Three times a week, I teach a Mommy & Me class. Attending the class are mothers (and occasionally a father or grandmother who steps in for the odd lesson) and their children, who are all ages two and three years old.
Initially, I was really nervous to teach the class. The thought of teaching children that little and with the mothers present was not appealing in the least. However, it soon became one of my favourite lessons to teach. Everyone is supportive and honestly just there for the benefit of their child. We follow a similar routine every class, which starts out with a basic warm-up of greetings, counting and colours with a few songs mixed in for good measure. I read a story every week, and using the weekly theme, we learn some new vocabulary and do a craft.
This week’s theme is body parts. A few weeks ago we did eyes, ears, mouth and nose. This week, we’re doing head, tummy, arms, legs and I threw in tail to make both the story and craft work.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are a couple of reasons why this craft works so well:
- It’s cute. Japan thrives on cute.
- Kids can relate. Most children know what a teddy bear is.
- It’s easy for children and parents to put together.
- It’s great for body parts review.
- If you do it in white, the kids can easily personalize them.
- All you need to use in class is glue and crayons.
The story I’ve been using is “A Teddy Bear” by Apricot Books. It’s a really cute story about finding a broken teddy bear in the garbage and putting it back together piece by piece. I almost always have full attention from the children when we read this story. The pictures are well done, the story is very clear and easy to follow, and it’s also not too wordy, which makes it perfect for an EFL environment. It comes with a CD as well, but I usually just read the story myself.
Anyways, onto the craft!
The craft this week was a teddy bear. The kids have to come up and ask for the body parts on by one. There’s head, nose, eyes, tummy, arms, legs and tail. Some of the kid’s bears turn out quite artistic, but they’re always cute.
I originally found the template here. I modified it a little by blowing it up a tad, taking out the vest, separating the head and body, adding eyes and not doing the ears. Instead, I just pre-colour the inner part of the ears. The nose is also assembled before giving it to the students. Cutting all the parts out is a bit labour intensive, but well worth it.
My sample bear isn’t decorated or coloured, but the kids and moms all decorate theirs using crayons. Some kids colour them a completely different colour, while others draw clothes on them. Almost every time I’ve done this craft, I’ve had at least one of the kids include their bear in the goodbye circle (when we all hold hands… on Wednesday, I held hands with a paper bear. Awesome).
I will also admit that I glued the eyes too close together. It’d be cuter if they were a little bit further apart, haha.