5 ways parents can combine reading with play, an essential part of learning

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s summer reading program is in full swing. Now through August 31, Pittsburghers are encouraged to “Read Five!” and log them on the website.

But how do you get kids to read and play?

CLP Children’s Specialists know play is an essential part of learning. CLP staff Cheryl Patalano, Laura Hughes and Megan Branning compiled a summer reading list below that pairs playful activities with books to keep children learning all summer long.

1. “Five Little Ducks: First Book of Nursery Games,” by Allie Busby. Full of nursery games, CLP Children’s Specialists recommend this book because the nursery rhymes are great inspiration for children to move their bodies. CLP staffers suggest pairing this book with costumes or stuffed animals from the book to enrich the experience, which supports language development.

2. “Off to See the Sea,” by Nikki Grimes. From Children’s Literature Legacy Award-winning author Nikki Grimes and acclaimed illustrator Elizabeth Zunon comes an adventurous bath time story. CLP staffers love this one because there are so many opportunities for play. For ideas, they recommend creating a beach trip or ocean-themed play station or pretending the couch is a boat drifted out to sea.

3. “The Hidden Rainbow,” by Christine Mattheson. After you are done reading this interactive book, CLP Children’s Specialists recommend extending the learning and play with a color sorting activity. Can your child find something in their home for each color of the rainbow? Or maybe create an art project using plants and treasures found in the yard or take a neighborhood walk together. Take a look at CLP Kids Club at Home: Sketching Nature and CLP Kids Club at Home: Good Deeds Process Art for even more art inspiration.

4. “Jabari Tries,” by Gaia Cornwall. This book is sure to inspire your young engineer to do some hands-on STEM creating. Use blocks, paper tubes and boxes to create the greatest launching ramp ever. The book also fosters creative thinking, persistence, problem-solving, and models a positive sibling interaction.  Check out this CLP Kids Club at Home: Ramps and Rollers video for more tinkering inspiration.

5. “Smithsonian Maker Lab Outdoors,” by Jack Challoner. If your kiddo was inspired by Jabari but needs more step-by-step instructions, or your older kid is starting to experience some summer boredom, this non-fiction project book will come in handy. Creating and making lead to lots of learning opportunities. Each project comes with a “How It Works” and “Real-World Science” section, perfect for those who prefer a non-fiction read. Try making a cardboard boomerang with CLP Kids Club: STEAM Cardboard Creations.

Kids, teens and adults can participate in our Summer Reading program by signing up online or by visiting a CLP location. Kids can also receive a free book when they visit a CLP location, while supplies last. 

 If you’re looking for some book suggestions, be sure to check out Carnegie Library’s Personalized Recommendations form. Fill it out to receive a list of titles catered to you or your family. For more information, connect with Carnegie Library by calling 412-622-3114 or email info@carnegielibrary.org.