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MOMS Club column for Oct. 2008

September 22nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

I mentioned some time ago that I’ve been writing a column for the monthly newsletter of a group that I belong to.  The column includes some suggestions of things to do with young children (preschool and under, as that is the limit of my expertise) at home, and some book recommendations.  It’s nothing revolutionary, but my experience has been that it’s sometimes helpful to have some little idea to jump-start things (and, living where I live, there are days when it is simply not possible to leave the house with young children).  This gets published monthly for a small and local audience.  They say they like it; what do you think?
This month I ran out of column inches, so I’m going to post the whole thing here.  The format of the print newsletter is not very conducive to images, and while I could poke through Flickr for appropriately licensed images, that is simply more time than I want to take… so I know the first part is text-heavy, and I’m sorry for that.  I am including cover images for the books; they are primarily from Powell’s Books.  More after the jump…

An activity for babies: Stretch for balls and bubbles.  Sit your baby across from you and roll a ball back and forth (or sit with the baby and have an older child on the other side).  Encourage your child to reach for the ball and push it back (they may not be able to do that very well ☺).  Bubbles are another option for this kind of motion, which strengthens a baby’s core muscles and extends their large motor development and visual perception.
An activity for toddlers and preschoolers: Mirror gymnastics.  Encourage children to twist, turn, bend, hop, stand on one foot, etc, while watching their reflections in a full-length mirror.  They might like it if you join them!  Show younger children how to look through their legs at their upside-down selves in the mirror.  Turn on some music for instant Jazzercise!  (Adapted from The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book)
An activity for preschool and up: Animal stretch and move (also works in the mirror).  Elephant: stretch arms in front of chest and clasp hands; bend and the waist and tuck head down to make elephant’s trunk.  Swing trunk while walking like an elephant.  Cat: On all fours, have your child arch his/her back and tuck head in to stretch like a kitty.  Dog: On all fours, stretch out front paws and raise the head like a dog waking from a nap.  Flamingo: Extend arms to the sides, raise one foot so that the sole touches the opposite knee; Bend at the waist to take a drink from the pond, then straighten up.  Penguin (we have a fixation with penguins in my house): Stand stiff and straight with arms at sides.  Turn hands outward and waddle without bending knees.  Bat: flap “wings” while flying, then come back to a resting spot and raise feet in the air like a bat hanging upside-down.  What else can your child come up with? (Adapted from The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book)

Animals, Animals: Book suggestions for October.
DoggiesDoggies, by Sandra Boynton.  If you don’t know Sandra Boynton’s wacky and hilarious books, well, you are missing out.  This one is a counting book (we had it in board-book format) with sound effects: as in “One dog. Woof.  Two dogs.  Arf! Arf!” and so on.  It is very much fun to read, and it’ll be one of the first ones your child “reads” back to you. Also recommended: Moo, Baa, La La La! (Baby/Toddler)

Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet.  This touch-and-feel book has quite a lot going on.  Not only does the rhyming text introduce words like “slinky” (yes, in fact, it is rhymed with “stinky” :) ) and “spiny,” it illustrates a wide variety of animals in lots of habitats and encourages children to count the animals after they’ve finished the story.  My children loved this book for its tactile appeal and for the visuals as well. (Baby/Toddler/Preschool)

Clip-Clop! By Nicola Smee.  This simple, repetitive story tells of four farmyard friends who take a veryexciting ride with Mr. Horse.  Fun to read, fun to listen to, and the kind of book a child can “read” back to you before too long. (Baby/Toddler/Preschool)

Mommy Mine

Mommy Mine, by Tim Warnes, ill. Jane Chapman. A wide variety of mother-and baby animal pairs are matched up.  Descriptive, simple rhyming text brings the book to the conclusion “Mommy Mine!”  Children may want to act out some of the wild-animal actions, and it would be easy to bring depth to a reading of this book by adjusting the tone and volume of your voice. (Toddler/Preschool)

I'm Not Cute!

I’m Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen.  Adorable Baby Owl is outraged that his forest friends don’t recognize him for what he is: a sleek and stealthy hunting machine.  His mom backs him up, but once Baby Owl falls asleep, she lets him know he’s cute too.  A sweet story, appropriate for bedtime and ambitious children.  (Toddler/Preschool)

In My BackyardIn My Backyard, by Margriet Ruurs, ill Ron Broda.  Detailed and gorgeous paper sculptures illustrate common backyard animals through the seasons, both in color and in a gray/white silhouette.  Look for the ladybug hiding on each page, and learn more about each animal with the information at the back of the book.  (Toddler/Preschool)
Hippos Go Berserk!

Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton. A counting book for a slightly older crowd, this book tells the story of a hippo who wants some company and gets more than she bargained for.  Boynton has a gift for writing rhyming text that is both funny and correctly metered, and we love this book at our house.  (Toddler and up)

Owl Babies

Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell, ill. Patrick Benson.  Sarah, Percy, and Bill are three baby owls who are worried that their mama has left the nest.  “And the baby owls closed their owl eyes and wished their Owl Mother would come.  AND SHE CAME.”  A lovely and reassuring story, with lyrical language and detailed illustrations of the owls and their owl home.  (Preschool and up)

Teeth, Tails, and TentaclesTeeth, Tails and Tentacles: An Animal Counting Book, by Christopher Wormell.  An unusual counting book, in that it doesn’t just count one alligator, two bears, and so on.  It counts parts of animals, and as such may get your child thinking differently about animals and part/whole groupings.  The illustrations may look a little bland, but don’t be fooled by the monochrome scheme; they are very detailed woodcuts that really bring the animals to life beautifully. (Preschool and up)

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins.  Jenkins has a way with collage, and a way with nonfiction as well.  You may be familiar with his “Actual Size” books, and (although the scale is different here) the illustrations in this book are amazingly detailed and very effective at explaining various incredible adaptations in the animal kingdom.  (Preschool and up)

Tags: daily · kid stuff · books · published

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 melody // Sep 25, 2008 at 10:25 am


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