Vibrant, cheery illustrations bring classic children’s songs and nursery rhymes to life. Do some fun activities, or put on the accompanying CD and have a sing-along!
For English Language Learners
This book offers an engaging and fun way to guide English language learners by promoting speaking fluency through rhyme and song.
Five Activities for ages 3-6 and older, by Jessica Young
Activity 1: Draw Me a Song
- Pencils, colored pencils or markers
After reading the book, ask kids to each pick a rhyme or song to illustrate. They can brainstorm details to include in their drawings based on the text, or they can be prompted to make up details of their own.
Post pictures of the kids holding up their illustrations, or make a slide show of their drawings and use an audio recording of them singing the songs as the soundtrack.
Activity 2: Centipede Socks
- Multi-colored paper, pre-cut into one hundred sock shapes (or pre-draw the sock shapes and kids can cut them out with safety scissors)
- For Extension, large paper and tape loops for sticking socks to it
Read “A Centipede” and invite kids to make socks for the centipede to replace his worn ones. Go over the concept of “patterns,” so kids can demonstrate different repeating patterns with stripes of various widths, colors, and line qualities (wavy, straight, zigzag). They can use their patterns to decorate Centipede’s socks.
Draw a huge centipede on mural paper or drawing paper so kids can stick the socks on its feet with tape loops.
Activity 3: What Can Make a _______ Smile
- Drawing paper
Read “What Can Make a Hippopotamus Smile?” and ask kids to think about what would make different animals smile. Each child can then pick an animal and list in pictures or words, depending on literacy ability, things that might make the animal happy based on what they know about the animal’s habitat, diets, and habits. Kids can then draw their chosen animals with the things that make them happy.
After sharing their happy animals, kids can talk about things that make them happy.
Activity 4: Act It Out
After reading the book, kids act out some of the rhymes and sing along with the CD. Tips: For “Five Little Ducks,” five kids follow a sixth kid playing the parent duck, or you (as the parent duck) in a line. Have the last in line sit down when prompted, as fewer and fewer ducks “come back.” For “Down in the Meadow,” kids can act as the fishies, a good exercise between stories or on a rainy day.
Activity 5: Crayon Resist Paintings
For older artists
You can also share this book with older children and explore with them how to create pictures in media that resembles the illustrations in the book.
- Watercolor paints
Follow the directions in the first activity above except that, instead of using the supplies suggested there, use the crayons to draw the outlines and body patterns and then fill in the shapes with a watery watercolor wash.