Reading+ — 4 Things Your Kids Will Love to do While You Read to Them

  by Erik Wolgemuth

If you’ve spent any time browsing around dadcraft, you’ll know that we’re on Team Read Out Loud to Your Kids. We’ve written about what to read (here and here, for example) and a bit about why it’s important and fun to read, and recently I’ve been thinking about how to read to them. Or, more specifically, what can they be doing as I’m reading.

I’ve tried the ol’ sit quietly and listen me as I read approach and it’s good for about 11 seconds at which point there’s collective frustration flying in every direction. Needless to say, we had to come up with some alternative approaches and the following are 4 go-to activities for the kids to enjoy while they’re listening to me read…

Rainbow Loom

If you’re not familiar with this craft, think of it as weaving little rubber bands with your fingers. Highly repetitive and yet surprisingly enjoyable. Rainbow loom is wonderfully mobile, cheap to buy, engrossing for a variety of ages, and it has the added bonus that the finished product is wearable (your accessories will see exponential growth).

Drawbacks include: miniature rubber bands everywhere, the snapping of siblings with their woven creations, and miniature rubber bands everywhere.


There’s a whole host of opportunities in this artistic field as you read. Perhaps you allow for a freeform session on blank paper. Perhaps you encourage your artists to draw a scene from the book you’re reading. Or perhaps you agree on an individual to be the lucky recipient of the artwork (bonus: mail it to someone from your kids and they’ll likely get their own reply in the post).

Drawbacks include: everyone wanting the same color crayon, the effects of a Sharpie that found its way into the box of markers, and general artistic frustration.


What aren’t Legos good for? I mean, seriously. Sure today’s Legos have every desirable licensed edition, but don’t forget that the plain ol’ tub of random Lego pieces is sure to entertain for hours. You may need to plan some extra time post-reading to get in on the fun.

Drawbacks include: stepping on Legos.


The crème de la crème of kid activities while you read. Think of this: you read and productive housework is accomplished. Laundry sorted and folded. Living room dusted. Bedroom picked up. The purple unicorn of parenting.

While chores shouldn’t accompany out-loud reading 100% of the time, it is possible to occasionally work in.

Drawbacks include: less laundry for you to fold, sock dodgeball. None.

I’ve found that there’s an amazing, somewhat surprising correlation between information retention and an activity that engages my kids’ motor skills as I’m reading. Perhaps there’s good scientific data to support that or maybe I just love seeing a room get dusted while I’m reading a book we all enjoy.


Looking for some book recommendations? We’ve shared some favorites.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash