Is it sometimes a struggle to keep your child quiet and engaged during reading time? If you have a wiggly child, a talkative child, or just need some help keeping your kids focused during read alouds, you’re definitely going to want to check out my list of quiet activities for reading aloud. These activities can be completed quietly as you read without much instruction or assistance.
I recommend beginning your read alouds after giving your children approved activities to busy their little hands while you read. You can even theme many of these tools to match the topic you’re reading about at the time, making these quiet activities a tool for reinforcing lessons as well as keeping little hands busy.
Ready to see our list of favorite quiet activities for reading aloud? Keep scrolling to discover our top 10 favorite activities.
Which kinds of activities are perfect for read aloud time? I have learned that the perfect activities for this time are ones that engage your child’s hands, but don’t distract their focus.
Choose activities that take a bit longer to do. After all, you don’t want your child to become bored before reading time is finished.
It’s also important to choose tasks which can be done quietly. For example, we love STEM tools for a quiet activity. However, I avoid our Learning Resources Gears because they tend to be noisy and a bit distracting while reading.
Coloring pages are a great way to reinforce what you’re learning during lessons or read aloud time. Kids like coloring and it helps build important skills like fine motor strength and concentration. It’s also an excellent way to help your child concentrate on the story you’re reading. You can use printable coloring sheets you download and print or purchase coloring books. Let your child choose what they want to color and they’ll stay engaged and attentive while you read.
It’s true, painting can be messy. I tend to avoid traditional painting during read alouds because I dislike needing to provide lots of different colors, worrying about potential messes, and feeling the need to supervise while I read.
Instead, we opt for painting with water. You can get simple paint with water books at the dollar store for your child to use during read alouds. We really like to use the Usborne paint with water books. These books are amazing for older kids, because they are more detailed.
Using paint with water books, like the Usborne books, means I don’t need to provide much (just a cup of water). Also, there’s less opportunity for mess and any messes aren’t a big deal since it’s just water anyway. Not worrying about paint messes allows me to focus on reading.
I also love sticker books! Sticker books take time to complete, so it’s easy to keep my child engaged while I read. We really like the Paint By Sticker books. There are easy versions labeled “kids” and more advanced versions appropriate for older kids to complete during read alouds. There are lots of different topics, so it’s possible to choose a sticker book that matches up with the theme of your story.
How to Draw Books
We like “it’s fun to draw…” books by Mark Bergen. They are our favorites because his technique works with a fat crayon, so they’re perfect for little hands. As your child gets older, try “Draw. Write. Now” because they contain step by step instructions and copy work for handwriting practice.
These books come with lots of different themes, so you can choose your child’s favorite topics or pick a theme that matches your current read aloud. Either way, these drawing books will help your child build fine motor skills and practice creativity while listening to you read.
Small Crafting Kits
These little kits are an excellent way to keep little hands busy while you read aloud. I like to choose small, self-contained kits that include all the elements needed to create a craft. These kits include small DIY cross stitch and embroidery kits or foam sticker crafts.
I can usually find this type of small contained crafting kit at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I like to stock up when they are on sale for just a dollar or two for my child to enjoy later as a quiet activity during read alouds.
Loose Parts Kits
We love these loose parts kits from Mulberry Toes! These kits contain loose pieces and parts for building, designing, and open-ended pretend play. I also really like that these kits are small and contained, making them easy to grab and carry to wherever we will be reading that day.
Puzzles are another great option for a quiet activity during read aloud time. We prefer Melissa and Doug floor puzzles or puzzle kits from Usborne. The Usborne puzzles also come with a puzzle book and they’re high quality which means we can use them for a long time.
Play Dough Kit
Our current favorite play dough kits are from Playfull Days. These boxes have become a part of our morning basket each month. They contain 3 kinds of playdough, wooden stamps, loose parts, and lots of small manipulatives. My child loves these so much! She will play with these kits from Playful Days every day, always making or doing something new.
Another fun quiet activity for reading aloud is exploring a sensory bin. These are easy to create and they can be very inexpensive. I choose a sensory medium to fill the bin with like rice, dry pasta, beans, sand, etc. Then, include a few items to explore. For example, our current bin contains dyed rice and a few safari animals for my daughter to explore and enjoy while I read.
We have a STEM Center you can check out here. Our building tools are stored in Trofast bins. During read alouds, I can quickly grab a bin and let my child use the tools inside as a quiet activity while I read.
Some of our favorite quiet building tools include:
- Lego Bricks
- Wooden Blocks
- Plus Plus Blocks
- Train Sets
Remember, you might want to avoid building tools that are noisy as these might be distracting during read aloud time. Save less quiet activities for a time when they won’t detract from your lessons.
Want even more ideas for keeping little hands busy but quiet while reading aloud? Check out the complete list from Sarah Mackenzie at Read Aloud Revival. What are your favorite quiet activities for reading aloud? Share your favorites in the comments, so we can try them at home too.