Spring-Break Ideas for Kids and Families

Now that the major holidays are over, there are only a few more breaks before school is out for the summer. Depending on where you live, a Spring break may be headed your way. It’s important that parents and guardians provide ideas and encouragement when it comes to certain activities that children can do during their time off from school. Here are some suggestions for the upcoming spring break.

Hitting the Road

If you have the opportunity, traveling somewhere new can help broaden your child’s perception and understanding of the world around them. Visit a part of the country you’ve never seen or look for something new to do if you’re visiting a family favorite location. Traveling in general can be incredibly beneficial for children, especially when they are young. Exposing them to different places, people, cultures, climates, and other activities can help encourage their creativity as well as their ability to connect with different people, too.

Children’s museums are a great option that can help entertain the whole family while teaching you all a little something new, too. Museums geared towards children, or museums that offer special children’s tours, can help make learning fun and more interactive, while also providing a unique experience.

Even if you can’t afford an extravagant vacation, day trips are also a great option. Consider taking the kids to a nearby metropolitan area, museums as mentioned, looking for historic landmarks or even visiting any nearby National Parks or forests if the weather permits outdoor activities. Pick up a new skill, take a class, or even volunteer.

Staying Indoors

If you’re staying indoors then you may be thinking of other activities that are both wholesome and exciting to keep your child occupied.

Reading is a great way for kids to experience new things without necessarily having to go anywhere. The act of reading can help bolster cognitive function, abstract understanding, and communication skills while also helping your child develop other key skills that will help them academically. Reading can also help introduce your child to new ideas, expanding their imagination and their ability to empathize with others. Choose a book series you can explore during the break or consider some personalized books, from our website, that provides kids with a uniquely personal experience that they may not be able to experience otherwise if a trip or vacation is out of the question. Plus, plenty of libraries offer kid-centric activities year-round but especially during school breaks to help keep kids active or to help parents who may still have to work during the spring-break recess.

Get Creative and Make Memories with the Kids

Aside from exploring and discovering new stories and adventures through books, you can create some, too by getting creative with arts and crafts! Create a family adventure and write it down, complete with illustrations and scenes that you can act out together.

However, no matter what, family time should take priority during breaks like these, even if parents or guardians still have to work during the day. Make time to prep dinner together, creating lifelong memories. Making a point of eating dinner together is important for families no matter what time of the year or day of the week it is, but you can make the occasion extra special over the break by preparing a well-loved family meal, trying something new, or making a project out of it.

It’s also important not to underestimate the power of family movie night. There are hundreds of family friendly movies on subscription channels like Netflix or Hulu that you can tune into from the comfort of your own home, and plenty of family friendly and kid movies are released in the early spring as well. Make a small outing, get some snacks and hit the theater! Local libraries and community centers sometimes host movie nights or other events for kids and families to partake in, so those are worthy of considering as well.

A break from school may seem like a small vacation to some, but if you plan accordingly and explore your options, you and your kids can make the most of it before school is back in session!

How the Reading Aloud Method Will Help Children Love Reading

When it comes to literacy development, there are not many methods better than simply reading aloud. According to the Bredekamp, Copple, & Neuman, 2000 study, it is the single most important activity for reading success and to boost reading comprehension. It not only provides children with an accessible demonstration of phrased, fluent reading but it also provides them with the immediate rewards of reading, developing the listener’s interest in books and piquing their desire to be a reader as they become more skilled.

Reading out loud can be a great tool for parents, as well as a great activity to share with children. Listening to others read can develop key understanding skills and reading comprehension, even if the child is not doing the reading themselves. Active listening can help kids familiarize with the different parts of a story as well as with different and integral parts of language. On that note, children can listen on a higher level than they can read – meaning that they can listen to books that are more advanced than their reading level. This can be extremely helpful when trying to boost your child’s reading skills, reading level, and generally interesting them in reading on their own.

For the most part, a child’s first experience with reading will be story time with their parents or something similar. By making story time a staple of your daily schedule, reading and storytelling can quickly become a very important part of your child’s life. However, parents can take it a step further, too.

Make Reading a Part of Your Lives
When story time has its own time and place, children find meaning for stories and reading in their lives. There are so many ways in which parents can make reading a part stor
of their child’s everyday world. Have books around, of all kinds. Give your kids a little library of their own, but even magazines and coffee table books around the house can pique their interest – one day, they’ll be able to read those things, too. Kids also learn from example, so if you read often yourself, children will develop an interest in reading, too. But overall, if shared story time is something that you do every night before bed, or in any part of the day, they become habits and the comfort they provide can help to ensure that your child is always interested in books, reading and learning.

Encourage Kids to Listen and Form Opinions
Reading aloud is one thing, but it can play a huge role when it comes to active listening. Active listening during story time can help build vital reading comprehension skills that kids will utilize once they can read more independently. Ask your kids questions about the story. Request an overview after every book or chapter. Have them tell you about their favorite characters and why.

Read Aloud – and Think Aloud, Too
In addition to asking kids questions about what you’re reading, asking them to share their thoughts and feelings can help them develop communication skills that can carry across verbal and written forms. Ask them to connect the book to their own life experience, to other books you’ve shared together, and even ask them to connect what they are reading to universal concepts like love, friendship, family, etc. Stories made personally for children can help with this process as they are submerged into the story themselves helping them connect with characters in the story.

Have Kids Read Along
As kids get older and begin to learn, they will surely be able to identify some of the words you’re reading – even if the book you’re sharing is a bit more advanced for them. If kids are encouraged to read along, even if they are still listening, different parts of their brain are being activated and utilized. Kids will have a better idea of the relationship between how words look and how they sound, and they may also develop a deeper understanding of how language flows and how stories develop as well.

How To Get Your Kids to Really Love Reading

The best way to forge a positive relationship with reading for your child is to help encourage a love for reading. A love of reading is a love of learning, and it is not only linked to better academic success and performance, but it can also lead to a more fulfilling life, overall.

Make reading a part of your lives. Making something a habit is one thing, and it can certainly help. If you schedule in some nightly story time every day, you can certainly make reading a part of your child’s life. It can help reading feel like a normal part of the day instead of an extraneous activity that they may or may not feel like doing. Setting aside time to read can differ from family to family depending on their schedule and their preferences, so find a time that works for you and make it stick!

Let them see you read, too. Reading with your child is one thing, but it helps if they see you read on your own, too. Children learn a lot by seeing, therefore, you’ll notice that they will take after you by repeating certain mannerisms, using certain words, and wanting to do all of the things that you do. Making reading a part of your life can help you build your own positive habits but it can help send a positive message to your kids, as well.

Books, books, books! Populating your home with books and other sorts of reading material is also a good way to encourage reading. Having a variety of books, magazines, coffee table books, comics, etc. can help further drive the notion that reading is a part of life and it is more likely to become a part of your child’s life, too. Even if they simply peruse catalogs or look through classics, having books around can work wonders. In addition to books around the house, also try to give your child a little library of their own.

Personalize their books. Make them the star. When populating your child’s own personal library, consider getting personalized books as well. Personalized books include your child’s name, and sometimes other attributes, in order to create a unique story where they are at the center of all the action. Personalized books, like those we publish, can help make your child’s library feel more like their own, and  they can help make books and reading more of a personal experience, too. Personalized books are great for kids who may be reluctant readers, but once they hear that they are the hero, they will be much more inclined to want to find out more!

Personalized Books

Get graphic. Graphic novels and comics have come a long way, and nowadays there are plenty of critically acclaimed works that adults are scrambling to get their hands on. Comics and graphic novels can be a great gateway to reading for kids who may be reluctant to read, kids who may have issues with reading because of a reading disability like dyslexia, or even children who have difficulties imagining abstract concepts because of another learning disability. Images and dynamic scenes play out across the pages and can help instill interest in kids of all kinds.

Let them get the pick of the week. Kids may not always like what they’re reading in school, especially if it is for a project or an assignment. There may be a number of different reasons as to why this is, but many children might feel turned off because of the link to school and homework specifically. Remember to let your kids pick out what they want to read every once in awhile.  Give them some space and freedom to broaden their horizons and pique their own sense of curiosity whether they are looking for a book to read for fun or a book to share with you at story time.

Consider tablets and other formats. With apps and games becoming increasingly popular, as well as general mobile-device usage, kids may also have fun playing around with ebooks. Ebooks can sometimes be interactive as well, including game-like aspects and illustrations that can further help interest them in the story they’re reading.

Give them incentives. You might feel like bribing them, but after a while kids may begin to continue reading on their own without any idea of a reward. Let them stay up later to read, offer to buy them books or take them to parks and other places that are near the library, etc. You can try rewarding them for reading books, however, making it seem like more of an accomplishment when they do can help to instill a feeling of satisfaction on their own that can drive their interest and keep it going the more they read.

Make reading a special treat, too. Making reading an everyday thing is important, but it can be special, too. Try making a dedicated reading nook in your home or in your child’s room to help encourage them to use the space. You can also make family outings of going to the bookstore or to the library to get new books a special gift.

Let them work at their own pace. Whether your child wants to eat up books or take them in slowly, make sure that you still respect their wishes. Instilling an interest in books and encouraging them to do so is important, and it can work – as long as you don’t push them too hard and allow them to soak stories in at their own pace.