2/11/2011

Activities to go with Corduroy by Don Freeman

Corduroy is a wonderful book to read to a child who is learning about the world around her. It tells the tale of a toy bear in a departmental store who waits every day for someone to bring him home. When a little girl finally looks straight into his eyes and decides that that's the bear she wants - despite the lost button on his green overalls (i.e. outward imperfection) -  and eventually brings him home with her (bought with her own pocket money), it is clearly a sweet little story about loving someone for who he is, and not his appearance. She eventually sews on a button on his overalls, but not because she doesn't love him the way he is, but so that he'd feel more comfortable. 

It is also a story packed with different emotions and lets the child in on the concepts of adventure and dreams - ideas that the older preschooler would be able to relate to. The bear is sad that no one ever seemed to want a bear in green overalls, and when he realises that he has a missing button, he goes on a quest to search for his button after the departmental store is closed for the night. In this adventure of his, he expresses some of his hopes and dreams (e.g. "This must be a palace. I've always wanted to live in a palace") and this continues all the way till the end of the book, where he finds a friend in the little girl, and becomes a happy, contented bear. :) This is a book I'd definitely revisit when Alicia is older so that we can discuss the abstract concepts. 

Here are some of the simple activities we did in relation to the book:

(i) dramatic play using a bear (which I dressed up to look like Corduroy) - use the bear to act out the story for the tot:

I happened to have a bear in overalls - so I sewed green felt over his denim overalls! If you are good at sewing, you can sew a bear from scratch!

Before and after:


(ii) button sorting (sounds like a super boring activity, but she was hooked on it for a long long time!)

A pack of buttons I picked up from the pasar malam

we used the egg carton, some small plates meant for dipping sauce (from this activity), and the original plastic container it came in for the sorting activity

(iii) Button snake - a common learning aid to teach tots to button and unbutton

Attach a button on one end of the ribbon and another button on the other end (or you could sew that end of the ribbon to one of the pieces of felt). I put buttons on both ends so that Alicia could have access to the felt either way. Cut out square pieces of felt (or any other shape - e.g. bear, leaves) then cut a slit (about as big as the button you are using) in the middle of each of the pieces.



Alicia with the button snake

busy buttoning

(iv) Identifying the right button (matching)


a short simple activity for her to identify the matching button which she completed with ease - you could discuss shapes, colours and sizes during this activity

carefully placing the button on the overalls

yeah!

then she decided to do some quiet reading... :P

(v) Sewing on the missing button!

As the story ends with the little girl sewing on the button for Corduroy (as seen below),


I made this learning aid for her to learn to sew on the missing button!:


The 'needle' is actually a modified toothpick (which I made for this learning aid)

Alicia sewing away!


 sew fun!:P

(vi) learning about patterns:


You could use the buttons to form shapes:


or teach your preschooler about patterns (and identifying which comes next - don't use too many colours for a start) - more suitable for slightly older tots:

which comes next?

Other fun activities can be found from this link.

Have fun!

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