Sure it’s a month famous mostly for its rainy days, but we love April for sunnier reasons! First, it’s National Poetry Month and second (but certainly no less important), it’s also the month we turn our attention to the care of the planet and celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd.
With all this awesomeness packed into one 30-day period, we couldn’t choose just one of these celebrations to focus on. So here we offer ideas to help you and your loved ones connect with each other, as well with the wider world, through verse, saving the earth, or both.
Poetry is often said to be food for the soul, which makes it a perfect companion at the dinner table. Did you know that reading and writing poetry reaps numerous benefits for children and adults? This is why we propose starting a poetry potluck this month: Together with your family, decide what night of the week everyone will bring a poem (an original or a favorite from a book or the Internet) to share during dinner. One of our former guest bloggers Jodie Rodriguez of Growing Book by Book offers a similar idea this month as part of her Family Dinner Book Club! Use her ideas or as a family, come up with own creative ideas for making Poetry Potluck thought-provoking and fun.
Clean out your pockets and mark your calendars for April 30th, which is “Poem in Your Pocket Day”. Here’s something both young and old can participate in simply by choosing a favorite poem, carrying it in their pocket and sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, coffee shops and other places. Or if you’re shy, you can share it virtually by posting your poem on twitter using #pocketpoem. Kids in fifth grade and up can also participate in the “Dear Poet” initiative, a multimedia education project that invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors.
Not the paper kind. The idea here is to invite your family to find a poem about food and then make that meal (preferably together) for dinner. For example, there’s Shel Silverstein’s poem about spaghetti, certainly a simple dish to make. Or you can branch out from poems and choose books: Green eggs and ham for dinner tonight perhaps? Or something from The Seven Silly Eaters or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs? The library’s the limit! Or check out these food poems online at Giggle Poetry.
A well-chosen poem at the table during Poetry Potluck or anytime can spark rich conversations about important topics relevant to the wider world. For instance, read the poem “Earth Day” by Jane Yolen to spark a discussion about, well, Earth Day. Or break out Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and explore the importance of trees. As Dr. Anne Fishel writes so poetically in her book Home for Dinner, “Dinner is like a small plot of land that can be seeded, fertilized, and coaxed to yield a series of crops. Dinner is a small plot of time that can be sowed to reap comfort, fun, play and curiosity about the wider world, playful and meaningful conversation, and even action to change the world one meal at a time.”
And stay tuned for lot more Earth Day ideas to come on our Website and social media this month!
With National Poetry Month and Earth Day this month, anything is possible! Hence, our conversation starters on the art of possibility.
What’s something you couldn’t do when you were younger that you can do now?
What do you want to do when you grow up? Do you think it will be easy or hard to do?
In The Lorax, Dr Seuss writes “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Is there something you care about a lot that you would like to change?
Do you think it’s possible to change the world? Why or why not?
“After being in Harry Potter, I believe a bit more in magic than I did before,” said actor Rupert Grint (better known as Ron Weasly in the Harry Potter films). Do you believe in magic?
Share a story about a challenge you’ve overcome- maybe something you once thought was impossible.
Do you think it’s possible to change one’s self? How have you changed over the years/decades?
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. What’s something you’ve done in your life that you thought you could never do?
Calling all newlyweds and lovebirds: check out our Family Starts with Two Page for romantic food, fun and conversation ideas tailored just for couples!
2018 The Family Dinner Project
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