I am a big believer in children having the opportunity to read a variety of types of books, especially Non Fiction. When choosing books for the Smarty Arty Aussie Animals kit I knew that it was most important to have non fiction books so that children could learn facts about the animals they made. Reading Non Fiction books gives them a good knowledge base and an understanding of the animals around us.
After I had chosen this book Emu by Claire Saxby & illustrated by Graham Byrne, I was privileged to meet lovely author Claire and she has a real talent for writing books about Australian Animals. The reason I chose this book is because it has a story and facts about Emus and is perfect for pairing with your Emu Aussie Animals craft. The differentiation between the story and the factual information is through the type of font. Let me just add before going further that all the information is factual, it is just some of it is written in story mode.
The story is about an Emu and his mate and how their babies go from eggs to, being dependent on their parents to protect and teach them about being safe, finding food, and keeping them warm at night. The factual information gives an overview of emus, their habitats, their eggs, about predators and other interesting information about the life of Emu’s.
There are different ways to use this book:
- Read the story first then go back and read the factual information.
- Read both the story and facts in one sitting so your child can relate both bits of information together.
- Compare the Emu your child has made with the Emu’s in the book.
- Act out the story with your child’s Emu, adding extra props as needed such as eggs made out of paper and making a second Emu to make a family.
- Ask your child questions about what they think Emu’s can do and how they live then find the information in the book.
The only non fiction book that I was able to get access to was aimed at older readers but it is still a valuable source for children to learn about Platypus. The book Platypus: Worlds Strangest Animal by Elizabeth Parer-Cook and David Cook has a beautiful display of photography that invites you into the world of this mysterious animal.
Given the amount of text in this book I would suggest reading it first before sharing with your child. Take note of some of that information and as you flip through the photographs in the book, explain to your child some of what you have learnt. I think there is great value in this book . This includes:
- A map where you can point out where Platypus live and where you live.
- Pointing out parts of the Platypus your child made and the platypus in the book.
- Showing your child what the Platypus likes to eat and get them to draw and cut out food for their creation.
Literacy doesn’t have to be about reading something from the front to the back, talking about the pictures and taking small parts from the book is just as valuable. You are still encouraging creativity, your child is learning and engaging with information and books.
There are some delightful Non Fiction books that I found in the library and narrowing it down to 2 was almost impossible. I eventually chose It’s a Baby Kangaroo by Kelly Doudna and Kangaroos by Rose Davin. These books relate well to the Kangaroo that your child has made in their Aussie Animals Packs, especially with the joeys in the pouch. Both the books I chose are simple and explain the life of a Kangaroo well, the key words are highlighted and creates an opportunity for your early reader to learn new words. The glossary in the back of both books enabling you to explain their meanings comprehensively.
I mainly recommend tying this in with your craft by reading through the books and looking at the pictures. The book reads like a picture books and has large easy to read text so makes it ideal to use in this way. Other ways to use these books are:
- In the It’s a Baby Kangaroo! book the fun fact on how far an adult kangaroo can leap can be measured out by you and your child. This will be a fun way to understand the amazing abilities of kangaroos.
- To follow on from the first point, you could also see how far you can get the child’s kangaroo they have made to leap and then compare how different it is between the real and homemade kangaroo.
- There is a map in the Kangaroos book which shows that they live in Australia. You can explain to your child that there are different animals that life all over the world and point to some countries and talk about which animals live there.
- In the back of the Kangaroos books with other resources such as websites and books. Seek these out and explore what fun things they have for you to explore further e.g. https://www.natgeokids.com/au/discover/animals/general-animals/kangaroo-facts/
Some More Thoughts
When deciding what you want to do to extend your child’s art experience, use your imagination. Learning is fun and that is so easy to do if you just allow yourself the freedom to do so. You don’t have to go out of your way and buy more resources, once you have brought your Smarty Arty Aussie Animals kit then use what you have at home, go to your local library just as I did and find some books there (if your not sure how to the Librarians would love to assist you), or even make your own books by getting pictures and information from magazines and the internet.
I hope that you have found something of interest to do with your child on this page. My last blog post on this topic is coming soon and I will be sharing with you a few different types of picture books that you can read with your child. In the meantime, why not take a look at the Smarty Arty website and their Aussie Animals packs.