Tales From Texas
Brought to you by Reading is Fundamental.
Whether you're a Texas native or just planning a trip to the Lone Star state, read these stories with your kids. Then try the activities together to get ya'll in a ten-gallon mood!
Tyrannosaurus Tex by Betty G. Birney
- Visit a museum that has an exhibit on dinosaurs or find out if they will lend you a fossil kit. First-hand exposure to fossils is a great way for kids to see how we've learned about creatures from the past. If the museum doesn't have any kits, try the zoo.
- Make your own fossils! Use plaster-of-Paris to make molds of different objects in your environment or of children's hands or footprints.
- Dig around your community and try to unearth a paleontologist. Often sighted in museums, colleges, and universities, this special scientist can make even the earliest Texans -- like the tyrannosaurus, the stegosaurus, and the mammoth -- come to life for kids and families.
The West Texas Chili Monster by Judy Fox
- Have a ''Southwestern Style Night'' either by going to a restaurant and tasting traditional foods or cooking your own Tex-Mex meal at home. Libraries are a good place to find cookbooks — maybe even one with some good recipes for chili!
- Check out the clouds! Do you see any that look like Texas? Pick a sunny day when the clouds are moving quickly by and look up. See if you spot any interesting shapes, animals, or even creatures from another world.
The Cow That Could Tap Dance by Teddy Slater
- Libraries, bookstores, and local papers or magazines often list where and when story hours will be taking place. Take advantage of the local entertainment on a weekend afternoon.
- Invite a local storyteller to visit your kids to tell stories or talk about improvisation. Create exaggerated family tales.
- Go to see a tap dance performance or attend a tap dance class.
Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett
- Take your children on a field trip to the zoo. Visit one of the zookeepers to gather more information on the armadillo. Find out more about their habitat, friends, and enemies in nature and what they need to eat and survive.
- If you live somewhere near a horse ranch or stables, go see a real live rodeo show!
- Make your own hard-shell animals. Take a walk on the beach and collect some shells or buy them in an art-supply store. Glue them to some construction paper and create a turtle, an armadillo, or even a lady bug. Draw arms and legs or use pipe cleaners, string, or other materials to create the rest of the animal. Paint the shell or leave it ''natural.''
The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell
- Build a fort! Kids love to build forts or houses out of pillows and cushions from the family couch. Add blankets and costumes to the mix and you have a great rainy-day activity.
- Take a walk around your city or town and check out the local architecture. Look at the different buildings and houses and explore the reasons behind the size and shape of the buildings. You may even want to check out a book from the library on the subject.
- Invite a local architect in to talk about the structures of buildings or have him/her take you on a guided walking tour of the buildings around town.
- If you have access to a ranch or local rodeo, invite some ranchers or farmers to demonstrate how to tie and twirl ropes used in rounding up animals. Use a statue or figurine and have the kids take turns trying to ''catch'' it.
- Rodeos often have clowns. Set up a face-painting area.
The Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea by Tony Johnston
- How sensitive a cowboy (or cowgirl) are you? Using several towels or blankets, assemble objects that differ in size such as a few dried black-eyed peas or beans, an apple, a small stuffed animal, a baseball, a book, a toy, etc. Have your family sit in a circle on the floor. Place the folded towels in the center. One player closes his/her eyes while you tuck an object under one towel. Then he or she tries to guess what the object is!
More on: Activities for Preschoolers