The other day, I read a fiction book aloud to my kids for an hour-and-a-half. Straight. Right in the middle of the day. That's 90 minutes from the same book. In all, I think we got through four chapters. My kids just kept clamoring for one.more.chapter.
I read until I nearly lost my voice. ( And for someone who likes to talk all the live long day, that's saying quite a lot.)
The story had captivated us and we just couldn't get enough of it. I know what you're thinking.
Doesn't she have like a million kids? And aren't most of those boys?
To be honest, many days I feel like I could give a solid YES to both those questions. But, only the latter is true.
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I have five kids, all but one of whom are boys.
Like most boys, they are busy. They are fidgety. They are delightfully squirrelly. (Yes. I said, "delightfully." Stay with me on this one...)
So how do I do it? What's my secret sauce? How do I get them all to sit for an hour-and-a-half straight?
The formula for keeping the mutiny at bay is simple really.
It's a combination of really good book selections and handwork.
Handwork...that would be the CONstructive work that I encourage my boys to do with their hands while I read out loud to them.
Because the truth is, my boys just aren't all that interested in sitting sweetly and sedately on the couch. And I'm not all that interested in shenanigans. So, handwork is an easy compromise. They can move. And I can have quiet during read aloud time.
Sadly, while there is always a big-o-list of crafty-type projects that seem to interest most girls, it's sometimes difficult to find handwork for boys.
But, I've culled together a collection of handwork that I think would easily drain the fidgets out of most boys and that won't cause unintentional chaos. (Insert scary flash backs of a paint-by-number set gone all wrong.)
Handwork ideas for little boys
Dover Coloring Books
Themed Play Rugs by Melissa and Doug (construction site, train tracks, race track, horse ranch) and small figures
Vehicle and Construction Puzzle Box Sets
Water Wow! Packs
Sticker Dressing Books
Handwork ideas for older boys
Medieval Catapult Kit
Survival Paracord Writstband Kit
Warfare Duct Tape Project Books
Little Bits Electronic Sets
Knot Making Cards and Rope
Beginner's Whittling Kit and a large cookie sheet for catching wood shavings
For whatever reason, we have this notion that read aloud time should look like a Norman Rockwell painting, with all the little cherub-faced children gathered around the fire sipping cups of cocoa while "Ma" reads from some leather-bound classic. But, that's just a spotted unicorn fantasy, folks. You hear about that kind of read aloud time in legend, but it never actually exists. Simple handwork projects dial back the chaos so that the story can be heard and enjoyed by all.