Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dropping the ball, being sick, and Chicago Tourism.

Blair and I at "Cloud Gate"
Image copyright EarlyLiteracyMama.blogspot.com
So I kinda dropped the ball on the three days of Halloween finger plays. I ended up being incredibly sick by Halloween, so little man practically missed out. Thankfully, he has a wonderful Grandpa who made sure that he didn't miss out on the Trick or Treating fun. I will make it up to you though, I'm going to start posting "Finger play Fridays" so there will be a new one to enjoy each week.

During "sick-week", my friend from Australia came to visit. I haven't seen her in 9 years, so she got my undivided attention. Thankfully, I was able to get some antibiotics and join her on a girl's weekend away in Chicago. I had a blast, but it was hard to be away from little man for the first time.

So this week, I thought I'd focus on the excellent early literacy initiatives that I saw while I was in the city.

My foot compared to Apatosaurus
Image copyright
One of our first stops was The Field Museum. Though we only saw the Dinosaurs and Native Americans (we had five different attractions to visit with our CityPass), the exhibits were nothing short of AMAZING. There were many hands on activities, one of my favorites was comparing your foot to an Apatosaurus. This particular activity provides and excellent opportunity to talk about big and small with your child, and or heavy and light. You could also spend time talking about the opposites between humans and dinosaurs. The possibilities are endless.

The next of our stops was The Shedd Aquarium. Shedd is by far my favorite attraction in the city. I went once four years ago, and this year I noticed some major revisions to the exhibits that focused on early literacy. That, or I just didn't pay that much attention the last time I was there. :)

Shedd Aquatic Show
Image Copyright EarlyLiteracyMama.blogspot.com
One of the best early literacy attractions at Shedd is located in the "basement" of the building, underneath the Aquatic show tank. When you descend underneath the aquatics tank, you see a whole new world with dolphins, belugas, and penguins. There is also a hands on exploration table about tide pool animals and organisms.  It is the perfect opportunity to talk about textures--what appears rough or smooth, and to to talk about sizes, what is big and small.

Kids will have the most fun in the interactive penguin exhibit where a they can climb around and act like penguins, they can even slide down a pretend ice slide on their bellies, just like penguins do.

One Book, One Chicago Initiative
Image Copyright EarlyLiteracyMama.blogspot.com

The one thing that I noticed about the city of Chicago itself is that they care about their libraries and literacy. Every where I went, I saw signs promoting reading. It intrigued me so much, that I just had to get a picture next to one. :)

When it comes to libraries and literacy, Chicago gets 5 out of 5 stars from me!

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