Simple Ways to Entertain your Baby with a Book

When I talk about which books are age appropriate for babies, I am less concerned about what is in the book and more interested in what we can do with the book. A great example of this is books that require our imagination to make sense of what the pictures are telling us, which is not something babies are very good at.

That doesn’t mean these types of books are inappropriate for babies. Monkey & MeFor example, Emily Gravett’s Monkey and Me depicts a young girl acting out the motions that we associate with different zoo animals. Even if your baby is very familiar with elephants, a picture of a girl hunched over with her arm stretched out in front of her face is probably not going to make your baby think of elephants. Even with pictures of the girl in mulitple poses, your baby will not know that one pose is meant to transition into the other. However, if you make those motions yourself, and you make your best elephant trumpet noises, and you flap your hands beside your head like big ears… well, your baby still might not be thinking of elephants and that’s okay, you’ve just transformed a confusing picture into a fun and engaging interaction.

Pete's a PizzaI think William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza can work beautifully for this. Of course your baby won’t understand from the story how Pete’s parents pretending to make him into a pizza can cheer him up when he’s feeling down. The connection between managing emotions and imaginary food preparation are more than a little abstract. But if you gently massage your baby, roll them back and forth like dough, and tickle them as you make your way through the book, it will probably become a favourite nonetheless.

This won’t work with every book, but when you notice the book you are sharing lends itself to different actions, take the cue to bring the book to life, and see how your baby likes it.

For information about the Books for Babies program, or to find the Edmonton program schedule, please visit the Centre for Family Literacy website program page. For more information about sharing books with your baby, your toddler, or your preschool aged children, please visit the Centre for Family Literacy website resources page.  

Mmmmm… Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Measuring, mixing, baking and talking—numeracy and literacy ideas rolled into a fun, regular activity with yummy results!

LET’S GO!

WHAT YOU NEED: 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 package chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)

WHAT TO DO: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
  3. Add all other ingredients except chocolate chips and mix with the hand mixer.
  4. Once everything is mixed well, add the chocolate chips and mix them in.
  5. Make small balls of cookie dough and set them on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in centre of oven for 8 minutes.
  7. Take out and let cool.

DO IT TOGETHER! 

Let your child help you measure and mix the ingredients. Show them the recipe and talk about how you know how much you need of each ingredient.

With your child, take pieces of the dough and roll them between your hands to make small balls. Talk about how they need to be the same size so they all cook the same.

You could even try making different sizes to see what happens to them.

WHY? 

Cooking together gives you a chance to have some great conversations with your child. There will be new words, ideas, and fun along the way while you make something together. By including your child in your cooking, you will also make them feel like they are helping you get things done.