My kids are interested in Presidents (particularly my 3 year old right now) and with President’s Day around the corner, I thought it was a great time to have a little fun with Presidents. The Blizzard of 2010 hit the DC metro area with a vengeance and left just under 3 feet of snow in its wake. Reminds me of the Blizzard of 2003, when my son was born, but that’s a story for another day. . . and I’m thankful I’m not pregnant this time around! He was born on President’s Day that year, and so learning about Presidents while we are snowed in, just seems to fit!
I like to put together Discovery baskets to help build my kids’ background knowledge about topics. Discovery baskets are baskets (buckets, tubs, etc.) that are filled with items that provide a hands-on experience and books related to a topic. My 3 year old wanted to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, so I filled our Discovery Basket with two pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, a picture of his family’s log cabin, a few pennies, and some Lincoln logs. Then we explored.
After exploration, we discussed what we knew about Abraham Lincoln (he’s on the penny) and what was new to us (he lived in a log cabin – what’s a log cabin?). Then, I read aloud Abe’s Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant about Abe Lincoln’s childhood. I chose this book because I tied it into another activity after we read. My daughter enjoyed the book, but it is probably more appropriate for the 5 and up crowd.
I tied in an activity I found on No Time for Flashcards – a fishing game. Abe Lincoln goes fishing in the story to catch dinner for his family. Allie created the fishing game to practice fishing for letters. My daughter knows her letters already, so I changed it a bit. . . we went fishing for letter pairs. She had to match the upper case letter with the lower case letter – we are still working on recognizing lower case letters. I think this game can be adapted to sight words as well.
This seems like a lot for a three year old, but we did all of this in about twenty minutes. She has a little more knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and we spent some quality time just talking and reading. Sometimes, that’s all we need. . .
Other books to consider:
A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler
Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick
Abe Lincoln’s Hat (Step into Reading, Step 3) by Martha Brenner
**Note: Typically, I include a mixture of nonfiction and fiction books in my Discovery Baskets, but I wanted to keep this activity short and focused.**
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