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5 Engaging Storytime Activities to Make Reading Fun for Kids

Posted on July 3rd, 2024 

Isn't it wonderful when storytime becomes an adventure? This is what happens when children's eyes lighten up with excitement as they dive into the tales you share. 

A key part of making this happen is how you engage them during the reading. 

Think about simple yet effective techniques like asking questions or inviting them to predict what might happen next. When you pause and ask, “What do you think will happen next?” you're not only engaging them but also encouraging critical thinking. 

Whether through predictions, acting, thematic connections, props, costumes, or sound effects, there are countless ways to make storytime engaging and enriching. 

Read on to learn five storytime activities that will make reading more enjoyable for your kids. 


The Significance of Storytime for Kids 

Storytime is a crucial moment for children, fostering a love of reading and laying the foundation for their language and literacy skills. It provides an opportunity for kids to develop their imagination, as they visualize characters and settings described in the stories. 

Additionally, storytime enhances listening skills and attention span, as children focus on the narrative and follow along. 

It also offers a chance for bonding between the reader and the listener, creating a shared experience that can strengthen relationships. 

Furthermore, exposure to a variety of stories broadens a child's understanding of the world, introduces new vocabulary, and helps them develop empathy by experiencing different perspectives. 

Incorporating engaging activities during storytime can make the experience even more enriching and enjoyable for kids. In the next section, we'll explore five engaging storytime activities that can captivate children's interest and enhance their learning experience. 


5 Engaging Storytime Activities for Kids 

One of the most important aspects of storytime is keeping children engaged. This not only makes the experience more enjoyable for them but also sets the groundwork for a lifelong love of reading and helps foster curious young minds. The question then becomes, "how can we keep kids engaged during storytime?" Next, we will discuss five fun and interactive storytime activities that are sure to capture the attention of children.

1. Interactive Read-Alouds 

When it comes to storytime activities, interactive read-alouds are a game-changer. By encouraging children to participate actively during the reading session, you can make reading fun and engaging. Start by asking questions throughout the story. For example, while reading a book about David and Goliath, you might pause and ask, “Do you think David can beat Goliath? Why or why not?” This simple act engages their imagination and enhances their comprehension. 

Incorporating interactive read-alouds into your storytime activities doesn't have to be difficult:  

  • Create a Thematic Connection to the Book: For example, if the story is about the Good Samaritan, introduce a brief discussion on what it means to be kind. You can then ask them if they have ever helped someone in need and let them share their experiences. This encourages empathy and personal connection to the moral of the story. 
  • Use Props: Use props to make reading even more engaging. Imagine holding a small sling while reading David and Goliath, or a small basket while narrating the Feeding of the 5000. These tangible items provide sensory stimuli that anchor the story in their minds. 
  • Make Voices: As you proceed, switch up the tone of your voice for different characters. Children find it entertaining when you sound like a roaring lion for Daniel or chirp like the little bird who brings bread to Elijah. By making the narrative dynamic, you hold their attention and make reading fun. 

2. Acting 

Acting out stories can be a fun and engaging activity for children during storytime. It adds a layer of interaction and makes the story come alive. Plus, it also caters to kinesthetic learners who grasp concepts better through movement. 

Here are some ideas for incorporating acting into your storytime:  

  • Pretend to Be Characters: Encourage children to act out parts of the story by pretending to be different characters. For example, they could pretend to be David slinging a stone or Goliath with his booming voice. 
  • Movement-Based Activities: Incorporate movement into the story by having children act out actions from the story. For example, they could pretend to swim like a fish if the story is about underwater creatures. 
  • Encourage Creativity: Allow children to come up with their own actions and movements for the story. This will help them engage with the story in their own unique way. 
  • Act Out Emotions: Have children act out different emotions portrayed in the story, such as happiness, anger, or fear. This will help them understand and connect with the characters on a deeper level.

3. Crafting Story-Based Art Projects 

When it comes to engaging storytime activities, adding crafting story-based art projects can significantly elevate the experience. Why not let the children illustrate their favorite scenes or characters from the story? This not only strengthens their visual connection to the narrative but also invites them to interpret the story in their own unique ways. Kids often have bustling imaginations, and by letting them create their own art based on stories, you’re giving them a productive outlet to express their creativity while reinforcing the narrative and its moral. 

Be adventurous in suggesting various art-focused activities. Here are some ideas:  

  • Drawing: Imagine reading them a story about Noah’s Ark and then giving them a blank canvas to draw the scene where the animals board the ark two by two. The anticipation of getting to put their favorite part on paper keeps them attentive and excited throughout the reading session. 
  • Story Collages: Compiling different elements from the story on a single page can help them grasp the sequence of events and better understand the storyline. Imagine a collage that tells the tale of Daniel in the lion's den, with images of lions, Daniel, and angels all pasted together. The sight of these visuals can trigger vivid recollections of the lessons learned. 
  • Character Puppets: After finishing a story, suggest that they make puppets of their favorite characters using simple materials like paper bags, socks, or even paper plates. Once the puppets are ready, encourage them to reenact the story or come up with new adventures for the characters. This role-playing deepens their comprehension and fosters both empathy and creativity.

4. Using Props and Costumes 

Using props and costumes can significantly bolster the effectiveness of engaging storytime activities. Imagine the thrill in a child’s eyes as they see their favorite storybook characters spring to life right before them. Everyday household items can transform into magical props that make the narrative vividly tactile and unforgettable. For instance, when reading about Jonah and the whale, a blue blanket can instantly become the vast ocean, and a cardboard box could represent the whale's belly. A simple scarf can turn into a shepherd’s shawl for stories set in Biblical times. By connecting tangible objects to the story, children are better able to grasp and retain the events and lessons being taught. Moreover, props stimulate the senses, making the reading more dynamic and enjoyable. 

Here's how you can use these props and costumes:  

  • Encourage Interaction: Encouraging children to physically interact with these props—perhaps handing out a small stone while narrating David’s sling shot—can keep their interest piqued and their hands busy, preventing restlessness. 
  • Invite Kids to Dress Up: Invite the children to dress up as their favorite characters; they might slip into an old robe to become Moses or wear a headband with construction paper ears to transform into animals on Noah’s Ark. Costumes help immerse them fully into the storyline, making the experience all the more memorable. You don’t need an extensive costume collection—sometimes, a simple hat or a piece of fabric can trigger their imaginations. 
  • Create Costumes Together: Crafting paper crowns for kings or making angel wings from cardboard and tinfoil can become an art project in itself. This activity continues the story beyond the book, fostering a deeper connection and understanding of the narrative.

5. Incorporating Music and Sound Effects 

Imagine how the narrative can unfold when you weave music and sound effects into your storytime activities. It isn't just about reading words off a page; it’s about creating an atmosphere that transports children directly into the heart of the story. When you incorporate music and sound effects, it brings a unique vibrancy that’s hard to achieve through words alone. Consider reading the story of Jesus calming the storm: as you narrate, the sound of gentle rain and thunder in the background makes the scene more vivid. A soft drum or tapping on a table can mimic the pitter-patter of raindrops, while a quick flick to a cymbal can simulate thunder. These auditory cues make reading fun and help children experience the story with multiple senses, fostering a deeper connection. Thinking about the story of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho? How about adding some triumphant trumpet sounds when the walls come tumbling down? An array of easily accessible items or instruments can achieve a similar effect. Try using pots and pans to create the sound of clashing armor or gentle shaking of a tambourine for angelic moments. Parents and educators don’t need to be professional musicians; even the simplest of sounds can significantly heighten the storytelling experience and hold the children's attention. 

If you’re wondering how to effectively integrate these elements into your storytime activities, there are some practical tips to consider.  

  • Plan Ahead: Familiarize yourself with the story and identify moments where sound effects can be added for dramatic impact. Start by collecting simple instruments or even everyday household items; a kitchen whisk can mimic the sound of wind, a pair of spoons clapped together might represent the sound of hooves, and a piece of aluminum foil could imitate crackling fire. 
  • Involve the Kids: Involve the kids in creating the sounds, turning it into an interactive and fun group activity. For instance, while reading about the fall of Jericho, let the children blow their own ‘trumpets’ made from rolled-up paper. 
  • Use Recorded Sounds: Recorded sounds are another valuable resource. Apps and websites offer an extensive range of sound effects that can be played from your phone or a speaker, providing versatility and convenience. How about playing soft, soothing hymns or ambient sounds like flowing water and chirping birds during the creation story? By carefully integrating these auditory elements, you cater to auditory learners who grasp information better through hearing. 
  • Use Silence and Pauses: Balancing sound effects with silence can be powerful; it emphasizes key moments, allowing children to absorb the gravity of the story. 

Related: How to Teach Kids About God: Engaging Activities and Conversations

Wrapping Up 

How delightful is it when you see your child’s face light up with joy and curiosity during storytime? When you incorporate these engaging activities, reading turns into much more than just a task. It becomes a memorable journey through captivating narratives. 

Janet Ashmore is a Christian author offering beautifully illustrated children’s books to make storytime engaging and fun, while also instilling Christian values. Her wide range of books will capture the hearts and minds of your little ones. Each book is thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated to keep your child engaged and entertained. With diverse characters and relatable stories, her collection will not only foster a love for reading but also instill important values. 

So, why wait? Shop now and witness the wonder of reading in a whole new light. Happy reading! 

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