I recently received an email from one of my readers. Here is the email and my response.

THE EMAIL

Hello,

Thanks for responding Curt.  Actually we are doing a storybook theme throughout the summer.  So we are going to read and do activities based on particular books such as The Neverending Story, Alice in Wonderland, Jumanji, and Wille Wonka..just to name a few. I am trying to find fun activities to help with the theme…

This is a day camp.  we group according to age so we usually have about 20 children in each age groups.  The age groups are 3-4, 5-7, 7-12 (one group of each).

This year the 3-7 year olds will work on a story per week.  The stories are: Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Willie Wonka, 5 Little Monkeys

The 7-12 year olds will work on a story every 2 weeks.  Their stories are: Never Ending story, Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Frank, Basil E Weiler, The Wizard of Oz, and Jumanji

I really appreciate your help!

Loretta

MY RESPONSE

Hi Loretta,

After putting on my thinking cap and looking around the internet for a bit I came up with some ideas.

With books there are a number of things you can do in the way of activities. Some things that came to mind are:

  • Create scripts using the books. In other words, only type up the dialogue of a particular scene. Then have the campers act it out.
  • Discuss, or have the older campers write out, alternate endings to the book.
  • Play Hangman using words, characters, places or themes of the book.
  • Create a word search and/or crossword puzzle for the campers to do.
  • Discuss the themes of the books. For example, in The Neverending Story one of the themes is using one’s imagination to explore different possibilities. In The Wizard of Oz there are many sub themes that can be discussed, from the lion overcoming his cowardliness to help his friends, to the quick thinking of the scarecrow despite his “lack of a brain”. And of course there is the ongoing theme of good vs. evil, and there being no place like home.
  • For the younger campers have them color pages that represent scenes or characters from the book. When reading or listening to a book we all imagine the scenes, people, places, etc.
  • Music is a wonderful thing. Some of the books that you mention have been turned into films. After reading The Neverending Story, play the soundtrack as the campers work on their projects.
  • Recreate scenes from the book. For example, recreate the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party after reading Alice in Wonderland.
  • Again, using the characters, places or scenes of the book, create craft projects. For example, the older campers might like making a diorama of a specific scene.
  • Check out http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/mad-tea-party-ideas.html for Alice in Wonderland party ideas.
  • With Willy Wonka I would explore the themes as well, and discuss the attitudes of each child in the story. Make candy, blow bubbles and learn to play recorders or flutes. Don’t forget to hide a golden ticket somewhere.
  • 5 Little Monkeys lends itself to monkey crafts (of which there are many), banana and peanut butter snacks, and of course singing the song.
  • With The Never Ending Story why not watch part, or all, of the movie (another favorite of mine). Have campers draw or paint their version of Falcore the Luck Dragon.

When looking for activities I suggest using Google and typing in the name of the book along with the word “activities”.

I hope these ideas help you out…Thanks for the question. Good luck this summer.

-Curt