How often do we read through a children’s book and just put it down and leave it? In Learn Together Grow Together, we recently shared Jan Brett’s book The Mitten. In this winter tale, a little boy dropped his mitten in the snow and it became a space to crawl into for many forest creatures.
In order to take the story further, the program facilitators decided to add activities for the parents and children based on the story.
Find the Mittens:
We had a number of different coloured mittens hidden around the classroom. The parents worked together with their children to find all of the mittens.
Rhymes and Songs:
We sang some rhymes and songs about winter and mittens.
I’m a little snowman, short and fat
Here are my buttons, here is my hat
When the sun comes out, I cannot stay
Cause I just slowly melt away!
Just as perfect as could be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet
And take it home with me.
I gave it some pajamas
And a pillow for its head.
Then, last night it ran away,
But first . . . . it wet the bed!
You put your right mitten in and you shake it all about.
You do the Snowey pokey and you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about.
You put your left mitten in
You put your scarf in
You put your right boot in
You put your left boot in
You put your hat in
You put your snowself in
We had newspaper crunched up into balls and wrapped in packing tape. We pretended that the crunched up newspaper and tape were snowballs. The families practiced throwing their snowballs into baskets and played with them on a parachute.
For the Parents:
On 10-15 strips of paper, the parents wrote out and summarized the events of the story. We had parents whose first language is not English, so they wrote out their story summaries in other languages! By completing this activity, the parents were encouraged to use recall and comprehension skills (which is an activity the parents can do with their children with any story).
For the Parents and Children:
The children coloured in pictures of all the animals in The Mitten, and the parents helped their little ones cut out the pictures. There was also a paper cut-out of a mitten into which all of the animals could go – just like in the story! The children were able to reenact the story, or make up a new one, with the animals.
These are just a few, simple ways in which a story was “extended,” and I’m sure there are many more ways to extend The Mitten. Next time you share a story with your children, try to find an activity or two to build on it. There are so many fun and interactive ways to bring a story to life!
If you have tried extending a story before, what activities did you use? We would love to hear what they were!