MOVIE: Toy Story (Rated G)
To infinity and beyond "¦ or at least to the grocery store! Don't let conflicts in the family get you down. Learn a few lessons from Woody and Buzz about how to work together through tantrums, how to share, or just decide what toppings go on the pizza.
You've Got a Friend in Me
Family members can be friends, too. Blast off a great family movie night with these ways to get along and be happy. Dinner will take cooperation and agreement skills.
- Stellar Pizzas
- Sid's Salad
- Rocket Pops
For Stellar Pizzas, you will need a package of uncut wheat pita pockets, a can of spaghetti sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you like. Cooperate by sharing the duties of putting the ingredients on the pizzas. You will have to agree by talking about what jobs each person is able to do. Who can grate the cheese? Who is able to slice the toppings? Younger children can't perform these duties yet, but keep it positive: they can smear on the sauce and drizzle the cheese on top. No agreements are needed for the toppings; these pita pockets are healthful and small enough for everyone to make their own, unique pizza. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Sid's Salad is any salad you prefer. Use prepackaged salad mix and allow everyone to choose a favorite addition, such as tomatoes or cucumbers. How can you cooperate and come to an agreement? Maybe you can all have your own special salad.
On your plates, put your pizza in the center and surround it with the salad. Now you have the sun surrounded by an asteroid belt. Buzz Lightyear is from somewhere beyond that. Talk about the planets and any other way-out-there facts. Kids always seem to know more than grown-ups about this stuff. Place four toppings inside the asteroid belt. This shows a little of the comparison between the sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, which all share space inside the belt. Look for the "Milky Way" on a clear night. Sometimes you'll even see a shooting star.
Dessert is easy now that your brain is melting from all of your interstellar imaginings. Rocket pops are still sold in stores and they are low-calorie, too. Rip open a package and get ready for some more fun.
Notepads or a stack of paper and pencils for everyone.
One of the greatest ways to become friends is through kindness. Use this game to show how much you know and care about each other.
This is a question-and-answer game based on the Newlywed Game. Everyone needs to make up five questions about the person to their left. They should be positive subjects, such as favorite foods, activities they are proud of and so on. One at a time, each player asks the family a question, gives 10 seconds for everyone to write their answers in their notepads. Then, everyone reveals their answers at the same time. If the answer is correct or (be kind) close to correct, they get one point. Keep taking turns. The person with the most points is the winner. Keep the game lively by adding your own compliments and kind comments to one another.
Old magazines or newspapers, glue, scissors and construction paper
You are going to use your supplies to create a Potato Head Family portrait. Everyone needs some construction paper to cut out a potato-shaped body. Are you a tall potato? Are you a round potato? Are you orange because you're so full of fun? It's all in the family, so make your potato represent you. Use magazines to cut out eyes, ears, noses, mouths, mustaches, etc.
The most difficult part of this activity is finding features that are the right size. What if you can't find any noses in your magazines? Everyone keeps a positive attitude while coming up with solutions. Can you draw the noses? Do you have buttons? Is it okay if one eye is much bigger than the other? Of course it is! Glue your features on your potatoes, compile them on one big sheet of paper, frame and place in a prominent place in your home "¦ or just post it on the refrigerator.
Creative problem solving is a way to avoid conflict and keep friendships going. This game is all about thinking about the goal and how to best reach it. In the movie, Buzz Lightyear thinks he can fly, then finds out he can't, but Woody helps to find a creative way to fly anyway.
Designate a safe "landing area" for paper planes to fly in your home. The goal is to get each person's plane onto the runway. Each person makes their own paper airplane and then works with ideas of their family members to make their airplane get to the airport. If you have to give up, crumple your plane into a ball and chuck it across the room, it still counts. It is a solution and that's what friends do to get to the common goal.
Support and visit your local library! Your local librarian will be happy to help you find stories about cooperation, sharing, kindness, creative solutions and optimism. Books about outer space are awesome, too. My recommendations are: "Swimmy," by Leo Lionni, "Chubbo's Pool," by Betsey Lewin, "Duncan and Delores," by Barbara Samuels, "Snow Baby Could Not Sleep," by Kara La Reau, "I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting off a Little Self-Esteem," by Jamie Lee Curtis, and "A Circle in the Sky," by Zachary Wilson. For grown-ups, listen to "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk," by Adele Faber or Stephen Hawking's "The Universe in a Nutshell" on audio book.
Ashland freelance writer Tatiana Resetnikov uses her education degree and 10 years of teaching experience to devise fun activities for the whole family. E-mail her at email@example.com.