Preschool Books: Mittens Theme
A story time program using a winter clothing theme can be lots of fun for young preschoolers. A surprising number of books feature mittens as a key element in the storyline. For toddlers and preschoolers, the nursery rhyme "three little kittens" can be used. Be sure to print out any nursery rhymes or song lyrics for children's parents. Parents usually enjoy singing along and singing with children is a great way to promote early childhood literacy at home.
Mitten Matching and Other Activity Ideas
A suggested activity for this storytime theme is a mitten matching game. Bring six or seven pairs of inexpensive mittens and choose volunteers from your storytime audience to help you match the pairs of mittens together by choosing the correct match from a basket or paper bag. A variation of this idea uses stuffed animals each wearing one mitten from the pair. arrange your stuffed animals in an attractive grouping and let children select one of the remaining mittens to try on a stuffed animal.
Just for fun, you could also include an assortment of hats to go on the stuffed animals. This activity could be used to reinforce children's knowledge of colors and patterns. The first year I used this theme I made about 8 different oversized paper mittens with different colors of felt applied to a sturdy cardstock background. Each colorful felt mitten had a mate that was an exact match. I posted these on a large bulletin board and mixed them up. The title on the bulletin board was Mitten Match. You could also purchase several pair of real mittens from a dollar store where these are readily available and arrange the mittens on the bulletin board.
Mitten Themed Children's Books
I enjoy sharing two versions of the same Ukranian folk tale. Both are called The Mitten. The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt (ISBN-10: 0688510531) and illustrated by Yaraslova was published in 1989. It has simple line art illustrations and a blue and red color scheme that hearkens back to the 1960s. This books is the story of a boy who loses his mitten in the snow. The mitten becomes shelter for woodland animals who squeeze into the mitten to get warm. This is a humorous folktale that can be read, used as inspiration for a live retelling, or acted out.
The Mitten: A Ukranian Folktale (ISBN-10: 0399231099) by Jan Brett is a playfully illustrated rendition of the same folktale. It uses Jan Brett's Scandinavian-inspired artwork with wonderful illustrative touches. Jan Brett is known for her busy illustration style that features lots of little stories within the story. If you liked The Mitten, you may also enjoy The Hat. This story is an enjoyable addition to the Jan Brett repetoire of tales about winter clothing.
The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen is a heartfelt story of secret service. An older lady who lives alone desperately misses the companionship of children. She watches the neighborhood children from her window and finds a way to be part of their lives. She helps the children of the city by knitting mittens for them and leaving them on a tree outside for the children to find. But who is leaving the yarn outside her door to help her with her selfless service?
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits (ISBN-10: 0374386889) has a different tone. It is a sincerely written book about the title character's Korean immigrant family and how they adjust to the American Christmas traditions while retaining their own cultural identity. This book is a must-read for older kids (at least older than preschool). Please read my review of this book here.
One Mitten by Christine O'Connell George (ISBN-10: 0618117563) is another mitten tale that will appeal to a preschool and kindergarten age crowd. The rhyming text and the theme of imaginative play would make a great lead-in to an imaginary walk in the snow.
Missing Mittens by Stuart J. Murphy and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (ISBN-10: 0064467333) is a story that introduces math concepts of even and odd. Seems Farmer Bill and all of the animals are missing a mitten. Who could be the culprit? A Billy Goat who loves to feast on clothes.
The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg (ISBN- 10: 0803725663) is a revamped version of a book he published in 1974. This book tells the story of a girl who is trying to find her lost mitten by retracing her steps. The conclusion of the tale is a heart-tugging moment, literally. You'll have to read this book to see what I mean. Kellogg is the author of The Giant Tadpole and other fanciful and far-fetched tales. I like his illustations, but his real talent is pulling together a unique and entertaining story. Don't miss this one.
A Mountain of Mittens (ISBN-10: 1570915857) is the story of the lost and found mitten pile and what happens when all the children at school try to reclaim their lost mittens all at the same time. This silly tale will have your storytime audience giggling.
Three Little Kittens (ISBN-10: 0899197965) by Paul Galdone is a retelling of the traditional nursery rhyme that is perfect for reading during a library story hour. This story will be a fresh change of pace from some of the other stories in this set, and has some humorous illustrations that parents will appreciate. Galdone has authored countless children's books based on folk tales, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes. You may enjoy his other titles, including The Gingerbread Boy.
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