Fun reading activities to encourage kids to read

There are so many reading activities for kids that will encourage your child and instill a love of books. These 25 activities for making reading fun include cuddling, cooking, dancing, singing, and more so you can make reading fun for YOUR kids!

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Making Reading Fun

Have you ever tried telling your two-year-old, who doesn’t yet know his colors, that the sky is purple? He’ll believe you! It’s so cute — his response will be something like, “Oh. The sky is purple.”

Toddlers learn by mimicking. They watch and copy everything you do without question. So if you read voraciously, they will, too. 

If you cuddle your toddler and read books together, he will see reading as an enjoyable experience. If you love to visit the library and always have a stack of books on your nightstand your toddler will hanker after books.

Reading should be fun and not an onerous chore! How would you feel about ice cream if someone required you to eat a gallon of it every day? At home reading activities should be fun, not a requirement to read a certain amount per day. Pressure to read can overshadow the joy of reading.

Reading is fun!

Fun Reading Activities for Kids

If your child has not yet caught the reading bug, he may need a little help. The best way to help is by communicating your own love of reading.  The second-best way is by using fun reading activities! 

The following kids reading activities involve all five senses. They appeal to all types of learners and they’re fun. They incorporate dancing, singing, and even yummy things to eat.

1. Read the Sunday Comics 

Start a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together. You can read alongside and laugh with a reading child, or read to a younger child. My husband and kids pore over Calvin and Hobbes together, which also provides them with fun inside jokes! 

2. Create a Scavenger Hunt

Using simple text your child can read, create a scavenger hunt around your home. Tape notes in various places around your house telling your child where to find the next clue. At the end of the trail of clues, have a special book waiting as the prize.

3. Tell a story. 

Rory’s Story Cubes is one of the best kids reading activities!  This pocket-sized, creative story generator, provides hours of imaginative play for all ages. With Rory’s Story Cubes, anyone can become a great storyteller and there are no wrong answers. 

Simply roll the story cubes and let the pictures spark your imagination. Each set has its own picture category, so you won’t ever get bored. Play with them solo or combine sets to kick-start your child’s imagination.

4. Find an audience. 

Help readers celebrate their newfound skills by letting them read to a younger sibling or grandparent. Or they might enjoy reading to a captive audience of pets or stuffed animals. 

5. Cliffhangers. 

Most authors of chapter books use cliffhangers (exciting parts that reach the climax, but without resolving anything) to end chapters so that the reader is drawn on to the next chapter. Take advantage of these and leave your child breathlessly waiting for your next read-aloud session! Or if your children are like mine, the book will disappear and only reappear once it has been finished by the child.

Girl reading outside.

6. Fangirl an author. 

If your child loves a certain author, look them up online. Most authors have terrific sites with fun reading activities and games, as well as answers to questions about their books. Help your child write a fan letter to their favorite author — many times they’ll write back!

7. Create your own books. 

Another one of my favorite fun activities for reading is creating our own books. I cut a couple pieces of printer paper in half the short way, as well as one piece of cardstock. I layer them with the cardstock on the outside as the cover, and the printer paper inside as the book pages. Then fold them in half and staple along the fold. 

Your child can write and illustrate the story, or you can help in whatever ways you see fit. 

8. Pull a Rory. 

‘Rory’ Gilmore, from the Gilmore Girls, always has a book (or three!) in her purse. Next time you’re riding the bus or subway together or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, pull out a book to read with your child. It’s a much better way to pass the time than letting her play on an iPad while you check your phone.

9. Invent your own storyline. 

Children love to ‘read’ wordless books aloud. Imagining their own story is another great way to instill a love of books and make reading fun. Goodnight Gorilla is one of our favorites.

10. Make it a date. 

If you have several children, an outing with just one child will feel special, like a date. Visit the library (hooray for free dates!) and then hit up a bakery on the way home with all your loot.

11. Read somewhere creative. 

When you want to create fun reading activities for kids, make it a special event! We especially love to cut up a watermelon and spend summer nights reading on the lawn. 

The trampoline, a blanket fort, the park, the playhouse in your backyard and your child’s bed are a few other fun places to read. You could also read by flashlight or firelight.

Three kids laying on the grass reading Harry Potter books.

12. Library loitering. 

Most libraries host fun reading activities and events in addition to just being a place to borrow books. You’ll find puppet shows, readings and literary-centric crafts.

13. Attend free storytimes at public libraries and bookstores. 

Most libraries sponsor summer reading programs with awards. They sometimes have related crafts afterwards. If you’re lucky, they may host author visits, too. 

14. Create a literary culinary institute. 

So many books mention foods or use foods as a theme. Teach your child some cooking skills to go along with her new reading skills. Some fun examples include:

15. Rhyme time. 

Set a kitchen timer for a minute or so, and give your child a story to read aloud. Every time that the timer beeps, your child has to come up with a word that rhymes with the last word they spoke. Reset the timer and let them continue reading.

16. D.E.A.R. camp. 

The acronym stands for Drop Everything And Read. I find this kids reading activity particularly useful on days that I also need a break. Just like the name implies, we drop everything, take a quick trip to the library, stop by the grocery store to load up on snacks, and then head home to spend the rest of the day lost in imaginary worlds.

Five kids reading by a window.

17. Plan literature-themed field trips. 

Visit a construction site after reading The Little Excavator; a museum after reading Museum Trip; a symphony after reading Mole Music. We visited the Holocaust museum in Washington DC after reading several books about the holocaust. 

18. Pull a story out of a hat. 

Write silly sentences on several strips of paper. A few silly examples to get you started: Toss them all together in a hat. Have your child pull strips out, one at a time, and read them aloud. This activity will have them giggling their way through a whole story!

19. Play story charades. 

Take turns with your child thinking of a story you’ve recently read together then acting it out. The non-acting person tries to guess the story. 

20. Throw a literature-themed party together. 

It would be fun to host an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party or a Dr. Seuss themed party. Just think of all the fun, crazy things you could do! You can even send home books with your guests as party favors. 

21. Make your child the star. 

Have your child read you her favorite book, substituting her own name for the main character throughout the story. 

22. Compare and contrast. 

Check out several different versions of the same fairy tale from the library. Read and compare them together. Discuss what you liked best about different versions and how you would change them if you were the author.

23. Spawn a series. 

Another great reading activity for kids is to have your child read you her favorite book, then think up a sequel together. Take turns deciding what happens next as the plot unfolds. 

24. Become a cartographer. 

Help your child draw a map of the setting of his favorite book and label all of the most important places.

Child's drawing of a favorite book.
Fun reading activities for kids: draw a map of the story.

25. Read a recipe. 

Have your child read the recipe to his favorite dessert aloud while the two of you prepare the dessert together. It’s a great motivational activity to teach reading. Be sure to make enough to share with the whole family!

And most of all, just remember to keep things lighthearted and fun. Praise your child’s efforts and successes up one side and down the other. These fun reading activities for kids are as much about building confidence as they are about building reading skills. 

Pin this so you can find all these fun reading activities later!

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17 Comments

  1. Tons of great ideas here! I have pinned this post. These are awesome ways to encourage reading. I am going to check out Goodnight Gorilla!

  2. these are awesome suggestions! my son loves old comic books like daffy duck and such. Those story cubes look interesting for sure.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      My kids love old comics, too. My dad gave them a box of his old comic books.

  3. Lots of fun ideas here! I like that you can make snacks to go with certain books. And we love bringing my nieces and nephew to the library -they are huge fans already!

    -Lauren

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      That’s great that they’re already library fans!

  4. I pinned this blog just yesterday! I love these ideas! I especially love the idea of reading someone other than where you normally would! Seeing your kiddos delve into Harry Potter on the lawn makes this momma’s heart happy!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks so much, Heather! I love seeing them reading all over the place, too. The thing I don’t love is replacing all the books they leave outdoors during a rainstorm, or at the dentist, or just lose entirely, ha, ha! There could be worse problems, I know!

  5. Love the idea of creating your own book! Def going to try that with my son when he gets a little older

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      He’ll love it, I’m sure!

  6. Lots of great ideas here! I love the thought of taking a literature-based field trip or cooking based on the theme of a book. That really helps bring the book to life, I think!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      We recently read Pete’s A Pizza, made our own pizzas and then used our pizzas to learn about fractions. It was such a fun school day!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      My kids love to write stories, too! Especially since I started this blog.

  7. Big fan of promoting reading in all ages. Everyone in my family loves to read and we started them at a very young age. The library is our best friend.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I love libraries, too! All kinds and sizes, everywhere — libraries, libraries, libraries! We even take trips to visit libraries, ha, ha!

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