Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Ron and Judi Barrett is a classic picture book for kids in grades three through five which has been adapted into two movies. Expand the fun of these wacky, imaginative stories with creative, silly activities designed around the crazy plot and characters.
Construct a Food Sailboat
In the book and the first movie, the townspeople build boats out of giant foods to help them escape the island. Use your science and engineering knowledge to build a boat entirely from food products that actually floats.
What You Need
- A variety of sticky foods to use as "glue" like frosting, gum, cream cheese, and peanut butter
- Large bin, sink, or tub filled with water to test the boats
- Look at pictures from the book and first movie depicting the food boats.
- Each child has 15-20 minutes to build a sailboat using only edible materials.
- Test each sailboat to see which stays afloat the longest.
Report a New Town's Discovery
The town of Chewandswallow isn't one many people knew about in the book or the movies. In this creative writing assignment, students invent and discover their own secret town and then broadcast it in a breaking news report.
- Each child invents a wacky town that has at least one unique element you wouldn't find in the real world.
- Kids write down details about their town like the name, how many people live there, and where it's located.
- Next, students draw a picture of the town. This drawing can be an aerial view or a smaller image like the main street.
- Each child presents their new town in a news broadcast format by explaining it was just discovered. Video tape each presentation if desired.
Invent Mixed Up Animals
In Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, the main characters head back to their old island to shut down the FLDSMDFR once and for all. They arrive to find new species of food animals like tacodiles, flamangoes, and bananostriches. This wacky activity challenges kids to create their own species of hybrid animals connected by a central theme other than food.
- Ask your child to choose a theme like vehicles, technology, books, drinks, candy, colors, or shapes.
- Using this theme, kids must create at least three new animals which are hybrids of a real animal and an object related to the chosen theme. The new animal name must seamlessly incorporate the names of both the animal and the object. For example, if the theme is technology, you might create a chimputer made from a chimpanzee and a computer.
- Kids then draw pictures of each new animal.
- Take the activity one step further and ask kids to build the new animal out of clay.
Turn a Friend Into a Cartoon
The characters from the movies all have two things in common, they each have one exaggerated physical feature and one thing they're really good at. Flint Lockwood has a giant nose and a knack for inventing. Sam Sparks has huge eyes and knows tons about weather. Find out what your friends look like as cartoon characters in this creative art project.
- Pair up each kid with a partner. If you are doing this at home, parent and child can partner up.
- Kids start by interviewing their partner to find out which physical features they like most and least about themselves. Children also want to discover any special talents their partner has.
- Now each child takes the information gathered from the interview and imagines how they could exaggerate one of the physical features described in the interview in a drawing of their partner.
- After drawing a cartoon version of their partner, kids write a quick paragraph about their cartoon character's special ability and how it could help the characters of the book or either movie.
Quick and Easy Activities
No matter which age group you're working with, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs activities are sure to be a hit. Help kids get their imaginations running with these simple, fun ideas.
- Create a weather chart using food stickers or pictures in place of temperature and climate.
- Make a giant spaghetti and meatball dinner with extra large meatballs and long strands of spaghetti.
- Make a memory game by drawing different foods on one side of individual index cards. Make sure you create two of each food so players can find matches.
- See how many words you can find within the book's title, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
- Make silly shaped pancakes and try tossing them onto a plate.
- Think about a conversation at your breakfast table this morning and invent a story based on that subject.
- Make your own lab coat out of an old men's long-sleeve shirt like Flint's mom did.
- Use materials from around the house to invent something that could solve a common problem.
Get Weird and Wild
There's nothing standard, normal, or remotely simple about the fun created by this book or these movies. Capitalize on the zany fun factor by encouraging kids to get weird and wild with extension activities.