Here’s the sea! Here’s a mountain! And a butterfly too! As toddlers grow, they enjoy pointing at everything they recognize in the illustrations. You could pause on each page, take a look together, and discover what your toddlers already know. You could ask them to indicate where the rabbit is, and, if they struggle, look for it together.
You could continue the journey that began in the book with a game at home, played while kneeling, saying “choo choo” and adding the hand gesture, or on the rug with some toys. You may enjoy looking out of the window together, seeing what is going on outside, and saying: “There’s a traffic light! Here’s a tree! And what else can you see?”
There’s A Rabbit on The Train
Some reading advice: How do voices and facial expressions help when reading?
Toddlers are fascinated by the tone of voice, facial expressions, sounds and gestures of the person who is reading to them: All of these help them follow the story, enjoy and understand it. Allow yourselves to be actors for a few minutes. You have won the best audience, who is sure to appreciate and enjoy your unique reading style.
To make family reading enjoyable, and encourage children to read, we should choose books to which children relate and explore topics in which they are interested. Some prefer a piece of fiction, while others would want to read a story that “once was”. Whatever their favorite book may be, it would encourage them to enjoy books, while helping them to develop their imagination and creativity.
You too could look for items that remind you of past experiences: A family photo, gift you have received, or item associated with an experience you have had. Take turns introducing the object of your choice and sharing a memory relating to it.
Are you interested in making a machine of your own? You can gather some boxes, fabrics, crates and old toys to build your very own machine. You can plan what it would do and look like together, or simply build it and discover its attributes as you go along.
Many of the illustrations in this book depict machines. Perhaps you would enjoy leafing through them and finding illustrations of machines and machine parts – Can you tell what each of them does? Perhaps you could be inspired by the part you found to invent a new machine, and imagine what it is capable of doing.
What can we do when we encounter a problem? You may want to share incidents with your children in which you, parents, have encountered a problem. Try to think back to how you felt, think of possible solutions together, and then tell them how you solved the problem.
The dwarves planted mushrooms and sang “all the songs they knew”. You too can sing your favorite songs together. Perhaps you’ll sing about dwarves, or rain, or songs that cheer you up and make you smile.
Take turns pretending to be one of the dwarves that appear in this book: The one with the umbrella, the one planting a mushroom, or the one jumping into puddles. The other players will try to guess what the dwarf is doing and find it in the book.
While reading, it is useful to include the hands on each page, follow their path and imitating their movements. Parents and toddlers can do this together: “walk” the hand on fingertips, make the hand jump, knock on the door in the picture, and be active readers throughout the entire book.
It’s so much fun to play with hands! Each and every one in turn makes a certain movement, and the rest of the participants imitate it. You can clap your hands, wave hello or goodbye, signal for “quiet” or fly!
Who has a small hand? Who has a large hand? Each family member is invited to place their hand on a sheet of paper. You, the parent, will draw the contours of the hands, and the toddlers will decorate and paint. The picture of all the hands can be kept as a memento, and you can also repeat the activity year after year and see what has changed.
You can sing songs accompanied by hand movements, such as “I have ten fingers” or “My hat has three corners.” It’s a good idea to add hand gestures to your singing, and you can add finger movements to other favorite songs. Have fun!
Children love to play “make believe”. They enjoy pretending that they are grown up: “Driving” a car, making mud “cakes”, or playing with an imaginary friend. You can play this game with your child using a prop, such as a doll, pot, or toy car, and ask: Where are we going? What are we cooking together? What is the doll saying?
Ron sees Shluli in the puddle, but, in fact, it is his own reflection in the water. You could also play a game of “mirror” in which two players face one another and take turns pulling a face, moving their head or leg, and having the other imitate them.
Are there any puddles outside yet? How about pulling on your boots, getting dressed warmly, and heading outside to jump into puddles? If that’s not possible, you can always make a “puddle” from rope or paper, and jump in and out as much as you like.