Are you ready for some fun ideas to keep your kids busy this next week?
Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):
Day One – Have your child swap favorite books with a friend.
Day Two – Tell a story. Ask your child to tell it back to you. Or ask your child to provide the ending. Or, have your child begin a story and YOU finish it. Write it down. Record it. It’ll become a precious memory.
Day Three – Ask your child to make a collage from things found around the house — ribbons, string, buttons, pebbles.
Day Four – Show your child how and when to dial 911. Teach your child not to be afraid of authority, but to respect authority.
Day Five – Take your child to the grocery store. Talk about prices and weights of food. Let your child pick out a fruit, vegetable or other new food that your child hasn’t tried yet — and try it.
Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:
Sure, our pets have a lively and effective repertoire of earnest stares, wagging tails, nagging meows, and important yelps. But imagine everything they’d say if only they could talk. I shudder to think how quickly they could take over my house — the world? — given the gift of language.
What to do:
Write a script for your pets — what they might say if only they could! (If you have only one pet, write it for your pet and the neighbors’ pets, or if you have no pets, write a script for your friends’ or relatives’ pets or even for your favorite animals at the zoo).
It’s fun to think about what your animals would say to you, but think about what they’d say and do to each other, if given the chance. For instance, what are they doing while everyone is at work or at school in your house? Does the dog jump on the bed and turn on the television set? Does he make long-distance calls to his litter mates back in Iowa? What kind of arguments would break out over who gets Dad’s recliner and who gets the remote?
Make up comic dramas that take place in your house while you’re away (sort of the way the toys cavort in Toy Story). How would they bicker over who’s the boss or who’s the smartest? Who answers the phone when it rings? When things go wrong — and they always do — who runs for cover and who saves the day? Plot a simple, funny scene, then consider how your animals would talk.
Think about what you already know about your animals and their personalities. Might your nervous little lapdog who can’t bear to be alone have a voice that is squeaky and thin? Does your high-strung Dalmatian speak only in rapid-rhyming couplets? Does the neighbor’s broad-chested bulldog talk like he grew up on the streets of Brooklyn? And the snooty Persian cat? Does she talk with a vague foreign accent? And does your goofy Lab/Irish setter mix jump from subject to subject as if he can’t decide which is his favorite?
Create a panel comic strip starring your pet. Use photographs of your pet or drawings to illustrate a simple sequence. Write dialogue or thoughts in little balloons over his head. To convey the mini-plot of a comic, carefully select the details you illustrate in order for it to work in a four, or five-panel comic. Does your dog drive the mailman crazy? You might show your dog spying through the mail slot in the door as the mailman comes up the sidewalk. Then the mailman looking around to be sure the dog isn’t there. Then the mailman smiling to himself as he slips the mail in the slot. Then the dog’s snarling head popping through the mail slot just in time to take a big bite out of the mailman’s behind. What might the dog and the mailman be saying to themselves in the thought balloons? Have some fun with the panel comic format, and your pet might become the next Garfield!