Each week we say our "get ready" rhyme, "I wiggle my fingers, I wiggle my toes...." Then we talk about what our stories are going to be about. Whatever the theme is, we figure out what letter and sound that word starts with - "Monkeys, M, mmm, Bedtime, B, bbbb." Last week was "Hats," and this week was "Hippos." So the kids had lots of practice saying our rhyme with the "H" sound at the beginning of every word, "I higgle my hingers, I higgle my hose." They laugh every time at how silly they sound, and at the accidental words they make - "higgle my HOSE!" They may think they're just being silly, but lots of learning is going on!
So for our "hippos" theme, we read:
Snarlyhissopus, by Alan MacDonald. We practiced saying "hippopotamus" and had a little trouble, so they loved listening to the other animals trying to remember how to say it, and coming up with crazy words.
What Can a Hippopotamus Be?, by Mike Thaler. He's a local, home-grown author. Did you know that? He read from his new "Black Lagoon" book at MudPuddles a few years ago. In this book, the kids love learning that when a word gets bigger on a page, that you're supposed to say it louder.
Owen and Mzee, by Isabella Hatkoff. A true story of a friendship between a tortoise and a hippo. Amazing!
Never Babysit the Hippopotamuses, by Doug Johnson. I have an ancient cassette tape of a wonderful reading of this book.
George and Martha, One Fine Day, by James Marshall. I read only three of the stories, and managed to "scare the pants off" the kids with a big BOO!
It's wonderful to watch the children progress from sitting in Mom's lap observing, to being able to sing the songs and do the motions all by themselves. And it's really huge when, like today, we do "If You're Happy and You Know It" and they can do all three motions at the end. Big smiles all around!
Daisy's Hide and Seek, by Jane Simmons. Oh the suspense! Where can Pip be?!
Three Little Kittens, by Lorianne Siomades. We got to learn about rhyming words by listening to "kittens/mittens" and how they sound the same.
We got lots of smiles today with our "Bounce Upon My Knees" song. The babies who come regularly are more and more full of smiles. I think they'll easily transition to Toddler Time when they're done with Baby Time. No need to wait til they're 18 months, since they're already comfortable with the surroundings and many of the songs and rhymes.