written by: Akili Amina
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 3/2/2012
The book Knuffle Bunny is about a child who hasn't learned to talk yet, as she tries to communicate to her father that she has lost her favorite stuffed animal. Your preschool class will easily relate to this character's plight.
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Communication is Essential
Even children who are not able to talk or are pre verbal realize the importance of communication. If you have ever observed them in this age group, they are smart enough to use all that is available to them to convey what it is they want or need. They will often bring toy items to you that they find difficult to figure out so that they can watch what you do with it.
They will bring an empty bottle or walk over to the fridge, which usually means they are hungry or thirsty. As a mother, when my children were this age, I found myself speaking out loud in response to their non-verbal communication. If they were an adult with full hearing and speaking ability this might seem odd, but to a one year old child, this is very normal for this stage of their life.
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Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
The book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems is a childhood favorite. It is about a child that does not have the ability to speak to her father in a way that will explain to him that she has lost her toy. Her toy is a stuffed animal named Knuffle Bunny, who was left accidentally at the laundry mat and she spends the course of the story doing her best to convey this to her father.
He does not understand why his daughter is behaving in such a strange way. He is trying all he can to comfort her and keep her from becoming even more agitated. He is resolved to take her home and upon their arrival, the mother notices her missing toy. The entire family hurriedly makes it back to the laundry mat in time to save their daughters friend and she finally says her very first words.
This book is helpful to readers of all ages because everyone can benefit in learning how to communicate a little more effectively, even if we are able to speak. This book will be a great way to open up dialogue between you and your students about how they were misunderstood in some way and what they did to get their message across.
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Give the children construction paper and crayons. Ask the children to draw a picture of their favorite toy be it stuffed animal or whatever they choose. Ask them how would they feel if they lost their toy. Ask them how they would feel if their parents didn't understand where their toy was so that they could retrieve it. Ask them what would they do if they were the charater in the book.
The children can make their own version of this epic tale. Help the children by placing one sheet of construction paper over their drawing as a book cover and one behind it as the back of the book. Punch three holes on the left side of the book and thread the yarn through it closing it off. Allow the children to name their book and write it down for them. Allow the children to decorate the front and back cover if they so desire. Explain to them that they are to read their book to their parents when they get home. This book is their very own Knuffle Bunny tale.
These activities along with this great story is a good way to open up the conversation in your class over the importance of communication. They will learn through this tale that they are not the only ones to have problems with conveying messages to others in their family and in the world. Hopefully, their own version of Knuffle Bunny lesson plan can help their parents learn a little more about their child and they will gain insight about what they feel.