Corduroy by Don Freeman is the book that unlocked my imagination and showed me the wealth of learning opportunities in a book, whether or not it’s part of the Before Five in a Row (BFIAR) booklist. It also set me on my current method of planning our activities, which I think you can do too using any book or materials that you choose for some at-home learning.
Corduroy, a bear in a toy department store, discovers that he has a missing button. He goes into an adventure to look for it; he goes up an escalator, explores a department store, and meets a night watchman. He is then bought by a girl named Lisa with money she has saved after asking permission from her mother, and brings him home.
BEAR Corduroy is the third bear book that we have read with BFIAR. For science, we looked again at the pictures of the different types of bears and Little T dictated a story about how baby bears look for their Ate (Big Sister) bears.
BUTTONS Taking off from Corduroy’s missing button and as suggested in BFIAR, I took out my sewing box for some loose buttons. There are MANY things that can be learned with buttons you already have!
I made patterns for Little T to complete and was gratified to see that she understood the concept more by using actual buttons than just pictures in worksheets. For visual perception, Little T sorted them by size, colors, and shape. With a big plastic needle that I saved from a craft kit I bought last year and some yarn, we practiced sewing on a button; we also buttoned and unbuttoned some clothes. All these help in the development of fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and life skill. For awareness and exploration, we examined different kinds of buttons on her clothes, where these are located, and how these are used to close and sometimes just decorate clothes.
MONEY Lisa bought Corduroy with her own money. I decided it was time to take a closer look at 1-peso, 5-peso, and 10-peso coins with Little T. Like with the buttons, we sorted and made patterns with the coins. I also made some print-outs for our lapbook and made a number-coin matching game.
Our most enjoyable activity, however, was doing math while pretending to be a saleslady and a customer. As a customer, Little T practiced saying “pabili po” (May I buy?), “magkano po?” (How much?), and painstakingly counted the coins in her wallet for the amount that I quoted, the highest being P20. I realized that children really don’t need any more toys (a toy cash register I was eyeing comes to mind), they just need somebody to play with them to make any ordinary object their plaything.
|Learning with real money and some lapbook activities|
JOBS There is a saleslady and a night guard in Corduroy. I used them as a reference point to talk to Little T about jobs and why people work. We talked about the jobs of the different members of our extended family as well as some other common jobs. Again I turned to the internet for pictures of a doctor, nurse, guard, chef, saleslady, farmer, and a ballerina (her job, according to her) for a mini-book. For each picture, Little T dictated a description:
I am the guard. I help people go somewhere.
I am the chef. I make cakes in the kitchen.
I am the nurse. I help the doctor.
I am the doctor. I take care of people.
I am the ballerina. I do a split. I’m in a show.
I am the saleslady. I help people buy things.
I am the farmer. I take care of the chicken. I sleep in the farm.
FLASHLIGHT The night watchman in Corduroy is holding a flashlight. I got the idea from the Five in a Row forum boards to turn off the lights and have some fun. It has been a big hit with Little T and has helped her overcome her fear of the dark.
OBEDIENCE Lisa’s mother told Lisa the first time not to buy Corduroy because he has a missing button, and Lisa obeyed her. I linked this with a Bible verse that Little T and I have memorized from Scholastic’s My First Favorite Bible Verses, a gift from her godmother. For quite a long time, “Remember, Lisa obeyed her mother” and “Children must always obey their parents. This pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20) were enough to make Little T listen and follow her parents.
Isn’t it amazing to have so many learning fun from a simple book that you can easily find in a used book store?