Family Fun #1: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

Here it is, that magical summer time of the year. For those of us who live where winters are long (that is to say, everywhere I’ve ever lived), summer days are to be treasured. For most teachers, this is a time for change—for study, for stopping to breathe, for reflecting on what the next school year will bring. I thought about what to do with Creativiteach for the summer, and then thought, “What kind of teaching goes on 365 days a year?” Easy. The kind of teaching that happens in families.

So, for the summer, on Mondays the usual lesson idea will be replaced by Family Fun activities to help you have a creative summer. Each week will feature five ideas around a summer theme, all designed to help your family think, investigate, and have fun with your imaginations. This week the theme is: BUGS.

5 Buggy Ideas for a Creative Summer

These ideas are designed for creative summer fun, not summer homework. Suggest them and see if anyone wants to play. Or start them yourself and see who comes along. Remember a playful spirit is at the heart of creativity.

  1. Study ants. Find an anthill near you. (Is there anyone who doesn’t live near ants? Really? If so, substitute the bug of your choice.) What kinds of food do you think ants would like best? As a child I liked to put different kinds of food around an anthill and count how many ants came to claim each one. Silly? Maybe. But I also made hypotheses, collected data, and drew conclusions. Isn’t that related to scientific creativity? (And yes, I’ve done this with students and they loved it, too.)
  2. Read The Aunts Go Marching (yes, that is “aunts”). Make a list of other homophones (different words that sound identical, like ant and aunt, read and red) or find a complete list online. See who can come up with the silliest situation by mixing up two words. For example, what if Mom asked you to go to the deli and you went to Delhi? What about the storyteller who had 100 different tales? Or tails?
  3. Draw a picture (or tell a story) from a bug’s point of view. You might start out by looking at Two Bad Ants, maybe even pulling out the old Bug’s Life dvd. Look around your house and yard. What would things look like from a bug’s perspective? Lie on the ground and contemplate!
  4. Bugs love picnics, and what is a picnic without a peanut butter (or alternative butter of your choice) sandwich? Have a family or neighborhood contest to find the best new combination of peanut butter and _______. Think about who would make the best judges—and what will be the criteria?
  5. Brainstorm things (NOT people) that “bug” you. Invent something to solve the problem. These could be real or fantasy inventions. For example, one of my students was bugged each time his wife asked him to check the gutters. He hated dragging out the ladder and climbing up to see if the gutters needed cleaning. He attached a mirror to the end of a long handle, like an enormous dentist’s mirror. No more ladders needed! Of course he could also have come up with a fantasy invention with leaf-eating creatures embedded in the gutters. Either one exercises creativity.

Enjoy these early summer days. And if you have another “buggy” idea, please share.

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