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In case you don’t already know, Drop Everything and Read Day is celebrated yearly on April 12th to honor the birthday of beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary. D.E.A.R. Day is a day for families to get together, enjoy each other’s company, and read. While this sounds like a typically day in the life of a homeschool family, it’s always fun to mix things up a bit and create memories your children will cherish for a lifetime.
So, grab a stack of your favorite read-aloud books and check out my top 7 memory-making ways to celebrate D.E.A.R. Day in your homeschool.
1. Create a scavenger hunt
This is a fun way to get your kids to read new books and work together as a team. Start by heading to the library and grabbing a few ‘new’ books. Next, find the perfect hiding spot for each book. Place the clue to find the first book in an envelope and each subsequent clue inside the back cover of the remaining books. Now it’s game time! Hand your kids the envelope and watch them scramble to find the books. Read each book as it is found.
2. Make a reading fort
Make reading time exciting! Get the kids to help you build a blanket fort, it’s easy and so much fun. Simply drape a large blanket over a few dining chairs or even the back of the couch then fill your fort up with blankets and pillows. Now it’s time to cuddle up close and read, read, read.
3. Book and a movie
There are so many classic children’s books that have been adapted into full-length movies or television shows. Pick a book that would be easy to get through in a 30-45 minute reading session (or shorter for younger kids) and then watch the coordinating movie. This is a great way to get kids talking about what they’ve read. Have them discuss the similarities and differences between the two.
Some options for this include: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Polar Express, The Little Prince, Horton Hears a Who, Curious George, and Paddington.
4. Slumber party
Instead of reading during the day have a special family night slumber party full of books, board games, and fun! Grab the sleeping bags, get everyone into their PJs, pop some popcorn and stay up late reading and playing games together. Pick a mix of story books your kids love and new selections from the library.
If you’re crafty and in for an extra challenge, try making a board game to go with the book you read. It’s a great way to work cooperatively and create something that you can use for years to come. Check out this post on PBS for basic instructions on creating your own game.
5. Time to eat
Kids love to help around the kitchen. Choose a book that you can base a snack or meal on and let the kids help you prepare it. Books like Harry Potter and Winnie-the-Pooh have dedicated cookbooks full or recipe ideas. While other books, such as How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World offer a recipe right inside the book. One of our favorite read-aloud books is Dragons Love Tacos and it would lend itself to this idea beautifully!
Don’t stress over this idea. I’m not suggesting you make a Pinterest-worthy creation, just something simple that the kids can help with. Check out my blog post here for a few other read-aloud ideas that work well for getting kids into the kitchen.
6. Reading at the park
Kids love to be outside. Take advantage of this and take your reading to the park! Let your kids pick out a few of their favorite storybooks or take the chapter book you’ve been working on. Don’t forget to pack a lunch with plenty of snacks and spend the afternoon reading in the sunshine under a tree. When the kids start to get antsy play a quick soccer match or hang out on the playground for a bit.
If relaxing under a tree doesn’t sound appealing try reading while the kids swing.
7. Create family memories
This idea takes a little planning but is worth the effort in the end.Take the day and visit an extended family member that you don’t see often. Have the family member tell stories about the books they read as a child and then have them read to the kids. Take a picture of everyone together reading and use it to make a thank you card to send to your family member. This is a great way to bond as a family while making lasting memories.
Make this time even more special by finding books that your family member read as a child.
I hope that this list has inspired you to give R.E.A.D. Day a try in your homeschool. If you have any other ideas for celebrating R.E.A.D. be sure to leave a comment below.