Updated: Apr 3
How can we encourage children and grandchildren to read when there is so much online media available? Start with their interests, view a film and expand to books or read a book and expand to film.
Explore a Solution
If the child is interested in science, adventure, and loves the film Jurassic Park and its sequals, or Fantasia(1940) - The Tyrannosaurus Rex, Second Part, consider introducing the child to composer/author Karen LeFrak's book, Sleepover at the Museum, which debuted in concert form at Festival Napa Valley in 2019 and across the country. Another recent book/musical composition is Dan Brown's Wild Symphony.
More and more authors, publishers, museums, and symphonies are video-recording concerts and providing curriculum guides for educators and parents/grandparents to create activities based on the book/story, and in LeFrak's and Brown's cases, the musical composition that accompanies the book.
Start with a video of LeFrak's book and then read the book with a child. Play key moments of LeFrak's musical score that correspond with different rooms of the museum (Source: 23rd Beijing Music Festival). Key moments:
Hall of Dinosaurs, 18.07
Hall of African Mammals, 21.48
Hall of Biodiversity, 28.46
The Butterfly Pavilion, 32.02
The Napa Film Festival also provides a Curriculum Guide to Sleepover at the Museum for pre-k through grade 5. The curriculum guide includes a scavenger hunt. We can orchestrate a dinosaur scavenger hunt for a party, camping trip, or sleepover (or find a sponsor for a museum sleepover, such as California Academy of Arts museum sleepover).
We started with a dinosaur film clip, that included animation and classical music, viewed a video of Karen LeFrak's book, Sleepover at the Museum, read the book (available at many public libraries), and adapted a scavenger hunt, sleepover or other activity, some of which we can make up ourselves, and others from the free curriculum guide to the book. The musical illustrations reference famous composers, such as Prokofiev, Saint-Saëns, and Mussorgsky.
Further explorations are endless; i.e., read other books about the composers, draw and identify different species of dinosaurs, and visit a museum (on-site or virtually) that features prehistoric dinosaur exhibits (such as the Australian Museum or Dinosaur Park at the California Academy of Sciences.
The Curriculum Guide to Sleepover at the Museum also includes making your own musical instrument and identifying instruments that were used in the orchestration of the story.
Write your own story and compose your own music to go with the story.
If possible, visit a museum, such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, that features exhibits of interest to both children and adults.
For older children and adults
Can we adults also write our own, or a collective community story?
What about an elder and youngster together writing a story and composing music to go with the story? Who will illustrate it?
View the film Night at the Museum (2006, Amazon Prime) and Sequels (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithonian, 2009 and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, 2014) and animated sequel, Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again (December 9, 2022, on Disney+)
Find a musical theme in "Sleepover at the Museum" that goes with each of the rooms of the Museum of Natural History.