November is Family Literacy month, so I thought I’d do a Family theme. I haven’t done one of these in awhile, mostly because of something that happened a few years ago. One of my staff had covered for me and saw The Family Book by Todd Parr sitting on our re-shelving cart, so she grabbed it and read it to the group. I love this book. It’s a colorful, smart and easy way to talk to younger kids about how families are all different, but also all the same. Some families in the book are animals, while some are human. The families are all different colors – like purple and blue – so no one in the group will be singled out. One page talks about how some families have two moms and two dads. It’s in there as a fact, not pushing the issue or making it stand out awkwardly. We had one person mention it on a survey, saying that it was “inappropriate for younger children.” Which makes sense, because it’s much better to pretend it doesn’t exist and then have your kids think it’s weird when they get older…..yeah. Good luck with that one.
Anyhoo, I decided that the parents would just have to suck it up, so I read The Family Book, (linked to a great review on Diary of A Yummy Mummy blog) along with one of my favorites, Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig. This is a great family story. A boy is sad because he can’t play outside, so his parents decide to make him into a pizza. Not literally, though. It’s cute and it makes the kids laugh, as the boy starts to smile and giggle as his parents toss things on him like paper (cheese) and checkers (peperoni.) They enjoyed both stories and they talked about their own families and how they were loud or quiet or big or small. We also talked about how pets are part of the family too!
Songs & Rhymes:
We sang Where is Thumbkin? because the ending part is about the “family,” i.e. the whole hand. We also did Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (which I always mess up while trying to go fast) and we did the Hokey Pokey. One girl was getting a bit annoyed with me because I wasn’t doing the full, “correct” version (since the group was ready to do something different by that point.) It was pretty cute.
The craft was one that I borrowed from story time files that my director used when she was a children’s librarian. I had my library page find cute, generic family figures – kind of like the ones they have for cars. We printed them and made copies, then cut them out and sorted so that the kids could choose figures to represent people in their families and then color them to look more “personal.” There was a man, woman, boy, girl, baby, dog, cat, and fish. The man could be a dad, grandfather, uncle, boyfriend, etc. And any different pets could be drawn in. We even had a pregnant mom, which was weird, but cute. The mom’s loved how skinny the woman figure was! They colored the figures and glued them onto a paper plate and attached yarn to hang it. Some wrote “My Family” or their last name. Some labeled who each person was (supposed to be.)
And so far, no complaints about extra moms & dads in the book. All is well in Story Time land 🙂