Written By: Lauren Thompson
Illustrated By: Stephen Savage
Peruse the front cover and illustrations with your child before beginning your read-through. Be sure to point at the different elements in the illustrations as you talk about them to solidify the connection between what you are saying and the picture you are pointing at. Bring your child’s attention to the different animals by saying, “Look! Those are polar bears. That is the mommy bear and that is her baby bear, the cub. It is very cold where they live.” If your child is verbal, ask “What do you see in this picture? What is this animal?”
As You Read
One way to keep your youngster entertained is by acting out parts of the story. For example, when the cub goes out to see the sleeping walrus, you can pretend to be a sleeping walrus by closing your eyes and snoring in a silly manner. This is sure to make your little one giggle and make storytime more fun for the both of you!
Help your child with vocabulary acquisition by constantly pointing to different elements in the pictures and giving them names. For example, when the cub looks out at the sleeping seals, point and say, “These are seals. Shhh, we have to be quiet because they are sleeping.” For older children, elicit specific actions like pointing by asking, “Where is the cub in this picture? Can you point to the stars?”
It is helpful to give a comprehensive recap of the story you have just read and to ask questions. Regardless of comprehension, this will help your child think about what you have just read together. For slightly older children, you can ask questions like:
Did you like the story?
What was your favorite part (or picture)?
Can you point to the mommy bear?
Activity: Polar Bear Finger Puppets
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Supplies: White fleece, a bowl with hot, soapy water (4 tablespoons of dye-free liquid dishwashing detergent to 6 cups of water), a bowl filled with cool water, felt, scissors, hot glue, and a sharpie
- For very little ones, you can just make puppets for your own fingers as a way to entertain your child but if he/she is a bit older, you can include them in the puppet-making process. To make a mommy bear and a baby bear finger puppet, wrap fleece in layers around both your and your child’s finger. Use the index finger on the hand you don’t write with and be sure that it is snug but not too tight. Add fabric until you can’t feel your knuckles through the fabric.
- Dip the fleece-wrapped finger into the hot, soapy water and then press with the fingertips of your other hand. Repeat this dip and squeeze process until the fibers seem to hold together.
- Rinse in cool water when you are done and let it dry.
- While you are waiting for the fabric to dry, cut out two small ovular pieces of felt for the ears, a circle for the nose, and two larger ovular pieces for the arms. Then use the sharpie to draw an upside-down triangle and line going down onto the circular piece.
- Once the fleece is dry, glue the ears, nose, and arms to the front of the puppet and draw eyes above the nose. Now you are ready to play with your puppets! Recreate the story or let your puppet do a dance, you can use your finger-puppet for many activities so have fun!