Friday, August 1, 2014

Dream On: Dream Themed Family Fun

Wracking your brain for a fun family activity? Better sleep on it. Dreams are a great theme for starting discussions with children and helping them learn. Most kids love to talk about their dreams and are eager for the chance to learn more about what goes on in their minds when they shut their eyes. Here are some ideas:

  • Many children may enjoy keeping a dream journal. Since it’s easiest to remember dreams right after waking up, present your child with a notebook and pen to keep by her bed. When she wakes up, she should write what she remembers about her dream and, if she likes, share it with you. (Be sure to respect her privacy; no peeking if she doesn’t volunteer to share.) Younger kids can dictate their dreams for you to record or draw pictures to show what they dreamed. To make this activity even more enriching, categorize each dream in the journal. Many children will enjoy this task so much they won’t suspect they’re building vocabulary. Choose less common words like “humorous,” “frightening,” “unlikely,” “suspenseful,” etc. 
  • For a more streamlined crafting experience, look for a premade kit like the Leather Factory’s Dream Catcher Kit (available through Amazon and at craft and toy stores). Be prepared to help younger children with this project. 
  • Dreams play a central role in Roald Dahl’s beloved book The BFG. Read this to children younger than second or third grade, but seven- or eight-year-olds and up should be able to handle it independently. 
  • If your middle and high school-aged dreamers are interested in learning more about their dreams, they may enjoy watching PBS’s documentary What Are Dreams? This fascinating DVD explores the sleeping brain through interviews with neurologists and psychologists. 

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