I have always loved using books by Gail Gibbons to help teach science. They are full of wonderful facts and nonfiction text features, and they are great for older preschoolers and kids in early elementary grades.
This month Gail Gibbons is the featured author of the The Virtual Book Club for Kids, and I can’t wait to see what everyone shares! There are so many great books by this author that I had a very hard time choosing just one to write about. As we get ready I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the books and activities that would go along great with summer learning. Whether you are looking for resources for summer themes to study with kids or just hoping for a little summer reading inspiration, I hope this list is helpful.
For each book I’ve including activity ideas that you might try, but the list is in no way exhaustive. There are many other great ways to extend the learning introduced in these books. I’d love for you to share any additional activity ideas in the comments.
Learning Activities to Go with Gail Gibbons Books
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Activity Ideas for Sea Turtles:
- If possible, try to visit the beach and spot a sea turtle nest.
- Visit the Sea Turtle Conservatory online. Turtle Tides is a section devoted to kids! There you will find links to games, activities, artwork, and more.
- Check out some of the classroom resources and videos at See Turtles.
- Make a sea turtle sensory bin like this one from You’ll Thank Me One Day.
- Add the Safari Ltd. Life Cycle of a Green Sea Turtle toys to your sensory play, or use them alone to retell the life cycle of a sea turtle.
Activity Ideas for Gulls…Gulls…Gulls…
- If you you live near an area where you can observe gulls, take some time to go sit and watch. Older kids can bring a nature journal along to draw or write about what they see. See if you can find out which kinds of gulls are most common in your area.
- Visit the National Audobon Just for Kids section to see videos, play games, and learn more about all kinds of birds.
- Gather grasses, mosses, and dried weeds and make a gull nest on the ground.
Activity Ideas for Ladybugs:
- See if you can find ladybugs outdoors. If you can’t, you can order live ladybugs or get them at a local garden center to observe.
- Try one of the activities on this amazing ladybug Pinterest Board created by Debbie Clement of Rainbows within Reach.
- Make a ladybug inspired snack like these watermelon ladybug pops from Twodaloo.
- Do a little crafty math with these egg carton ladybug math ideas from Teaching Mama.
- Practice addition with this ladybug sensory math activity.
- Create a ladybug small world.
- Learn about the parts of a ladybug and create some ladybug art.
Activity Ideas for The Honey Makers
- Go on a bee hunt. See if you can find bees around plants in your neighborhood.
- Taste honey.
- Try this honeycomb art from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.
- Make a bumble bee treat like this one from Meaningful Mama.
- Create a bee sensory bin with these ideas from The Good Long Road.
- Use the free Bees printable pack from 2 Teaching Mommies.
Activity Ideas for The Vegetables We Eat
- Grow some vegetables at home.
- Visit the farmers’ market to see which foods are grown locally in your area. Let toddlers and preschoolers spend time touching and exploring the different vegetables. Let your kids choose a new vegetable to buy. Then cook it together.
- Set up a pretend play vegetable stand at home. We did this for our recent letter V theme, and the kids loved it!
- Use vegetables for hands-on math activities.
- Create a collaborative vegetable art collage.
Activity Ideas for Coral Reefs
- Try some of the activities from this Coral Reef Unit from Stacy Sews and Schools.
- Make an easy coral reef sensory bin with blue water and the Safari Ltd Coral Reef Toob.
- Create a coral reef play dough invitation.
- Do this fun octopus black ink experiment from Train Up a Child.
Activity Ideas for Whales
- Try this fun life-sized tape whale activity from Learners in Bloom to show kids how big whales can be.
- Set up this amazing fizzing hidden ocean world sensory activity from Fun at Home with Kids.
- Use some of the lesson plans, printouts, and interactive resources from The Teachers Guide.
- Pretend to be a whale in the pool and spray water out of a pretend blow hole. We use our small water squirters from the Dollar Tree. Make it into a game by trying to swim past the “whale” (person who is it) without getting sprayed.
Activity Ideas for Sharks
- Try one of the many activities in this Shark Unit Study from Living Montessori Now.
- Observe sharks…at an aquarium or on YouTube videos (just be sure to screen videos before showing to kids).
- Play sharks and minnows in the pool or on land.
Activity Ideas for Ice Cream: The Full Scoop
- Make your own ice cream in a bag or homemade ice cream.
- Make some ice cream sensory dough with this play recipe from Play Create Explore.
- Make some of this chilly ice cream goo from Fun at Home with Kids.
- Go on a field trip to an ice cream shop. See if you can take a tour of the facility and learn more about how the ice cream is stored and prepared.
- Set up a pretend play ice cream shop at home.
- Let the kids plan and set up an ice cream bar for a special family dessert night.
- Turn your tub into an ice cream parlor for kids like the one shared on Bath Activities for Kids.
Activity Ideas for Surrounded by Sea: Life on a New England Fishing Island
- Visit a marina to look at boats. See if you can find fishing boats.
- If you know someone with a boat, see if they could give you a little tour of it.
- Go fishing. If you can’t really go fishing, then fish for letters or pretend fish in the tub or pool.
- Make a fishing island sensory bin or small world.
- Turn your tub into a boat and let kids set sail with lots of pretend play.
Activity Ideas for Hurricanes!
- If you live in a hurricane prone area, work together as a family to update your hurricane readiness supplies.
- Read through the hurricane names assigned to this year.
- Track the storms closest to your area. Have each member of the family predict how far we’ll get through the list of names for the current year before hurricane season ends.
- Little ones will have fun moving like a hurricane. You can discuss speed and rotation while getting a little energy out.
Activity Ideas for Tornadoes!
- Try this easy DIY tornado in a jar experiment from In Lieu of Preschool.
- Discuss and practice what kids should do if there is a tornado.
I hope this list gives you a little inspiration. I look forward to seeing what you have to share for Gail Gibbons month.
Join in this month’s Virtual Book Club for Kids
If you’re interested in joining this month’s book club, here’s what you need to do…
- Pick your favorite book by Gail Gibbons (or a new one you want to check out) and read it with your child or class.
- Create an activity, project, craft, cooking project, etc. related to the book and do it.
- Come back and share it with us as part of the Gail Gibbons blog hop on Monday, June 17th! The linky will be live for 3 weeks, so if you aren’t ready to post on the 17th… just join in when you can!
And even if you don’t join in, I hope you’ll spend a little time reading some books by Gail Gibbons this month.
- July 15th- Jez Alborough
- August 19th-Donald Crews
Stop by and check out some of the other blogs that participate in The Virtual Book Club for Kids.