Assembling an Accordion Book

  1. Collect materials: print outs, glue stick, tape, scissors or paper cutter, and cereal box.
  2. Cut pages into strips.
  3. Fold each page in half with the words outside.
  4. Fold each half to the center.
  5. Tape adjacent pages together from the back side.
  6. Fold along the taped edges so the entire book zigzags like an accordion.
  7. Cut two covers from the cereal box, slightly bigger than the folded book.
  8. Tape the covers together (colored tape used for visibility).
  9. Put glue on one end page and glue onto the cover, near the center. Repeat on other side.*
  10. Read with your family!

Another tutorial that may help you is at Making Books.

* Yes, I did this in the other order. You shouldn’t.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Say?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? has been a favorite book in our house, ever since Goose learned how to turn the pages. Now that he’s old enough to be learning colors and animal sounds, it’s more than just a rhythmic chant – it’s a great starting point for learning! Today I’m going to share one of our favorite games we play at night to get the last sillies out before bedtime.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You Say?

We use our Brown Bear Bean Bags to play this game, so sew up a set for yourself!

I sit at one end of the room with the bean bags and hold one up so Goose can see the animal. Then I ask him a question about it, wait for a response, and throw the bean bag to the far end of the room. He then runs to get it and bring it back to me, often with a hug as well.

Here’s how this silly game is a great informal learning opportunity:

  • Visual Recognition: Goose has to look at the animal and recognize its shape and/or color.
  • Listening Skills: Goose has to listen to the question, because I often mix them up.
  • Cooperation: Goose is following my directions to run and get the bean bag, and I always thank him when he brings it back to me.
  • Oral Language Practice: Goose responds to the questions orally before running to the other end of the room.
  • Gross Motor: Goose is running (or hopping, as you will read later) to the bag and squatting to pick it up.
  • Physics: Goose watches the bag’s parabolic motion as it flies through the air.

Here are some sample questions:

  • What animal is this?
  • What color is this?
  • What does the Blue Horse say?
    • It’s especially important to put the color and animal information into the question if he has been struggling with the previous questions. Kids learn language through exposure, not instruction. Telling him he is wrong will only frustrate him, but demonstrating what is right will help him learn.
  • This is the Red Bird. How do you sign bird?
    • We did some ASL early on and would often sign the animals in the book. This game would be a great way to teach the signs if you aren’t familiar with them already.
  • What does the Green Frog do?
    • Sometimes he will say “hop hop”, and sometimes he will just hop over to the other side of the room. Either way, he is communicating his answer, and I don’t make him stop the fun to give an oral answer because this is a game, not a quiz.

When Goose gets more oral language, I can’t wait to play this game with rhythm – clapping out a beat while asking, “Goose-boy, Goose-boy, What do you see?” This could also be a fun game for a playdate, but with supervision to keep the bean bags flying low and away from breakables!

What else can you do with this game? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments.

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Brown Bear Bean Bags

We love Brown Bear and his colorful friends. When I saw this fabric panel, I knew we needed to make some bean bags.


There are several tutorials out there from better sewists than me on how to make bean bags. Also, a great photo of how to make an invisible seam from a juggler. What makes my bean bags different is that I cut along the squares and matched them up so that both sides had the same image. The one exception to this rule was Brown Bear himself – I went with the front and back cover images because the bear butt is adorable! I filled them with the cheapest light colored lentil I found at the Indian grocery, which is a great place to get cheap spices too. (We used turmeric for our Easter eggs this year, and it was a big hit!)

I used one of the leftover Brown Bears as an applique on a onesie for a friend’s newborn. Again, there are better tutorials out there than I could make. I also attempted to fix a stained shirt by sewing on the extra Blue Horse, and learned why fusible web is so important.

Another thing you could do with this fabric is make a memory game. Just get another fabric to use as backing, and make two of each animal.

Brown Bear Bean Bags

Goose loves throwing, stacking, and stepping along the bean bags. It’s a great way to make the book come alive. What else would you make with this fabric? Share your ideas in the comments.


Color Change Easter Eggs!

Goose isn’t even two yet, but he loves holding a paint brush. Since he just started saying egg, I knew we had to do Easter eggs this year. More importantly, I wanted to involve Father since he didn’t do eggs as a kid. Father is not a big fan of messy art projects, so painting the eggs with food coloring was out. So how to paint eggs without paint? Science.


Turmeric is a natural dye that is also an acid/base indicator. This means that it will change color when exposed to an acid or a base. We boiled the eggs with turmeric – which is sold in big bags at the Indian grocery for much less than the teeny bottles everywhere else – and a splash of vinegar. When the eggs were cooled and dried, they went into an egg box for painting. I mixed up some baking soda and water and brought Goose his paintbrush. The baking soda solution was basic, so the eggs changed color wherever he painted. This was exciting for everyone to watch! Grandmother was impressed that Goose could use the paintbrush, Father was happy to have a Goose on his lap and get to do a bit of painting too, and Mother was happy that the experiment worked.

Color Change Easter Eggs

The eggs were pretty well covered by the baking soda solution, so we painted them a second time with vinegar and changed some of the colors back. Then we put Goose down for a nap and hid the eggs outside. Finding the eggs was even more fun than painting them, and we ate them that evening in an egg curry. Yum!

Next year, we’ll do turmeric again and red cabbage too, which turns pink and blue! Have you used science lately with your kiddo? Tell us in the comments.