Reading a book about animal tails with your baby or toddler has never been this much fun! Matthew Van Fleet has written several wonderful books, available in the Toddler section at the library.
Tails would be a lovely starting place to begin pointing out opposites: “Tails old, tails new, bumpy tails are fun to chew!” That is, if you aren’t too busy exploring the fantastic tactile pages, with everything from pull-the-tab surprises, to soft, scaly or shiny tails!
Scholastic has published several resource books that are helpful to teachers and care-providers. Circle-Time Activities, by Ellen Booth Church, features no-nonsense, step by step instructions for dozens of “circle-time” ideas, ideal for young children. This book focuses on building language skills as a group activity.
One fun idea found in here is the “Opposite Pokie.” The familiar tune is the same, but emphasis is placed on in and out, and up and down. Adapt it as much as you like with other actions that can be shown by the children.
This is just one of many wonderful resources that can be found on Manhattan Public Library’s Parent Shelf!
by Jeanne Willis
This is a lovely bedtime book that introduces the idea of small and large in a charming way. Tiny Too-Little, the mouse, loves Topsy Too-Tall, the giraffe. But how can someone so teeny reach out to someone so large? Join Tiny Too-Tall in a teetering adventure as he attempts to give Topsy Too-Tall a kiss. The tall skinny shape of the book is fun for little hands, and the story literally builds with each page. Recommended for toddlers who are loved by someone big.
Reviewed by Victoria
One simple craft idea for exploring opposites is to make an “Opposites” collage. Find an old magazine you don’t need anymore, and let your child clip away. One approach is to clip several pictures, then explore ways they differ and could be opposites. Once they’ve been classified, have your child glue them down to the page and write labels for each connection.
Materals: Paper, magazine, scissors, glue, crayon or marker
If you discover your child has a passion for collage, come to the Manhattan Public Library and check out this wonderful and creative nonfiction book on the subject!
The Greatest Gymnast of All by Stuart J. Murphy is a perfect book on opposites for early elementary children. If you’ve got the physical space, I’d recommend reading it aloud together, then reading it again and invite your child to do the actions in the way the story describes.
One really nice feature of this picture book is that it presents additional ideas for discussing opposites with your child at the end of the book. One creative idea you can adapt is to make a charades game out of acting out sets of opposites. You could work from a word bank you make yourself, or for a challenge, just use your imagination.
This wacky version of “Simon Says” is a fun action game to play with middle grade children.
After reading the story, Stop and Go, Yes and No, which introduces the vocabulary of antonyms, explain the game. Whatever the leader says, they have to do the opposite, but if the leader doesn’t say “Simon Says,” they do the original command. Let’s just see who can last the longest with their highly-tuned listening skills…
Flash cards can be used in various ways with young children. Simply put them out and show your child how to look for matches – in this case, a match would be finding the opposites. For an older child, you can also use them like a memory game with the cards turned over and set out in lines.
Kizclub.com has good printable flashcards for working on the concept of opposites. You can also do the traditional flash card game by holding up a card and asking your child to tell you what would be the opposite. It might be helpful to first look at all the cards together and go over the opposites.
If your child makes mistakes, use encouraging statements like, “Good try, but that one is the opposite of ____. Can you see any other pictures that might be the opposite of ___?” “How about this one?” Allow your child enough help to feel successful. Research shows that kids learn faster and retain more if they are having fun. In time, the concept of looking for opposites will become easier.
Here are just a few of the toddler-appropriate board books you can explore in Manhattan Public Library’s Opposites Storybook box. My favorite is No No Yes Yes: a hilarious compilation of all the things you’re already telling your toddler to do, and not to do!
Remember: if a kit you’re interested in is checked out, you can easily place an online request to check it out when it becomes available.
You might think you can easily name what’s in a picture, but this book cleverly turns what you think you see on its head. Black? White! Day? Night! is a quick read, and the “lift the flap” format gives the book an enhanced interactive quality. This is a really fun book to share with your school-aged child to discuss the concept of opposites.
What kinds of opposites can your child discover at the Manhattan Public Library? Come and find out.