Activate imaginations and all your kids’ senses when you head outside with books. The sense of wonder that nature provides is exactly the curiosity you want your child to bring to a book. Even if you are limited to exploring your backyard or the local park, there are lots of simple ways to spend enjoyable times reading and learning together in the great outdoors.
Go on a booknic
This summer, make room in the picnic basket for books! Choose a theme around family food and reading preferences and pack accordingly. Try:
- Honey grahams with Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood
- Bread and jam with Bread and Jam for Frances
- Eating the Alphabet: Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert with a taste of fruits and vegetables from around the world
For younger kids with earlier bedtimes, the excitement of getting to go outside at night will make a bedtime story and snack most memorable. Get your flashlight, blankets or a sleeping bag story and enjoy a story about stars under the stars. Try:
Her Seven Brothers by Paul Goble
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
Find the Constellations by H.A. Rey
Pi Day isn’t just for math lovers. Circle around to readers and get everyone in on the fun!
Pi Day, which is named after Pi, the mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or 3.14, is a great day to bring reading and math together. The month/day format that connects Pi to the calendar is extra special in 2015 because it equals the first 5 significant digits of Pi: 3.1415. And if you want to time your celebration just right, wait until 9:26:53 is on the clock. You’ll get even more digits of Pi!
To make the day an even bigger celebration, honor Albert Einstein along with π. March 14 is his birthday! It’s also the perfect excuse to serve up a delicious birthday pie.
So celebrate! It is easy as Pi to share Pi related books, read up on Einstein or trade trivia or interesting Pi facts with the titles and links below!
Bring tons of math fun to readers ages 7 and up with Why Pi? by Johnny Ball
Cindy Neuschwander and illustrator Wayne Geehanan take readers 8 and up on an epic math adventure with Sir Cumference, Lady Di of Ameter, and Radius in Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
Jennifer Berne and illustrator Vladimir Radunsky beautifully explain the work of Albert Einstein to a young audience in On a Beam of Light. Ages 6 and up.
Albert Einstein (Giants of Science) by Kathleen Krull is a lively, accessible biography for readers 9 and up.
Pi and Einstein resources:
I’d long wanted to visit the places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and wrote about in her Little House series. During the summer, I finally got to travel the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway.
My traveling companions–son Breece, niece Avery, my mom–and I covered more than 2,500 miles during our pilgrimage. We’ve been blogging about our Little Journey on the Prairie at Reading Rockets and that’s where you should go to read about what three generations of readers saw, learned and loved about each historic site. There’s also a bit of advice for those planning to make their own little journey and plenty of ideas for parents and educators who want to help kids connect to the stories and history of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family.
But here’s where I’ll offer some additional insights and photos as things strike me or as I learn even more about Laura from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Massive Online Course from Missouri State University.
Here’s your first tidbit:
Laura’s best friend was a brindle bulldog named Jack. Brindle refers to the color of the dog. Brindle is brownish or tawny with streaks of other color. Did you know that?
And did you know that when Charles Ingalls traded away the ponies, Pet and Patty, Jack was part of the deal? The real Jack didn’t travel back from the prairie and never once played along the banks of Plum Creek.
Dear, faithful Jack!
Summer is a great time to get a little crazy in the kitchen and for food-related field trips! At Random Acts of Reading, you’ll find my Dr. Seuss inspired recipes that will take your reading and cooking adventures on beyond Green Eggs and Ham.
You’ll also find food fun, like these One Fish Two Fish Treats at Seussville.com.
Reading Rockets has cooked up some great food fun centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. Check out these Reading Adventure Packs for getting creative in the kitchen:
Each Reading Adventure Pack includes great book recommendations. But if you want to sample some other food and cooking related titles, try these:
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Yum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger
How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
The Magic School Bus Gets Baked in a Cake: A Book About Kitchen Chemistry by Joanna Cole
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Looking for true love this Valentine’s Day? Connect a kid with a book and watch the sparks fly!
The wise and wonderful Katherine Paterson said, “It is a sign of wonderful love and affection to read aloud to someone, and we love it. So, we should never stop reading aloud.”
Make some book love this Valentine’s Day! Read aloud with your loved ones and enjoy these titles about a love for books and reading.
The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch
I Am the Book: Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by Yayo
The Library by Sarah Stewart. Pictures by David Small
But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child
That Book Woman by Heather Henson. Pictures by David Small
Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
The Hard-Times Jar by Ethel Footman Smothers. Pictures by John Holyfield
Have a very happy Who-liday when you visit Who-ville this Christmas season!
Enjoy enchanting scenery and local musical performances
Dig in to delicious local foods
Since the Grinch took the last can, sample this Who Hash featuring
leftover Roast Beast
Or remember the Grinch with a sweet and tasty souvenir
Send holiday love to friends and family
And relax with a good book
It was delightful to chat with Kathleen Dunn and her callers today about encouraging and motivating kids to read. Listen here if you want to hear the thistle tongue twister, how to be a reading role model, and ideas to make reading fun and fundamental to your kids.
There’s no better ode to the Earth than Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax!
Find all kinds of reading and recycling fun for Earth Day in my article for Random House Kids For Parents.
And when you visit Seussville you’ll find my recipe for Truffula Tree cake, directions for making a recycled page corner bookmark, along with activities, crafts and more.
Elephant Ironing by Katherine Whitney
The reading party here at Belle of the Book is about to get rocking again. Things have always been a bit too static on these pages, so it’s time to make it more fun for everyone—including me—to visit.
The decorations committee is now in the capable hands of the extremely talented Katherine Whitney. The art shown here is part of a collection of handmade cards Katherine created for Mingei World Arts in Decatur, Georgia.
These whimsical creatures enlivening their everyday activities with books were exactly the kind of party animals I needed to meet. Katherine’s art inspired me to ask her to create original art for Belle of the Book and got me to focus again on why motivating kids to read is so important.
Your invitation to the new Belle of the Book is coming soon! In the meantime, please let me know what kind of reading fun, ideas, and resources for reading activities and events you’d like to find here.
- Moose Fishing by Katherine Whitney
- Pasha Painting by Katherine Whitney
Many readers know D.E.A.R.—or Drop Everything And Read—as sustained silent reading for pleasure during school time. National D.E.A.R. Day extends the idea to families. With so many other activities and forms of entertainment to choose from, National D.E.A.R. Day offers parents a gentle reminder that reading together on a daily basis should be a family priority.
Who better to share this message than beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary? This national literacy campaign takes place on her April 12 birthday. Families are encouraged by campaign spokesperson, Cleary’s delightful and mischievous character Ramona Quimby, to read together at home or join other families and celebrate reading with local schools, libraries and bookstores.
- If you’ve forgotten how much fun spending time with Ramona can be, HarperCollins Children’s Books has the first chapter of Beezus and Ramona available for online reading.
- National D.E.A.R. Day partner Reading Rockets has a video interview with Beverly Cleary and a fun audio podcast where Mrs. Cleary answers readers’ questions.
- A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, Beverly Cleary’s autobiography in two books, are excellent and at the top of my favorites list of author memoirs. Either title makes for wonderful D.E.A.R. Day reading.
- There are also great D.E.A.R. ideas and activities at HarperCollins Children’s Books’ Drop Everything and Read site.
Since this week is National Library Week, today is the perfect day to spend some quality family time at the library. What are you waiting for? Drop everything, head to the library, and READ!