A few months ago Big Sis and I read “Charlotte’s Web” which was Big Sis’ very first chapter book. She was in the middle of taking a Farm Class and I knew that the themes in the book would correlate wonderfully with her class, and besides, who doesn’t LOVE Charlotte’s Web??? It’s one of my favorites!
Each day before her nap we sat in her bed and read a chapter of Charlotte’s Web. Sometimes it’s crazy and Little E is screaming or Big Sis is being easily distracted but most days we cuddle up and take a 10 minute break, just the two of us.
We had so much fun with this story that we decided to do a few activities, her favorite being the handmade Charlotte’s Web toys. Of course we had to share.
These are all super easy crafts that allow you to repurpose stuff you have around your house! These toys provided opportunities for retelling and summarizing through play. We had a lot of fun with these.
To make Wilbur:
approx. 32 oz. juice bottle, emptied
2 toilet paper rolls
pink pipe cleaner
pink construction paper
pink acrylic craft paint
Use the pink paint to paint the juice bottle, with the cap on. Let the bottle dry and give it a second coat. Paint the toilet paper rolls with the pink paint after you give the bottle a second coat, they should be fine with just one coat.
When the toilet paper rolls and bottle are dry, cut the rolls in half and hot glue them on one side of the bottle.
Cut the pipe cleaner (keep the rest of the pipe cleaner to make Templeton) to about two inches and curl it around a pencil or even your finger, this is the tail. Hot glue the pipe cleaner on the bottom of the bottle, on the opposite side that you’ve glued the legs (if you look at the picture this will be easier to understand).
Use the black Sharpie to draw two eyes, two nostrils and a mouth (again see the pic).
Cut two triangles from the pink construction paper (save this paper for Templeton) and hot glue them onto the top area near the face to create the ears.
To make Templeton:
Grey fun foam or construction paper
small pink pompom (if you don’t have one, just use a rolled up piece of paper and paint pink or take a small piece of cotton ball and paint that pink)
pink pipe cleaner (use the unused portion from making Wilbur)
pink construction paper (use the unused portion from making Wilbur)
Cut a half circle on the grey fun foam (I failed to take a pic of this) from one end to the other end, look at this link for an idea on how to make the cone. Cut it out, glue one end to the other end. Glue on the googly eyes, pink pompom and pipe cleaner as the tail.
To make Charlotte:
Two brown pompoms
2 googly eyes
2 pipe cleaners, cut in half
Glue the two pompoms together. Glue the pipe cleaners across the body and bend for the arms. Glue the googly eyes on.
For Charlotte’s Web (from Modern Parents Messy Kids):
White glue, such as Elmer’s
Cut white yarn into lengths of 1-2 feet, depending on the desired diameter of the finished spiderweb. Pour the glue into a medium bowl. Thin it with water (about 3 parts glue to 1 part water). Cover your work surface with wax paper. Dip the yarn in the glue and then spread out on the wax paper. Continue with several more lengths of yarn, crossing them over the first at the center like spokes in a wheel, to create the base of the spiderweb. Once the base is complete, connect the radiating yarn pieces with additional lengths of glue-soaked yarn spiraling around and around to create a spider web design. Let dry (this may take a couple of days) then turn over and pull off the wax paper. You’ll have a yarn spiderweb that holds its shape.
As we were reading Charlotte’s Web I had Big Sis make a Charlotte’s Web journal. I would say a portion of a sentence, in this case, “My favorite character is…” and I would write her answer down and then have her draw a picture. The picture is Charlotte and the big swirly scribbles are the web, this was during a phase when everything she drew was monochromatic, heh.
Other questions I asked were, ”If you were Charlotte what would you have written in your web?” “If you had your very own pig just like Fern did, what would you name it?” ”What is your favorite part of the story?” “What do you think Templeton is going to do with the goose’s egg?
These questions aid in comprehension and make the book discussion so rich.
We also read some books, mostly about spiders, to go with the story. We read:
The Very Busy Spider: This was Big Sis’ favorite book. A spider lands on a fence post near a farm and a handful of farm animals ask her to do some activity with her but she is too busy spinning her web.
Are You a Spider? : A great non-fiction book for young kiddos. Information is presented in questions and reads like a storybook but it’s full of information about spiders.
Sophie’s Masterpiece: A sweet story about a spider who wants to spin beautiful creations all day but isn’t welcome anywhere, until she finds a special guest to stay with and creates a masterpiece for the guest. This was my favorite.
The Year at Maple Hill Farm: This book goes through all of the different aspects of the farm that change with each season. It’s a long book but even just looking through the pictures and talking about the book is a lot of fun.
Lastly, we took an 8 week farm class but if you’re not interested in a full farm class many farms have tours that you can go on.
Do you have a favorite Children’s chapter book to read with your little ones? I’d love to hear about it!