Today I am beginning a new series here on Joy in the Making: Story time crafts for kids! Great children’s literature and beautiful picture books are the perfect springboards for imaginative activities and learning experiences for the little ones in your life.
We will be sharing videos of favorite stories read aloud, followed by open-ended craft activities that leave plenty of room for kids’ wild imaginations. The stories and crafts will be directed towards the preschool and lower elementary age children, though anyone who’s a child at heart, (like myself!) can enjoy the fun and creativity these experiences bring us all.
So come along and join us on this reading adventure! We’ll kick off this series with one of my favorite easy readers, Frog and Toad are Friends.
This series will include a children’s story read aloud by me, via video, showing the pages so you and your child can follow along. We’ll then share some discussion questions, and then a craft or activity.
Benefits of Reading aloud to Children
Exposure to Words
The importance of reading aloud to children cannot be overemphasized. A study by an Ohio State assistant professor of educational studies (link: https://journals.lww.com/jrnldbp/Abstract/2019/06000/When_Children_Are_Not_Read_to_at_Home__The_Million.9.aspx found that (quote:) “Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found.” (end quote).also – Even kids who are read only one book a day will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don’t regularly read books with a parent or caregiver.”
.“Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school,” said Logan, a member of Ohio State’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.
“They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.” (quote from Jessica Logan, Ohio State assistant professor of educational studies)
There’s so much goodness in reading to children that you’ll want to grab some books and jump right in! You will teach them many new things, prepare them for reading on their own, and foster a lifelong love of books. And probably best of all for us moms, it creates a special bond between mom and child as we snuggle up and share these literary adventures together.
Yet there are times when busy schedules don’t allow as much reading time as we would like. Or we’ve run out of new books to read, and can’t get to the library soon enough. While in-person reading is always best, stories read online can be the next best thing. Local libraries now often have great selections of children’s ebooks and audio books that you can check out online.
Now let’s get started with today’s story…
Frog and Toad, our favorite amphibian buddies!
Today’s story, “A Swim“, is from the book, Frog and Toad are Friends. This is an easy reader chapter book. Its level for independent readers is about 2nd grade, and can be used for guided reading, (with a parent or teacher) at the kindergarten level. What I love about these Frog and Toad books, is that the humor and insights into relationships makes them a treasure for any age!
If you are reading this story with a child, introduce them to Frog and Toad by asking them some questions about friends:
“Do you have a special friend that you like to do things with?” and
“What kinds of things do you and your friend like to do?”
Ask them to make comparisons: “How are you and your friend alike?
How are you different?”
Then encourage your child to think about these questions as you read about Frog and Toad, so you can discuss these things later.
Here is my reading of “A Swim”, from Frog and Toad are Friends:
After reading the story, “A Swim”, have a short discussion about it before moving on to the craft.You might ask questions about the story itself and of the child’s reaction to it.
- Who are the characters? (Frog and Toad)
- Where does the story take place? (by a river)
- Why does Toad make Frog close his eyes while Toad is getting dressed? (Toad is afraid Frog will laugh when he sees Toad in his bathing suit.)
- What happens when Toad wants to get out of the water? (All the animals want to see Toad in his bathing suit.)
- Why does Toad finally get out of the water? (he’s getting cold.)
- What happens when Toad gets out of the water? (All the animals laugh.)
- Why does Toad say, “Frog, why are you laughing?” (Frog is Toad’s friend, so Toad trusts him and wonders why he is laughing.)
- How do you think Toad feels when everyone is laughing at him? (embarrassed.)
- Have you ever been embarrassed? When and why?
- Has your friend ever laughed at you? How did you feel? (Try to assure your child that sometimes friends may laugh and tease one another, and that’s ok sometimes. They should, however, respect each other’s feelings and treat each other kindly.)
Introducing the Craft: Create a new bathing suit for Toad!
What is a pattern?
Ask your child to look at the book’s illustration of Toad, wearing his bathing suit. Discuss what his suit looks like. (green stripes!) Talk about how stripes are a type of pattern. A pattern is a line or shape that is repeated. Look at things around you, and at your clothes, to identify various patterns.
The photos below are from my own wardrobe. Notice that patterns can be made from round dots, diamond shapes, zig zag lines, flowers, or different sizes of stripes. Patterns may include many colors, or just a few.
If your child is older, you can expand upon this discussion of patterns. Try making some practice sketches of different patterns. This can help prepare your child for the craft activity.
The Craft: Create a bathing suit for Toad!
Let’s create a new suit for Toad!
What You Need:
- Printout of Toad’s swim suit blank : Just click below, download, and print on white copy paper or white cardstock.
- Printout of Toad: Just click below, download, and print on white copy paper or white cardstock.
- Coloring tools (crayons, colored pencils, water soluble crayons or pastels, markers)
- Optional: fun embellishments such as sequins, pom poms, feathers, collage scraps, and glue.
- Optional: Texture plates for making crayon rubbings, if available. Or place textured household materials under your project, such as drawer liner, sandpaper, floor tile, corrugated cardboard, whatever you can find! See what fun patterns and textures you can make by alternating various materials underneath your swim suit project!
Hint: For more suggestions on building up your kids’ craft supply stash, take a flying frog’s leap over to my page, Shop Art Supplies!
What to Do:
- Color Toad.
- Cut out Toad.
- Color Toad’s swim suit, using either dry tools (crayons, colored pencils, markers) or wet (water soluble crayons or pastels, water added.)
- Let dry, if needed.
- Cut out Toad’s new suit(s), being careful to include the tabs for attaching the suit.
- Try on Toad’s new suit and display for all to see!
Optional: Print and cut out extra swimsuits for Toad. Be sure to clip around the tags so the suit will fit Toad perfectly!Create different designs, using the variations below.
Make it Wet!
Use wet media (watercolor crayons/ water soluble pastels)
Color first, then “paint” over them with a lightly moistened paintbrush.
Or Try This:
Add 3-D embellishments.
Sequins, pom poms, googly eyes, feathers, glitter glue, etc. Suit up Toad and have him model his marvelous new bathing suit!
I hope you and a little one enjoy this timeless favorite story from Frog and Toad are Friends. I also hope you are able to create your own version of a fashionable new suit for Toad! Thanks for coming with me on this story time journey.
See you next time!