I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Top Handwork Ideas for Busy Boys {during read aloud time}

Hand work ideas for busy boys to do during read aloud time to keep their hands CONstructively busy.

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 pulled 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 flashbacks of a paint-by-number set gone all wrong.)

Handwork ideas for little boys

Vehicle Magnets and a large cookie sheet

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

Suspend Game

Snap Circuits

Medieval Catapult Kit

Survival Paracord Wristband Kit

Warfare Duct Tape Project Books

Little Bits Electronic Sets

Ravensburger Puzzles

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. 


  1. Dover and Bellerophon coloring books are my go-to solution for reading aloud--love them! I'm trying to interest my toddler in easy puzzles for this reason too, but so far no dice...

    1. Some of mine have loved puzzles and some have not. But, those Dover coloring books are always a win!

  2. Replies
    1. This particular book was the first in the Hardy Boys series.

  3. How do you know they are listening? I am afraid my boys would be too focused in what they were doing that they would not listen to what I was reading.

    1. Because they sometimes ask questions when they hear a word they don't understand, we talk about the story afterwards sometime, and they also refer to the elements of the story throughout the day. At exciting parts, they gasp. At sad parts they look up at me and sigh. They demonstrate all the key elements of listening.

    2. Studies show that kids comprehend more when their hands are busy. You can ask comprehension questions if you are not sure.

  4. Great post! It makes me have some idea to take a gift for my child in this Christmas.