Every parent hopes their kids can enjoy reading and learning even when not probed, but the reality sometimes does not work that way.
When children do not take to reading as expected, parents start to pressure their kids or make reference to their peers that are doing better, forgetting that no two people will learn to read at the same time or pace, and most children need some incentive or nudge to enjoy reading.
When kids are under pressure to read, it decreases their interest in reading. As a parent, introduce books to your children like they are magical and contain all the answers may have about lots of things. Books should take children into a different reality or help them shape reality better!
The power of developing a reading culture for your kids cannot be overemphasized, but some parents give up when they feel their kids have little to no interest in books.
According to Dr. Jennifer Duffy, a Graduate School Dissertation Chair at Northcentral University, reading is a fundamental skill needed to function in society. A professor at Northcentral University professor also indicates that reading aids a child’s overall development.
Reading develops children’s linguistic language skills, improves memory, reduces stress, and even helps to develop life skills to help connect with the wider world.
This is why parents need to be patient with their wards and help them have fun while learning. Here are 12 children’s fun activities to encourage reading and learning.
1. Conquer the lag
It is understandable that parents sometimes have hectic schedules and are barely able to help the kids with their homework.
In this case, it can be tough having to watch kids get some regular reading in for another 20mins when the time could be used to do other important things like preparing for the next day.
There’s a simple solution. If you have older kids, have them pick out books that interest them through the week, and if the kids are still young, call up their teacher to do the honors.
On a Saturday or Sunday, before the day begins, you can sit around or lay around with the picked-out books and read with your kids individually or do a read-aloud for about an hour before the day starts.
This can be repeated weekly till you finish the current book and repeat the circle.
2. Write your own short story
Children have the most vivid imaginations ever, and having them come up with their own stories is a creative way to boost their imagination. They can even pick a character from their favorite book and create a different adventure for them.
This activity helps the children’s sentence structure, grammar and also refreshes their creative side.
It is okay if they want to write about a movie character instead. Help them have access to the actor’s picture; tell them to be specific about age, name, and physical appearance.
You can spend time with them coming up with fitting words and matching colored pencils when they need it, or if they are older enough to write sentences, you can give them room to be flexible. All in all, make sure they are having fun.
3. Count on magazines
Magazines are sources of current affairs and are a fun way of keeping up with everything from entertainment to sports and politics. Every new issue comes with newer stories and information.
Magazines like National Geography is a creative way of getting your child interested in animals and the world at large.
You may even choose an array of magazines because you never know what your children might suddenly become interested in.
That’s the fun of magazines—you never know when you’ll become interested in things you didn’t even know you might find interesting.
4. Treasure hunt
Another way to keep reading and learning fun for your children is the “Insert drum roll” tada! The treasure hunt!
Children enjoy solving riddles and finding a fitting answer to a puzzle. To keep your children’s minds active, you can introduce some games related to word hunting.
After reading a book, you may ask them questions about a particular page or ask them to search for some words that might be a little above their reading level while you keep a watch ticking. This can be fun because it is goofy and can result in lots of goofs.
Don’t reproach your kids if they are not winning the game; the goal is to have fun. You may even give them a treat at the end of it all.
5. Bring the stories to life via storytelling
This is easy. Have your kids read out stories and be creative about it. Make them sound out animal sounds that are in their book, and watch them beam at the funny and weird sounds.
This activity has lots of benefits; one of them is that they will develop the confidence to read out loud in classrooms. Also, it helps the children’s ability to assimilate.
In an article at Harvard Business Publishing, Vanessa Boris and Lani Peterson, Psy.D., professional storyteller, and executive coach, says that “telling stories is one of the most powerful means leaders have to influence, teach, and inspire.” Including storytelling as part of the kid’s activities will encourage reading and learning.
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6. Read the book and watch the movie adaptation.
This is self-explanatory. There are cool classical movies that were adapted from books, and the fun part is you can enjoy both with your kids.
You can use books and movies like – The Narnia Chronicles, The Lion King, Matilda, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, and Harry Potter.
The promise of seeing these in movies after reading the books is a great way to motivate reluctant readers.
You can have a read-together session to cover a few chapters at a time.
And after the book has been finished, you can reward your kids with a family movie night where you can all watch the adaptations and point out significant differences or similarities in the book.
7. Turn your library visits into adventures.
Librarians are practically paid to make reading magical for children. You should consult with your local libraries for new and exciting books for your children.
Ask the librarian to suggest fun books to you, then you and your kids can have a fun time picking the books out and guessing what the book might be about before reading the blurb.
Doing this fun activity and more will help your children associate reading and learning with fun.
Don’t forget to get each child a library card. This will help them feel in control of their reading experience.
8. Model reading love.
This is probably one of the vital ways to encourage reading and learning in your children.
Lots of children take cues from adults’ actions and behaviors. Your children can pick up learning habits from you if you try to model the habit to them without enforcing it.
It might be time you pick up a book and find pleasure in it because you have the small people carefully assessing everything you do. If you do not enjoy the book you read, they will know! Children are quite intuitive.
If they see you are enjoying reading your books, they will become curious about what is so interesting. Little by little, you can get them to start enjoying reading without pushing.
9. Picture and word association
For the younger kids, associating pictures with words successfully will be like winning the Super-Bowl.
All you have to do is have lots of flashcards, probably from the library. Then write out the names of each item in the pictures on blank cut-out cardboard papers.
Arrange the pictures in a donut form, spread out with a circle for legroom. The words cut out can be placed in a dry basket with no formation.
Ask your children to pick out each word and place it on the correct picture by reading it aloud while you cheer along.
10. Personal diary
Kids have lots to say and rarely say it all. Teaching your child the habit of nothings words down, especially their thoughts, is a way to improve their writing ability.
Also, writing down things that we choose not to say out loud can be very therapeutic to people of different ages and backgrounds. Your children should not be exempted.
You may think they are too young to have a diary, but there are no age restrictions to having one: the earlier, the better for your child’s brain.
Depending on how old your kids are, you may get them fancy ones depending on what theme they like, or you could choose a plain diary and decorate it at home with them however they like.
11. Bring book characters to life
Sometimes, people work better with visual demonstrations. Find book-inspired activities to show your children.
- If your children love stories about animals, take them to see their favorites.
- If they enjoy reading about stars, take them stargazing at night or a planetarium.
- If they love harry porter and you can’t take them to see a reenactment, you can dress up in costumes as wizards and witches.
12. Don’t give up
If you have tried all of the above and your children just can’t find pleasure in reading, don’t give up; it may just be that you haven’t found the right books yet.
Endeavor to try different kinds of poetry, graphics, sports, scientific books, heroic books, and so on. Don’t be limited to basic reading books.
Get suggestions from teachers and librarians; you can also introduce them to audiobooks. Do not hesitate to seek expert opinions on ways to improve your children’s reading ability if you run out of options.
Language is an essential part of living. And learning the basic concept can be challenging for children.
And because parents see their children’s learning development as something to be thought or a duty, children can feel overwhelmed.
However, if reading is made fun for kids, reading and writing become a form of entertainment.
Try to visit your children’s classrooms and see how they are being taught. This will give you an idea of how to make your kids read at home.
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