Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Book Review: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert has fast become a firm favourite in this house. It is a lively story about the letters of the alphabet. The lower case letters all race to climb to the top of a coconut tree. As they climb the tree begins to sag, and sag, and sag, until eventually; Chicka chicka, BOOM BOOM! They all fall down to the ground in a crumpled, tangled, mussed up heap. Along come the upper case adults to dust off their babies but by the last page it is evident they didn't learn their lesson as 'A is out of bed and this is what he said, “Dare, double dare, you can’t catch me. I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.” '

I love the simple and bright illustrations Lois Elhert has done for this book. The letters are identical to the letters on the Eric Carle Animal Flash Cards which ties them together nicely for learning. The rhyme is catchy which phrases such as "skit skat skoodle doot" and there is lots of repetition which makes it nicely predictable.

Felix adores joining in for the "BOOM BOOM" and we do make quite a production of it. He also loves shouting "OH NO" repeatedly as we get to the part where all the letters have fallen out of the tree. Since we started reading this book he has become so much more interested in letters and is bringing out all the letter related activities to do every day.

We have done some gorgeous fun crafts related to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom which I'll post about soon. I'd love to hear how well this book is received in your homes and what related activities you've been doing.  

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pincer Grasp: Raisins and Toothpicks

Pincer grasp is what enables a child to pick up and object with their thumb and index finger. It's an important pre-writing skill. We've already been developing this skill with simple activities like using tongs and tweezers, posting toothpicks through holes in jar lids, using eye droppers and stringing beads.

I decided to mix things up a little today and what better way to inspire Felix than to use food! My boy loves his food. At snack time I presented him with a plate. It had a serving of raisins and some toothpicks. I showed him how to pick up a raisin and hold it so he could skewer it onto the toothpick.

The idea being that he'd skewer a raisin onto each end of the toothpicks and when they were all full he could eat them. What actually happened was that he would skewer a raisin on each end of the toothpick and then eat them before moving on to do another two.

This was a perfect activity for Felix. It was tricky enough that he had to concentrate on getting the toothpick through the raisins but relatively simple so he mastered it quickly and modified so he was pushing the raisins all the way down the toothpick and also putting 3 or 4 on at a time.

He got through the raisins I gave him and requested more. How could I refuse. It was beautiful to see such absolute concentration on his face. He sat there for at least 20 minutes fully absorbed in the activity. At the end he showed such pride and happily posed for a photo with his accomplishment.