Friday, March 23, 2012

Fruits and Veggies Story Time

The unusually warm weather of late has put me in mind of picnics and gardens, and I decided to offer some story times in the last few weeks on one of my favorite picnics/gardens themes: fruits and veggies! It's a topic every kiddo knows something about, and it has the potential to introduce some good vocabulary with different fruit/veggie names as well as shapes and colors when you look at pictures of each type of food.

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Story: Gladys Goes Out to Lunch by Derek Anderson
     What's not to love about a big purple gorilla? Gladys, who lives at the zoo, loves bananas. She could (and does) eat bananas morning, noon, and night. One day, however, she catches a whiff of some other food--and it smells delicious. Gladys leaves the zoo in pursuit of the yummy smell, and despite trying several tasty foods along her journey, she almost can't find the one that smells so good. When she finally does, she discovers that it's twist on her favorite: banana bread!

Story: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
     In this cute, simple tale with great illustrations, the story is told as though the readers/listeners are interacting with the little mouse on the pages of the book. The little mouse has located the perfect red, ripe strawberry, and the reader encourages him to save it from a big hungry bear who loves the fruit. Poor mouse, he tries to hide, lock up, and disguise that giant berry before the reader suggests cutting it in two and eating it together. It's a great book with lots of opportunities for dialogic reading.

Felt Board/Fingerplay: "Five Red Ripe Strawberries"
     I used Abby the Librarian's rhyme as the basis for this interactive felt board. I had five big strawberries up on the felt board, and as the big hungry bear came and ate each one, I asked the kiddos to help keep track of how many were left by counting on their fingers. Great for counting skills and motor skills! The rhyme how I used it:

Five red ripe strawberries, sweet to the core.
Big hungry bear came and ate one (yummy noises),
and then there were four.

Four red ripe strawberries, sitting in a tree.
Big hungry bear came and ate one (yummy noises),
and then there were three.

Three red ripe strawberries, one for you and you and you.
Big hungry bear came and ate one (yummy noises),
and then there were two.

Two red ripe strawberries, shining in the sun.
Big hungry bear came and ate one (yummy noises),
and then there was one.

One red ripe strawberry, left all alone.
Big hungry bear came and ate it (yummy noises),
and then there were none.

Book: No More Vegetables! by Nicole Rubel
     Ruthie asserts that she hates vegetables. She'll feed them to her dog, hide them... she'll do pretty much anything to make sure she doesn't have to eat them. Like a lot of young children, she refuses to even try them--she just knows she won't like them. After she begins helping to plant and tend a vegetable garden, however, Ruthie starts to see these foods in a different way. She succumbs to eating a grape tomato when she is overcome with hunger in the garden, and suddenly Ruthie realizes that vegetables are actually pretty good.

Song: "Fruit Salad Salsa" by Laurie Berkner
     This peppy song is a fruit-filled take on the hokey-pokey. Kids get to put their hands in, shake, jump, twirl, and have all sorts of dancing fun. It feels so good to move around after those several books!

Book: Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
     I let the kids stay standing from our dancing for this story, as it has lots of opportunity for movement. The kids in the book work together to plant and take care of a garden, and the words and illustrations introduce all sorts of vegetables (and a few fruits!) with mentions of whether they grow up, down, or around. I have the kiddos use their hands to move however the text says, and they enjoy pretending to be corn, carrots, and other yummy things.

Matching Game: Making a Fruit Salad
     For our last activity, I like to encourage color skills in tandem with the vocabulary from the theme. I had printed out lots of yellow bananas, purple grapes, green pears, blue blueberries, and red strawberries, and I laminated them and attached little Velcro dots to the backs. Each kiddo got three pieces of fruit, and together we put them on the felt board one type at a time. Again as per Abby the Librarian, we sang a little song as we put our fruits up on the board:

(To the tune of Ten Little Indians)

Add the strawberries to our fruit salad
Add the strawberries to our fruit salad
Add the strawberries to our fruit salad
Mmm, Mmm! It tastes so good!

Craft: Fruit Loop Necklaces
     We had a "craft picnic" (a.k.a. we did the craft sitting on the story time rug) where every kiddo got a piece of yarn with tape on the end for easier stringing of fruit-colored cereals. I mentioned to caregivers the options of asking color names as the child strung each O on the yarn, or for older ones, encouraging a pattern of colors. While dropped and stepped-on pieces did make this craft a bit messy, it comes with a built-in system for telling when everyone is finished: they stop stringing the Os and start eating them instead!

Other books I had on hand in case they were needed:
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert

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