Storybook Summer post by Bethany of No Twiddle Twaddle

Hi! I’m Bethany, author of No Twiddle Twaddle, and I’m excited to post today on Make and Takes about one of my favorite subjects, children’s books. I admit, I had trouble picking a favorite picture book (my kids and I only have around a million and one favorites), so I decided to visit a well known classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
chicka chicka boom boom activity

In the picture book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the letters one by one climb up the coconut tree. But, unfortunately, the whole alphabet of 26 letters weighs a little bit more than the poor tree can handle bringing down the coconut tree with a “boom boom”. I love this book for its lively interpretation of the alphabet, its rhythmic catchy text, and its bright colorful illustrations.

chicka chicka boom boom activity
I decided to create an original Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activity for Storybook Summer that would help a preschooler learn the alphabet, enjoy a sensory experience with different textures and colors, and strengthen fine motor skills through a simple craft. So, I created a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Alphabet Bin with a pipe cleaner coconut tree. This craft is simple, inexpensive, and easy enough for a 4-6 year old child to do with minimal help. You could also adapt it as a station in a classroom or as a craft for a large group of children.

Supplies for a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Alphabet Bin:

  • Tub or Bin – I used a disposable cooking pan with lid.
  • Pipe cleaners – 7-10 pipe cleaners for the leaves, 5-6 pipe cleaners for the trunk of the tree
  • Small pom poms – 3
  • Letters in different colors and textures – I chose magnet letters, dyed alphabet pasta, and beads. I also threw in some green rice for “grass” (optional)
  • Kid safe glue
chicka chicka boom boom activity

Directions for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Coconut Tree:

  • Bend 7-10 pipe cleaners (for leaves) in half.
  • Hold the bent pipe cleaners together in a clump with the bent ends up.
  • Starting at the middle and working down, wrap the 5-6 pipe cleaners (for the trunk) one by one around the bent pipe cleaners to hold them together.  (Note: An adult may need to help with this step to make sure that the ends of the pipe cleaners are fastened inside securely and that the trunk has no sharp edges. We did not use glue, but you could use some to fasten the trunk more securely.)
  • Leave either a little bit of the bottom of the bent pipe cleaners sticking out to fold into roots or make the trunk wide at the bottom so that the tree will be able to stand up easily.
  • Fluff out the top of the tree to make the leaves of the coconut tree.
  • Glue the pom poms to the tree.

My preschooler made a lovely coconut tree with bright leaves and a black trunk. He insisted that his coconut tree have googly eyes. I’m definitely not one to make rules about the right way to make a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree. So, here is his creation: (I think the googly eyes added a nice touch, don’t you?)

chicka chicka boom boom activity

The child can then place his coconut tree inside the bin with the letters and play. Depending on the child’s age and interest, you could direct sensory play by:

  • Use alphabet cards and have the child match letters to the cards.
  • Mimic the book’s rhyme while placing the letters on the coconut tree. Don’t forget to let the tree fall!
  • Just let your child play. Add spoons, cups, and other household items to give your child a full sensory experience. (If your child is not ready to learn the names of the letters, just playing with the letters allows a stress free exposure to the shapes of the letters which will help prepare your child for learning quickly when he/she is ready.)
  chicka chicka boom boom activity

I would love to hear what you think. Do love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as much as we do?

Bethany started No Twiddle Twaddle in January, 2012, to create a kid lit and play blog that combines love for great literature with a down to earth perspective of a mom with small children. When she’s not writing (or folding the never ending stack of laundry), you might find her killing dragons in the backyard, joining a mission to Mars, or if lucky curled up on the couch reading to her kids.

Bethany posts a daily free kids’ eBook list each day in addition to her picture book reviews, book lists, and play ideas. Take her virtual tour today to check out all her most popular posts.