Now that the kids are back in school, wouldn’t it be fun to know what they were doing in school and how their day was?!! This year my kids are in JK, 2nd and 7th grade and it seems that so far I know the most about junior kindergarten! After talking to other moms and searching the web, I have uncovered some clever lists of questions and other products that will get the kids talking.
Liz Evans, blogger at Simple Simon & Company published a great list of 25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today? Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today? I’ve been using them with Middle on our walk home from school and a couple of them in particular have elicited pretty funny and informative responses. Check out the full list but my three favorites so far have been:
- Where is the coolest place at the school?
- If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?
- Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?
As a follow up to the initial list of questions, she published 28 Ways to Ask Your Teens ‘How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘How Was School Today? I’ve been using them with Big the past couple of nights as we’re clearing up the dinner table and they did get him talking. A few of them have initiated some amusing conversations, especially which classmate is most likely to be arrested, made president, become a millionaire, be in movies, let loose a flock of wild chickens in the library, etc.?
In addition to these two lists there are some great games that help spark conversations. One of our favorites is The Family Dinner Box of Questions by Melissa & Doug.
This is a box of 52 engaging and thoughtful questions that are meant to be conversation starters around the table. I think what makes me like this game so much is that the questions are particularly smart and thought provoking. Some examples are:
- Where is the coziest spot in your home?
- What do you think is the greatest invention of all time?
- What is your fondest memory of a family summer vacation?
- If you were cooking your dream dinner for your family, what would you make?
It’s been really fascinating to hear the different responses from each of the kids. Not surprising that what Little would serve for her dream dinner might be different than what Big would dream up. What has been particularly surprising, however, is what they say their “fondest memories have been.” The answers are frequently times we’d overlooked (Like when one of my boys fondly remembered seeing a turkey throwing up on spring break.) Or ,”what the coziest spot in our home is.” (Who’d have thought Middle’s favorite spot is our laundry hamper…?) If you spend a lot of time in your car with the kids then I suggest leaving this box or at least some of the cards in there. I often find that driving with the kids is a great place to get them to open up.
Lastly, there is Gather Round Dinner Game.
This is one of those ingenious products that when you see it, you kick yourself for not having come up with it because it’s so simple yet absolutely brilliant. The game consists of a battery operated game unit with 11 game cards randomly stacked in it. On each card there are 12 questions. To play, you simply press the button and watch where the light stops– then you play that game. The games/questions are quite wide ranging. Here are some examples:
- Say 3 nice things about the person to your right
- Eat some veggies and flex your muscle
- Make up a story about a fish named Joe
- What’s the funniest thing you saw all week
- Close your eyes while someone takes something off the table; guess what they took
I have found that with this game, not only are we actually talking and laughing during our mealtimes, but that the kids are actually staying at the table long after they take their last bite. Our game unit now pretty much permanently resides in the middle of our kitchen table.