It’s July, roughly one month after most kids got out of school. While summer days should be filled with outdoor adventures and summer camp it’s also a good idea to give your children a little downtime. Unfortunately, these days quiet time often coincides with screen time. If you want to stop your children from plopping on the couch with smart phones, tablets and TV you’ll need to entice them with something else.
What if that something else was a good book? How can you make reading more fun for your kids? How can you create an environment that makes them choose a book over an iPhone?
Choose Comfy Seating
Most of us read in bed because it’s such a comfortable and relaxing spot in the house. To encourage your kids to read look for a comfy chair like the Acapulco Kids Chair from Land of Nod. Then find a large basket, box or shelf, fill it with books and place it in the corner of the room next to this special seat. Include a soft pillow and blanket so your children can cuddle as they read.
Create a Special Place
Do your kids use a special table for creating art projects or playing with play dough? Do they have a specific spot for putting puzzles together or playing with toys? Most areas of the house are designated for one activity or another. If you want your kids to spend more time reading then consider creating a designated reading nook. The Teepee and Cushion Set from Land of Nod would be the perfect place to lounge back with a book. If you don’t have the space for such a big item consider creating temporary tents of your own by draping flat bed sheets over the top of every day kitchen chairs. Gather up some couch cushions, snuggle up and read aloud together.
Read at Night
To make nighttime reading more fun grab flashlights and lanterns so your kids can read under the covers. The Black Diamond Orbit Lantern from REI is a pocket-sized, bright, ultralight lantern and flashlight that is sure to make words easier to see. You can also crack a few glow sticks in varying colors. The extra lights will ensure your kids don’t strain their eyes while reading in a dimly light room.
Act Out a Puppet Show
After your kids read a book ask them to retell the story by presenting a puppet show. At Target you can find the Melissa & Doug Puppet Theater along with a wide array of puppets that fit the smallest of hands. For a make-your-own-theater-solution help your kids create puppets using socks, markers and glue. Once their puppets are complete they can use the top of a table as a make-shift stage. Simply drape a long blanket over the top and have your kids stand behind it so they cannot be seen.
Go On a Related Adventure
Let books come to life with adventures that echo the story lines. Choose a new theme each week and search for books that focus on the topic you select. If you read about animals visit the zoo. If camping is the topic of the week then pop a tent in the backyard. If you want to learn more about artists tie the theme together with a trip to an art museum.
This summer reintroduce your children to books. When you make reading fun your kids are bound to spend their quiet time turning pages rather than staring at screens.