The book "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is the type of classic that everyone can enjoy. A movie, based on this book, is scheduled to be in wide release on September 18th. Inspired by the children's book written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" toys with the absurd and explores a banquet of imaginative possibilities, but deviates slightly from the original story.
This children's book starts with Grandpa Henry telling his two grandchildren a tall tale about a town called Chewandswallow. Food and beverages rain from the sky at just the right meal time, three times a day, and yes the sky does rain meatballs. But all is not well in Chewandswallow. What starts out as a delicious idea, soon poses a huge quandary for the smothered town. The school is covered in a giant pancake, a tomato tornado whips through the sky, and the traffic is "tied up" in spaghetti. Eventually, the residents must decide whether living in a place with food right outside your door, or on top of your house, is the best place to reside.
The movie finds Chewandswallow in the same predicament, but for a different reason. A beleaguered inventor, Flint Lockwood, wants to improve the lives of his fellow residents. He creates a marvelous invention that brings a smorgasbord from the sky, but lots of other problems too. The voices of the 3-D cartoon characters are performed by some famous names: Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Anna Faris, James Caan, and Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live). The movie is rated PG.
Whether you see the movie or not, the story is a great one to share with your children. There are lots of activities related to the book to explore together as a family. Going outside, laying on a blanket and staring up at the sky, the family can play a game by interpreting clouds and the pictures the formations resemble. Clouds is a lesson with attachments identifying different types of clouds. Children use cotton balls to illustrate fluffy depictions as an art activity.
Families can utilize the falling food from the sky as meal plans for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A plate of piled high pancakes is a great way to stimulate conversation on portion size and the food pyramid. Fun with the Food Pyramid has students constructing diagrams to outline a proper diet. It suggests a companion book, "Sip, Slurp, Soup, Soup, Caldo, Caldo, Caldo" by Diane Gonzales Bertrand. The book is bilingual. Children sort food into the correct category.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" is a perfect way to begin a discussion of real weather, the idea of language and using metaphors, and a way to discuss philosophical themes, such as over-indulgence. Reading the book, and seeing the movie can be used as a basis for compare and contrast. This is an important skill that can be used in persuasive papers, as well as debate team activities. There are a huge variety of lessons that incorporate the book itself. Here are just a few.
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" Activities:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has students explore weather, the food pyramid and immigration. Each sub lesson incorporates the book with discussion questions.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has children organize words into a table. This is a great way to begin learning about computer spread sheets. Alphabetizing is also utilized, which can introduce the idea of guide words and dictionary skills.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs identifies silly sayings that are part of the English vernacular. It also allows children to think and create their own falling food choice.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs introduces different forms of precipitation. It touches on the water cycle.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs lists human needs and how people fit in their environment. Migration of humans is discussed and considered.