A Hippo, A Dragon and a Toddler Walk Into a Kitchen…

This is an awesome pic of an awesome craft on RufflesAndRainBoots.com

A hippo, a dragon and a toddler walk into a kitchen…

And they stirred up some spelling soup and a whole lot of fun today!


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In a book we own, Ready for Reading, by Bishop, Yopp and Yopp, the authors note that poetry helps to stimulate phonemic awareness (not to be confused with phonics) because it can help a young mind to understand the basis of language.

Take, for example, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by every parent’s homeboy, Dr. Seuss. How many times have you read that book and gotten tongue-tied because there are 5 billion “-ish” words on one page and absolutely everything rhymes?

And just how much does your munchkin love that!? Mine can’t get enough of it!

In our weekly jaunt to the library, I noticed this little gem mostly because of the title and the beautiful artwork: Hippopotamus Stew and Other Silly Animal Poems by Joan Horton and illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi.

Elise took to this book and one of her favorite poems is the title’s “Hippopotamus Stew.” It’s a quick read, has colorful, descriptive artwork, and Elise laughed when she heard it the first time, so I knew we could incorporate it into a learning opportunity. The gist of the poem: some kids are making stew and sure enough, a hippo joins the fun.


We set up “Spelling Soup” this morning in the kitchen. It’s just a pot of pink food coloring-colored water, a wooden spoon and some foam letters. I made a little hippo puzzle (body, head, snout, eyes and mouth) from craft foam and threw it into the pot as well. This activity wasn’t messy, although I didn’t mop my floors because I thought it would be…

Yeah, that was the reason I didn’t mop the floors.

She had fun fishing the hippo and letters out and we even got to talk a bit about real hippopotami: where they live, what they eat, etc. Do you know what my child remembers most about hippos? She remembers when we went to the zoo on Halloween and the hippos devoured the pumpkins they were given as a treat.

Yep. According to my 2-year-old hippopotamus expert: hippos just love pumpkins.

Surprisingly, the other poem she absolutely adores is, “I’m a Fierce and Fearless Dragon.” It’s a very descriptive, kind of long-ish rant about how fierce this dragon is. Everything about him – claws, fangs, wings, muscles, just everything – makes others tremble in his wake. After describing such a fierce (and fearless) dragon, you find out it was all dreamed up by a tiny, two-inch high lizard.

This is an awesome pic of an awesome craft on RufflesAndRainBoots.com

This is an awesome pic of an awesome craft on RufflesAndRainBoots.comI came up with this little dragon puppet in about 10 minutes and she can’t get enough of him. You can see the post here on how to make one quickly and easily.

When she sees the book now, she asks for the dragon story and the puppet; she doesn’t ask for the namesake poem or even one of the many others in the collection. Nope, it’s all dragon for this kid.

To round out our morning, we read our copy of The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton about 352 times. 

In a row.

“Bee-Bo” is now part of our family’s vernacular. That Boynton: she sure knows toddlers.

What kind of fun are you having with books? Let me know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for new books we could read. We love hearing from all of you!

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