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4 Ways to Make Books Come Alive for Your Kids

I am so excited to be partnering with The Storybox today to talk about something we are both very passionate about: reading with your kids! Many parents know that reading with kids, and in particular young kids, is vital to their growth. Reading out loud with your kids activates areas of the brain that are key to language and literacy development. Additionally, reading with your kids helps cultivate social-emotional development as well. There are just so many benefits. How would you like a few ideas to not just read with your kids, but to make books come alive? Check out some great ideas below.

make books come alive

The Storybox provided a complimentary copy of the December Storybox, how this review is 100% my own opinion.

Make Books Come Alive for Your Kids

  • Many great children’s books stand out not just because they are fun to read, but because the illustrations are very eye-catching. Why not recreate the main character and make a craft based on the book with your kid?
  • Incorporate pretend play and try to recreate a scene from the book. Dress up like one of the characters and act it out!
  • Take one of the concepts in the book and plan an activity around it. This would work great to teach complex or abstract concepts.
  • Build anticipation around reading and exploring a new book. You can do this with a trip to the library. You can take your kid shopping. Or, you can check out an ‘out of the box’ concept like The Storybox.

Join the Storybox

The Storybox is a monthly children’s book subscription service. Each month a box arrives at your front door with two new books and a parent guide that will give you ideas for activities you can do with your kids to make books come alive for them. The guides are broken out by age range, and are appropriate for kids ages 1 to 7. We recently received our first Storybox, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the experience. Let me show you how I incorporated the activity guide for each book in order to enrich the storytelling experience with Sweet Pea.

Jackhammer Sam

make books come alive

I had never heard of this book by Peter Mandel (illustrated by David Catrow), but it was such a treat to read it. The illustrations were fun and the book emphasized different sounds and rhythm patterns. It is a very sing-songy book. Sweet Pea and I did two simple activities based on this book and the activity guide.

  • The first thing we did was make a simple STOP/GO sign. This took about 5 minutes to make. I had some color dots laying around, but you could easily trace shapes onto cardstock or construction paper.

make books come alive

  • Glue a jumbo craft stick to the back of one of the circles. Then glue the second circle to the other side of the craft stick. This will make your sign.
  • Write STOP on one side of the sign, and GO on the other side with a black sharpie or marker. Now you are ready to go.

make books come alive

  • This prop is the basis for a simple but super fun game. You may know it as ‘Red Light, Green Light.’ This version is simply, ‘STOP/GO.’ but the idea is the same– when the sign says go, walk towards the sign holder. When the sign says stop, you have to freeze. Trust me, my little 3 year old LOVED this game. It was a HUGE hit!

make books come alive

  • The second activity we did based on the book was to create a simple jackhammer and then use it to bust up a play construction site.
  • To create the jackhammer, we wrapped an empty ziploc bag box with aluminum foil. Then we glued a paper towel roll into the opening of the box. Voila, jackhammer!

make books come alive

  • The rest was easy.. build a tower… destroy the tower with the hammer. Build a house.. destroy the house. Sweet Pea was amused. We will certainly do this again.

make books come alive

Boa’s Bad Birthday 

make books come alive

As with Jackhammer Sam, I had never heard of this book before, but we really loved it! This was a fun story that introduced animals that normally aren’t given much press in children’s books (ant eater, dung beetle, orangutan, jaguar). The message about looking for silver linings in unexpected places prompted a nice discussion about expectations as well. To make the book come alive for Sweet Pea, we did a very simple craft.

  • Using the book as a guide, I drew a snake shape onto a piece of cardboard (I used an empty cereal box). I also drew a separate snake head.
  • Sweet Pea did the honor of painting the snake body and head with white tempura paint.
  • Once the paint dried, I cut out the two shapes and used a black marker to draw on and color the snake spots, mouth, and nose. If you kid is older, they could do the coloring.

make books come alive

  • Then, we glued on two yellow googly eyes (like the book), and used dimensional adhesive stickers to stick the head to the snake body.
  • After Boa the snake was created, we made a few festive birthday party hats for him to wear. I just cut out three triangles for the hats (matching the hat size to the size of Boa’s head). Then, I punched two holes in the bottom corners of the hat and strung a small piece of yarn so the hat would stay on Boa’s head.
  • Finally, using various art supplies (anything would do. We used crayons, pompoms, buttons, cloth flowers, etc..), glue decorations onto the party hats. Put the hat on Boa’s head and wrap the string around his chin in order for the hat to stay put.

And that is that. Isn’t he cute?

What else do you need to know about The Storybox?

  • The cost to join The Storybox is $21.99/month. So, less than the cost of buying the two books at retail price. If you pay 3 months at a time, the price drops to $20.99. If you pay for 6 months at a time, the price drops to $19.99/month. There is no shipping cost and subscriptions renew automatically.
  • Holly and Clint (the owners) go out of their way to pick the best books for young kids. Holly formerly worked as a speech-language pathologist and routinely used reading and literacy activities her treatment process.
  • The books you receive are new and yours to keep. Each month, at least one book with be hard cover.
  • Part of the subscription fee is used to donate books or other materials to benefit children that are at risk or have literacy disorders.
  • The very first box you will receive comes with a special guide that shows you how to use the books with various age groups. Every box comes with a parent guide that gives specific activity and learning activity ideas for that month’s books.

make books come alive

  • SPECIAL OFFER! The Storybox has a special offer for Sunshine Whispers readers. If you subscribe to The Storybox, use the special coupon code TAKESIX to get $6 off your first order.

Bottom line– this is such a great deal. I was thoroughly impressed not just with the books selected, but the suggested activities as well.

make books come alive

Click on the link below to check out The Storybox for yourself, and don’t forget your coupon code!
http://www.jointhestorybox.com/

Thanks for reading!
Sara

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Joy Healy

Saturday 23rd of January 2016

How could books NOT be a part of our children's growing up experience!

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