Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Big and Little Follow-Up

Book: Big and Little by Margaret Miller
Puppets: Various animal pairs of different sizes
Props: Any pairs of things you have around to show size differences
Presenters: One
Audience: Toddler Time (ones and twos)

Many of Margaret Miller’s photo books work well with a Toddler Story Time, and this one shows the concept of big and little very clearly. If I were reading it one on one, I’d stop and ask questions and talk about the pictures with a child, but in a Toddler Story Time presentation, I mostly stick to the words. After the last page, though, there’s a great opportunity to continue and expand on the concept by doing a Follow-Up with puppets. After the book I just go to the bag and say, “let’s see if we have some big and little animals in here.” And pull out samples.

I’ll start with a couple of obvious size contrasts, like Big Bear and Little Bear. Then get a little trickier: Big Fish and Little Fish are closer in size, but the difference is still clear enough for two year olds to see it. So I’ll pull out one Fish and say: “Do you think this is the Big Fish or the Little Fish?” Getting in the idea that size is relative, but in a playful way. I interact with the kids much more with the puppets than I did with the books.

Then I’ll try a couple other variations, like three sizes: Little Frog, Big Frog, and then add Bigger Frog. Another fun one is to do a Big and a Little, then one that’s Identical, like these Turtles. I use mostly puppets for this, because I'm a puppet guy and I seem to have a lot of them.   But I also like to throw in a non-puppet pair. Doing a board book (Small) next to a picture book version of the same title (Big) is fun.  But really any objects similar in name but different in size work.  The idea of taking a concept from a book and playing with it with whatever stuff you have around is a great model for parents and caregivers, and it’s one they can do so easily at home, with or without puppets.

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