Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

My son loves robots. And it all began because of this book:

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino) is a fantastic tale of friendship, especially perfect for kids ages 3-8ish. And for the parents: It’s has great reread value. I’m not tired of it, I still grin at it, and we read it A LOT.

With my son’s infatuation with robots blooming from this book, I grabbed the opportunity to, of course, make a book-based unit out of it!

The following activities are geared to preschool age (2-5), and I’ve included a few modifications we used for special needs (particularly motor and speech delays).

We spread these activities over several days, rereading the story before each activity.

Preschool Robot Theme collage Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

Identifying Shapes and a Shapes-Bot After reading the story together, we went back through the book and looked for specific shapes. I asked, “Where’s a circle on this page?” If he couldn’t find a circle, I’d offer a more specific location: “Does Bot have a circle on him?” We tried identifying circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles.

He knows all the main shapes, but finding them within pictures was more difficult. Circles/Ovals were by far the easiest to locate for my boy:

Then, with some pre-cut shapes, he crafted his own robot out of shapes we looked for in the book.

Because he hadn’t done an activity like this before, I helped get him started with guiding him to picking out a body and head. He surprised me by putting the arms exactly where he wanted them to go! As you might be able to tell, my son also chose the very important placements of each “button.”

Robot Sight Words I wrote our focus word (in this picture, “in”) on the whiteboard, read the word, had him read/approximate the word, and taught him the sign for it. (My son uses sign language as his primary mode of communication.) Then we read the story together and looked for the word. If we found the word, we made a tally mark on the whiteboard and counted up all the marks at the end of the book.

He’d get really excited when he would see the word in the story. He’d see it, point to the whiteboard and say, “in!” Then point to the word in the story and shout a much more emphatic, “IN!” with a big ‘ol grin on his face. {Proceed with momma heart melting.}

This week, we practiced the words, “in,” “want,” and “not.” I love this game. We’ll keep using versions of it.

We also read My Robot by Eve Bunting (illustrated by Dagmar Fehlau) and Beep and Bah by James Burks during this unit and looked for a few sight words. My Robot was an appropriate story. Beep and Bah was cute, too, but geared a bit more for kids older than preschool as it’s set up in comic form. It includes many opportunities to practice animal sounds, which is a good exercise for speech development.

Robot Book Collage Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

Collecting Pinecones For fine motor development, we used this idea from Formula Mom to decorate pinecones simply with pompoms. You could begin by collecting pinecones in a wagon like Boy does in the story. We had some pinecones already from some winter crafts, so we used those.

Because we’re trying to help our son express recalling events from books and his day to us through sign and verbal approximations, I placed three objects in front of him and retold the first page of Boy + Bot, leaving out what the boy collected in his wagon. I asked my boy if “Boy” collected crayons, pinecones, or sticks in his wagon.

IMG 1060 Version 2 1024x545 Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

He kept going for the crayons, so we got the book out and read the first page together. As soon as we read the page and I asked him which object “Boy” collected, he immediately went for the pinecone.

IMG 1061 Version 2 1024x682 Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

He “helped” me place the glue, said and signed a color before he picked up the corresponding pompom, then worked hard to place the pompom with just two fingers. (He tends to use his whole hand, but focuses hard to accomplish tasks like these.) A fun, quick, cute craft to practice fine motor control.

Pinecone Craft Collage Preschool Robot Theme Activities {featuring the book Boy + Bot}

Add in Fitness Because I’m a family fitness advocate, two ways you can easily add activity to this theme are:

-take a nature walk/hike and collect pinecones for the above craft.

-have a robot dance-off! Bust out your best robot dance moves for 3 songs in a row (or 15 minutes, or whatever amount of time would be appropriate for your age child). Add in directions like “freeze!” and work on concepts of “slow” and “fast” during this dance, too.

MiniBot! Caution: This kit does say ages 7 and up, and we agree if your children are trying to construct these by themselves. Both my husband and I were helping our boy, and we made sure his younger sibling was out of reach on all teeny tiny pieces. (Lots of teeny, tiny pieces.)

(While I’m disclaimer-ing, I have no current affiliation with this company. We found this kit while , and we love it!)

The kit lets you build 5 wind-up toy robots!

Because building these robots involved fine movements, Daddy did a good bit of the work, while my son helped as he could, including pressing edges and pieces together, picking out the arms (when he would focus on it), and some coloring.

A little pushing here:

A little coloring there:

And we have a finished product! MiniBot, meet Bot. Bot, meet your mini.

Friends? {Affirmative!}

One more activity I would love to have done is a double/flip book with one side being a “story.” When you flip the book over to the “back cover,” it’s actually the front cover of an “instruction manual.” (This makes sense when you read Boy + Bot.) Have you seen books like those? My son isn’t quite at the point of making up stories, yet, but when he is, I think an activity like this would be a great addition. (If there’s interest in this activity or if anyone wants clarification, let me know. It might become a new post!)

There you have it! A theme ‘o robots!

Oh, by the way, the sign for “robot?” It’s totally just “robot arms” moving. My son looks like he’s doing a speedy robot dance when he signs it. Love it!

Have you completed a robot unit with your child? What are some of your favorite robot books?

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