Summer has arrived, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to take a trip to the pond. Pack a picnic, a magnifying glass or binoculars, a net, some crayons, a notebook and a camera, and let your little scientists observe and explore the plants, insects and animals that live there. From leaf rubbings to animal observations, ponds are full of opportunities for young children to learn, and our momstown moms and kids will be taking full advantage of those opportunities with this month's "On the Pond" theme.
Our Scholastic Canada book choice of the month, "A Cuddle for Little Duck", perfectly captures how magical a place the pond can be for a toddler or young child. The sweet, brightly coloured illustrations by Caroline Pedler are full of things to spot, including flowers, frogs, bullrushes, butterflies, and ladybugs, and several times we have reached for this book just to look through the pictures and find the different creatures on every page.
As lovely as the illustrations are though, the text is even more charming. Written in rhyming verse, "A Cuddle for Little Duck" tells the story of a day in the life of a Little Duck and its mom. Like many toddlers, Little Duck wakes up ready for a day of adventure, and delights in playing in the water, chasing butterflies in the meadow, snuggling with mom for afternoon stories and a rest, and frolicking with friends in the afternoon. The day and the story ends as:
"I cuddle up on Mommy's back, / I love you, Mom!" I say, / Then fall asleep to dream about / Another lovely day".
The pond is a popular place for my own family, and over the past few months we have had the pleasure of watching as a group of ducklings hatched, learned to swim, and are now learning to fly on the small pond near our home. The sturdy, extra large board book format of the book has made it perfect for bringing along with us to enjoy as we spend time at the water's edge, and reading it at night brings back happy memories of the day. It is a wonderful book to cuddle up and enjoy with your own little flock.
After reading the book several times, one rainy afternoon we settled down to make a duck and pond craft of our own. First, we created our pond by using sponges to paint a piece of white paper blue:
While we were waiting for the background to dry, we cut a variety of different sized semi-circles, circles, and triangles out of yellow construction paper. This is a great opporutnity to sneak in some summer learning and work on shape recognition, and scissors skills with your preschooler. We glued the largest semi circles onto the paper to form the ducks' bodies, and chose circles for their heads. Triangles with black pen marks were glued on to make the ducks' tails, and smaller semi circles glued on the ducks' bodies at an angle to represent their wings. We finished our ducks off with triangle beaks cut from orange construction paper, and black circles for eyes:
After you have created your pond scene, you can work on math skills by counting the ducks, and continue to practice identifying the shapes in the picture. What books have been inspiring you and your family this summer?