Simple Extension Activities for 5 Favorite Kindergarten Read-Alouds

December 16, 2019

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Simple Extension Activities for 5 Favorite Kindergarten Read-Alouds

Sonlight’s Kindergarten homeschool curriculum is a favorite with thousands of families because of all the amazing books. As classic books should be, the titles in History / Bible / Literature A are fun for all ages to read. Kids love them. Yet moms and dads love them, too!

When you’re finished with Sonlight K, you’ve made dear friends in the books you read, and you won’t want to part with them. Instead, the books take cherished positions on the shelves of your family library to be pulled down and enjoyed again and again. (Can you imagine a child revisiting a workbook or textbook months or years later? Probably not!)

If you want a gentle kindergarten approach that fosters both cultural literacy and family closeness, you can’t do better than this program!

Intro to the World: Cultures History / Bible / Literature A
Intro to the World: Cultures History / Bible / Literature A

Taking Kindergarten Reading Even Farther… But Why?

Some families love to extend the reading beyond enjoying the stories, discussing the questions in the Instructor’s Guide, and doing a simple mapping or timeline activity. They want hands-on crafts, active games, field trips, and themed play that can extend the Read-Alouds even farther.

You might wonder why a family would want more than is already scheduled in Sonlight. If you’re a busy family, stretched thin with extracurriculars, rehearsals, volunteering, and day-to-day family life, maybe you cringe a little at the thought of adding bonus activities to your homeschool day. If that’s you, be assured that extras are just that—extras. Sonlight is complete as it is.

Yet some families like to add extras for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Crafty kids clamor for artistic projects.
  • Active kids learn better by acting out or playing with what they learn.
  • Screen-free families prefer activities instead of watching media for recreation.
  • Families in remote areas (rural areas or missionaries, for example) may have fewer outside-the-home activities and enjoy spending their free time on extension crafts.
  • Some homeschool co-ops like to add projects so kids stay engaged and can work together.
  • Some children do better with slightly structured play times versus free play.
  • Sometimes a book is simply so gripping that kids don’t want to stop enjoying it. These activities make the fun last longer.

Here is a round-up of family-tested extension activities for five beloved titles from Sonlight Kindergarten.

1. My Father’s Dragon Activities

6 Extension Activities for Kids Who Love My Father’s Dragon

My Father's DragonMake a map of Wild Island and Tangerina using air-dry clay and kiddy dough. Then use small toys to populate your island. The very act of making the model is a form or narration, or telling back.

The hero of the story, Elmer, packed a toothbrush for his trip to Wild Island. Children don’t always see the need to brush their teeth, so do a simple science experiment to demonstrate why. Read the directions and see four more activities here.

2. Dolphin Adventure Activities

Jumping Dolphin Craft Plus More Extensions for Dolphin Adventure

Dolphin AdventureSet up a small wading pool, kitchen sink, bathtub, or large container of water for re-enacting the story. You’ll need some dolphin figures, of course, but let your children extend the story in their own ways, making up new situations and experimenting with fresh endings.

Use paper plates and a paper brad to create a jumping dolphin craft! See the step-by-step tutorial and more Dolphin Adventure activities here.

3. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children Activities

Extension Activities for James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

James Herriot's Treasury for ChildrenTake inspiration from the hat-making competition from James Herriot’s Treasury for Children! Set up your own hat-making project with inexpensive supplies from the dollar store: cheap straw hats, ribbons, fake flowers, and hair bows.

After you read Chapter 8: Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb, take an outing to a petting zoo where you can touch and play with sheep. Or stay at home and make lamb crafts. See the directions and more activities for James Herriot’s Treasury for Children here.

4. The Boxcar Children Activities

Fast and Easy Extension Ideas for The Boxcar Children

Grab your collection of LEGO and minifigs! It’s time to build a model of the boxcar that the children lived in.

The Boxcar ChildrenGo blueberry picking and then try blueberries and cream.

Take a trip to a thrift store (a safer option in lieu of going to the dump as the book’s characters did). Give your children a small budget and let them select items for a clubhouse, treehouse, or even a fort made with a sheet draped over the dining room table.

Try washing clothes by hand and then hanging them with clothespins on a line to dry. (Old fashioned life skills!)

See more activities, chapter-by-chapter for The Boxcar Children here.

5. Winnie the Pooh Activities

Extension Activities for Winnie the Pooh

For Winnie the Pooh, there’s so much more to do that merely watch cartoon or live versions of the stories!

Winnie the PoohHave a tea party… with honey, of course, and discuss table manners.

Play a fun hide and search game with stuffed animals to relive the Woozles storyline.

Play the classic party game Pin the Tail on the Donkey in honor of Eyeore.

In the book, Pooh and Piglet didn’t have much time to prepare for Eeyore’s birthday and yet managed, as good friends should, to come up with two heartfelt gifts on short notice. Have your children brainstorm a spur of the moment gift for someone dear to your family.

See more activities, chapter-by-chapter for Winnie the Pooh here.

Learning How to Add Extension Activities

When you start homeschooling, you may not know how to come up with activities to go with the books you read. It all seems a bit mysterious. But after following these activity suggestions for a few months, you start to see a pattern. Then you’ll internalize the process of using any book you read as a launch pad for more activities.

You won’t have to turn to screens for amusement and your kids will rarely be bored because you’ll be able to devise crafts, projects, imaginative play, and outings that all reinforce what you’ve been learning in your Read-Alouds.

Let your children’s curiosity and delight lead you! When it comes to extension activities, there’s no wrong answer. Explore tangents, play, create, and soak in these precious early years with your kindergartners.

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Simple Extension Activities for 5 Favorite Kindergarten Read-Alouds

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