I’ve been meaning to play along with the Scissors Paper Rock Bookworms ever since it started, and I’m FINALLY joining in for October. The theme is ‘Country vs City’ and the idea is that you read books related to the theme, then make/do/sing/play anyway you like in relation to the theme.
We took a low key approach to the Bookclub. I find that the more I plan an experience, the less likely Pebble is to be interested. I let her lead the way and we both end up having more fun. It was so interesting to find out what Pebble’s idea of ‘city’ and ‘country’ is. Before reading we chatted and I asked, “What’s in a city?”.
“Dinosaurs!” she answered. Um. Ok!
“Is there really?!” I asked.
“Yes, we saw their bones when we went to the city” she replied.
Aha, now I knew where her thinking was at. We have been to ‘the city’ a couple of times, and on one most recent trip we visited the museum, and we did indeed see dinosaur bones. I asked Pebble what else we saw in the city.
“Birds!” she replied, “I chased them around and around!” Yes, she had chased some pigeons around the park outside the museum. Hmm what else did she remember?
“Where were the toys?” I prompted.
“In the nappy change room, we played toys in there” she remembered. Yes, we did. One change room had a toy kitchen and she begged me to play with it.
These are the things most important to a toddler!
Pebble hadn’t really heard the word ‘country’ in the context of city vs country before. In the past we have had lots of talk about different ‘countries’ that people live in, and Pebble loves using her blow up globe to find Australia, then England, where we have family. She finds the North Pole, “where Santa lives”, and she tries very hard to find Kenya, where her Aunty was born, but that’s a bit tricky. So the word ‘country’ was a bit confusing for her.
We started by having a poke through our home library, and finding one of our picture books with lots of different objects. Pebble pointed out things that we might find in the city. My teacher brain started to work over time, and the complexities of what ‘city’ and ‘country’ mean started to blow my mind… but I brought it down a notch for my little 2 year and 9 month old.
We read After Dark by Louis Baum, which is about a little girl who is in bed at home while her mum goes out to do the grocery shopping. The book goes back and forth between mum on her journey to and from the shops, and the little girl slowly getting closer and closer to the front door, until they meet on the front step for a hug. The mother walks past the pub, the cinema, rows of houses and into the busy supermarket.
We read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and talked about all the things that the family had to get through to find the bear (and again to get home!). This is a favourite of Pebble’s (and most children’s, of course) and we had a very enthusiastic reading. Twice in fact! I said that the people in the book lived in the country, far away from the city where all the big buildings and busy road are. They live in the country, where there is lots of grass and mud and trees. Again, my brain was going over time, thinking that we do have those things in the city too… but anyway…
We also read another of Pebble’s favourite books, Let’s go to the Farm, a Fisher-Price lift the flap book. We looked at all the animals, fruits and vegetables, and I said that most farms were a long way away from the city, they were in the country.
I asked Pebble if she would like to play city and country. She agreed very happily. I asked how we should play and she said “we need to get the special tape and make the roads”. So we got out some tape (I couldn’t find the masking tape, so we used duct tape), made the roads and then did some planning. Pebble chose where to put her city, and used her building blocks to build it. She directed me to use another set of blocks to build more city on the other side of the road.
“What about the country”, I asked. Where will that be? Pebble pointed to the other end of our duct tape highway. “What goes in the country?” I asked. “We need a farm!” she said. We used the farm duplo set and put the farm in the country. Then we were ready to play.
We played quite happily for the rest of the day, going back and forth between our city and country play and other things. It was lots of fun! Pebble definitely still has a lot to understand about the city and the country yet, and I am planning our next family excursion to farm gates for some spring harvesting. Strawberry picking, anyone?
Do you live in the country? Or the city? Or somewhere in between?