1/31/2011

Activities to go with Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle

I think you already know I like Eric Carle's books... so Mister Seahorse should come as no surprise. :P Actually, Mister Seahorse wasn't in the list of the books I wanted to borrow but I always make it a point to hop over to the CAR section of the library to see if there are any appropriate Eric Carle books for Alicia. I was not disappointed that day as I found a spanking new copy of Mister Seahorse! :)



We did a few activities after reading this book - Alicia really loved the activities! Ironically, she loved the activities more than the book itself. She had fun though with the pages where some of the fishes were camouflaged (Eric Carle used transparencies for some pages so that you could turn the page and see the fish hiding behind). 

Here are the activities we did!:

(i) seahorse counting (and spelling of the number word)


I printed 12 seahorses (the exact pic of Eric Carle's seahorses), laminated them then cut them and trimmed the edges and made just enough alphabets (lower case) needed to spell 1-12 (one number only at any one time). The numbers are from the apple tree learning aid I made earlier and the cloth alphabets (in upper case) are from the Spelling Bee.

I velcro-ed all the parts so that they would stick nicely to the felt should I decide to hang up the piece of the felt as a felt board (felt measuring 64cmx64cm was obtained from the thrift store Daiso - here I folded it into about half its size).


We'd count the seahorses together then place the correct number on the felt.

Next, I'd place either the lower or upper case alphabets on the felt to spell the word and she would find the matching alphabets and place them below/above the alphabets that are used to guide her to spelling the number word. (This part of the activity helps with reinforcing matching upper and lower case alphabets and learning the spelling of the number word)


To further extend this activity to incorporate learning of Mandarin, you could get your tot to match the number to the Mandarin word (those with the Mandarin add-on counting cards for the apple tree learning aid could whip those out - kids get bored counting the same stuff all the time so seahorses could possibly break the monotony of counting apples!)

If you don't have time to make this learning aid, you can try this free resource which is slightly different but still teaches spelling of the number word.

We sang this rhyme (you could sing it as you do the counting activity shown above or sing it at any other time!):

Print out the rhyme here.
The seahorse was drawn by me and coloured by Alicia


(ii) Matching the numeral to the number word

I printed out this free resource from here and got Alicia to do the colouring of the seahorses - which she enjoyed thoroughly!

After printing out the pictures, I glued them onto a cereal box before cutting them out and letting Alicia doodle.


To encourage her to do the matching, I coloured the outline of the boxes with the words and she could choose the colours (we did it one number at a time so she could focus on the spelling of the word - I'd read out the alphabets which spell the word before and during the colouring of the outline of the box). After the colouring's done, she would place the seahorse on the correct box.

I also used phonics to guide her to finding the right word sometimes - e.g. pronouncing the /f/ sound so that she could narrow down her guesses to 'four' and 'five'.


Snapshots of the busy artist:




Doing the matching:

We further decorated the base sheet with paint - she's so good at painting... she really avoided painting inside the boxes! :P So proud of her! (the crayon marks inside the boxes were made before I told her not to colour inside the boxes)



(iii) Art (and Science) - exploring how colours blend together

Just as Eric Carle created his paintings for Mister Seahorse via tissue paper collage, I decided to try out this art activity using kitchen paper towels and food colouring.


Alicia posing with the materials

Mix 1 drop of food colouring with some water and place them in shallow dishes so that it's easier to get hold of the colours during the activity.
(You should try out with one sheet of kitchen towel before conducting this activity with your preschooler to have an idea of how it goes)

Fold the kitchen towel into half, then halve it again to make a square, then dip one corner or side into any dish:


Then dip it in another dish using another side/corner:


Repeat the step with the last colour:


Watch how the colours blend together and discuss what colours your tot sees and how different colours blend to make more colours (e.g. blue and yellow make green).

You can fold your kitchen towel into different shapes - for variety and also for teaching/ reinforcing shapes with your tot:

Alicia made a total of 4 pieces! (The fifth one was my experiment before conducting the activity):


Hanging on the grill to dry!

The dried pieces of art:

Some other activities you could consider doing with your tot can be found from this link.

I decided that it's time to move on to the next book - Corduroy by Don Freeman. :)

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