This was a fun theme, and one I don’t think I’ve done before. Here’s what we did:
Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack
I love Jeff Mack’s books for their humor and simplicity. In this one, a rabbit and mouse are going for a picnic on a beautiful sunny day. “Good News!” the rabbit says, holding up the basket. Oh, but “Bad News!” the mouse replies, as it begins to rain. The book continues in this vein through ever worsening “Bad News,” situations: bees in the cake, a lightning storm, an angry bear. But the rabbit always finds some “Good News” to be happy about. The families enjoyed chiming in on the “Good News” and “Bad News.”
Big Bear, Small Mouse by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman
Very sweet addition to Karma Wilson’s Bear series. This rhyming book follows a group of animal friends through a series of opposites: Big Bear, Small Mouse; High Owl, Low Wren; Slow Badger, Fast Hair, etc. culminating in a cozy Warm Lair on a Cold Night. This one worked beautifully for our theme, and the kids loved joining in on the “Big Bear” at the end of each refrain.
Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland
Colorful, simple rhyming book about different types of dinosaurs, with opportunities for the kids to “ROAR!” Always a hit.
A lot of standard nursery rhymes work well for this theme including:
HICKORY DICKORY DOCK
I did this one with a mouse puppet, which I walked around the group to say hi to the kids before we sang the song:
Hickory Dickory Dock (clap hands in rhythm)
The mouse ran up the clock (run fingers up arm)
The clock struck one: BONG!
The mouse ran down (run fingers down arm)
Hickory Dickory Dock (clap hands)
…the clock struck two: BONG! BONG!
The mouse went “boo!” (cover eyes with hands, then peekaboo)
…the clock struck three: BONG! BONG! BONG!
The mouse went “whee!” (slide fingers down body)
TWO LITTLE BLACKBIRDS
Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, (Hold up both thumbs)
One named Jack, and the other named Jill.
Fly away, Jack! (Put one thumb behind your back)
Fly away, Jill! (Put the other thumb behind your back)
Come back, Jack! (Bring the first thumb out in front).
Come back, Jill! (Bring the second thumb out in the front).
Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud,
One was quiet, and the other was loud (I make my voice as loud and obnoxious as possible each time I sing the word “Loud!”)
Fly away, Quiet!
Fly away, Loud!
Come back, Quiet!
Come back, Loud!
Two little blackbirds sitting in the snow.
One flew fast!
And the other f-l-e-w s-l-o-w!…
Two little blackbirds sitting on a gate.
One was early,
And the other was…late!… (I like to drag the pauses out as long as possible before saying “Late!” until the kids are all yelling it out.)
THE NOBLE DUKE OF YORK
I love this song because it works well for both toddlers/preschoolers, who can follow along on their own, and as a lapsit song for babies, whose parents can lift them up and down:
The noble Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them all to the top of the hill, (stretch up high)
And he marched them down again. (crouch down low)
And when you’re up, you’re up. (stretch up high)
And when you’re down, you’re down. (crouch down low)
And when you’re only halfway up,
You’re neither up, nor down. (stretch up high, then quickly crouch down)
He marched them to the left,
He marched them to the right,
He marched them all around and round,
Oh, what a silly sight!
STAY AND PLAY: Texture Collage
This was a simple activity, but both the kids and the caregivers got really into it. The idea was to explore textures that were opposites: sand (rough), paper (smooth), feathers (soft), and acorn caps, or other found objects from the park (hard). I put out gluesticks, play sand, and feathers. These were two examples where the caregivers drew out “surprises” in glue for the kids to discover when they poured the sand on their paper. Some of the older kids did elaborate patterns of their own.
What are your favorite books about opposites? Please share them in the comments.