Playful Activities to Unleash the Magic of Reading

School holiday breaks are coming—are you prepared to beat the boredom? We have a solution that can help your kids stay in the swing of things: reading, but with some fun twists! The crisp wintery air and welcoming holiday spirit can create the ideal atmosphere for cozying up with a good book—particularly if you pair it with K12’s Winter Break Playlist, which is perfect for reading or studying. So, these next few months, help your kids discover a love for getting lost in a good story with these fun ideas:

“See” the world with a reading passport.

In an instant, a book can transport you to a faraway place. Imagine sailing across the Pacific Ocean, walking across the Great Wall of China, or driving through the Italian countryside—a book can take you to each of these places. Many authors are skilled at painting vivid pictures of beautiful scenes around the world—just pick where you want to go and find a book that features that destination.

Turn this into a fun activity by designing a reading passport for kids to record the destinations they’ve “visited” in each book. You can even take this experience a step further by cooking a dish that is popular in a particular region. Who knows—maybe this will inspire a future trip.

Plan themed reading days.

Make a story come to life by pairing a book with a hands-on activity or craft. This past spring, my son was inspired by one of his favorite books, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and asked if we could have a butterfly farm. We bought all the supplies and watched the metamorphosis of five baby caterpillars to beautiful painted lady butterflies. We fed them, watched them flutter, and eventually released them in our backyard. What an exciting experience it was for our family!

There are plenty of other options to explore as well. You could bake cauldron cakes while reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” make art inspired by “The Day the Crayons Quit,” or get lost in “The Secret Garden” by planting your favorite flowers. Tying an activity to a book can help your child feel as though they are a character, too!

Have a movie night.

Pop some popcorn, build a pillow fort, and turn on a blockbuster hit based on a book. There are so many options—from “Matilda,” “Little Women,” and “A Wrinkle in Time” to “The Hunger Games,” “The Lorax,” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

After, you can have a lively debate over whether the book or the movie was better and discuss the differences and similarities between the two. These types of discussions engage their imagination, which fosters critical thinking skills and cognitive development.

Try an audiobook.

Audiobooks can be a great way to indulge in a good story while improving your child’s listening skills and teaching them proper pronunciation. Plus, did you know that many audiobook narrators do a fantastic job expressing characters’ personalities and emotions through a variety of voices, sounds, and tones?

Jim Dale, who reads the “Harry Potter” audiobook series, is one of my favorite narrators to listen to. He is quite skilled at differentiating the characters in dialogue through a variety of enthusiastic voices. A professional narrator, like Jim Dale, can bring the story to life—which helps spark your child’s imagination while bringing a deeper understanding of and empathy for each character.

And remember—our children often grow fond of doing the same activities that we love participating in. So, if you show genuine interest and excitement in reading and celebrate their accomplishments along the way, they are likely to establish positive feelings for getting lost in a good book. We want our children to want to read, and these activities can be a great starting point for making reading fun.

For more information on how to engage in learning from home, visit K12-powered schools feature award-winning, engaging curriculum, in addition to fun opportunities for socialization and extracurricular activities. Help spark a love for learning at

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