The Little Book Adventure projects are designed to engage our children in books in interesting and wonderful ways. Project #4, Dining with a Book Character, most certainly encourages that.
Undertaking this project has honestly been the most wonderful activity my daughter and I have shared together. I won’t lie though; the project required lots of time, effort, planning and patience. I think the following post will prove that the time and effort involved was well worth it.
Getting started and helping a pre-schooler understand the task was probably the most difficult part of the project. As my daughter is already an avid little chef, I asked her if she’d like to create a special meal for someone from a book. I mentioned that we would choose a character at the end of the week from one of the books we’d read.
We didn’t even make it until the end of the week though. We were reading a Charlie and Lola book which Cam had personally chosen from the local library. As soon as we finished reading the book she announced that she’d like to invite Charlie and Lola to our house for afternoon tea.
From that point the project just flowed and so did Cam’s ideas for the afternoon tea. The rich and real-life learning that took place during the activity was absolutely phenomenal. Most importantly though, we had an amazing amount of fun in the process.
Writing and communicating: We wrote a letter to Charlie and Lola inviting them to our house for an afternoon tea. [The use of images (symbols) to replace words was used so that Cam could read the letter back to her dad. After all, that’s what alphabet letters are: symbols. Understanding that we gain information from symbols is one precursor to learning to read.]
Communication and understanding the postal system: We posted the letter in the mailbox. (Cam was quite upset and confused that she had to wait for Charlie and Lola to receive their letter. She wanted the afternoon tea NOW and didn’t want to prepare, shop and bake for the afternoon tea.)
Reading, comprehending and evaluating: We read through the book numerous times trying to find clues that would help us work out what Charlie and Lola would enjoy eating.
Reading and understanding different text types: We looked through our collection of children’s cookbooks for suitable recipes.
Writing and planning: Once we’d decided on the recipes, we wrote a shopping list. I created a shopping list with symbols for my daughter to use when searching for the ingredients in the supermarket. [See notes about symbols above]
Reading and shopping: We went shopping, keeping a record of our purchases.
Art, creativity and fine motor skills: We made personalised placemats for Charlie, Lola and ourselves. Lauren Childs uses collage-style illustrations in her books, which made this activity perfect for our Charlie and Lola afternoon tea.
Art, creativity and construction: We created our own life-size Charlie and Lola paper dolls. So eager was Cam for Charlie and Lola to come to our house, we needed to make them look as real as possible. I was thankful they worked. Cam was smitten with her new friends and couldn’t stop giving them cuddles.
Reading, measuring and cooking: We were busy in the kitchen, making Almond Crescent Biscuits (Little Kitchen –Around the World), Gingerbread Biscuits (Look and Cook) and Strawberry Smoothies (Women’s Weekly Healthy Babies)
Spatial awareness: We set the table
Imagination: We sat down at the table. I thought I had ‘fooled’ Cam with the paper-dolls. But, she quickly declared, “We can’t start yet. We have to wait for the real Charlie and Lola to come. These ones are just pretend. ” We had a long talk about books, characters and pretending. Thankfully, she was satisfied.
Dining etiquette, imagination, conversation and socialising: We thoroughly enjoyed afternoon tea.
Helping others: Cam helped Lola to eat her gingerbread biscuit because, “she can’t lift her own hand.”