We were involved in a wonderful book exchange program this summer that was coordinated by my friend Kim from The Educator's Spin on It.
The Summer Book Exchange included 30 bloggers who each chose a great book for summer reading, created some fun activities & crafts to go along with the story and packed it all up in a box to exchange with a 'surprise' partner.
We all had a great time and now we have some amazing summer reading activities to share with you & your kids!
Book Activities in a Box
One of the things I loved about this project is that anyone can replicate it! If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or fun aunt/uncle, it would be easy to to at your home.
Here are the steps you would take to create a 'Book in a Box':
- Choose a fun kids book that your child of choice would enjoy (it may even be one you enjoyed as a kid)
- Choose some activities that are related to the story (you can get some great ideas by browsing the posts in this series)
- Pack them all up for your favorite child.
It's a great way to encourage summer reading and also introduce kids to a different genre of books.
Our partner in reading this summer was Laura & her daughter from The Seeds Network Blog and they sent us one amazing package!
When we opend our box, my daughter was thrilled to find so many craft supplies! The book that was included is Poppy by Avi (this is an affiliate link so that you can read more about the book). This was a huge coincidence since my son suggested my daughter read the book earlier this summer so it was already on our list!
Poppy is the story of a timid mouse who realizes that there are problems with life in Dimwood Forest. When her fiance is killed and her family is put in danger, she heads out on a quest to prove that she and the other small animals can be strong, brave and protect themselves.
It's a great read for boys or girls ages 9 - 12 -- lots of adventure. In fact, my daughter read the book in one day because she couldn't put it down. And if your child enjoys the story, there are more to read -- Poppy is the first in the series Tales from Dimwood Forest!
The first activity she decided to do was decorate the cover to the summer journal that was included in our box. Both Laura and I love to give the kids opportunities to journal during the summer. They can write thoughts about the books they are reading, creative ideas they may have or nature observations. And whatever they choose to write, it's a great activity to keep them practicing their penmanship during the summer months.
Creating Cardboard Owls & Mice
Our next project was to create some owls and mice using the colored cardboard tubes, foam stickers, feathers and googly eyes that were included in the box. As you can see, we have a small army of animals on the shelf of our deck.
The item on the left side of the photo is a pair of 'mouse binoculars' and include a cute tail in the back that you can use as a handle. The 'mouse' on the right side of the photo is a mouse without ears (she may have gotten that idea from the story).
And the owls were a favorite - so adorable! And really easy to make - just bend the top of the cardboard tube to shape it for the ears and then decorate. At our house, girl owls get feathers on their head and boy owls get tail feathers ;)
Learn to Draw Owls & Mice
Also included in our package were drawing sheets so that we could learn to draw owls and mice. This was the BEST activity for us because my daughter constantly says "I'm not a good drawer" - just breaks my heart that she's decided this at such a young age. I keep letting her know that practicing is a great way to get better at something so the drawing sheets were a wonderful prompt for her.
I love the step-by-step directions that were included on the sheet and she was very proud of her drawings!
If you have a child who wants to learn more about drawing, try this step by step approach. Here are a few affiliate links to drawing books that we like to use --
These books are both part of a series of drawing activities so you can search through and find items your child would love to learn to draw.
Laura and her daughter also included a really cute owl mirror kit that she enjoyed putting together. And we still have a number of cardboard tubes, material, foam and eyes left over for a craft play date we are planning with a friend who loves owls.
If you'd like to see what we sent to Laura, make sure to visit her post about The Year with Miss Agnes.
It's mid-summer and the kids are probably getting a little bored with their reading lists so browse through the ideas on the Summer Book Exchange Pinterest Board and find some new reads along with great hands-on activities & crafts to go with them!