Welcome to Read and Play Summer Series! I’m so happy you are wanting to use literacy as a springboard to play. I am sharing some of my favorite early childhood books with you along with developmental activities that will engage your little one and prime them with the skills they need to become a lifelong reader. Let’s dive in!

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Read and Play for Should I Share my Ice Cream?
Ice Cream playdoh

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Introduction to Should I Share My Ice Cream?

Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books will quickly steal your heart and become fast favorites in your home. Should I Share My Ice Cream? is a quintessential summer story with an amazing lesson about sharing.

Elephant’s long debate about whether or not he should share his ice cream leaves him in a very undesirable situation at the end. Your little one will be laughing and will want to read it over and over again!

Things to Note while You Read

  1. Elephant and Piggie books are written using speech bubbles. This may be the first time your child is seeing a book written this way. Point these speech bubbles out to your child and explain that they represent what each character is saying.

    You will notice that every character’s speech bubble color is different. Even though Gerald (Elephant) is the most visible character in this book, it is good to note that that is an easy way to tell who is speaking. You definitely will want to make different voices for each character.

  2. Along those lines, you will also notice that there are thought bubbles on certain pages. Explain that this is to help the reader understand what Elephant is thinking could happen, not what is actually happening.
  3. To add into the speech bubble fun, Mo Willems makes it very clear with his font sizes and variations how Elephant would sound while speaking. Try to match your voice to his intentions. Trust me, it’s fun!

Vocabulary You Should Uncover

There aren’t many difficult vocabulary words in this book at all. In fact, the two words that I suggest you pull out are ones your child probably already knows and uses.

However, this may be a good point in time to introduce that different words can mean the same thing. Let’s take a look at this:

  1. FLAVOR– Share that ice cream comes in many flavors and give multiple examples of different flavors. Ask your child what their favorite flavor is and if they can think of something else that has different flavors.
    Next time your child wants something that has different flavors, instead of saying, “Which one do you want?”, make sure you are saying, “Which flavor do you want?
  2. TASTY–Explain that the word tasty is another way to say that something tastes good. Share that there are many ways to say that something tastes good like something is delicious or yummy. Ask if they can give you an example of something that is tasty.
    Encourage your child to use different words to describe when they eat something tasty like delicious or yummy.

Questions to Ponder

Asking a few questions before and during reading is a great way to get your child to start thinking critically about books. Here are a couple of questions that can get you started, but make sure to not overdo it!

  1. Before reading, ask, “Have you ever not wanted to share something before? What was it?”

2. After reading this page:

ask, “What is happening to Elephant’s ice cream?”

3. After reading this page:

ask, “If you were Piggie, would you share your ice cream? Why?”

Literacy Boost

We are going to work on some categorizing with this book, which is an amazing vocabulary builder. When your child categorizes things, they are learning how different things can be similar. They also are learning about adjectives and how those adjectives describe something.

To play this game, you will need to gather a couple of items from your pantry and fridge/freezer and a couple of bins. You can place a sticky note on each bin with the name of the category to help your child’s concept of print.

The first category will be things that are cold. Place about 10 items out in front of your child. At least half of them should be things that are cold. So you may have some crackers, an ice cube, a fork, cookies, frozen waffles, salad dressing, etc.

Your bins may be labeled “cold” and “not cold”.

Have your child start feeling each item and if they decide that it is something that is cold, they place it in the appropriate bin.

sorting bins by cold and not cold with random objects for categorizing
Sort objects into bins labeled “Cold” and “Not Cold”

Here are some other ideas that go along with our ice cream theme this week:

  • things that are creamy
  • things that are sweet
  • things that melt
  • things that have many flavors

Sensory Exploration

These sensory activities will be tons of fun for your little ice cream lover!

Sprinkle Sensory Bin

This simple sensory bin just requires a lot of sprinkles…and whatever else you want to throw in!

Simply fill a bin with sprinkles, then provide your little one with measuring cups to play and explore.

Personally, I also like to throw in some magnetic letters so that I can provide another literacy boost and get my little one noticing and exploring the alphabet.

Edible Ice Cream Sensory Dough

ice cream dough
Ice Cream Dough from The Soccer Mom Blog

This edible sensory dough from the Soccer Mom Blog is a great recipe for play.

Simply mix together 1 cup of frosting with 2 cups of powdered sugar. You can make it colorful by adding in some food dyes or just getting some different colored frosting.

To boost your little one’s literacy skills during play, you can encourage your child to set up a little ice cream shop. Have them take your order and practice scooping out the ice cream to give to you.

Make Your Own Ice Cream…Without an Ice Cream Maker!

homemade ice cream
Ice Cream Recipe from 4 Son ‘R’ Us

This activity brings me back to my childhood. Before there were all those fancy ice cream makers, we used to make homemade ice cream in a baggie.

Fair warning, this is not an instant gratification activity. This takes time and work, but you will find that the effort pays off!

Check out this simple recipe from 4sonrus.com.

Art Exploration

Put your creative hat on and start getting artsy!

Use cotton balls to make 3-D ice cream cones. You will need some cones, cotton balls, glue, different color paints, water, and a syringe or dropper.

Start by watering down your paints. Pick a couple of colors and in an 8 oz plastic cup, squeeze in a tiny dab of paint. Fill the cup about half way with water and stir until the paint is completely dissolved.

Next, put a dab of glue at the bottom of your cone and on each cotton ball. Have your child start filling up the cone with the cotton balls and arranging them like ice cream once it start to overflow. Add more glue as needed!

Once the glue dries, have your child add “flavor” to the cone by using the syringes or droppers to pick up the colored water and squirt it onto their cone as they please.

Read and Play for Should I Share my Ice Cream?
Ice Cream playdoh

Loved this Read and Play? Check out others in the Summer Series!