"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

22 June 2015

Book Club: Binky the Space Cat

My younger book club (5-8 year olds) read Binky the Space Cat last month. It was the first time I had chosen a graphic novel format for the kids, but I want to expose them to a variety of formats and genres, and there are so many great graphic novels for children, I knew this would be a good way to get them to visit those aisles in the library.

We had a brief discussion about Binky, then there were four activities to do, two of which were very popular.

1.  Alien Match Game.  I found free clip art of aliens and printed them on cardstock. Kids at this age enjoy memory-style games, especially when they can play against their parents.

2.  Binky Comic Strip. I gave my clubbers a blank comic book page so they could continue Binky's adventures if they'd like.  Not many children were interested in this activity, probably because of the other two options.

3.  Astronaut Training.  Each child had a balloon they could inflate (or they could ask their grown-up to do it), and there were two hula hoops on the table. The child could practice keeping the balloon in the air using just their hands or just their head or just their elbows, then if they wanted "advanced" training they could ask their grown-up to hold the hula hoop for them to bat the balloon through. I intentionally created this activity to involve the parents, because I enjoy watching the parents and children play together.  This also, conveniently enough, is an activity the parents can do at home, so in one fell swoop I can give the kids an activity and also provide the parents with an easy and inexpensive game to play at home.

At one point there were three kids inside the box and three decorating the outside.
4.  By far the most popular station of the night involved building a rocket ship.  In the book, Binky builds a rocket ship in secret in his litter box. I brought in a few large cardboard boxes, cut round "portholes" in the sides, and set out markers for the kids to use.  I suggested they decorate the space ships or add dials and switches inside, but they really didn't need any instructions. This is also an activity many of the parents said they'd be doing at home at some point, because boxes and markers are cheap, simple toys that can keep kids occupied for hours with creative activity.

Overall, we had a great meeting, and the kids were reluctant to leave when time was up.  I consider any night like that a successful night.

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