On March 2, 1904 Theodor Seuss Geisel, popularly known as Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. From his first book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, to his last, Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss thrilled young readers with his unique tongue-twisters and fanciful worlds. Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991 but his birthday has become a day to celebrate reading.
In fact, this date is now known as Read Across America day. Many elementary school classrooms will have activities in honor of Dr. Seuss this week, but they shouldn’t get to have all the fun. Here are some ways you can celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading in your own house.
Creative Crafts: Bookworm bookmarks
Supplies required: Elmer’s glue, adhesive foam shapes, colored craft sticks, google eyes and a marker.
1. Layer the shapes on one end of the craft stick and overlap them a bit to make the worm.
2. Add some google eyes on top.
3. Use the marker to draw a smile, glasses or other details.
• Related reading: I Can Read with My Eyes Shut
Awesome Activities: Book relay races
Following the example of that master balancer the Cat in the Hat, have the kids show off their balancing skills. Group the kids into teams and have them do a simple relay race with a book balanced on their heads. Make it more challenging by adding a book on each trip – see how many books they can balance on their head while walking across the room.
• Related reading: "The Cat in the Hat"; "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back"
Spectacular Science: Make oobleck
Making oobleck only requires two ingredients (one of which is water), some newspaper to contain any messiness, a bowl and your hands. Paper bowls make for easy clean up (just toss it all in the trash) but any bowl will do. Feel free to double or triple the ingredients to make more.
Oobleck ingredients: 1/4 cup corn starch, 8 teaspoons of water. Place in a bowl and mix together.
Just like in the story, your kids will quickly realize that there’s something up with this liquid. The secret? It reacts under pressure – it’s a liquid that can act as a solid. Have your kids try these experiments:
1. Put a finger into the liquid and push down, you should feel it getting hard and almost gripping your finger. Now try to quickly pull it out. It will probably pop out but not easily and sometimes the whole bowl comes with you. Put your finger in again and slowly pull it out – it comes right out with no problems whatsoever. Why? It’s all about pressure – apply pressure and this liquid acts like a solid. Keep things easy and it behaves as a liquid.
2. Now ask the kids what they think will happen if you scoop up a handful and try to squeeze it. After all, if you squeeze a handful of water you just get water dripping out of your hand. Ahhh… but squeeze a handful of oobleck and you get a handful of something hard – it’s true! Open your hand to release the pressure and watch it melt back into a liquid.
3. The splash test. If you splash a bowl of water hard, you’ll end up with very little water in the bowl but lots of water around you. Splash your bowl of oobleck – it stays in the bowl!
• Related reading: "Bartholomew and the Oobleck"
Important note about clean up: do NOT pour your oobleck down the sink, unless of course you want to make a call to your local plumber to unclog that hardened mess. Toss it all in the trash.
Celebrate reading! Sometime today, pull out your favorite Dr. Seuss books and read them together. Go to the library and pick out some new books. Get out the green food coloring and whip up a batch of green eggs and ham. Most importantly, use Dr. Seuss’ birthday as a chance to have a little fun together.
Excellent resource for more fun facts, recipes, printables and other Seussian activities: seussville.com