We read the book, Ella the Elegant Elephant by Carmela and Steven D'amico. Ella is a young elephant who has just moved into town with her mother, who is a baker. Ella is worried about starting school when she finds that her grandmother (who we never meet in the story) has given her lucky hat to her. The book goes onto teach a valuable lesson about bullying and about how to love and help even our enemies. The hat ends up being a magical hat, and the story ends quite happily.
After we finished the book, I went back to the part at which Ella first gets the hat, and I asked my daughter, "Who gave Ella the hat?" She correctly said, "Grandma." I told her that when grandparents give us something that used to belong to them, it is called an 'heirloom.' I asked her if she could say that word, and she did (it came out sounding more like 'air-whoom, which was pretty cute.).
Then, I showed her a cookie tin that used to belong to my grandmother. I told her that my grandma used to bake cookies, and then keep the cookies inside of it. I let her have it and we went to get her play cookies. She put some of her cookies in the tin, along with some of her other play food. I repeated the word 'heirloom' a couple of more times, and then told her that anything could be an heirloom - a book, a quilt or blanket, jewelry, even an old toy. I didn't do so at the time, but you could even ask the child what he/she would like to pass on to someone someday as an heirloom.
©2014, copyright Emily Kowalski Schroeder.