Book club took an interesting turn this month – a really BIG turn. A Biltmore-sized turn.
The story is about a group of kids trying to solve a crime inside the famous Biltmore mansion. Several other locations around Asheville were also mentioned in the book, making this a great way to learn about the mountain region of North Carolina.
We started out by summarizing the story and discussing the characters’ actions, and there was a lot to talk about! Since gargoyles were described in detail by the author, we talked about the history of these stone carvings – about how true gargoyles have water shooting out of their mouths, and about how other statues are called grotesques.
Of course, after all of that talk about ugly, scary statues, we had to make our own.
I made a few batches of salt dough and gave each kid a ball of it. Some asked for drinking straws so that they could make them spit water.
The kids got really into their sculpting.
Didn’t they come out well?
Next the kids split into their book club teams – boys versus girls – to go on a nature scavenger hunt. They searched for all of the plants mentioned in the book, as well as some local wildflowers. My Big Helper was happy to find tulip poplars …
and all of the kids searched hard to find more plants than the other group. Each one was able to find several plants that were new to them!
Finally, we talked about the wide variety of rooms that can be found in Biltmore House and about some of the ways that it was ahead of its time technologically. Then the kids paired up to design their own dream homes. Some of them tried to make simple, large houses. The duo above, though, got all into it. They drew a house on wheels with a pool, vending machines that spit out their favorite foods, and staircases to the moon and the sun. They got really creative!