By Shannon Cannon

      My little 4-year-old, for the past two years, has spent the entire first day of school, standing on the porch with her Winnie the Pooh backpack on, sobbing that she wanted to go to school with 'the guys'. Each day as we start getting the kids ready for school, it's also a good time to get the younger ones excited about what we'll be doing for play school at home. Being left behind can be made into something good.

      H Week Activities:

      • Talk about different kinds of homes that people live in, such as an igloo, a tepee, a mansion, a hut, a houseboat, a mobile home. What kinds of homes do you like best? Let each person choose and build a different kind of home and then play house.

      • Practice shaking hands; make up new kinds of handshakes or greetings with your hands. Play some hand games like:

"Peas Porridge Hot"

Peas porridge hot,
Peas porridge cold,
Peas porridge in the pot
Nine days old.

Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.

      (By the way, here's a little side note I dug up on the web about that little rhyme. It's from some history tidbits written about life in the 1500's. They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old". )

Another one is, "See, See Oh Playmate":

See, see oh playmate,
Come out and play with me,
And bring your dollies three,
Climb up my apple tree.
Slide down my rainbow,
Into my cellar door,
And we'll be jolly friends,
Forevermore, more, more.

So sorry playmate,
I cannot play with you.
My dolly's got the flu,
The mumps and measles too.
I have no rainbow,
I have no cellar door,
But we'll be jolly friends,
Forevermore, more, more.

      You can also try "Going on a Bear Hunt" with the actions.

      • Make handprint pictures by dipping your hands in paint and making designs on a paper; then, after it dries, fill in the details with a pen.

      • Learn how to spell your name with your hands using sign language.

      • Have a "Hat Day"; wear a fun hat; collect several different kinds of hats (a hard hat, a top hat, a cowboy hat, a stocking cap, etc.) and talk about what you might be busy doing if you were wearing each hat. Design and make up your own fun hat.

      • Gather a hundred of something like cotton balls or toothpicks or marshmallows. Does it look like a lot? What would it look like if you gathered 1,000 or 1,000,000? Discuss which would look like more: 100 houses, 100 hairs, 100 hamburgers, etc.

      • What things can you do to keep you healthy? Make one collage about healthy habits and another collage about unhealthy habits. Or make a blank picture of the food guide pyramid and cut out pictures of the foods that belong in each area. Then explain which ones are the healthiest. Have only healthy snacks this week and talk about which food group they are a part of.

      There is something therapeutic about playing hand games with a child. It's like suddenly you're sitting back in the schoolyard swing looking at life from a totally different angle. You remember the skinned knees and double dares? And how much fun it was to play harder than you ever worked? Well, for kids, their play is their work. So let them play. Just sneak in a little education while you're at it.


Few things in life are more fun and rewarding than curling up on the couch with your kids and a good book. If you truly want your kids to learn to read well, then READ TO THEM EVERY DAY! There is no better way to teach your kids that reading is fun and interesting.
Click here to see a list of ALL the books we have read to our children.

[Home]    [Learning Activities]    [How To Teach]    [Getting Started]    [Story Stretchers]    [Book Information]
© Shannon Cannon 1999 All Rights Reserved