Monday, April 15, 2013

Toddler Activities: Little Jack Horner

By Deborah Pace Rowley

You know I love using Nursery Rhymes with toddlers. Not only do they teach rhythm and rhyme, they are repetitive and they help to build a body of core knowledge that each child needs to know as they venture out into the larger world. When they start preschool and kindergarten, children familiar with lots of nursery rhymes and popular fairy tales will be able to say, "I remember that!" or "I know that one!" This is a huge boost to a young student's self-esteem. In the past we have featured activities for Humpty Dumpty and Hey Diddle Diddle. This activity is based around the rhyme of "Little Jack Horner." It is a great activity for teaching your toddler the names of fruits and their colors.

All you need for this activity is:
A few real or pretend fruits and vegetables, a flat basket, a brown paper bag and some scissors and tape.

I set my basket on top of the paper bag to measure its size. Then I cut an oval shape slightly larger than my basket.

After I cut out my shape, I cut two slits in the crust in an X shape. This is where your toddler will put his or her hand.

(Note: You might want to reinforce this opening with duct tape on the back side. Anniston kept thinking the pie was a present and she wanted to rip it open to find out what was inside!) Once I had a large enough opening cut out, I taped the brown paper to the top of the basket. I gathered it here and there to make it fit.

Once the pie is ready, you can start to play. Set your toddler in a corner with the pie and recite the poem.
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a Corner
Eating his Christmas pie. 
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, 
What a Good Boy Am I!" 

Each time that you come to the line that says "Stuck in his thumb", have your child reach into the pie and pull out a fruit. Once you see the fruit, fill in the rest of the poem together. "And pulled out an orange!" Or "pulled out a banana!" Or "pulled out an apple!" and said, "What a good girl am I!"

You can also play a seek and find game with the pie. Have your child try to find the plum without looking. With each fruit that they pull out you can ask, "Is that a plum?" "No." "Let's look again." 

Help your child recognize each fruit by pointing out their colors. You are looking for a plum that is purple. Is this purple? A banana is yellow. Which one is a banana? Once you have finished playing with your pie, you could cut up the fruits and make a fruit salad for you and your toddler to enjoy together. Eat it in the corner on a real pie tin! 

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