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How To Turn Your Kids Into Book Lovers

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. ~Dr. Seuss

In today’s media-loving world, encouraging a reading habit for children has become extremely difficult. Parents battle it out with a lot of competition towards their kids’ attention and time: TV, tablets, cellphones and computers.

However, not a lot of parents put a lot of time and effort to reading because they do not see its importance.

What role does reading play in the development of a young kid’s mind? Among the many benefits of reading include enhancing their vocabulary and memory, encouraging creativity and imagination, providing a loving and nurturing bonding experience and creating a thirst for learning are just a few examples.

So, how do parents raise their children into book lovers? Here are a few tried-and-tested ways to get little ones flipping the page even before they learn to read words on their own.

How To Turn Your Kids Into Book Lovers

1. Start the habit early on

An old quote says, “Old habits die hard” and this is the time to take advantage of it. Exposing them to the written word early on helps establish the routine so that you do not have to force it when they are older.

Although they probably do not understand a word of it, babies love being read to as their parents’ voice (especially their mother’s voice) is enough to soothe them and make them feel comfortable.

11 Tips to Raise A Reader

2. Help them build their library

Surrounding kids with books help encourage reading further as it becomes harder to avoid it. You can start by adding books in strategic areas such as their play areas. If they have their room, you can also start assigning a special nook to hold their very own library. Instead of toys, ask your family and friends to give them books.

3. Create a cozy reading nook

In addition to a library, setting up a reading nook where they can read comfortably on their own is also highly recommended. You do not have to do anything grand -- a simple pillow fort where night time stories come alive should be enough.

A cozy area will encourage them to use it more often. Also, make sure that their library is just within reach, so they do not have to go far to get more reading materials.

4. Go for books with fun rhymes and/or pictures

Rhyming books to children are like songs to adults. When reading to very little kids, go for those that are fun to listen to so you can have an enjoyable memory associated with it. Little kids won’t be able to understand words so go for books with fun and colorful pictures as well. You can point out the pictures and say their equivalent words to help build their vocabulary.

5. Do activities related to the stories

The fun in reading books does not have to end with the stories. In fact, you can come up with really creative ways to incorporate the book’s stories and characters into your daily routines.

If you are stumped for ideas, head on to Pinterest to see what food you can make or games and activities, you can do related to the book you just read.  Petit Mail's Reading With Kids board has some great ideas to get you started!)

Reading With Kids

6. Be a role model

Kids see their parents as the person that they want to be when they grow up. If you want them to follow your footsteps, then you have to start leading by example. Once they see you pick up books or even newspapers and practice what you preach to them, it shouldn’t be hard to convince them to start reading.

7. Visit a library together

What’s one of the most exciting things book lovers do? Visiting a library! Libraries are often considered a haven for many people because of the wealth of information stored in its every nook and cranny.

Some libraries have programs for kids such as story telling time and crafts, perfect for readers of all levels. Don’t forget to get them a library card and build up even more excitement!

How To Turn Your Kids Into Book Lovers

8. Read aloud as a family

Kids often associate reading as a loving bonding experience that they can do as a family. Stories are best shared with other people and children will usually remember the closeness that you shared when reading certain books. Not only that, reading aloud as a family can open up discussion leading to a better understanding of the story. Plus, it helps in improving pronunciation, too.

9. Slowly introduce books beyond their reading level

Young kids can get bored very easily especially if you let them do the same things over and over again. If they have already mastered reading a particular book, why not introduce them to something a little more advanced?

Of course, make sure to build up excitement first and ask them what they think about the book. Help them figure out difficult words and their meanings and be there to encourage them when things get a little hard to understand.

11 tips to raise a reader

10. Read books related to their interests

If your kids start manifesting a genuine interest in certain things such as airplanes, astronauts or dinosaurs, for example, introduce books that have them as subjects. Giving them reading material on something that they can easily relate to will help them not feel like reading is a chore.

11. Be flexible in your genres

You don’t have to get stuck with picture books -- why not introduce them to comic books? Classics are a must-read, but you can always opt for more modern reads from time to time. Exposing them to different genres and various types of reading materials will help make things constantly interesting and never boring.

Raising kids into book lovers help introduce them to new worlds and new concepts. Creating a reading habit piques their curiosity and encourages a habit of life-long learning.

About The Post Author

Petit Mail is pleased to welcome guest post author Pam.
Pam is a millennial mom who loves to read and explore the outdoors with her partner and their 3-year-old daughter. When not out for (mis)adventures, she moonlights as a freelance writer, blogger and ghostwriter. She also loves talking about their family travel and home adventures at Hey, Miss Adventures!

Garden Party Favors {April Showers Bring May Flowers}

April Showers Bring May Flowers
Plant a Seed and Watch it Grow!
Thank You for Celebrating my Special Day

These are the party favors that I created for NJ's birthday a few years ago.  They are simple + sweet, and give a great opportunity for family time when the party is over. 

I wanted to share this post as a fun addition to our gardening Petit Mail story card theme: Olivia Plants A Garden. 

How I made the Tags
To create the tags, I simply created my text in a Word document.
Then I printed the text on brown kraft paper
Cut into tag-sized shapes + used a corner punch to make rounded corners + hole punch to tie with baker's twine. 

It is probably easiest to source supplies in the Spring.  Depending on your climate, seed packets and supplies might be harder to find in the off-season.  Look for seed packets and small plantable pots at local home and gardening centres.  Plastic child-sized gardening tools can be found at most large department stores and dollar stores. 

DIY Garden Party Favours

Love this idea?  Be sure to sign up for the Petit Mail newsletter for simple + inspired parenting resources and free printable templates for kids activities throughout the year. 

A version of this post originally appeared on The Petit Cadeau Blog

5 Tips From A Muddy Mom

5 Tips from a Muddy Mom

Kids and mud go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Like strawberries and cheesecake. They were simply made for each other. Your kids will most certainly have a blast playing in the mud. Plus, you will get to relax and look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Prepare to get muddy!

I once made the mistake of sending my son outside to play in the yard with no direction or preparation. Next thing I knew, he was in the house, sopping wet and covered in mud! Seriously, what did I think would happen?! Now, I know a little preparation goes a long way.

First, I established the rule that muddy clothes stay outside. Second, I put a bucket of warm, clean water with a towel just outside the back door so he can dip his feet and dry them off before coming inside. Or, while he is playing, I will lay the hose in the sun to warm the water. When he’s done, I can hose him off with warm water before coming inside. 

Mud Play for Kids

Less is more!

Mud play is an open ended activity. So naturally, open ended toys are the best compliment.

Open ended play is play with no particular direction or formula. It is driven only by the child’s imagination. Give your kiddo some toys for digging in the mud and watch him create a whole new world around characters and events that exist only in his imagination.

Here’s a list of open ended toys that are great for mud play:

● Sticks, rocks, leaves, feathers, and other found materials

● Trucks, cars, and toy construction equipment (excavators and dump trucks are our favorites)

● Animals, dinosaurs, or people figures (figurines with no moving parts work best)

● Small or play sized tools like trowels, rakes, sifting screens, and buckets

Truly, the best way to play in the mud is with a friend. My son (who is rarely engaged in one thing for more than 10 minutes at a time) played in the mud for 2 hours with his friend. So, invite a mom friend over, put your kids in the mud, get some coffee and enjoy the freedom!

Mud Play for Kids Without a Yard

No yard? No problem!

If you are an apartment dweller or don’t have space in your yard for a mud pit, don’t worry! Fill a large shallow container (think underbed bin) with play sand. I bought some from a hardware store for $4.50 for 50 pounds and used a quarter of that to fill up half of our water table. Sand cleans up a lot easier than regular mud and doesn’t stain.

Fill the bin about ¼ to ⅓ full of sand. Then get the sand thoroughly wet, but stop before there is standing water. If you’re really limited on outside space, you can even put a drop cloth or beach towel down on a hard floor surface and let them play inside.

Mud Play with Kids

Let them play and don’t worry!

It has been shown that playing outside, and specifically in the mud, helps your child’s immune system and overall health.  Basically, a little dirt is good for you

Babies and kids are constantly exploring the world around them. Babies know instinctively that introducing new things to their system helps build their immune systems. They are programming their bodies to know the difference between good and bad inputs.

So if your little one takes an experimental taste of the mud, don’t be alarmed! It’s natural and even healthy. Normal kids up to 3 years old eat up to 500 milligrams of dirt each day, about the same weight as two pennies.

Use the teachable moments!

My son doesn’t like to be dirty, but he loves to play in the mud (he’s 3, there is no logical explanation). So, I like to use our mud sessions to show him it’s ok to get your hands dirty sometimes and to work hard.

He loves to practice digging with his shovel, and I love to encourage him to work hard to achieve his goals. Sometimes it’s just filling up the dump truck; sometimes he wants to dig a swimming pool. Using this time to encourage him to persevere even when it’s hard (shoveling wet dirt is really hard work!) can foster a strong work ethic and remove the fear barrier of getting dirty.

Mud Play for Kids

Happy Mudding!

About The Post Author

Hannah is the wife to her very own viking and mom to two happy vikings. Together they live in Montana on their own little slice of valhalla. She owns and writes at about family, simple and frugal living, and DIY projects for beginners.

5 Easy Indoor Camping Play Activities

This month, our Petit Mail story card is all about camping.  My ideas and inspiration for this month's theme involve spending time together as a family (indoors OR outdoors) AND finding new ways to explore nature.

It's still a little cold here for outdoor camping, so I wanted to share some of our activities this month that compliment the camping theme but can be enjoyed at home at any time.

5 Easy Indoor Camping Play Activities

Indoor Camping Play With Kids

1. Visit the Library to find Books about Camping and Nature

2. Grab a Sleeping bag and Pillow for a living room campout (even if it's just for the afternoon on a rainy day)

3. Make an Indoor Pretend-Play Campfire Together

4. Make Indoor S'mores in the Oven

5. Practice Shadow Puppets on the Wall

I've saved all kinds of inspiration for camping play on a special Camping With Kids Pinterest Board just for you - join me there!

Camping also goes hand in hand with Summer, and summer is the perfect time to send a letter.

I've created this free kids summer camp letter stationery for newsletter subscribers, so if you haven't already signed up for my monthly Petit Mail note, you can join here and download this free printable letter-writing template as many times as you'd like!

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How To Spend more Time with your Kids & Focus on what REALLY Matters

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DIY Card Kit for Kids

I'm always really interested in non-toy gift ideas for kids and I love the idea of making DIY kits based on their interests.

My 5 year old niece loves to make her own cards, so I decided to make her a personalized card-making kit.

I picked up this small purple plastic "suitcase" and created a custom label for the outside.  Inside, I gave her all of the tools she might need to write special notes - blank cards and envelopes, embellishments, stickers, and stamps.

Don't forget to include postage stamps so that cards and envelopes can be sent in the mail!

Your version could also include some of the free printable letter-writing templates I have available for newsletter subscribers - you can print as many as you like, and there are fun, colourful templates for preschoolers and early writers.  Get access to the resources by signing up for FREE today.

Make Your Own Card Kit

DIY Card Kit for Kids

DIY Card Kit for Kids

I've shared many more DIY gift kit ideas from other blogs over on the Non-Toy Gifts for Kids Pinterest board, including puppet kits, art kits, cookie kits, dramatic play kits, science kits, sewing kits, fort kits and so much more!

Make a Card Kit

Maybe this kit would be complete with an Olivia's Pen Pal story card - what do you think? 

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Join the Petit Mail Community Today!

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