This week I’m sharing yet another ADORABLE new picture book out just in time for Valentine’s Day. Written by Jackie Azua Kramer and charmingly illustrated by Maral Sassouni in their double debut, THE GREEN UMBRELLA (NorthSouth Books, Inc, 2017) is story of a friendly pink elephant, his green umbrella, and the imaginative friends he meets along the way. Treat yourself to the delightful book trailer. Then help yourself to a rich serving of extension activities celebrating rain, friendship, sharing, and the power of imagination!
THE GREEN UMBRELLA: 10 Extension Activities
Make umbrella valentines. With its theme of friendship and kindness, The Green Umbrella makes a perfect Valentine’s read. Afterwards, celebrate friendship and kindness with your child by making these cute umbrella-inspired valentines using colorful paper, index cards, and those mini candy-canes that you might still have left over from Christmas!
Be an inventor. After enjoying the story, extend the fun by having your child imagine how THEY might creatively re-purpose the umbrella if they were in the story. Then using paper or clay, or whatever materials tickle your fancy, bring your idea to life! (For extra fun, have have a few cocktail umbrellas on hand to be incorporated into the creation.
Put on a play. Creatively re-enacting the story is a great way to embrace and reinforce the wonderful concepts of empathy, friendship, and imagination. So, after reading the story, have fun retelling it using stuffed animals, puppets, or yourselves! Don’t forget to use an umbrella as a prop!
Have an umbrella tea party. With your child’s help, fix a pot of tea (or lemonade) and arrange (or even bake) a plate of cookies. Then grab a picnic quilt, an umbrella and, if possible, a few friends! Select a cheery spot outdoors (or indoors if it’s raining), then read and have tea under an umbrella, just the way Elephant and his friends do in the story.
Take a rainy day stroll. Take advantage of the next rainy day to read the story and then take your very own stroll in the rain. Catch rain drops on your tongue, splash through puddles, and take turns holding the umbrella for each other! Then come inside for a book-themed rainy day snack of tea and cookies.
Shower the world with kindness (umbrella style!). Using little strips of paper brainstorm and write down 14 sweet acts of kindness. (Ex. Hold the door open for someone; Make a card for someone; etc.) Fold and tape the strips to the bases of little paper cocktail umbrellas. Place umbrellas in a bowl. Each day, select an umbrella to find your surprise mission. Then shower strangers and loved ones alike with your sweet acts of kindness.
Play umbrella hide and seek. While one person has their eyes covered, another hides the umbrella making sure everyone else sees where it is hidden. Then using clapping (to sound like soft rain or a raging storm) help the person whose eyes were covered to find the umbrella. No voices allowed. Only the pitter-patter of rain – soft if they are far from the umbrella and loud if they are close. (Warning: This game will be a big hit!)
Play musical umbrella. First put on your favorite children’s kindness/friendship themed album. (We like anything Raffi at our house.) Then, using the umbrella instead of the more traditional “hot potato”, sit in a circle and gently pass the umbrella to the music. When the music stops, everyone says one kind thing to the person holding the umbrella. Ex. You are funny. I like your striped socks. You make me feel welcome etc.)
Watch the book trailer. Then make your own!
Your turn! I know I said 10, but I have a better idea! I bet you might have some, so in the comments section below, leave an idea and let’s see how many we end up with!
Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Reading!
To learn more about Jackie, visit her website.
To learn more about Maral, visit her website.