By Angie Georgeff
Unicoi County’s children have now been out of school for more than two weeks, and everyone is being encouraged to stay home as much as possible. Is anyone out there going stir crazy yet? Of course, the students have homework to help keep them – and their parents – busy. As I still recall, however, homework is seldom much fun.
Regardless of which device you choose, screen time is generally a popular pastime for most children and adults. There are, however, more creative ways to pass the time. One that worked well for me on snowy days in Ohio when my son was young was writing a book.
Since paper, pencils, crayons and imagination were the only materials required for the activity, it was very easy and inexpensive to do. When he was little, I would ask Andrew to tell me a story and then I would write it down for him. I used several pages so there was lots of room for illustrations. Then Andrew would draw and color the heroic boy, whale or dinosaur as he marched, swam or ate his way through the short story.
When he had finished the story – or sometimes before he even started – Andrew would give it a title and write it down on a title page. That required another illustration, of course, and there was always a page that announced “The end.” When it was time to bind the book, I would staple it or punch several holes on the left side and use some yarn to tie it together. Then Andrew would read the story to me and wait for his father to come home so he could read the story to him, as well.
If Andrew needed prompting, I would suggest that he tell me a story about a firefighter, bear, parrot or pumpkin. Then I would ask him where the protagonist lived, what time of year it was and other “who, what, when, where, how and why” questions to help lead him through his tale. We both had fun, and Andrew was learning and practicing valuable skills.
Now my three grandchildren have active imaginations and regularly draw pictures for me to bring home and use to decorate my refrigerator. Since I always ask them to tell me the story behind the picture, they have all learned to add captions. I recently have come to suspect they are trying to “head me off at the pass!”
Check Our Facebook Page
If you are looking for ideas to keep kids occupied, be sure to check our Unicoi County Public Library Kids and Teens Facebook page. Our youth services staff is sharing a number of ideas and resources to help you keep your children productively entertained during the coronavirus outbreak.