A Roald Dahl Summer

Rainy day art projects, backyard adventures and culinary experiments are perfect activities for keeping your child’s imagination engaged; and who better to help you than Roald Dahl?

James and the Giant Peach

The Giant Peach – Grab a magnifying glass and study a peach together! This is a great way for a child to see a “giant” (ahem, magnified) peach in real life! Afterwards, you can make peach cobbler or another delicious treat.

Backyard Safari – Summertime is the perfect opportunity for your child to get eye level with the lawn and start hunting for bugs. (If you have a little boy, I’m sure he’s well-acquainted with all types of creepy crawlies by now.)

Hunt with a younger child to find as many of the critters as possible (spider, glow worm, grasshopper, centipede, ladybug and earthworm). An older child can go on a solo mission, and afterwards, you can explain what each critter eats and what part they play in the ecosystem. (This kind of scientific approach can also be used to quell fears about bugs.)

Rainy Day Movie – Sure, the book will always be better; but the movie is awfully fun too! Snuggle up on the couch for a swell time. Be a hero by making dirt cake treats or worm cupcakes in honor of James’ comrades.


Dream Jars – Once you start the book, encourage your child to talk about her dreams or even to write them down. Once the dream jars are introduced (Chapter 12), you will be ready to give you child her own dream jar.

Ask her to think of the most fantastic, most wonderful dream possible, then tell her to write a recipe for it. After the ingredients and directions have been established, there comes the fun task of trying to find creative ways to represent the ingredients. Construction paper cutouts, cotton balls, plastic figurines, glitter – who knows what will be needed! You can keep the project going until the end of the book.

A BFG lunch – Kids love food, and they also love gross things. Roald Dahl gets it. Here’s a great recipe for snozzcumber sandwiches and frobscottle. The challenge with the BFG lunch is that snozzcumbers and frobscottle epitomize disgusting food, so your kid may be reluctant to try it, especially if they have an aversion to green things.

Throw away the rule book! – That’s right, throw away that ominous, heavy beast of a rule book – also known as the dictionary! Take a few everyday items and come up with new names for them just to be silly and to confuse the neighbors.

This is actually a great way to introduce your child to the dictionary and explain that sometimes, when your imagination thinks up something so new and fantastic, a new word will be created to describe it. Let them know that most words can be found in the dictionary. Encourage your child to reference the dictionary when he encounters a new word. This habit will boost your child’s reading level and vocabulary.

Katheryn Rivas is an avid blogger whose true calling is researching and exploring the future of learning. For comments and questions, she can be reached at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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