Welcome to Summer BOOK-TIVITIES #2. 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:
The day I was seven, my grandfather gave me an olive tree.
"Happy birthday, Sophia," he said.
"Where's the tree?" my brother Georgios asked.
"It is in Greece. On the island," Grandfather said.
Sophia is a bit puzzled by the odd gift she receives from her grandfather on her seventh birthday. She wanted a skateboard. A year later, Grandfather dies. Sophia and her mother travel from their California home to the little Greek island where Grandfather had lived for many years and Sophia's mother was born.
When Sophia finds her olive tree, she finds a gift far greater than she had imagined.
I Have an Olive Tree (Joanna Cotler Books/Harper Collins) is the latest book from acclaimed author Eve Bunting. A testimony to the wondrous ties of family and heritage, I Have an Olive Tree is an ideal lead-in to talking about family history with your children. Accompanying Bunting's heartfelt prose are the bold brush strokes of Karen Barbour's paintings, which bring life to the Greek culture that is foreign, yet familiar, to Sophia's eyes.
BOOK-TIVITY! A Family of Silhouettes
Before video cameras and cameras, silhouette portraits were all the rage! Although silhouette portraiture was a difficult skill to master, you and your children can create family silhouettes with some simple tools found in the home.
More Family Tree Resources from barnesandnoble.com
If you decide to "grow" your own family tree after reading I Have an Olive Tree, you might want to check out two other new books. One is perfect for primary-age children; the other is a nice resource for students in the upper elementary grades and above.
Me and My Family Tree
Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Uncovering Your Family's History
Why do flower petals often grow in a circle? Why are toucans' beaks so brilliantly colored? With simple text and bright, jewel-like illustrations, Susan Stockdale explores the myriad ways in which patterns and colors are helpful to living things in Nature's Paintbrush: The Patterns and Colors Around You (Simon & Schuster). Those patterns and color provide camouflage, of course, but that's only the beginning
A pinwheel of flower petals draws bees to a flower's center where they can collect sweet nectar and drop off pollen. A toucan waves its colorful beak like a flag to attract a mate.
Why are cacti covered with sharp spines? Why is the poison dart frog so colorful? Why does the arctic fox's fur change color with the seasons? From the desert to the rainforest, from the icy tundra to your backyard, Nature's Paintbrush encourages youngsters to examine, think about, and enjoy the colorful world around them.
BOOK-TIVITY! Hide-and-Seek Art
In Nature's Paintbrush, author and illustrator Susan Stockdale shares with young readers how the colors of creatures such as the arctic fox, katydid, rattlesnake, and tiger blend in with their surroundings to help protect the animals. After they read the book, challenge children to create a scene showing how one of nature's creatures uses camouflage for protection. Ask children to
It is Grandma's birthday, and for a special treat, she decides to take Katie to the art museum. Katie looks at the dabs of color on the first painting, but she sees only spots. With Grandma's encouragement, Katie steps back and sees that those dabs of paint make a picture.
Next, Katie steps back to admire The Luncheon, the colorful masterpiece by Claude Monet. She closes her eyes and sniffs. She is sure she can smell the flowers. When she opens her eyes, she is inside the painting, among the daisies, hollyhocks, roses, and sunflowers!
As Katie climbs back through the frame into the museum, she realizes she's been gone so long that the flowers she picked for Grandma are now wilting. Not to worry! The next painting on her museum tour is Girl with a Watering Can, by Renoir. Before her adventure is over, Katie will pop in and out of several more paintings. So it is that Katie Meets the Impressionists (Orchard Books).
Author James Mayhew has created a wonderful introduction to the beauty of Impressionist masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, and Degas. This delightful little adventure is sure to make an "impression" on readers young and old!
BOOK-TIVITY! Museum Treasure Hunt
Why not take a group of kids on a summertime tour of a nearby museum? (An art museum would be great, but any kind of museum would be fine.) Before you start your museum tour, make a quick stop in the museum store to purchase a selection of postcards that show items from the museum's collection. Then divide the postcards among the children and challenge them to find all the exhibits (paintings, fossils, items from history) they hold in their hands. This little treasure hunt might help keep kids focused, even those with short attention spans, and it's sure to make your museum adventure interesting and fun!
No home should be without an up-to-date almanac. Make that two almanacs -- one for adults and one for children!
If you're searching for an almanac written expressly for youngsters, one of the best out there is the Information Please Kids' Almanac (Houghton Mifflin). Infinite bits of information are catalogued under high-interest headlines such as Animals, The Body and Food, Mythical Creatures, The Environment and Natural Disasters, Sports, Stars and Planets, and World News. Find the answers to all those questions kids pose and learn fun facts that you'll never find in an encyclopedia. Do you know How many muscles it takes to smile? When the first video was game invented? How much rain falls in a rain forest? and How far the sun is from Earth? The answers to those and thousands of other questions are packed into this almanac's 350 pages.
BOOK-TIVITY! Scavenger Hunt for Facts
Looking for some follow-up fun using the Information Please Kids' Almanac? Why not send kids off on a fun- and fact-filled scavenger hunt? An indoor scavenger hunt for facts is a great rainy day -- or any day -- activity. You'll keep the kids out of your hair while you keep their study skills (using an index, skimming for information, and more) from getting rusty! Create a simple ten-question quiz that builds on your children's interests, or try the questions we've written for you below.
Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor in Chief
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