One of the things that sets our kids book club apart from other book subscriptions is the carefully curated activity pack that we create to accompany each and every book we send. Obviously, the books themselves are the main event and we put a lot of effort into choosing the best children’s books for our subscription boxes. But our boxes include much more than just a good book.
We talk a lot about the many social and intellectual benefits of reading for pleasure and our activity packs are designed to help you and your child connect with and get as much as possible out of each month’s book. For example, if you have a reluctant reader, the activities can be a useful gateway into the book itself. And if you have a super-keen independent reader, they can be a way to engage your child in talking to you (and the whole family) about what they’re reading.
1. Don’t feel you have to save the activities until after they’ve read the book
We all know how much our kids love getting post! Our own children routinely rip into their subscription boxes as soon as they arrive and are keen to get on with the activities straight away, before getting started on the book itself. That’s fine – with the exception of the book club-style questions (see below), there’s no reason why they shouldn’t enjoy the activities first. Many of the activities, such as the drawing or colouring pages, are designed for our subscribers to get on with by themselves. Allow them to be enthusiastic and then harness that enthusiasm as a gateway into the book itself.
2. Avoid spoilers by saving the book club-style questions until you’ve read the book
We love talking about books and we’re passionate about the many benefits that a bit of book chat brings. Each pack includes a set of book club-style questions designed to help stimulate that valuable book chat at home. It’s not about quizzing them with comprehension style questions – remember, there are no right and wrong answers. The questions we include are designed to prompt discussion about how the book makes them feel and how they can relate to the characters. Start with a question and then see where the discussion leads you.
3. Get the whole family involved
We firmly believe that reading is a social experience. All the activities in our packs are inspired by the book they accompany, but that doesn’t mean they have to be enjoyed exclusively by those reading the book itself. The recipes and craft activities in particular are perfect for sharing with the whole family and for prompting wider discussion about the themes and topics that feature in the book. Our resources also will work well in a book club setting – for our tips on how to set up a book club for your kids, head here.
4. Let them explore
The activities in our packs are designed to help your child connect the story with their own experience. But why stop there? Why not use them as a jumping off point for additional activities and research? Look out for our suggestions in each pack, including ideas for more activities, trips or further reading that will extend the book club experience even further. We regularly put up more activity ideas and book recommendations on our blog and each month we curate a collection of relevant videos on our YouTube channel.
5. Encourage them to share their views
As we’ve said time and time again, for us reading is a social experience. That’s why Parrot Street is a book club, not just a book subscription. All our activity packs include a review card and we would love to hear what your child thinks of the books we send so that we can share it with their fellow subscribers. They could write a short book review or draw something inspired by their favourite scene or character in the book. Feel free to send those review cards back to us at Parrot Street HQ or simply post them on Instagram or Twitter, tagging us @parrot_street. Authors in particular enjoy hearing from our subscribers and more often than not will reply directly when we tag them – and who doesn’t love hearing from their favourite author?!