Finger Puppet Board Books

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Veronika is 14 months old now, and still doesn’t like to sit still for story time, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to capture her attention.

No doubt you’ve seen these little finger puppet board books at the bookshop or library. Featuring a soft little puppet face in the center, the story typically revolves around one type of animal, but you can also buy ones specific to a fairy tale or nursery rhyme, or even silly ones about food.

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In our collection we have:

Little Snowman

Baby Sloth

Baby Fish

and Taco Tuesday

That last one is by far the silliest, the tale of a taco trying to talk your child out of eating it for lunch and offering up other foods instead.

No matter what you’re reading, have fun putting your finger in the puppet and wiggling along. Veronika loves grabbing for it, which helps hold her attention.

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She also loves the hole opposite the puppet, which is fascinating for babies to put their fingers through as you turn the pages.

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If you’re lucky, you might even catch a story time with the librarian wiggling the little puppet along!

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I love that these books help us bond over story time. How do you hold a reluctant reader’s attention? Please share in the comments!

 

Environmental Print

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In the final week of summer, Travis undertook a multi-part assignment to search for the print all around us: on food labels, on street signs, on toys, etc. Such words, known as “environmental print” can be great first sight words for pre-readers, and can encourage kids to learn!

So after concentrating on a letter a day for a little while, the idea now was for Travis to spot and notice full words.

Travis made a collection over a few days, pulling labels from food boxes at home and noticing signs around town.

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Great early sight words include STOP on a red hexagon, the “One Way” of a black and white arrows, or stores your child knows by name.

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Next up, I asked Travis to sort the print we had found. We had two main categories: street signs and food labels. Feel free to add multiple categories though, depending what your child has seen!

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A further great exercise was adding them to the pages of his Alphabet Dictionary.

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This was great both for recognizing the opening letter of each word and for sounding it out. He rightly noted that Fig Newmans could have gone on the “F” page or the “N” page!

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Finally,you can make a few “puzzles” by cutting some of the larger labels into pieces.

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If you are able to make copies of photos or have double of certain food labels, you could even turn it into a game of Memory.

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How else could your child play with “environmental print? Please share in the comments!

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Sight Word Tower

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It doesn’t seem possible, but summer is over and school starts tomorrow! That meant it was time to culminate Travis’s summer sight word practice with one final fun activity.

I wrote each word from our index cards onto the top of a paper cup.

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I challenged Travis to build the cups into towers – any way he chose! – but as he worked, he had to say the word on that cup.

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Not only was this a neat building challenge, but I was able to pinpoint which words still gave him pause.

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The activity is so simple but so beneficial, we’ll keep these cups on hand for the school year!

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Plus it became a race to see if he could blurt the correct word before the resident menace (baby sister) came over to knock down his towers.

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Questing Stone

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This painted rock craft is sort of a DIY riff on a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book”! Travis and I followed Highlights magazine’s suggestion for the two sides of our first stone, and also created our own alternate versions.

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All you need for the craft are rocks and puffy paints.

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For the suggested version, one side was a unicorn head. The opposite side was a dragon’s tail. Mommy’s art skills are noticeably lacking, but I like to think that adds to the DIY charm.

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Give the puffy paint ample time to dry. Then, instead of a traditional story time, we made up a tale together. Because Travis seemed antsy just sitting still, we turned it into game with action figures. Here comes Iron Man to the castle…

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Whenever we came to a crossroads in the story, Travis flipped the stone. We decided the unicorn would represent a good outcome and the dragon’s tail was bad outcome. Yay, Iron Man got into the castle!

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Oh no, the next flip was the dragon, so he was swarmed by enemies at the next turning point of the story.

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Travis didn’t like this turn of events, so decided the blob of paint he’d made on another rock represented¬† “water power.” If we flipped to the water symbol, Iron Man would win.

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And so on! Big kids can get truly sophisticated with their storytelling, perhaps even writing down the all the possible junctures. My 5-year-old just loved the novelty of flipping the stone and acting out a tale as we saw how it all played out.

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