One of the best ways to gear kids up for school is to get them reading. It develops vocabulary, fosters creative thinking, and builds mental focus. Sometimes getting kids to read is easier said than done. If a child refuses to read, what's a desperate parent to do?
I'm a big believer in doing ANYTHING to keep kids reading. I'll attempt any unusual strategies to foster the reading habit. Recently, I discovered a new trick: Farts! I don't mean letting 'em rip. I mean using fart literature to get kids excited about reading. Farts are funny. Really funny, according to my son. He will gladly devour any book with themes of flatulence, and the stinkier, the better.
I was amazed at the selection of fart literature for kids. There's a variety to suit every taste and smell, and the writing doesn't stink. When it comes to getting kids back to books, a little fart can go a long way. As long as it stays between the covers of a book!
Here are my top 5 picks:
The Day My Butt Went Psycho. With a title like this, it shouldn't be shocking that this book comes with a lot of stinky humour. Almost every page contains the word "butt," or word plays on "butt," which is enough to send my 7-year-old son into hysterics. The plot is pretty hilarious too. A butt detaches itself from 12-year-old Zach's body, and runs around on stumpy little legs in a conspiracy with other wayward butts. Adults may not quite appreciate the humour (there is even a warning for adults on the inside cover,) but kids will find it hard to resist.
What's For Dinner, Mr. Gum? The Mr. Gum series are a huge hit with kids ages 6-10. Whacky characters in the town of Lamonic Bibber are not shy about their bodily functions. Things take a turn for the stinkier, as the evil Mr. Gum discovers his new favourite treat: Rancid kebabs dripping with dirty grey sauce. Chapters are short, and the humour is kind of silly, but not dumb. In fact, I enjoy reading this series with my kids. It's pretty funny.
Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts. For kids who want to learn about some of the science behind farts, the facts are described with a dose of humour.
The Inconceivable Adventures of Cabbage Boy When the evil Cabbage Roller wreaks havoc on 9-year-old Ralph's town, he reeks some superpower havoc of his own. How long can Ralph keep his superpowers a secret? Watch out world, things are going to get stinky. A great read for ages 8 and up.
Walter the Farting Dog. Younger kids (5-9) will enjoy this tale of a well-loved dog with a stinky problem. Well, at least the children in the story love him. Their father is not as tolerant of the flatulent canine, so it's off to the pound for Walter. Then, in a twist of events involving burglars, Walter's doomed fate is changed.
Summer in the city with kids doesn't have to be limited to outdoor pools and playgrounds. Personally, I've had my fill. With only a few weeks left to go before school, I plan to make the most out of what the city has to offer. Here is my "last chance" summer activity list for the next few weeks. Most cities offer similar activities, and the best part? No towels required!
MUSIC: Outdoor concerts or more informal street performances are a fun way for the family to experience music. Walking along a pedestrian mall downtown, we caught Jazz, Folk, and Country. I just bought tickets to an outdoor opera show in Calgary, Opera In the Village. They're putting on The Pirates of Penzance.
THEATRE: From Fringe Festivals to Shakespeare in the Park, summer is the perfect time to catch an indoor or outdoor show. Some kids' theatre groups do performances in playgrounds.
MUSEUMS: We don't often have time to visit the museum. During the summer months (and beyond) many museums offer special activities for younger children. Whether your interests are art, history, or science, you're sure to find designated times for families to engage the kids.
FARMERS' MARKETS: Not just about the food, although there is plenty of beautiful summer produce to experience. Kids enjoy chatting with the local merchants and artisans, listening to the buskers, and sampling international flavours.
GEOCACHING AND LETTERBOXING: Geocaching is described as "real-world treasure hunt" using navigational tools. Treasures are can be found in cities all over the world, and summer seems like the perfect time to try out this popular pastime. Letterboxing combines navigational skills with rubber stamping and journals. It's sort of an artistic version of geocaching. I haven't yet tried geocaching or letterboxing, but hope to try them out in the next few weeks.
I like to think of exposing kids to arts and culture as a different kind of summer adventure. You never know what your family might enjoy, and what new appreciation may be implanted at a young age. Plus, it beats listening to screaming kids at the water park every day!