At LitCamp reading and writing are as beloved and popular as every sports activity or big game. We asked our LitCamp interns to share some of their kid-tested and approved reading and writing activities that highlight the joy and adventure of reading and will unleash your child's creativity. Bring summer camp into your home with these five activities.
1. Storytime Yoga
This activity lets children work their wiggles while enjoying a relaxing read aloud. It's easy to combine storytelling and yoga movements using any picture book with a cast of animals in it (or another repeating theme like shapes or letters). Start by paging through the picture book and decide on a movement or pose for each animal featured in the story. For example, you might decide to stand on one leg for a flamingo or lay on your stomach for a snake. Practice the movements and then get ready to read aloud. As you read the story, pause every time an animal appears to allow the children to get into that pose (and perhaps even make that animal's sound).
2. Paper Bag Superheroes
We've all thought about what it would feel like to fly or to be invisible. Have your child bring his super hero imaginings to life by designing paper bag superheroes. Using the fold of the paper bag as a mouth, children will draw and decorate the paper bag with markers, construction paper and any other decorations that strike their fancy. Then it's time to capture the uniqueness of each superhero in a short biography. Ask your child to write down his superhero's name, superpowers, favorite color, weaknesses and any other important tidbits that the world needs to know!
3. Heart maps
A universally beloved LitWorld activity is the heart map. To make a heart map, draw the outline of a heart on a piece of paper and fill it with words and drawings about the people, things, and roles that are important to you. Many of our LitCampers also divide up the space to show which words or roles are the most important to them (the bigger the section, the more imporant). It is always powerful to see which things children see as the most important in their own lives, and the similarities that many heart maps share.
4. Cooking Across Cultures
A great way to encourage your child to be an adventurous eater is to involve him in the cooking process from start to finish. For an "Around the World” themed week at our Harlem LitCamp we wanted to introduce the campers to some awesome cooking activities from various cultures around the world. We made guacamole, (candy) sushi and pizza. Spin the globe or go on Google maps to choose countries that your child is curious about. Start by finding recipes and having your child write down lists of ingredients and materials needed to make each recipe. Work together to prepare and cook each dish and then talk about what you liked and didn't like about each flavor. You can use this exercise to dig a little deeper and explore why different countries and cultures may have different foods and why this is important.
5. Make an Interactive Newspaper
We are using the intuitive and kid-friendly Padlet to produce a weekly LitNewspaper. ("It's sort of like the New York Times.") It's a great way to show off a wide variety of media and the drag-and-drop, point-and-click nature of Padlet is extremely user-friendly. Aside from being a wonderful memento to share with friends, creating an online newspaper also let's your child practice the art of curation and summarizing bigger stories in short blurbs to capture a reader's interest.