7/20/2011

Activities to go with The mixed-up chameleon by Eric Carle


The mixed-up chameleon is a colourful and playful story about how a chameleon wishes to be someone else only to find out that what's best for him is really to just be himself. 

We also didn't do many activities for this story as I was trying to minimise the preparation of activities. I don't really have the time and energy to make extensive learning aids for her, and since the new baby will be arriving in about 3 months time, I have decided that we will maximise learning opportunities with minimal preparation on my part - I imagine that I should be busier with the arrival of the new baby! That said, I have implemented a more proper structure for our homeschooling recently (will share that in a later post) to make things more organised for both her learning and my planning.

(i) Colour revision


Well, it's a colourful book like I said and the chameleon on the cover is just begging you to name the colours you see! Alicia enjoyed naming the colours, even without my prompting... naming the colours in Mandarin is the difficult part for her as she refuses to answer my questions in Mandarin... *sigh*

(ii) Catch a 'fly'
adapted from here (you can find other activities from the link but those may require a lot more preparation on your part. Some of the activities are also too simple for Alicia already so I only picked what I thought would work best for us)

You need:

  • a party blower (see pic below)
  • a small piece of velcro (the hard side)
  • small pieces of felt (to simulate the fly)



The chameleon in the story loves to eat flies but I was too lazy to make a fly manipulative so I just gave her whatever small piece of felt I had on hand for this activity. It's probably quite difficult for a child to imagine how the long tongue of the chameleon works, so I think this is an interesting activity to illustrate how the chameleon catches the fly with its tongue (though it is not really exactly the same).


(iii) Make your own colourful chameleon

ok, I got this idea from somewhere but I can't remember where exactly... can't seem to find the link.

Anyway, you need:
  • colourful plastic dividers (I recycled the old ones which were lying around waiting for an opportunity to be recycled)
  • transparencies (the type used for Overhead projectors in the past) - trace the pics of the chameleon from Eric Carle's book
  • marker
  • scissors


happily playing with the cut up colourful dividers - her first encounter with them

Place the transparencies of the pictures of the chameleon around the house and get your preschooler to find them:


Can you see it? :P

Alicia loved to place the transparencies on different surfaces and kept asking me each time, "Mummy, where's the chameleon?"

To make your colourful chameleon, just randomly place the dividers on a flat surface and place the transparency of the pic of the chameleon on top.


It's a different chameleon every time and it can be done over and over again! :)


(iv) Writing practice


Discuss what the chameleon wanted to be in the story with your preschooler and ask her what she wants to be.

The little ardent swimmer that Alicia is, she naturally chose the fish. :)

As she is still unable to draw a proper fish, I drew a simple one for her. We then wrote a simple sentence about it. (I wrote the sentence for her, and she used a marker to trace the words for writing practice). We had to split this activity up into two sessions (conducted on different days) as she was unwilling to finish the sentence in one sitting.




(v) Art and craft fish + shape matching + writing practice (Mandarin)

Cut out some shapes to form a picture (I chose a fish since it tied in nicely with the above activity). 

Trace the exact shapes onto a sheet of paper to form the picture.

Get the child to place the shapes correctly on the paper first before sticking.

Get your preschooler to stick the shapes on.


Write the word you want your preschooler to trace and let her use a marker to write the word. Guide your child to write in the correct sequence of strokes if writing the chinese word. Name the strokes in Mandarin as you guide your child and get her to say the word when it's completed. 

*You can always adapt this activity to make your child practise writing in English or other languages.


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