As we began our journey to learning more about animals, I went through my classroom library searching for any books that would work well to kick off our study! Next thing I knew I had a huge pile of Eric Carle books. His books are beautiful, easy to read, and classics that all children love.
We started reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” every day for a week before we went outside. The children loved the repetitive nature of the story and singing it along with me. We added “Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do you see?” and “Polar Bear, Polar Bear What do you see?” to our favorite song book list.
During all of these read-alouds we worked on three key literacy terms:
When you are reading books with your children at night, take some time to talk to them about the author/illustrator of the story, where their names are located, and where they can find the title page inside the book. These are great early literacy skills!
I just happened to pick up “What’s Your Favorite Animal?” by Eric Carle at the library. The children were very intrigued by the picture on the cover. The discussions kept going back to the funny animal on the front page and what were all of the different types of animal parts that made the cover picture.
After some discussion about this silly animal the children wanted to make up their own animals too. We studied the covers and illustrations of Eric Carle’s books and looked closely at the paints, lines, and textures he created in his pictures. Then each child got a turn to paint two large pieces of thick watercolor paper with paint. They put the paint on very thick and then used forks, cups, popsicle sticks and rollers to make different impressions on the papers. I got the idea for this from Merri Cherry’s blog and Eric Carle.
Below is a picture of A making marks on her beautiful blue painting. The right side shows an up close picture of orange paint that was scraped with a fork.
M is below painting her large paper, and then getting ready to scrape it!
T and H working together painting and scraping their papers.
For some reason I always love the aftermath. Here is our table after everyone was done painting. There is something really satisfying about a messy workspace and children that got busy painting the morning away.
Once the papers dried, Mrs. Brittany and I cut apart different animals parts to make “creation station” of sorts. We cut out silly animal heads, some with long necks, bear heads, bird heads, etc. We cut out wings of different shapes and sizes, and legs that were webbed, flat, curved, and had hooves. The children came over the cut up pieces and picked what they liked best to create their own unique, one of a kind animal. Once their animal was completed, we dictated a story about their mixed up animal.
“My baby bird likes to fly. He likes to eat worms. The mama gives the baby the worms. He knows how to fly. He likes to fly in the trees.”
T’s amazing animal
C’s Flying Bear
M’s Flying Cat Bat
M’s Flying Cat
D’s Flying Cat
What an amazing project! This will definitely be done again in the future! I think I had as much fun seeing their mixed up animals, as they had creating them.