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Mix It Up! Is a new book in a series by author, Herve Tullet. This book is magic!

I was a big fan of the first book, Press Here, so when I saw this new title at our local bookstore, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up and read it with some clients right away. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with these books, I’ll tell you a bit of what this one is all about (though no spoiler alert is needed here…) and then share some activities which will extend some of the book’s themes. These activities could be part of a rainy day project at home, an individual or group speech therapy session, or used in a whole class lesson with preschoolers!

Mix It Up! offers a playful and creative, interactive experience for its audience (for both the children and the adult reader). Throughout the book, children are encouraged to engage in the story by literally manipulating the book. The book is simple. There’s a lot of paint and a few written directions, which you will read and follow as you go along in the book. You read the directions, follow them and…voila! The next page is transformed in response to your input—how cool!? With each turn of the page, you wonder, what may happen next?!

For preschool aged children, this book is a great way to work on some simple direction following because many of the directions are short and the very next page immediately reveals an effect for your actions. This book is also fantastic for a group activity. For a small group of preschool children, each child can have the opportunity to follow one of the directions while the other children watch in amazement. Using the book in this way can target turn-taking and even predicting if you allow the children to guess what may happen next prior to turning each page. For children working on social skills, it can be a helpful tool for commenting about the pictures, perspective taking and flexibility when comparing what each person thought would happen on the subsequent pages.

Teachers can also easily extend the content of this book into arts and crafts activities allowing children to create their own picture and generating a direction of their own for their classmates to follow. For a cooperative learning opportunity, you could have the class work together to create just one picture with limited available resources. For example, provide just one piece of paper for the group. Have the group brainstorm for ideas for a picture for the page, and give them the task of selecting just one idea (because there is just one piece of paper of course!) The task of creating just one picture for a whole class will offer many opportunities for negotiation and problem solving (How do you decide what to draw? Do you select one idea? If so, whose idea will you select? ) Maybe the class can “put their heads together” and combine the ideas? The process of problem solving becomes the activity. It’s about the process and not the end product. So, you can take this as an opportunity to offer several strategies for problem solving; they may include:

Playing eeny meeny miney moe

Putting all the ideas in a hat and selecting one

Taking a vote

Highlighting these strategies in this activity will provide a foundation for future situations where these strategies could be useful—on the playground, at dramatic play, or during a meal time. These are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless.

You can find Mix It Up! on amazon here.