Saturday, 16 August 2014

Farm animals and The Very Busy Spider, Eric Carle

I do love Eric Carle. I love that in every book there is always something to learn. The Very Busy Spider no exception. In this book we learn about a spider's perseverance and dedication to spinning a web in order to catch a fly. We learn that the spider keeps on task is spite of numerous distractions from all the farm animals. We learn that through his hard work, he catches the fly 'just like that' and this a great message for children to learn.

In The Very Busy Spider we see the different animals that live on the farm and learn a little of their behaviour, for example the goat that likes to jump on the rocks and the pig that likes to roll in the mud. In their invitations to the spider, we hear the sounds the animals make and visually we can see the animal, in unmistakable Eric Carle style, without any distraction of background images. The only addition to the picture is the 'pesty' fly buzzing around.

We have a growing collection of the Schleich animals which I love as they are true to form, a good weight and have all the fine details which is great for little children to look at closely. Montessori talks about a sensitive period for 'small things' at 18 months, this is a great opportunity to build vocabulary -- but no need to wait until then and certainly no reason to stop once they pass it! Together with the book and the animals, the children can work with them in a number of ways.

Each child worked with this differently yesterday and today
Our daughter enjoyed matching the animals to the book as we read the story.
Our eldest son enjoyed using the farm fences and putting the animals inside once they had tempted the spider.
And for our littlest 8 month old son we sang the Old McDonald Farm song and introduced the animals and their sounds that way. A fun, lively, musical way to enjoy them and then he put them all in his mouth one by one, as he is doing with everything at the moment!

Tonight after reading the story to the children, we talked about which animal would be the noisiest or quietest and the number of legs they had. There are so many activities that can be done with these gorgeous figurines.

The Very Busy Spider is an excellent book for little children, especially the very young. And of course, there is repetition in there and we all know how much we love that around here!

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