It’s Time to Come Inside! 10 Cozy Companions by Beth Panageotou
This past summer, we had a visit with the I’m Bored’s. Beautiful weather and a list of ten great picture books got them outside, exploring, reading and creating in the bright sunshine!
As the seasons turn, the I’m Bored’s are forced inside. And as parents, we cringe at the thought of what will happen to living spaces strewn with toys, paper scraps and lounging, gangly bodies unsure of what to “wreck” next as they long to be outside.
Never fear! The perfect remedy for those chilly days is here: ten picture books and activities to keep the I’m Bored’s occupied as the weather turns! Each of these reads will spark ideas, crafts and conversations that will have your children entertained even on the coldest of days!
1. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (William Joyce; 2012)
This may be one of my favorite books of all time! The art is enchanting and the story unfolds as we watch Morris spend his life caring for books…and they for him. It will steal your heart! Activity suggestion: watch the animated version (available online) —it is AMAZING!
2. On the Wing (David Elliott & Becca Statlander; 2014)
Birds are so cool! And no matter where we live, there are so many different species right in our own backyards! This new picture book features our feathered friends both large and small. The art is visually stunning. Activity suggestion: using a copy of a local bird guide, chronicle how many species you have in your area. Observe what you see; listen to what you hear. Keep an illustrated journal.
3. The Mitten (Jan Brett; 1989)
Nicki drops one of his handmade mittens in the snow. But he can’t go home without it! As he searches for his missing mitten, this cozy, soft ‘home’ becomes the perfect place for animals, big and small, to spend an afternoon. What happens will delight big and small readers too! Activity suggestion: choose 5 animals you see in your neighborhood and draw them ALL living in something that belongs to you! Tell your own version of The Mitten.
4. All Mixed Up: A Mix and Match Book (Carin Berger; 2006)
13,000 possible combinations and word pairings, not to mention Carin Berger’s eclectic art, will have your little ones busy making silly characters all afternoon! Activity suggestion: write stories using 2-3 characters and 5-10 of the words from the book.
5. The Feather Club (Beth Erlund; 2007)
This one is a little harder to find but worth the search! Ginny Goose is taking her first trip south for the winter. She is accidently left behind but is determined to get there. Follow her adventure and she makes new and unexpected friends during her journey! Activity suggestion: draw a map illustrating Ginny’s journey. Draw another that takes you from your house to a far-off destination. How would you get there?
6. A Child’s Book of Poems (Guy Fujikawa; 2007)
This collection, originally published in 1969, is rich in timeless illustration. 120 pages of poems that cover weather, seasons, nature and more provide the perfect introduction to poetry. Activity suggestion: use a blank notebook and make your own illustrations to match the verse! By the end of the season, you will have your own illustrated version of the book.
7. The Paddington Treasury: Six Classic Bedtime Stories (Michael Bond & RW Alley; 2014)
It’s hard to resist this bear. Paddington has witnessed all of our childhoods and this collection of stories is the perfect way to end the day! Travel with Paddington to both places near and far in this collection of six of our favorite tales. Activity suggestion: Keep a travel journal; can be places you’ve been, places you hope to go and places imaginary!
8. Snow (Uri Shulevitz; 1998)
We grownups can be such naysayers can’t we? In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the magic of snow gets forgotten. This book reminds us of the magic of seeing one single flake through a child’s eyes. Activity suggestion: create paper snowflakes to decorate your windows and bring the snowy magic in!
9. Ten Apples Up On Top! (Dr. Seuss; 1961)
Of course there has to be a competition of who can balance the most apples in this zany Dr. Seuss classic. Counting and rhyme also make it a great read-aloud! Activity suggestion: Hold indoor Olympics! Get the blood flowing! Make score cards, silly categories and paper medals—no electronics required!
10. Little Owl’s Orange Scarf (Tatyana Fenney; 2012)
Little Owl does not want to wear his itchy scarf. This reminds me of my 5 year old, who would wear shorts in the winter if I would let her! But, moms know best and Little Owl comes to love a scarf…although it may not be the one he started with.
Activity suggestion: ask friends or family members to give instruction or pick up a copy of a beginner-knitting guide and make your very own scarf. And enjoy the visual and tactile experience of the yarn department at your local store!
Beth Panageotou is the owner of GreenRow Books, an indie bookstore in Ellicott City Maryland. She also hosts the Virtual Book Club (#vbcbooks) chats on twitter (@vbcbooks), is the creator of the Mission Read campaign, an organic grassroots literacy campaign stressing the “need to read!” and co-founder of Page’s Corner. She is an information junkie with an obsession with seashells from the Jersey shore, secretly wishes to be JB Fletcher and loves the constant chaos of life with her two daughters. Bucket list item: to be on Sesame Street. You can find Beth on twitter: @epan11.