There are many ways to make connections to the books you read with your child, or to find ways to incorporate reading into every day tasks. Try one of the activity, craft or cooking ideas suggested here, or use them as inspiration for an activity of your own.
Any time you are baking or cooking, ask your child to help you. Cooking is a nice hands-on bonding time, and you can point out the words in the recipe and how they correlate to what you are doing as you measure and bake.
Do you take pictures of your child? When you take a picture, you reinforce the behavior or situation you are capturing. Even young ones know that cameras/camera phones mean something special is happening. If you have not already, start taking pictures of your child being read to or reading. This adds value to both books AND reading. Consider printing the photo and giving it to your child as a bookmark.
How about a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" lunch?
By: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Making connections and comparing/contrasting are important critical thinking skills. Reading books specific to a theme is a way to introduce these skills to young ones. Here is a link to 10 food themed stories recommended by Little One Books. Read a couple of them and help your child find pictures or ideas that are the "same". To make connections even tastier, consider enjoying some of the treats in the books while reading.
We love these "Story Cubes" by Gamewright. Each box contains nine cubes with pictures on all sides. Simply roll the cubes and work with your little one to create a story using the pictures. There is also a wonderful opportunity to enrich your child’s vocabulary by explaining the meaning (or history) behind certain pictures that your child may not be familiar with – like the etching of an abacus.
Here is the link to the website. There is a tab for "Where To Buy". You can also pick them up at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. http://www.storycubes.com/
Will you and your little one be "writing" thank you notes following a birthday or holiday? Consider reading Curious George Says Thank You, by H.A. Rey) with your child before commencing. Reading books related to your child’s activities provides inspiration, and helps connect reading with everyday activities. You can pick up a copy at your local library or bookstore.
Fans’ infants are loving Touch-Me textured baby flash cards from One Step Ahead. These soft, multi-fabric cards are printed with words matching their textured and manipulatable pictures. The cards “stimulate tactile discovery, and encourage fine motor skills” and give infants exposure to text. Some have tags, some make sounds, and they are on a ring that opens so individual cards can be removed, and the ring can be mounted on a car seat or stroller, or just grasped. onestepahead.com and amazon.com
(Submitted by a Fan): With your child, use magazines, catalogues, or crayons to create stick (pencil, straw, ruler) puppets to inspire creative play and storytelling. Directions: “Cut out animal characters, glue them on ice cream sticks, name them - and a story is born.”
This bookplate by Clare Beaton via myhomelibrary.org
Is there rain in the forecast? Gather some clothing and items to use to dress up and act out your favorite stories. Have a red t-shirt and pot? Your child can be Winnie-the-Pooh. Have a blue jacket and some slippers? Here Comes Peter Rabbit. [Notice the language your child uses during this play!]