We certainly play often, but it took me awhile to figure out what I could say about that. As I mulled over the topic of the carnival, it occurred to me how often play can involve repurposing items -- using old measuring cups in the bathtub, playing drums on pots and pans, etc. Books are everywhere in our house - on shelves, off shelves, on the coffee table, the kitchen table, in the bottom of the stroller, my purse, on our bed, probably under our bed, etc. So, they tend to find their way into all kinds of play. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I decided it might be fun (and a bit silly - but isn't all good play a bit silly?) to come up with this list...
Ten Ways to Play With Children's Books (other than reading them!)
Arranged roughly by age of interest...
- Peek-a-boo (for our littlest readers). Hiding behind any item delights babies, and it still gets a giggle out of my son at 16 months.
- Tummy time target. I wasn't very diligent about "tummy time," but when I did it, I laid him down on a quilt with a favorite book propped open on the floor in front of him - usually a Nina Laden book with a mirror on the last page. It worked like a charm.
- Unpacking and packing. I've read a few blog posts about this, so I know I'm not alone. Anyone with a bookshelf and kids has witnessed the demolition of their lovingly arranged array of books. I've met the destruction with mixed emotions, from astonishment, to annoyance, to worry (that the shelf will come down - we're not big child proofers around here), to amusement. Lately, I tend toward amusement. As kid messes go, a bookshelf is pretty quick to pick up afterwards. We're lucky in that the arrangement of our furniture since we moved somehow puts most of our books outside of our little reader's sights, so it is mostly his own books he unpacks. We also bought the Safari Book Display
pictured above around Christmas-time, and the beauty of that is that he enjoys not only unpacking, but also repacking the books into it as well! All I have to do is sit nearby and cheer him on, and he is delighted.
- Prepare companion crafts for your kids' favorite books. The blogging world abounds with parents who excel at this kind of thing, so if you look around, you'll get some wonderful ideas. Some of my favorites are No Time For Flashcards and the weekly Friday Book Project at Just For Fun.
- Hide and Seek /Hide and find the book. Self-explanatory.
- Build a book castle. I can't take credit for this idea, having read about it on Mother is Not Concerned's post for the Weekly Unplugged Project one week. Doesn't it look fun?
- House of books. Less ambitious than the book castle, use all of those old board books to create houses the way you do with decks of cards. They're much easier for small hands to maneuver.
- Slides. I don't advocate this one if you care about the longterm health of your books, but our little guy has taken to fashioning his own slides out of his oversized books lately (yes, I get the hint: take me back to the park!). I'm quite impressed with his ingenuity at 16 months. We currently have two propped up in our living room; Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever is up against an ottoman, and a large Animal Kingdom book is resting on a pile of foam alphabet letters for a more gentle slope.
- Acting. How about using simple books as a springboard for creating a play or just playing dress-up?
- Name that book. For older kids, try quoting lines from their book collections and having them guess the book.