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 – Make fingerpaints with soap flakes, water and food coloring with your child.
Day Two – Tell your child a story about looking both ways before crossing the street. Take him/her on a walk and show how to look both ways as well as use a street crossing signal.
Day Three – Ask your child to organize the coins in a coin jar. If your child is older, has him/her to roll the coins. Go to the bank together and cash them in. Talk about the importance of saving every penny.
Day Five – Look for community service activities that can include your child.
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Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:
The ancients tried to foretell future events and uncover hidden meanings by consulting randomly selected passages from sacred texts. Essentially, these wise owls would bring their Big Questions to a Big Book as if it were one of those Magic Eight Balls. “Will there be peace?” “Will the crops be bountiful?” This palooza is about bringing the little questions — “Will I pass that spelling quiz tomorrow?” “Can I have a dog?” — to a big book like the dictionary and seeing all the funny, clever ways your kids get the answer they’re looking for.
What to do:
A fun, funky way to use the dictionary for your own devices. Take a dictionary — the bigger and fatter and more authoritative the better — and lay it on the table in front of you. Think of it as a kind of crystal ball — you will ask it a question, and it will present you with an answer. Now carefully formulate your question. The way you pose your question is important, in the same way it is important, say, not to ask for everything in the world when you close your eyes and blow out your birthday candles but rather be selective and precise, in order to increase your chances of seeing your dreams come true.
Close your eyes and think of your simple, careful question. It can be about anything — your family, your friends, school, sports, or other hobbies. You probably know what you want the answer to be. Ask your question three times out loud, then open the dictionary to a random page and drop your finger anywhere on that page. Open your eyes and find the dictionary entry closest to where your finger has landed. If you land in the middle of a definition, refer to the word being defined. Then start working the angles of the word and definition, being as creative and clever as you have to be to get the answer you’re looking for.
For example, here’s my question: “Will I do well in my script reading on Saturday?” I open the dictionary at random, drop my finger, and find I’ve landed on the word eyehole, which is defined as “a hole to look through, as in a mask or a curtain.” Did someone say, “mask?” Actors are often described as wearing the masks of the characters they play. Also, everyone knows the masks of tragedy and comedy. And “a curtain” must have something to do with a stage curtain. Now I’m feeling very certain I’m looking through an eyehold in a stage curtain and seeing myself do very well indeed on my script reading!
Other random samplings illustrate the power of bibliomancy:
“Will I do well on my spelling test?” gets inclined. I think that means you are inclined toward spelling and are likely to do well.
“Can I have more dessert?” gets prayerful, which suggests that if you ask prayerfully, sincerely or earnestly, you just might get two scoops.
“What activities should I do in the fall?” gets fusion, which means a merging of distinct or separate elements into a whole. Hmm. Sign up for wrestling and tap dancing?
Now try it yourself with questions of your own. Use a dictionary or specialty references such as dictionaries of slang, cliches, or allusions.