Last year I bought this classic story The Mitten by Jan Brett but I realised in the spring that this winter book had sunk into oblivion. However, this year, when winter is really harsh with quite a lot of snowing, I managed to prepare some activities on the basis of the story.
At the very beginning, we were looking at flashcards of winter and summer clothes and put them into 2 groups: what we wear and don’t wear in cold winter.
Before reading the story with the girls I prepared an extra-large mitten out of felt. As time was an issue I cut out 2 mitten-shaped pieces of felt and used a hot glue gun to stick them together. (There’s a snow-white mitten in the story but unfortunately I didn’t have white felt at home so I used a light beige and a gray piece.)
I downloaded and shrank the animals’ pictures from Jan Brett’s site. I made two-sided stick animals out of them so the kids can put the animals in the felt mitten one by one as the story goes along. (Lucky there are 8 animals in the story and we could share the animals equally.)
After the story, they matched and compare mittens that I’d found around the house.
They told me which ones are too small or too big for them.
Then came the mitten craft. Out of white and light blue construction paper I cut out mitten shapes and provided the girls with all kinds of decorative elements: hearts, cotton balls, buttons, glittery star and flower shaped stickers etc.
They decorated their mittens as they wished. E. decorated her 2-3 mittens heavily and accurately. Little L. used the stickers mostly as she found the glue too sticky.
I also made two mitten-related, age-appropriate activities for them:
E. had the rhyming mittens. Each mitten has a picture on them and they rhyme like cat-hat or pig-wig. She matched them in no time.
L. got a Which mitten is different? activity. As she wasn’t interested at all E. did this one too. She placed a button on the mitten that was the odd one out of the four.
We spent 2 and a half hours together reading, playing with the mittens, matching and comparing mittens, decorating mittens. I’m not saying that my 2-year old’s attention didn’t flag but apart from the odd-one out activity, with a little help she could keep pace with my 5-and-a-half year old big girl. Whenever she couldn’t focus anymore I gave her something new to redirect her with success. (The story time and the mitten matching were really fascinating for her, but the mitten decorating was too long, so when she wanted to finish it half way I gave her new stickers or she could try using the glue stick or could squeeze out some glue on her paper mitten.)
All the way through we were discussing winter topics, like clothing, what animals do/eat in the winter, what patterns our mittens have , what colour the decoration on their mittens is or I was describing what we were doing.