1) trying to do something with one of your kids and another kid has finished their work already and keeps saying, “Mom, I’m done,” “Did I earn a screen yet?” “I’m bored,” “Can you make me a snack?”
2) cooking dinner and everybody is freaking out.
3) putting the baby down for a nap while your other children are arguing loudly over whether your eyes change color if you press them both with your index fingers or if they stay brown from blinking. What.
4) on the phone and everyone is suddenly talking to you, urgently.
5) trying to take a shower.
6) any combination of 1-5.
When I shout “Go do Dictionary Pictionary,” which I have literally done in every one of the above scenarios, my older children respond to this by retrieving their notebooks and the dictionary, and leaving me alone for about 15-20 minutes (and sometimes huffing or rolling their eyes, because let’s be real here, a dictionary is not a snack).
pencil and crayons
designated notebook (or paper) – we use this Mead Primary Journal
Age: For best results your child should be able to write and read independently, though this activity can certainly be done together (it just won’t be a sanity saver)
To save your sanity: Tell your child to find a word, any word, that starts with A (or whatever letter you are up to). Have them write the word in the notebook, followed by the part of speech, followed by the definition. Then have them draw a picture of the word.
No, my kids are not in the habit of asking me if they can copy words out of the dictionary. The trick to getting them all to do it (besides my scary voice) is letting them be in control of their own “work destiny.” Adam will only choose words that interest him, then very deliberately copies out the definition for 15 minutes. Margaret often chooses her words solely by how long (or short) the definition is, and then spends extra time perfecting her illustration. But hey, 15 minutes is 15 minutes. And I need that shower!