Books that span the seasons + bring beauty to even a dark time of year.

This week's story time was a good lesson in 'playing it by ear.' I'll hit you with the original concept - I planned to read some books about the seasons + then read The Story Orchestra which is a gorgeous, musical book by Jessica Courtney-Tickle that plays Vivaldi's The Four Seasons when you press on each page. This was then going to lead into a musical craft time.

Well, some days kids just don't have the patience to sit through all of those books. Especially with a noisy + fun activity table staring them down. So I read my winter book + another book that spans the whole year + then got straight to the maraca making. What's the connection? Where's the theme? It was all fun.

Here are my book picks:

Winter: A Pop-Up Book by David A. Carter is great for restless kiddos. For starters, it's a pop-up book, + who doesn't love that? It also has labeled items that children can point to - like snowmen, owls, + snow flowers. There are also animals hiding behind book flaps + bears hiding amongst the pop-ups. There's a lot to find in such a small book. The story is very short + simple. This was a good choice to get squirming + excited kids engaged + ready for their second story.

Pear Tree

Little Pear Tree by Jenny Bowers takes the reader through the four seasons with a little tree. We see the pear tree flower fill with fruit + then loose its leaves in the fall. The beauty of this book is in its illustrations. They are so bright + look like layered collages - utilizing transparency + rough shapes that look like torn paper. Each page is filled with flaps that kids can peek behind to find birds, spiders, caterpillars + other tiny, cute animals. As the book ends, the tree becomes a home with a little mouse sleeping in its trunk + stars shining overhead.

Bottle Maracas

For our craft time, we made bottle maracas. This is such an easy, low-cost project that kids always enjoy. You probably have all of the materials you need to make one in your home right now. I started with some clean, empty plastic water bottles, bright washi tape, corn kernels + some colorful beads + buttons.

Bottle Maracas

Kids can start by filling water bottles with corn, dried beans or rice. Whatever you have at the ready. I decided to add beads as well just to add some color + sound variation. We then sealed the bottle cap with washi tape. I invited kids to decorate their maracas with tape, stickers + paper strips that I had cut out to wrap around the outside. Kids seemed most enthusiastic about winding a lot of tape around their bottles +, of course, shaking them! This is definitely a fun + stress-free craft that anyone can do on a cold or snowy, indoor day.

I had so much fun +and hope to see more of you during our next Story Time on March 4th!


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