Help your child’s listening skills improve by using one or more of these read aloud activities. Keep little hands busy while they listen.
Young kids have short attention spans, and just can’t help but wiggle. But this is a good thing! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Our schools and culture will tell you that you need to contain your child. That they are too active. Too wiggly. Too much like a boy.
This is a huge reason we chose to homeschool! We have the ability to decide what our school looks like…and let me just say, it does not look like public school at all.
Children constantly wiggle, squirm, touch, feel, test, etc. This is how they were designed to learn and take in information. Through movement and touch, our children learn all about the world. By sticking them in a hard chair for hours on end, far away from nature, we deprive them of the things they most need to learn.
Why Read Aloud Activities are Helpful
Because kids are so wiggly, it is extremely helpful to have read aloud activities available to them. These activities are ones that keep their hands busy but are quiet enough that they still listen and absorb the information being taught.
Many people think that in order to hear, absorb, and remember information, children need to be sitting still (“paying attention”). This is not the case. When we allow children to fidget, wiggle, tinker, etc., they actually learn better. The movement as they listen helps their brain to work better in hearing and retaining information.
Obviously, there are certain activities that are better for read aloud time. The activities should be something that can be done quietly. Preferably, as an individual. When multiple kids try to play quietly together or with the same toy, it just doesn’t work. They end up talking or fighting, resulting in more interruptions.
Our Favorite Read Aloud Activities
Gathering Around Food
One of our favorite activities to do while reading aloud is eating. Food is an especially great way to keep kids focused and entertained, while still being able to listen and absorb information. I know even as an adult, I focus better on a task when I am full. And if I’m not full, I grab a snack to munch on while I work on my task. Why should it be any different for kids??
But what does this look like in our house? First, we start at breakfast. Because I do not eat breakfast, this makes it an easy time for me to sit down while the kids are eating to read. Our top priority is the Bible, so we always start our day with a short devotional, reading from our children’s Bible, and working on memory verses. Bible time is a part of our morning basket, so if for some reason it isn’t completed at breakfast, we just continue it when we gather again after breakfast clean up and morning chores.
If your kids are early risers, you might want to begin your school day gathered around a snack. Same thing in the afternoon. For us, if it is a rainy day and we can’t get outside, we will gather around a snack and read aloud instead of turning on the tv.
Another way to get in more read aloud time is to grab your book and read a chapter after a meal. I eat faster than my kids typically, so once I finish eating, I read aloud while the kids finish eating. If they finish eating while I am still reading, they just scoot down to the other end of the table and color. Which leads me directly into my next read aloud activity…
Coloring and Crafts as Read Aloud Activities
My kids love to color and draw, and all the better if you add in glue sticks and scissors. Many times after a meal when I am reading aloud, they will all scoot down to the opposite end of the table and color while I finish the chapter. I always leave the markers out, along with coloring books and paper. The scissors and glue sticks are available but only at a level the older kids can reach.
Laying out a simple invitation to craft is perfect for read aloud activities too. My kids never do well with step-by-step crafts, but they love to get their own creativity flowing and create something themselves. This also allows me to just sit and read aloud, versus having to assist with providing the steps and instructions.
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Other craft ideas my kids love as read aloud activities:
Sticker Books as Read Aloud Activities
I don’t know what it is about stickers, but my kids will sit forever! For my 2-year-old, I just give her sticker sheets and either a blank piece of paper or a designated sticker notebook. But my older three kids love sticker books.
The sticker books I’m talking about are a great way to keep your kids occupied, while also helping them with letter and number recognition. On one side of the page, there is a blank picture labeled with either numbers or letters. Then they have a sheet of stickers that are labeled with the corresponding numbers or letters. Their job is to find the matching stickers to complete the picture.
I typically go with the letter ones for my preschooler because they are a little easier. And he loves them! Once the whole book is completed, he loves to put it on the shelf in his bedroom to look at and show off. (These are also great entertainment for road trips.)
Note: If stickers stress you out, grab some Lemon essential oil for easy, non-toxic sticker removal. It works wonders! Add a drop or two, let it sit for a minute, and then peel off. It even works on ones that have been stuck on forever…trust me. I would know.
Shop our favorite sticker books HERE.
Open Ended Toys as Read Aloud Activities
Open ended toys are another fantastic option to use as read aloud activities. These are toys that can open up a child’s creativity and imagination, allowing them to build and create whatever they want. No rules or set instructions to follow.
My best piece of advice is to have your kids play individually with their toys. Even if they say they will play quietly, two or more of them playing with the same toy inevitably leads to talking and/or arguing. To avoid interruptions as best you can, set the ground rule that they each pick out their own toy for read aloud time. (We also require that they clean it up and put it away when read aloud time is over.)
Now that you have seen some of our favorite read aloud activities to keep your kid’s hands busy and improve learning, I can’t wait for you to try them out. Read aloud time is an amazing tool in your toolbox as a homeschool mom. Don’t let frustrations and interruptions tear you down. You can find a way to make it work for your family, and I am here to help! Let’s chat in the COMMENTS.
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