Written By: Janik Coat

Before Reading

Familiarize yourself with Hippopposites, looking for pages where you can guide exploration with your child. Gather one or two things you can use to extend the experience, like something striped and something spotted, a flashlight, something soft and something rough, or one heavy and one light object. Whether it’s the first read or the hundredth, the experience can be engaging because reading with infants and toddlers is about loving books together.

As You Read

Begin exploring Hippopposites, following this basic pattern:

Say, “Look!” while you point to the page, to draw your child's attention to the images.

Ask, “What is that?” while you trace the image, or guide his/her finger in tracing the image.

Answer the question, “It’s a dotted hippo.” As your child begins adding these words to his/her vocabulary and answering your questions, respond with encouragement such as, “Yes, this is the small hippo.”

Remember that your child is more interested in the illustrations than in anything else. Willingly stop to describe, identify, or talk about illustrations. Let him/ her feel and explore pages like the soft/rough page, and the full/empty page, to allow your child to experience the story both with his/her eyes and hands. Repeated reading helps your child learn vocabulary, build listening skills, and transfer learning to other areas.

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret:

Select one page for extending the conversation after reading. Here are some ideas to get you started:

For the small/large page: Grab some large and small items (different sized blocks or balls would work). Ask your child to point out which hippo is small and which hippo is large. Help your child point to the hippo you want him/her to select, saying, “This hippo is small.”  Make the comparison with the blocks, showing your child that one block is small while the other is large. If you have items close in size to the hippos on the page, set the items over the hippos to show your child the difference in sizes.

For the full/empty page: Head to the kitchen sink and grab two cups. Fill one cup with water and leave the other empty. Re-open to the full/empty page, and ask your child to point to the full hippo. Help point to the full hippo saying, “This hippo is full.” Pick up the full cup and show that it is full, saying, “This cup is full.” Then ask your child to point to the empty hippo. Help point to the empty hippo, saying, “This hippo is empty.” Pick up the empty cup and turn it upside down, showing that it is empty. Say, “This cup is empty.” Enjoy a little water fun at the sink, allowing your child to fill and empty some cups.

For the left/right page, identify your child’s right and left sides. Lift your child’s left hand, point to the left hippo saying, “Point to the hippo on the left with your left hand.” Do the same thing with your child’s right hand. Carry the left and right conversation throughout your day by identifying which hand, arm, foot, or leg you are using when you put on a sweater, socks, and shoes by saying, “Put your right arm in the sleeve," and so on.

Activities: Manipulating Opposites and Opposite Day!

Manipulating Opposites

Supplies: String, small and large beads,  and recycled items like boxes, cans, paper tubes, etc.

Beads--Provide your child with large beads and small beads. Ask him/her to string them with different patterns of beads to learn about large and small.

Sorting--You can use all of your recycling items such as boxes, cans, paper tubes, styrofoam pieces, blocks, etc and ask your students to sort according to size. They learn big and little, large and small, soft and hard. Ask them if there are other ways to sort with toys or other items throughout your home.  (Source: Preschool Planner)

Opposite Day!

Tell your child it's opposite day. Encourage him/her to put on his/her shirt on backwards.  Better yet, have them put on pajamas for daytime and day clothes for nighttime.  Make them hot and cold food, and find other ways to incorporate opposites into your daily routine.