Do you have a little fact fiend at your place? My 5-year-old is a HUGE lover of non-fiction books. He runs around our house reeling off facts at a rapidfire pace. Here are 10 of our current favourite non-fiction books for kids.
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The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals written and illustrated by Sami Bayly
Look this is a big call- but this is possibly my 5-year-old’s favourite book of the year. The left side of the spread contains a beautiful watercolour portrait of the animal being showcased. The right side of the spread contains a detailed information report about the animal.
This is a magical book for the child who loves history, mythology and mystical creatures like Loch Ness, pegasus and dragons. It’s best read in a cosy, darkish spot- so you can use the magic torch to illuminate the mythical creatures hidden on the page.
Walker Books are the trailblazers when it comes to what they called narrative non-fiction, or FACTion. This beauty follows a grandpa and grandson as they go camping and searching for cicadas. Facts are interspersed throughout the narrative. Non-fiction books can make for tricky read-alouds, but this style of narrative non-fiction is a joy to share and read aloud.
A beautifully illustrated book where each spread contains the biography of a child activist who are implementing environmental change. It features a how-to-help section with simple steps to empower young readers to take action at home and at school.
My 5-year-old has lost hours poring over this book. Each spread, organised in alphabetic order, is filled with animals beginning with the corresponding letter. A book that is chock-a-block filled with facts.
A practical and reassuring book for children to help them understand bushfires and what action they can take to feel less anxious and more prepared as Australia faces longer and more intense bushfire seasons. This is an amazing book.
It has been a hot minute since I last blogged, because LIFE, but I had to share these collages inspired by the CBCA Book Week 2020 theme of “Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.”
This year, I am lucky enough to be teaching in the school library. On Fridays, I teach 7 Kindergarten classes.
We had explored the collage technique of Jeannie Baker. As we read shortlisted Book Week books each week, I would model a process that would add to the collage. I’d arm the classroom teacher with materials, and then students would work on their collages in class during Learning Centres. The whole process covered 3 lessons/ 3 weeks.
We now have 140 Curious Creatures from the Wild Minds of Kindy on display in the school library and I am. in. love. with. them. all.
I think this would also be a very rad process art project for Halloween.
How to create your own Curious Creature collage
You will need: A baseboard cut from a cardboard box Paper scraps PVA glue white paper black marker Yarn, paper straws, matchsticks and other bits and bobs
We created our collages on a square piece cut from a cardboard box.
The first step was to cover the baseboard in colourful scraps of paper.
We discussed how you could have overlapping pieces of paper.
We explored some vocabulary around the textures of the paper.
Secondly, we discussed the meaning of the word ‘creature.’
I displayed literary examples of creatures from picture books.
We examined Gwyn Perkins’ tutorial on how to draw your own curious creature.
Students then drew their own curious creatures. I encouraged them to draw a black line drawing on white paper. Some students chose to colour in their curious creatures and I am here for it.
At the outset, we discussed how there is no right way or wrong way to create. We also talked about how I expected all of the creatures to be different.
In the third week, we discussed borders. I presented each class with a bag filled with crafty bits and bobs. Cut up paper straws, matchsticks, yarn- all kinds of fun materials to explore! I modeled how to create a border on the edge of the baseboard.
Once the glue had finally dried, teachers brought their collages into the library and several students discussed their collages and what they enjoyed most about the process.
One of my favourite responses was from a little boy who declared that the collage process made him feel “craftable and older.”
If you make collages inspired by this post, I’d love to see them! Tag @ohcreativeday on social media.
Looking for a way to make reading fun for children? Y’all know that I’m a massive advocate for reading all day and every day with children. I am, however, the first to acknowledge that sometimes things can get a bit stale on the reading front and it’s fun to shake things up a bit.
Whilst we were in the thick of at-home learning thanks to COVID-19, I had to create online library lessons for my Kindergarten students. One of the suggestions I made in my vids to the kids was to play “Libraries” at home. This is an idea that isn’t restricted just to Kindergarten ages.
I thought I’d give you the inside scoop on this activity in case you’re after a way to make reading fun for children.
📚 Ask your mini-librarians to gather a few books from the bookshelves and let them create displays around their “library.” Will they display the books with their front covers out? Or spines out? (See how we’re already using the metalanguage around the parts of a book?)
📚 Do you just want to drink your tea? If so kick back and ENJOY THAT CUPPA.
Or do you want to inject a bit of #playfullearning? You can ask the librarian to recommend a read. What is this book about? Why do they recommend this book? What was their favourite part?
Talking about a book is JUST AS IMPORTANT as being able to read a book.
📚 You can start to point out the features of a book – the front cover, title, author, illustrator, spine, back cover, blurb, endpapers….
📚 My objective with my lessons is to get the kiddos to remotely role-play the borrowing process. Once you’ve found the book for you, where do you go? What do you say at the circulation desk? You’d best find a random household item to be a barcode scanner here because scanning the book and going “BEEP!” is the most gratifying part of the process.
We have an old computer keyboard that we use at the “circulation desk” to type in the names of our “patrons.”
And please make sure your patrons all have a suitable bag to take their books home in.
The National Simultaneous Storytime celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a rollicking read featuring some jazz-loving, ostentatious chickens.
To celebrate, we created this cardboard chicken diva craft. It was also a fun and simple colour exploration.
What you will need for this Chicken Diva craft:
Embellishments like sequins, tissue paper or beads
We traced the templates onto an IKEA box to create our chicken parts.
You could simply print the template onto thin card. Or a paper version would work too.
I provided a variety of colouring materials- chalk pastels, paint pens, oil pastels and watercolours. We discussed the colours of the chicken characters. As we created we discussed the tints and shades of pink and blue. We added details in Sharpie.
We fixed all the pieces together with push pins to create moveable chooks. If you don’t have push pins, never fear. Just glue it all together.
When I posted this simple drawing game for kids on Instagram, the crowd went wild!
So I thought I better dedicate a blog post to its awesome self.This is a collaborative, drawing game that I’ve dubbed “Pass the Portrait.”
Hand-drawn portraits by kids are one of my very favourite things in life.
It involves all family members and simple materials.
Here’s how to play this simple drawing game for kids of all ages. You need some good-quality paper and a Sharpie for each family member.
Everybody starts with an oval on their page. The page is labelled with the name of a family member. That oval is that person’s head.
We started with the feature of eyes. So you had to draw in the eyes of the family member named on your paper.
Then you PASS THE PORTRAIT to the person next to you. Next we opted to draw the nose.
PASS THE PORTRAIT. Add the family member’s mouth.
Keep passing the portrait until all features are filled in and then colour in the portraits. Each family member will end up with a portrait that bears maybe 6% resemblance to their actual visage, but collaborative art activities is where it’s at, my friends!
Yes yes, there are actually 5 members of my family. But the 5th member went off-script and chose to do a self-portrait.
If somebody doesn’t want to stick to the script, my advice is ROLL WITH IT. I would kill for eyelashes like that. This kid is my often-reluctant creator, so it’s important for him to express himself as he pleases.
We then unleashed the watercolour palette and paint sticks. Some family members coloured their own portrait. Others coloured the portrait of another family member.
These simple cardboard masks for kids are an amazing project. We originally made them as prototypes for a READ + CREATE class I had scheduled for the holidays. We all know how that story ends #coronavirus Seeing as the class was cancelled, I’m giving the idea to you.
To run this as a READ + CREATE activity in your home, simply read a book about monsters or wild characters.
We were going to read ‘Wild’ by Emily Hughes. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ would work beautifully too.
Then invite your child to create their own wild creature.
Create your own simple cardboard mask for kids
Seeing as we are all indoors for the moment, we have had a huge influx in online shopping delivered to our door.
Use the boxes to create these cardboard mask.
I cut out several oval-shaped bases for the faces and pre-painted these.
I then cut out various shapes to resemble facial features. Lots of circle, semi-circles and rectangles.
I presented these shapes to my kids with paint sticks and paint pens.
We discussed the different shapes that we could use to represent different facial features.
They coloured their cardboard facial features.
My main tip would be to encourage your children to experiment with the placement of cardboard facial features on their base board.
Once they are happy with how it looks, glue all the features in place with craft glue.
I then presented some tulle and ribbons so that my kids could further embellish, but they weren’t too hot on that step.
Tape a dowel rod to the back of the cardboard mask and let your inner-Wild Thing ROAR!