Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Library Lessons and the Letter L

It was time to work on the letter “L” and as I was looking for books to read to my grands for these lessons, I found several wonderful books about libraries.

That reminded me that I needed a way to help the grands learn about the libraries that they visit all the time. (And to help Tahoe, 2, to understand that the library was not really a racetrack with conveniently placed bookshelves as obstacles to keep Mimi from catching him.)

Another goal was to familiarize or expand the grands’ vocabulary with words that begin with the  “L” sound besides the word “library.” I brainstormed words that began with the  letter “L” and fun activities to help them understand and remember these words.

So I planned a study unit that combined activities connected with the letter L and libraries. As always, I planned a variety of lessons in each intelligence to have differentiated activities for each grandson: Tigger (6), Kona (4), and Tahoe (2). I try to do two intelligences each day, so this would be a four day unit.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan to introduce letters to the children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I created them, you can become a follower of this blog.

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read books-I chose two books in particular to be the basis of this study: The Library Pages by Carlene Morton and Valeria Docampo and Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen. Both books help teach the rules of the library, but in a really fun way. Tahoe and Kona especially loved Library Lion about a lion who tries to obey the rules in the library so he can stay for story time. (Just after I finished this unit with my grandsons, I discovered a great article about taking toddlers to the library from Growing Book By Book. Her article also includes a recommended book that works with this Study Unit. I’m going to check it out at the library!)


Discussions-As we read Library Lion and Library Pages, we discussed the way the author explained the rules of a library in the story without making an actual list of rules.

Matching  Pictures with Sounds-I have the grands match “bottle cap” letters of sounds we have been learning with picture cards. (To make the picture cards, I  use illustrations from the grands’ completed workbook and glue them on construction paper. I also save bottle caps from the gallon milk containers when they are empty and print letters on the bottle caps with a marker.  These are great ways to reuse items I already have on hand.)


Kona matches the letter of the beginning sound with the picture cards.

Kona matches the letter of the beginning sound with the picture cards.



Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

 Letter crafts-I used the word “ladder” as the topic of another craft project for the grands. As Kona worked on this project, he sounded out each letter in the word “ladder” separately. He can’t put the sounds together yet, but I was happy that he was understanding that each letter had its own separate sound.  I also wanted to work on Kona’s letter writing skills, so I had him trace some capital “L”s and trace the word ladder. To my surprise, two year old Tahoe also wanted to trace the letters and word on his project too.


Videos-I played several videos I found online that teach the sound of the letter “L” and had the grands repeat the sounds and words that began with the letter L during the second playing of the video for them.


   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play-I love using dramatic play as a way to help the grands understand the stories I read to them. A fun activity is to have the grands pretend they are the characters in the book and act out the book with their siblings and/or adult. 

Cooking-I chose “lettuce” as the main ingredient of a simple salad that the grands help to create. They helped tear the lettuce and added some of their favorite salad ingredients (such as raisins, grapes and shredded carrots)  to it.

I loved the salad that Kona made for me from lettuce, grapes, carrots, and raisins.

I loved the salad that Kona made for me from lettuce, grapes, carrots, and raisins.

Storytime at the Library- Now that Tahoe is moving his nap time from morning to early afternoon, I was able to take him to a weekly story time at one of our local libraries. It was really crowded, but he did a great job staying with me on the rug, singing and dancing with the librarian, and responding to the stories she read to him. We didn’t stay for crafts (sooo crowded), but he enjoyed the session very much and I will make this a weekly activity for Tahoe.

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Walking to the library-This will be a good activity for the grands as they get older. I walk to the one near my home all the time, but the distance is still too far for these little guys (and I don’t want to carry them).

Pantomimes- I put pictures/words that begin with the letter “L” on cards and together we practiced pantomimes for each of them. Then we played a game where the grandsons picked out a card without showing me, and then pantomimed the word or picture.

Legos-The grands love playing with legos anyway. Besides designing their own creations with the legos, I had them make the letter “L” out of legos.

Lacing Cards-Lacing cards are another activity I used during our unit on the letter “L.”

Physical Education ActivitiesI had the grands climb ladders in the backyard playset and on the equipment at the local park. 

Tahoe climbs ladders a lot, but now as he climbs I help him hear the "L" sound in ladder. (Yes, my grands love wearing silly hats when they play.)

Tahoe climbs ladders a lot, but now as he climbs I help him hear the “L” sound in ladder. (Yes, my grands love wearing silly hats when they play.)

Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips-Visiting the local library is always a good field trip. Many libraries have outdoor areas to enjoy. On our recent visit to a local library, Tahoe enjoyed the succulent garden at the entrance to the library. This particular library also had a “Reading Garden” so we investigated that too. Of course, visiting a lake would be another great field trip since  “lake” begins with the letter “L.”

Nature Letters-Making letters from natural items is always a good way to make a connection between the shape of the letter and a word that begins with the letter. So making the letter “L” out of leaves is a good activity for the naturalist intelligence.

Reading outside-It is amazing how pleasing it can be to take a library book outside and read it under a shady tree or near some fragrant roses. I used to take my class to the nearby park for an hour long reading session. We brought along blankets and beach chairs and made ourselves comfortable on the lawn by some trees. My students always thought this was a great treat!

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt-The grands always enjoy scavenger hunts, so either I give them picture cards of natural items that start with the letter “L” or we brainstorm ideas ahead of time. Then we look around the backyard or our neighborhood for these items. Some ideas for this activity are: lemons, lizards, ladybugs, leaves, lakes, and lavender plants.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities: Since my grandsons have so many books in their home library, I used these books in their counting activities. For Tahoe, we just counted the books on one shelf until we got to twenty. (He is still forgetting a few numbers as we count together from 11-20.) I asked Kona to count all of the books. He whined, “But it’s too much!”  I showed him how to put   books in groups of ten to make the counting easier. He really enjoyed doing that. Of course, he got sidetracked several times because he kept wanting to stop and have me read him one of the books. Overall, he really enjoyed this activity. This is a great activity for Tigger (6) too!

I asked Kona to count the number of books in the family room library. He made stacks of "ten" books and had six books left over. Then he counted the stacks by tens and added the six books. The final tally: 76 books

I asked Kona to count the number of books in the family room library. He made stacks of “ten” books and had six books left over. Then he counted the stacks by tens and added the six books. The final tally: 76 books

Pattern blocks: I had Kona make a capital “L” with pattern blocks. Then he had to name all the shapes he used to make the letter. I had him do this several times using the different types of pattern blocks. 

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Personal reading – I wanted the grands to understand that they had several libraries in their own home. I had them choose two of books they enjoyed and we made a simple craft using the books’ titles that formed the letter “L.” Afterwards, Kona chose several books from the family room library to take aside to read. 

Exploration Bins-Putting together a collection of items that begin with the letter “L” is always a great intrapersonal activity.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

 Finger plays and songs-It is easy to find songs for the letter “L” on the internet. On my own I thought about “Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and “Lollipop, Lollipop, Oh Lolli-Lolli-Lolli.” I found other songs I liked on this website:


Create your own fingerplays or songs- I really wanted a song about a library so I created my own using the melody from “The Wheels of the Bus.” These are my first three verses, but I’m sure you could create many others:

The library has so many books, Many  books, Many  books, The library has so many books, I go there every week.

And when I’m there I talk softly, Talk softly, Talk softly, And when I’m there I talk softly, I go there every week.

I really enjoy the Story Time, Story Time, Story Time, I really enjoy the Story Time, I go there every week.


Thanks for reading my blog. I hope these articles are helpful when you are planning learning activities for the children in your care.




Big Snow – And Teaching the Letter S

I love combining a book study unit with teaching a letter of the alphabet. We don’t get snow in the valley where we live, but even so, the grands enjoy learning about snow (and of course, snowmen). So, I developed a study unit on the book Big Snow by Jonathan Bean, and planned activities to teach the younger grands the letter S. 

Big Snow

This delightful book, published in 2013, describes the anticipation of David, a little boy, wanting to see “a big snow” in his neighborhood. I loved the way the mother in the story tried to keep him busy by helping her with chores, but unfortunately everything seems to remind David of snow. Even the dream during his nap is focused on shoveling large drifts of snow that accumulated in his home. When he awakes from his nap, his father has come home early from work, due to the snow.  The whole family dresses warmly to go out and explore all the snow that is now covering their neighborhood.

I have actually spent several weeks on this unit, mostly because the boys and I have taken turns recuperating from colds (or flu), but this would most likely be a four day unit otherwise. As always, I plan a variety of activities in each intelligence and choose the ones that best work for each grandson (Tigger 6, Kona 4, and Tahoe 2). If you use this study unit, I encourage you to use at least one activity from each intelligence.

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Reading- I have read Big Snow to each grandson several times. There is always a discussion of the pictures, new vocabulary, the sequence of events, and the letter S as I read to them.

Writing- Both Kona and Tigger love to type on my iPad, so as I read the story to each of them, they located words that begin with “S” and typed them. We read the words together afterwards. The youngest grand, Tahoe, traced the letter “S” in the air with my help.

Decoding – Tigger worked on decoding words that had s-blends (such as stop and slug) using this website:


 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Letter crafts- (Snowman Craft)  I planned a simple craft project to use the letter “S” to make a snowman for the two younger grands. I cut out a letter S, some snowman face features, a hat, and some buttons from construction paper. I happened to have scraps of red yarn too which we used as the snowman’s scarf. First, to make the body of the snowman,  we glued the letter “S” to a piece of construction paper. Next I had the boys spread white glue to make two circles within the letter “S” and then had them sprinkle baking soda on top of the glue. After the glue and baking soda had dried, we gently shook off the excess baking soda. We decorated the snowmen with the construction pieces and yarn that I had prepare to complete the picture.(Snake Craft) I had Tahoe create a separate project as well. I cut a large letter “S” out of construction paper and had him trace it with his finger. I told him that “S” starts the word”Snake” and we made the sound a snake makes together. Then he used his dot paints and crayons to turn the “S” into a “Snake”.

Both Tahoe and Kona enjoyed making this snowman with the letter S.

Both Tahoe and Kona enjoyed making this snowman with the letter S.

Videos on Snow- I found several news videos online about the blizzard in New England (Jan. ’15) so I watched them with my older grandsons after reading the book Big Snow. (I always preview videos before showing them to my grandsons, and if necessary, we watch the videos with the audio turned off.) We discussed the similarities that we saw in the videos and the book.

Videos on Letter “S”- I also showed videos on the letter “S” to Kona and Tahoe that I found online. They are so many of these videos available and they are easy to find, so I won’t share the links we used.

   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play – After reading the story several times to the grands, we reenacted  the story using dramatic play and any props that were laying around the area where we played.

Cooking – Since my grandsons are still young enough to need lots of supervision during cooking activities, I have placed this activity under Interpersonal. It could go under Logical/Mathematical (for measuring) or Linguistic (for reading directions) as well for older children. I chose two recipes to share with my readers. Since the main character in the book starts making oatmeal raisin cookies, I would use this recipe if my grandsons weren’t on a gluten free diet right now. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Oatmeal-Raisin-Cookies-I/

For a gluten free version, I planned to do this recipe: http://kitchensimplicity.com/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-raisin-cookies/

Games- “Snowball Fight” Since we didn’t have real snowballs, the grands and I used rolled up socks as snowballs.

 Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Pretend Snow- Since we don’t get our own snow, we have to make “Pretend Snow” instead. I found an easy recipe at this link (although we didn’t add glitter or lavendar oil to our version.)


Cleaning House- Part of the story Big Snow, includes David attempting to help his mother with household chores (changing the sheets and cleaning the bathroom) to take his mind off the snow that was coming down outside. You might not be able to do this in a classroom, (although you could pantomime these activities), but since I watch the grands in their own home, it is a wonderful activity for us. As you work together, discuss items you are using that begin with the letter “S”, such as suds, spray bottle, soap, etc.

Playing with Scooters-While I’m not sure you can ride on scooters in the snow, I remind my grandsons that “scooter” begins with the sound of “S” as they play with them. Kona and Tigger love to race each other in their scooters, while Tahoe thinks it is fun to try to balance on two scooters at the same time.

Tahoe loves trying to balance on two scooters.

Tahoe loves trying to balance on two scooters.

Winter Clothing Race- In the story Big Snow, David keeps going outside to check on the snow. Each time he leaves the house he has to put on his jacket, scarf, hat, and mittens. I designed a race for Tigger and Kona where I left pieces of their winter clothing around the great room in their house, and they had to race to collect each piece and then put them all on.

Playdough mats- I created my own playdough mat of the Letter S and a snowman for Tahoe and Kona to practice the formation of the letter S and to create their own snowmen with playdough.

 Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips– If it doesn’t snow where you live, you may be able to take a field trip to a place that does have snow so they can experience and play in the real thing. 

Nature Letters- I took the grands outside and had them make the letter “S” out of natural materials they had found in the yard.

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt– I either make a list or take picture cards of some items  that we might find outside that begin with the letter “S” such as sticks, stones, sand, stars, saplings, sun, or sunshine.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities: Tigger worked on a “snowflake” activity which required him to use his counting and measuring skills. He had to create a six sided snowflake with pipe cleaners, count the number of cups of boiling water I poured into a mason jar (3), add nine tablespoons of Borax to the water, and place three drops of blue food coloring in the liquid before stirring. The complete directions for this fun activity can be found here:


Measuring: One of the towns in Massachusetts had 36 inches of snow. I had Kona and Tigger measure 36 inches pieces of construction paper that were taped together and then attached the measured paper to the wall so the grands could easily visualize how much snow had fallen during the blizzard.

 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading– I always allow time for the grands to look over the book we are studying on their own. 

Exploration– Since we don’t get “real snow” where we live, I kept the “Pretend Snow” (explained under Bodily-Kinesthetic) in the refrigerator. The boys were able to take it out and play with it on their own. (Tahoe wouldn’t play with it though. He said it was too cold.)

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Finger plays and songs- “Frosty the Snowman”or “Susy Snowflake”  can be sung all during the winter season. The lyrics can be found online. “Five Little Snowmen” is a cute finger play and can be found at this link:


Listening to classical music-Play Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the Four Seasons Symphony while you have a snowball fight (listed under Interpersonal Intelligence). Or listen to “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker while making “Pretend Snow” (see Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence).


I hope you are enjoying my lesson plans using Multiple Intelligence strategies, and finding some ideas that will work for the children in your care. If you are interested in seeing more of my lesson plans,  please sign up to follow my blog.


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B is for Bethlehem – Book Study

During the Christmas season, I wanted to plan lessons using a book that would not only tell the story of the birth of Jesus, but also teach academic skills. I found such a book in B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner. With beautiful illustrations and rhymes, the author gives the reader some very important details about the events surrounding His birth.

B is for Bethlehem_I created this plan as an eight day study unit. I read the book aloud to my grandsons each day, and chose one other activity from the plan, making sure by the end of the study unit my grandsons has done one activity from each intelligence.  Additionally I planned differentiated lessons based on each grandchild’s needs:

Tigger (6) would be able to read many of the words, recognize the rhymes, and would benefit from the higher level vocabulary used in the story. My goal for Tigger would be increased comprehension of the events that led up to the birth of Jesus.

Kona (4) already recognizes all the alphabet and most alphabet sounds. His literacy lessons would focus on discussing the rhyming words and being able to explain at least four details from the book.

Tahoe (2) is still learning his letters, so I would focus on the letters B (Bethlehem) and J (Jesus). He should also be able to tell me the names of the main characters when I point to their pictures.

Linguistic Intelligence/Word Smart

  • Read the book aloud to the grands each day of the study unit.
  • In subsequent readings, discuss the alphabet letters, letter sounds, familiar words, new vocabulary, characters, setting, and main events of the book depending on the readiness and literacy goals of each child (grandsons, in my case).
  • Each page has two rhyming words, so discuss and/or write down some of these rhyming pairs. Kona and I discussed the words that rhymed on each page. For Tigger I copied a few rhyming pairs on paper, and had him match them up afterwards.
  • I made picture cards of the main characters, scenes, and events from the story. I had the older grands use them to make a story map of the book.
Picture cards can be used for so many different activities. They can be used with non readers as well as emergent readers. In this picture I've shown how I helped Kona create a story map of the book.

Picture cards can be used for so many different activities. They can be used with non readers as well as emergent readers. In this picture I’ve shown how I helped Kona create a story map of the book.

Musical Intelligence/Music Smart

  • Play a recording or sing songs such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” “What Child Is This?,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and/or “Away in the Manger.” You can find recordings or videos for most of these songs on the Internet.
  • Play a recording of “Not That Far from Bethlehem” by Point of Grace. If you don’t have a recording already, you can find videos on the Internet for this  song.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence/Body Smart

  • Create actions for “Away in a Manger” or use ones found at this website:          http://christmas.lovetoknow.com/Christmas_Songs_for_Preschool
  • Visit a Living Nativity. The one we attend each year at a local church has attendees walk to ten different scenes that explain the events of the birth of Jesus. 
  • Scavenger Hunt-Take a walk in your neighborhood for Christmas displays that show events or characters from the book. Make a list with words or use picture cards of items or characters that you would like the child(ren) to find. Ideas for this Scavenger Hunt include: baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, manger, Christmas star, shepherds, angels, and wise men. (You could also use this list if you go to a Living Nativity.)

Interpersonal Intelligence/People Smart

  • Use dramatic play to enact a journey to Bethlehem using robes, sheets, or pillowcases to improvise costumes. A baby doll can be the baby Jesus. (Use the manger idea under “Naturalist Intelligence” to make the crib for the baby.)
  • Guessing Game: Have one person call out a letter of the alphabet, and another person name something from the Christmas story that starts with that letter. (You can decide whether it has to be the exact same word from the book or if other responses are allowed. For example, the book has “A is for Augustus,” but if my grandsons answered “Angels” I would consider that a correct answer.)

 Spatial Intelligence/Picture Smart

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

  • I gave the grands some pattern blocks to make pictures of Nativity scenes. I used the Nativity pattern block mats I found on this wonderful website: http://thisreadingmama.com/nativity-pattern-block-mats/
  • The Letter “J” project-It just so happened that “J” was our alphabet letter of the week, so we created a picture of the baby Jesus laying in a manger made by the hook of the “J”.
  • Christmas Star project-The book has such gorgeous illustrations and I wanted the older grandsons to notice them. Since the Christmas star appeared on many pages of the book, I designed a project for Kona and Tigger that would look similar to the one in the book.

Logical/mathematical Intelligence/Number Smart

  • I had Tahoe count the images on each page. For example, he counted all the people in the “C is for Crowds” page and the angels on the “H is for Heavenly Host” page. 
  • Using a “child friendly” nativity set as manipulatives, I created story problems for Kona and Tahoe such as, “If two shepherds and three wise men came to see the baby Jesus, how many people visited Him in all?”

Naturalist Intelligence/Nature Smart

  • Find natural items, such as twigs or straw, to make a manger.
  • Gaze at the night sky to find the brightest star you can see. Do you think any of them are bright enough to be the Christmas star? (If you want to go into depth on this topic, there are many articles on the Internet that speculate about the origins of the Christmas star.)

 Intrapersonal Intelligence/Self Smart

  • Let each child engage with a “toddler friendly” nativity set. If you listen to the child while he/she plays, you can get a good sense of their understanding of the events regarding the birth of Jesus. (I loved watching one of my older grandsons play with the set. He was very concerned that the baby Jesus have enough food. Bless. The youngest grand, Tahoe, focused on playing the music that went with the manger. Obviously he is learning a lot using his musical intelligence.)

    Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

    Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

  • Ask each child their favorite letter, picture, or event from the story.
  • Allow each child an opportunity to look at the book by themselves.
Kona loved the illustrations.

Kona loved the illustrations.

 While this book was first written for second graders, and my grandsons are all younger than that, they got a lot out of this book study. This is a book I can use for many years with them and change my literacy goals for them as they mature.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:



Thanksgiving Parade Book Study


This is a wonderful book about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This is a wonderful book about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

If you love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you may be interested in this wonderful book by Melissa Sweet: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.

It is tradition in our household to watch this parade while my husband and I are preparing the bird and stuffing on Thanksgiving morning. We passed along this tradition to our children and the grands are now old enough that I hope they will begin to understand our love for this parade.

I have always loved the parade’s balloons, but didn’t know the story behind them. Balloons Over Broadway explains how the tradition of balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began, and discusses a bit about engineering and puppetry too.

I designed this book study as a four day lesson plan. Besides reading the book daily to them, I planned to do two different activities a day. If you use this unit study, it is best to choose at least one activity from each intelligence, but you don’t have to do all of them. I usually list more than one activity for each intelligence so I have choices depending on the needs of each child:

Tigger (6) should be fascinated by the engineering aspect of the story, so I’ll make sure to include activities involving simple machines. He is working on two syllable words in reading and spelling, so I will include an activity using some of the two syllable words in the story.

Kona (4) should enjoy activities with simple machines and puppet making. He’ll work on blending skills using one syllable words with short vowel sounds.

Tahoe (2) will practice the letters of the alphabet in the title. He will probably enjoy the balloon puppets and may enjoy an activity using simple machines. I’ll spend a lot of time on the pictures in the story to develop his vocabulary.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

  • Read the story daily. Discuss the pictures as well for comprehension and vocabulary development.
  • Syllabication: Using a few words from the story, discuss how to divide some double consonant words into two syllables. Word for this activity might include: shoppers, nodding, puppets, and balloons.
  • As you read aloud, stop at a few one syllable words with short vowels and work on blending the individual sounds together to decode the word.
  • Learn or recite the “Humpty Dumpty” nursery rhyme. (This was Kona’s idea. In the story, there is an illustration of Humpty Dumpty.)

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Make a Parade Balloon (Animals or Thanksgiving themed)-This activity requires at least three helium balloons. I had Tahoe create a cat face using construction paper and dot paint. Then we glued the face to one balloon and tied the other two helium balloons together with it to keep the face aloft. This activity can then go along with the “Parade” idea listed under the Bodily-Kinesthetic section.
The construction paper weighs down one helium balloon too much. I had to tie two other helium balloons to the one with the construction paper face to keep it floating.

The construction paper weighs down one helium balloon too much. I had to tie two other helium balloons to the one with the construction paper face to keep it floating.

  • Watch the actual parade (or record it and show portions of it). My daughter found this link to print a bingo game while the grands watched the parade:  printables.familyeducation.com/thanksgiving-printables/thanksgiving-activities-and-traditions/72954.html
  • Put stickers on air filled balloons to look like animals and tie them with a string, or attach them to a stick.
  • Watch a video about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloon Inflation:


Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Improvise a puppet show with siblings or adults. Use puppets you already own, or create simple puppets with paper bags.
  • Play balloon volleyball with a sibling or adult using air-filled balloons. (We used a baby safety gate as our net, and had a spirited game with the three grands on one side and their father and I on the other side. I’m not sure who won, but we certainly had lots of giggles.)

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

  • Parade around the house with the balloons characters you made in the Spatial Intelligence section. (You could include the Musical Intelligence by playing “I Love a Parade” or other band music as you march.)
  • Give each child an air-filled balloon and have them count the number of times they can hit the balloon before it hits the ground. (This activity kept them very busy one night while I was making dinner.)

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Take your parade outside. Do you notice a difference with handling of your balloon outdoors compared to indoors?
  • Compare a helium balloon and air-filled balloon. Which gas would be best for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade? Which balloon would be easiest to step on and pop?

Logical/Mathematical (Number/Reasoning Smart)

  • Exploring pulleys: Have each child try to lift a heavy book (such as a hard bound dictionary). Then tie some string around the book, and drape the string over a rolling pin that someone else is holding. Pull on the loose end of the string to see if it is easier to lift the book. I found this idea, along with many others exploring simple machines, at this website:


  • Subtract 1924 (year of the very first Macy’s parade) from the current year.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  • Listen to song “I love a Parade” which is usually played at the introduction to the parade on television. (There are several versions that can be found on the Internet.)
  • Use any musical instruments you already own (or use a wooden spoon and a pot) and play along with some marching band music such as “”Seventy-six Trombones” from the musical Music Man or “March of the Wooden Soldiers” from the film Babes in Toyland.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Let child look over the book by self.
  • Let child play with puppets by themselves.

I’m hoping that after leading my grandsons through this book and multiple intelligence activities, they will continue the family tradition of watching this parade every Thanksgiving Day morning.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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T is for Turkey – Book Study Unit


This week I planned a multiple intelligence study unit for the book, T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone. Not only is this a fun alphabet book with adorable pictures, it contains lots of good information about the Thanksgiving holiday. (I learned some new information too.)

As I planned this study unit, I kept the needs of my grandsons in mind.

  • Tigger, 6, already had some knowledge of Thanksgiving, so I wanted to build on this. He would most likely be able to read or decode several words on each page, so I would probably have him read several of the pages with me on the second or third read throughs. Tigger would also benefit from recognizing rhyming words in the story. Additionally, I wanted him to memorize the date in the story.
  • Kona, 4, knows short vowels and most consonants, so I would focus on having him repeat initial sounds of the keyword on each page. He’s at an age when he should be learning some basic facts about Thanksgiving. Since he loves cooking and dramatic play, I definitely wanted to include those type of activities. Crafts should be designed that would develop his fine motor skills.
  • Tahoe, 2,  will really enjoy the pictures in the book, so I’ll spend a lot of time discussing what he sees in the pictures. He will probably enjoy dramatic play and other physical activities. His crafts will focus on shapes and gluing.

I always over plan, and I may list more than one activity for each intelligence so I have choices. If you use this study unit, it is best to do at least one activity from each intelligence, but don’t feel that you need to use every activity I described. This was planned as a four day unit. Each day I read the book to them and provided two other activities from this list.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

  • Read the book T is for Thanksgiving daily..
  • Discuss the rhyming words on each page.
  • Discuss the sound each alphabet letter makes at the beginning of the keyword on each page.
  • Make a list of foods served at the first Thanksgiving as shown in the pictures or mentioned in the story.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number Smart)

  • Have two youngest grands count the number of letters in the alphabet as you turn each page.
  • Create math problems based on the story or pictures. For example, “If two Wampanoags and three colonists sit at the same table, how many people will that be?”
  • Have oldest grand  write or trace the year 1620 on some paper or on a rock in the yard. Teach him how to pronounce this year.
  •  Show oldest grand  how to subtract 1620 from the current year.


Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Find Cape Cod on a map or globe. You can also trace the voyage on a globe starting at England, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, and ending at Massachusetts.
  • Make a poster of foods eaten at the first Thanksgiving by drawing pictures or cutting them out of magazines.
  • Turkey Crafts-I planned two different crafts for the grands:

The first craft was chosen for Tigger and Kona.  For the body and wattle of the turkey I had them fold different size (and color) pieces of construction paper and drew a “half heart” along the fold for them to cut. They also used scraps of construction paper for the head, eyes, beak, legs, and feet. These were all glued to a larger piece of construction paper. The feathers were created the day before using paper towels, markers, and small drops of water from an eye dropper or straw.(Ooooh, Science!) To make each feather, they drew a dark line with a marker on a piece of paper towel. I actually had the grands draw over the line three times with the marker to make sure there was plenty of of ink on the paper towel. Then I had them carefully place small drops of water from a straw all along the line. (An eye dropper would be easier, but we didn’t have one. To use the straw method, I added 1/4 inch of water to a cup. For each drop, one of the grands dipped the straw into the cup to capture some water. He placed a finger on top of the straw before lifting the straw out of the cup to keep the liquid inside the straw. Next he put the straw on the marker line and lifted his finger from the top of the straw to release the water. We practiced this first before using the straw method on the marker lines. Make sure to stay on the line when releasing the water, otherwise you won’t get the desired effect. Repeat this method until water is placed all along the line.) The “capillary” action of the water on the paper towel will spread the ink to make a “feathery” look. I let the paper towels dry thoroughly before cutting them into feather shapes and having the grands glue them on the turkey picture. (See pictures below for more clarification.)

The second craft had less steps and was planned for Tahoe. I cut construction paper circles for the body and head of the turkey. I also cut out eyes, a beak, and legs from scrap paper. He glued these onto another piece of construction paper. Then I used some leaf foam stickers we already had around the house to become the “feathers” for the turkey. I had to begin peeling the paper on the back for him, and he peeled the rest. Then I showed him the spot to place the leaf on the turkey. (See the last picture below for Tahoe’s finished product.)


 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  • Play Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” while doing craft activities or when reading the book aloud.
  • Transform “Old McDonald Had a Farm” into “Plymouth Pilgrims Had a Feast” and add verses to go along with information from the book such as…

“Plymouth Pilgrims had a feast,


and at this feast they ate some corn,


with a kernel here, and a kernel there,

kernel here, kernel there, lots of kernels everywhere,

Plymouth Pilgrims had a feast,



Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Guessing Game- After reading the book several times, have the youngest grand say an alphabet letter and have the older grands say the keyword from the story to match the letter.
  • Cooking- We made a corn pudding recipe I found online. I adjusted the directions slightly by having the grands add all ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl (so they didn’t have to work with a hot buttered casserole dish). I also had them add two eggs, which other reviewers of the recipe had recommended. After they mixed all the other ingredients, I poured the concoction into the hot buttered casserole dish, stirred again, and placed the dish in the oven. Tahoe set the timer for 30 minutes, but I kept the pudding in the oven about ten more minutes because it didn’t look done after 30 minutes. The two youngest grands had this for their mid-morning snack when it came out of the oven. Here is the link for the recipe:


Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Visit a farm stand or actual farm to see what foods are being harvested at this time of year.
  • Plant seeds for beans, squash, or any vegetable that will grow this time of year in your geographic location.
  • Walk around the neighborhood or park. Notice the rocks that you see  on your walk. Do you think any if them are large enough to be Plymouth Rock? If you see a special rock, give it a name.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Ask each grand to name their favorite page in the story.
  • Ask each grand what they are thankful for at this time of the year.
  • Give each grand the opportunity to explore this book or other Thanksgiving themed books by themselves.


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

  • Dramatic Play-Reenact the first Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget to use the phrase “Good Morrow ” as you greet each other.  
  • Gathering Logs-Place several packaged paper towel rolls at one end of a room or hallway. Have a grand start at the other end of the room or hallway and run to collect one log. Then return to the starting line to stack the “log”. Repeat back and forth until all the “logs” have been collected. (Sorry the pictures below are blurry, but my camera is not very good at focusing on running toddlers). 

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I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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Five Little Pumpkins Mini Multiple Intelligence Lesson

 The grands and I are enjoying the story “Five Little Pumpkins” so much I decided to create a mini lesson using multiple intelligence strategies. These projects are not only fun, but contain academic concepts which are relevant to the needs of my grandsons, ages 2-6. Besides reading the story to the grands daily, I used two activities each day, so it was a four day unit. It is best to do at least one activity from each intelligence. However, I often plan more than one activity for each intelligence to give myself choices, so I don’t necessarily use them all.

Note: I have updated this post in October 2016. I revisited this lesson with my grandsons and added a few more activities. In 2016, the grands were ages Tahoe (4), Kona (6), and Tigger (8).

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

  • Read  the book or poem “Five Little Pumpkins” . If you need a copy of it,  here is the website I used:


  • Discuss and/or list the rhyming words.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

  • Walk around neighborhood and count the number of pumpkins you see.
  • Create math problems with the pumpkins such as, “If only three pumpkins fell off, how many pumpkins would be left on the gate?”
  • Make Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins (Gluten Free recipe): Work on measurement skills by baking some pumpkin muffins. Since one of the grands is on a gluten free diet, I found this recipe which all of them could eat. We also used almond milk in the recipe. They had so much fun making these muffins which we made on two different occasions this fall: http://smashedpeasandcarrots.com/gluten-free-pumpin-donut-muffin-recipe/


Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Carve a pumpkin to make a face from the story.
  • Make a diorama of the story. To make the one I have shown below, I used a shoebox lid, scissors, five individual sections from an egg carton, five equal sized sections that I cut from a paper towel roll, five green pipe cleaner pieces (about four inches each), orange paint, brown paint, blue construction paper, yellow construction paper, glue stick, and a black marker. My grandsons painted the egg carton sections orange and the paper towel sections brown. (I didn’t have the correct colors so we did some color mixing-another lesson for them.) Once those were dry, the grandsons drew pumpkin faces on each orange egg carton section with the black marker. Cut the blue construction paper to fit the inside of the shoebox lid. You can also make pictures on the blue construction paper, like fences, trees, and other pumpkins. (My grandson outlined his hand to draw a tree.) Glue the blue construction paper to the inside of the shoe box lid. Cut out a yellow “moon” from yellow construction paper and glue onto the blue construction paper. Place the paper towel sections next to each other on the bottom of the shoebox lid and place the “pumpkins” on top of them. Make a hole on the top of each “pumpkin” and fit the pipe cleaner inside to look like a stem (and to help keep the egg carton on top of the paper towel section).  You could hot glue all the pieces into place on the shoebox lid, but I wanted my grandsons to play with the diorama and be able to move the pieces around, so I didn’t glue them down.


 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart

  • Play Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons-Autumn”  as you read the story aloud.
  • Have your child help you create a simple melody to go with this poem.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Dramatic play-Reenact the story of the five pumpkins with siblings or adults.
  • Most of the other activities in this lesson plan can be done with their siblings.


Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

  • Fine motor activity: For this activity I used brown construction paper and a marker to created a “gate” that I glued to the back of a sturdy game board box we had around the house.  Then using tongs or a large spoon, I had the grandsons place five orange pom poms (pumpkins) on top of the box (gate).  Once the pom poms were placed on the top of the box, the grands were asked to become the “wind” in the story and blow the pumpkins off the gate.


 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Give each pumpkin a name.
  • Discuss: Which is your favorite pumpkin in the story?
  • Let child play with diorama to create new stories for the pumpkins.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Visit a pumpkin farm.
  • Walk around neighborhood to see where your neighbors have pumpkins. Are any of them on a gate?
  • If you have a real pumpkin for the holidays, you can feel and count the number of bumps on the outside and the number of seeds inside of it.


I hope the children in your care enjoy these activities as much as my grandsons did. Wishing all my readers a fun and safe Halloween! 

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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