Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What the Fun?! by Donna Bozzo

We’ve all been there: we have one or more (sometimes many more) kids to look after or entertain for an afternoon and don’t want to be remembered as the “boring” one. But maybe we’ve used up all our ideas, or can’t use a couple, so are sort of desperate for some help. Donna Bozzo is a media personality with three daughters and lots of energy. She has come up with 427 Simple Ways to Have Fantastic Family Fun, and has written them down. That’s one step beyond what most of us do and is ve-e-e-ry helpful when we feel braindead after a busy week. Moreover, Bozzo points out that we can have fun most days of the week with kids, not just on vacations or birthdays, even if we forget sometimes.

Looking through this book I could see many time-tried favorites, like mud pies and singing in the rain, but she came up with a few new good ones that seemed doable and something I wouldn’t have come up with on my own. One I thought had potential was Nighttime Driveway Bowling with glow sticks placed in water-filled plastic bottles and a glow-in-the-dark- painted ball. Not sure your husband would agree to have us paint his basketball, but a ball of that size and weight might work well. Donna suggests an old medicine ball. (WTF?!) That sounds so Californian, but no…she lives in Illinois.

One suggestion that doesn’t require painting anything is making a map on the walk to school. Seems like it could be a useful and fun, and maybe even a multi-day project, depending on the attention span, if the child is youngish.

The book has a few photos which helps to get some idea of what she means when she describes making a robot, for instance, out of soup cans. But one photograph showed a woman in a beekeeper’s suit holding a hive frame covered with bees. The woman is smiling through her mask, and the activity suggests you bring your kids to see the bees work. Bozzo adds “trust me” and I guess we’d have to…though unless you can come up with some hazmat suits in a small size, I might put this one off until the kids are old enough to give consent.

When I read that you can have the kids report the weather like the folks on TV, using a green screen and some downloaded video footage, at first I thought, “oh come on!” But then I started to get kind of excited about the idea…mainly because I have a green cloth already that could be used for the screening. The cool thing is that everybody learns something with this multi-day project. The kids have to realize how they can speak about weather they can’t see—at least not in back of them. We’d have a little exercise in video-making (very absorbing for those who haven't tried it yet), and once the kids realize how it all works, they can use real weather outside the window to report…somehow I can see a three-year-old saying dolefully “It’s raining” in front of footage of heavy rain in the yard, or a twelve-year-old pretty quickly learning to film her friends doing real reporting in front of their own footage. This multi-day project has some real potential for fun and learning for all.

So, when you are too frazzled to think much of anything, you might want to turn to a book like this to quickly pull something together for a party or something quieter for after school. You’ll see things you’ve done before, but you’ll also see how a busy, high-energy mother of three makes it work for her family.

P.S. I note that, in production, this book had 439 Simple Ways to have Fantastic Family Fun. Now the title only claims to 427 Ways...Wonder if some of the projects weren't a the bee hive visit.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores

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