Camilla the cartographer and her loyal sidekick, Parsley, are back to solve a fresh new problem in Camilla and the Big Change by Julie Dillemuth, PhD, a companion book to the critically acclaimed Camilla, Cartographer. When beavers make a dam that changes the path of the river, Camilla has to help make new maps and learn that change can be a good thing. Read an adapted excerpt from Dr. Dillemuth’s note to parents and caregivers with more information about coping with change and spatial awareness. Coping with change When coping with change, we often feel a range of feelings. Naming and acknowledging feelings is helpful during this process of adapting to change, as is knowing that these big feelings won’t last forever. Kids need to know that feelings change over time, and that it’s ok to have mixed feelings–to feel sad for something going away, but excited for a new thing about to happen. The whole range of feelings is valid. Try this: Camilla goes through a range of emotions in the book. With your child, go through the book and identify Camilla’s feelings from page to page, why she might feel that way, and how those feelings change as things happen. Take it further: Use this story to talk about a change in your child’s life. A change can be as minor as having a substitute teacher (which can be major to a child), or as big as a move or loss. Gently encourage your child to tell their story–what happened? What were their feelings? What did they do? What did they want to do? Your child may want to draw pictures or write out a story. Spatial thinking Spatial thinking encompasses a range of skills for how we think about and understand the world around us and use concepts of space for problem solving. Some spatial thinking skills we practice every day and others are critical for working in STEAM fields: science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. By encouraging your child to think spatially from a young age, you are helping the development of these skills and laying foundations that will be built upon as your child grows and learns. Try this: With your child, talk about the maps Camilla and the beavers drew. Talk about how they worked together to create the pond safely, so that no animals living in the forest would be harmed. How did they know which animals would need to be moved to avoid being flooded? Take it further: Your child can explore spatial relationships at home. Pick a room in your house and talk about rearranging the furniture. What if we moved the bed across the room? What if we turned the couch 90 degrees? Try moving things around for fun and encourage your child to make discoveries–what doesn’t fit? What things go together? Where is empty space important? Try to use lots of spatial language like next to, in front of, between, to the left, behind, etc. If your childRead More
About Julie Dillemuth, PhDJulie Dillemuth, PhD, is a spatial cognition geographer and children's writer. She is passionate about writing picture books for children that help develop spatial thinking skills. Her stories have appeared in Highlights for Children and Odyssey magazines. She is also the author of Lucy in the City and Mapping My Day.
Her whiskers shivered. Her snout quivered. "This," she said, "is uncharted territory." Camilla loves maps. Old maps, new maps, mini maps, skinny maps. Her favorite map is of her forest, and she wonders what it was like before it had been explored and mapped. One morning, after a big snow, her friend, Parsley, needed help finding the creek. All the paths and landmarks were covered in snow. Camilla and Parsley set out to find the creek, make a new path, and create a new map of the forest. Hear author, Dr. Julie Dillemuth, read Camilla, Cartographer aloud. Read a post about helping your child develop spatial awareness by exploring the outdoors here.Read More
Sometimes I go amazing places in my dreams. I'll draw a map of them for you...tomorrow. Kids love maps! Learning to read and draw maps is a fun and natural way to develop spatial thinking skills — how we think about and understand the world around us and use concepts of space for problem solving. Listen as Mapping My Day author, Julie Dillemuth, PhD, reads her book aloud. Follow Flora and her family as she takes us through her day with maps — from breakfast, to school, and even through a dog agility course!Read More