Ideas from the field on using 26 Big Things Small Hands Do with young children
“26 Big Things Small Hands Do will help you introduce the concept of lending a hand to the youngest children. Author Coleen Paratore uses the alphabet to describe a variety of things that even toddlers’ hands can do. Kids can see that the same hands that participate in fun can make contributions. As the book starts, ‘Your hands are small but they do BIG things that make this a wonderful world.’ Small hands help, the book says, and small hands lend. Small hands recycle, teach and volunteer.
“You can segue from this book to a discussion of what the small hands in your family can do. If you’re starting the new year with closet and toybox cleaning, encourage your children to help you sort through things that are outgrown or unused. ‘Small hands can measure,’ you might remind as your children determine how well clothes fit. ‘Small hands can share,’ can be said when you set aside outgrown toys for donation. Small hands can also carry clothes to the laundry room or scrub toys so they’ll be clean when they leave your home.
“Older children can brainstorm where to send things you no longer need or can use; you can jot down their suggestions or, for children who read, let them use the telephone directory, a directory of local social services or the Internet to list places that welcome donations. Some possibilities: your church nursery, homeless shelters, transitional housing, schools for homeless kids, therapeutic child care facilities, and ‘baby boutiques’ that provide clothes, toys, books and baby equipment to families referred by social service agencies. Your local school may also keep clothes on hand for emergencies or for distribution.”—Linda Carlson, Parenting Press
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