• Melanie Notaras

9 Fun Things you can do with Books in the School Holidays!

Updated: Aug 13


The temperature’s rising, the kids are getting fidgety, the cicadas are blasting out their insane chirruping … HOORAY the summer holidays are (nearly) here!

If you're looking for fun things to do in the school holidays then here are nine fantastic ideas that will keep your children entertained. And while they’re crafting or visiting, they won’t notice that they’re still reading and thinking - about books! Give yourself a pat on the back for painlessly stopping the dreaded summer slide (the sharp drop in reading ability due to lack of practice over the long holidays) while the kids are doing something fun. And bonus - many of these activities are cheap or free.

1. Build a book safe! If your child has ever wanted a secret passage, then they’ll love to create their very own secret book safe. It’s a 2 to 3 hour craft activity creating something they'll really treasure. You can start by pre-cutting the pages if they’re too young to handle a sharp knife – there’s still plenty of gluing to do. They'll probably be interested in reading bits of pages that they cut out; and don't discard them, they can be reused for other crafts (bookmarks, origami, papier-mache). Choose an old book that you were going to throw away, and get book crafting!

2. See a play or movie based on a book! There are plenty to choose from this 2018/2019 summer - The 91 Storey Treehouse (play - Opera House, Sydney), Wind in the Willows (play - Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and Melbourne), Mary Poppins Returns (movie - State Theatre, Sydney & Regent Theatre, Melbourne), Alice in Wonderland (play - Rippon Lea House & Garden, Elsternwick), The Jungle Book (play - Vaucluse House, Sydney) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (play - Capitol Theatre, Sydney). Best to read the book before you go, and you'll be guaranteed a huge discussion about the differences between the book and play.

3. Meet a famous children’s author and get your new book autographed! Who doesn’t love a brush with fame? A quick chat, photo or autograph is virtually guaranteed to make your child a fan of the author and their book series. Author events are run usually at larger or specialty bookstores, are free to attend, and are often held before Christmas (to maximise Xmas sales). Check your local bookstore, though if you’re in Sydney you can meet Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Belinda Murrell, R.A. Spratt, Tim Harris and more at Dymocks!

​​4. Join your local library’s Summer Reading Club and win prizes! Many libraries run them. Children can enter a ‘raffle ticket’ for every book they've read into the Summer Reading Club raffle box, with fabulous prizes drawn every week or at the end of the holiday period (our library's prizes last year included board games, movie tickets, art supplies, and an iPad mini). The more books you read, the more chances you have to win – and joining is free.

5. Take your kids to the library for a workshop - craft, science, 3D printing or cartooning workshops, or other activities such as movie screenings or role-play / board game leagues are either free or at minimal cost. Sessions run for 1 – 1 ½ hours, so check what’s available at your local library and sign up early as these holiday events are often popular. At the end of the session, don’t forget to borrow a book!

6. Set up a Summer Book Club with your children’s friends. It’s a lovely way to structure meetups over the holidays, every 1- 2 weeks. All kids read the same book before they arrive, then meet to discuss it (if they’re old enough, they can run the discussion themselves; if they’re grade 3 or under, an adult can lead it). Afterwards have fun with crafting or cooking activities related to the book just read, or simply playtime! Worried it sounds dull? It’s not. Kids book clubs are springing up all over the place.

7. Create a board game based on a book or series they’ve read! Even kids who don’t think they're creative or bookish can love this angle on literacy-without-them-knowing-it. It’s a fantastic creative activity for kids to prepare either on their own or together with a friend, helping develop concentration (on both crafting and book topic), recall, comprehension – and logic skills (as they have to make up a consistent set of game rules). Plus kids love showing off their mastery, especially when you play the game with them! Of course, let your child pick the book/series that they’re really passionate about, and the style of the game – it could be trivia based, or a variation of an existing board game like Monopoly … or best yet, their super random utterly unusual invention.

8. Visit an endangered shop species ... an actual bookstore! Give your child the wonderful experience of losing themselves inside a quirky and character-filled bookstore. Top picks to visit are: Sydney (Kinokuniya, Dymocks city), Melbourne (Readings Carlton, Hill of Content, Sun Bookshop and The Younger Sun), Brisbane (Archives Fine Books, Clarence Corner Book Shop), Adelaide (O’Connell’s Bookshop, Matilda Bookstore, Imprints Booksellers), Perth (Crow Books), Hobart (Cracked and Spineless), Darwin (The Bookshop) and Canberra (Impact Comics, Book Passion, The Curatoreum). Bring your wallet - your child won't want to leave the books they've discovered behind!

9. Explore the wonder of the oldest public library in your City! Have you ever been to your City Library? They're usually elaborately historical buildings with plenty of wow – thousands of books stacked on wall-height shelves over many floors! Although you usually can’t borrow or buy the books, the buildings and books can be breathtaking to look at and these quasi-museums often have book-related exhibitions to enjoy – be sure to catch the 100 years of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie exhibition at the State Library of NSW, open now until Feb 2019.

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My School Adventure customises gamebook adventure novel The Art Show That Came To Life At [Your School Name Here] to schools including 4 real teachers as characters and 22 different endings, as a unique and exciting reading fundraiser. Stay tuned for our second novel, The Science Fair That Went Berserk At [Your School Name Here]. For more information on how we can assist your school please visit www.myschooladventure.com.

Interested in buying The Art Show That Came To Life At Bundock Primary School? Australian readers please click here; rest of the world, click here.

You can also connect with My School Adventure on Facebook and Pinterest, or with author Melanie Notaras on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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