Biscuit books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli are perfect for toddlers and emergent readers. These books focus on an unnamed little girl, between ages 5-7, and her yellow puppy named Biscuit. After reading the stories about Biscuit's adventures, plan supplemental activities to extend the fun.
With the repetitive "woof, woof" lines and easy to follow plots, the Biscuit books are excellent choices for classroom lessons. Thanks to their focus on holidays, celebrations, and everyday activities like visiting the doctor, Biscuit books fit into most elementary curriculum. This makes them ideal in planning activities for young children in preschool, kindergarten or first grade.
Name Scavenger Hunt
In Hello, Biscuit!, one of the first books in the collection, readers meet a smart, adorable, mischievous puppy and watch as the little girl tries to pick the best name for him. After reading the story, set up a fun snack scavenger hunt where kids will discover their new nickname. Hide individual packages of different snacks around the classroom like Teddy Grahams, shortbread cookies, animal crackers, Saltine crackers, graham crackers and other varieties of cookies or crackers. Whatever snack a student finds first becomes their snack for that day and the first word of the snack name becomes their nickname for the day. For example, a boy who finds the Teddy Grahams would be called Teddy while a girl who finds shortbread cookies would be called Shortbread.
Woof, Woof Wall
Create a word wall that features new vocabulary words from the Biscuit books. Each time you read a new book as a class, ask students to contribute to the wall. Preschool teachers can print and cut out vocab words for each child to choose from. Older students can choose one word from the book, write it on a piece of paper, then explain what it means or describe how to spell it when they hang it up. Make the wall more fun by handing other animal sound words instead of vocabulary words. For example, you could challenge your class to figure out how many ways are there to make dog sounds?
Biscuit Book Bag
Purchase a small, yellow dog plush toy. Place it in a large plastic bag that zips closed with a notebook and pencil. Every weekend, send the book bag home with one student who then journals in the notebook about any adventures he enjoys with the pretend Biscuit. On Monday morning, ask the student to share his journal entries aloud to the entire class. Students who can't spell or write in sentences yet can either draw pictures of the adventures or get help from a parent.
Big Biscuit Book
Create a classroom book with stories featuring Biscuit and the little girl. Ask each student to write a short story or draw a single image of something Biscuit and the little girl might do together. Remind each student to include the repetitive "woof, woof" from the books somewhere on the page. Put all the stories together into one large Biscuit book for the class library by securing them in a three-ring binder.
Create a matching game based on common elements of the books. Ask each student to choose one thing from the book to draw. Examples include the little girl, Biscuit, dog treats or the words "woof, woof." After completing the drawing on a small, square piece of paper, each student should make an exact copy of their picture on another sheet of paper. (You can also copy their drawings at the copy machine if time is an issue.) Combine all pictures to create a deck of cards for a memory matching game. Students can take turns playing the game and finding matching pictures drawn by classmates. Not only will you extend the stories, but kids will work on drawing, matching and memory skills.
I Love School Collage
Biscuit is a smart, curious puppy who always looks for ways to discover new things. In Biscuit Loves School readers learn about all the things Biscuit likes about learning. Help students show off what they love about school with a classroom collage. Cut a large piece of paper or use a sheet of poster board for the background. Include the title "Woof, Woof (that means I Love School)!" on the top of the paper. Give students catalogs of school supplies and decorations along with children's magazines and old book order forms to use for the project. Ask each student to cut out five pictures that show their favorite things about school and one thing that shows something Biscuit loves. If they can't find a picture in the materials, they can draw one. Allow everyone to hang their pictures on the large piece of paper and display your collage in the hallway.
Activities for Home
A good way to come up with activities at home is to focus on each individual book. In each book, Biscuit and the little girl do activities that involve normal childhood experiences. Any of these activities adapts to the classroom with a few modifications like the providing enough materials for the whole class.
Easter Egg Fun
In Happy Easter, Biscuit! the little girl and Biscuit hunt for Easter eggs, which is a great activity to do following a reading of this book. Make the egg hunt family-friendly by assigning each sibling one color of eggs to find. Let the kids take turns hiding the eggs for the rest of the family to find. When you've had enough hiding and finding, sit down and see if you can decorate real or plastic eggs to match the ones in the book. Use stickers, markers or dye to recreate your favorite patterns from Biscuit's Easter eggs.
Sort and Recycle Game
After reading Biscuit's Earth Day Celebration, get kids excited about caring for the planet with ideas from the book's author available in a PDF printable. Create a recycling game using a few empty buckets or boxes and some assorted recyclables. Make a pile in the center of a room that includes clean plastic bottles, paper goods, glass baby food jars, cardboard boxes and other recyclable materials. Label each box for one type of material like "paper" or "plastic." Challenge your child to sort the recyclables into the right containers within a given time limit.
Marks in the Snow
After reading Biscuit's Snowy Day, kids can try to make puppy snow prints or snow angels. Make up a batch of fake snow or use a snow-like substance such as flour or sand. Provide each child with a shallow box, like one-half of a shirt box you'd use to wrap a sweater at Christmas. Pour in at least a half an inch of your "snow." Offer a variety of materials like cookie cutters in big and small circle shapes, unsharpened pencils, plastic rings or craft pompoms. Ask students to create either two puppy paw prints or a puppy snow angel inside their boxes.
During the summer months, participate in activities like those shared by Biscuit and the girl. Follow their lead from Biscuit's First Beach Day and head to the beach to build a sand castle or see how many different seashells you can collect. Visit a farm, or zoo if there aren't farms nearby like Biscuit does in Biscuit's Day at the Farm. Can you find all the same animals he found?
Pack it Up
In Biscuit's First Trip the puppy, little girl, and their family take a vacation. Activities related to taking a trip include packing, riding in the car, and exploring the destination. Start by making a pile of clothing and accessories for different climates. Place an open suitcase on the floor then ask your child to pick out the apparel he'll need for different climates by describing one at a time. After you've covered the packing, challenge your child to create a pretend car you both can fit in with the closed suitcase. This might include moving chairs around or building something with empty boxes. As you "ride in the car" take turns describing where you'd like to go for a vacation.
Make the Most of Mistakes
Throughout the collection, Biscuit marches to the beat of a unique drum and often does things differently than the little girl would like. However, because they love each other they are always kind and helpful toward each other as they exemplify teamwork. Foster a similar ideal with your child in this fun art activity. Draw a simple image on a piece of paper, but make sure to do one thing wrong. For example, you could draw a triangle with one squiggly side. Ask your child to modify the drawing and hide your "mistake" by turning the silly triangle into something else like a funny monster by adding a face, feet, and arms. Give your child a chance to be the "mistake maker" then you can transform the drawing into something new.
Turn Reading Into Action
The author's website contains printable worksheets featuring Biscuit including matching, color-by-number, and maze worksheets to use in lessons. All of these activities can also be used at home, you just won't need as many supplies.
Activities with Biscuit books provide a great starting point for families or classrooms to explore literature together. Choose a book to read then see what games or crafts you can create to mimic what Biscuit and the little girl did in the story.