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James and the Giant Peach Book Cover

Backyard Book Club: James and the Giant Peach Overview

The Backyard Book Club is back in action! For this month’s meeting, the kids read James and the Giant Peach, thanks to a request by one of our members. (Click here for the book spotlight with online resources and other ideas.)

Kids outside

We started with a quick talk about what the kids loved best in the book, then went straight to our trivia activity. For this one, we marked one end of the yard as England and the other as New York City. Then we tried to cross the Atlantic Ocean like James and his buddies by answering trivia questions correctly on our whiteboard paddles. (Our younger members teamed up with a big kid to write down the answers. Click here for a printable list of discussion and trivia questions.)

Girl looking at bugs

Then it was time for a little science! First, we learned a little more about the bugs in the book, then we used that knowledge to go on a bug hunt. The kids looked all over the yard and found a surprising number of different types of bugs.

Girl using CD disk to make a rainbow

For our second science activity, we watched a short video about rainbow science (since the giant peach shatters a rainbow) and then made some rainbows of our own and talked a little about where they came from.

Then it was time for an art project! We talked about all the things that GREW in the book (the peach and the bugs), but how would the story have been different if things shrank instead? We made some fun book-related art (and some non-book-related art) using shrink film.

Finally, it was time for treats. As the kids munched on peach-o’s and gummy worms, we read There’s a Hair in My Dirt by Gary Larson. (The illustrations and text are great, and so is the message–that worms are important, and understanding nature is even more important than appreciating it. But there is some editing required for young kids. 🙂

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