Last Fall I spent about a month with Princess going through the Unit Study for a fun book in The Frances Study Guide series by Valerie Bendt. I started doing about one book a month with Princess this school year (she’s in Kindergarten) and she has loved them. We only do activities about once or twice a week. This is a great unit study to use for Elementary age kids, especially girls. There are activities to go along with each of the 6 books in the Frances series about a little badger by Russell Hoban. If you are interested, you can read about the first Frances book I did with her here: Frances Book Studies.
We finished A Baby Sister for Frances in September last fall (2017). There were a lot of neat activities and we both enjoyed it! I did this book years ago with Princess and Flash (my two oldest) when Hulk (my 3rd, a boy) was first born and it was great for helping kids get used to a new baby in the house.
Here are the activities we did for this book:
We read the book many times! She loved this book.
Noisy Cans activity from the manual. In the book, Frances fills a tin coffee can with gravel and pretends she’s marching in a band and makes a lot of noise. I filled several empty vitamin bottles with different items in each one and let her shake them and try to guess what was in them. I used uncooked rice, buttons, popcorn kernals, paper clips and dried beans. She had so much fun with this activity!
Vocabulary lesson: the word “cozy”. In the book, when Frances “runs away”, she hides under the kitchen sink and says that it is nice and “cozy” there. We looked up the meaning and talked about what the word means.
Frances’ Bedtime List: We tried to remember all the things that Frances wanted to bring to bed with her.
Search and Find worksheet: (Copied from manual) It was a worksheet that had pictures of different items and we went through and circled all the items that Frances wanted to bring to bed with her.
The Knapsack Game: In the book, Frances “runs away” to under the kitchen sink. She packs a “knapsack” and so we talked about how a “knapsack” is just another name for what we usually call a “backpack”. I got out her backpack and let her pretend she was “running away” like Frances and let her pack whatever she wanted to in hers.
Let’s Pretend: We talked about what it means to pretend, like Frances pretended to run away and then pretended to call her parents on a pretend phone. Then we talked about what kind of things Princess likes to play pretend.
The Importance of a Family: We talked about what a family is, like Frances’ mother in the book said, “A family is everybody all together.” We talked about our family and how each person in it is important because God put us together and we are all special. Then we had a pretend phone call like Frances did with her parents in the book.
Write a story: I had her make up a (very short) story about having a baby sister or brother. It was just a few sentences and I wrote them down for her. Princess is the baby in our family so I asked her what she thought it would be like if we had another baby (which we are not!) and how she would feel, if she would feel the way Frances did.
Read and compare: We read a suggested go-along book called “Arthur’s Baby” by Marc Brown and compared the differences and similarities between the two books.
Money: In the book, Frances asks her father is she can have more allowance money since she is a big sister now and her father says yes. So we took some change and talked about what each coin is called and how much it is worth. Then we counted out how much the allowance was that Frances received. Frances now earned a nickel and a penny each week. She mentioned that she knows a girl who gets 3 nickels and 2 pennies a week. So we counted them out to see the difference.
One day I had her re-tell the story to me and we talked about what our favorite parts of the story were.
The last thing we did was to bake a cake. In the story, when Frances decides to “come back home”, her mother is so happy that she bakes a chocolate cake. So Princess and I baked a chocolate cake together. It was a great way to end our study of the book.