FOX AND THE MOON

I am incredibly passionate about is children reading. 

In this post, I want to highlight different ways to encourage children to read for pleasure, to offer tips to any grown ups struggling or inspire you to look at other ways reading can be integrated in to a child’s life without forcing it.

Reading does not have to mean a book.

This is something I learned over my time studying Children’s Education, and is sometimes an idea easily lost when you’re so focussed on encouraging a child to read. The first image almost all children and adults will conjure up when discussing reading is a book, either a picture book or book filled with text. However I believe reading is so much more than a book. 

Here are nine other things a child can ‘read’ just for fun, enabling them to develop key skills without even realising.

Reading a menu in a restaurant

Reading a magazine - any magazine! There are ones about fishing, caravans, basketball, gardening…anything that might pique their interest, try a magazine.

child and grandfather reading paper - reading for pleasure blog fox and the moon
Closeup of senior man and cute child reading a newspaper sitting over a nature background. Two different generations concept.

Reading the instructions for a board game or blogs/tips for games consoles.

Read a recipe when baking or cooking at the weekend, could they read out the method whilst you’re preparing the ingredients?

If they are slightly younger, reading number plates when on car journeys and exploring phonetic sounds. 

Retailer catalogues, for example the Next directory or the Argos catalogue

You or a relative could send them a letter or a postcard with a message or even a little story.

Comic Books or graphic novels

Jokes from a joke book, or online

If your child is more interested in facts, explore non-fiction books like the Guinness World Record Book, an Encylopedia, or as mentioned above a magazine instead.

Every child is individual and will have their own interests. When it comes to reading for pleasure it; is so important we give them the freedom to read whatever they want to and develop their own taste and preferences. This will only aid them to continue a passion for reading into adulthood and allow them the choice to read what they want, purely because they want to.

Oh the summer holidays - love them or loathe them, we all have to experience them. Here are a few ways to (hopefully) make your time at home with children a little easier, without breaking the bank.

Sensory bags 

I love these, and they are so simple to make! Just grab a ziplock sandwich bag, some duct tape or gorilla tape and then fill with water, hair gel, slime and add in anything you like! Make sure to squeeze out the excess air and to avoid any spillages tape all four sides of the sandwich bag at the end. Add glitter, toys, beads…it’s also great to make it with your little one and you can decide what goes in it together. I really like water with a little blue food colouring, some sharks and fish toys inside to make it under the sea themed! These sensory bags are great for fine motor skills as they encourage poking, squeezing and hand manipulation, as well as promoting conversation and language skills when sharing and exploring these bags with you, a sibling, or a friend. These are also great to use during tummy time, and if your child (like mine currently) puts everything in their mouth, these can be taped to a window. Just make sure an adult is there to supervise when these are being played with.

Sensory Bag

Pen & Paper

This one sounds simple, but is always a winner. What I like to do is to get a big A1 size pad -these are available at Hobbycraft, The Works etc - and tear off four sheets and stick to the floor with masking tape - (always use masking tape as this won’t ruin flooring! Or it can be done outside). Then, sit your child in the middle and give them pens, pencils, paints, anything you’re comfortable with them using! It gives a child the freedom to use a huge range of motion and develop both their fine and gross motor skills at the same time. It encourages imagination and creativity, along with independent play and independent thinking. If a child is older you can always draw shapes, faces, phonics on the paper beforehand.

Baking

Again, another tried and true idea but one children will always love. I’ve found, instead of baking cakes, baking bread is a fab one to do with children as you can buy the kit bags still for ease, but it’s much easier to add in your own flavours and extra ingredients than to a cake. It’s quite fun to go shopping with little ones, or make a list with them, and decide what you want to flavour your bread with, or add to it, to make it exciting. Peppers, olives, sweetcorn, chocolate, anything goes! It’s also a great way to encourage children to eat something they might not normally try if they’ve chosen it and helped make and cook it with you. 

Pasta Fun

Pasta is a fab and cheap resource for activities! It can be used to make pasta jewellery, just grab . some penne and some string and get threading! Threading is a brilliant way to help children develop fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination. You can also add stick on gems, glitter etc. Pasta can also be dyed - divide a bag of pasta in to five bowls, add each portion of pasta to a sandwich bag with some poster paint or some food dye (if you’re using food dye also add in one teaspoon of white wine vinegar to avoid hand staining!) and then empty on to a baking tray or baking sheet and leave overnight to dry. A great activity to do here is sorting, just mix your dyed pasta in to a bowl, and let your child sort and order the pasta by colour! If you have a pair of chopsticks lying around even better, as using these instead of their hands really promotes those 

fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination again. 

Phonic Pegs

Another activity you could create at home is phonic pegs - all you’ll need are a packet of wooden pegs, some card paper and a pen. Cut the card paper into long rectangles and on each one write a word your child will know/is learning. For example; date, late, made, safe. then, on the pegs write down all of the letters that appear in the words. Your child can then peg each letter on to the corresponding card paper word! A fun activity encouraging phonics and spelling. 

Other ideas for the holidays

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