Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I love Alice in Wonderland. I was fascinated and a little horrified by the Disney film as a child. I had to write a report on Lewis Carroll in college and I was so intrigued by the Alice books, even though they didn’t make much sense to me until I picked up The Annotated Alice. Ever since then, I’ve been a little obsessed with the zaniness of Wonderland…and it shows in my penchant for garish colors, flamingoes, and Tim Burton films.
But—that aside, I’ve been bored and a little burnt out since Christmas came and went. I need a party. I need some kookiness to stave off the blahs. Since Harry Potter month was such a huge hit with the kids back in October, I’ve decided to do an Alice month in May.
I’m already gathering stuff to decorate the house and for various activities. Oh, and prepping myself. Since there’s a bit of chess in the Alice books, I thought it was about time I learned how to play. This is significant, because I have always avoided chess because it scared me. Only the math nerds in school played chess. And even though I was a nerd, I was not a MATH nerd.
My kids enjoy chess, which is great, but I have no idea how they even learned—but they can hold their own against other people who know how to play. Calvin once tried to teach me but I got frustrated, and howled like a five year old when I lost. “I HATE THIS GAME, I’M NOT PLAYING ANYMORE!” I may or may not have shoved the table, causing the board and pieces to fly every which way.
This time around, Calvin has provided a cheat sheet for me, which has been more helpful than any of the chess books (for kids or adults) I’ve ever read. I know there’s a vast deal more to the game than this:
But, hey---baby steps, right? I’m still learning not to call the knight the “horse.”
Back to our Alice in Wonderland month---I’m trying to come up with ideas to implement—maybe one activity or recipe a day—with a big Mad Hatter/Unbirthday/Red Queen Tea Party at the end, complete with costumes, herbal tea, and flamingo croquet. Here are my ideas so far:
1.Make a giant chess set (made out of soda and water bottles—we’re saving them already!)
2. Poem memorization and art work. What DOES a Jabberwocky look like, anyway?
Oh. THAT’S what it looks like. Ew. Cool!
3. Riddles. My kids love riddles—and the classic “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” is only the beginning…
4. Botany—I always loved the scene in the Disney movie where the flowers sing—and since we’ll be coming up on springtime and planting time, I figure it’ll give me an excuse to splurge on some fun annuals like snap dragons, pansies, and zinnias.
Oh, and I just found this picture---I think I love it. Cute, and slightly creepy. Zombie flowers, hahahahaha! (Okay, I am having WAY, WAY too much fun with this!)
5. Flamingo Croquet—I got the idea from Pinterest—we’ll see how it goes!
I saw another one of these sets that had pink feathers glued onto the handles. Hmmm….how into this do I want to get? (VERY!)
6. a little kitchen chemistry for the “eat me” and “drink me” goodies that Alice consumes.
7. lock picking. Seriously. Gotta get through those little doors (and learn a valuable skill to avoid getting locked out of the house or car---or start up your own robbery operation!)
8. Cake decorating. Why not? Who doesn’t love an excuse to play with cake and sugar?
9. Movie nights---there are several Alice films---it would be great to watch them and compare and contrast---also, a little film history can be thrown in!
10. Read the Alice books, or excerpts of them, anyway. They are a bit hard to follow because they were written over a century ago for a very specific audience---so the inside jokes would be largely over the heads of the kids (we’ll supplement with The Annotated Alice)
11. Learn about Lewis Carroll and the Victorian era, including the British monarchy.
These are just the ideas off the top of my head. I need to keep reading to see what other fun stuff I can dig up. Stay tuned….