Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. He would have been 108 today! As I started to think about today, I began to feel some twinges of longing for my classroom. Before I was a stay at home mom, I was a kindergarten teacher, and Dr. Seuss week was one of my absolute favorite thematic units! You could google, Dr. Seuss crafts, and get several hundred variations of ways to make striped top hats and bow ties, and I know many mom bloggers probably posted the recipe for green eggs and ham today(small tip-use blue food coloring instead of green!). (We did both of those things in my classroom each year, and I loved them both…) However, I wanted to give you a list of some Dr. Seuss activities and ideas you might NOT have thought of, or seen as frequently floating through the blogosphere.
Everyone always thinks of “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” when they think about Dr. Seuss books and activities. I wanted to give you a list of some of his other books and ideas you could do to celebrate them. Because as Dr. Seuss said, “Why fit in when you were born to be different?”
I also wanted to share a great website for kids put out by Random House, that honors Dr. Seuss and all of his books! There are games, activities, and printables for your child! Check it out! http://www.seussville.com/
I have a passion for literacy. A true and undying passion. I am a firm believer in the reading and writing process, and believe that we can begin teaching these things to children at a very young age. I wanted to give you some ideas to get your kids WRITING with Dr. Seuss this week!
If I Ran the Zoo
To go along with this under-read story of Dr. Seuss, I consider the importance of interaction and kinesthetic learning. Especially for younger learners, having them first engage in an activity, will significantly help them when they go to write. They will have experiences to draw on…ideas to write about…visualizations in their head. After reading the story to your children…
- Make a zoo out of blocks or legos and toy animals! My kids are constantly creating zoos. They have so much fun building the cages and enclosures, and like figuring out which animals to put where.
- Have your child draw a picture of what their zoo would look like. (Even older children need to draw or plan before they write! This is a critical step of the writing process!) What type of animals would they have? Encourage them to be imaginative and to think up their own creatures.
Create a Seuss Character
- Speaking of creatures, pull out a variety of construction papers, pom poms, googly eyes, sparkles, sequins, pipe cleaners, yarn, you name it! Let your child go wild creating their very own seuss-like character! My own kids LOVED doing this. Dr. Seuss art allows your child to be truly free and as inventive as possible. There are no right or wrong ways to do a Dr. Seuss project. Some children have difficulty doing things outside of guidelines and typical boundaries. In this case, show your child a variety of illustrations from his books, and let them know that it is OKAY to make something up! I think we need to do everything we can possibly do to foster and encourage imagination in our kids. Let your child come up with a non-sensical name for their new creature. If they are older, encourage them to write a story or poem about their new creation. (I did this when I taught second grade, and LOVED seeing what the kids came up with!)
- Have your child come up with a new invention! Encourage them to think up ANY new, crazy, fun, different invention they can! Encourage them to name it in a unique way. Have your child draw a picture of it, and then write about how they would use it! Dr. Seuss was always coming up with wacky inventions in his stories, and this is a fun way to get your child’s creativity flowing.
- Dr. Seuss is perhaps the absolute best gateway for beginning poetry (because it does NOT have to make much sense..if any!) Rhyming is a very hard concept for most kids to learn, and his books really open the door for your child to start playing around with rhyming words. I think kids naturally tend to start saying words that sound alike after hearing several of his stories. Encourage that! Have your child write (or dictate) a poem to you using rhyming words. Do NOT correct them if it doesn’t really make sense. Get them comfortable getting their ideas out, and help them to gain confidence in their creative writing abilities. One bad experience early on can do immense damage. Encourage the silly words and nonsense their adorable minds come up with!
Have FUN! Keep all writing experiences early on about fun. Praise what your child does. Do NOT harp on them for handwriting flaws, and don’t worry about conventions at an early age. Just encourage them to become comfortable with getting their creativity out and on the page. Always start with a drawing or a plan, and have the child tell you about their picture. This can often spark the beginning of their story.
I encourage you to check out some of the lesser known titles Dr. Seuss has written, and start inspiring the budding writers in your house! You can do this! In his words, “And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”