When I was a little kid, I simply LOVED Dr. Seuss stories. I loved the silliness, the rhymes, the nonsense words and the pictures of Dr. Seuss’ make-believe creatures. When I was teaching, I adored the books for all the same reasons. They’re not only excellent for kids who are beginning to read (there’s a lot of repetition and use of word families), but they’re also a ton of fun to read to a class – although your tongue can end up tied in knots if you’re not careful!
In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, here are my favorite Dr. Seuss stories – and a few activities you can do to make your day extra-silly.
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish: This is basically a book of funny creatures. From the fish at the beginning of the story, to poor Ned who doesn’t like his little bed, to the Zeep who sleeps at the end of the book, the rhymes are quick and funny and the characters are entertaining. Although there isn’t a plot, per say, this is a book kids will read over and over again. It’s terrific for reinforcing word families, and it’s a wonderfully imaginative read.
The Cat in the Hat: The classic story of what happens when mom steps out and a very entertaining cat steps in! The Cat in the Hat brings a special kind of chaos to Sally and her brother’s house, but manages to get it all cleaned up just before their mom comes home. This story is impressive because Dr. Seuss wrote it based on a list of words six and seven-year-old children were meant to know. The challenge was to keep the vocabulary simple, while keeping the story engaging. Millions of children will attest to the fact that he was successful!
Oh, the Places You’ll Go: OK, confession time. I can’t get through this story without shedding a few tears. I know that sounds crazy, because the book is mostly very upbeat. It’s just the hopefulness that gets to me every time. I worked with teachers who would read this at the end of the school year to their class, but I knew I’d never get through it without a Kleenex or two (or three). This is a good story for the seven and up crowd, and is a terrific book to give to anyone who’s starting out, graduating, or just going through a transition and needs to know that you believe in them.
Green Eggs and Ham: One of the easiest books for beginning readers,this book is also an incredible tongue-twister (just try reading it at any kind of speed!). If you’ve got a first-grader at home, share this story with them. It’s a super way to reinforce word families, and a great way to introduce the concept of trying new things!
Some Dr. Seuss-inspired activities:
Create your own creature: Dr. Seuss was known for his artistic style. Encourage your child to come up with some creatures of their own. Have your child draw them and name them – the funnier the name, the better! For an extra challenge, see if your child can write a little rhyme about their creature.
Try a new food: Sam-I-Am knew green eggs and ham were delicious – he just needed to convince his friend to try them! Next time you’re grocery shopping with your child, pick a new food to try. Maybe a new fruit or vegetable, or something from another culture – whatever it is, talk to your child about how important it is to try new things.
Cook up some fun -Try these fun Dr. Seuss inspired recipes like green eggs and ham cookies or make a Cat In the Hat Strawberry delight.
Play a rhyming game – This is so easy to do in the car, while waiting in line, at the doctor’s office – anywhere, really! Just come up with a silly line, like “The goose got loose and drank some…” and have your child finish it with a rhyming word. It doesn’t matter if the sentence makes little to no sense – what you’re trying to do is encourage word play, rhyming skills, and imagination.
Make a map – Encourage your child to make a map of all the wonderful places they’ll go. They can make up places (Ice Cream Land!) or actually plot real destinations they’d like to visit (London!). Make a map of your own and compare the two!
No matter how you spend Dr. Seuss’ birthday, I hope it’s fun for you and your little one!