My daughter is now 7 year old and a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. In this post I am featuring books that we read when Smarty was 3.5 years old.
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1. Get Busy, Beaver!
Smarty saw the Hoover Dam in our landmarks collection and was very fascinated by it. We learned more about how dams are made, which also led to learning more about beavers and their homes. We read several fiction and non-fiction books about beavers including Get Busy, Beaver! by Carolyn Crimi. It’s a charming story about a dreamer who doesn’t respond well to Fast, fast, fast! and Chop, chop, chop! requests from his family. I know one beaver like that in my own family! We tried (not very successfully) make a dam in our sand and water table outside, but Adventures in Mommydom had a better idea in her homeschool science study of beavers – her kids built a dam inside out of pillows and blankets.
2. The Brother Grimm’s Fairy Tales
We were stopping in Germany on our virtual journey around the world during that August 2010. Smarty’s Papa is from Germany, so she enjoyed learning a little more about it. Since we couldn’t find a good book about modern Germany or a non-seasonal book about Germany, we were reading through some of milder fairy tales of the Brothers’ Grimm and did other hands-on activities to go with Germany mini country-study.
3. The Greedy Triangle
Whether your preschoolers have already mastered their shape or still learning them, they will enjoy The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns illustrated by Gordon Silveria. Marilyn Burns masterfully weaved together a math lesson and a character building story about wanting to be someone who you are not and eventually discovering your strengths. At the beginning Smarty was spooked by a Shape Shifter character in the story, but he was not doing anything evil, so she eventually warmed up to the book, especially since it introduced several new shape vocabulary words to her. I tried to do an art project with her for this book, but she was feeling very minimalistic that day. Teaching Mama’s son, on the other hand, created this fun triangle character out of pre-cut shapes:
4. The Kissing Hand
Many children start preschool in August or early September. They might have natural worries about leaving the world they know and separating from their loved ones. I could have chosen any number of excellent books dealing with the first day jitters, but The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is my favorite. This book is so well known that I won’t summarize it here. We still have a nightly kissing hand ritual with my 7 year old, and you can give your child a kiss to take with them by making this fun Kissing Hand Craft from No Time for Flashcards.
5. Rabbit Food
Do you have a picky eater? I was one myself and have one now. Smarty does NOT like most vegetables, just like Bunny John in this funny tale of picky eating. It does get better with age – now I eat everything, and Smarty is expanding her diet as well. But in this story Uncle Bunny gets a picky eater to dig into veggies by making sure he is properly hungry. How does he do it? Read the book to find out. You can also try to lure your picky eaters by beautifully prepared food – for example, this Tulip Garden from Kiddie Foodies looks harder to make that it actually is (the post offers a tutorial on how to make it).
6. Ruby Bakes a Cake
By August 2010 Smarty was able to read early readers by herself. She was 3 years 9 months old then and she really enjoyed Ruby Bakes a Cake by Susan Hill. In the book Ruby Racoon consults with her friends on her cake recipe. Smarty giggled excitedly imagining how this cake would taste. I recently found a perfect extension activity for this book – a tasty science activity from Inspiration Laboratories – making a cup cake in the microwave and then trying to change the recipe and see how the results are affected by the changes.