Integrating books and play need not always be meticulously planned, labour intensive and resource heavy. In fact, it can occur very organically, just making use of whatever is to hand.
A and I were finishing up making crafty dragons when I realised we could easily slip a book into what we were doing. She was already dragon-focused so, drawing on this, I asked A if she could find a book with a dragon in it. Off she went, very keen to go dragon hunting, and quickly found Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book. We’ve been rather Julia Donaldson heavy of late, so I encouraged A to keep going and find some more options. With a bit more rummaging around several bookshelves, she found Puff the Magic Dragon and, with a little prompting, a couple of others.
Of the four books we found, I let her choose which one she wanted to read, crossing my fingers for something a bit different. With two of the four books available having been penned by Julia Donaldson, I didn’t fancy my chances, but, lo and behold, she settled on Puff The Magic Dragon. I imagine it drew her most because, when we’ve explored it in the past, we sang and she was hoping for more of the same.
I gave A the option of reading or singing and she emphatically selected singing so that’s what we did. After the first time through, it dawned on me how much she’d love to hear the real song, not my out of time, tone deaf warbling so out came the phone for a quick dragon hunt of my own.
A was absolutely enchanted when I then played the song for her (through Spotify – thank you, Internet) and sang along where she could, turning through the pages and examining the pictures as she went. It was a short, sweet interaction with dragons that included creations of her own, books and music and helped to build the idea that texts are not islands, they are connected to everything around her. Most importantly, it was fun.
The book hunt idea occurred in the spur of the moment, but I’ll definitely use it again. It’s been a long time since Puff or Charlie Cook have made it off the shelves so I’ll use it as a way to get forgotten texts back into circulation. It also nicely transitioned her away from the ‘making’ activity, which would have gone on forever otherwise. It appears you can never make too many dragons! This glitzy beast is my personal favourite.