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The short stories in the Frog and Toad books make them perfect first chapter books for children. The simple plots and interesting situations that the friends encounter are appropriate for teaching a variety of lessons, from story mapping and retelling to math concepts like sorting and calendar skills. Many of the stories also illustrate important character traits such as perseverance, patience and caring. The three crafts below are an engaging way to follow-up the stories while focusing on an important teaching point.
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Jacket Craft for "A Lost Button"
This button craft is a fun follow-up to the story "A Lost Button" from the book Frog and Toad Are Friends. The story and craft also work well as a literature-based math activity when your students are learning about attributes for sorting.
- Assorted buttons
- Jacket shape cut out of manila or white construction paper
- Index cards
- Colored construction paper
- Markers or crayons
After reading the story, give each child a piece of paper shaped like a jacket. If you don't want to have them made beforehand, you can cut a few of the shapes out of card stock and let the children trace them and cut them out themselves. Let each child choose a button and glue it on his jacket. Then the children can decorate their jackets with markers or crayons.
Once the jackets are finished, give each child an index card to write a description of the button on. Encourage the students to use several attributes like the ones in the book to describe their button. If they are having trouble, brainstorm a list of attributes for them to use.
- Big or small
- Two-holes or four-holes
- Square or round
- Shiny or dull
Finally, have them glue their jackets and the index cards with the descriptions on them to a sheet of colored construction paper. You can then bind the papers into a class book or hang them on a bulletin board for a cute display.
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Making a Kite
Teach your students about perseverance with this kite-making art activity. When Frog and Toad set out to fly a kite in "The Kite" from Days With Frog and Toad, it ends up being harder than they thought it would be. They keep trying even though the robins, who are watching, laugh and tell them that their kite will never fly and are eventually successful.
- Large pieces of paper shaped like kites
- Tissue paper or fabric scraps
- Glue or tape
- Markers and crayons
After reading the story, discuss how Frog and Toad didn't quit when their kite wouldn't fly. Talk about perseverance and how sometimes you have to try over and over again to learn to do something. Ask the children if they can think of something that was hard at first, but that they learned to do with practice.
Next, give each child a large kite and ask him to draw a picture of something that he worked hard to learn to do on it. You might also have the children write a few sentences about what they drew under the pictures.
Give each child a piece of yarn to attach to the kite and then show them how to twist pieces of tissue paper together in the middle to make the ties for the kite. Glue or tape the bows to the yarn.
When the kites are finished, let the children glue them to larger sheets of color paper to display them or hang them from the ceiling.
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Frog and Toad Puppets
Because of their simple structure, the stories in the Frog and Toad books are perfect for teaching summarization and retelling. These paper bag puppets are a creative way to allow your first graders to retell stories.
- Brown paper lunch sacks
- Brown and green construction paper
- Scissors and glue
- Big wiggly eyes
- Construction paper scraps
Give the children paper bags, green and brown construction paper, wiggly eyes and let them create their own Frog and Toad puppets. Provide other scraps of paper in different colors so that they can add clothing or other items from the stories. Some children might want to make Toad's bathing suit from "A Swim" or add buttons to Toad's jacket. Leave several copies of the books out so that the children can look at them for ideas.
When the puppets are finished, let the students practice retelling one of the stories with a friend. If time allows, they can share their retellings with the class or in small groups.
After reading some of the stories from Arnold Lobel's series, your class will have lots of fun extending their learning with these Frog and Toad crafts for first grade students.
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Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Together. Harper Collins, 1972
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad All Year. Harper Collins, 1976
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. Harper Collins, 1979
Lobel, Arnold. Days With Frog and Toad. Harper Collins, 1984
Craft photos provided by the author