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'A Lithgow Palooza!'

Known best for his work as an actor, John Lithgow has also written several children's books. His newest book, "A Lithgow Palooza!" is jam-packed with ideas and activities to entertain kids of all ages

He visited The Early Show Monday to discuss his reasons for writing the activity book for kids. He also shared some of his favorite "palooza."

In "A Lithgow Palooza!" the author shares imaginative, fun ideas anyone can do with their kids. Most of the ideas are activities that can be done with little or no money, and lots of the items needed can be found in or around the home.

Each chapter in "A Lithgow Palooza!" has a main theme, and then is broken down into activities, along with the "recipe" and "ingredients" for how to accomplish each one. Many of the activivties require kids to actually use their creative and crafty side to make a tangible object: adopt-a-soup can, puppets, crossword puzzles, pulpture, carton architecture, travel brochures, and so on, while many others require just the imaginative mind: charades, mime, museum hunt and paper chase.

A "palooza," according to Lithgow, is "just any activity, however so silly or goofy. But fun is the most important element."

In the book, there is one section about waiting – waiting on a line or waiting to be served in a restaurant. With a white paper tablecloth and a pencil, you can create a game of Connect The Dots and then there is the old standby, Hangman. But the game Lithgow's children always liked best was called Guess The Animal. Just start drawing an animal and see how long it takes for someone to guess what you're creating.

Or you can draw portraits of each other from right across the table without looking at what you're drawing.

Of course, there are other sorts of paloozas, like music paloozas and word paloozas. "But my favorite," says Lithgow, "are the art palooza, because they tend to be mucky." (Especially the papier mache palooza, which take a long time and are probably best reserved for a rainy afternoon.)

In addition to silliness and muck, Lithgow does admit to another motive for advocating palooza: "I do have sort of a social-political agenda and that is to encourage interaction between people -- mainly between parents and kids. But to get them away from video games and the television screen and get them active."

Click here to read an excerpt from "A Lithgow Palooza!"

"A Lithgow Palooza" is Published by Fireside Books, which is owned by Viacom, the same parent company as CBS.

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