By Peg Baron

I'm one of those people who can't step inside a bookstore without taking a big appreciative whiff of that ever-present book smell with a little coffee scent thrown in. I love to read and I want my children to be fluent readers and lovers of books, so I have come up with 7 creative ideas to help them get to that magical place.

1. Reading Wall - Cut out 4" by 4" squares of colored construction paper. When your children have each read a short book or a chapter from a longer book, depending on their age, they get to fill out one of the squares and tape it on the wall. This should be a big, bare wall in your home that can hold lots of these colorful squares. It looks pretty cool when it's done, and the kids have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. If that's not satisfaction enough, then you can offer a prize when the wall is filled; perhaps a boxed set of their favorite book series or membership to a book of the month club for each.

2. Read In - Some evenings are meant for a "read in." The kids get into their pjs, grab their favorite book, and jump onto the biggest bed. This works best when everyone is involved, including Mom and/or Dad. Some kids like to hang off the end of the bed and read upside down and some like to read using your stomach as a pillow. By the way, the floor is quicksand.

3. Changing Places - Everyone finds a place to read and they can't be in the same spot as someone else. After about 10-15 minutes, you yell "change!" and the kids find a different place to read. Kids love to find the most unusual places that become their favorite places to read, even when not playing this game. I've seen kids in the bathtub with a sleeping bag, in a closet with a big flashlight, and curled up on the dog's bed. One favorite spot is on a pillow behind the couch.

4. Quotes and Pictures - Ask your child to read a book of their choice and tell you at the end what their favorite sentence or quote was and why. Which picture was their favorite? If there were no pictures, ask them to describe a scene they pictured in their mind.

5. Library Twirl - Go to the library and head for a section in the juvenile area that they wouldn't normally go to, perhaps non-fiction. Twirl them around with their eyes closed and have them grab 10 books from different shelves. Then with eyes open, they can look through the books and take home the ones they find interesting.

6. Mystery Quote - Go to your children's bookshelves at home and pull out some books when they're not watching. Read one or two really great sentences from each book and have them guess which book they came from. This helps them to remember the books they've really enjoyed in the past and perhaps would like to read again. It also helps them appreciate a well-written phrase.

7. Book Review Blog - The kids can start a book review blog online. There are several sites where you can set up a free blog for them very easily. Of course, you want to set up restrictions about using a nickname for the sake of privacy and having you pre-approve all posts. Each book reviewed can follow a formula like: skill level, # of pages and # of chapters (some kids really care about that), quote the opening few lines, a 3 sentence summary of the book, what they liked about the book, and what they didn't. They can even give the book a star rating.

Some kids lean towards reading naturally, and others can use a fun nudge in the right direction. Perhaps with these ideas your kids may find reading interesting, inspiring, and magical. Who knows, maybe they'll even learn to love the smell of a good bookstore.

Peggy Baron reads with her kids in Colorado, and runs http://cookinkids.com, a website devoted to helping parents and kids have fun together in the kitchen. Peggy is the editor of the popular Cookin' Kids Newsletter, a bi-monthly newsletter with fun facts, recipes, jokes, games, cooking safety, and cooking terms wrapped around different themes.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peg_Baron

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By Peg Baron

To put it in a nice way, my son is rather squirmy. He doesn’t like to sit still for very long unless he’s playing a video game, then it’s just amazing. So instead of constantly telling him to sit down and do his math, we take it outside or up the stairs, literally. I’d like to share some of ways we like to “do math” when sitting still is too much. Try these games with your child and I think you’ll agree that math and exercise can go hand in hand.

Stair Math
Math flash cards are usually pretty boring. What you can do for your active child is put a card on each step going up your stairs and then along the hall and into another room. Place these every foot or two. Some kids like to be timed, so get out your stopwatch and yell “go!” My son will race up the stairs as quickly as he can while shouting out the answers. He makes it to his room and jumps on his bed in triumph. You can do this game several times.

Flash Card Toss
This math game works particularly well at our house because we have an open area at the top of the stairs that looks down on the family room. Actually, anywhere in your house or outside will do, and it’s great for a child who has a lot of pent up energy! Take a flash card and fling it as far as you can. Have your child run after it, pick it up, solve it, and race back to you. You can do this until either the kid runs out of steam or you injure your throwing arm.

Shoot 10 Baskets
There are many variations to this game and you can adjust it to fit your child. You can play with an actual basketball hoop or wadded up pieces of paper shooting at the trash can.

1. Have your child shoot 10 baskets and keep track of how many they make. Do this in series of 10s, as many times as you want. Next, show the scores to your child and have them figure out his average per 10 baskets he/she has made.

2. This game requires quick thinking. Ask your child to shoot 10 baskets and then ask him/her to tell you the ratio of missed baskets to baskets shot, or the ratio of made baskets to missed baskets. You can do this with any number of shooting attempts and have them answer quickly before they shoot again.

3. Another way to play is to ask them to shoot 10 baskets and figure out the fraction of made shots to total shots. Next, have them reduce their fraction, and then turn their fraction into a percentage. They should do this in their head, or if they need to write it down, you can supply sidewalk chalk or pencil and paper for some quick figuring.

Interactive Story Problems
A little imagination on your part, plus a stopwatch, makes this one fun! You make up the story problem and your children act it out. Here are some examples:

If [your child’s name] runs from the mailbox to the back fence in [however long it takes him in seconds], and [another child’s name] runs the same path in [however long it takes her in seconds], how many minutes were spent running this route by both of them altogether?

If [name] threw the ball [measure in inches] and [Mom] threw the ball 9 inches less than that, how far did your amazing Mom throw?

You are going to time your child skipping, running, hopping, running backwards, race walking, and running on all fours. But first, let him or her rank the order in which they think they will do these, from fastest to slowest and estimate their times. Then time them and compare with their estimate.

After that, you can make up all sorts of story problems:

How much faster did you skip than hop?

How many minutes total did it take you to do all of them?

Which is faster – running and running backwards vs. race walking and hopping?

These games are just a start in practicing math with your active child. I’m sure you can think of quite a few more once you get started. One thing is for sure, after playing these math games, they’re ready to sit down and do some passive reading!

Peggy Baron plays with her kids in Colorado, and runs http://cookinkids.com, a website devoted to helping parents and kids have fun together in the kitchen. Peggy is the editor of the popular Cookin' Kids Newsletter, a bi-monthly newsletter with fun facts, recipes, jokes, games, cooking safety, and cooking terms wrapped around different themes.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Peg_Baron

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