We’ve loved every Roald Dahl book we’ve read. My kids especially enjoyed Boy (and the sequel Going Solo). It’s enjoyable to hear about the adventures of the young Roald Dahl. You definitely get some insight as to where he came up with some of his book ideas and characters. His frightful years in boarding school had to have been the inspiration for Miss Trunchbull and Mr & Mrs Twitt. It’s interesting to get a glimpse of his family life. He paints his mother as a true hero and his love for her is quite obvious. Overall it is a great book with a good mix of happy, funny and sad.
My kids love any activity that involves sugar. I have a feeling they are not alone, especially since Roald Dahl writes about his willingness to participate as a chocolate taste tester while in boarding school as a boy. Now if your kids are anything like mine, or the young Roald Dahl, they will be eager to practice their writing skills as they taste the chocolate and then write an “intelligent comment” on why they liked it or disliked it.
For this activity you will need to assemble an assortment of chocolate bars. I found some very interestingly flavored gourmet chocolate bars at Target and happened across some European candy bars at Publix. You could also use Halloween candy to save some cash. Those gourmet chocolate bars can be pricey when you’re buying a bunch. But it made the activity very fun to have some new and uniquely flavored chocolate to sample.
I saw this super cool variety box on Amazon that would make this activity amazing. (At least for those of us who don’t live in the UK and are not familiar with the candy varieties included in the box).
Here’s the printable I created to encourage more handwriting practice and conversation. You can print it off or create your own.
Now, go divide those tasty chocolate samples among the participants and get to tasting!
But wait, don’t let the learning stop there. This is a great time to investigate where chocolate comes from and how it’s made. What’s the difference between dark and milk chocolate? What’s does the % of cacao mean? Does chocolate really come from a bean? Does that make it a vegetable? The chocolaty questions seem endless.
Reading this book stirred up many questions from my kids regarding the human body. What are adenoids? What is an appendix? How was Roald Dahl’s dad able to do so much with just one arm? What is a boil? What a great opportunity to delve into the workings of the human body. Find the answer to all those great questions. Perhaps it would be fun to compare how some illnesses are dealt with now vs 100+ years ago.
I thought this one was pretty cool. It’s a semi-interactive appendectomy. Proper medical terminology is used and discussed during the procedure. It is animated and doesn’t show blood or look gory but it does give a warning at the beginning “This surgery may contain graphic procedures inappropriate for children or squeamish adults.” With that said, you should probably watch it first before showing it to your kids to make sure they can handle it. Mine didn’t have a problem with it.
Here’s an informative (but not very exciting) video on appendicitis. It answers the basics of what an appendix is, signs and symptoms of appendicitis and treatment.
If you’re going to turn to YouTube for help with the abscess or boil question. Be sure to search them up and watch them by yourself first. Most of them are pretty graphic and could be disturbing for a child to watch.
For me, the loss of a limb is hard to imagine. Being right handed, trying to write with my left hand is not a pretty sight. I can’t imagine having to rely solely on my left hand to do everything. What must life be like with the loss of a limb? There are some fantastic online resources about amputees.
The Amputee Coalition has a wealth of information including inspirational stories. They even have a curriculum aimed at third through fifth graders to create awareness and educate others on the loss of limbs.
There are some great videos on YouTube about the lives of amputees. I thought the one below was a good one for gaining the perspective of a young girl who has lived her whole life with only one arm.
The link below is to some good disability awareness activities. Have your kids try doing a few things using only one arm…drawing, dressing, tie a shoe.
Writing with a Nib and Ink
I don’t know if this is the type of nib Roald Dahl used as a boy. We tried it and it was really challenging to write with. I can’t imagine having to have used such a device as a little kid. My kids both enjoyed messing around with it but neither one of them could have written much of anything without a great deal of effort. Maybe we had the wrong type of nib? I got ours at Michaels with a 40% off coupon. It was the Speedball brand but only came with one preattached nib (which eventually broke).
Once you’ve read the book and want to find out even more about Roald Dahl, you can head over to his official website. It’s loaded with info about him and his stories and characters. There are learning activities, lesson plans and a shop.
If your kids are into taking little online quizes, here’s one for the book Boy.