Summer Reading Activities for Kids
During breaks from school, children have the potential to lose some of the skills they have gained during the school year. Summer is especially detrimental, as kids tend to spend more time outside and less time reading and participating in educational activities.
It's easy to keep kids interested in reading and keep their skills up through activities that are both fun and creative. These three activities are guaranteed to have both you and the children laughing!
Creative Writing: Shuffle Stories
Writing silly stories is a fun activity that promotes reading and creative writing. It also leads to more than a few hilarious outcomes!
To begin, decide on two characters for your story. For each character, decide a name and a few details about them (where they live, what they like to do, etc.). The sillier the better! Here is an example:
Bertram Clinkenhooper: Lives just outside of Popcorn City. Wears bow ties with his pajamas. Loves to eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.
Eliza Wigglebottoms: Also lives near Popcorn City. Enjoys playing bingo with her friends from clog dancing class. Likes swimming while listening to polka music.
Now get a stack of index cards or other pieces of paper or card stock. On each card, write one silly sentence involving these two characters. Your intent isn't to write a story at this point - just come up with some funny sentences. Here are some examples:
One afternoon, Eliza saw a frog sitting by the pool, singing along with her polka songs.
Bertam loved being backstage at the opera house
Bertram and Eliza saw each other at the fourth annual Banana Peel Parade.
The sillier, the better!
Now shuffle the cards. Draw a card from the stack. This is the first sentence of your story. Say the sentence out loud, then make up more of the story. After every few sentences, draw out another card. This has to be the next sentence of the story. Try to keep the story going until all of the cards are used.
Reading Comprehension Activity: Draw the Next Scene
This activity utilizes both reading comprehension and prediction skills.
Begin reading a new book together. At some point in the story, stop reading and close the book. Then, take a piece of paper and draw a picture of what you think will happen next in the story. No peeking!
After you are done, share your pictures and tell what you think will happen next. Then begin reading the book again and compare your scenarios with what actually happens in the story.
For added fun, use different mediums to "draw" your scene. Try sidewalk chalk or paint, or you can even set up your scene using action figures and props! Whatever is most fun to your reader.
Quick Definitions of Parts of Speech
Part of Speech
Person, Place or Thing
book, caterpillar, teacher, city
run, dance, twirl, think
purple, sparkly, round
Describes an Action
Specific Person, Place, or Thing
Canada, Mrs. Smith, The Cat in The Hat
Multiple People, Places, or Things
books, caterpillars, teachers, cities
This activity utilizes grammar skills and parts of speech, as well as reading fluency.
Mad Libs is a fun game in which you fill in the blanks in a story before you know what the story is about. It can make for some really funny tales when the story is finished! This activity requires a little work ahead of time, but it will lead to hours of laughter and reading!
You will want to prepare the story ahead of time, without the child present, so they don't know what the story is about. You can either write your own story, or take a few paragraphs from a favorite storybook. You will need at least 2-3 paragraphs for the story.
Once you've written or copied the story, take out some of the nouns, verbs, and adjectives (see definition chart). For example, in the following sentence:
"The flustered rabbit hopped out of her hole and got into the car, worried that she might be late to the tea party."
You could remove some of the words to make it like this:
The ___ rabbit ___ out of her ____ and got into the ___, worried that she might be late to the ___."
Note what kind of word you need for each one, and make a list in order. For this sentence, your sentence would look like this:
"The (adjective) rabbit (verb) out of her (noun) and got into the (noun), worried that she might be late to the (noun)."
Without telling the child anything about the story, ask them to fill in the blanks.
Start by reminding them what each of those parts of speech are, and then ask for each one in order, writing down what the child says. Encourage them to come up with outrageous words! For example, the adjective "red" isn't as fun as the adjectives "slimy," "wilted", or "glittery" are.
Once the blanks are filled in, read your story with the words from the list filled into each blank. You will be in stitches by the time the story ends!
"The upside down rabbit wiggled out of her bowl and got into the golf club, worried that she might be late to the eyeglasses."
"The prickly rabbit danced out of her race car and got into the ketchup bottle, worried that she might be late to the purple monster."
"The wrinkled rabbit galloped out of her octagon and got into the disco ball, worried that she might be late to the speakerphone."
More Reading Activities for Summer and Beyond!
Reading activities can be easily invented out of just about anything that your child likes to do.
Is he a little builder? Try using Legos to inspire creativity!
Does he like sports? Write a story about a game, then act it out on the field or court!
Is he interested in museums or other activities? After a visit to his favorite place, write a story of what would happen if the things he saw came to life!
The possibilities are endless!