Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Slimy Book (by Babette Cole; Publisher: Red Fox; ISBN 0099434261)

Babette Cole's Slimy Book has delicously descriptive language and yukky ideas that will please all kids old and young.

Thanks to the tefl_kids yahoo group (Susi, Julia and Tanya) for the suggestions in this post.

Even with the smallest kids I would go for a slug/worm hunt. We would talk about how fragile these animals are, compare them with animals who are better protected (snails, let alone turtles) and be very careful when picking some up. We'd collect them in plastic habitats or any animal observation cans. In class we could place them on a pane of glass and observe how they move forward, being able to look from above and below.
Some might even want to start a slug race...

Actually there is a very nice Ravensburger game, "Snail's pace race" with different colored wooden snails, where we roll two dice to see which two snails can move forward. The cool thing about this game is that all kids will be winners (with the snail who wins). I suppose one could do this with actual people as the snails, and a super huge dice.
In the internet I found another game that got pretty good reviews:
Schneckenrennen distributed by: Goldsieber, 2003 Sold for 5,49 EUR

Slime - obviously, read that fabulous slime book, get the kids to chant slimy sludgey slippy slime.... or repeat any phrases they like.

I made a batch of salt dough this week with too much water. It sure was slimy. I'm going to bag it in Ziploc or heavy duty sealed small plastic bags and get the wee, wee kids to simply squish it.

A clenched fist, with thumb extended, makes a snail-like figure. Hand painting and then puppet play?

For Halloween, I had the kids dig for gummi-frogs (saran wrapped) in "worms", which was actually oiled spaghetti. It was a super, super big hit with all age groups. The parents were a bit grossed out, but the kids dug right in, even my then squeamish son. If you do this, you simply cook some spaghetti until al-dente (over cooked gives a mushy texture, not a worm texture), mix in some vegetable oil, and throw in some suitably squishy, slimy, gummi treats or small toys wrapped in saran wrap. Make sure to have a camera, lots of paper/cloth towels on hand and that the kids wash their hands really well prior to digging. Some kids may try to eat the pasta(which, technically, is edible, just a bit flavourless).

Worm walk - look for worms after a rain, bring in a few worms to class, "walk" like worms.

bring some worms/snails/slugs/jellied eels/custard/glue in to the class

Sticky tape fun: Trish Kuffner mentions tape play in several of her pre-schooler and toddler books. Take a piece of double sided tape. Stick it to the floor, have the wee one walk on and off the tape (socks on). Makes a satisfying sound and enthralls a great deal of toddlers for, well, minutes. Other tape fun: simply give them different kinds of sticky tape to play with and let them stick it where they will (stear them away from any delicate books, etc). Some wee ones love this and some get driven batty by it, depending on their age. Tape collage: make a collage with sticky tape or sticky things.

How about the song "Squirming Worms"? It's on one of the "KidsSongs" CDs which are quite painless to listen to and sound more like folk tunes (rather than the awful over- arranged, stupidly-voiced, kitschy children's CDs you usually get). http://www.nancycassidymusic.com/jubilee.html#worms

Thinking about textures, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" although not
about slugs, is great fun and very tactile with actions and sound
effects for swimming across a cold river, squelching through a muddy
swamp, pushing your way through the long grass, and stumbling
through the dark forest. There's even a song version of it.


We're Going on a Bear Hunt

(children repeat each line after adult)

We're going on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We're not scared.
Oh ,oh!
Long, wavy, grass.
We can't go over it,
We can't go under it,
We've gotta go throught it!
Swishy swashy, swishy swashy.

We're going on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We're not scared.
Oh ,oh!
Thick, oozy mud.
We can't go over it,
We can't go under it,
We've gotta go throught it!
Squelch squelch, squelch squelch

We're going on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We're not scared.
Oh ,oh!
A river,
A deep, cold river.
We can't go over it,
We can't go under it,
We've gotta go throught it!
Splish splosh, splish splosh.

We're going on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We're not scared.
Oh ,oh!
A forest,
A big, dark forest.
We can't go over it,
We can't go under it,
We've gotta go throught it!
Stmble trip, stumble trip.

We're going on a bear hunt,
We're gonna catch a big one,
What a beautiful day,
We're not scared.
Oh ,oh!
A cave,
A scary, dark cave.
We can't go over it,
We can't go under it,
We've gotta go throught it!
Tiptoe, tiptoe.

(say the following verse all together and quickly)
Through the cave, tiptoe, tiptoe,
Through the forest, stumble trip, stumble trip,
Through the river, splish splosh, splish spolosh,
Through the mud, squelch squelch, squelch squelch,
Through the grass, swishy swashy, swishy swashy.
Run to the house, run up the stairs,
Oh oh forgot to shut the door!
Run back downstairs, shut the door,
Run back up, to the bedroom,
Jump into bed, pull up the covers,

got this version from

Another worm song for the Slimy Book theme:

Wiggly Woo
There's a worm at the bottom of the garden
And his name is Wiggly Woo
There's a worm at the bottom of the garden
And all that he can do
Is wiggle all night
And wiggle all day
Whatever else the people do say
There's a worm at the bottom of the garden
And his name is Wiggly Woo

listen to the tune here:

Clean old socks with glued on felt eyes and mouth will make really quick and easy worm puppets.

At the risk of offending some, here is a song my daughter's Woodcraft
Folk group used to sing:

Nobody likes us
Everybody hates us
Because we feed on worms
Big fat juicy ones
Long thin wriggly ones
See them squiggle and squirm!
Bite their heads off
Suck their juice out
Throw their skins away
Nobody knows how much we thrive
On worms three times a day!

Bearing in mind that the WF is a very right-on organisation which
another parent accused of turning her daughter into a rabid vegetarian,
it should be taken with a pinch of salt [I'm sure worms taste much
better that way : ) ] and the kids loved it.

Here's a site with the tune for Julia's horrid worm


The tea pot song (to accompany the page: "Here is someone having slime for tea..."),

I'm a little tea pot, short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, hear me shout:
"Tip me over and pour me out".

Made snail/snake mobiles and played with slimy finger paint on the back of old posters.

The snail/snake mobile directions:

Take the desired size of paper (firmer paper is better).
Starting roughly in the middle, draw a swirl/circle going outwards.
Repeat with different coloured crayons or markers.
Now, cut around the very last circle/swirl, to make a round shape. Here is your snail.

Cut inwards, roughly following the swirling drawing.
Leave a small circle in the middle, from which to hang the mobile.
Hold the centre circle, and allow the cut rings to dangle. Here is your snake.

It really was an easy craft. I think sparkles, google-eyes on the centre circle, paper with texture, painting or colouring both sides of the paper, or using paper that you've painted with finger paints in swirling motions would all make great snail-snake mobiles.

I found very nice photographs of snails .

Check out www.enchantedlearning.com, not just for printouts of slugs, but for lots of inspiration for other topics!

Last internet suggestion, absolutely great for Kindergarden kids: Dinnertime! nice worm or slugs surprise (a little down the following page: http://www.kindercourt.com/OLD/kinfolinks/months/april.html Actually I'm always looking for songs and found quite a few good ones here: http://www.kindercourt.com/OLD/kinfolinks/months/april.html

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Happy Easter!

I've now added some of the missing pictures (the camera is working again)

Easter chick cards

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Snowy Day (by Ezra Jack Keats; Publisher: Puffin Books; ISBN: 0140501827 )

In this book a little boy makes different kinds of
prints in the snow: footprints, railway tracks, uses a
stick to make a third track, snow angels etc.

My colleague Tanya describes here how she has used
this lovely book with her class:

"It is a wonderful story of a little boy who wakes up
on a snowy day and has great adventures. It is one of
the few childrens' books set in a city, as well as
using a non-white child as the main character. I grew
up with this book, and love reading it to my young
son, as well as to an English playgroup playgroup I
teach in Gotha, Germany. After reading it for the
first time, I handed out salt-dough snowballs for the
kids to take home.

Other activities to do that help you recycle the ideas
and language on this book:

1. Snow or ice cube painting, adapted from Trish
Kuffner's books:

Warning: messy alert! Children should wear a painting
smock, an old t-shirt or clothes that can be
Line a baking sheet or cake pan with a piece of
drawing paper (thicker is better). Alternately, use
the lid of a shoe box or another cardboard type lid.
Sprinkle the lid with a bit of powdered tempura paint.
Place an ice cube or very hard packed small snowball
on the paper. The wee one can swirl the ice or
snowball around with his or her fingers to create
designs. Older children may chose to tip the lid or
baking tray to swirl the design around. (Note: I
haven't been able to find powdered tempura paint here
in Germany yet. I've been using tubed tempura and
watering it down a bit.) I think powdered jello("Rote"
or "Grune Grutze" powder her in Germany) works
too. Powdered food colouring would also work, but is
too strong in terms of staining ability.

2. Snow painting: place a bit of powdered tempura
paint in a squirt bottle or spray bottle. Add water.
Let the wee ones draw on the snow with the squirt
bottle or spray the snow.

3. Total physical response: the adventures Peter has
in the snow lend themselves to mimicking. Take your
wee ones out into the snow, let them walk with their
"toes pointing in like this ... and walk with their
toes pointing out like that." Let them hear the
"crunch, crunch, crunch" of their foot prints. Make
snow balls, snow angels, railroad tracks with dragging
feet, find a stick to make another track. Then go
have some hot chocolate. Bigger kids can help make
the hot chocolate. No snow? Mimick Peter's behavior
in the course room or your living room. Draw "snow
angels", trace your feet many times (or every child
contributes a set of prints to a collaborative trail),
cut out the footsteps and make tracks like Peter's.

4. Salt dough: there are many recipes out there.
Trish Kuffner's books have many good ones. Form the
dough into snow balls, snow men, snow forts. Roll it
out and cut out angels. Dry and decorate. Really wee
ones will enjoy just squishing the dough around inside
a well-sealed Ziploc bag or smushing it on the table
and printing the dough with cookie cutters (don't
expect the little kids' craft time to be "perfect",
just having the experience of playing with the
materials in their own fashion teaches them a lot
about texture, touch and the world around them).

Tanya Harding
Naturally English
Gartenstrasse 11
99894 Friedrichroda

I am a Canadian citizen, now living in central
Germany. I teach English privately, as well as at a
local children's club. There is more information on
my website, listed above."

Here are the snowy day scraffito footprints that Lucy's classes did. I got black paper, got the kids to cover it in white water-based pastel and then to scratch out footprints etc.

Snowy day footprints

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Owl Babies (by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson; Walker Books; ISBN: 0744531675)

This is a lovely book with realistic pics of baby owls. The owl babies worry that their mum won't come back, she does of course.

We collected toilet roll tubes and used these to make an owl-shaped pen holder. This took about 45 minutes with 8 kids! So be warned. It is a useful thing they can use themselves or give as a gift.

Two tubes per kid, some additional pale card for eyes, beaks and wings and some brown construction paper for a base.

Cut one tube into two, about two thirds up. Resulting in three tubes one big, one medium and one small. Stick onto base and against each other. add beaks, eyes and wings. We painted them with glue and dipped them in imitation snow to give that fluffy baby owl look.

Owl babies pen holder

Pen holder with pens and things

We also illustrated our own mini books:

Owl babies mini-book

Goodnight Lulu (by Paulette Bogan; Bloomsbury; ISBN: 0747564930)

This book is about a mum (chicken) saying goodnight to her kid (chick) and allaying all her fears of what might happen, e.g. "What if a tiger comes in while I'm sleeping". Two piglets listen in and creep closer and closer so as to be protected too. Cute, and comforting, my classes really enjoyed taking it in turn to act out the story while I narrated.

We made pictures of the piglets peeking in the window. We used a potato print for the pig's nose as a starting point (cut potato in half, make two holes in each cut edge for the nostrils, a small slit at the bottom for the mouth, dip in pink paint and press on the paper).

All the kids were able to make pigs with eyes and ears and most of them painted the front trotters too. I also had some curly pink ribbon to stick on for those who needed tails.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

One Two Three Me (by Nadia Budde and Jeremy Fitzkee; Hammer; ISBN: 3872949225)

This is a great book for teaching English. The pics are cool and funny for any age and yet the vocab is very limited (but mostly very useful) and it's a rhyming repetitive story. The story goes:
1,2,3, me
Sue, Molly, Claire,
Polar bear
In a vest, in a dress, in a coat, (here you see the bear wearing the clothes)
in the rain, in the snow, in the fog (pics of the goat standing in the rain, snow and fog)
spotted, plaid, pale,
Gigantic, average, wee,
and so on.

It's the perfect book for inspiring kids to make a minibook using exactly the same formula.

Before the lesson I thought of a few animal names that rhymed with words the kids knew:
boat + goat, house + mouse, tail+snail, big+pig, hat+cat, hair+bear, dish+fish, shower+flower, frog+dog, zoo+you

We then used those as a basis for thinking of our own rhymes and the two additional situations needed for each sequence.

Here's what the kids came up with during one class:

1, 2, 3,
With a ship, with a fish, with a boat,
In trousers, in a dress, in a hat,
In a tree, in a boat, in a house,
With a spider, on the cheese, with a frog

The kids had lots of funny ideas. I then asked each child to draw one sequence. Colour photocopying the resulting book for each child turned out to cost a lot more than I'd imagined (that may be beyond your resources, but you could cover the original in plastic and make it into a class book). With my other classes, I asked them to do it in black and white, and then photocopied it for everyone to have as a colouring book.

Wearing shoes, in a dress, in a hat, cat

The kids went home talking about rhymes and thinking up new ones.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Lullabyhullaballoo(by Mick Inkpen; Hodder Children's Books; ISBN: 0340626860)

This easy story brings in lots of friendly fairytale characters: dragons, knights, giants, ghosts. The pictures are lovely, the text is simple and has lots of repetition built in. Lullabyhullaballoo was a hit with all the kids from 3 to 11.

We learnt a lullabye: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

We had a pose for each character, animal and even the castle. The kids loved having a go at shouting out the next pose for everyone to take, or guessing which character is being posed.

We made a sleeping princess with closing eyelids

  1. Kids fold over a 5cm strip at the bottom of an A4 sheet of thick paper.
  2. Cut off the strip along the fold.
  3. Position the strip at the middle of the back of the paper and draw round the end.

  4. Fold paper across the rectangle you've just drawn, and cut out eyes inside the rectangle. (this is so that the eye holes are not wider than the strip of paper.)

  5. Turn paper over and draw in nose between eye holes.
  6. Add mouth, chin, hair, teddy, pillow, etc.
  7. Stick paper (scraps of old wrapping paper) to make a patchwork quilt fit for a princess.
  8. Tape small strips of paper to the back to hold the eye strip in place.

  9. Draw eyes, eyelids and lashes through the holes of the eyes onto the eye strip.

We made a castle with opening windows.

  1. Each kid gets a bit of A4 white paper as the background and an A5 (that's half A4) bit of brown paper for the castle.
  2. Show kids how to cut out a rectangle out of the middle of one of the longer sides.
    (This can be used as an additional tower and/or for a drawbridge.)
  3. Show kids how to make several snips into the top edge of their turrets. Fold down every 2nd resulting flap (and cut off the folded flaps) to get the crenellation.

  4. Show kids how to make windows with shutters:
    1. Make a vertical fold in the castle wall.
    2. Make two horizontal cuts of equal length into the fold.
    3. Cut vertically along the fold between the two horizontal cuts. This results in a cut that is shaped like a sideways capital H.
    4. Flatten out your castle and open the shutters.

  5. Stick castle onto background, add drawbridge.

  6. Draw moats, mountains, trees, bats, giants, dragons etc. outside the castle, and ghosts, knights, princesses etc. waving from the windows or battlements.

Monday, December 15, 2003

What a relief! At last I've found a CD of Christmas carols with real kids singing in a normal way.
A Children's Christmas
sung by the kids of Bury Lawn School

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