Making enjoyable times out of ordinary events
The Pleasure of Their Company, by the Bank Street College. Radnor, Pa.: Chilton. $9.95.
Cleaning the house isn't often thought of as fun for the whole family, but the authors of ''The Pleasure of Their Company'' think it can be. The ordinary events of daily living, they believe, offer the best possibilities for adults and children to enjoy each other.
The authors suggest that parents set up a cardboard carton or ''scrounge box'' somewhere in the house. They point out that ''American packaging know-how offers a gold mine of scrounge, now that excelsior has given way to styrofoam and plastic bubble sheets.'' Cast-off treasures like egg containers, ribbon and fabric scraps, wooden thread spools, and cardboard tubes can be collected all in one place. The house will be neater, and children will learn to select which treasures they want the most.
Once you and your children have scrounged the house clean, turn to the great outdoors for additions to the scrounge box. Sky watching, birding, and walks in the woods provide opportunities to collect shells, rocks, feathers, and leaves. Be sure to start with a fairly big box. Scrounged materials can be put to many uses: collages, greeting cards, toy robots, milk-carton trains with paper-towel tracks.
''In-between times'' like tedious bus or car trips provide other opportunities for family sharing. Playing ''I Spy'' requires no equipment: ''I spy a thing that is round and red, and good to eat. What do I spy?'' ''An apple!'' Older children might enjoy playing ''I Packed My Grandmother's Trunk.'' Each player adds, in alphabetical order, silly things to pack in the trunk: ''An ape.'' ''An ape, a baloney, a camel,'' and so on, for as long as everyone can remember the list. Around Halloween time, the game can be played as ''Dracula packed his trunk with. . . .''
A special treat for a rainy day is an indoor picnic, with a checkered tablecloth, potted plants, and a lamp for ''sunshine.'' One mother says that her family's indoor picnics have ''everything but the ants.'' And children might even enjoy providing some ants by drawing them on paper napkins.
Grandparents who live far from their grandchildren can still enjoy the pleasure of their company. Imagination is required, though, if they want to receive letters containing more than the cryptic: ''Dear Gram, Thanks for your letter. Good luck, Sam.'' The authors suggest that grandparents write mystery letters with parts missing: ''Guess where I went this morning. I went to -----, which is on Lake -----. Then I went into a large building with a gold dome. The building is called the state -----. If you can fill in the blanks and return this to me, I'll send you a picture of it.'' Be sure to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope; one grandmother found that her replies to ordinary letters increased tenfold when she included stamps and envelopes!