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Beyond Reading: 9 Ways To Keep Kids Occupied With Books

by The Mom Trotter

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Getting kids to read can be hard sometimes. Generally speaking, people don’t like doing things that are “required”  of them. 

Ever wonder how you can go beyond reading and make it enjoyable and even fun, for your kids? Then make sure to check out these nine tips on how to occupy kids with books.

Read Aloud

Listening to a book being read stimulates the brain in a different sensory path than reading with our eyes and brains does. Reading aloud will bring your family together and allows each member to engage in better understanding the book being read. 

Audio books are good for this too, but it’s even better for children to listen to their parents or someone they love, read to them. 

We all read differently, and this can help kids understand that differences are okay, and teach them to be mindful of how they read. 

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Book Challenge

Kids these days love to watch videos on social media on all sorts of challenges. Encourage them to try something different and start a book challenge.

How many books can they read in a week or in a month? For voracious readers, challenge them with daily reading. 

Don’t forget to offer an incentive. Even kids who don’t want to read or have an interest in reading will be motivated if an incentive is offered. Something such as choosing the movie for movie night, a chore fre week or even a special dinner.

If your kids haven’t learned to read yet, these books below can be very helpful! Also check out this article “10 Easy Ways To Improve Reading Skills In Kids.”

Play Out The Story

Read a chapter out loud, then act it out as a family with your kids. Treat it like a play and make sure to tell every family member that they will be responsible for their costumes. You can act it out without costume, however adding costumes will make everyone really feel in character.

If you can’t physically act it out, then act it out on paper – think Pictionary meets book club. 

Read To Grandparents

For most families with grandparents don’t live close by, this is such a great way for children to not only practice reading, but to also bond with their grandparents over reading,

Have your kids video chat with grandparents and read to them (or call, if video chat is unavailable). Their grandparents will really enjoy seeing or hearing their grandchildren and it will help the kids read, too. 

You can also ask the grandparents to reciprocate and read books to the grandchildren. What special memories that would make! 

Bookshelf Redo

Even though this isn’t exactly reading-based, organizing and redecorating bookshelves is a productive family adventure. First, remove all books from bookshelves, then dust the shelves. Go through the books and decide which ones to keep and which ones to give away to bless others. 

Group like books together, such as fiction and nonfiction. With the fiction books, categorize the books by author, then order the books chronologically if it’s a series, or alphabetical if it isn’t a series-dominant author. For non-fiction, group books in some sort of sense, such as “gardening,” travel,” or “devotionals.” 

Once you have all the books grouped, decide which shelves the groupings should go on. If there’s a little room left over on a shelf, but not enough for a completely new category, place a nice vase, framed picture, or other meaningful trinket on the shelf – or leave it bare. 

If there’s enough room on a shelf for more than one category, you can fill up the shelf. To add some textural interest, you can line up one grouping on the short side with the titles out and lay another grouping beside them, stacked up on their covers. 

The important thing is to do this as a family as you may find some lost or forgotten treasures during this activity and enjoy your newly dusted and reorganized shelves with a good read! You’ll also be surprised to find books that you may have forgotten about.

Little Free Library

Many communities have loaner libraries started by the Little Free Library movement which are made out of boxes in community areas, such as parks, playgrounds, or even beside sidewalks.

Take some books to donate to the community library nearest you along with some antibacterial wipes. While there, take all the books out of the library and go over the covers lightly with a wipe and allow to dry completely.

While they dry, clean out the library and add your books. Add the dry books, too – remembering to pick out one or two to read at home.  This will also help your kids learn the importance of community service.

Don’t Like How The Book Ends – Change It

So your child read a book but didn’t like the ending? Then ask them to rewrite the ending or re-tell the story with a different ending. 

Choose a point in the plot that makes sense, and have them rewrite or re-tell it the way that they want it to end. They can use the same characters or even add and/or remove characters as necessary. They now have control on how the story ends.

After changing the ending, discuss the old ending and the new ending with them and compare differences between both.

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Hand Me Downs

Hand me downs aren’t just for clothing. Books can be handed down from one age group to another. Now is a good time to access your kids reading levels and switch books out among neighbors or your kids classmates. This is a great activity the kids will enjoy! 

Have baby board books in good shape left over? You can either box them up and save them for a future baby (or grandchild), or clean them really well, let them air dry, and donate them to a family who has little ones. Or, put them in a community library too. 

Book Walk Bingo

Remember “cake walks” and “bingo” during school fair days? Combine these two for a fun game of reading. Grab some short books and place them a circle on the floor (one book per person). Make the circle big enough for everyone to walk around comfortably. Write each title on a separate piece of paper and place in a bowl. 

Everyone walks as a timer is set (you can use the timer on your phone) for a varied, unannounced (albeit short) amount of time. When the timer goes off, a title is pulled from the bowl – whoever is in front of the called book reads it. If your kid hasn’t learned to read yet, then have a designated sibling or adult read it. 

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Reading is one of the best things that children and adults as well can do, but sometimes kids dread it when they are forced to. If we as parents can approach reading differently, and treat reading as an adventure to enjoy, we can teach our children to enjoy reading as well. 

I’ve been working hard and applying these tips with my kids so that they can enjoy books and reading just as much as I do. Because truthfully, “Knowledge Is Power,” and a lot of that knowledge can be learned from books.

Do your children enjoy reading?

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