With the hope it might inspire your little ones, too, here's what we've been up to:
Cover your table with butcher paper and let your kids go to town with their crayons! Seriously, if you've never done this before, you've got to try it! It's SO much fun and has provided us with hours of entertainment recently. This is my little guy starting on his "African Animals picture."
A monkey runs away from a leopard in a tree while a rhino looks on.
(He's so funny about wanting me to label everything in his picture.)
The peregrine falcon -- my son's favorite, cut off on the top right -- was the first animal he drew. Next came his sister's favorite: the cheetah. I just love his bat-eared fox eating the termite! The aardwolf is trying to break open the termite mound, too.
A flamingo and crowned crane by the river
When he had drawn every African animal he could think of, he turned to -- you guessed it! -- his Animal Atlas. He decided to leave out the Saharan animals and stick to the ones of the savanna and rainforest, instead. He had already drawn every one on the savanna page except the one he is pointing to here -- the red headed weaver bird.
The final masterpiece!
My son has decided that he wants to do a different big drawing every day, so today, we took Africa down and started over with the rainforest. Tomorrow, he says, he'll do "Antarctica, then a bug's world, and then desert creatures."
Here's what I think is so cool about this whole thing and how it relates to literacy. It might seem like a reach, but I still think it is relevant. My son loves animals. He found the Animal Atlas at the library on his own and fell in love with it. I can't tell you how many days we've sat down to read and he has declared, "I want to read the whole thing!" (which we've never actually done in one sitting, because it would probably take us about 4 to 5 hours.) He's always been a hesitant artist, but he has taken something he loves and has learned a lot about from books (animals), and made that his artistic hook. His enthusiasm for animals and his favorite book about creatures around the world has inspired him not just to draw, but to love creating art. That certainly works for me.
There are all kinds of fabulous story-inspired art activities out there, and hopefully I'll share some of our other favorites with you soon. In the meantime, check out the Mommy and Me Book Club for more inspiration. It is one of my favorite blogs when it comes to story-related arts and crafts. And please, if you have a favorite book related activity, share it in the comments below!