20 Relaxing, Happy Places for Kids to Read This Summer

These lovely spots will have them joyfully breezing through new books.
By Megan Zander
May 03, 2019



summer reading for kids
© patat/iStock

May 03, 2019

When our kids imagine how they’d spend the perfect summer day, they probably don’t picture themselves hunkering down indoors with a tall stack of books. But put them in the perfect reading environment, and they won’t want to put those books down all season long.

Here are the best unique reading spots for kids to unleash their inner bookworm over the summer, both inside the house and outside in the sun. The kids won’t just get through their summer booklist in these awesome spots — they’ll look forward to every minute of it!

1. In a hammock. What could be more relaxing? Grab the kids and unwind with the swaying of the summer breeze for a story or two. The relaxed atmosphere just might encourage shy readers to try sounding out a page or two on their own.

2. By the pool. You’ve packed the sunscreen, pool toys, and plenty of snacks, but what about a couple of books? That recommended one hour of wait time between eating and swimming is the perfect opportunity for you to read a splashy book like Baby Shark with younger kids, or for teens to sink into a few chapters of the sci-fi read HALO: Battle Born, about four teens who must survive an alien alliance known as the Covenant that lays siege to their colony world.

3. In a tent. Pop up a little one on the back deck and let the kids use it as their personal outdoor library all summer long. They can get quiet time away from each other and escape with a great book, or you can even channel your inner child and visit them for a story or two.

4. In a tree. Make reading part of the fun by encouraging your kids to bring a book on their next climbing adventure. Find a comfy (and safe!) perch in your favorite sturdy tree or in a treehouse, and read a chapter or two. It’ll make great reads about nature like The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal, which teaches young readers about the sun and its oh-so-important roles, even more fascinating!

5. In the car. Get a break from the screens and pack a new book for a long car ride instead. If your kids can’t go more than a couple of pages without getting car sick, consider listening to an exciting audiobook that’ll have the whole family entranced, like The Hunger Games or The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers: A King's Ransom.

6. In bed. Help your child develop a love of reading at the end of the day by making her bed a cozy place to snuggle up with a good book. Add some string lights that are just for reading time, or a plushy new pillow she can only use when it’s time to read a book.

7. Under an outdoor fort. Dig up some old blankets and use a nearby tree or the corner of the deck to create a cozy little fort specifically for reading time. Don’t be surprised if, before long, it suddenly fills up with snacks and pillows!

8. On a chaise. Remember how special grownup beach chairs were when you were a kid? They seemed like royal thrones, especially the longer ones with attached footrests. Let your kids experience what it feels like to live the high life by encouraging them to read in your summer seat. They can even read Pug Pals: Yay for Vaycay! — a hilarious tale about two pups living large on vacation — while sipping on lemonade.

9. Under the stairs. With the kids home all summer long, it’s easy for the house to feel cramped and crowded. Help everyone spread out by transforming unused space under the stairs into a temporary reading spot for the summer. Let your kid bring down their latest read, plus a pillow and a favorite blanket to make it comfortable — it’ll be much cozier than Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs (but still the perfect spot to dive into Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Illustrated Edition!). A tension rod and shower curtain make an easy divider that gives kids privacy and can be removed come fall.

10. On the sand. Once your child is done building sandcastles and getting his feet wet, unroll a beach blanket and do some reading. The sun is the best reading light around, and the quiet lull of the waves might help your kiddo focus for longer than usual. Once he's recharged his mind, it’s back to the water!

11. Window seat. It’s the ideal summer reading spot — you get to enjoy all of that warm sunshine without leaving the comfort of air conditioning! If your window sills aren’t wide enough for cushions, try pulling a chair or loveseat closer to the window for a cozy view that kids can gaze at while you read them a silly fantasy book like Thelma the Unicorn.

12. By a campfire. The next time you go camping or start a campfire for s’mores, make the night spookier with a mysterious read. Give your kid a flashlight to illuminate the pages, and dive into a spine-tingling book like Witch Born, about a young witch fleeing from a witch hunter in Elizabethan England — the dark night will make the eerie factor skyrocket!

13. At the store. If the kids love to complain when you have errands to run, help them realize that the power to escape boredom is at their fingertips. Encourage them to bring a book along for the trip to the bank or customer service desk, and suddenly “Are we done yet?” will be replaced by, “Wait, just one more page before we go!”

14. In a closet. If emptying out the hall closet is on the spring cleaning to-do list, consider transforming it into a reading space just for the kids. Low shelves and cushions can keep things tidy and cozy, and with your kid’s imagination, that closet could transform into something super adventurous — like the spaceship four female mathematicians helped launch in the awe-inspiring book Hidden Figures

15. At the park. If it feels like you spend more time preparing for and driving to the playground than playing, try bringing some books along for the trip to make the day’s fun last a little longer. When kids get tired from all the swinging, reading a book together gives them a chance to relax and recharge before heading down the slide again (and again, and again!)

16. In Mom and Dad’s room. For many kids, their parent’s bedroom has a mysterious air that doesn’t disappear even after repeated visits. Capitalize on their fascination with your room and model great reading habits by inviting them in on a rainy afternoon for some reading time.

17. On a pool float. Whether it’s encouraging kids to relax with a water-themed pick like Fly Guy Presents: Sharks after all those cannonballs, or giving them the challenge of finishing an early reader like Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild without tipping over, books make great entertainment while lounging on a bobbing pool float.

18. On the grass. There’s something delicious about spreading out a soft blanket in the grass and settling down with a great read. Encourage kids to do their reading with sunshine as their lamp and a nearby dandelion as a bookmark, and revel in your time with them as you all soak up some vitamin D.

19. Indoor fort. No space for a permanent indoor reading nook? Lend the kids some couch cushions and blankets for a temporary solution. The small space encourages quiet and concentration, making it a great place to dive into a new series, like The Baby-Sitters Club

20. On a swing. Porch, tire, or good old playground, enjoying a gentle sway while reading a good book is an excellent way to multitask on a hot summer day. Younger kids will always remember rocking back and forth next to you as you read them a classic tale like No, David!. And older kids reading the Mermaids to the Rescue: Lana Swims North books just might find reading on the swaying swings makes that under-the-sea action feel real!

Keep your child reading over the summer with expert tips and book recommendations with our summer reading guide. In this guide, you'll find more ideas for how to get kids reading outdoors, insights into why summer reading is important, and much more.

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