I used to teach 3rd grade.
I educated 164 kids and hopefully passed along to them my love of creative writing and especially children’s literature. It’s fun to get Facebook messages from them and hear about high school or see pictures of them going to prom. Such great kids!
My classroom size has now been reduced to two …and I have to say, it is a lot more fun with waaaay fewer parent-teacher conferences to prepare for. I also hope to pass along to my “current students” a love for writing and children’s lit.
One of my favorite things to do for my “current classroom” is make little mini-units for the boys based around children’s book where we preview the book, read it and then do activities that enrich the literature–leading to better comprehension.
Recently we decided to have a Where the Wild Things Are Day. That Maurice Sendak, he sure knew how to tell a great story!
Here are nine little activities that I did with my kids to help them love the book. We did all of them together on a rainy day, but if you don’t have all day long to play, just choose one or two. Your kids will love it and you will feel like super mom!
Get dressed in your favorite “Wild Things” gear.
The first thing you need to do is get in character. We were lucky enough to have an actual Where the Wild Things Are shirt (thank you Old Navy!) for Tyson, but Gavin decided to wear a Cookie Monster tee to help him get in the mood.
Preview the book.
I like to have my kids preview the book before we dive in. Previewing helps them better connect to the text. I let them look at the cover and a few illustrations and ask them when they think the book is about. I invite them to make predictions and I give them hints on what the book is really about. The first picture up there is of my kids previewing.
Read the book together.
As the reader, use your voice as an instrument to draw them in–get louder and softer, use different voices for characters, sound effects, etc. I ask them questions on what they think is going to happen next, how they think the characters feel during certain parts, why they think a character would do something, if it reminds them of anything, etc.
Have a Wild Rumpus.
If you are familiar with this book, you know what I am talking about. Basically it is a chance for your kids to be crazy. We did this after we read the entire book. It was their favorite series of illustrations and we reenacted them.
Build a Fort Together.
Although the text does not specifically point out that Max built a fort, there are several illustrations of “forts” throughout the book. We gather information/the author’s meaning from the text as well as the illustrations. If you are lucky enough to have one of your best friends make you a Build a Fort Kit (like I now have!), use that!
I helped the boys make the fort and secured it (clothes pins are amazing for this), but then I let them free play in there for as long as they wanted to. I even delivered treats–similar to Max’s mom. Upon delivery I proclaimed, “Someone who loves you best of all is bringing you snacks!” as that’s how Max describes his mom in the turning point of the book.
In the book, Max is made king of all the wild things and given a crown. I grabbed markers, stickers, stamps, etc. and let the boys decorate their own crown however they wanted. They wore them on and off for the rest of the day.
Build a Wild Thing out of clay.
There is a reason why Maurice Sendak won the Caldecott Award for this book–the illustrations are awesome! The monsters or “Wild Things” are fun, a little scary but lovable too. I asked the kids which parts of which Wild Things they liked the best and then they worked together to create a Wild Thing out of clay. Then they spent a good 15 minutes arguing over naming him, talking how how scary he was or if he was “a nice guy”, telling me what he liked to do …and, of course, destroying him.
Watch Where the Wild Things Are.
We rented Where the Wild Things Are and watched it together as a family when Mr. R got home from work. I made popcorn and we snuggled in to watch the show …which we did not love. Tyson got bored. Gavin thought it was a horror flick. Mr. R and I just plain hated it. That said, it gave us a great chance to talk about the differences between the book and the movie–comparing the two and talking about which we liked more. In that way, it was worth the $1 rental.
And that’s a wrap! This is a long-time beloved story of mine. In fact, look at the inscription in the front of our copy written to Tyson from my mom.
I hope you and your kiddos have a blast!
Where the Wild Things Are Book Activities Overview:
- Wear “Wild Things” gear. Get dressed in your favorite “Wild Things” clothing. For us, that means an actual Where the Wild Things Are shirt and a Cookie Monster shirt. You could even do a costume!
- Preview the book. Let the kids look at the pictures, make predictions and wonder.
- Read the book. Ask the kids questions about what they think is going to happen next, how that made a character feel, etc.
- Have a wild rumpus. This was a jump-a-thon on Mom and Dad’s bed.
- Build a fort together just like Max. I let the kids play with that on their own for awhile. Deliver snacks to said fort.
- Make crowns. Every King of the Wild Things needs a crown complete with markers and smelly stickers.
- Create with clay. Make a Wild Thing monster out of clay. Name him. Talk about his favorite things to do.
- Watch Where the Wild Things Are together as a family when Dad gets home from work. Popcorn is a must …because the movie really isn’t that good. LOL
- Talk about the differences between the book and the movie and what they liked/didn’t like.