Rock the Clothesline!
I love rockin’ the clothesline play with children, and it’s a naturally delightful summertime activity! It’s so much fun to see what we can hang upon the line (see previous clothesline entry), or to use a clothesline as a display for artwork. You can do water experiments with hanging fabrics to see what will dry quicker, or paint on t-shirts and handkerchiefs with spray bottles and squirt guns…so much to do, so little clothesline!
So, you can imagine my joy when I discovered a few recently published clothesline books, as well as a reprint of a golden oldie!
Most preschools will talk about “community helpers” while toddlers learn what jobs people do, and this book would be a great inspiration for your playroom at home to build upon that theme. Using clues from the clothesline, we guess what each character does. Even though the book is short, Heling and Hembrook do a good job going beyond gender stereotypes (showing a man as “chef”, a woman as “carpenter”, etc). I think this story cries out for daily costume play, followed by dipping clothes in washtubs and hanging outside. Dress-up and water play! How good can it get?
In bright, graphic comic-book style, Manning creates a sweet story of a shoeshine boy in turn-of-the-century New York. The small boy is lost in a crowd until the wind blows him a red scarf and he sets out to find the original owner. In the process, he meets the entire neighborhood and gains unexpected rewards for his kindness. The author draws the reader in with detailed pictures and sparse dialogue that reflects the different cultural traditions in the neighborhood (a laundry list of words in the back will help you pronounce them). This book can also open up conversations with preschoolers about how people lived before electricity.
Most kids receive second hand clothing from someone – a cousin, a brother and sister, or a thrift store. This delightful rhyming book by Mary Ann Hoberman, a master of children’s poetry, celebrates the wonder of “clothes with a history, clothes with a mystery…sweaters and shirts that are brother-and-sistery” as an enthusiastic preschooler waxes poetic about the joys of the hand-me-downs . First published in 1976, this book has been reissued with new illustrations by Patrice Barton. Characters are expressive and lovingly drawn with loose pencil sketches that are digitally enhanced with colorful cloth patterns. If you have a future fashionista on your hands, this book is a wonderful choice.
For a bit more clothesline fun, read this entry from the Garden Drum blog by Kelly Hesford about how children see clotheslines.
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Bringing Books to Life
Bringing Books to Life helps educators and parents find fun and innovative ways to inspire children to read.
Elizabeth Atack, Program Coordinator
Megan Godbey, Adult Literacy Coordinator/GROW facilitator
Klem-Mari Cajigas, Bilingual GROW Project Facilitator