Welcome to the first installment of the Virtual Book Club for Kids 2014-2015! I am SO EXCITED to bring you all some great SIMPLE book extension activities that can be used to build speech & language skills in young children. This month, our spotlight Author is one of my favorites: Mo Willems.
We chose the book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! for our book club selection. In this book, the bus driver asks the reader to keep a eye out on his bus, and most importantly, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Then…Mr. Pigeon tries VERY hard to convince the reader to let him. It is an adorable story that kids find hilarious.
My children and I made simple puppets and then constructed our own bus from things we had laying around the house. My kids then played with the puppets as they told the story (in their own words). It was so fun listening to my children tell the story and add in their own ideas and characters. So many opportunities to learn and use language! Here’s how you can make your own.
You Will Need
- Paper and/or card stock
- Cardboard box
- Glue sticks/while glue
- Hot glue gun (optional but recommended)
- Craft sticks
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Book
To Make the Puppets
- Pick pictures of the Pigeon and the Bus Driver from the book and make a color copy of each on either white paper or card stock
- Cut out the character images. If you printed on paper (as I did) I suggest gluing to card stock to make it more sturdy.
- Glue characters images to a craft stick. If your characters still need support (ours did) you can use an additional craft stick on the back. I used the hot glue gun for this step.
To Make the Bus
The bus was by FAR the most fun aspect of this project for my own kids. They LOVED IT and it provided so many language opportunities. Here is how we made our bus:
- If your box has writing/images on the outside, take it apart fully first. If not, skip this step.
- Cut off all the flaps on ONE SIDE only. Put to the side.
- If you took your box apart, put the box back together INSDIE OUT. This way, any writing will be on the inside. I used the hot glue gun to put it back together.
- Glue all your flaps shut. This will be your roof. The open end will be the underside of the bus
- Grab those flaps we cut off and put to the side. Draw or trace 4 circles for wheels. Cut out and have your child(ren) draw the details.
- Grab some paper. Draw or trace six squares/rectangles and have your child(ren) cut them out (if they have the scissor skills. If not, help them or cut them out yourself). We used some silver paper I had leftover from a past project.
- In addition to the 6 windows, draw and cut out two large windows- one for the front and one for the back of the bus.
- Draw and cut out two rectangles for bus doors.
- Draw or trace two circles for the headlights. Cut out.
- Draw or trace two rectangles for the rear lights. Cut out.
- Have your children (assist if needed) glue on the windows (three on each side), the windshield and the rear window, the doors, headlights and rear lights.
- Have your children draw/write/color and decorate the bus HOWEVER THEY WANT! My daughter (almost 6) loved drawing details such as the grill, windshield wipers, and little faces in each window 😉 My son (3.5) enjoyed scribbling on the roof. I loved how they worked together to decorate the bus.
The Process: Tips for Expanding Language During the Craft Making
The process of making the puppets and bus provide a ton of opportunities of language learning. Here are some tips:
- Don’t rush. Relax and have fun with your child!
- Allow your child to do as much on his/her own as he can, developmentally. Do not do everything for him. When making copies of the characters, let him push the button! This is so exciting for kids…to push buttons they are usually not allowed to touch! Let him cut (as much as he can, depending on his ability). Remember…the process is most important. It’s ok if the bus doors are a little wonky 😉
- Allow your child to take the lead, and then follow it.
- BE QUIET, watch your child closely and listen with your ears and your eyes. What parts of the activity is he really enjoying? Discuss these things in more detail.
- Expand your conversation beyond the basics. Expand the words your child says and expand the conversation as a whole.
- Ask open ended questions. They promote more opportunities for speech & language
- Read my additional tips in my post about Expanding Language during Craft Time
Time to PLAY! Expanding Speech & Language Skills with Play and Storytelling
After you have made your puppets and bus (which already provide great opportunities for vocabulary building, answering and asking questions, critical thinking, etc) it is now time to PLAY! Use the puppets and the bus to retell the story. Don’t worry about including all the details or following the story line exactly…just let your child have fun and play with his new “toys” you have made together!
And if your child is anything like MY kids…many other friends will be boarding the bus…
As I mentioned, my own kids had a blast making up their own story with new characters. The “bus” was a very popular toy for several days in a row. It is so true what they say…kids don’t need toys. They just some cardboard boxes 😉
MORE Awesome Activities Based on The Books my Mo Willems
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Activities
Cardboard Box Bus Craft & Number Game for Kids by Toddler Approved
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Activity by Coffee Cups and Crayons
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Puppets by Playdough to Playto
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: Puppets, Crafts and Storytelling by Playing with Words 365
Letter B is for Bus Craft by Royal Baloo
Pigeon and Bus Activities inspired by Mo Willems by The Educators’ Spin On It
Pigeon Rhyming Race Activity by Growing Book by Book
Pigeon Handprint by Mama Miss
Knuffle Bunny Activities
Mo Willems Inspired DIY Bunny Costume Felt Headband by The Educators’ Spin On It
Knuffle Bunny Activity Mats by ready-set-read
The Duckling Gets a Cookie Activities
Counting Chocolate Chips – Duckling Get a Cookie by 3 Dinosaurs
Nut Free Alphabet Cookies by Rainy Day Mum
Sticky Cookie Craft by The Pleasantest Thing
The Duckling Gets a Cookie Math Games by Inspiration Laboratories
The Ducking Gets a Cookie Printable Clothespin Activity by Lalymom
Duckling Gets A Cookie Simple Craft and Helping Hand Activity by The Good Long Road
Speech & Language Products for Mo Willems’ Books
My pal Jenn from Crazy Speech World has a Speech & Language pack in her Teachers Pay Teachers Store for the book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. It looks GREAT, contains games and cards and targets story telling, vocabulary, pronouns, verbs, object functions, comprehension, sequencing, and MORE!! Go check it out!
More Books About the Pigeon by Mo Willems
I LOVE the Pigeon. He cracks me up. Here are some more books starring the pigeon!
What is YOUR favorite Mo Willems Book?