Learning to share through picture books
By Brisbane Mum Renae Cummins
There are many big concepts that can be easily introduced to small children through the magic of stories, last week the story of choice at our house was The Rainbow Fish which focusses on sharing. The story centres around a beautiful fish with impressive scales of many different colours that glisten as he swims through the water. These beautiful scales are the envy of the other fish in the sea but he refuses to share them. As the story continues the Rainbow Fish finds himself very lonely with no one to play with. The story ends with us learning that by sharing what you have you can not only make someone else very happy but it can also make you feel good inside. My son loved this story with its colourful illustrations and underwater theme and wanted to make his own Rainbow Fish.
Creating activities that relate to the stories you read with your child is a fun way to further help them understand the story and continue the conversation and learning from the book. With craft being a regular indoor activity at our house I thought we would take things outside and create a largescale collage on the blackboard in the garden. With the outline of Rainbow Fish complete we started cutting out the scales from multi-coloured cellophane as well as a number of aluminium foil scales that my son helped to scrunch up and flatten out to create a scale like pattern. We then went to work adding the shimmery scales with Blue Tac. This project worked perfectly outside as the silver scales glistened beautifully in the sunshine and the blackboard allowed us to draw and rub out coral, ferns and bubbles under the sea. So many new words to learn from this one activity! We also added the little blue fish to the picture who was the first fish to ask for a shiny scale in the story. My son later ran out to the blackboard to share one of the sparkly scales with the little blue fish.
Sharing the story and activity outside and creating it on a large scale with lots of space for him to move around is a simple way to make regular activities exciting and new. Overall it was a fun activity and with little ones, making books active and including them in the story is a great way to help them learn.