The Giver is the perfect book with which to introduce your kids to Dystopia and begin to have conversations about what can happen when government gets too involved in daily life.
Jonas’s world seems perfect–perfectly matched couple raise 2 perfect kids who grow up to work at perfect job assignments. The elderly live in group homes until the day of their ‘release.’ Babies are released if they aren’t developing correctly. There is no pain. Adolescent sexual impulses are quashed by drugs.
So there’s basically nothing to worry about. But when Jonas is assigned the job of Receiver, he has to learn about society’s collective memories, including the flawed world that existed before. As he learns more about the hypocrisy on which his society is based, he will have to choose whether to accept the status quo or fight the system.
The Giver Activities
Your child by no means has to do every one of these activities in order to closely read The Giver, but I suggest picking several from each category.
- Write about what it would be like to see an airplane fly over your town for the very first time. What do you imagine it would make you feel or think?
- Being released is the most severe form of punishment in Jonas’s society. Write about what you think it means when you first read about it
- Write an entry about a time when you felt apprehensive
- Pretend you’re Lily and write an entry about the boy who kept skipping in line at the slide
- Imagine not knowing what an animal is and write about how different your world would be
- Write an entry about how it affect you if it was against the rules to hide your feelings
- Start a list of job assignments, such as Nurturer, Namer, and Receiver, and their job descriptions
- Write about what it would be like to be observed constantly and closely so that your future job could be picked for you
- Pretend you are Jonas and write an entry about the apple that changed in mid-air
- Think about the last time you accomplished something good and write about what it would have been like to have to follow a rule against bragging
- Write about a dream you recently had. What would it be like to be required to tell everyone about it?
- Write about how you would react to being forced to take a pill to make you stop liking the opposite sex
- Write about your feelings concerning the replacement child and the Ceremonies of Loss and Replacement
- How would it feel if the way you dressed or your grades affected your entire community’s success? Write about it.
- Write about what it would be like to be forced to behave like everyone else you age so that you could be part of the group
- Pretend you’re Jonas and write about what it was liked to be skipped during the Ceremony of Twelve
- Pretend you are Jonas and write your response to each of his new rules as the new Receiver of Memory
- Describe the Receiver’s dwelling from Jonas’s point of view
- Pretend you are Jonas and recount your first training as Receiver
- Think about the realization that the people of Jonas’s community cannot see color. Write about why you think that is the case and what it would be like to suddenly see color after never having experienced it
- Write an entry explaining why the giver might be so bitter about society’s views on how the brain works
- Pretend you are Jonas and write your feelings about giving the sailing memory to Gabriel
- Write about a time when you had no choice but to do something you didn’t like
- Imagine you live in Jonas’s society and write how it would feel to learn about love for the first time
- Pretend you’re Jonas and write about your decision not to take your pill
- Pretend you’re Jonas and write about learning what Release really is
- Pretend you’re the Giver and write about why you’re going to stay in the community rather than go with Jonas
- Pretend you’re Jonas and write about your decision to steal away with Gabe
- Describe how the landscape changed as Jonas got farther away from his community
- Pretend you’re Jonas and explain why hunger made you question your decision to leave the community
- Pretend you’re Gabe and write about how cold and hungry you are and your first experience with snow
Write a letter
- From Jonas to Lily describing what it was like to watch the airplane go over and be ordered inside
- From Asher to the teacher explaining that he really had been “distraught” by the salmon viewing, not distracted
- From Jonas’s father to the committee asking them to give him more time to help the newchild who isn’t growing correctly
- From Jonas to Lily telling her what it will be like to start her volunteer hours
- From Larissa to Roberto telling him how interesting his life was
- From Asher to Jonas describing in detail the person who disliked his Assignment and swam the river to join another community
- From Jonas to Pierre explaining why it’s not important to follow the rules about foolish things
- From Jonas to his community explaining how they immediately made him feel ‘alone and apart’ after he received his assignment
- From Jonas to his father asking him if all adults are permitted to lie
- From the old Receiver to Jonas explaining about the memories he must transmit
- From yourself to a friend who doesn’t know what snow is describing snow and sledding
- From Jonas to Fiona explaining why he won’t talk about his training
- From Jonas to the Giver explaining why he wants to be able to make choices
- From Jonas to Asher explaining color
- From Jonas to his parents telling them he hopes they never know pain but how alone he feels now that he knows it
- From Jonas to the Giver thanking him for the kindness of ending his training with a memory of pleasure
- From Jonas to the Elders explaining why everyone should have the memories
- From the Giver to Jonas explaining why he is sorry to have given him the memory of warfare
- From Jonas to the Giver telling him what is truly dangerous about love
- From Jonas to his parents explaining why the word ‘love’ is not meaningless
- From Jonas to Asher explaining why the children shouldn’t play war games
- From the Giver to Rosemary telling her how much he loved her and sorry he is for having to train her
- From the Giver to Jonas outlining his plan for change
- From Jonas to the Giver telling him all the reasons the Giver should escape with him
- From Jonas to his parents telling them why he’s leaving
- From Jonas to the Giver telling him goodbye
- From Jonas to Gabriel apologizing for not being able to find food and telling him how much he wants to save him
- Research children’s wards in modern hospital and how they care for sick or underdeveloped children
- Research the history of bicycles
- Research volunteering in a nursing home or other facility
- Research what kind of training it takes to become a doctor or judge
- Research the history of sledding
- Research how the brain works
- Research population growth and food shortages
- Think about why the disconnected people are assigned the job of nighttime nurturers and write an essay about the reasons and what you think the results would be
- Write about how different our world would be if children were assigned to parents instead of born to them. How do you think it would affect the family dynamic? Would it be similar to adoption or would it be different?
- Do you know of any jobs that set people in your society apart from others? Write an essay about the job and why it sets practitioners apart from others
- Write about the pros and cons of Sameness and all the things society would have to give up in order to achieve Sameness
- It is not revealed until the middle of the book just how different Jonas’s world is from our own. Write about the differences and how you felt as you discovered things like the lack of color, hills, or sunshine, or how everyone is genetically engineered to be as close to Same as possible
- Jonas’s society and its goal of Sameness has taken away individual rights to choose. Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing? Explain your reasons.
- Discuss the differences between solitude and loneliness
- As we grow and go through changes, our friendships often change as well. Write about what it would be like if you suddenly lost your friends due to circumstances out of your control
- Discuss why having feelings would be important for obtaining wisdom
- Discuss whether Sameness and predictability are better than Differences and surprises and why
- Discuss the last scene of the book. Do you think the sled was really there and that Jonas and Gabe had found a safe haven? Or do you think that Jonas was hallucinating as he died of exposure? What do you think happens next?
- Make a clothespin airplane
- Make a hippo or elephant craft
- Make a snowman or snow crystal craft
- Draw a black and white picture of a room with a red apple in it
- Paint a landscape including hills, trees, birds, and wildflowers
Grab the FREE PRINTABLE
This free printable can be used for journal entries, letters, and to keep track of all the different jobs in Jonas’s community!
Looking for more Activities for Learning for chapter books? Check out: