Rosie Revere Engineer, written by Andrea Beauty and illustrated by David Roberts, was totally new to me, until our reading specialist daughter mentioned it. And now, I’m crazy about it. It’s written in comfortable verse (not forced, not over simplified).
“This is the story of Rosie Revere,
who dreamed of becoming a great engineer.”
Little Rosie wants to build amazing things. So during the day, she looks in the trash for bits and pieces she can use in her creations. At night, she makes “gadgets and gizmos,” which she tucks under her bed, so that no one will see them.
One day, her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and tells her that she had built airplanes long ago. Alas, she admits, the one thing she had wanted to do was to fly – but that had never happened.
Rosie works and works and works, ending up with a heli-o-cheese-copter that, “floated a moment and whirled round and round, then froze for a heartbeat and crashed to the ground.”
With that crash, Rosie thinks she’s a big ol’ failure, until Aunt Rose declares that this was a “perfect first try!” and that “you can only truly fail if you quit.”
Age range: 5 -7 years
The concept of adam yehidi nivrah (literally, “every person is a unique creation”) is such an important conversation to have with your child that we are starting with it, to inspire the rest of our activities this week. It’s about celebrating and delighting in what makes us different from everyone else.
A friend’s daughter – just four years old at the time – asked me, “What makes me special?” An amazing question for such a little one, right? But so important.
Here, Rosie feels like no one else in her class. Most of us have had this feeling, either fleetingly or lingeringly.
When our daughter was 3, she went to a wonderful nursery school at our synagogue. During our first conference, the teacher told us that “She doesn’t do the art projects the way the other kids do, but she seems happy with them.” Woohoo, I thought!
You can reinforce the truth that individuality is important and valuable and inspiring through this art project. Ideally, you’d have two or three children, but you can make it work with just two people – you and your child.
- Give each “artist” a pile of identical art creation components: e.g., all yellow paper, all a sheet of the same stickers, all three or four crayons of the same color, squirts of the same two or three colors of acrylic paint . . . You get the idea.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes to make a creation.
- Share what each one did, having the artist describe his process and the result.
Ta-da! As you, together, talk about each piece of art, the uniqueness will be clear.
Use fresh bits in your own backyard to do this activity, if possible. Invite each child to choose any mix of 10 elements that are appealing: flowers + twigs + pretty leaves + sprigs of herbs. (This, then, turns into a counting exercise for the little ones, as well as making-a-selection activity for all ages.)
As with the art project, set 10 minutes on a timer for each child to create a display and enjoy the differences! You can even offer different vases or platters, so that the “choice” part continues. And if they want to keep working on their arrangements, let them enjoy the process!
For most of us grand’rents, it will be very easy for us to tell our little ones what makes them special and unique to us. Here are some starter ideas to get you thinking. No one else in the world does what? Has a smile like what? Makes me laugh at what? Did that incredibly cute (what?) that time when we went (where)?
Did you ever try something and fail the first time? If this is something you can share with your child, you have the beginning of a wonderful series of conversations about failures being the necessary first steps toward success.
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