I enjoy reading warm and fuzzy stories like I Love My Dad. Two things that make this app stand out are the minimalist drawings and lively music, which easily set the tone for this delightful story. My son liked this book so much that he wanted to read it over and over again. (If you really enjoy this book, check out more of the author’s work here.)
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities:
Talk to your child about what it means to love someone or something, and how we show love in different ways. Ask your child: “What has someone done for or with you that showed love?” It may be something as simple as giving someone a hug or sharing toys with a friend. Once your child has identified a loving act, have him/her create a card for that person complete with an illustration of the loving act. Send the card to that person to express his/her appreciation. If music is more your child’s thing, check out this video from Hi-5 called “L.O.V.E.” or come up with an original song about a loving act. For example, my son made up this song about playing with his brother:
You are my best friend!
We are friends ‘til the end!
We do pillow fights,
All through the night,
I love you,
And you love me, too!
This app is all about fun things that Ollie does with his dad, including baking banana bread. Why not make your own loaf of delicious banana bread with one of these kid-friendly recipes? Immerse yourself in the experience with your child as you savor the yummy treat. Bonus points for making heart-shaped banana bread!
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities:
Concepts of Print
2-5-year-olds can begin to develop concepts of print, which are the basic underpinnings of reading. Children need to understand that books “work” in a certain way and help us make meaning. Further, print concepts are seen as the stepping-stone in learning how to read and often need to be explicitly pointed out to youngsters. Take the time to talk to your child about different print concepts found in this book, such as the:
- title page/home screen
- author/illustrator (tells us who wrote the words and/or drew the pictures)
- illustrations (which are related to the print)
- text (which is what we read)
- spaces between the words (which separate words into chunks)
- index (allows readers to jump to a chosen page)
Animal Fantasy Genre
Many books written for this age group are categorized as animal fantasies. An animal fantasy story is a fiction text that shows animals behaving like human beings. They talk, move like humans, and experience emotions. As you read the story, have your child identify elements that make this an animal fantasy text. For instance, the characters talk, play, cook, ride bikes, and wear clothes, just like humans.
Strong readers ask themselves questions as they read. Model this behavior by asking your own questions throughout the story. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that do not require a yes or no answer. For instance, you may ask, “Why do you think Ollie loves his dad so much?” “Why does dad’s fence painting look different than Ollie’s?” “What game is Ollie and his dad playing when he shouts, ‘Boo!’?” Asking questions while reading helps to set a purpose for reading and increase engagement.
Extend the app experience with these real life activities:
Did you know that underneath its hair, a zebra’s skin is black? Take a virtual trip to the San Diego Zoo to learn more fun zebra facts. Oh, and be sure to click on the video tab to visit the San Diego Zoo’s zebra exhibit and hear commentary from Krista, a zebra trainer.
Discuss the concept of families with your child. Ask him/her “Who is in our family?” Make a visual family tree that shows your extended family.
- Poster board
- Scrap paper
- Collect photos of the people you want to include in your family tree.
- Before you draw your tree on poster board, sketch it on scrap paper.
- Show your child and his/her siblings at the bottom of the tree and work your way up the branches to show her extended family.
- Using your sketch as a guide, pencil your family tree on poster board, then draw over your pencil lines with markers.
- Glue each photo in its proper spot onto the tree and label it with the name of the person pictured.
- Post your family tree in a prominent place where the whole family can admire it.
Adapted from FamilyEducation.com.
Real-life animals have families, too! Ask your child to name his/her favorite animals, and talk about what the adult and baby animals are called. For example, a baby cow is called a calf and a baby cat is called a kitten. Next, have your child draw some of his/her favorite animal families in their natural habitats using crayons and paper. To add a literary twist, follow up this activity with one of these books about baby animals: