Slow the pace down in the holidays with some reading and storytime activities. Find ideas about how to get started in our 7 great reading and story time activities article.
School holidays are a great time to make reading fun, especially if you’re cooped up inside on a rainy day.
This article offers plenty of story time indoor activities to get you started, and most can be adapted to suit any age and stage. The best bit is, both book lovers and book avoiders will want to join in. It all began once upon a time…
1. Story Sack
A story sack is such a fun way to find story time topics and to tell stories, and you can do it with one child or the whole family.
Fill a ‘sack’ or bag with all sorts of toys and props, then sit down together and get ready to tell your story. The first storyteller begins by pulling a prop out of the bag, and starts the story based around that prop. At a crucial moment the first storyteller stops, and passes the story sack to the next player. They then pull a prop out of the bag, and continue the story using that prop as a guide. The story gets funnier and funnier as your children start weaving all sorts of strange props into their tale.
If you are using the story sack with very young children, you could stay the storyteller, but give each child a chance to pull out the next prop.
2. Invite Over a Storyteller
Professional storytellers put on an amazing show and really can instill a love of stories in your child. Granted, it may seem a little extravagant to hire a storyteller just for the fun of it, but you could organise a get-together with other families and really make it a big event.
All you need is a big enough room and an audience, and the storyteller takes care of everything else. Each family could pitch in a few dollars to cover the cost, and maybe bring a plate for a shared lunch after the show.
To find a storyteller in your area, try searching for ‘Children’s Entertainment’ in a Google search, or contact your local arts council.
3. Giant Books
Making a giant book is an activity that can be done in a day, or brought out to work on whenever you need to fill in some time. Give your child several sheets of poster card to make the pages of their book, and either print out the words from one of their favourite stories, or ask them to write their own. Your child can then illustrate the book by drawing their own pictures or cutting and pasting photos from magazines.
If you have more than one child, they could each make their own book, or you could combine them all to make a book of family stories. Once the book is complete, they’ll be excited to show (and read) their giant book to family and friends.
4. Choose Your Own Adventure Cards
These cards work in a similar way to the story sack, and stories end up very funny. Start by cutting out playing cards from heavy card, and then write on them a whole heap of words, sentences, and part sentences. You will need to make sure you have plenty of high usage words like it, and, this, that, and but, and you will also need a good scattering of verbs (doing words), nouns (things), and adjectives (describing words). The more words and sentences you write out, the easier and more fun the game becomes.
Start by shuffling the cards and distributing them to all the players. One player starts by putting down a word or sentence, and then each player adds to it in turn using the cards that they have. There are no winners or losers, this is simply a way to create silly stories with the whole family, and develop reading skills at the same time.
5. Put on a Puppet Show
Puppets are a great way to encourage storytelling. The kids can either write their own show, or adapt one of their favourite stories. Set up a puppet theatre behind the couch or pin an old sheet across a doorway, so they can poke the puppets up over the top.
If you want to get really creative you can make your own puppets from cardboard tubes, socks or paper bags, or check out educational toy stores for an awesome range of puppets that will really make your child smile.
6. Put on a Play
Every family has a drama queen (or king as the case may be), and putting on a play gives them a chance to catch their 5 minutes of fame. There are some great children’s scripts on the internet, or have your child make up their own play.
To really make the most of it, spend some time traipsing around second hand shops to gather costumes, and make up tickets and programmes for friends and family. Writing, rehearsing, preparing and performing the play, should take up the entire holiday break!
7. Join the Library
Local libraries usually offer some great events and activities during the holidays, so it’s definitely worth checking out. Giving your child their very own library card makes them feel important, and having free range with all those books can be quite exciting for young children.
The easiest way to instill a love of books in your child, is to love books yourself. So these holidays, put your feet up and enjoy a good book. The more your children see you read, the more they will read themselves.
Anyquestions.govt.nz is an awesome website, where you can have fun online researching lots of different and interesting topics for children. Managed by the National Library, and funded by the Minstry of Education, this is a free resource with involvement from many prominent public libraries around New Zealand.
For more great reading and storytime ideas, check out our Leading to reading series.