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Cinematters - Home on the Range


By Kelly Parthen and Shannon Payette Seip

Hectic homes are cows for concern

Home on the Range Another weekend rolls around, and your family is doing anything but bonding. While you frantically run around town finishing errands, your kids set up camp at friends' houses--where they claim it's more fun and the food tastes better. If home is where the heart is, yours needs a transplant.

The new film Home on the Range and our activity, "Cow Pie," can help your family turn your madhouse into a home sweet home.

The animated film features three determined cows (voices of Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly) on a mission to save their farm from foreclosure.

To earn reward money, they plan to capture outlaw Alameda Slim (voice of Randy Quaid), a cattle thief known to hypnotize herds with his entrancing yodel. The bovine bounty hunters must avoid Alameda Slim's spell to capture the crook and collect the ransom. But will their happy habitat be auctioned off before the cows come home?

Family Activity: Cow Pie
It doesn't matter if your home is on the range or in the city--our activity can inspire each family member to pitch in to make your home a happier place.

Start off by talking about Maggie's arrival to the farm, Patch of Heaven. Which farm animals welcomed Maggie? Which were more reserved? Discuss how you usually react when you've had to welcome someone new.

Patch of Heaven's owner, Pearl, could have paid off some debts if she'd sold some livestock. Why do you think she refused to do so? What did the animals mean to her?
Think of a time you were torn between difficult choices. How did you decide what was most important to you?

Talk about why the animals were afraid of losing their home. What were some of the things that made Patch of Heaven such a happy place? What things about your home do you value most? Take turns sharing what you think makes your home one of a kind.

Materials needed:

  • One sheet of white paper
  • Adhesive-backed magnetic sheet
  • Black marker
  • Scissors
  • Alphabet stickers

Draw a small circle on the white paper. The circle should be able to fit on theCow Pie Web magnetic sheet. Using the black marker, draw cow spots in the circle. Draw lines to divide the pie into enough slices so there's one for each person.

Stick the pie to the adhesive side of the magnetic sheet. Cut out the pie slices. Have each family member pick out his or her initial from the alphabet stickers and affix it to one slice of the cow pie. Place the pie slices in a drawer next to the refrigerator.

When someone in the family contributes something special toward making your home a happier place--from packing a picnic for a backyard lunch to leading the sock hop during laundry sorting--stick his cow pie slice on the refrigerator.

Continue until the pie is complete. Celebrate your efforts by going out together for ice cream and a moo-vie. You'll find that with each person putting in extra effort, turning your home into a heavenly habitat will become as easy as pie.

E-mail your comments or ideas to [email protected].

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