Do your kids love books? I'm a little bit crazy about children's books and so are my kids, we love to read. If my kids are ever going through something, I'll buy books about it. Kids can learn so much from books, stories help make connections for children!
I started reading to my kids when they were newborns. My daughter would sit through Moo Baa La La La, by Sandra Boynton over and over and over again when she was only weeks old, but my son took much longer to sit through books. Once I discovered how much he loved construction trucks his love for reading was born. It's a blessing and a curse, because now he wants me to sit and read him books about cars while he poops on the potty.
When it comes to teaching and learning, making connections is key. Books can help make connections for young children. In fact any sort of story, musical or play can help a child make connections. This is the beauty of the Arts!
Here is a perfect example. Yesterday we walked onto the campus of my daughters future Kindergarten to drop off her enrollment paperwork. School had just let out and young, excited kids were pouring out of the buildings. My daughter held my hand tight and said, "Wow mom, this is a lot of kids." I could tell it made her feel a little nervous. Heck it made me feel nervous knowing that my little 4 year old would be one of these 430 kids soon.
She said it again, "This is a lot of kids Mommy." We watched the young girls skipping along, they were colorful, happy and talking in that animated way young children talk. I leaned down to my daughter and whispered, "They are totally Junie B Jones, don't you think?" My daughter got a huge smile on her face. If you don't know Junie B Jones, she is a sassy little kindergartener straight out of a children's book. We've read some of the Junie B Jones books, and a few weeks ago saw the Junie B Jones musical. After reading a couple of the books we put them away, because the language was a little too strong for my taste (probably better suited for a second grader), but the musical that was put on by the San Diego Christian Youth Theater was absolutely amazing.
The connection was made. As we walked to the office of my daughter's future elementary school I repeated it to her again, "This is so Junie B Jones," and my daughter kept smiling. The stories of Junie B Jones turned something new and a little scary - kindergarten- into something fun and exciting. It made a deeper connection for my daughter.
When it comes to books that make connections to creativity and art I have a few favorites:
1) Iggy Peck Architect, Andrea Beaty
2) Rosie Revere Engineer, Andrea Beaty
3) Ada Twist Scientist, Andrea Beaty
These books are amazing in so many ways. First the writing is truly phenomenal. Typically I find that children's book writers first books are great, but then the next ones aren't, but that is not the case with Andrea Beaty's books. They are all equally fantastic. They are about failure, and success and never giving up. Each book oozes with cleverness and creativity.
4) Art, Patrick McDonnell
This is the perfect book to read to a class of preschoolers. It's simple and creative and you can have them following along with arm movements (as if they are making their own brush strokes) as you read through the book.
5) The Dot, Peter H Reynolds
6) Sky Color, Peter H Reynolds
Both of these books can be a starting point for art projects with kids, one is about dots and the other is about sky color. They are both inspiring.
7) I'm Not Just a Scribble, Diane Alber
This is a super fun starting point for an art project with young kids! It's cute and clever.
If your kids have a hard time sitting still for books, just breeze through them quickly focusing on the pictures. Then do an art project with them. After they have made some art, have them sit down and read them the book again. After making art there will be a connection to the book and you may find them more engaged in the story.
Our brains love making connections. Sometimes we need to be told something 3 different ways before we can learn it. Books and stories are an integral part of the learning process for young children.
Please share your child's favorite book in the comments section below!