Creative kids often dread reading time, especially if there’s homework involved. Reading can be a painful process for lots of kids, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Reading can be a grand adventure, even for our most resistant kids, and summer is the perfect time to make a change. With a little planning, you can turn reading from a chore into a creative way to play all through the summer.
I remember the summer two of my elementary age daughters were reading – The Island of the Blue Dolphin. They were so enthralled with the book it seemed to fill every moment of their summer play. They read the book, watched the movie and then we watched a documentary on dolphins. They drew dolphins, played dolphin island in the backyard and were delighted when a stream at the local park added a touch of water realism to their fantasy.
To pick a theme for your reading adventure, start with your child’s reading list. Is there a book or theme that stands out? Bridge to Terabithia, A Wrinkle in Time, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Or rather than one specific book, you can choose a movie to inspire your theme. Either way, you want to choose a movie or book with plenty of potential and content range.
Now comes the fun part:
- Watch it – Have your kids watch the movie. Be sure it’s not just another movie. Make it a special. Make it an event. Make special snacks, wear costumes, listen to music or decorate accordingly. Or watch the first 15 minutes to whet their appetites. Then watch the whole movie after you finish the book.
- Read it – Find a few books whose characters are children or animals that relate to your overall theme. From picture books to chapter books – your local librarians are great at finding the perfect book for the age and interest of the child and can match any theme.
- Learn More – Watch the nature channel, or documentaries, to learn more about the animals or places in your theme. There are tons of possibilities. This is VERY significant because kids make deep connections when they see and learn about the REAL animals and people the story is based on.
- Draw it – Pull out the paper, pencils, markers or paint and have at it. Use our ‘How to Draw’ books or videos to help build confidence or find some pictures to draw from. It’s hard to draw animals or places when you don’t know what they look like – so a little helpful information will inspire hours of drawing fun.
- Act it out – turn your creative kids loose and they’ll know what to do. No direction or intervention required. Whether in the backyard, living room or on a makeshift stage – they’ll enjoy making what they’ve seen and learned come alive.
Here’s a link to a How to Draw an Octopus video. It’s free. It’s fun and it’s easy. And it’s a great way to get this party started!