? Why does a whale that is as big as a city bus have such tiny teeth? Why do sharks have to work to keep from sinking? Those are just a few of the questions that Markle answers in this engaging new book.
Eye-opening photographs of these awesome creatures accompany Markle's easy-to-read text. (Third-grade readers and up will be able to read the book on their own; younger students will listen in awe as the book is read to them.) A cutaway photograph of an actual mako shark's stomach -- where readers can see the fish the shark has just eaten -- is one of the attention-grabbing images that provides a closer look at sharks than any kid will ever get! A thorough pronunciation index and glossary, along with a page of shark facts, round out this great new addition to any nature-lover's library.
BOOK-TIVITY! Tangram Challenge
Tangram puzzles have been around for many years. The seven tangram shapes can be used to create many pictures. Can your children create the picture of the shark shown here with the seven tangram puzzle pieces?
Once the shark tangram is mastered, challenge children to create their own tangram pictures using all seven puzzle pieces!
Click here to see the answer to the puzzle.
Click here for more tangram puzzles.
Dan Gutman has hit another homerun with Jackie and Me (Avon Camelot)! Anyone who has read Honus and Me knows how young Joe Stoschak uses his remarkable ability to travel back in time via a baseball card to meet baseball great Honus Wagner. This time Joe uses those same powers to learn about the life and times of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to break into the big leagues.
Jackie and Me is part fantasy, part history, part biography. The book's multiple plot lines will engage young readers. As kids travel back in time they'll experience baseball in an old-time ballpark (photos of Ebbets Field included), when the grass was really green and when excitement wasn't fueled by the electronic scoreboard prompting LET'S HEAR SOME NOISE!
But, best of all, Gutman uses the real-life drama of Jackie's life to drive home some powerful messages about tolerance and working as a team. When he first breaks into the big leagues, Robinson is treated as an intruder. He is reviled by opposing players, even ostracized by his own teammates. With quiet dignity, Robinson diffuses powder keg after powder keg.
The author's humor and vivid writing -- not to mention some wonderful surprises! -- will appeal to girls as well as boys. Readers in grades 4 and up will enjoy reading Jackie and Me independently; for younger kids with an interest in baseball, read a chapter a day and you'll have them begging for more!
BOOK-TIVITY! Play "Batting 1000"
Today, the best hitters in the big leagues usually hit for averages in the low to mid .300s. Wouldn't it be great if you could bat a perfect 1.000? Kids can when they play "Batting 1000"! This game is best played with a large group of kids. So grab a whole team of neighborhood children and head for the ball field. Take along a bat and a large rubber ball. (You might be the official batter, or kids can take turns at bat while you act as official scorekeeper.) Give the ball a whack! Give that little girl who caught the fly ball 200 points! Ooops -- take 200 points away from the child who drops the next fly ball you hit. 100 points go to the boy who fields the grounder on one bounce. Take away 100 points for a one-bounce grounder that should have been caught. Create your own point system. If an adult is leading the game, a "great" catch (based on kids' abilities) might score 50 extra points. First player to score 1000 points wins the round. If the kids are batting, the winner becomes the next batter. A cool ice cream treat after the game would be great!
Is your family moving to a new home this summer? You're not alone! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one-fifth of all Americans will move in any given year.
Crown Publishers offers Goodbye, House: A Kids' Guide to Moving. Written by Ann Banks and Nancy Evans, and illustrated by True Kelley, Goodbye, House offers kids a personal place to record their thoughts and feelings about the impending move. They can draw or paste in pictures of their old home, their neighbors, and their fond memories. Kids might even engage in some of the fun activities that are suggested. Before they move away, kids might want to bury a "secret treasure" (a lucky stone, a picture) in the yard. Maybe someday they'll return to dig it up!
Dozens of activities will help children recall their old home friends, plan the move of their belongings, and explore their new surroundings. A page of "Worries" lets kids know that moving jitters are common; everybody who moves has them. And two pages of stickers are included, perfect for children to use to decorate their moving boxes so the boxes will be easy to identify as they come off the van!
In addition, a six-page guide offers tips and suggestions for parents eager to help children over their "moving" fears.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor in Chief
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