Let's be honest. Social distancing is hard. Especially when you have kids. I mean how are we supposed to keep these little bodies entertained and engaged when school, their activities, sports, and parks are all closed? For many kids, the answer has been their devices. I've heard so many parents lament about the increase in screen time over the last two weeks. And to some extent, this is inevitable. Our kids have to be on their computer a few hours a day for e-learning. Or when we're on a conference call. Or after dinner when we've run out of board games. But here's an idea to get your whole family away from the screen for a bit and enjoying a book. Choose a book that has been made into a movie. First you all read the book. Then you enjoy a family movie night. Voila.
We recently did this for Little Women. From December to early January (it's a long book), we read a chapter or so each night. And then on January 21st, for my birthday, we took a trip to the theater to see the movie. We all loved it. But even better, it gave us a ton to talk about. For one, the movie featured not only Little Women but also Good Wives, which we hadn't read. So there was new material to discuss. But we also discussed the casting choices. Did the actress who played Meg March look/act like we imagined she would? What about the mom? Did the movie leave out any important parts of the book? Or did it add things?
During this last week of social distancing, we chose the book Holes by Louis Sachar to read as a family. It's a quick, engaging read with a few mysteries to solve along the way. We were at a pivotal part of the book last night when we got to our usual stopping point. The kids begged me to read for another half hour so we could finish it. And this weekend we'll watch the movie starring Shia LaBeouf.
A few other suggestions for family friendly books and movies are: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory & James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and, of course, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
So go ahead and grab a copy of one of these classics to start reading to the kiddos tonight. It'll make Friday movie night even that much more fun. And it'll keep the whole family away from devices for at least a half hour each night.