Monday, July 25, 2011

It's the Dog Days of Summer

I just couldn't resist using "the dog days of summer" in a post.  Here's a simple and fun play date I set up for my boys this summer.

You know we can't start off anything big without a book, or several books!

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Poor George can't bark and his mother is worried.  All that comes out is sounds from other animals.  A trip to the vet should sort this mess out.  Simple and funny with a great little twist at the end.  This book is my favorite dog book so far.

Move Over, Rover! by Karen Beaumont
Rover's in the doghouse, and some unwelcome visitors decide to join him during the storm.  See what drives them all quickly outside, rain or no rain!  Repetitive and rhyming, this is a good one for the preschool set.

The Stray Dog by Marc Simont
This lovable stray dog may have just found the perfect family in this simple story with a sweet ending.

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
Confession time:  I think Clifford is quite silly and not the best literature.  In a world of amazing children's books, I didn't really think they were worth my consideration.  However, my boys find him totally endearing and so we read Clifford books.  Lots of them.  I admit, they have grown on me and I do like that the simple text makes good reading material for Mr. One.  You also have to appreciate the simple story lines and emphasis on being kind and a loving central family.

Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty
If not for the story, this book is worth a read to gaze at the soft, warm illustrations.  This book takes us along on a day with Hondo (the dog) and Fabian (the cat).  While it seems that their individual activities should be quite different from each other, they, in fact, share many similarities. 

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry goes on an adventure and gets very dirty.  So dirty, that his family doesn't even recognize him!  Poor Harry.  Luckily a good scrub in the tub will reveal his true spots.  (It would be fun to get a few plastic dogs or washable stuffed ones, let them roll in the mud, and give them a good scrub after reading this story.)

There is a great collection of printables and activities that go with Bark, George on Making Learning Fun.  Mr. Two loved the shadow matching game, and Mr. One and Mr. Two liked the George Barks emergent reader.  I tried to convince Mr. One to use the Bark George outline and create his own animals to put in his belly and write their sounds on a speech bubble, but he wanted to play with his legos at that point.  (Just keeping it real, folks!)

We made our own doggie bones using this breadstick recipe, and knotting the ends instead of twisting the whole dough strip.  (So yummy with fettucini alfredo.)

We made doggie ears from some white construction paper and stamped circles of paper with my boys' doggie names for their collars.  Super simple.  Here are "George" and "Benji" (yes, they chose their own dog names).

Then, I tested my doggies on their keen digging and retrieving skills.  They dug through our foam bath letters and numbers for the item I requested, then dropped it into their doggie dish and barked the name of the letter or number.

Obviously, I need to help Mr. Two with the whole number/letter concept.

Don't worry, all that hard work was not left unrewarded.  Each obedient doggie was given a doggie biscuit (graham cracker shapes).

I also thought of playing doggie doggie where's your bone? but let's face it, it's not that challenging to figure out who's hiding the bone when there are only three of us...

A few other places to find some fun doggie ideas.

Oopsey Daisy has a dog themed mommy school post.
Making Learning Fun has a whole section on a pet theme.

Enjoy these last few dog days of summer!

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