We all know “If You Take a Mouse to School” is a classic start-of-the-year book. It’s an easy go-to, but, if we’re being honest- sometiiiimes…. those favorite go-tos, after you read them over and over, get a little stale, right?
Well, if you’re looking for some fresh, new ideas to use with this book for circle time in the preschool classroom- you’re in the right place!
Let’s get started with 3 ideas for whole group!
1. Object box
Using an object box/manipulatives to go with your story is one of the easiest ways to keep your kids engaged in the story- for some kids who typically need a sensory/fidget toy to stay with the group, having an object from the story to hold can work for them, too! (Chat with your OT if you need to problem-solve this!)
You can use an object box like this to target object functions and vocabulary while you read. As you come across the items in the story, have your students take turns finding them from the box.
As an example… “If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your…. Does anyone know what this is? (“a lunchbox!”) . You’re right! A lunchbox. Johnny, can you come find the lunchbox? Raise your hand if you know what you do with a lunchbox.”
At the end, you can use the objects to help your students retell the story in order.
“Who remembers what Mouse wanted first?”
“Who has the lunchbox? Come bring it to the front”
“What happens when you give him a lunchbox? He wants a…”
“You’re right! Who has the sandwich? Come put it next to the lunchbox”
“What else did he put in his lunchbox?”
(cookies, a notebook, pencils)
“If you have cookies, a notebook, or pencils, put them next to the sandwich”
and so on and so forth!
Object boxes are also a great way to adapt a book for your kids who have visual impairments. Instead of using the box with the whole class, you can use the box just with the student who has a visual impairment, and have a classroom para give them the object to look at/feel/hold as they come up while you read the story.
2. Science experiment!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love doing simple science experiments as a group activity with a book- I’ve found it keeps even my most wiggly kids with attention difficulties engaged with the group!
Lucky for me, Mouse does a little experiment of his own in this book, SO… why not follow in Mouse’s shoes and do the same?!
Grab some baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (if you want!) and make your own ‘explosion!’
You can either have a bin full of baking soda and take turns pouring vinegar and watch it bubble (see above) or take turns pouring baking soda into a bottle with a funnel, and then pour the vinegar in, to make an overflowing bottle!
I first tried this probably 5 years ago with one of my kids whose attention to task was one of his biggest hurdles, and it was such a huge success that I started using it whenever I read this book with other kids/groups!
I’m not sure how I thought of this idea- it just kinda struck me one day while looking at the pictures that Mouse was in a lot of positions that looked like yoga positions.
Maybe I was doing a lot of yoga at the time? Ha- I don’t know!
Because it’s a book activity I love so much, I want to help YOU implement it in your groups, too! So, I made a free download for you.
It includes 12 full-page slides with yoga poses to pull up on your iPad or to project through the AppleTV/whatever smart board system the classroom has, AND small yoga position visuals you can tape inside the book on the corresponding pages.
(Worried about ripping the pages if it’s taped on and you take it off? Try washi tape or painter’s tape!)
The small ones within the book are great for doing the yoga positions while you read, during small group or individual therapy. The full page visuals are super helpful for a whole class to see when you’re doing this for circle time in the classroom!
The large visuals are in order of when they appear in the book, and the small visuals in the book also serve as a reminder of when to go to the next slide if you’re using both the large visuals and the book simultaneously!
So, what do you think? Did you get some new ideas for circle time? Ready to try some yoga? Click here for your FREE yoga visuals!