A number of years ago, we started a tradition at our house — giving books for Christmas.
Each year, our kids get to open one of their gifts early — oh yea, they love that!
When they come home on their first day of holiday break from school, there is a gift waiting for them — we call it our ‘winter break books’. And one of my favorite things to do with this gift is to turn it into some fun adventures for the kids.
A book is a great gift but pairing a book with an interactive toy, game or experience turns it into an AWESOME gift!
Turn Reading into an Adventure
The first step is choosing the right book (or books) for your kids.
You know them best – think about things they love to do. What’s their current fascination — do they love animals? Are they crazy about Minecraft? Maybe a fan of Percy Jackson?
Once you have narrowed down on their current obsession, browse around online or at the library for some great book recommendations — ask others what their kids are reading, check out your favorite reading blog or talk to the librarian at school or your local library.
Then next step is where all the fun comes in — pairing the book with a fun activity, outing or toy that will expand the book into an adventure!
Here’s a few concrete ideas of how this can be done. And just in case you see something that sparks your child’s interest, I’m including affiliate links for the books and items we’ve listed.
These are also super ideas for grandparents who would love to give more than just a book or toy.
Read & Visit a Local Attraction
What child doesn’t love animals!
Penguins are one of our favorites — in fact, we have a whole penguin booklist if you’re a fan too. Here we’ve paired Penguin and Pinecone with the wonderful Penguins TOOB from Safari Ltd along with a trip to our local zoo! The mini-figures are great for acting out the story or other fun hands-on play at home (like this easy ‘create your own iceberg’ bowl).
If you don’t have a zoo with penguins close by, you can visit them online at this PenguinCam to watch them waddle and swim!
Host a Reading Camp-In
One of our most popular posts is Hosting an Indoor Camp-out (and of course, we included books!).
Why not turn reading into a camp-in experience! All you need is a tent or some blankets to make a tent, some of your favorite books and pillow — Voila! instant holiday read-in next to the tree!
If you’re looking for holiday themed book suggestions, see the fun titles on our 30 Books for Your Favorite Christmas Traditions.
Expand on a Child’s Obsession
This idea works with kids of all ages — toddlers through teens! For example, some popular books such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles have made greek mythology and ancient Egypt a hot topic among tweens.
If you’re giving one of these books as a gift, pair them with the history mini-figures like the Ancient Egypt TOOB from Safari Ltd. (the Ancient Egypt TOOB has a great educational bookmark included!) along with a visit to a local museum or exhibit that highlights ancient artifacts.
Trust me, a mummy and those ‘boring’ sculptures come alive when paired with one of your child’s favorite stories.
Connecting Books with Nature
If you have an outdoor fan (or just want to encourage the kids to get outside a little more), pull together a nature kit for them to use.
I love the lay-out of this book — it reads like a comic book and has really fun illustrations. And the kids will laugh at some of the great jokes in the pictures. Use it as a read aloud for younger kids (ages 4 – 7 years) or as a gift for kids ages 8 – 12 who are reading on their own.
Pair it with a bag of Wild Bird Food and some fun binoculars — Fisher-Price Kid Tough Explorers Binoculars for preschool and early elementary school kids or the Compact Folding Binocular for older kids.
Visit our Gifts that Connect Kids with Nature for more outdoor ideas!
Give a New Experience
This is one of my favorites — giving a new experience! Many times, this is something a child probably wouldn’t even ask for but ends up being an awesome opportunity. Try giving a great horse book along with a trail ride at a local stable. I’m sure there’s an outfitter near you — just look online for ‘trail rides’ in your city.
While there is no shortage of horse-themed books, the Bramble and Maggie series is definately one to check out especially if you have a beginning reader in the house. The illustrations are beautiful and the books share the story from both Maggie and Bramble (the horse’s) point of view — great life lessons for the reader!
And the beautiful horse figurine shown is the Palomino Mare, one of the larger figures from Safari Ltd. You can see all the animals from their Farm Collection on the Safari Ltd. website.
MORE FUN HOLIDAY BOOK ACTIVITIES:
30 Books for your Favorite Christmas Traditions
You might also like:
7 Gifts that Inspire Your Child’s Creativity