summaryAlmost every day, kids and adults alike read and reread the cereal boxes sitting on the breakfast table. Why not take advantage of this cardboard kiosk? The bold graphics, hyped-up language, free offerings, and nutrition chart can all be the focus of educ
- The RIF Guide to Encouraging Young Readers
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Here are several activities that require nothing more than a cereal box (full or empty), paper, and pencils. Early Word Recognition. Snap. crackle, pop! may be among the first words your children recognize. Point out the words individually as they recite a cereal jingle, a slogan (They're gr-e-a-t!), or the name of a cereal to help them make the association between spoken and written words. Write the words one by one on a piece of paper and ask your kids to point to the matching word on the box so that they begin to recognize the same words out of context. Nutrition Research. Along one narrow side panel of the cereal box, in fine print, is a nutrition chart and list of ingredients. Here are some of the longest and most obscure words your children may encounter. Go through the list and write down all the unfamiliar words, then help your children look them up in a dictionary. You'll be reassured, for example, to learn that folic acid is a natural substance that comes from green leaves. Compare the nutritional information on two boxes of cereal. Is the cereal Dad likes more or less nutritious than the one your child prefers? Which has more sugar? Which has more fiber? More protein? Alphabetical Ingredients. Ingredients are listed according to what percentage of the cereal they comprise, from most to least. Your children can write down the ingredients in a new order--from A to Z. Good Taste in Words. As your children read the description of the cereal, ask what words the copywriter used to make the cereal sound good to eat. Go on to suggest that they replace of these words with a word that means the opposite (a thesaurus might help). The new copy will sound like something Oscar the Grouch might have written. New Package. Perhaps your children would like to invent a new cereal. What shape will it be? What color and flavor? Suggest that they design a wrapper for the new cereal that you can paste over the old cereal box. They can draw pictures of the cereal, describe it, and include nutritional information, a recipe, and a free send-away offer. Story Starters. Cut out the character's and pictures that appear on the front and back of your children's favorite cereal box. Staple or glue them onto ice cream sticks so they can use them as stick puppets to tell a story.