Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Welcome to our Toddler Room!

In today's post, a bunch of great ideas from my toddler teaching team.

The hugely popular children's book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a rollicking alphabet rhyme, and our toddlers are crazy for it.  (It tells the story of mischievous little alphabet letters running up the coconut tree, until they all come crashing down and their upper-case guardians come and soothe their injured, sorry selves.  It's got a great rhythm.)

We've been exploring the book for a while, especially since the kids what to hear it OVER and OVER.

Here's what the team came up with:

First, there was understanding what happens in the book.  Most of our kids haven't seen a coconut tree in real life.  When we pointed to the coconut and asked what it was, we got responses like "A circle! The Moon!"

To make the book more meaningful, we could tie in what, exactly, a coconut is.  So we brought one in!

First, we explored it.
We felt it, and decided it is bumpy and hairy.
Then the kids got fixated on pulling the hairs off of it.
(language standards, plus fine motor!)

We held it and decided it is very heavy.
(science/cognitive content standards!)

The kids saw the little circles on one end, and talked about its color.

Later, when we broke it open, we saw it is a different color inside.

We did coconut bowling, too!

We also did the handprint palm tree that's been around Pinterest and other teacher sites.  We used alphabet stampers for the letters.  

The children were offered a variety of colorful stamp pads.

These stampers are easy to use, but honestly?
You could put alphabet foamie stickers on
bottle caps or wooden cylinder blocks instead.

Some of them used more colors than others!

There's so much motion in this one-like you can see the letters being thrown out of the tree.

That's our time with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

I've also been trying it out to get kids' attention.  I call "Chicka Chicka!" and the older ones, who are almost three, will call "boom boom!" in response.  We'll see if the younger ones start to respond!

A great preschool exploration of CCBB and coconuts is at the Greatest Resource Childcare site.  Their kids are a little older, but they did some very cool stuff, including painting with the coconuts by bowling them along freezer paper!


  1. How did you open the coconut? I've had two on my counter for 2 weeks because I haven't had the courage to slam them with a hammer and knife. haha Great post- The book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom sounds exactly like something our daughter would love- She is in love with rhymes!

    1. I wish I could tell you! I was out that day and my co-teacher opened it. The instructions on the coconut said to drain the fluid with an ice pick (who has one of those???? not us!) and then to open it with a hammer. My coteacher (who planned most of this unit) is pretty fearless with a hammer.

      Here's a well-written, hammer-free tutorial I found on pinterest:

      And I'd highly recommend chicka chicka boom boom. It's one of my favorite rhyming toddler books, and definitely my favorite alphabet book. It's still fun after dozens of readings.