Have you and your kids been cozied up with a good book this winter? If you have, let it be the inspiration for your next family outing. You can bring favorite stories to life on an adventure specifically matched to your kid’s favorite tales. What a great opportunity to experience first-hand what they’ve been reading about and enhance their learning that much more.
Fire Truck! By Ivan Ulz
This sing and read story book illustrates how firefighters jump out of bed, slide down a pole and race off to fight fires. Both my kids memorized this book in pre-school and would sing it, (so we didn’t have to read it to them)! A fun outing would be to visit and tour a local fire house. Please, don’t show up unannounced, however. You will need to call ahead to make sure the fire house allows tours and what days and times work best.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
If I had a dime for every time I’ve read this one. This classic tale follows a gluttonous caterpillar on his way to becoming a beautiful butterfly. There’s no better way to show the finale of metamorphosis than to view beautiful butterflies in person at the Reiman Gardens Butterly Wing in Ames. The Christina Reiman Butterly Wing is open all year and winter is a great time to visit. Bonus, visit Reiman Gardens’ website to view the life stages of a butterfly before you go.
Imaginary Veterinary Series by Suzanne Selfors
This is a new book series that we’ve recently discovered. We devoured the first three books and are anxiously waiting for the next book to come out in February. Through a series of misadventures, Ben and Pearl, become apprentices to an imaginary veterinarian (a veterinarian that treats mythical creatures). They end up on crazy adventures assisting a Sasquatch, unicorn and dragons.
Even though we don’t have imaginary veterinarians here in Des Moines, a trip to a regular veterinarian’s office would be a great alternative. Several local veterinarians offer tours of their facilities. Again, make sure to call ahead to schedule a tour.
Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I am hoping to work through this series with my daughter in a few years. Set during the pioneer days of the late 1800s and early 1900s, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books chronicle her life growing up on the Western frontier. The books depict the life of pioneers vividly as you read about churning butter, trundle beds, covered wagons, ox yokes and log cabins. A visit to Living History Farms would be the perfect field trip to learn more about what Laura was describing and experiencing.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
As my kids venture into chapter books, we keep discovering new books and this is a gem. Winn-Dixie is a big ugly dog who helps a very lonely little girl in need of a friend. Opal has moved to a new town and Winn-Dixie helps her to find her place in the world and let go of some of the sadness left by her mother’s abandonment. To learn more about animal human relationships take a tour of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. You will need to call ahead to schedule a tour.
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Greene
Ever since watching the TV series Merlin, I’ve had a slight infatuation with this tale. You know this story already. Sword in the stone, King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Merlin the magician. This particular version is rewritten a bit to be appropriate for kids. I know it’s not the right time of year, but wouldn’t it be great to read this book and then go to the Des Moines Renaissance Faire? Your kids could walk right into the Middle Ages, see a royal court and attend a joust.
Your turn! Share your book and outing ideas for family fun in Des Moines.