Please help yourself to one these these delectable virtual chocolates (made by Miss A.) and take a look at that sweet Little Owl, who’s the protagonist of my new picture book LOVE IS KIND, then head on over to bestselling author and blogger Becky Koptizke’s inspirational blog, as we kick off the LOVE IS KIND Blog Tour with Six Book-Themed Extension Activities! (Hint: One involves sharing a yummy treat!) And… there’s a giveaway too! Thank you for having me, Becky!
This week I’m delighted to share with you Susanna Leonard Hill’s ADORABLE new board book WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, illustrated by Daniel Wiseman and published by Little Simon. It’s the third in her WHEN YOUR… series and just as cute as the first two. Now, to celebrate reading in general – and this book in particular – here are six book-themed extension activities perfect for 2 – 4 year olds. So, invite your darling little ones to find a good spot to read… and then extend the fun with one, two, or all of these activities (which rhyme, by the way, just because).
WATCH A LLAMA CLIP! CLIP!! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones might be wonder what it looks like when a real llama gets a hair cut. If so, grab your tablet and watch some llamas getting hair cuts with this short but fun youtube video from Galloping Winds Ranch in Florence, Texas:
2. TAKE A HAIRY FIELD TRIP! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little one may decide it’s time to get your own buzz or trim. Take along the book and read it while the stylist snip, snips.
3. CREATE A SNAZZY HAIRDO (without scissors)! After enjoying all the snazzy llama hair-do possibilities, you and your little ones may decide you want to give each other hair-dos. Make sure there are no scissors in sight, but do encourage gentle combing to remove the tangles. A spray water bottle will add lots of styling options and help the hair-dos to stick. Barrettes, ribbons, mousse and gel, optional. Afterwards, pretend it’s picture day – just like in the story – and say “Cheese!” for the camera.
4. DO A PICTURE READ THROUGH… After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, your child may want to re-read it to you using the pictures as clues! Reading the pictures is a great pre-reading skill because it encourages interacting with the page. So, snuggle up and enjoy being “read” to.
5. HAVE A LLAMA BOOK FEST! After reading the story, you and your little ones may decide you want to read more llama-themed books! If so, head to the library and have a llama-themed book fest! Your librarian can help you find some good books.
6. LLAMA CRAFT TIME IS THE BEST! After reading WHEN YOUR LLAMA NEEDS A HAIRCUT, you and your little ones may want to do a llama-themed craft. There are oh, so many, possibilities on Pinterest and elsewhere. Here are a couple of links to get you started. Enjoy!
Llama Drawing Project: http://www.smallhandsbigart.com/llama-drawing-project/
Make a Llama Vase: https://abeautifulmess.com/2018/01/make-your-own-llama-vase.html
Just in time for National Poetry Month, I rediscovered this little treasure while paging through one of my old notebooks. It’s a perfect example, not only of seizing the moment, but of the power of poetry to spark not only conversation, but creativity! ENJOY!
“How high can a cow jump?” my newly-minted five year old asks from the back of the car – all serious and deep in thought.
“Come again?” I ask.
“How high can a cow jump?” she repeats. “You know, COWS?” And she drags out the word C-O-W-S to make sure I really understand.
“They can’t,” I reply. “Cows can’t jump. They can moo and chew grass, and they sort of plunk along slowly, but they can’t jump.”
There’s a momentary quiet in the back and I can tell by my daughter’s squiggly brows that she’s perplexed. Finally, she says, in exasperation, “Then how did the cow jump over the moon?”
As we wait for the light to change, I consider the various ways I might answer this. “It’s just pretend,” I want to say, but this, I know, will be too abstract or her. She understands real versus make believe, in theory, but in practice she still gets scared during movies with cartoon characters. She also believes in fairies and Santa and so the distinction is still very fuzzy.
So instead, I say, “Come now, can a dish run? Can a spoon dance?”
My daughter giggles. “No!”
So I continue, “Can cats fiddle?”
“No!” she snorts between giggles.
“Do dogs laugh?” I ask.
By now, my daughter is hysterical. “Say more funny stuff!” she squeals.
So I do. “Do hamsters play flutes?” I ask. “Now your turn!”
My daughter explodes with laughter. Then she says, “No! Do fish dance ballet? Now your turn, Mommy.”
And so we continue, getting sillier and sillier with each passing car. As we head for home, it dawns on me that, as a poet and picture book author, this is exactly the kind of conversation I hope my writing will spark. And I am reminded, once again, of the power of stories and poems, to spark – not only conversation – but creativity as well!
Happy National Poetry Month all!