After reading the story, we jumped right into it. I taught the girls a new code, and they used their books to write out their own messages. The girls got really into it and spent a long time writing out detailed messages. Then I divided two big batches of bread dough between all of the kids, and they formed their own loaves of bread around the messages, just like Ellen’s grandfather did in the story.
After the bread came out of the oven, we headed out into the yard to experience Ellen’s rough spy journey. First, we played “Keep Away” with a few loaves of bread to simulate Ellen’s fight with and subsequent flight from the bullies who stole her bread. The girls laughed really hard during this game and tried hard to hold their bread tightly – they were all so excited about eating their bread that they didn’t want to risk dirtying it!
After taking the boat across the bay, Ellen had to dodge many obstacles in her effort to deliver the secret message. We simulated that with an obstacle course and races. The girls ran through the yard, circling trees, climbing play equipment, and heading up and down hills in an effort to cross the finish line first.
The girls really enjoyed Toliver’s Secret. I liked the fact that they were so excited to dive into the 1770s – and they had fun learning, too.
What are your kids reading right now?