Fill those rainy days with words (and fun!)

2014-06-05T07:00:00Z 2014-06-11T09:59:13Z Fill those rainy days with words (and fun!)Barb Ruess Times Correspondent
June 05, 2014 7:00 am  • 

This year’s long winter means many parents throughout Northwest Indiana area have exhausted their supply of indoor activities. What do you do with your kids when they are stuck inside on a rainy summer day? Here are two ideas that should make those hours fly by for you and your children!

Create a poetry coffeehouse

Sara Hart, Hobart kindergarten teacher noted, “It is important for young children to be exposed to common nursery rhymes and poetry to help prepare them for reading and writing. I like to use poetry with my kindergarten students because it helps these learners develop new vocabulary and to hear patterns in text.“ There is a lot of learning to be found in poetry but your kids will also find lots of fun at your poetry coffeehouse.

Taking inspiration from the beat poets of the 1960s, tell the kids they are going to write and perform their own poetry in your new coffeehouse. Think of a fun name for your coffeehouse and ask the kids to make some signs for it. After the poetry is written, turn off the lights and get out some candles. Have the kids dress the part in dark clothes, sunglasses, scarves, maybe a beret. Then each child gets to stand up and read their poetry creations.

Not sure where to start? Katie Spisich teacher at Liberty Elementary in Chesterton recommends exposing children to different kinds of poetry so they can learn what styles they like and dislike. “I introduce a new type of poem and the students get a chance to create their own in that style. It is a great way to expose them to a variety of poems. Many students discover two or three kinds of poems that they really enjoy making.”

Kelley Carroll, elementary teacher at Eisenhower Elementary in Crown Point agreed,” I use a variety of books to teach kids about different types of poems. Important Poems are based on the book, “The Important Book” by Margaret Wise Brown. When I introduce Haiku poems, I use the books “Dogku,” “Guyku,” and “Won Ton.” When I introduce Acrostic poems, I use the book “Silver Seeds” by Paul Paolilli.”

Foster your favorite bookworm

Roddretta Waxton, Head of Children's Services at the Lake County Public Library thinks the library is a wonderful place to spend a rainy day. “We have a variety of classes and events at our branches. Our early literacy class is an interactive class for babies and toddlers birth to 23 months of age and their caregivers. Our classes for 2 and 3 year olds and their caregivers teaches the foundations of reading through letter and number recognition, listening comprehension, creative expression and social skills. Our classes for 4 and 5 year olds are designed to help children become independent learners. And for kindergarten through 5th grade we have classes and events that promote subjects such as science, history, math, and the arts through literature and creative expression.”

Even if there isn’t a class available when you arrive there are computers, puzzles, and a variety of ways to spend your day. And don’t forget all the books! Here are some recommendations from Waxton:

Babies (Board Books)

Peek-a-boo Dinosaurs by Charles Reasoner

Get Happy by Malachy Doyle

Quiet Bunny's Many Colors by Lisa McCue

Elementary & Older

Snip Snap! What's That? By Mara Bergman

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden: My Adventures on Ampato by Johan Reinhard

Can’t get to the library? Their website has a variety of free ebooks, puzzles and games: go to their homepage at Click on “Kids” and scroll down to “Kids Databases” for all kinds of fun resources including National Geographic for Kids, Scholastic BookFlix and TumbleBooks.

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