A Recipe for Fun: Color Mixing at the Sink

The activity was inspired by Sky Color. To learn more about the book and to see all our Sky Color activities, click here

Containers of water, food coloring, spoons, eye droppers and maybe even a turkey baster make for hours of color mixing exploration. The swirling of food color as it drops into the water and the ability to make colors that will never exist in a box of crayons brings out the combination artist and mad scientist lurking in most children.

Could they be mixing a potion to tame dragons, a magic plant food to grow jellybean tress, or maybe a new paint color that magically glows when painted on paper? Imaginations will soar with just a few supplies and this will be an often-requested activity. Keep an eye on items in your recycling bin – you never know what could be the next best tool in the color-mixing laboratory.



Color Mixing at the Sink


  • containers
  • water
  • eye dropper, turkey baster, etc.
  • liquid food coloring
  • dish soap, optional
  1. Fill containers and add a few drops of food coloring. Let imaginations take it from there!


Anatole's Cheese Tasting Party

This recipe was inspired by Anatole. To learn more about the book and to see all of our Anatole activities, click here

Broaden your young reader's culinary horizons! Most kids are used to the ubiquitous American cheese, mozzarella cheese sticks, and cheddar mac and cheese. However, a quick trip to a gourmet cheese shop or even the dairy section of your grocery story will show the vast number of cheese varieties that are available.  

As an expert cheese taster, Anatole is able to detect nuances in the flavor of the cheeses at Duval's Cheese Factory. While this activity certainly doesn't require such such cheese-tasting authority, it provides a good opportunity to not only introduce new varieties but also to compare and contrast those that you select. Which ones are hard and sliced? Which are soft and spreadable? You can even compare the colors or smells. 

If you would like to keep with the French setting of the book, here is a great guide to French cheeses

Anatole's Cheese Tasting

Anatole's Cheese Tasting Party


  1. Set out crackers and place one type of cheese on each. Taste and discuss! A fine vintage of grape juice optional. 


Anatole's Cheese Tasting


Anatole's Cheese Tasting


Anatole's Cheese Tasting
Sharp Cheddar


Anatole's Cheese Tasting


Anatole's Cheese Tasting


Anatole's Cheese Tasting

Build Like a Bird

This activity was inspired by An Egg Is Quiet . To learn more about the book and to see all our An Egg Is Quiet activities, click here

Not only are eggs amazing, but the nests that birds build are equally fascinating. The craftsmanship and durability rival anything built by human hands and the birds do it without a single trip to Home Depot.

Even though spring officially arrived over a week ago our weather refuses to give up its winter ways so our trees are still bare making it easy to spot nests left over from last year. Despite enduring months of rain, snow and sleet, they still look to be intact and completely habitable. How do the birds do it? Grab your nature tote and go on an expedition to collect nest-building supplies and then see what your young reader builds. Leaves, twigs, straw, yarn scraps, dryer lint, and pine needles are a few suggestions. My dog and horse even graciously donated some of their hair to add to creation.

Build a Bird's Nest


  • Container for mixing... I used an broken plastic bowl
  • dirt
  • water
  • nest supplies: mulch, hay, yarn and thread scraps, leaves, twigs, dryer lint, etc.
  • rock for eggs
  1. After gathering the building supplies, dig up some nice dirt, add a little water, and stir it up until you have lovely mud to use as your glue. 
  2. Add your collected supplies a few at a time to the mud and stir to coat.
  3. Once everything is coated, shape the nest and let it sit to dry and harden.
  4. Fill with rock for eggs. You can also paint the rocks to look like eggs, but I found some that were rather egg-shaped and speckled!


What's Under the Shell?

This activity was inspired by An Egg Is Quiet . To learn more about the book and to see all our An Egg Is Quiet activities, click here. 

This is a fun and easy experiment to do with budding scientist to find out what an egg looks like without its shell.

What You Will Need

  • 1 egg
  • 1 glass container to hold the egg
  • Vinegar
  • Note – Although only 1 egg is needed to complete the experiment, it never hurts to use 2 in case a mishap occurs.

How To Do It

  1. Place the egg in the glass container.
  2. Cover the egg with vinegar and place it in the refrigerator.
  3. Check back a bit later to observe the vinegar starting to bubble and go to work on the egg.
  4. The next day pour out the vinegar and replace it with a fresh dose.
  5. The following day pour out the vinegar and remove the egg from the container. It any shell remains, rub it off and carefully rinse off the egg. Hold the egg up to light and the yolk will be visible. Gently drop it from an inch or two and watch it bounce.


Egg Experiment
Day 1

Egg Experiment
Day 2



Egg Experiment
Day 2: time to change vinegar

Egg Experiment
Day 3: ready to be rinsed

Egg Experiment2
Day 3: Shell completely dissolved

Egg Experiment

Why We Like It

  • Science experiments are fun!
  • Experiments build observation skills, language skills, processing and critical thinking skills and encourage kids to be curious, active learners.

One Cool Friend Book Play

These activities were inspired by One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo. To learn more about the book and to see all our One Cool Friend activities, click here

Learn About Galapagos Tortises

Elliot's father had a galapagos tortoise named Captain Cook when growing up. Learn all about Captain Cook's relatives with the National Geographic Creature Feature about Galapagos tortises. It features video, photos, facts and sounds.

Where in the World are...?

Pull out an atlas or globe and help young readers find the two places featured on the last page of the book. We could be more specific, but it would ruin the surprise ending!

Balancing Games

These activities were inspied by Library Lion. To learn more about the book and to see all our Library Lion activities, click here.

Miss Merriweather takes a tumble in the library while balancing on a step stool to reach a book. While her mistake was trying to balance on her tiptoes while on the step stool, working on balance is an important gross motor skill for children to develop. Have some Book Play fun inspired by Miss Merriweather and try some of our favorite balancing games.


Simon Says Balance On….

  • 1 foot
  • 1 foot with both arms over your head
  • 1 foot with the other touching your knee
  • 1 foot and 2 hands
  • 1 foot and 2 elbows
  • 1 foot and 1 hand
  • 2 hands and 2 feet
  • 2 knees and 2 elbows
  • Your bottom and 2 hands with no feet touching the floor
  • Your bottom and 1 hand with no feet touching the floor
  • Your tiptoes

There’s A Lion On Your Head!

Place a small stuffed lion toy (or any other stuffed creature you have on hand) on your young reader’s head.

Invite your reader to walk from one point to another without dropping the lion.
As skill improves, expand the directions to walk slow, fast, forward, backward, sideways, zigzagging or even try turning in a circle.

Walk the Line Balance Game

Make a balance beam on the floor by placing a strip about 5 feet long in a straight line on the floor. You want the strip to be about 3 inches wide.

Invite your child to:

  • Walk the line
  • Hop down the line on two feet
  • Hop down the line on one foot
  • Walk down the line on tiptoes
  • Place a stuffed lion on the line half way down the line. Invite your child to:
  • Walk down the line and step over the lion
  • Walk down the line and squat down and pick up the lion while keeping both feet on the tape then finish walking the line
  • Walk down the line, squat down and pick up the lion then turn around and go back to the beginning while keeping both feet on the tape


Make Your Own Romper Stompers

Do you have memories stepping up on the yellow cups and grabbing the green strings then taking off on your Romper Stompers? I spent many an hour clomping through the house, not realizing I was actually improving my balance and coordination and not just playing for the heck of it. Although you can still find versions of these toys to buy, the wonderful folks at Martha Stewart have given us directions for making your own in the form of elephant feet. If you and your young reader decide to make a pair send us a pic and let us know if Romper Stompers are still as fun today as they once were!


Bear Says Thanks Book Play

The recipe was inspired by Bear Says Thanks. To learn more about the book and to see all our Bear Says Thanks activities, click here


Bear Says Thanks is brimming with opportunities for young readers to engage in creative movement as they enjoy the story. From the opening page of expressing Bear’s boredom to the movement of each animal, the book will bring out the budding actor in everyone who listens.


You are invited to Bear Say Thanks

performed by Young Readers

Your house

any time, Thanksgiving Day

  1. Simply prepare the stage, and get ready to smile as you narrate and watch your reader’s interpretation of tromping, tunneling, flapping, and flittering.  This might be just the thing for helping Thanksgiving dinner settle and making room for another piece of pie.


Happy Thanksgiving from Off the Shelf!

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything Book Play

These activities were inspired by The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. To learn more about the book and see all of our Little Old Lady activities, click here

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is the perfect book for dramatic play! Giggles and excitement are sure to happen when you encourage your child to join in the refrain and use different voices and movements or maybe even add props in order to truly bring the story alive.

By listening to the story and waiting for just the right time join in, participating in this type of dramatic play can help build listening skills, self-confidence and pre-reading skills. Chances are this book will never be read the same way again!

For Example...
When the shoes appear, use a deep voice to say CLOMP, CLOMP and stomp your feet.
When the pants appear, use a slightly higher voice to say WIGGLE, WIGGLE and wiggle you hips.
When the shirt appears, make your voice sound shaky to say SHAKE, SHAKE and shake your arms and shoulders.
When the gloves appear, make your voice louder to say CLAP, CLAP and clap your hands.
When the hat appears, make your voice very quiet to say NOD, NOD and nod your head.
When the Pumpkin Head appears, yell BOO, BOO! and make scary hands movements.

The Apple Pie Tree Book Play

These activities were inspired by The Apple Pie Tree. Learn more about the book and see even more Apple Pie activities here


The Life Cycle of an Apple Tree

Young readers will be fascinated by this exploration of an apple tree, from seed to apple, through the seasons. It's one thing to see it from one page to the next in the book, but to actually watch the seed sprout, tree grow, leaves rustle, and hear the birds, all in just under 2 minutes, really makes the pattern come alive! 


Pick Your Own Apples (and pumpkins, peaches, corn, even Christmas trees!)

Not everyone has an apple tree growing in their backyard (if you do, you are awfully lucky!), but thankfully there are Pick Your Own farms. One of our favorite sites is Pick Your Own, which features a state by state guide to farms, pumpkin patches, and farm stands, plus recipes for everything from homemade pumpkin pie to jams and jellies. 


Related Post: Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon-Oatmeal Crust

I is for Iceberg Lettuce

This is a part of our month-long Eating the Alphabet ProjectClick here to learn more about the book and project, and to see a list of all the recipes and activities.

Instead of the usual tortilla taco, try filling iceberg lettuce leaves with your favorite fillings. We used taco hummus for the base, then topped with salsa and shredded cheese. For another delicious filling try our A is for Avocado recipe, Guacamole.

Young Readers in the Kitchen

Kids can help measure out all ingredients to make hummus, then fill their own taco with whatever fillings they want.


Iceberg Lettuce Tacos with Taco Hummus

Taco Hummus from Betty Crocker.


  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • salsa
  • shredded cheese
  • any other taco toppings you want

To make the Taco Hummus:

  1. Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid.  In a blender or food processor combine chickpeas, taco seasoning, oil, lemon juice, and garlic and process until smooth. Add reserved liquid, one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency.

To make the Tacos: 

  1. For each taco, fill one leaf of iceberg lettuce with desired amount of hummus. Top with salsa and cheese. 

    Iceberg Lettuce Tacos

    Iceberg Lettuce Tacos

    Iceberg Lettuce Tacos


Lettuce Have a Story

Delight young readers with the video from the Eden Project featuring a silly story about Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit and how they grow lettuce.