Recently a friend shared news from her son’s preschool class about how the children are learning the “things they have in common” as a way to make friends. They explored what is the same and different about they things they like to do, their favorite memories, and the food they like the most.
You can play this game at home. Ask everybody in your family about their “favorites.” Make it specific to your family. What is each person’s favorite family dinner, the favorite place in your home, a favorite memory from the last holiday? (My answers: macaroni and cheese with ketchup, the chair with the footstool in my living room, my 3-year-old twin nephews frosting the cake.)
What is the same and different about your family members? Can your children come up with their own questions to ask the family? You’ll find out things about each other that you may not have known before asking, and you’ll be giving your child new words and ideas.
Here are some books to read to your young child about being the same or different:
“You and Me” by Giovanni Manna. A boy and a girl are friends, but are different in so many ways. They play a game of contrasts: “I’m heavy, You’re light; You’re dark, I’m bright.” Despite all of their opposite qualities, they find some important ways they are the same. The illustrations are each framed with images that expand on the text and encourage discussion.
“Elmer’s Special Day” by David McKee. Elmer doesn’t look the same as his friends. He’s a brightly colored patchwork elephant and everyone else in the herd is gray. Elmer is happy about his uniqueness, however, and on “Elmer’s Special Day” all the other elephants dress up in crazy colors and Elmer becomes gray, just for fun, to see what it is like.
“Go Dog, Go!” by P.D. Eastman. This classic never gets old. “Big dog, little dog, yellow dog, blue dog.” The text is brief and the illustrations are to the point, but the story of all these dogs, with their similarities and differences, keeps children engaged and wanting to hear more.