I first read - er, listened to - A Chair for My Mother on an episode of Reading Rainbow many, many years ago, so I was glad to have the opportunity to use this book for book club. We talked about the story itself, then it was time for some activities:
1. Decorate a piggy bank. Since the main plot of the story involves saving money for a chair, I brought in old jars and containers and allowed the kids to decorate them to make piggy banks. Not only did this allow me to "upcycle" containers that would have been thrown away, but it was an easy, open-ended craft that the kids all enjoyed.
2. Digging for pennies. This activity cost me $2.00, which yielded ten pennies per book club kid. I buried the pennies in several pounds of rice in a large bowl and allowed the kids to dig. Digging for pennies is a great sensory activity and it gave the kids something to put in their newly decorated piggy banks. [Side note: The rice will be used for science club, so it did not go to waste even after all those little hands dug through it.]
3. Penny toss. This is an activity I recycled from my intern days. I bought two veggie trays from the dollar store and wrote numbers in each of the sections. The kids then tossed their pennies (which they had dug from the rice) onto the trays and added their scores. Not only was this an inexpensive and popular game, but it allowed me to sneak in some practical math practice.
All three of these activities were very popular with my young patrons, and they left book club happily clutching and rattling their penny-filled piggy banks.