Preschool Story Stretchers: "Are You My Mother?"
Are You My Mother? by PD Eastman is the familiar story of a little bird who goes in search of his mother, asking different animals and machines "Are you my mother?" In the end, the bird finds a big machine that she calls Snort that deposits the little bird right into her nest just as the bird mother is serving the breakfast worm. It is possible to plan an entire day of Are You My Mother? preschool activities. In this article, we will show you how.
Before beginning these Are You My Mother? preschool activities, divide a long sheet of butcher paper into three sections. Label each section "beginning, middle, end". Using the book for help if necessary, ask the children to recall what happened at the very beginning of the story until the bird met the kitten. Explain to them that you will be creating a mural, and that a mural tells a story with pictures. In the "beginning" section of the paper, ask the children to draw pictures about what happened at the beginning of the story. Break the book into three very distinct sections and allow the children to draw pictures that coincide with each section of the story. Be sure to display the group artwork where parents and children can enjoy it.
Using old nature magazines, or printed pictures from the Internet, find several pictures of baby animals and their mothers. If possible, laminate the pictures or mount them on posterboard and cover with contact paper to make them more sturdy. With younger preschoolers, use the pictures for a matching game. Which baby animal goes with which mother?
With older preschoolers, you can play a Memory game. Flip all pictures over, with the picture facing down, as in the game of Memory. Each child takes a turn flipping the pictures over, attempting to match the baby animal with its mother. Play until all the animals have been matched. You may also use these cards to discuss animal habitats, animal eating habits, or to decorate your science corner.
Cooking and Snack
Using this simple recipe for soft pretzel dough, allow the children to roll long pretzel "worms". You may use chocolate chips or raisins for the eyes. Placing the recipe on a large posterboard and using pictures as well as words will allow the children to help you in the kitchen. Be sure to give them plenty of opportunities to measure, pour, and mix.
Fill your sensory table with potting soil or sand if soil is not available. Allow children to explore the soil or sand on their own before introducing large trucks and other earth-moving vehicles. Discuss the role of Snort the Machine in Are You My Mother? Make note of the jobs these large earth movers may have, such as building roads and digging foundations for homes and other buildings. Provide several small animal toys in the sensory table area and see if children are interested in transporting the small animals with the earth-movers as the little bird was transported by Snort in the story.
Reference: Story Stretchers: Activities to Expand Children's Favorite Books; Shirley Raines; 1989