If I told you my children were always perfectly still, quiet, and attentive during our Read-Alouds, I would be lying. Don’t get me wrong. My children thoroughly enjoy reading time, so it’s not a lack of interest that distracts them from our book adventures.
Instead, the culprit is normal kid wiggles.
At one time their inability to sit still bothered me. But that frustration led me to change my approach. I realized there are other options than sitting perfectly still while listening to a book. In fact, it became apparent that they were able to comprehend and rehash everything I had read even while engaging in a quite busy activity.
I devised ways to make room for the wiggle worm urge during Read-Aloud times instead of fighting it. All of these ideas are activities your children do while you read aloud to them.
Active Read-Aloud Activities
- Sit on exercise balls.
- Stand for a few pages, sit for a few pages.
- Bounce on an indoor rebounder trampoline.
- Sit in a circle and have your children quietly roll a ball to each other.
- See how many pages they can listen to standing on one foot.
Table Read-Aloud Activities
- Knead and make forms with playdough.
- Color in coloring books.
- Draw pictures of what you are reading.
- Build with LEGO bricks.
- Use Wiki Sticks to create a scene from the book.
- Sort colored buttons or counters.
- Play a game like Mighty Mind, Three Little Piggies, or Smart Games Dinosaurs.
- Cut shapes from construction paper.
- Tinker with a sensory box.
- Put together a puzzle.
- String beads.
Outside Read-Aloud Activities
- Dig in the dirt or play in a sandbox.
- After a select number of pages, have a running race. Repeat each time you reach that page goal.
- Collect sticks, rocks, or other objects from nature and build something.
- Take the book to a playground and alternate play and reading.
- Draw with sidewalk chalk.
Couch Read-Aloud Activities
- Change seating positions every few pages—sitting sideways, backwards, upside down, etc.
- Let siblings change places with each other every few pages.
- Use quiet fidget toys such as handheld water games.
- Snuggle up and play the quiet game.
The biggest tip for wiggle worm activities is to choose an action that will calm them and not create more hyperactivity.
If your ultimate goal is for your wiggly worms to sit quietly, then slowly work up to that goal. Use activities to build their tolerance. Make sitting still a game—something they look forward to doing with you. Over time they will gain self-control and be able to listen to Read-Alouds while sitting still. But along the way, relax, have fun, and accept the wiggly worms that you are reading aloud to.
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