journal prompts. I took the opportunity to take his dictation about when he feels wild using one of the great free printable prompts at Fairy Tales And Fiction By 2. There's something for everyone there--no matter what early stage of writing your little one may be in!
Next it was time for a game! We've been using simple games to introduce the concepts of taking turns, following rules/directions and other important social skills that children can learn through board games and apply to social situations in "real life." I set up our own version of this great monster googly eyes counting game by printing and laminated the monster mats and then hot glued googly eyes onto a large die I had on hand.
We set out three monster mats, one for S, one for Y (who needed my help to play!) and one for me. I laminated the printables to be double sided, though you could do them single-sided, particularly if you have more players. These would also be great for using with playdough and other small loose parts or with dry erase markers. Our die had one-six googly eyes hot glued to each surface and I set out a dish of assorted loose googly eyes. On a players turn, he/she rolls the die, counts the number of googly eyes and places an according number of googly eyes on his/her monster mat. It was fun to see all the silly ways we could put eyes on those funny little monsters! This is a great game to practice one-to-one correspondence and counting. We did not play for a "winner," but rather played that each player took 3 turns, which seemed to be the right length of time to spend on this activity before moving on to our next one. You could play that the winner has the most eyes if you wish.
I like to use our story stretchers to review alphabet letters as well. Where The Wild Things Are would be a great book to introduce with the letter Ww, but since we recently reviewed that one with our whale themed adventures alongside Baby Beluga, I decided instead to bring back the letter Mm for monster, mask and, of course, our story's main character, Max. I also thought it would be a great time to introduce the concept of alliteration in a fun game to make silly sentences using only words that begin with the letter Mm! Older readers/writers can come up with their own silly sentences. You can provide supports like suggested words lists or use sentence strips as I did with letter Mm words pre-written. For pre-readers and writers, you will need to assist a bit more. For S, I demonstrated a few silly sentences, placing words across the little table and pointing to them as I read. He could see how a sentence is built and how we read it from left to right. When it was his turn to build a silly sentence, I placed the starting word "My" and strategically helped him select from piles of nouns and verbs beginning with our letter Mm. We recorded our silly sentences in his journal and he drew an illustration to go with his: "My mommy makes monster marbles!"
Once our littlest wild thing was tuckered out, we moved on to the arts & crafts portion of our story stretcher. I had a great idea to make a couple of stuffed felt monsters S could decorate for he and his brother could play with. Then I remembered how much I hate to sew. And that I don't even know where I have a needle and thread here... But I do love puppets and I always have the hot glue gun handy for when school glue just won't do the trick. And with that plus the abundance of felt I do have and some googly eyes, we were well on our way to making some great wild thing sock puppets. All that was left was to add in a pair of really beloved knee socks that I've had since college and worn to threads. S helped set up parts where he wanted them and I assisted with the hot glue gun so we could play right away. You could definitely try school glue instead or tacky glue. And if you do like to sew, you could do that...and maybe while you're at it, hit the stack of clothing items here that are missing buttons. I'll be busy putting on silly sock puppet shows if you need me...
I was particularly excited about our next activity. I saw the idea for blow paint monsters on The Seasoned Mom. I loved the idea of using straws for painting. Blowing through a straw is a great way to strenghthen those little muscles in the mouth and assist in speech development. S does not have any speech delays but does have low muscle tone that also affects his mouth, so I love sneaking in playful ways to build up those brain-muscle connections! He had a blast blowing through the straw to move the paint--and you have to blow hard! He also discovered the joys of dabbling the bottom of the straw in the paint to print little dots. I chose to use artists' canvas for this activity so that S would feel it was very special and take his time to enjoy the process of creating it. As an added bonus, it will make a lovely keepsake once it is dry and done. After the paint dries, he will have a great time adding on googly eyes, feathers, buttons, sequins and maybe even some doodles to create a fun and friendly monster!
We've had a lot of fun with this story stretcher and will likely continue having fun with our wild thing sock puppets and playing our googly eyes counting game. Want to do more with Where The Wild Things Are? Try out one or more of the following fun activities: