Sunday, June 5, 2011

Peekaboo Puppy (or Zebra or Fish or whatever)

Book: Peekaboo, Puppy! by Beth Harwood, Illustrated by Mike Jolley and Emma Dodd
Puppets: Whatever you have around that works for peekaboo
Props: Cardboard or posterboard with a hole
Presenters: One
Audience: Toddler Time

The oversized (9” x 9”) version of this board book is large enough to work well with groups. While Puppy looks for animals on the farm, a die cut circle reveals part of the photograph on the next page, so kids can take a guess. I often like to follow up peekaboo books by repeating the pattern with puppets, and this one offers a chance to add a fun element. So I’ll read the whole book, then get out my own peekaboo board, which is just a piece of cardboard with a circle cut out of it. I pull a puppet from my bag, but only show a piece of it through the circle.   Then after some guesses, I pop up the whole puppet above the cardboard.  This has a strong connection to the book, but allows you to expand and play with it a little.

If the kids don’t guess it right off, you can show a different piece of the puppet through the circle. Just Fish’s scales might stump them, for example, but revealing more of his head makes it more guessable. Then you can finish by popping the whole puppet up above the cardboard. You can also go more 3-d and put pieces through the hole, such as Monkey’s tail or Turtle’s head.

This is also one of those Follow-Ups that parents and caregivers can replicate easily at home, using puppets, stuffed animals, or whatever. Suggesting and modeling parent-child activities that generate from a book can be really effective in a Toddler Time setting. I like to think that some parents do try something similar at home after reading a peekaboo book like this…or even better, that the child initiates it. 


  1. I saw this post yesterday afternoon shortly before heading off to teach a class. I was so excited about this BRILLIANTly simple idea that I knew I had to try it this morning on one of my childcare visits. So I quickly grabbed some cardboard, made a hole, and scoured the place for puppets (for some reason there just isn't as good a collection around here as there used to be! - luckily Nell brought in some gems from home this morning).

    This morning I trucked off to a center where I had 4 classes to mentor - babies, tiny tots, toddlers and pk. Unfortunately we only have the smaller board book, so that would have to do (but from now on I want the larger book!). PK was first, and a big class, so I knew if I was going to do it at all I'd need to do it without the book. They loved it and caught on immediately, even quickly guessing the giraffe with just the fur pattern and a fox with just the tail. The toddlers were next and they loved it - shrieking with each new animal. The tiny tots were split into two groups today, one a little older, the other a little younger. The older ones are a tough group to crack but they liked it anyway.

    But the very best part was the younger tiny tots (14-20 months - I didn't try it with the babies). They were pretty hilarious because unlike the older kids they had no "theater sense" so they just kept popping around behind the cardboard to see what was going on. When I was done I was talking to the childcare providers about how they could also try taking pictures of the kids and showing just a part of the pictures to see if they could guess who it was. Then I held the cardboard so just my ear showed through the hole, and then my chin, etc. While the providers and I continued to talk one little boy pulled my cardboard out of my bag and started showing just parts of His face through the hole and doing "peekaboo!" Then he proceeded to wobble all around the room with this big piece of cardboard in his hands, holding it up to each of his friends, then revealing them above the cardboard. It was fantastic! Thank you for some great storytime fun - and an activity that I know the providers will continue to do long after I'm gone.

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