A talisman is an object that can contain magical properties and will protect its owner from bad luck, harm, or even evil. Centered around The Monkey's Paw, by W.W. Jacobs, this writing activity encourages your child to think about the consequences of his actions. Challenge your kid to come up with something he might wish for if he had the opportunity. What would the consequences be if his wish came true? To add an artistic component to the activity, have your wishful thinker create a creepy monkey paw talisman. It may look scary, but it also contains the power to protect, or grant wishes.
The Monkey's Paw, by W.W. Jacobs (Your local library should have a copy.)
Construction paper (Orange and brown)
Tempera paint (Black and red)
Low-temp hot glue gun
What You Do:
After reading the book, ask your child to share some of things he has wished for that may have resulted in dire consequences. Would the consequences have been worth the fulfillment of the wish? Who would have been affected had wish come true?
Ask him to fold four sheets of white paper in half.
Using red tempera paint, have him paint the edges of the paper so that they appear to be bloody. He can drip the paint so that it splatters, or run his thumb over the bristles on the brush to make it look like "blood spray" on the paper. Let the blood dry.
Have him trace his hand on a sheet of brown paper. Encourage him to elongate his fingers into a "monkey paw". Cut this shape out.
Have him draw vertical lines in hot glue down the fingers and over the hand that will resemble veins and fur. Allow the glue to dry for a few minutes.
Using black paint, have him gently run a mostly dry brush over the glue, lightly scrubbing as he goes, covering the glue and creating texture.
Outline the edges of the shape in black paint.
Cut the base of the wrist jagged and paint the jagged edges with red paint.
Ask him to fold a sheet of orange paper in half and glue his talisman to the cover of the booklet. He can paint a warning phrase to the reader on the first page if he'd like. Set the cover of the booklet to the side.
Encourage him to write a short story based on a character who comes across a talisman of any sort and makes a choice to use it for a selfish wish. Have him expand upon the consequences of this wish. What was the wish? What ended up happening after the wish came true? Who did it affect, and what were the consequences, if any? How did the plot resolve?
After writing the story, have your child place the paper back inside the booklet cover and staple it down. Or, glue it in place and encourage him to share it with a friend, family member or teacher.