Magic Tree House – “A Big Day for Baseball”

When I picked this book for our book club last August I didn’t realize that it was the day after Jackie Robinson Day. It worked out great! Also, some of the kids had learned about Jackie Robinson in school that day so there was a lot of discussion about him. baseball

In A Big Day for Baseball Jack and Annie travel back to Brooklyn, New York in 1947 to be ball boys at a baseball game. The only thing they can’t figure out is why they were sent to this particular game and why it is such an important day.

15 – 20 minutes – book reading and discussion

I decided to read Chapter 4, “Foul Ball!” because it’s the chapter that mostly deals with the anger and hate that people felt towards Jackie Robinson. It was a good opportunity to talk to the kids about treating other people the way that they would want to be treated. Also, we were able to talk about resilience and overcoming difficulties. I found a couple of videos about Jackie Robinson and what kind of a person he was. One of my favorites was when one of his teammates talked about how much Jackie wasn’t accepted as a part of the team at first but after Jackie was turned away at a hotel it made a lot of them think differently about him.

15 – 20 minutes – activities

I had a little bit of a hard time coming up with some activities to go with the book. I usually like to have something where the kids have to work in teams to create something or something that gets them moving. I really wanted to focus on Jackie Robinson but I kept hitting a wall. So, I ended up purchasing some inflatable baseballs and put the kids in teams of 3. they had to keep the baseball in the air while I played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” when the music stopped they dropped the ball and had to run to the nearest base that I had set up around the room. For the most part they thought that it was a fun game. I did have one girl come up to me and tell me, “This game is weird.”

I found this really cute craft idea over on The Exhausted Mom and decided that we should make it. These were perfect. The supplies needed were minimal and the kids had fun making them. The only problem that I had was with the spray paint. For some reason, probably because it was cheap, the paint came out in big clumps (you know like that fake snow that you spray on the window during the winter), so they weren’t smooth. Lesson learned: Don’t buy cheap spray paint.

We ended with a drawing for next month’s book: High Tide in Hawaii

 

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Magic Tree House – “Leprechaun in Late Winter”

I just had to do Leprechaun in Late Winter for March. There was no passing it up. However, once I read the book, I really struggled over what activities to do with the kids. There are too many fun things!!

leprechaun

Jack and Annie are sent to Ireland in 1862 to help inspire Augusta to share her creativity with the world. There’s only one problem, the Augusta that they meet is the most practical minded girl EVER! She takes them to visit her friend Mary, when Mary begins to tell stories of the Fae, Augusta doesn’t believe. Jack and Annie must help her believe or all will be lost.

15 – 20 minutes – book reading and discussion

We read Chapter 7, “Willy.” Jack and Annie used their magic flute to call the Shee, fairy folk, so that Augusta could see that the magic really does exist. What they weren’t expecting was for Augusta to be taken away by the Shee. After the Shee are gone Jack and Annie meet Willy, a leprechaun who promises to help if Jack and Annie give him their magic whistle. I always like to ask the kids what their favorite parts of the book were or if there was a part that they didn’t like. After we talked a little bit I explained to them that Augusta was a real historical person, the famous playwright, Lady Gregory. I gave them a little bit of background on Lady Gregory; like how she co-founded the Abbey Theater in Ireland. Afterward, I showed them some pictures of Ireland, Lady Gregory, the old Abbey Theater and the newer Abbey Theater after the old one burned down. The kids really like seeing the pictures, especially of the Abbey Theater. They thought it was really cool and some even said that they would love to go there and see it.

25 minutes – outdoor activity

I thought that a fun game we could play would be “King of the Shee!” (yes, I made up that name). Anyway, the game is sort of like Sharks and Minnows (okay, it’s exactly like Sharks and Minnows). I picked a few kids to the be the King (or Queen as some of them didn’t want to be kings) while the others had to run across before the Shee royalty could turn them into an animal (or tree because some of the kids did not want to be animals). At first I wasn’t so sure about this game, I just thought that it was a nice day and we should be outside. They LOVED it!! I thought we would stop after a couple of games, nope they wanted to keep going. I think they played at least 10 rounds before I made them go inside for our next activity.

10 minutes – craft

I debated a little bit on what take home I wanted the kids to have. Do we make a magic whistle, leprechaun hat/beard? Wait, I know. . .a FAIRY JA20180521_205154[1]R! I just happened to have a stash of jars around, I collected sticks from our park outside, the craft store was having an amazing sale on smallish pretend flowers (perfect size for fairy jars I might add), I picked up some mossy looking stuff and VOILA! The story goes that the Shee were in Ireland before humans and they ruled. When humans came they had to find safe places to hide underground so they wouldn’t be harmed. We made safe hiding spots for the Shee.

To wrap up we did a drawing for next month’s book: A Big Day for Baseball

Magic Tree House – “Abe Lincoln at Last”

It just occurred to me that I am several months behind in posting about our Magic Tree House Book Club. So, I am going to do my best this week to bring it up to speed.

 

 

abe lincoln at last

For February’s book we went with an obvious, perfect choice book for February, Abe Lincoln at Last! In this book, Jack and Annie are swept away to Washington, D.C., in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln was president. They are sent to retrieve a special feather and help Abraham Lincoln save the nation.

15 – 20 Minutes – book reading and discussion

For this month’s reading I read Chapter 8, “Into the Rough.” Jack and Annie were transported by magic even further back in time to when Abe Lincoln was a boy living in Illinois. In this chapter Jack and Annie are trying to help an injured Abe Lincoln, only they didn’t know it was him, do his chores around the farm. I liked this chapter because it showed the kids how hard Abe Lincoln worked not only when he was younger but also how hard he worked to become President of the United States. Also, the end of the chapter was kind of a cliff hanger, “Jack heard the long, low growl. He heard twigs breaking. The hair went up on the back of his neck.”

Afterwards, I showed the kids some pictures of what Abe Lincoln’s house looked like when he was a child. I also told them a few fun facts about the President. He had a lot of unusual pets.

20 – 30 Minutes – activities

LOG CABIN ENGINEERING CHALLENGE

Since Abe Lincoln helped build his childhood house with his dad, I thought what better than a little engineering challenge. So, I gathered some materials that I had around the library (duct tape, paper grocery bags, cardboard tubes, paper, popsicle sticks, etc.) and challenged the kids to build their own “log cabin.” They had so much fun! I had a couple of younger kids in my group this time, but it worked out because their grown-ups were with them and they got to build the cabin together (great bonding activity!). After I let the kids who wanted to do a show and tell of their cabin.

FEATHER PENS

Since Jack and Annie were sent to retrieve a special feather (turned out to be a very special feather pen) from Lincoln I thought it would be fun to have the kids make their own quill pens and ink. I looked online at a few tutorials on how to make them, just type in “diy quill pens” you’ll get a lot of results. I ordered some mini glass bottles with corks to put the ink in. You can see the ones I ordered here. Small side note, these are not leak proof so make sure you tell the kids not to shake them up. We had a few bad experiences. :S I had some food coloring that they could choose what color they wanted their ink to be and cut some watercolor paper in half so that they could practice their writing. They were AWESOME!! The kids LOVED it! They thought it was so cool that they could actually write with a feather. Oh yeah, I got these feathers.

As usual we ended with our drawing for next month’s book: Leprechaun in Late Winter