As parents and teachers, we all want the children we care for to grow into people of good character. We want our children to be honest, kind, and helpful. We want our children to show gratitude for the blessings in their lives. We want our children to think of others in addition to themselves.
In fact, there is so much that I want for my two children that sometimes the burden of being responsible for molding their character seems like an overwhelming responsibility. How do I help my kids develop the kind of character I want for them? How do I support them to become the kind of people that will make this world a better place?
Note: For more fun ideas inspired by books, see my Literacy Activities for Kids page.
This is a sponsored post. I received a free Peekapak as compensation for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive view, and all opinions expressed here are my own. That being said, I was so impressed with Peekapak that I paid to receive a subscription, so my kids and I are looking forward to enjoying Peekapak for quite a while. 🙂
I have found reading books together to be a wonderful way to teach character development to my children. When I read out loud to them, we have the opportunity to discuss the choices the characters make, how the characters are feeling, and whether we would make the same or different choices.
But not all books lend themselves to teaching character development. And some books I’ve read end up, sometimes unintentionally, teaching negative character traits. (So I obviously try to stay away from those books!)
I have found that when my kids like and identify with a particular character, they are ready and willing to learn from and adopt that character’s behaviors. So of course I want to share books that teach character development by showing appealing characters engaged in pro-social behavior.
Teaching character development through literature
I recently discovered a new tool for teaching character development through literature. And as an added bonus, this tool comes with lots of fun activities that my kids really enjoy. This new tool is Peekapak!
Peekapak is a creative, play-based learning program designed by education experts. It works on a subscription basis, with new boxes delivered to your door each month. Each book includes a storybook adventure featuring the Peekapak pals, creative play props designed to complement the story, and other learning elements like crafts and activities.
We opened our first Peekapak earlier this month. My first impression was “Wow!” because the materials inside were so beautiful. While my kids oohed and aahed over the materials, I read over the information directed toward adults to learn more about what was inside.
In the adult-directed materials, one of the first things I noticed was a section titled “Character Development Trait.” The theme of this particular pack was “cooperation.”
As we read through the book included in the kit, the theme of cooperation shone through. The story was about three characters who become friends when their teacher groups them together to work on an assignment. Each of them brings special talents to the group, and they find that when they combine their talents they are able to make something better than what any of them could have done on their own. Thus, they learn the value of cooperation and working with others.
(The book, by the way, was written specifically for Peekapak and features the “Peekapak pals” as characters. The story was well written and with high quality illustrations.)
After the story, we used the included Peekapak pal puppets and backdrop to act out some scenes from the book.
There were two art projects included in the kit – a birdhouse and a picture frame. The birdhouse in particular was closely tied to the story, since the three friends in the book had cooperated to build a bird house.
QBoy really wanted to start with the bird house, while XGirl really wanted to start with a different project. But we discussed how the Peekapak pals had cooperated to build their bird house, and ultimately they decided to work together.
They discussed which surfaces each would paint, and they discussed color choices with one another. And in the end they created this beautiful bird house.
(I should note that the Peekapak came with crayons for decorating the bird house, but we preferred to to use our own paints rather than the provided crayons.)
The next project was to decorate a picture frame that could be used to display a picture of the Peekapak pals. The Peekapak came with foam stickers, letter and number stickers, an ink pad, and a block to make your own stamps. These items were all available for decorating the frame.
Once again, in the spirit of cooperation, my kids decided to work together on this project. They took turns putting on stamps and then they discussed which stickers to put on. They chose numbers to represent their ages, although XGirl was a bit peeved that QBoy put on a 6 for the age he will be rather than a 5 for the age he currently is. 🙂
My opinion about Peekapak
Overall, the materials in the Peekapak were well chosen and of high quality. I was wary about the use of a book written specifically for Peekapak (rather than using an already published children’s book of recognized high quality), but my fears were unfounded. The book was well illustrated and had a good message. If I had any complaints, it would be that the Peekapak pal puppets were extremely difficult to get on their stands, although we did eventually manage to do it. I would have also liked to see the kit come with paint rather than crayons for decorating the bird house (but maybe other parents would appreciate a low mess crayon option over a more mess paint option).
Age range: I think Peekapak would be enjoyed by kids ages 3-10. The book would be too simple for most 9 and 10 year olds, but older kids would still enjoy the art projects. And the character development trait of cooperation is universally applicable to kids of any age.
Entertainment value: My 5-year-old virtual twins greatly enjoyed all of the activities in the kit. With the exception of the character puppets and backdrop, however, the activities were of the one-and-done type, which limits how long we can continue to enjoy them.
Summary: My kids really enjoyed every aspect of our Peekapak. And I love the opportunity to focus on teaching character development through literature with our monthly kits. I am happy to have purchased a Peekapak subscription so we can continue to enjoy Peekapak for many months to come.