If the weather is not cooperating and you can’t go outside, set up camp indoors with a cozy reading fort. Create a comfortable environment where kids can escape into their own little world to read the books they choose.
Building the fort: For most kids, building the reading fort is half the fun. They’ll love the rare opportunity to rearrange the living room (or any other room) furniture to make space for a homemade indoor tent. Drape blankets over a chair or on the floor, stack pillows and include stuffed animals for companions inside the fort. If you have a large box from a refrigerator or appliance, kids can cut windows and make doors to create their fort another way. They can decorate the outside with markers, crayons and other craft supplies. Let the kids use their imagination to design their own space where they will be most at ease. Don’t forget the most important part…a stack of books and magazines!
Recreate the outdoors: Help kids bring the night time indoors by drawing the blinds and turning out the overhead lights. Hang glow-in-the-dark stars or a strand of twinkle or Christmas lights. Kids love reading by flashlight, which also helps to create a cozy feel.
Snacks to add to the mood: Kids can get hungry spending time in their fort, so be sure to have plenty of snacks on hand. Keep the ambiance going by having them make s’mores with toasted marshmallows on sticks. Once they make the delicious snacks in the kitchen, they can bring their creations inside their tents to eat.
Make room for others: Why not make a tent big enough for two or three and climb right on in there with your kids. Your children will love that you’ve joined them in their special place. Take turns reading a book together with the designated reader as the person holding the flashlight. Or bring the iPad or laptop inside the tent for a family movie night. Watch a movie of a book you all have read to compare the two. Don’t forget the popcorn.
Books related to special places: Have books at the ready for rainy-day forts that relate to the idea of escaping to special places. The Magic Tree House book series, written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Sal Murdocca, is a perfect match. Kids can use their own imagination to decide where, when, and which adventure their own special fort can whisk them off to once inside it. With more than 50 books in the series, there are sure to be enough to fill up many a rainy summer day.
Keeping it cozy: If kids respond well to the rainy day fort, create a permanent special reading nook in their room or play room that they can go to whenever they want to read. Make it a kids-only zone where privacy is permitted and kids can keep their stacks of books.