Family Time Calendar: Happy Birthday, Winnie the Pooh!

January 18 is Winnie the Pooh's birthday. A.A. Milne's lovable teddy bear got his start over 80 years ago in the book, When We Were Very Young. He then went on to star in many of his own books, the first of which was Winnie the Pooh. Originally, Milne's stories were written for his son, Christopher, who was the inspiration for Christopher Robin. Celebrate the joy of Pooh with a lovely winter project that also helps reading and writing skills.

What you'll need:
Favorite Winnie the Pooh book by A.A. Milne

What you'll do:
Prepare yourself a Pooh treat -- a soothing, warming drink that the ultimate honey connoisseur himself, Winnie T. Pooh, would appreciate. Pour milk in mugs. Microwave to warm through, about 30-40 seconds a cup. If your family is older, feel free to warm the milk longer; we just don't want to recommend anything too hot for the little ones. Add one to two tablespoons of honey per cup and stir.

Take your mugs and settle yourself in a cozy corner. If your kids are readers, let them take turns reading paragraphs or chapters aloud. If your kids aren't reading yet, it's your turn to read.

After the story, talk about the unique way that Pooh talks. His speech is formal yet funny, and he likes nothing more than humming little poems -- "smackerels of verse" -- to himself. Now it's your family's turn to write their own smackerels. Help each person pick something they like -- choose something small in scope (their bed, a cookie, a pair of beloved sneakers) to write about. "Big" topics, such as love, the universe and why we are here, are better saved for another time. Help your kids to write a three- to four-line poem about their subject. Does it sound like something Pooh might sing to himself? Post the poems on the refrigerator so the kids can memorize their own verse.


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