Cricket in Times Square Book Club for Kids
I hosted my middle daughter’s book club this past week. She chose her all-time favorite book by which she judges all other books, Newbery Honor Book, The Cricket in Times Squareby George Selden. As a second-grader, this book was a little hard for her although she won’t admit it, so I gave extra time to her book club friends to read the book. Most of the kids finished the book and loved it. Her book club is an active group of little girls, so I had planned two activities, but the winter has been so dreary and long, and the book club day was the nicest day we had in a long time, so the kids ate a snack and did the first activity (both of which took all of 30 minutes) and spent the rest of the time racing around outside.
Activity 1: Create a Cricket Habitat with Actual Crickets to Bring Home
We purchased small, plastic cages from the local pet shop and I collected a bag full of empty paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, and recycled paper egg cartons. The kids used these plus sticks from outside to create a cricket habitat. The crickets need a water source, so we used just a damp paper towel folded up into a small square but a sponge would also be great. Pet shop number 1 said to feed the crickets Cheerios and they went to town on plain ones. Pet Shop number 2 said to give the crickets a slice of raw potato. A final caution, the live crickets from the pet shop have a high mortality rate. Buy them on they you are hosting the book club, and buy extra!
Another idea: if you don’t want to spring for a bunch of small plastic cages, large white “take-out” boxes would also work. You can buy these from a party store or just ask your favorite, local restaurant. I would probably pre-cut a window on one side, and then let the kids cut out Saran wrap and duct tape it over the window. I think duct tape would be best; you really don’t want the window to fail. You might also want to punch small holes on the top once the box is closed up for air holes.
Activity 2: Create a game together based on The Cricket in Times Square book.
We’ll probably try the game idea for the next time we host. It’s a good, generic idea that will help your group learn group dynamics and it’s great when all the kids did not read the book.
Idea #3: My mom friends laughed when we chose this book. “What a great idea to take our kids to NYC to Times Square!,” they said. What a bunch of jokers! This book club does tend to think in terms of field trips which is great. If I were really good, which I am not, I would have included a commuter rail (near us) or subway (also near us) trip to Boston which is pretty close by and takes the kids to the newsstand inside the subway/commuter stop to buy candy and magazines. But then I would have made another mom help out!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.