The "Bringing Books to Life" Checklist
(from Family Fun magazine, June/July 2004 [vol 13, No. 6]

Make a book-inspired craft

Play a book-inspired game

Cook up a recipe from food mentioned in the story

Create costumes of favorite characters

Have your child make his own book and continue the story

Sketch scenes from the book

Dig up other books related to the theme

Check your local library for sources that feature book-related activities

Visit a spot where the book takes place

Make a game from a favorite story

I have made several games that have taken their inspiration from a favorite book. For example, the book Shoes lent itself naturally to a matching game in which the children matched the different pairs of shoes. We simply used regular white ink jet paper (or copier paper) divided into equal sizes, and we drew different kinds of shoes in pairs. This could easily be done on card-stock paper for a more durable version; and I have even entertained the idea of laminating the cards--we play it that much.

Make up new stories about favorite characters

Now, this one takes a bit of creative talent on your part. But do not fret--as you read more and more stories with your children, you will become more and more proficient at spinning off these new threads of adventure. One favorite character my daughter keeps asking for is Mariko-chan from Rise and Shine, Mariko-chan. When we start the new story, we try to follow the same general feel of the story in the original book, but we explore new experiences with the characters in the story. My sons both enjoy intruding characters into other stories. For example, the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are might show up in a Mariko-chan story. Be creative. Have fun. Let your children try to participate as they become older and capable of spinning the tale, too.

Make coloring pages

I am amazed at the response I see in my children when I take time to transport a character out of a book and onto a piece of paper that they can color. Often this can be accomplished using normal white ink jet paper (or copier paper). Most brands of this paper are thin enough to allow you to trace the character with a pencil. Once you have the shape transferred with a pencil, go over it again with a permanent marker. (Be sure to put something behind it so the marker does not bleed through.) Once you have traced over it with the permanent marker, get the crayons, and let your child color it. Hang it on the refrigerator or in your child's room. You can both be proud of your work!

©Copyright 2004-2014, Mr. Merrick J. Stemen. All rights reserved.