Preschool Book Club: Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel

March's Preschool Book Club was hosted by my sweet friend Kortney - who I'm delighted to introduce as my guest poster today! What a fun day full of music, noise and outdoor play! Kortney has 2 cutie-pie kiddos and a twin sister, Brooke, who guest posted for last month's book club! Read more about Kortney in her bio at the bottom of this post.

For this month's book club, we chose Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. My little guy and I read Burton's Katy and the Big Snow several times this winter, and he enjoyed Mike Mulligan the first few times we read it. But what really hooked us was a narration/music combo we found at our local library. The London Philharmonic Orchestra preformed a symphony composed by Stephen Simon to go along with the story. It was fantastic! We've listened so much that he literally has every word of this long book memorized. (Maestro Classics is the name of the company who produced this work, and they've done several other symphonies to go along with classic children's books. I highly recommend them!)

We started book club by listening to the symphony/story narration and looking at the pictures in the book. It was quite long and harder for a one-time listening audience, but I think kids who get to hear it over and over - or who are very familiar with the story - will enjoy the music recording better. 

For our snack we did a little building of our own. The book repeats the line "four corners near and square, four walls straight down" several times. I broke graham crackers in half and we looked at the four straight sides and four corners of the cracker. Then I gave them a plate with a scoop of peanut butter and five square crackers. They were supposed to spread the peanut butter on the bottom cracker, then try to build up four walls on each side. Then end result *could* have looked like the cellar Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne dug. I'm not sure any of ours were up to building code, but it was fun to try and yummy to eat.
While they were finishing snack, I showed them a few pictures of Mary Anne from the book, and pulled out some pre-cut shapes to show them. We looked at rectangles, a square and an oval and talked about the properties of each shape. I showed them an example of a Mary Anne that I built using my shapes, and asked them to build their own steam shovels by looking at my picture and the pictures of Mary Anne in the book. They did great with this activity! We ended with naming each of our steam shovels, which was probably my favorite part — Christy, Lily, Louie and Sueie.

Since the weather is finally warming up here, we took our last activity outside. I showed the kids pictures of a few other types of construction vehicles and trucks and talked about what they do. 

Then I pulled out a bag of assorted instruments - a triangle, cymbals, wooden blocks, dowels, bells, etc. I asked each child to think of a construction vehicle, and try to make the sound it makes using an instrument. My directions were a little too open-ended for this age. I wish I would have assigned a vehicle/sound to think of first for more guidance, "A cement mixer goes around and around mixing the cement. What instrument do you think could make a sound like a cement mixer?" But they got to try a lot of different instruments, make some noise and then go play on the swings! 

Even the little ones couldn't resist playing some music.

{Kortney is a stay-at-home mom who spends fun-filled days with her 4-year old and 18-month old copying all the fabulous ideas she can find on the Internet. She serves as a childcare coordinator for her church and has a huge heart for kiddos. While she has no musical training or talent, she has a son who loves music and fosters that love through musical books like Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel.}
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