Written By: Stephen Krensky
Illustrated By: Sara Gillingham
Consider the front cover and illustrations with your child before beginning the story. For younger children, tell him/her about the things that you see in the illustrations by saying things like, “Look, there is a boy. He is a big boy making a tower out of blocks. One block has a square on it. Another has a star.” Be sure to point to each element as you describe it so that your child can make the connection between your words and the illustrations. If your child is verbal, ask him/her what s/he sees in the illustrations. Ask questions like, “How are you like the boy in this book? Do you like to build with blocks? Are you big?”
As You Read
Describe everything as you read, by saying things like, “See, when the boy was smaller, he couldn’t reach the apples on the apple tree. Now he can reach them because he is big” and “When he was smaller, he would hide behind his mommy or daddy’s leg because he was shy. Now he is brave enough to play with other kids. See, he is on the seesaw with a little girl.” Ask older children to name and point to different things in the illustrations by asking, “Can you point to the sun in the picture? Where are the fish? What is he doing in this picture?”
Depending on your child’s age, you can compare him/her to the boy when he is little or big. For example, if your child is younger, say something like, “You are like the boy when he was little. You can crawl on the ground but soon you will be able to run around and kick a ball.” For older children, ask, “Are you like the boy when he was little or now when he is big? Why? Can you make waves and are you brave enough to play with other kids like you?”
Summarize and Interpret:
Asking questions is a helpful way to encourage your child to think about what s/he has just experienced. Regardless of whether or not your child is verbal, ask about the story and answer the questions yourself for really little ones. Questions might include:
Did you like that story? Why or why not?
What did the boy do when he was little?
What can he do now that he is big?
What do you want to be able to do when you get bigger?
Activity: Playing with Building Blocks
Inspired by Parenting
Supplies: Building blocks of different colors, shapes and sizes
Playing with blocks may seem like a simple activity but your child can learn a tremendous amount from block play. Here are some simple activities you can do with your child that are loads of fun, and also help with his/her development.
Sort the blocks: This is a great way to teach your child about colors, sizes and shapes. Help your child sort by each of these types and then build a tower only out of red blocks, green blocks, etc.
Build tunnels: Help your child construct a tunnel that will allow one of his/her cars to drive under it. This will help with your child’s awareness of space and size as s/he recognizes that the tunnel must be a certain height and width for the vehicle to get through.
Construct houses: Your child’s dolls and animals need a home too so help him/her create a place for them to sleep.
Make a pretend piano: Line up your blocks to create a pretend piano and let your child use spoons to “play” it. You can put on a song played on the piano in the background for more fun.
Build a Tower: Just like the boy in this story, help your child create the largest tower you can make. Maybe you want to create one that is your child’s height or even higher. And we all know what the best part of this activity is: knocking it down!