"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

15 May 2015

Book Club: Where the Wild Things Are

My Book Munchers book club (ages 5-8) read Where the Wild Things Are last month.  There are enough kids and families interested in this book club that it actually meets twice on the same night. I start book club at 4:00 PM, then take a break after the first session, only to do it all over again at 6:00 PM.  The nice thing about this is that I only create one set of activities with double the amount of supplies. The not-so-nice thing is that one day of every month is nothing but book club for me at work, and I'm usually exhausted by the time I go home at night.

We discussed the book, and afterwards, it was time for activities.  There are lots of activities available online to go with this book, but here's what I did:

1.  Make a Scene.  I found some reproducible Wild Things backgrounds and characters online, and I allowed kids to color them, cut them out, and stick them on the background.  This was made especially fun because I included the upcycled crayons our library had made for Earth Day.

2.  Make a Face.  Paper plates, string, markers, glue sticks, and construction paper.  Make a mask for your own Wild Thing, with or without eye holes.

3.  Count Your Steps. Using painters' tape, I marked a spot on the floor that was Max's bedroom, then labeled our auditorium's stage "the jungle." Kids had to count their steps from Max's room to the jungle.  I then suggested trying giant steps, baby steps, robot steps, etc.  I also made a chart for them to fill in, complete with areas for their grown-up to join them. This was a sneaky way to get parents involved in the activities and to get the kids to do MATH without knowing it.  If I had thought enough ahead, we could have made a giant chart with everyone's numbers and even turned it into a graph or some other visual aid.

This third activity turned into "everyone should wear a Max crown and run around with it on," but I didn't mind because 1) the crown made the activity relate to the book, right? and 2) kids do need to move around and get some exercise. The stage in our auditorium makes a very satisfying thumping noise when jumped on, so many of the kids got to Max's jungle and decided to stage their own wild rumpus.

These three activities were more than enough to keep everyone happy and busy.  I also let younger/older siblings join in the activities. My book clubs, including both activities and discussion, generally last about an hour, then everyone is happy and ready to go home. I always offer the opportunity to sign up for the next book club as well, and I have found the parents have been talking to their friends, so popularity continues to grow.

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