If you haven’t already heard of Family Dinner Book Club, let me introduce you! Every month, Growing Book by Book, Chef Sarah Elizabeth, and Sunny Day Family get together and put together a suggested reading list, discussion guide, meal, and activities around a theme. As a book lover and mom, I think it’s such a brilliant (free!) resource for families – so we’ll be participating all year!
January’s theme was “teamwork” and the featured book was Swimmy by Leo Lionni. This was the perfect book for our kiddos – age 1 and 3 – so we kicked off our family dinner book club by reading it all together.
Then, we worked on some things as a team to reinforce the theme of teamwork. We made vegetable stew for dinner – I cut everything up and then put the slow cooker crock on the floor and the filled cutting board on a stool and let the kids add all the ingredients to the pot. Mark moved the filled crock to the slow cooker and turned it on so we’d all have a hand in the dinner making process!
We also worked as a team to create a table runner for dinner. This was done over a few days to let the paint dry in between. First up, we painted a long strip of paper in various blues to make the ocean.
The next day we added life to our sea! We all helped to add seaweed, red fish (via a potato stamper), and some yellow urchins (via the end of the celery). Then Mark and I added some additional characters based on Jake’s suggestions: the big black fish, a lobster, a jellyfish, and, of course, Swimmy.
Right before dinner, we tackled our family service project as a team. I settled on making utensil packets for our local soup kitchen because it was something that we could do inside (hello, January in NJ!) and it was on the kids’ level.
I started by putting a napkin in a zipper-top bag. Julie added a spoon. Jake added a fork. Mark added a knife and sealed up the bags. Our little assembly line cranked out just about 60 of them!
After our service project, we sat down to dinner all together – a special event in itself because of Mark’s work hours and the kids’ schedules. Having everything decorated and a meal that we made together was awesome – and we spent the meal talking about teamwork. It was neat to see that even at 3, Jake could make connections between teamwork in the book and our activities.
This was such an awesome, positive experience for our family. I’m so excited we finally dove in!
Details on February’s theme – persistence – were announced this morning. Will you be joining us for Family Dinner Book Club in February?