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Family Novel

^"Ages:5 and up

Materials:Common household objects

This won't be the first -- or the last -- time that a group of authors got together to create a literary work. It works like this. Each member of the family goes to a different room in the house and collects a bag full of items -- a toy, a book, a shoe, a hat, etc. (You can specify the number of items to be collected.)

One person then retrieves an item from his or her bag and starts off a story (perhaps the item is a toy dinosaur: "The stegosaurus decided not to go to school today because ..."). The next person pulls an item from his or her bag and adds to the sentence (perhaps a shoe, "... his shoes were too small"). And so on, until all the items have been incorporated into the story.

This activity is clearly easier for older kids. With younger ones, you might have to do the story line yourself -- each child would simply hold up an item for you to use. For variation, have family members select items for one another -- that will add to the excitement and suspense. (Look around the house and imagine wild stories that would arise from using common items as props -- from soup ladles to hair dryers!) However you compose your family novel, be sure to record or write down the story.

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