There are tons of indoor activities to keep kids occupied, but one of our favorites is reading! Not only is reading good for practical use in daily life, but it hones your imagination, too! Reading is so important that we have special days like Read Across America, World Book Day and Hats Off to Reading to bring reading into focus. There are classroom and library events to get kids involved, but there are plenty of ways for you to celebrate Read Across America at home, too! We'll show you a few ways to make Read Across America Day special at home.
1. Book-Themed Breakfast
As the first meal of the day, it's important not to forget about breakfast! Food is often mentioned in children's books, whether you're reading about Dr. Seuss's green eggs and ham or Eric Carle's pancakes with strawberry jam. However, some foods work better for lunch unless you can put a breakfast spin on them. Think of books like Dragons Love Tacos inspiring breakfast tacos, or Pete the Cat and the Perfect Pizza Party giving you breakfast pizzas! You could even go one step further by making a menu for your child to choose their meal from, and you can read the related book together over breakfast.
2. Book Dress-Up Ideas
Kids love playing dress-up, which often goes hand-in-hand with imaginative play. Books also encourage imagination in your child, so why not wear costumes while reading? It can be as simple as wearing a silly Cat in the Hat striped hat, or they can wear a full costume if they wish. You can even take the costumed reading further by having your child act out their favorite parts of the book they're reading, or by turning it into a family play! Making reading more fun and interactive is sure to be enjoyable for everyone.
3. Special Guest Readers
Whether or not you have anyone available to come to visit and read, using video chat options to have a distant grandparent, relative or friend is a wonderful way to connect with reading. Not only is reading great for the imagination and learning, but reading can also be a bonding experience for your child.
4. Take It Outside
If the weather happens to be nice, take full advantage of it by reading outside! Set up some comfy chairs on your porch or in your backyard, grab a picnic blanket to spread on the grass or perhaps visit a local park with a nice seating area to read in the sunshine. If you can, try to pick up a few books about being outside such as Daniel Finds a Poem or You're Missing it! Books with outdoor themes may encourage looking at and listening to the sights and sounds outside, so by taking our reading outside as well, you can make it a little bit more interactive!
5. Find Printable Book-Related Activities
The internet houses a treasure trove of information, including many educational resources. It's relatively simple to find printable coloring pages, word searches, crossword puzzles, mazes and other activities with a popular children's book theme. Or if your child really loves to color and create, you can encourage them to make their own illustrations for their favorite book! Doing something hands-on is a great way to involve more of your child's senses when learning.
6. Create a Blanket Fort or Reading Nook
What you read is just as important as where you do it! Make reading fun and exciting by creating a cozy pillow fort or moving some couch cushions to a quiet corner of the room. Whether or not you can fit in the space with your child, they'll love the change of pace when you switch from their normal reading nooks.
7. Flashlight Reads
A great activity for the end of the day, reading by flashlight in a dimmed room and a cozy space is another fun way to add some variety to how you read with your child. (You can always plug in a string or two of fairy lights for a little more light and atmosphere, too!) Read whatever you'd like, but this is also a great time to pick out bedtime books such as Goodnight Moon, Llama Llama Red Pajama and Where the Wild Things Are.
8. Reading Day Stickers
Days like Read Across America and Hats Off to Reading may have a specific focus on reading for a period of time, but you can extend that by encouraging your child to continue to read. Get your child involved in picking when they want to read! Have them mark out days to read on a calendar by using stickers, or coloring on the days. The more interactive the better...and who can say no to stickers?!
9. Make it a Book Movie Night
Everyone loves books, including some of our favorite movie producers and directors! There are tons of movies based on books, from Anne of Green Gables to Harry Potter and Horton Hears a Who. You can even tie the movie in with your reading for the day by reading the book and then watching the movie. It's always fun to try and spot the differences between the two!
10. Play Some Mad Libs
There are tons of resources out there for Mad Libs, or you can even create your own by taking out words from a well-known story. Not only do Mad Libs create silly stories when you read the finished product out loud, but they're great tools for teaching your kids about nouns, verbs, adjectives and more. When you mix humor and education in an exciting way, your kids actually want to participate!
11. Put on a Puppet Show
Rather than simply reading your child their favorite books, make the story more interactive with a puppet presentation! Children's book puppets are easy enough to find online, or you can always get crafty and make them with felt or colored paper. Also, if you go the DIY puppet route, you can turn it into an activity for your kids. They'll love watching as you perform their favorite stories with their own puppets!
We hope we gave you a creative boost on ways to celebrate Read Across America with your kids at home! Have you tried any of these activities before? Are there any you're looking forward to trying? Do you have additional suggestions for us? Please feel free to leave your comments below! Also, if you're looking for some kids' books, check out our book selection to add to your home collection.