Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A New Tale for Tom Kitten

Looking for a fun activity to do this summer?  Make cutout characters from a favorite book!

My daughter loves the books of Beatrix Potter. A particular favorite of hers is "The Tale of Tom Kitten". Today, we decided to make poster board cutouts of the kittens, and act out the story in our garden!

These little rascals are always getting into trouble.
Then again, since when is playing in the garden considered trouble?

First, we read the story. Then we took a large piece of poster board my daughter divided it into four equal parts. We looked carefully at the pictures, looking at the various shapes we could see (for example, the head is made up of circles and triangles), while paying close attention to the size ratio of head to body.

We each drew two characters. I got Mrs. Tabitha Twitchet and Tom Kitten, she got Moppet and Mittens. Drawing these out provided a good exercise in measurement and scale, and cutting them yielded lots of practice in dexterity! My five year old is pretty good at cutting out squares and circles, but I've often helped her out quite a bit when it comes to more complicated shapes.

This time, however, I let her figure out how to get out of these little problems herself. I gave her a few tips and tricks like, move the paper around when you're cutting, and, cut out the larger scraps of paper as you go. It was a bit tricky for her at first, but she finally cut out her kitten, pigtails and all, and was very proud of herself for doing it.

When our characters were finally cut out, it was time to decorate them! They needed clothes, fur, and faces. When that was finished, it was time to head outside and into our garden!

Tom is worried that his mom will be upset at him for getting his clothes dirty.

This was a really fun and easy project to do on a summer's day! The best part about it was that it was my daughter's idea, so she was really into it from the outset. It was a great opportunity to practice her reading skills (we took turns reading each page), dexterity, measurements and sizes, reading comprehension, and play acting. We encouraged each other to follow the story at first, and then we took turns expanding it. We have little gnomes and frogs in our garden, so we included them in our playtime as well!

If you would like to try this out, here are the things you will need:

1. A favorite story! Let your child pick it out, and read it before you start.
2. Poster board - divide into sections depending on how many characters there are.
3. Scissors
4. Markers, paints, glitter, anything you can think of to decorate your cats with.
5. An active imagination!

Have fun, and happy learning!

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