When I was a young child, I loved to read. My fondest memories of learning how to read, going to the library with my Mom, and of course, having story-time before bed with my parents include books by Dr. Seuss. My favorites were One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and The Foot Book, but I’ve read close to all of his children’s stories. Thinking about it now, I wish I had a few copies of some of them at my apartment to read! They are all just so good—so cleverly written and vibrantly illustrated.
His characters have all become household names; Christmas wouldn’t be the same without ‘The Grinch’, The Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 & Thing 2 have become popular Halloween costumes, Horton, from Horton Hears a Who, will always be the most popular elephant, and The Lorax helps remind us all how important the environment is. Dr. Seuss’ impact is multigenerational, and nothing short of incredible.
For someone who’s made such a huge mark on so many lives, it’s no surprise that his birthday is widely celebrated across the country, possibly even the world. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who hasn’t read a Dr. Seuss book, and I feel deprived for anyone that hasn’t. With his birthday right around the corner--March 2nd to be exact--I can remember some ways I celebrated it in school. We made “green eggs and ham” in elementary school and in high school, my English teacher read Oh The Places You Will Go to our class.
Ideas to bring the Dr. Seuss Celebration to your Classroom
- Read a different Dr. Seuss book each day—this is great for preschoolers because this is most likely the age where they may not have read any Dr. Seuss books yet or only a few. The certain book you read can set the theme for that day, and therefore introduce the activities and ideas you have planned for your students using that same book.
- Create Horton the Elephant paper plates using paper plates, construction paper, and markers. Have a picture of Horton handy to help guide your students. Pre-cutting out elephant ears to glue onto the plates could help save time as well.
- Fishing for Paper Clips: This activity relates to the One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish First, cut out fish shapes and attach to a magnet. Then place pieces of paper attached to paperclips in a jar; the pieces of paper can have different words, letters, or shapes written on them, depending on the difficulty level you would like to have for your students. Then have them fish and go over what they catch!
- I-Spy Water Bottle: Dr. Seuss’ Alphabet book helped to teach me my ABC’s and the sounds that letters make. Now have your students find their ABC’s in an I-Spy bottle. An I-Spy bottle is simply a water bottle or jar filled with rice or sand, and then also inside it are objects, in this case letters. By shaking the bottle the letters are revealed within the sand/rice. A wide mouthed bottle works best
Teacher Tip: Hot gluing the cap on saves you from cleaning up a huge mess!
- Create Lorax finger puppets! Learn how to at the Lalymom blog.
- Cat in the Hat Fish Toss Game: use a recycled cylinder shaped oatmeal container to make the cat’s hat and toss in Goldfish crackers.
- Truffala Tree Book Mark: help your students save their place in their favorite Dr. Seuss book with these; they are super easy to make and are adorable. All you need is a popsicle stick, a black marker to draw on the stripes, and a pom-pom to glue on the top.
- Make your own shapes like the ones in The Shape of Me and Other Stuff: In this book, different things are shown as silhouettes instead of being colored in. Have students pick any object they want to draw, whether it’s an animal, automobile, or just a shape they can trace with a cookie cutter. Draw it on paper and cut it out, making one side black, like a silhouette and color in the other side however they would like to identify what it is.
- I-Spy Bottle: same concept as the one in the preschool activities. Except fill the bottle with only the letters that will spell out a Dr. Seuss book title and have your students try to figure out what the title is.
- Thing 1 & Thing 2 Stress Ball: All you need to do is fill a balloon with flour/sand and decorate to make look like Thing 1 or 2. Students often experience stress is in middle school and this could be helpful for them to have around during their classes or at home.
- Mad Libs—Dr. Seuss Style! Take a page from your favorite Dr. Seuss book and block out nouns, verbs and adjectives and have the students fill in their own words. Bonus Points if students can create one that rhymes.
- Have students translate lines from the Cat in the Hat into Spanish, or any second language they are learning.
- Seuss Birthday Math Challenge: Have students figure out how old Dr. Suess would be today in number of days, months, weeks, hours, using his birth date (March 2nd, 1904).
- The Pencil in the Hat: Using a recycled Keurig cup, use red marker to draw on the Cat in The Hat stripes. Punch a hole in the top of the hat and attach a string. Tie the other end of the string around a pencil, near the eraser top. Have students try to flip up the hat and land it on top of the pencil. Watch the video below to see this craft and activity in action!
All of these ideas can be used in conjunction with each other or with activities you may already do with your students. Have fun celebrating this amazing author!