Monday, August 20, 2012

Teaching Alike and Different with Chester's Way {Kevin Henkes Virtual Book Club Blog Hop}

This month we are enjoying books by Kevin Henkes as part of our Summer Virtual Book Club for Kids!

We read the book Chester's Way and came up with three super simple activities to do that taught the concept of alike and different... while also working on some other back to school basics skills.

Chester's Way is a sweet book about two friends named Chester and Wilson that do everything together and are very similar. When Lilly moves into the neighborhood things change a bit because she is so different. At first the boys aren't sure if they want to be friends with her, but through a twist in the plot they realize what a great friend she could be after all. 

Chester's Way teaches about friendship, embracing differences, and finding similarities... and is a delightful book for preschoolers on up!

Here are the three activities we came up with to go along with Chester's Way:

1. A Month of Love for a Friend

Have you ever disliked someone? My son currently has two boys in one of his classes that he doesn't like AT ALL. The relationship reminds me a bit of Chester and Lilly. The two boys in his class are very different from him and a little bit hard to like because they don't treat him very nicely.

As we read Chester's Way we thought about how Chester and Wilson didn't really give Lilly a chance... they disliked her right away because she was different.

My son and I talked about the two boys that he dislikes and we decided to do something to change his attitude and make them his friends. We are calling this "a month of love for ________."

To prepare we...

  • Traced our hands onto cardstock and decorated them with markers
  • Wrote the names of the kids we were going to focus on for the month (I chose someone too!)
  • Brainstormed several nice things we could do to reach out and befriend these kids
  • Wrote several ideas of things to do for these friends on our cardstock hands  

In my example project I used Chester and Lilly since I don't want to broadcast the names of the kids my son doesn't like across the internet :) We are going to try and do 5 kind things for each child that my son chose this month. I am also joining in on the challenge and will do 5 kind things for someone that I need to befriend or be kinder to this month.

I have a strong belief that as you serve people you grow to love them. I hope that happens this month as my son and I reach out to these new friends and do kind things for them!

2. Alike and Different Face Game

Materials Needed: face cards template, face template, contact paper, whiteboard markers, scissors, and file folder

This game is simple to assemble and is a fun one to use to teach about alike and different... along with just teaching and practicing how to draw simple lines and shapes.

To assemble:

  • print out two ovals (face template) and one set of face cards
  • cut out ovals and cut out cards so they are approximately each the same size
  • draw matching faces (or designs) on pairs of cards (I created 4 sets, 8 cards total)
  • laminate the face on the file folder using contact peper

To Play:

  • Put the face cards in two piles facing down
  • Flip a card over from both piles
  • Have your child try and copy the simple designs onto their faces using white board markers
  • Talk about whether or not the faces are the same/alike or different and what is the same/different
  • Erase your picture and flip again!
  • You can also just have your child draw his own versions of faces using his imagination! Tell him to make them different and then discuss the differences. Then try the same thing but have him make faces that are alike instead. My son's favorite part of this activity was wiping off the face and starting over again.

3. Crayon Number Roll Game

Materials Needed: a set of dice, bowls or cups, crayons, and an opaque bag.

This is a number game that also has an embedded discussion about alike/different. It is very simple and also helps kids practice counting, one-to-one correspondence, and their colors.

To Play:

  • put a variety of colored crayons into an opaque bag
  • roll a set of dice
  • without looking (if you can), pull the correct number of crayons out of the bag that correspond to each number that is rolled.
  • put crayons in bowl and look at both bowls
  • talk about whether the bowls have the same number of crayons or a different number
  • talk about whether the crayons are alike or different (size, color, bent/broken, etc.)
  • drop the crayons back in the bowl and roll again

These simple activities helped us have a lot of active fun with Chester's Way while learning and reviewing some useful skills. We can't wait to see what activities the other Virtual Book Club participants came up with to go along with the Kevin Henkes books they chose! 

Do you have any favorite activities you use to teach alike/same and different?

What is your favorite book by Kevin Henkes?

Now that we've shared our activities with you, we're excited to see what you came up with! Please add your links to any Kevin Henkes inspired posts to the blog hop linky below. 

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Kevin Henkes that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you'd like.

Stay tuned for an awesome Kevin Henkes giveaway that starts tomorrow!

Our awesome August blog hop participants are: Toddler Approved, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Rainy Day Mum, Reading Confetti, Inspiration Laboratories, Play Dr. Mom, Mommy and Me Book Club, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Two Big Two Little, Creative Connections for Kids, The Golden Gleam, Juggling with Kids, Taming the Goblin, Crafty Moms Share, Ready Set Read 2 Me, Famiglia and Seoul, The Good Long Road, The Educator's Spin On It, Imagination Soup, 3 Dinosaurs, Royal Baloo, Being A Conscious Parent, No Twiddle Twaddle, Crayon Freckles, The Pleasantest Thing, Adventures in Reading with Kids, Smile, Play, Learn, Creekside Learning, and Teach Preschool


  1. I love the idea about choosing five ways to show kindness for someone who is different. Thanks for organizing this link-up!

  2. I love these ideas. I especially love a month of love. My son has a similar situation at the child care program at our gym. Important lesson for him, and for me :)

  3. What a sweet way to translate this book into a real life lesson. I hope both you and your son make new friends out of this activity!

  4. That is a fantastic idea! Adults sometimes forget or don't notice that it's hard for kids to be friends sometimes, a month of love is wonderful. And Chester's Way is a perfect book for learning about friendships with those who are different than us. Kevin Henkes' books are great for building social and emotional knowledge!

  5. These are all great ideas- and the handprint idea is such a great way to help your son turn a negative situation into a positive one.

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