Summertime is upon us as schools across the country end another year and send the kids home.
Home, where moms and dads are looking for some way to keep them entertained, hopefully with something other than hours of screen time.
Well, we’ve got an idea for you, and while it may sound too good to be true, it’s cheap, easy, and fun for the whole family.
As Mommy Underground reports:
Adults know that there’s nothing better than sitting down and losing ourselves in a good book on a long, hot summer day. But sometimes, instilling the love of reading in children can be a little more difficult.
This summer, start things off right by creating a “Summer Reading Club” in your home. It can be just for your own kids or can include several neighbors who want to work together to find a productive activity for a group of children.
Traditional summer reading clubs offered by libraries and bookstores make it fun for kids to read. They have them set goals, offering incentives for reaching them. This way, it’s not a boring task that we’re asking our kids to do, but an adventure they can take as far as they’d like.
You can do this in your home by creating a chart or journal in which to log the books your child is reading. They can set a weekly goal, or a goal for the summer of a certain amount of books.
Incentives can be as simple or complicated as you like. You can be creative and reward their reading achievements with fun activities or even just provide stickers, bookmarks, or other small trinkets that can be purchased at your local dollar store.
Most kids are not going to respond positively when you tell them to “just sit down and read a book.”
But when you make every aspect of it fun, they won’t look at reading with dread. We guarantee that once they start the habit of regular reading, they’ll look forward to each new book.
We obviously want our kids to stay active this summer, so set time goals for reading, like a half-hour a day or a certain amount of hours per week. In this way, they can learn accountability and time management in addition to keeping their reading skills sharp over the summer.
So it’s time to get creative with your Summer Reading Club – and the ideas are only limited by your imagination.
Gather several age-appropriate books from the library or discount store and create a “grab bag.” The kids can reach in (no peeking!) and pull out a new book each time they finish one. It’s always a surprise and will keep them from getting stuck in a comfort zone of one particular genre.
Create a scavenger hunt by making clues that lead them to their next book somewhere in the house.
Wrap books in wrapping paper and leave them on their pillow before bedtime. It’s always fun to open a gift!
Allow your child to choose a different theme each week, doing activities that go along with the reading theme for the week.
For example, if they are interested in zoo animals, choose books on that topic. They can snack on animal crackers while they are reading, you can print out coloring sheets of their favorite animals online, or you can even take a family trip to the zoo when they’ve hit their reading goal for the week.
Do they like art? Choose some books on art and artists and set aside some time for them to create their own work just like their favorite artist with craft supplies you have on hand. Cut up colorful fruits and vegetables and let them make a “mosaic” or character on their plate or bake some cookies they can “paint” with colorful tubes of frosting.
You can choose books that discuss other cultures or historical periods and have the kids help make an authentic dinner, even dressing in period costume.
Choose a favorite book and let them put on a play, draw their own illustrations, or write an alternative ending.
For toddlers and preschoolers, set some time in your schedule to read to them each day, or if they have older siblings, this can be a great time to bond – and for all of the kids to get their reading time in.
Make reading fun, get silly and creative, and work together as a family, and in no time, your child will be an avid reader!
Above all, reading opens up all sorts of opportunities for conversation and discussion. Ask them about the book they’re reading while you’re eating dinner. Encourage them by getting them involved in what they’re reading. Answer their questions, and see where the conversation leads you.
Take trips to the library or reward their reading goal by allowing them to purchase a copy of their favorite book at the bookstore.
There are so many ways to make reading fun, and there are many resources available online – from reading guides to activity sheets to recipes – that go along with classic children’s books.
Get the whole family involved and take some time each day to read aloud or read books quietly at the same time.
This is one bonding experience with no downside – it’s inexpensive, easy to do, relaxing, and builds critical skills for the coming school year. It also keeps the kids busy and away from electronics.
Use your imagination, and let them use theirs, and enjoy the adventure that summer reading has in store for you!