If you’d like to find something special to do with family time on a Saturday, then look no further. Story time with kids is a memorable time of bonding and learning for little ones and for you. We at Kids Activities Blog would like to encourage you to try to read to your child at least once a day.
Story time has been the most important of our family traditions since our little ones were born (and it hasn’t been limited to just Saturdays!). Even when the children were just newborns, we made bedtime stories a standing ritual, propping their floppy heads up with pillows or reading to them when they had already drifted off to sleep. Now that the kids are preschoolers, story time continues, but we get to engage in this tradition in more creative ways.
Benefits for Pre-Readers
It’s probably obvious to most of us, but sometimes – especially when we’re tempted to skimp on story time because we’re too tired or it’s easier to plop the kids in front of the television – it’s helpful to remember the reasons why story time is so important for children.
- Cuddling up with your newborn and a book is a wonderful, gentle way to bond with your baby and calm her at the same time with your voice.
- Even if your baby is only chewing on the pages, she is becoming familiar with books as a part of daily life.
- Reading to your non-verbal toddler helps him become familiar with the cadence of language.
- Going over object’s names in picture books and having him point to them are a great way to build your child’s vocabulary even if he can’t form the words himself yet.
- Even though your preschooler can’t actually read a story, she’s able to tell you a story you’ve read to her consistently by memory, which is confidence building for the next step.
- Associating text with the words you read aloud will also get her excited to decode the story herself.
Story Time Activities
- Read to your child before bedtime. Let your child choose the books and always make this time seem like a special treat. If she’s brushed her teeth without a fuss, let her read an extra book. You’ll be setting her up to think reading is a joy instead of a chore.
- Start a reading club, like our Baby & Toddler Book Club. Set up a comfy place for you and your child to sit at the same time every day. Read to your baby or just let him handle and explore the book. For toddlers, you can model the act of reading quietly and see if he’s interested in doing the same. You can even act out a real book club and let your toddler babble back at you about his favorite part of the story. See if you pre-reader can make out any sight words or ask him to tell the story in his own words or describe the pictures.
- Let your child tell a made up story based on a style of book you’ve recently read. For instance, when the kids can’t sleep, I tell them to each make up a bedtime story for the other that starts with “Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister” and ends with “Then they took a bath, ate dinner, and went to bed. The end.” Sometimes the stories are short and silly, like “Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister and they visited a stinky dragon and took him home for a pet. Then they took a bath, ate dinner, and went to bed. The end.” Other times, they get more elaborate. It’s a really great to way for the children to tap into their imaginations.
- Make your own books. Simply take a few sheets of paper, fold them in half, and you have a blank book ready for your child to decorate or write out his story. (You can get fancy with a cardstock cover or punch holes along the center fold and string a ribbon through as a colorful “binding”). My daughter started out with placing stickers on a page, then she started making some scribbles, eventually she asked me write out words and she drew the pictures, and now she is starting to draw a few words of her own and illustrating on her own.
- Use picture blocks to tell a story. Even if you don’t have picture blocks, you can make your own by gluing or taping down images on your plain, smooth blocks. You can also do this with sight words.
- Use props to act out a story. Stuffed animals, Lego people, or even playdough creations can be wonderful props for storytelling. Set out the materials and let your child use the props to act out a story you’ve read or one she’s made up herself.
- Take your child to a weekly library storytime. This one never really worked out for us because of timing and the children’s temperaments, but we came up with our own tradition of visiting the library, reading a book or two there, and then taking home a stack to read on our own.
- Snap a story. Start a photojournalism tradition by having your little one take pictures of objects around the house or on your walk and then narrate a story with the printed photos or while viewing them together on the computer. This is a fun way to relive day trips or even just little outings to the park or grocery store and make them seem like great adventures!
More Kids Activities
Don’t let your kids whine about being bored on a Saturday. Pull out a book and read it together. Of course, we have more great ideas for sharing story time with your little ones: