Language Learning While Building Scarecrows

Language Learning with Scarecrow Buiding
Image via Mindi Stavish

I have fond memories of building scarecrows with my mom as a child. At the beginning of October, we would collect old clothes we no longer wore. Then we would spend the entire month building a scarecrow family. Since my mom is very allergic to just about anything that grows outdoors, we made our scarecrows inside. We stuffed the clothing with newspaper, so we couldn't actually display them outside. I enjoyed pretending they were my playmates and would often have tea parties with them.  

This fall, my husband and I are building our own fall memories and traditions with our boys. Last week, we dug out our fall story books. One of my favorite books is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams. The story is about a little old lady who goes out for a walk on a windy fall day to collect her herbs and nuts. As evening nears, she encounters bizarre objects that have come to life, including shoes that clomp, a tall black hat, and a big pumpkin head. With each new object she encounters, she proclaims that she isn't afraid of anything and hurries along her way.

When the lady meets up with the big, scary pumpkin head, she is frightened and runs all the way home without looking back. When she is finally back in her cottage, there is a knock on her door, and it's all of the objects. She tells the pumpkin head that she is not afraid of it, and the head sadly asks what is to become of the objects. She whispers a secret to the pumpkin head and says goodnight.

The next morning, she goes to her window and looks out into her garden where she sees all of the objects assembled into a scarecrow, happily scaring the crows away.

This book has so many fun language-learning concepts in it. 

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Vocabulary Concepts in The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Nouns: path, herbs, spices, cottage

Adjectives: afraid, brave, dark, silver, big, tall, fast, huge, scary, safe, quiet, unhappy

Verbs: Each of the objects has a different verb associated with it, and the text is repetitive, so children have plenty of exposure to each of the action words. The verbs are clomp, wiggle, shake, clap, and nod. 

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Interactive Reading with The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

Bring this story to life by using props while you and your child share the story. Before you read the book, show your child the pictures of all the objects you need to collect. Then help your child collect the objects around the house. Use large and small clothes to compare and contrast.

Once all objects are collected read the story with your child, having them carry out the actions in the book with the props. After you have read the book with props, spend time stuffing clothes with newspaper to create the scarecrow.  

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What is your favorite fall child's book?  

What do you think?

Language Learning While Building Scarecrows

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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