Learning with Literature – Make Way For Ducklings

I personally love literature based themes and learning.  We have Vol. 1 of Five in a Row but I haven’t gotten into that too much. I know there are many literature based programs, and I’m sure they are wonderful, but at the moment they just aren’t for us.  So I decided we would do our own program!  I don’t have a book list or anything really set up – this will be more go-with-the-flow type (as is much of our schoolwork these days!).  But we will be continuously working on a book and trying to incorporate many types of learning into it!

We decided to start with Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.  It fit in with our duck theme the last few weeks and the library conveniently had it in stock.  I’m not sure that I’d ever read this book before but now it is one of my favorites.  The story is so sweet and the illustrations are so fun (even though our library copy had been colored over and X’ed through!). 

We started off the week by reading the story and slowly looking at all the pictures and discussing what was going on.  I left it at that on the first day to just let the story sink in.

The second day we read the story again and I asked Baloo to point out anything he was curious about or words he didn’t know.  We added a few words to our vocabulary list (enormous, duckling, horrid, molting, and responsibility).

Then I realized that the places described in the book are real, famous locations in Boston so I had to print out a map and mark them! 
You can download our map here!
The first sheet is just the map and the second sheet includes stars and a dotted line for the locations!  We had to make an assumption about the island on Charles River.  In the book the island is very close to a bridge so we chose the island that was closest to the Longfellow Bridge.
I also found this alternative map which is a bit more kid friendly. (It starts on the 3rd page!)
First I gave Baloo the map and the book and I was surprised when he easily located the Public Garden island and the island on Charles River by himself!  I helped him find the State House and Louisburg Square.

Then we traced where the ducks walked from Charles River to the Public Garden.


Since the book is about the ducks finding a home, we decided to talk a bit about our home.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and immediately had to figure out how to tie it in with something we were doing!  So I thought this was the perfect opportunity.  Baloo knows our address, city, and state when asked, but country, and continent he wasn’t as sure.

The final product! I edited out our street name and city name (really small town!)  We used Google Maps! to get the street view picture of our house.  I also used Google to get images of places in our town and state and used foam to cut out the space of Alabama and North America.  The USA is represented by the flag that Baloo colored.


I got the idea to make this life cycle wheel from Homeschool Share (the actual printable is at kizclub.com).  There are a lot of other great ideas for this book at Homeschool Share! 
Our printer is unfortunately broken, so we had to make this by ourselves!


Royal didn’t participate with us everyday but he really loved the book!  On some pages there are hidden things (like frogs) and he really enjoyed looking for those!
Since we were in the middle of duck week we were able to tie in a lot of fun activities!  We used the matching cards from the Tot School Dd printables at 1+1+1=1 to show how a duck grows from an egg to an adult duck!  I tried to get Royal to match the toys to the pictures.  He wasn’t too interested in our game – he had more fun trying to make me laugh by messing around with the eggs!


Now of course I had to get food involved!  I gave the boys a plate of pretzels and told them to make a birds nest with them.  Baloo tried a few different ways…


And then we worked together to create this little nest!

Then I cut up this banana to look like a duck!  I know it looks nothing like a duck, but once I put the pom pom on the back for a tail the boys were happy enough!  And it turned into a great snack!  Not to mention that the pretzels were very challenging on the plate! 



We had a wonderful time reading this book!  We’ve already started with our next book – Harold and the Purple Caryon!

Shibley SmilesClassified: Mom

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  1. This is so much fun! I too love Five in a Row! We did the where you live activity & found it so helpful. Love the nest snack!! Thanks for linking up to TGIF! See you next week,
    Beth =-)

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