Friday, April 28

15 Fun Extension Activities for The Adventures of Beekle

Welcome back to my series of posts highlighting some of my very favorite, favorite picture books and the supplementary games, songs, and activities you could use with them. This could be useful for library programs, the classroom, homeschooling, or (of course) to just have fun with your kids! You can see all my book activity ideas here. But today, I'll share ideas for...

Not only one of my favorites, but also a Caldecott winner! The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat is an awesome story with even awesome-er illustrations. It's colorful, it's bright, it inspires share lots of awesome activities. These are targetted at the book's target age group of about 4 to 7 years old. Check them out below!

1. Draw your own imaginary friend -- This one pretty much goes without saying, but this book does provide the most excellent of opportunities to exercise one's imagination. So draw a portrait of your buddy, whether he/she comes purely from your mind's eye or whether you draw some inspiration from Beekle's end pages. Giant sketchbook and pen are not necessary (but could be fun!)

Dan Santat at work, from The Horn Book

2. Waiting games -- Beekle has to do a lot of waiting while on the island of imaginary friends. Kids know all about how hard it is to wait. So play some games that can be used everywhere and anywhere that waiting is a must (doctor's office, airports, etc, etc). These may include classics like "I Spy" or here's a list of 20 ideas from What Do We Do All Day. Or, better yet, this might also be a great time to exercise your brain and invent your own.

3. Build a boat -- Beekle escapes the island on his own! This is a great opportunity for some STEM magic: building a boat. What floats? What propels? What materials will make a great boat? Gather some supplies and a pool of water, and let the kids have at it.

A whole list of boat ideas from Kid Activities Blog

4. Have boat races -- It only makes sense that after making some awesome boats you could also hold boat races to see whose is fastest or sturdiest, etc.

5. Eat cake -- Beekle is surprised to only see adults eating cake when he reaches the big city. It's time to remedy that with cake time with the kids! Bonus points if your cake actually involves Beekle himself.

Fan-made Beekle cake from Dan Santat's Tumblr

6. Visit playground/park -- Beekle finds his old friends at the park's playground. Sounds like a great excuse to get outside and play! Make sure to tell your kids to invite their imaginary friends.

7. Make rainbows -- Beekle was born on the end of a rainbow, so try making your own! There's a variety of ways that it can be done; work with your kids to see what materials are absolutely necessary (e.g. source of light) and what materials make the best rainbows (prisms vs. water, etc.)

One of five ways explained on One Time Through

8. Sing "The More We Get Together" -- This book is all about friendship, so what better way to celebrate that than with a song about friends? It's also a great song to practice some sign language. Check out this video from Skokie Library for an example.

9. Go on a city scavenger hunt -- Live in the big city? Make like Beekle and start exploring. See if you and the kids can find certain items or landmarks to make the trip especially fun.

10. Make your own paper crowns -- Beekle's headwear is stylin'. See if you kids can make some of their own stylin' crows, like these ones I made for my royalty storytime.

11. Make goals -- Just like Beekle's determination to find a friend, see if your kids have some goals they're determined to accomplish. Perhaps they want to learn a new sport or try a new food. Write them down and make a plan to get it done!

12. Matching game -- Play a fun game with the endpapers from The Adventures of Beekle. This image from Book Riot is big enough to print at home to cut out these portraits of friends. For younger kids, a double print of each image is sufficient to play a simple matching game. But for an extra challenge, try cutting the real kid out separate from their imaginary friend, and match them back together for your game.

From an interview with Santat on Book Riot

13. Caldecott discussion -- Kids are never too young to appreciate some good art. Talk about your favorite pictures from the book and why, maybe, the book got an award for its illustrations. You could even practice drawing like Dan Santat.

14. Read more Dan Santat books! -- Mr. Santat has written and illustrated books for kids of all ages. Try out these other books of his!


Whether you do one or all, I hope you have a lot of fun with these ideas to supplement The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend!

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