Ever since we began our 365 Days Outdoors challenge, you have been fascinated with animal and bird watching! We've made bird nesting kits, taken several nature walks, and even went to see some beautiful animals at the zoo. Each time you pass a window in our house or are strolling on the nature trails you are constantly on the look-out for any type of wildlife that you can find. That's why I knew your would enjoy the book, "Over in the Meadow: Come and Take a Peek" by Marianne Berkes. Not only is it chalk full of critters from the forest, but it is also read like a song - a wonderful song from Mama's youth.
As a little girl, I always used to sing Over in the Meadow with my mother. This book brings that childhood favorite back to life with some furry animals that live in the forest. Most of these creatures you were very familiar with and a couple were fun to introduce you to!
I love reading this book when we sit down for some mother/son storytime, not only because I get to watch you dance to the beat of it, but also because it exposes you learning at the turn of each page. As you venture deeper and deeper into the forest while reading this book, the author introduces a new mother (or father) animal and then number of babies that joins her. Perfect for learning what each animal is called as a baby!
Each "verse" of the story contains animated verbs that show what every critter does in their own area of the forest...which you love to act out as we read! You have so much energy right now, that whever we can get you moving during storytime, it's an added bonus!
We loved looking at the different animal tracks that were shown throughout the story, so we decided to make some after reading the book with paint! I picked the Woodpecker footprints to focus on because birds are your favorite right now. After seeing a couple of painting techniques recently that I thought you would love, I set out to get the materials needed for our artwork!
The first layer of our picture is the forest floor covered in grass. I saw this fun activity on Smiling Like Sunshine for painting with marbles, and thought you would have fun swirling them around on the paper. Here's what we needed for the first part:
White construction paper ~ marbles ~ green paint ~
a shoebox ~ a paper plate ~ wipes
You dipped the marbles into the paint while I placed the paper into the shoebox. Then you tossed them in and shook the box up to make "grass."
|Shake, shake, shake!|
We let that dry for a good part of the day and then gathered the items needed for the second step...Woodpecker Footprints! Recently, one of my favorite blogs that I go to for "artsy inspiration" (Red Ted Art) began a series called Daily Creativity. Her first tip for "nurturing creativity" was potato printing - so that's just what we used for our prints. I cut the potato to make a bird-like footprint and then we started stamping!
(Materials: potato ~ knife ~ brown paint ~ original picture ~
paper plate ~ sponge brush for your toes)
Before we began the woodpecker prints, we talked about how your foot can make a print outside when you are walking. To actually show you what I was talking about, we let your feet do a little stamping of their own.
After we made your prints, we talked about how a bird can make footprints too. You looked around the yard trying to find a bird and pointed a couple out when I mentioned them. Me and Daddy showed you how to use the potato stamper and then let you try it out yourself!
|You decided to get your feet in on the action again!|
|I love all of the Woodpecker Footprints that we both made on here!|
Additional Activities:~ Vocabulary Reinforcement: Create a matching game with mother and baby animals similar to the one created by Rainy Day Mum's son.
~ Outdoor Fun: Head out to the forest to see what animals you can spy along the way. Don't forget to look for animal tracks!
~ Movement: Play charades by acting out the animals from the forest!
~ Science discovery: There are 10 additional "hidden" animals throughout the book. Find them and discuss their actions and baby names.
~ Early Numeracy skills: Break out the playdough along with some number shaped cookie cutters and practice making impressions.
~ Using your senses: Talk about and practice the sounds that each animal makes. If you have any type of toy animals lying around, use them to make an Outdoor Sound Sort.
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Disclosure: The book reviewed in this post was given to me for free by the publisher. All posts reflect my personal opinion (and that of my toddler!) and has not been influenced in any way.