Water is a fascinating topic for exploration! At this time of year, it’s particularly exciting to explore water in the form of rain. If you’re enjoying some April showers, you might want to build some connections with the children you love and teach by jumping into some of these great books and activities.
Rainby Manya Stojic
This story follows animals on a parched African savanna as they sense the coming rain. This book is a wonderfully simple story that is also ideal for incorporating the five senses. After reading, you might want to create the sound of the rain by making a rain stick using only a few things from your pantry and Home Depot. (Small Motor, Sensory)
Come On Rain! by Karen Hesse
This book is a work of art in so many ways. The writing is poetic and beautiful, yet not over the heads of a group of preschoolers. Its illustrations are captivating and appealing, and I love that they includes diverse characters without that being the message of the book. After this story, you might want to do some rain dancing with your own little ones. You could also examine the different rooflines in the illustrations and then experiment with rain on the rooftops with this activity from Rachelle at Tinker Lab. (Science, Motor Skills)
The Puddleby David McPhail
I love to use this book as a discussion about reality and fantasy. The beginning of the book is as normal as could be. It’s a rainy day and so a child puts on rain-clothes and heads out to sail a boat in a puddle. Mom gives strict instructions to stay dry. But soon the story becomes more and more outlandish as the child is joined by a talking frog, then a turtle serving tea, a helpful alligator, a pig in a bathing suit, and an elephant with an insatiable thirst. Then the story slips back into reality as the puddle evaporates and the child walks home to meet up with Mom and a warm bath.
In addition to exploring reality and fantasy in discussion and with artwork, I like to have the children do some puddle jumping, using yarn to make an imaginary puddle that gets bigger and bigger with each jump. You can also find a whole day’s worth of wonderful activities from Mommy and Me Book Club. (Literacy, Critical Thinking, Large Motor Skills)
The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
This book’s chiastic structure follows the mayhem and ensuing crankiness that unfolds as a rainstorm breaks upon a town’s busy inhabitants. Just as the chaos peaks, the clouds clear, the sun comes out, and everything is put back into order.
Follow up this story by exploring with the concepts of absorb and repel. Gather samples of several materials (foil, wax paper, felt, tissue paper, napkins, sponges, coffee filters, rubber erasers, feathers, etc.) and a few droppers. After discussing the concepts of absorb and repel, have your child select one of your samples and make a prediction as to whether it will absorb or repel water. Then test out that prediction by using the droppers to send down a few raindrops. As you test the materials, sort them out into two piles according to their response to the water. (Science skills, Small Motor Skills)
You can expand on the idea of rain with creative art projects like dropper painting on filters, exploring with wet on wet watercolors, or using spray bottles filled with colored water or thinned tempera to paint on a sheet hanging outside . Have your children wear their raincoats instead of smocks for fun!
What are your favorite rain-themed books and/or activities?
Top photo by Bart Hickman.