When the weather is just too cold outside, it’s easy to settle indoors lounging in front of the television or captivated by a handheld device. I’m all for an evening (or two) of yummy snacks – especially anything chocolate – a cozy blanket and a good movie. But I’m also for warming up with a good book on those cold winter evenings, too.
It’s no secret that expecting kids to pick a book over cartoons or a game, for most, is a long shot. There are many children of all ages who will cringe or drag their feet when a parent suggests they “go read” when there are plenty of cool distractions around. So, how can we encourage positive reading habits at home without the concept presenting as a chore?
Let the “Winter Literacy Games” begin! Think of it as the Olympics with books instead of sports. The entire family can get involved and participate in a variety of challenges – all it takes is a bit of brainstorming and creative thinking to invent the games. Here are a few ideas to consider:
A twist on the popular self-expression photo “selfie” which is typically taken with a smartphone or tablet. The challenge is to read lots of book and to take an image of oneself each week with all the books read. The person with the most books is the “Shelfie” champ! Timeline can be a month or the entire winter.
This is a perfect game for ALL ages! The bingo template consists of 25 squares with a “free space” in the middle. Write a book title in each of the 24 squares. Design a game card for the entire family. Once a book is read that matches a square, cross it off!
The first person to cross off a horizontal, diagonal or vertical line is the “Book Bingo” champ! Don’t stop at the first line, keep going until someone is the “Blackout” champ and conquers the entire card!
Select an item that can be used for stacking, like blocks or marshmallows. I’ve used coins for this game, however, pick a stacking item that is age-appropriate for smaller children in the household. Now, decide on a duration: week, month or winter. For every book read, stack one item on top of the other and watch the titles grow!
Don’t let the tower fall, depending on the rules, or one may have to start over! At the end, the tallest tower is the “Title Tower” champ.
Until next month, I hope you find a reading challenge that suits your family or the readers in your life. It’s enriching to combine a game with literacy – and with any game, someone must make the first move or take that first step.
I’ve included two books that will help keep the TV off and bring families together. Happy December! Enjoy the holidays, stay warm and keep those pages turning!
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Winter Day Play! Activities, Crafts, and Games for Indoors and Out
Written by Nancy Castaldo
Reading Level: All ages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, 176 pages
Let snow be the canvas for little painters, learn to make snow castles or even sculpt with marshmallows! More than 70 winter activity ideas to keep kids of all ages entertained.
Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids
Written by Rachael Ray
Reading Level: Ages 4-16
Publisher: Lake Isle Press, 192 pages
Rachael Ray’s “Cooking Rocks!” proves to be a scrumptious, well-organized cookbook with delightful illustrations. Sectioned by age level, this one isn’t just for the kids – adults will welcome the simplicity of the 30-minute meals too!