How the story grows…

picture books and beyond – stories and activities to share

Bedtime Story Under the Stars

As summer neasleep-well-little-bearrs and the evenings become warmer, make story time special by taking your books and blankets outside at night. For a treat, put bedtime off for a little while. Take a favorite relaxing book or two and a flashlight. Listen to a couple of stories, and then turn off the light. Your children are accustomed to playing in the yard in the bright sunlight, but might not be aware of the wonders of the natural world at night.

Talk about the sounds you hear. This would be a good time to talk about nocturnal animals. Which animals are awake at night, and why? How do they see in the dark?

Try this activity when the moon is shining bright in the sky. Talk about how the moon does not have its own light, but only shines because of sunlight reflecting off its surface.

Sleep Well, Little Bear by Quint Buchholz is a calming, magical book that would work well for this activity. Even after his usual bedtime rituals, bear is not yet tired. He climbs out of bed to gaze out his window. The full moon shines brightly on his whole world, and bear thinks about the places and people that are so familiar to him in the daytime and wonders what they are up to during the night. Down by the dock, a shirt blows in the wind. In the afternoon, when the little bear was a pirate, it had been the sail for a boat. Perhaps tomorrow, when the sun comes up, he will explore distant lands again.

Take advantage of the warmer weather coming our way for a very special story time with your children.

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For the Birds

nestSpring is finally here and the birds are building their nests.  It’s a perfect time to read this simple yet beautiful picture book.  In Nest, artist Jorey Hurley depicts a pair of robins from nest building to caring for their chick and back to nest building again.  The text is minimal, with only one word per spread, yet the pictures manage to show not only the nature cycle, but feelings of safety, love, and danger.

The simple text allows you to tell the story in your own words, sparking conversation about the circle of life and the growth of all animals, children included.

I’ve been watching several bird couples building nests around my yard.  A great follow-up to this book is to give the birds a little help in finding nesting materials.  Gather some narrow strips of natural fabric and yarn, small twigs, shredded paper, straw, moss,  even dog hair.  For a container, use a mesh produce bag and hang it from a tree. Or, just set the materials in a box outside.  If you have an extra whisk in your kitchen, fill it with some nesting materials and hang in from a branch.  Here is one that’s all ready to go, filled with wool roving.

What a wonderful surprise it would be to find some of your offerings woven into a nest in your neighborhood.

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