Monday, October 25, 2010
What are they for?
When we got out our Halloween decorations, the skeleton prompted some questions from B about what’s inside our bodies and how they work. We’ve also been talking about Real and Pretend from last week’s preschool theme, which is timely to address some of the Halloween decorations and costumes. We talked about how a skeleton has a head, body, arms, hands, legs, and feet just like us. We posed the skeleton in various positions and then copied him with our own bodies – and then we found a good book to go with our play.
I Can Do It!
Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe is a fun book to play along with as you read, and has the added benefit of both cognitive and motor development as children learn about body parts and then practice using them. Each page features a different animal performing an action with a specific body part: the giraffe bends its neck, the cat arches its back, etc. Younger children will enjoy learning the names of body parts, while older children will refine their cognitive concept of those parts by comparing their own bodies to those of the animals. We enjoy reading this book like a game of Simon Says. B is pretty adept at mimicking the animal movements now, but T continues to learn more body part names, and enjoys the show B puts on.
While T may not be quite ready for the games in From Head to Toe, he does know several body parts, and we have fun practicing and learning more with I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak. The playful text and illustrations identify both physical and intangible things to love. Not only do we love hands and eyes, but also behaviors like giggles, and personalities, like “your silly side.” We like giving kisses or raspberries on each body part mentioned. T isn’t quite ready yet, but B enjoyed demonstrating the behaviors and emotions. This is just a fun cuddle-up book, but it also makes a really nice precursor to the more active From Head to Toe.
Real and Pretend
As we talked about all the things our bodies can do, B became more and more curious about how it works! We recently received a book from Grandma that helped with some of the explanations. Outside-In, by Clare Smallman is a through reference book of kid-friendly text and lift-the-flap illustrations that answers questions like “What is blood?” “Does food go into our legs?” and “Why Do I Get Goosebumps?” At 32 pages, it’s a lot of information to take in at once, but we read a section at a time, and paged through all the pictures even without the text. Topics include skin, muscles, blood and circulation, lungs, bones and teeth, and digestion. Flaps help children picture the muscles, vessels, and organs inside them that are discussed in the text. It’s a book we’ll keep handy for answering more of B’s questions as they arise.
A fun read that emphasizes the importance of understanding our bodies and knowing the difference between real and pretend is Tedd Arnold’s Parts. The rhyming text and comical illustrations chronicle a boy’s escalating concern that his body is falling apart when he notices lost hair, peeling skin, and even a booger mistaken for a piece of brain! He is finally assured by his parents that his panic is unnecessary and all these parts are made to be lost and regenerated. There are some facts to be learned from the story, but emphasizing that the boy’s fears of falling apart are unfounded is important for the younger crowd. Arnold’s sequels, More Parts, and Even More Parts revolve around all of the bodily idioms that fill our vocabulary, like a broken heart or laugh your head off. While B has a pretty good grasp of the way many of these are used in every day speech, the humor of the literal (mis)understanding is a little beyond him, so I’m keeping those on the “for later” shelf.
There’s a little something for everyone here, so I’m saying:
Appropriate for: Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers, Primary Grades
Come join We Play at Childhood 101 and show off your great ideas at ABC and 123’s Show and Tell.
Come back Wednesday for a body-part related book-giveaway! And don’t forget to link up your own book recommendations Friday at Feed Me Books Friday!