Start off with book discussion. If we run out of things to talk about, try the discussion questions.
Play “Would You Rather?” Give the parents the questions in advance and have them predict their sons’ answers. Then ask the boys the questions and see how many the parents were able to predict. To get some wiggles out, can make this a large motor game. Assign one side of the room to each answer and have participants walk to the side of the room that corresponds to their answer.
Make dirt cups with chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, crushed Oreos, and gummy worms. Eat the snack while watching clips from the movie How to Eat Fried Worms. (Use prepack pudding cups to keep things sanitary and control portions!)
Seven parent-child pairs registered, but only four came for the program. We had the best discussion we’ve had yet. We talked mostly about the general grossness (or not) of eating worms and about fairness, especially whether the rules were fair and whether or not Alan cheated. The moms were interested in the amount of freedom the kids had to work out their own problems. None of them thought that the events in this story could happen today, because the parents would get involved more quickly to solve the boys’ problems. They had mixed feelings about whether or not this was a good thing.
After the book discussion, we played “Would You Rather?” I showed the boys how to make their dirt cups while the moms completed their predictions, and then I read out the questions and let the boys give their answers by walking to the corresponding side of the room. Like last month, some of the parents were particularly competitive. The most competitive mom won, with 11 of 14 predictions correct.
Before the snack, I introduced the three possible reads for next month: The No 1 Car Spotter, by Atinuke, The Dunderheads, by Paul Fleischman, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, by Barbara Kerley.
I set up the movie while they made and ate their snacks, and then I tallied the votes. The final tallies were:
- The No 1 Car Spotter: 2 adults, 1 kid
- The Dunderheads: 2 adults, 3 kids
- The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: no votes
Several of the kids asked their moms to vote for The Dunderheads, but I’m not sure if that influenced the votes. One family checked out both The Dunderheads and The No 1 Car Spotter. Three of the four families signed up for next month, and one asked for book recommendations because he’s liked all of the book club selections, so I feel like this program has been pretty successful overall.
I was just going to show a few movie clips, but there was almost no overlap between the book and movie, so I started the movie at the beginning. At the official ending time, the kids were still into it, so (with permission from the moms) I let them stay and watch for another 45 minutes. They made it about halfway through. A book vs. movie discussion would also be fun some time, but that would require a much longer program!
- What’s the most disgusting thing you ever ate? Would you do it again?
- Would you ever eat a worm? If you had to do it, how would you want it prepared? How is eating a worm different from eating other animals like chicken or fish?
- Why did Alan and Joe try to trick Billy? Do you think what they did was cheating? What would you do if you were about to lose a lot of money in a bet?
- Do you think the four boys will remain friends after all of this? If you were Billy, would you remain friends with Alan and Joe? Why or why not?
- What did you think about the way the boys’ parents responded? How do you think your family would respond in a similar situation?
- Billy is somewhat famous for taking silly bets. Why do you think the other boys keep making bets with him? Why do you think he takes them?
- The rules for the worm-eating bet were:
- Billy would eat fifteen worms in fifteen days.
- The worms could be cooked any way Billy wanted.
- Billy could use ketchup or mustard or anything like that.
- Joe and Alan would provide the worms, and they had to be regular worms.
- The prize for eating the worms was fifty dollars.
Do you think the rules were complete? Fair? If you had been involved, which rule(s) would you have objected to? Would you have added any rules? If the rules had been changed to meet your specifications, would you have agreed to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days for fifty dollars? Why or why not?