Stone Soup | Backyard Bookclub | A Celebration

dsc_2480-coverLast week we were privileged to enjoy one of the more special events we have ever partaken in … a celebration of the book Stone Soup with a group of fellow homeschoolers.

It was the vision of a friend, who along with other friends pulled it off so beautifully. For my part, I showed up with a cold, two excited kids, and my camera.

I am going to gush a little;  it was so beautiful. The whole day was thoughtfully considered with enough structure to keep the kids from diverting to their beloved Ninja game, and yet enough freedom and laid backness that they owned this and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

This was the first of what will become a quarterly event, and so our first book was a short picture book – the classic Stone Soup. Typically the books will be longer (chapter books) but keeping it simple for the first event was important, and it worked so very well.

Stone Soup had been preread prior to this celebration – we just so happened to have read it at a group event a month prior where we had gotten our feet wet with this whole book celebrating idea (I can share more on that fun day, too!) but in the future, all assigned books will be read within the families prior to the next group meeting to celebrate that book together. dsc_2476

Prior to the celebration day we were asked to dress as peasants, to bring rakes for land clearing, to bring something to contribute to the pot for our Stone Soup, a mug to eat the soup in, and to bring a canned item to donate.
Once all the mama’s and kiddos arrived the children were divided into “family units”, mingling younger and older children together. They were assigned jobs to do to help prep the fire – cleaning away the fire pit area, gathering kindling, and gathering larger logs. dsc_2474Once the fire was going the kids each poured their contribution into the cast iron kettle. The vegetable items had been preassigned to the families and we had brought them precooked, so no real cooking was done, just heating the soup.dsc_2510dsc_2512dsc_2513While the pot sat heating in the firepit the children were sent off to “the village”. Three large tarps had been hung, one for each of those made up families they had been assigned to. The kids made their tarps into homes, raking them out, adding blankets and other homey things. Some had brought flowers to decorate with. Others had cups to drink from. The kids had a blast playing house in their little village homes. dsc_2480dsc_2484dsc_2493dsc_2519dsc_2521dsc_2497dsc_2500Villager Games was their next activity – fun, simple games they could play as a group. They played Drop the Hankerchief (basically, Duck, Duck, Goose), Last Couple Out, and Poor Doggy (you can click the names for instructions I found online  for these). img_5370-1img_5374-1Once the soup was heated the children were served a helping of the Stone Soup in the mug they had brought. Crusty bread was provided as a side.
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img_5364-1 img_5362-1The donations collected by the families present;After the meal we had the big reveal for our next book club, which will meet in February. We will be reading the book in our own homes and then coming together to celebrate The Green Ember. The kids were excited, though that wasn’t necessarily expressed in the picture I got of the big moment. Hahaimg_5361-1img_5366-1Some discussions questions my friend asked the kids about Stone Soup:

  1. When the soldiers enter the town, what do they want? Why can’t they have it?
  2. How did the villagers treat the soldiers when they first entered the town? Was this the right thing to do? Why or why not?
  3. How did the soldiers trick the peasants in the village into making them soup? Was this the right thing for them to do? Why or why not?
  4. Can Stone Soup teach someone about the benefit of working together? What about being generous? What happens when we cooperate and try to help each other?
  5. How do you think the villagers felt at the end of the story? Why?
  6. How do you think the soldiers felt at the end of the story? Why?
  7. What does this teach you?
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