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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Early Childhood Books with Extended Activities

A few years ago I went to an Early Childhood Conference here in Orlando. One of the workshop presenters had us make this cute prop to tell the story "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly".

The old lady is actually a brown sandwich bag, her dress is made of construction paper. The mouth was cut so the pieces would fit inside and drop into the bag. We colored all of the small pieces first, cut them out, then laminated them. I've enjoy telling this story and the kids get a kick out of watching the old lady eat the props. Sometimes they say no, no, no and we all laugh like crazy once I put the pieces in her mouth.

Each year when I tell the story it's always a huge hit. It's so awesome, it got me considering a whole list of books with extended activities. When I posted this in our discussion group at Early Childhood Education there were over 30 responses. Here are some of the great ideas from our group.

Centers and Circle Time favorites:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)"If you give a mouse a cookie" by Laura Numeroff                 
My class gets to bake cookies after we read the book.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin Big Book"If you give a mouse a muffin" by Laura Numeroff
We usually read this story around Mothers Day so we can bake "Muffins for Moms" 

If You Give a Pig a Pancake Big Book (If You Give...)                   "If you give a pig a pancake" 
by Laura Numeroff
                                                I send home a note to the parents 
for every child to bring an item 
and we have a complete breakfast

Old MacDonald Has a Farm (Little Golden Book)
"Old Macdonald has a farm"                              
I usually read this with our "farm" unit.
The activity is a flannel board with
pieces I put out so the kids can re-tell the story.    
It's pretty cool to hear them tell the
story in their own words.                               

Green Eggs and Ham (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books)And of course we all have to do this just once...
"Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Suess. 
And then we get to make "green eggs and ham" 
in our class. 

The Listening WalkDeborah loves to read "The listening walk" with her students. 
"Then, then they go outside for a listening walk and talk about all they hear" says 

Deborah has a wealth of Early Childhood ideas and knowledge, you can check out her work

It's Mine!       
"It's Mine! by Leo Lionni and we make frogs afterwards. Paint a paper plate green, 
fold it in half and glue to 
bottle caps on the fold to represent eyes, 
we also roll a strip of red construction
 paper around a pencil and then glue 
it on the frog for the tongue."

Thanks to

The Kissing Hand
"I love The Kissing hand, then we do an art activity with a kiss mark on a paper hand and then I give them a kiss with lipstick on their hands:)"

"Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann! It's a picture book and the only words are "Goodnight" and the animal names. After listening to the story, we would make gorilla masks, animal sounds, zoo animals using tissue tubes and of course... my favorite culminating activity for the story.. a PAJAMA PARTY...oh and it's potluck! :)"

Llama Llama Misses Mama

"Love these ideas! My favorite activities are ones that we can combine with books. "One that we did at the beginning of the year was "Llama Llama Misses Mama" and we talked about all the feelings that Little Llama had about going to school. We then took pics of the kids making faces of different feelings (mad, sad, happy, etc) and put them together into a book of emotions"

You can find this activity and a related activity on Laura and Tressa's fabulous website "" where their mission is to provide early childhood professionals with the resources and services that support them in their quest to provide quality care and education to children ages six weeks to through age 5.

Hope you enjoyed our favorite picks. If you have a favorite book or activity feel free to share your  book and activity in the comment section below. 

Thank you to all my friends in the Early Childhood Education group you make everyday a fantastic learning experience for me and the families I serve. 


  1. These are all wonderful books:) The Listening Walk is one of my favorites that I use every year. I also like to record sounds so the children can listen to them and guess what they are:)

    PS. Just a heads up - I am at now instead of -

  2. @Deb, Oops! I knew that! I'll be sure to update:) Thanks:)

  3. We love Leo Lionni, Anna Dewdney and Laura Numeroff books! Great stories and illustrations - and the possibilities for extended activities are endless!