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Story Steppingstones


Multigenerational Family Photos

Connections: Schools (Social Studies, Health); Seniors Groups/Facilities; Community Groups; Families.

What You Need: Copies of A Little Something; family photos.

Doing It:

Photos are evocative for both young and old. They carry a lot of meaning and emotion for adults, and even toddlers respond to them. They are also an effective way to show connections across generations.

Explore the role of photos in A Little Something. How does one photo play a central role in the story? What's happening in the photo?

Have everyone bring in and share their multigenerational family photos. How many generations are in one photo? How is everyone related? Do you see similarities between the people in the photo? Who has a photo with the most generations?

A good companion activity is Genetic Ingredients.


Hug Tag

Connections: Schools (Physical Education); Community Groups; Seniors Groups/ Facilities.

What You Need: Red object(s) like a flag, sock, or scarf.

Doing It:

There's a line that's repeated in A Little Something: "She gave her a big, warm smile and a warm, snuggly hug." Hugs are a way to show love, and a way to make people feel loved and cared about. But do you know that research shows that the older people get, the fewer hugs we give them? We give teenagers fewer hugs than toddlers, and older adults fewer hugs than young adults. Everyone needs a hug sometime. So, go ahead, give someone a hug!

Hug tag is a great cooperative game for young children. It can also be an intergenerational game, with children helping older adults (they can push individuals who may be in a wheelchair). All players are involved all of the time, and the message is that we are safe when we are connected to other people.

One or more children start out as "it." They are given a visible red object to hold like a flag, sock, or scarf. The goal is to tag and hug another person and then hand off the red object so that the other person becomes the new "it."

Players are safe from being tagged only when they are in a group being hugged. They can't run away from the people who are "it." Only being in a hug group makes them safe. The maximum allowed number of people in a hug group can be two or three, depending on the total number of people you have playing. When a leader calls out "New Hug," people must leave their hug group, scatter, and find a new hug group with different people. The people who are "it" try to tag and hug someone. Once they hand off the red object, they can't be tagged by the person they just tagged as they try to find a hug group.

After playing for a brief time, change the rules to make things a little more challenging -- groups can only maintain their hug for as long as all the members can hum on one breath. When a group runs out of breath, they must disband and find new people to form a new hug group.


Hug Card

Connections: Schools (Art); Families; Community Groups

What You Need: Colored construction paper; scissors; ruler; pencil; pencil crayons and/or markers; yarn; glue. Optional -- compass (to draw a circle); photo of yourself (duplicate or color photocopy).

Doing It:

When people hear that familiar line in A Little Something -- "She gave her a big, warm smile and a warm, snuggly hug" -- they often feel like they want to hug someone they love.

Explore the different kinds of hugs by reading some storybooks all about hugs: Hug by Jez Alborough; How About a Hug? by Nancy Carlson; A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross.

Here's a card children can make to give a hug to a parent, grandparent, or grandfriend -- even if they don't live nearby. It's also a nice gift for older adults in an assisted living facility or grandfriends participating in an intergenerational program.

Cut out a large circle from construction paper, about 10 inches in diameter. This circle is the head. Make a face on the head that looks like you. You can glue on yarn for hair, and cut pieces out of other colors of construction paper for eyes, a nose, and a smiling mouth. Add other details with pencil crayons and/or markers. Or, you can use an enlarged color photo of your face and stick it onto the circle.

Now trace around both your hands onto construction paper. Cut out each of your hands.

Make a strip of construction paper 18 inches long by 4 inches wide. Lay it down horizontally. Glue the bottom part of your head to the center of the top of the strip of paper (so that the mouth on the face is above the top edge of the strip). The strip of paper now becomes your arms. Glue one hand onto the end of each arm (thumbs up).

Fold over the arms toward the middle of the strip of paper so that the fingers of the hands overlap in the middle. It should look like your arms are giving a hug.

Unfold the arms and write inside the card (on the paper strip, underneath the head), "Here's a BIG hug for you! Love (your name)." Fold the card back up. Now you can send a hug to someone special.


"I Love You" Heart Card

Connections: Schools (Math, Art); Families; Community Groups.

What You Need: Copies of key and grid; pink or red construction paper; pencil; ruler; scissors; pencil crayons; glue. Optional -- pieces of shredded, white tissue paper.

Doing It:

In A Little Something, there's an illustration of a needlework heart cushion. It says "I Love You." The design includes a big pink heart with a small purple heart in it, big purple flowers, and a border of tiny pink and purple flowers. My grandmother actually gave me a cushion like the one in the book. I still have it and it's a very special keepsake. She got the idea for the design from a Valentine's Day card I sent her one year. My grandmother loved to receive cards, and I would spend a lot of time finding special cards that I knew she would like. My grandmother always loved needlework, so the moment I saw the card with the simulated needlework design I knew she would like it. Little did I know that she would surprise me by making a real needlework heart cushion using the design from the card.

Not only adults can do needlework. 150 years ago, children practiced needlework skills and learned their alphabet and numbers all in one activity. They would cross-stitch letters and numbers onto cloth. Cross-stitch needlework is basically a series of "X's" made out of thread and arranged into different patterns.

Children can simulate cross-stitch, develop their graphing/math skills, and make an attractive card for a parent, grandparent, or grandfriend.

Start with the grid supplied. A coordinate grid is made up of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines. Numbers along the side and bottom of the grid help you locate specific squares. The origin is at 0. To indicate a specific square, you use two numbers -- one to indicate how many units to the right from the origin a square is, and the other to indicate how many units up from the origin a square is. For example, the coordinate pair (8,12) means the square is eight units to the right and then twelve units up. The coordinate pair (4,9) means the square four units to the right and then nine units up.

Use the key supplied to create a special "I Love You" heart design similar to the one on the heart cushion in A Little Something. Use a ruler to make it easier to keep track of where you are on the grid (or you can use the corner of a sheet of paper). In each square, make a thick, pencil crayon "X" in the color indicated. This will make your design look like cross-stitch needlework.

Once you're finished, cut out the heart shape and glue it onto pink or red construction paper. Place it at a bit of an angle, toward the top of your sheet. Then, at the bottom of your sheet, write who your card is to and who it's from (with love, of course!).

If you like, you can simulate lace by outlining the edge of the heart with a line of white glue and then placing small pieces of shredded, white tissue paper side-by-side around the heart.

From Valentine's Activity Kit by © Susan V. Bosak

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