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There are so many great books out there that we want to read to our children. Reading aloud to them has so many benefits to their development. It helps with growing their vocabulary, comprehension, imagination, and listening skills.
I love reading aloud to my kids and we usually have one chapter book we read through every month. However, they are still kids, and young kids at that (8, 6, & 3) so they don’t just sit perfectly and listen to what I’m reading. I have found that keeping their hands busy while I read benefits all of us the most. They use their hands to build or create, and listen to me read. Even when you don’t think they are listening it is actually amazing what they do pick up and can narrate back to you.
Usually, we love to do our read aloud during lunch time! This has been the easiest in keeping their hands busy and their mouths quiet. After I’m done reading and they are done eating, they run off to play and I get to eat my lunch alone.
However, sometimes we change up our routine and do read alouds later in the afternoon, so here are some of our favorite activities to keep those little hands busy: (We also have a rule that they can choose ONE thing to do while I read and they can NOT talk while they do it.)
**When using these activities I give them each a baking sheet to do them on, keeping the mess contained to one area.
Diamond Art Kits– Our most recent favorite, we could sit forever and do these while listening to stories! Use the stick to pick up the diamonds and place them on their designated spot.
Wix sticks– These are a lot of fun for building and creating.
Jixelz– We got these for Christmas and they are so cool! They are mini plastic puzzle pieces that linked together to make a bigger picture or anything you wish.
Perler beads– Another favorite of my kids!
Beading– They can do bracelet kits or string beads onto pipe cleaners.
Hopper ball– This is a favorite for my constantly moving boys.
Balance board– This will be my next purchase for my sons birthday and will be so great for during read aloud time.
Zoob Builderz– Great toy that links together to create anything you want.
Swing- One of my kids favorite places for me to read to them is while they are swinging on the swings in our backyard.
If you are just starting out reading aloud chapter books to your children, start small. Choose a book that still has some pictures in it for them to see every now and then, and shorter chapters. Only read one chapter per day, unless they ask for more. After you read a chapter have them narrate to you what happened or draw a picture that best represents that chapter.
Here are some great read aloud book series to start out with:
When we started getting into bigger books I began to choose books that also had movies, enticing them that when we finish the book we would have a movie night to watch the movie. They loved this and have a great time discussing the differences between the book and the movie after we watched it. Download and print this list of great books that also have movies you can watch together:
If you try reading aloud to your kids and they just don’t love it, try a new book, or just go back to reading picture books together. Reading anything to your kids is so beneficial. This year is the first year my kids actually enjoy me reading chapter books aloud to them. It takes time for them to get used to it as well.
One last tip to get your children used to listening to chapter books is to try audio books. My kids LOVE audio books, especially my daughter who loves to follow along with the book. We find many audio books on CD from our library and use a simple player at home like THIS one or listen in the car. The best purchase I ever made for our homeschool is the Yoto Player. It plays story cards (audio books) from so many great books. It also is a clock, sound machine, ok to wake feature, and is so easy for the kids to use themselves. It works with an app on your phone too for parental controls as well as plays free kids radio and kids podcasts. Check it out HERE.
I hope you found some great book and activity ideas for your kids to do during read alouds. Great stories and books bring so much joy to our home and I hope they do to yours as well!
Please share some other favorite books your kids have loved in the comments below!