Snack on apple pie (because bird pie wouldn’t go over well), gummy worms (cause, you know, worms), and juice boxes. Work on the beard style quiz in parent-child groups while we wait for everyone to come. Start off by discussing the book over snack. If stuck, try the discussion questions. I am totally inspired by the practical jokes the Twits pull on each other. I would have liked to do some “trick” snacks like the fake fortune cookies from Pranklopedia, but I settled for poking holes into the juice box straws (through the wrappers).
After discussion, make fake bird poop or fake spilled milk (thank you, Pranklopedia!) and “Reasons Why I Love You” cards that are glued together around the edges so the person can’t open them.
Other activities that would have been fun:
Some prank-y things from Pranklopedia:
- The finger-in-the-bottom-of-the-jewelry-box prank
- Give them a “simple” math worksheet to do in parent-child pairs while we wait to get started (this is actually a set of impossible questions that look easy)
I had 9 parent-child pairs (7 moms, 2 dads). As they came in, they got a snack and worked on the beard style quiz. One of the dads, who said he has experimented quite a bit with facial hair styles, disputed some of the names, so beware – I can’t really speak for the accuracy, having lifted the styles from beards.org. We went over the answers quickly, and then moved on to discussion.
To begin, we went around the room and everyone got to say what they thought of the book. For the first time, everyone had read it – parents and kids. Also for the first time, not everyone who read it liked it. One of the boys and several of the moms thought the whole beard description was too gross and the Twits were too mean to really be enjoyable. Several of the boys mentioned liking the pranks, which led naturally into the first discussion question. For the most part, the boys talked about pranks they had pulled, or pranks they had seen in movies. I noticed some of the boys were having trouble with their juice boxes, so I fessed up to my prank and gave them some cups to pour the juice into. They almost didn’t believe me about poking holes – I did it through the straw wrapper, so it was pretty subtle. The second question didn’t really generate a lot of conversation, but the boys generally agreed that you can’t necessarily tell if someone is nice or not by their looks. (To paraphrase, one boy summed it up by saying if you’re ugly, you’re ugly, no matter how nice you are, but even if you’re hot, you won’t have any friends if you’re mean.) We had more of a discussion about the third question of when, if ever, it’s ok to keep wild animals in cages. Several of the boys brought up experiences with wild animal rescue, and there was some general agreement that it’s ok if you’re doing it to help the animal, but not just if you think it’s cool to have a wild animal for a pet.
We then moved on to the craft stage for the last 20 minutes. Most of the boys had plenty of time to make a prank gift card and either a spilled milk cup or fake bird poop. The recipe for both of these was the same – half puffy paint and half white glue – poured out onto waxed paper. (My spilled milk is gray because I colored the remaining mixture for the bird poop first and then used the leftover for the spill.) Pranklopedia claimed it would take up to 4 hours to dry, but mine was closer to 12 hours and not quite dry yet. The cup spill looked pretty realistic, but we had a harder time making the bird poop look real. The addition of some black paint (to make that grayish look) and yellow mustard seeds helped, but I think we all tried to use too much paint to really make it look good.
I thought we’d have time to do some of the design your own pranks, but we only had a minute or two left, so I just reminded them about next month’s book and wrapped up.
- What did you think of the pranks the Twits pulled on each other? What was your favorite? Have you ever pulled a prank on someone? Did it turn out the way you expected it to?
- Dahl writes that “A person who has good thoughts can never be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Do you think that’s true? Has getting to know someone better ever changed your opinion of their looks?
- Mr. Twit keeps monkeys in cages. How do you feel about keeping wild animals caged up at home? What about in a circus or zoo?
- Dahl implies that catching birds for pie with sticky glue is a really terrible thing to do. How is that different from buying meat at the store? Are there better and worse ways to capture and kill animals for food?