read a chapter-book aloud to their four year olds during the month, then a few of the moms hosted a little party with book-themed crafts, activities and snacks.
They have done several books; this one was on Fantastic Mr. Fox* by Roald Dahl. The comprehension level was just right, and Zack really enjoyed the book. The themed "feast" (there is a feast at the end of the book) of donuts and apple juice fit perfectly with the book and the crafts were easy and very cute. The kids made puppets with colors and glue, then were given other little puppets as party favors and everyone who wanted to got a turn to put on a puppet show in a little playhouse puppet theatre. Zack still hasn't quit playing with his party favor puppets.
One of the things I'm really interested in is fostering a love of learning in my kids. Wanting them to help them really love learning is one of the things that keeps me on the fence about considering homeschooling. I think Zack will enjoy the traditional school environment, but I worry about loosing that sense of curiosity and exploration with which children approach the world. So, something focused on books and reading, but with other kids and made really fun, seems like a fabulous activity. I tend to think (grain of salt here, since I don't actually know what I'm talking about) that if we wait until kids (especially boys) are "old enough" to do activities like book clubs, they will already have decided they aren't interested. This was a super way to learn but also make it really fun.
I will note that Zack was puzzled at the lack of reading at the book club - I guess he thought it would be more like storytime. Afterwards he didn't really seem to think there was enough book discussion, though he didn't participate when the hosts asked the kids about the book! The hostesses kept it light and fun so that everyone, even the younger siblings who hadn't read the book, had a great time.
* [Just so you know, there was some ugly language from the antagonists to each other (I'm talking ugly language for a four year old - "stupid" and "shut up") but we talked about how these were the mean characters in the book and we're not mean so we don't talk that way. So far it hasn't come back to haunt me. Also, guns figure prominently in the book. Some of the little girls found that really foreign but Zack has already started fixating on guns (boys!) so it wasn't something I felt we needed to avoid. It was a fun story, but you might pre-read it and make sure you are ok with the content.]