Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reaching Readers Through Summer Adventures

Summer vacation!

Long days with nothing to do but tackle the mountain of books I’ve been dreaming of reading. Ahhh… sitting in the sun with nothing but a bottle of sunscreen, a mojito, and my reads.


I have a job.

And kids.

Summer for me means keeping up with the little monsters who want to be entertained all day.

Hold the mojito.

But, summer can be about making the magic of books come alive for your children. It’s the perfect, stress free time to show your children another side of reading. For me, summer means pulling out all the tricks, so I’m here today to share some of my favorite ideas for incorporating books into your child’s summer fun. 

You’ll thank me when the kids start whining that they’re bored.

Combine nature and stories

Thanks to Heidi Shulz’s debut novel, HOOK'S REVENGE, my boys and I started talking about the story of Captain Hook and Peter Pan… and any good Peter Pan discussion involves Tinker Bell, right? Then I had a genius idea (if I do say so myself). Build a fairy village!

Fairy houses!

We went out into the woods and collected twigs, bark, leaves, and acorns to build these adorable fairy houses. We plan to arrange them in a top secret location near our home. The boys are now thinking about building teeny tiny fairy furniture and accessories. I love that they are recreating the stories they’ve read through crafts and imaginative play. It keeps the story alive long after the last word.

I can easily see adapting this fairy village idea for other fairy stories like the Rainbow Magic series. Have fun with this idea! Read, go on nature walks, talk about characters and expand on the story. Use your imagination!

Find a cozy place to read outdoors
This is where I plan to read this summer (assuming my boys don’t claim it first).

Here’s the thing….don’t just snap at the kids: STOP PLAYING MINECRAFT AND GO READ A BOOK (I say that a lot in my house). Make it fun and different! Get them outside to read! If you don’t have a hammock, setup a cozy book nook for the kids to get comfortable under a shady tree. Here’s an idea I found on Pinterest. 

It’s so simple, but I love the cozy feel, especially with the bright cushions. I intend to try this with the kids soon. I have a feeling they are going to love the change in scenery. 

Read Aloud
My boys are now old enough to read on their own, but there is still something special about being read to before bed. And in the summer I’m a bit more relaxed about bedtime so I don’t mind reading a few extra chapters (and neither do they).

When I read to the kids I generally pick books that are laugh out loud funny. We’ve been enjoying the Pseudonymous Bosch Secret Series recently. 

Another twist on the read aloud idea for summer? Pitch a tent in the backyard or just throw a sheet over a couple of lawn chairs and hunker inside with a flashlight. It’s the perfect opportunity for a good ghost story!

Beach fun 
While most kids are building sand castles, my book nerds recreate their favorite book settings at the beach. Last summer my oldest son was really into the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. He recreated Alagaesia in the sand. It was epic. I wish I’d managed to snap a photo of it before his little brother stomped on it. Instead, I give you this photo from fellow Kidliterati writer Rebecca Sutton. Her son’s Star Wars creation is pretty awesome. 

I’d love to hear some of your ideas for bringing books into summertime fun! Leave us a comment below.  

On a related note, sign your kids up for Barnes and Noble’s free summer reading program.  All they need to do is read any 8 books and they can choose a FREE book! 

Have a great summer, and happy reading!

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