My college years were spent in Plymouth, New Hampshire studying Early Childhood Education. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Studies with a minor in Child Development. I did teach infants, toddlers and preschoolers for a while and now, obviously, I have my three kids who all love school, homework, and anything to do with books. They are so happy when we work on a project together, and if it ties into a book we’ve read or a song we’ve sung, they are even happier.
With summer coming, kids will be out of school- and while I do think there is something to be said for the lazy days of summer, and not overplanning, I can tell you with certainty that my children will ask for projects, and want to do workbooks and worksheets- and since we read books together several times a day as it is, I’d just assume incorporate stories, crafts, snacks and songs into our days that complement one another, to broaden their understanding of the stories, and their meanings, in an age appropriate way (in short: lots of fun activities that go together). I can almost promise you that if you will be spending any amount of time with children ages 2-5 this summer, you’ll want this book. It’ll offer you tons of great story, craft and recipe options to pass those days away while spending time with the kids.
Vivian Kirkfield is the author of Show Me How, an amazing book that does tons of the legwork and suggests to me, to you, and anyone else who spends time with young children between the ages f 2 and 5, not just 100 picture books that children should be exposed to and familiar with, but also eco friendly crafts, recipes and parenting tips that go along with each story. We parents (and caregivers) need to be involved in our children’s lives- by spending time reading, crafting, cooking with them, and talking with them, we are laying the groundwork for their later years- and giving them a solid foundation. Ms. Kirkfield spent many years as a teacher in Kindergarten and in Head Start programs and had three children of her own, so she writes from a great deal of experience.
I love the layout of this book. I love the concept, I love the recipes (health- minded), the crafts, and the eco-friendly emphasis. I also love that Ms. Kirkfield included some gentle reminders for the adults – because we all need those at times- I know I sure do.
Some of the activities, we’ve already done as a family, or at storytime at the local library- but not with the books that Ms. Kirkfield suggests- for example, we’ve made Tortilla pizzas dozens of times for lunch- the kids love cooking their own food. I’d not even heard of Whistle for Willie (Ezra Jack Keats), so when the recipe for “Whistle While You Work Tortilla Pizza” caught my eye (p 13), I was delighted to find that I could do this lunch yet again- but only after a trip to the library to find a new story to share with my children- and what perfect timing, because my 5 year old is very anxious to be able to whistle and is forever asking me how to do it (I don’t know how to teach her to whistle to be honest!!). To the kids’ delight, we also found a fun craft project using things we already had around the house- a plastic bottle, a straw and some water- to make a whistling instrument. (To my delight, there is a reminder from Ms. Kirkfield for the parents, about how a child’s self esteem grows with each skill mastered- and how so many of these take place in the first 5 years of life. This reminded me- while whistling isn’t a big deal to me- it IS a big deal to my 5 year old, and I’ve resolved to help her figure it out sooner than later, or at least spend a lot of time practicing. In the meantime, we can re-read Whistle for Willie and enjoy those pizzas just a few more times. Rereading how it took Peter some time to learn to whistle can also be a reminder to my 5 year old that it takes time and practice to master new skills.
Many of the books showcased in this compilation are familar to me and to my kids- the beloved Madeline (Ludwig Bemelmans) story-the story where Mr. Bemelmans introduces us to Miss Clavelle and Madeline, and shares the tale of Madeline falling ill and having her appendix out. Ms. Kirkfield gives the adults gentle reminders about how scary illnesses can be for children. She also suggests making get well cards- which is not only teaching empathy to the children, but helps work on their fine motor skills with cutting and pasting things onto the card. There’s also a recipe for Friendly Sweet-Wheat Bread (page 177) that I suppose could be eaten along with a meal but we have had it twice for a treat (remember, the girls under Miss Clavelle’s care have bread with ever meal!!) and I’m fine with that.
The chapters in this book speak to different themes- mastering tasks and skills, valuing strengths and qualities, feeling appreciated, loved and accepted, expressing feelings, acknowledging and coping with fears, developing positive self-image and creating family harmony and balance. Each chapter speaks to a different theme- sometimes I have found myself looking for a story to read to address something going on in the house, and other times, I’ve found myself just opening the book to a page and delighted in finding a new story to share with my children, or re-visiting one we’ve read before.
Want to order your own copy? You can purchase it from Positive Parental Participation right now for 50% off the cover price- $26.50 includes a $4 shipping/handling fee to the US. I definitely think this is a must-have for parents and caregivers!!
I’m so glad Ms. Kirkfield asked me to share this book with you- she’s actually got a blog herself that I’ve followed for quite some time- with great tips and many child-related posts.
I received a sample of this book to facilitate my review. Opinions expressed within are my own. [ad#glam between posts]
This looks amazing! Thank you for the great review. I love that the book covers so many things and important character building skills. My daughter is starting kindergarden this year and this is what I want for her in the books she reads. I love that the author is an experienced teacher as well. She knows how to reach the children! Thanks again! I will check this out!
Amanda B. says
This book sounds really neat! My son loves to read, and as he gets older, I’m sure he will enjoy incorporating crafts and recipes with the stories he loves. I also like the fact that the crafts and the recipes are each only supposed to take about 15 minutes to make! Buying a copy now!
Vivian Kirkfield says
Thanks so much, QueenB, for the awesome review. I’m so happy you loved the book and it’s great that you write about how you actually have used it with your kids. I hope lots of parents (and other caregivers like grandparents, preschool teachers, etc.) will grab a copy and use it this summer to keep their children busy and happy while building self-esteem and developing pre-literacy skills.
Heather @ourkidsmom says
With so many children’s books to choose from it’s nice to have a resource handy that gives you ideas for certain topics. I may look into this, thanks!