~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

A Story plus Art ~ Oct. 2011

Reading and sharing stories is such a major part of my child care day. For my preschool group I want to extend the learning and am always working on activities that I can use to extend the books  and information contained within them. I love using art/craft projects especially as they just seem to really hold the interests of most children at this age point.

The following books and activities were some of the ones discussed at the Oct. 19th workshop.

Ed Emberley – Go Away Big Green Monster!

  • Author / Illustrator: Ed Emberley
  • Fiction
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-7 yrs.)

Summary: A monster face is explained/labeled/built and then each part is removed until the monster is no more.

Themes: monsters, facial features,


  1. What are some of the words used to describe different parts of the monster?
  2. How does the monster disappear?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a monster puppet.
  2. or make one from handprints, a fun color blends – blue and yellow make green.
  3. Nice idea for using a plate for the face. Check out Mommy and Me Book Club


Eric Carle – Little Cloud  

  • Author / Illustrator: Eric Carle
  • Fiction
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (2-6 yrs.)

Summary: Little Cloud drifts away from his cloud friends and entertains himself by changing into a variety of forms? His friends come back and he joins them to form one big cloud that rains.

Themes: imagination, weather


  1. If you were little cloud what shape would you become?
  2. Why wasn’t little cloud afraid when the other clouds left?

Extension Activities:

  1. Go outside and do some cloud watching – naming shapes see.
  2. Make a cloud/weather mobile
  3. White paint blot painting on blue paper
  4. Make a shape cloud using shaving cream/ glue medium.   trace loosely around cookie cutters to get a large shape 50/50 white glue and shaving cream or just glue down pulled apart cotton balls


Rick Charette – Alligator in the Elevator  

  • Author / Illustrator: Rick Charette / Heidi Stetson Mario
  • Rhyme/Song
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-7 yrs.)

Summary: There’s an alligator in the elevator and it rides up to different floors with different passengers.

Themes: rhyming song


  1. What would you do if you came across an alligator at the Mall?
  2. What do you think “making eyes at me” mean?

Extension Activities:

  1. finger play along with the story as you do as a song
  2. listen to the original song sung by Rick Charette
  3. Make an alligator puppet to use while singing. You are welcome to use the alligator form I drew up and have as a Google Document.   gutter screening crayon rubbing (use multiple colors) pattern traced wrong side – reverse legs


Ellen Stoll Walsh –Mouse Shapes

  • Author / Illustrator: Ellen Stoll Walsh
  • Concept
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (2-6 yrs.)

Summary: 3 mice are being chased by a cat. They escape into a pile of shapes. They start to play with the shapes and end up finding a way to scare the cat away.

Themes: imagination, problem solving, working together, shapes


  1. Why do you think the cat was scared away?
  2. What would you have done to save yourself from the cat if you were one of the mice?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a mouse from shapes.  
  2. Make a flannel board set of shapes that can be used for retelling and expanding imagination for building other objects.


Jane Simmons – Come Along Daisy

  • Author / Illustrator: Jane Simmons
  • Fiction
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-7yrs.)

Summary: Daisy is this cute little duck that is suppose to stay close to her mother, but she doesn’t. She is too busy watching everything happening in the pond around her. When she realizes Momma is gone it gets scary until they find each other.

Themes: curiosity, pond life


  1. Why is it important to stay with our parents when we go out someplace?
  2. Why did Daisy become scared?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a little duck. All you need to finish are handprints for the wings.


Zoe Hall – The Apple Pie Tree

  • Author / Illustrator: Zoe Hall / Shari Halpern
  • Informational, Concept
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-8 yrs.)

Summary: Two sisters happily follow the cycle of an apple tree in their yard from winter til fall when the apples are ready to pick. Pollination and the role of weather are introduced. As the apples grow a pair of robins nurture their babies in the tree. The story ends with the sisters making an apple pie with the apples they have picked.

Themes: life cycle, seasons, things grow and change

Questions: Have you ever seen an apple pie tree?

  1. Why did the author title this The Apple Pie Tree?
  2. We watched the apples develop and growth in this story. What else grow during the story?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make an apple pie, apple sauce, muffins. Make something that comes from apples.
  2. Do project that shows an apple tree in different seasons. See details on how to make this   at Country Fun Lessons.


Raymond Briggs – The Snowman 

  • Author / Illustrator: Raymond Briggs
  • Fantasy/ Wordless
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (2-6 yrs.)

1982 Francis Williams Award for Illustration
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Summary: A young boy wakes up to snow and heads outside to build a snowman. He cannot sleep and goes to check on the snowman, to find it come alive. The snowman comes into the house and happily explores various parts of it. After a meal together the snowman takes the boy flying across the world to see the sun rise. They fly back. The boy goes to sleep and upon finds the snowman melted.

Themes: imagination


  1. Why do you think the snowman and boy flew off to see the sun rise?
  2. Why did the snowman climb into the freezer?

Extension Activities:

  1. Make a snowman in collage like this
  2. Do a science experiment on melting snow – physical change of ice.
  3. Paint a snowstorm and then make a more 2-d or collage style snowman. To get a snow storm effect we used homemade sponge stamps. Cut up old sponges and place a clip clothespin on them. The sponge provides a great texture and the clothespins are very easy for little hands to handle. A little white paint, light blue construction paper  and they’re off.
DSC04619 . DSC04621 We don’t always finish a project in one day. I think it’s good for young children to learn patience and multi-day art projects are great for this.
Our backgrounds are dry, now it’s time to pull apart some quilt batting, ball it up a little and glue it down to form a circle. The children did this 3 times for a large, medium and small circle. DSC04626 The snowman’s body was done. DSC04624 At this time I pulled out the treasure scrap box and let the children have fun decorating their snowman, however they wanted.DSC04627 I helped with cutting fabric DSC04628 shapes as requested. These unique snowmen totally represent the individual children that made them.
DSC04630 Great finish to our snowmen this year.  DSC04631


Joanne Ryder – Chipmunk Song

  • Author / Illustrator: Joanne Ryder / Lynne Cherry
  • Realism Fiction
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (4-8 yrs.)

Summary: “Imagine you are someone small…”  A little child imagines shrinking down to the size of a chipmunk following it through it’s days and activities as it lives through the seasons.

Themes: survival


  1. Why do you hide from the hawk as it glides overhead?
  2. Why do you feel safe hearing the birds calling to each other?

Extension Activities:

  1. study of seasons and weather changes that accompany them
  2. study animals local to you and their habitats
  3. find and follow a chipmunk in your yard, then make a puppet
  4. paint with an acorn


Jane Yolen – Owl Moon 

  • Author / Illustrator: Jane Yolen / John Schoenherr
  • Fiction/ Realism
  • Grade Range/Level Recommendation: young reader (3-8 yrs.)

1988 Caldecott Medal
ALA Notable Book
Reading Rainbow Book
Junior Literary Guild selection

Summary: A father takes his daughter owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. They are bundled warmly for their trudge through snow across fields into the woods.  Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl’s call waiting for an answer. An answer comes and from out of the shadows of the woods arrives the Great Horned Owl.

Themes: curiosity, natural world


  1. We understand why they needed to be silent while hunting the owl, but why did they return home in silence?
  2. It’s hard to tell if the child in the story is a boy or girl. Does it make any difference to the story? Why, or why not?

Extension Activities:

make an owl craft like found at Crafts by Amanda Crafts for Kids, or Mrs. Brown’s Art Class.



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