*Thank you HarperCollins for sponsoring this post. Regardless all thoughts and opinions are my own and I only recommend brands and products I truly love.
Recently on a trip to the library, the librarian asked us if we’d considered signing up for our county summer reading program. I honestly hadn’t even thought about it with my kids ages. But now they are obsessed – wanting to read what feels like a zillion books every day and earn as many badges as possible (because… prizes). But with all this book reading, Maddie Grace has really started talking about how she’d like to be able to read the books herself, and of course I started looking into tools to encourage her reading and teach her fundamentals so that she can start learning how to read by herself.
I love using the I Can Read! Early Reader Series books with her because they are introducing her to the world of reading while also having fun and exciting stories that she really enjoys! I Can Read! books are separated into levels that teach skills like word repetition and recognizing sight words so Maddie Grace can grow with the stories.
If you follow my blog or my Instagram account, you probably already know my kids love of Pete the Cat, one of the characters featured in the I Can Read! series. With it being summer I’m really pushing books on my children and trying to do crafts at home to keep their interest in the books we are reading and to get their creativity flowing. So when we read a new Pete the Cat book I instantly thought of a fun project we could do to correlate with it. In Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School, Pete tries on a bunch of different clothes trying to look cool for school, ending up with a crazy outfit, but eventually realizes he just needs to be himself. So we made Pete the Cat paper bag puppets and my kids were able to get creative and paint a crazy outfit for Pete on the paper bag! They had so much fund doing this (as did I) and then were able to act out the story with their puppets while we read the book again!
Here’s what you need:
Construction Paper (we used blue, yellow, pink, red, and black)
Here’s what you do:
Before getting the kids involved it’s good to do a little prep work. I cut the paper plates in half, and cut out shapes for the eyes, nose, mouth, whiskers, tails, and ears from the construction paper. I also went ahead and set up our workplace and put a little of every paint color on a plate.
Start by painting the plate halves blue. Set them aside to dry. While those are drying, start painting the paper bags. It helps to have read the book first and explain how they are painting a crazy outfit for Pete the Cat. Maddie Grace really wanted to coordinate with the book and said he was putting on a shirt of every color as she mixed them all together on her bag. I thought that was pretty cool. Tripp who I wasn’t even planning on getting involved in this craft because he’s only 2 was actually more specific saying he was using certain colors for the shirt and pants and shoes which I thought was pretty cool. Set those aside to dry as well.
After allowing the painted items to dry (we gave them a couple of hours) it’s time to glue them together! We glued the plates to the top of the bag. Then we glued on the facial features and tail. Then we let them dry a little longer.
Once totally dry we read Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School again and the kids got to act out what was going on with their puppets. Well really just Maddie Grace did, Tripp kept throwing his which wasn’t a surprise. But Maddie Grace thought it was so much fun and had a blast with it! Plus we can hold onto the puppets and play with them again when we read the book!
Because I enjoy doing at home activities to go along with the books with my kids I love that HarperCollins offers teacher’s guides for each of these books full of ideas parents can implement at home. If you are like me and have a kid just learning to read you may find these 100 Tips for Beginning Readers helpful – there are some seriously great tips in here that I hadn’t thought of! Watch more of how the I can Read! series works here:
If you have a kid learning to read I am giving away a gift pack featuring 5 books from the Early Reader Series series and a State bags Early Reader Series perfect for this back to school season we are in! Enter using the form below and good luck!