Step-by step instruction manual how to bring books to life in your home!
Ever since the program was birthed, Book Days has taken place in a school setting. Being the administrator of my family's preschool, I found myself in a unique role of managing the organization, while simultaneously building this literacy program. This May, my mom celebrated a 36 year school legacy, as well as her retirement.
With a new season upon me, I was open to new pathways for Book Days to continue to grow and flourish. During this evolving season, my sister decided to start a small homeschool with her kids and a close friend. It was at this time, I knew that the new chapter of Book Days would be geared toward homeschooling families and stay at home moms that want to bring books to life in their own homes. I was homeschooled from the 7th-12th grade and greatly resonate with families who choose this alternative educational method.
This month, Book Days brought to life Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. I hope you enjoy the following tutorial and glean inspiration for your own Book Day!
Book Days starts with the backdrop. The area designated for the theatrical reading sets the tone for the whole day. Here are the two steps to create your Book Day room:
1. BACKDROP- The first thing I do, is pick the color of the back drop based on the book. Once that is determined, I get disposable tablecloths at either Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, or Walmart, for approximately a dollar each. For a few dollars, I can transform the feel of the whole room! Then I get individual balloon letters at Hobby Lobby to spell out a word that is highlighted in the book. This gives an additional themed touch, as well as, a greater display of words and letters.
2. FOCAL POINT- For this particular Book Day I used a dump truck cardboard cut out from Oriental Trading Company. Cardboard cutouts are a great way to make the event exciting without giving yourself a lot of added work. They also keep well for other events!
One element of Book Days that really gets the kids involved is the use of accessories. When the kids have a special hat or outfit they automatically become part of the story and experience. This book naturally lends itself to construction hats and vests that can be found on Amazon. I purchased the "hard hat area" stickers at Hobby Lobby to add an extra touch.
For other Book Days you could make themed hats with your kids ahead of time or simply wear the themed color of the day. The objective is to be intensional no matter how big or small.
I've always said that if the kids could pick any one activity, it would be the themed snack!
What can I say, treats and kids just go hand in hand.
The themed treat was a Construction Cup- a chocolate pudding cup with crumbled cookies on top. To make, you will need these three simple ingredients:
2. Chocolate Pudding
3. Mexican Chocolate Cookies
I used these particular products to make the snack gluten free and diary free, but similar products can be substituted if no food allergies are involved.
To jazz up the table, I got a road table runner and construction plates from Hobby Lobby. I printed a variety of construction vehicles on cardstock, cut them out, and taped them to toothpicks to make my own toppers. The CAT excavator from Walmart served two purposes, one for the table aesthetic, and two, for the craft inspiration to create.
One of my favorite Book Day activities is the sensory activity! Sensory play is so versatile. Every bin introduces a larger understanding and exploration of the world around them. It is ideal for infants and toddlers, but still so beneficial for Pre-K and elementary age children. One of the biggest benefits of sensory play is how it fosters social interactions between children. (Source).
Here are the products used to make this sensory bin:
-1 Storage box from Walmart
-6 Boxes of chocolate cake mix
-1 Pack of brown sugar
-1 Pack of light brown sugar
-Garden rocks from Walmart
-1 pack of construction vehicles from Walmart
The chocolate cake mix is a wonderful base! Not only is the texture of the flour light and calming, but the aromatic fragrance from the chocolate elements are very satisfying. It smells like chocolate chip cookies are baking in the oven! The brown sugar provides a core texture that simulates sand. The finishing touches, however, are the scattered stones and construction vehicles. The contrasting stones really add that rugged authentic construction site vibe! Add the construction vehicles on top for an experience right out of the book!
One of the beautiful things about kids crafts is that they can be simple without a thousand parts and a novel of instructions.
The themed craft of the day was an invitation to create an excavator portrait.
For inspiration, the kids used the large excavator from Walmart, in addition to
book cover. Each child received a piece of white card stock, a paint brush, and a paint palette of yellow and black paint.
I love invitations to create because it allows kids more creativity and imagination rather than a cookie cutter project. While the final products may vary due to age, each child is given the same license to discover no matter the age.
Fine motor activities are important because they strengthen children's hand grips that are essential for every day tasks, such as tying shoe laces. (Source)
Using peelable stickers from Oriental Trading Company, I created a sequencing activity where the kids would not only need to peel stickers, but finish the pattern I had created for them.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)
I added this category to the original curriculum because I didn't want literacy to be separate from the sciences. I feel that in education today we separate subjects instead of finding common denominators between them. My hope is that children doing this program, will not only have a greater love of reading, but experience a wholistic bundle of developmental activities.
For this STEM activity, we divided into teams to create blueprints of commercial buildings. I used a construction bundle from Teachers Pay Teachers that had wonderful clip art images of buildings and materials that I displayed with a multitude of colored sharpies. As the teams drew their blueprints, I reminded them to consider essentials things like, windows, driveway, doors, etc.- things that an architect would have in mind. Do not feel overwhelmed by this category. Pick one part of STEM and just highlight that piece!
I hope this post has inspired you to see the depth of wealth that is sitting on your children's book shelves! Bringing books to life at home can provide an out-of-the-box event while creating an engaging hands-on educational experience. Whether you do one activity or all five, your kids will be invigorated to read more and approach learning with a passion.
I want to challenge you to create a Book Day in your home! Let us know about it (firstname.lastname@example.org) so you can be featured on our page "Book Days Across America."
Until next time,