Picture books lay the foundation for early literacy and encourage young children to explore the world through colours, words and rhythms. Besides fostering parent-child bonding and developing communication skills, studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well academically. 

And did we mention that reading is fun? Children who are exposed to books at an early age are much more likely to choose them over television, computer games and other forms of entertainment as they grow older. As an extension to reading, book-related crafts are a great way to further explore the themes of the books and fire up your child’s imagination. In this article, we introduce some easy crafts based on four classic and local children’s books. You don’t need to send your child to an art class to get creative!


3-D CATERPILLAR DRAWING

Based on:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Philomel)
hungry caterpillarImages: Philomel, Gwen Lee

Materials:

– Construction paper
– Craft acrylic balls
– Hole puncher
– Crayons
– Marker pen
– Scissors
– White glue

Instructions:

1. Draw and cut out leaves from a piece of green construction paper.
2. Using a hole puncher, make “caterpillar holes” in the leaves, similar to the book.
3. Glue the leaves onto a new sheet of construction paper and decorate using crayons.
4. Glue acrylic balls onto the paper to form caterpillars of different sizes. Use a black marker pen to draw in the caterpillar’s eyes and mouth on one of the balls before sticking it on.
5. Finish the artwork by drawing in the caterpillars’ feelers with a marker pen.

CARDBOARD PERANAKAN SANDALS

Based on:

There Was a Peranakan Woman Who Lived in a Shoe by Gwen Lee (Epigram Books)
PeranakanWoman-Coverphoto 2Images: Epigram Books, Gwen Lee

Materials:

– Cardboard or cereal box
– Construction paper
– Ribbons
– Scissors
– Masking tape
– White glue
– Dticker gems (optional)

Instructions:

1. Measure your child’s feet by outlining them with a felt-tip pen on the cardboard or the cereal box. Cut out the two sandal templates. 
2. Trace these templates on coloured construction paper and cut them out.
3. Paste the construction paper soles onto the cardboard / cereal box templates with white glue.
4. Cut six strips of ribbons to act as straps, adjusting their length to the size of the child’s feet. Create the texture of Peranakan beading with sticker gems, if desired.
5. Tape the ends to the bottom of the sandal soles with masking tape. (Masking tape allows repeat adjustments.)

AQUARIUM HAND PAINTING

Based on:

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (Random House)
onefishphoto 4Images: Random House, Gwen Lee

Materials:

– Sketch paper
– Watercolour or poster paint
– Marker pen
– Crayons

Instructions:

1. Help paint the palms of your child’s hands with watercolour or poster paint.
2. Imprint the palms onto a sheet of sketch paper.
3. When the paint has dried, draw in the eyes, mouths, and fins of the fishes with a marker pen.
4. Finish off by customising the background scenery with seaweed, bubbles and pebbles.

PAPER PLATE PANDA

Based on:

Bo Bo and Cha Cha and The New Year Gift by Jason Erik Lundberg (Epigram Books)
BBCC-3-NewYearGift-CVF-300photo 3Images: Epigram Books, Gwen Lee

Materials:

– Paper plate
– Black and white construction paper
– Glue
– Compass
– 2 large wiggle eyes (optional)

Instructions:

1. Using a compass, draw and cut out two pairs of black circles (large and small) and a pair of medium-sized white circles from the construction paper. Glue these on to one of the paper plate where you want the eyes to go.
2. Cut two larger half-circles from black construction paper. Glue these onto the edge of the paper plate for the ears.
3. Cut out a nose and mouth from black paper and glue it to the middle of the face.

Options:
1. Replace the paper eyes with two large wiggle eyes.
2. Instead of the paper eyes, cut out two large holes from the paper plate. Attach an ice-cream stick at the bottom to make a mask.

Gwen Lee is the author of the children’s books There Was a Peranakan Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and Little Cloud Wants Snow! Both are available at major bookstores such as Popular Bookstore and on Amazon.com