- building materials including wooden, plastic, and cardboard blocks
- books featuring characters of varying sizes and shapes including Clifford books by Norman Bridwell, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff (HarperCollins, 2003; $3.99), and Miss Spider's Tea Party* by David Kirk (Scholastic Inc $6.74)
- drawing paper
- pencils, markers, crayons
- tape and string
- camera and film
Objective: Children will develop creative-thinking, social, language, math, and motor skills as they work together to create buildings for characters from favorite books.
1. Choose a variety of favorite classroom books that have characters of different sizes and shapes like dinosaurs, giants, large animals, tiny people or animals, fish or sea animals, spiders, and other insects.
2 Place the books in front of the children. Ask them to name some of the different characters, then ask them to imagine constructing a building for one of the characters. How would you build a home for Clifford, Danny's dinosaur, or a big bear? What would a home look like for a wiggly snake or Miss Spider? How would these different homes look alike? Different? Encourage children to share their ideas.
3 Divide children into small groups and tell them that they will make a house for a favorite book character. Plan a schedule with the class so they will know which day they will be working on their construction.
4 Allow each group adequate time to plan and build. Give children paper, writing materials, tape, and string to use if needed. Encourage them to incorporate other classroom materials to enhance their building.
5 Invite each group to present their finished building. If space allows keep the building up for the day to allow children to play with their structures. Photograph each group with their building, then ask children to write about them. Create a wall display in the block area to document the project. The writings and photographs can later be made into a classroom book to add to the block area.
Curriculum Connection: MATH
Let's Measure Our Buildings. Before the children dismantle their buildings, give them different measuring tools including a tape measure, yardstick, and ruler. Show them how to identify and count inches on each tool. Then, ask children to measure the length and height of their buildings. Record their information on chart paper. After they have all completed and measured their buildings, review the different measurements with the class. Encourage children to compare the information and create a summary sheet.
The House That Jack Built by Jeanette Winter
There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent
Thumbelina Hans Christian Anderson retold by Amy Ehrlich