Inside: There’s nothing better than book activities that bring favorite stories to life. Not only do we have some amazing ideas here for you, but all of the books on this list can be found read aloud online, too! Enjoy!
These Book Activities will Bring Your Favorite Stories To Life!
When my oldest was in pre-kindergarten, his grade conducted a phenomenal book study that taught the students all about books, from A to Z.
When the study was finished, it culminated in one awesome book-themed party, and each child came dressed as his favorite character from a story.
At that point in time, my son was a wee-bit obsessed with Creepy Pair of Underwear (the obsession lives on today!), and for his costume, he just HAD to go as Jasper Rabbit. Two bunny ears and one pair of creepy underwear later, he had one adorable outfit.
Making this costume together brought this book alive. It was pretty remarkable to see how much he engaged in this activity, simply because it was related to his very favorite story.
Book Activities Based on Children’s Stories Engage Kids and Inspire Them to Imagine and Create!
If your little ones have a favorite story, why not extend that book with some awesome bookish play? I’m no activity blogger, but I rely on many remarkable ones when seeking out activities based on beloved children’s books, and I wanted to share them with you today.
You don’t have to worry if you don’t have these stories at home. That’s because every single one of the books featured below can be found (legally) read aloud online!
So fear not if bookstores and libraries are closed for the time being. You can still enjoy the magic right here on your computer through some fabulous sites.
So what are you waiting for? Get to it – these wonderful books and activities are waiting for you.
Bookish Play: Book Activities Based on Children’s Stories we Love!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault and illustrated by Lois Ehlert: Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room? As the letters from A to Z race up the coconut tree and then fall back down, your children will be enthralled! I dare you to read this and then not have the words stuck in your head for the rest of the day — or week. Kids love this one, and the rhythmic text and lively illustrations make it a classic. This will forever be one of the very best alphabet books for children!
Don’t have the book? Chicka Chicka Boom Boom can be found right here on Vooks!
Because this is a fabulous alphabet book, we love the idea of using manipulatives to help children with letter recognition and more. Babies to Bookworms has some wonderful ideas right here, which include using pipe cleaners, magnetic letters on cookie sheets, and sensory bins to help you retell the story.
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andrae and illustrated by Giy Parker-Rees: An oldie but goodie, and one we love for the way it reminds us all to embrace each and every one of our attributes — even the most, shall we say, ungraceful! Even if you are different, even if you aren’t the best at every skill you undertake, this sweet book reminds us that we are all so very special— and so very great. This is a favorite on our list of self esteem books for kids!
Don’t have the book? Giraffes Cant Dance can be found right here on Vooks!
There are a lot of fabulous book activities that complement Giraffes Can’t Dance, but one of my very favorites are these giraffe marionette puppets on Red Ted Art. Using simple materials like paint, toilet paper rolls and construction paper, your kids can easily make their own dancing giraffes — and you can even turn them into puppets with the help of straws, popsicle sticks or chop sticks!
My Garden, by Kevin Henkes: One little girl loves helping her mother in her garden. But if she had her own garden, she has some pretty innovative ideas about how it would grow — and what would be in it. It would even be magical! We love this creative story about one girl’s imaginative garden journey — and the jelly beans, seashells, umbrellas and tomatoes the size of beach balls she would nurture and find there!
Don’t have the book? My Garden can be found right here on Vooks!
There are so many great ideas that can complement this book. If you have a garden outside your home, have your kids take a walk through it and create a five senses journal! They can describe what they see, what they smell and how they imagine all the veggies, flowers, and herbs growing in it will taste. No garden? No problem! This is a great chance for kids to use their imaginations. Let them imagine what would be in their own gardens. They can draw their garden, write their own story about it, or even create a diorama using a shoe box and materials you have around the house!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle: How many of you cherish this story from your own childhood? This is the classic story of a caterpillar who eats his way through lots of food (and the book itself!!) before becoming a brilliant butterfly. It’s a perfect story to help reinforce colors and numbers, as well as metamorphosis which always fascinates young children.
Don’t have the book? The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be found online, read by Eric Carle himself, right here!
There are so many ways to extend the joy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and we love these two ideas so much. Fireflies and Mudpies shares an awesome and simple way to make a wiggling caterpillar right here and The Joy of Sharing has simple steps to follow to make caterpillar finger puppets right here!
Too Many Toys
Too Many Toys, by David Shannon: Spencer’s toys are taking over the entire house, and with his parents stepping on legos and tripping over trains, they are becoming safety hazards, too! Mom and Dad say it’s time for Spencer to clean up and get rid of some of his trinkets and games, but Spencer loves each and every one. What will it take for him to realize that the best toys may just be the simplest of all?
Don’t have the book? Too Many Toys can be found right here on Vooks!
One great project your kiddos can tackle after reading this story is a toy clean out. Easiest way to do it? Have kids create two piles, one called “save” and one called “share.” Go through a toy closet or shelving area one row at a time, and have your kids think thoughtfully about each toy they pull off the shelf. Questions they can consider: do I still play with this? Have I outgrown this? Does this still bring me joy? Do I have any special memories attached to this toy? Based on their answers, they can either save it or put it in the share pile to donate to children in need.
Another great option to go along with Too Many Toys? Toys create clutter — and clutter creates mess and dust. Spring cleaning games to the rescue! We love these games from Sunny Day Family, as well as her expert ideas for how to organize a playroom. There is no time like the present to teach kids some tips and tricks about organization, and a play area is the most perfect place to start!
The Snowy Day
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats: In this classic tale, a young boy wakes up to discover snow has fallen during the night. He goes outside to fully experience the first snowfall of winter, and as he plays, his eyes open to the wonder and possibility of the new world at his fingertips, for everything changes when draped in a blanket of soft white.
Don’t have the book? The Snowy Day can be found right here on Vooks!
Here’s a super fun snow activity by Days With Grey to get creative with after reading The Snowy Day. Not only will it encourage your kids to create a unique snowman (using marshmallows or any other edible materials you have at home!) but your children will then get to build that snowman his own snowy shelter using blocks or magnetic tiles. The best!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead: Amos, a zookeeper, spends time everyday with all of his animal friends at the zoo. He delights in being a friend to each of them, and he is sensitive to their unique needs. When Amos wakes up one morning too sick to get to the zoo, Amos’s friends decide it may just be time they return the favor. This is single-handedly one of the best children’s books about friendship to teach little ones about empathy and compassion.
Don’t have the book? A Sick Day for Amos McGee can be found right here on Vooks!
One of my favorite things about this book is the way Amos engages in activities with his friends he knows they will enjoy. One wonderful way to encourage empathy is to have your kids make coupon books for each member of the family. Have your children think about three activities each family member enjoys – from playing catch to cooking dinner to reading together. Then, have your child create a special and unique coupon book for each of these family members. Each coupon can be created in a creative manner, and then “redeemed” by the recipient for quality time spent together, engaging in activities the recipient loves most!
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig: What happens when a wish you make has unintended consequences? That’s exactly what happens to poor Sylvester, who accidentally turns himself into a rock. Sylvester longs for his parents, and Sylvester’s parents miss him so. And then one day, Sylvester and his family are reunited — and they immediately recognize that when they are together, they don’t need anything else!
Don’t have the book? Sylvester and the Magic Pebble can be found right here on Storyline Online!
I love the way this book reminds us of all the ways that family — and the things we have — enrich our lives and are truly all we need. Why not celebrate this notion with making beautiful painted rocks, like these on Hello, Wonderful, to remind your friends and family how much you love them? Whether you paint pictures to make others smile or write inspiring words and phrases, rock painting is the perfect pairing with this fun book!
The Empty Pot
The Empty Pot, by Demi: This is the story of Ping, a young boy hoping to grow the most beautiful flowers and become heir to the emperor. When the seeds given to him by the emperor fail to grow, he faces two tough options: exchange his failed plant for a beautiful new one and lie, or tell the emperor that despite his best efforts, his seeds did not bloom. This exquisite story masterfully illuminates how telling the truth can be the most courageous action one can possibly undertake — and it can result in great, great rewards.
Don’t have the book? The Empty Pot can be found right here at Storyline Online!
As this beautiful story revolves around growing flowers, it provides a perfect opportunity to create your own artistic flower garden at home! Meaningful Mama has so many great garden crafts on her site. For little ones, I adore this egg carton flower bouquet craft, and for those of you with older kids, these origami flowers will brighten up any room! Need a vase for your new flowers? Check out this adorable idea for soup can flower pots from Wunder-Mom.
Harry the Dirty Dog
Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham: Harry, a white dog with black spots, loves lots of things — but he does not love the bath. He adores exploring though, and after a day long adventure, he is so dirty, he looks more like a black dog with white spots! Will his owners recognize him when he gets home? This classic story is so much fun — and perfect for little kids who, like Harry, just don’t want to take a bath!
Don’t have the book? Harry the Dirty Dog can be found right here at Vooks!
Kids may not like taking baths, but they certainly love giving their toys baths! This ”Clean the Cars” activity from Busy Toddler can be done in so many different ways — you can use cars, dogs and other toy animals, baby dolls, fruits and veggies, and more. It’s a perfect activity to keep little ones entertained outside — one that offers a quick set up for you and a long period of play for them. It’s a win-win!
Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes: Little Chrysanthemum loves her name— until she begins school and gets made fun of by the other kids because it is so unusual. Chrysanthemum has trouble accepting her uniqueness, until she meets someone else with a similarly unique name who helps her realize that there is beauty in being different from the crowd. This is a wonderful book to discuss bullying, kindness and self acceptance!
Don’t have the book? Chrysanthemum can be found right here on Vooks!
Have you ever made flower ice letters? We love this unique and engaging sensory play idea by Parenting Not Perfection to complement this fabulous book! Ice — with its cool to the touch, slippery nature — makes for a perfect play base. When you place water and flower petals inside alphabet ice trays and freeze them, you’re looking at amazing ways to learn letters, work on sight words, and, like Chrysanthemum, practice spelling your own unique name!
I Need My Monster
I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam: When Gabe, the monster that lives under Ethan’s bed, goes on a fishing trip and won’t be back for a week, Ethan knows he’s got no chance of falling asleep without Gabe’s familiar breathing in his room. Ethan takes it upon himself to interview creatures that might hide under his bed temporarily, but will they be scary enough to do the job?
Don’t have the book? I Need My Monster can be found right here on Storyline Online!
I love crafts using toilet paper rolls or empty juice boxes because we always have those lying around the house! Meaningful Mama’s idea for making milk monsters is darling, and these guys sitting on a shelf in a bedroom can help kids remember that sometimes, we need our monsters! And if you find you have some clothespins lying around the house, check out this fantastic Feed the Monster game by Moms and Crafters!
Good Night, Gorilla
Good Night, Gorilla, by Peggy Rathman: Did you know that zoos have bedtime? Well, they do — and just like children get mischievous at bedtime so, to, do the animals. Find out what happens when one gorilla gets his hands on the keys to the animals’ cages… and the animals let loose before bed. This one is a classic, and little ones have so much fun looking at the silly antics that happen behind the zookeepers back!
Don’t have the book? Goodnight Gorilla can be found right here on Vooks!
After reading this story just one time, your kids will be eager to create their own zoos — and they can do so easily with this amazing toilet paper roll animal craft from Red Ted Art! These guys are absolutely adorable and so much fun to paint and create!
The Kissing Hand
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper: Leaving a parent is not easy for many kids. Whether it’s going to school for the first time or simply being left with a babysitter, that separation can be tough with a capital T. Here, one small raccoon is nervous to start school. Why? He doesn’t want to leave his mom, of course. This book has helped us through so many situations, and my boys always remember that wherever they go, I am always with them, even if not physically present. Check out our full review of The Kissing Hand here!
Don’t have the book? The Kissing Hand can be found right here on Storyline Online!
Your kids will be delighted to make their own Chester Raccoons! Whether you want to make a stand up craft or a card to share with a loved one, The Best Ideas for Kids has fantastic projects to pair with the Kissing Hand that will undoubtedly delight your little ones.
Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak: Who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for this childhood classic? In this remarkable picture book, Max puts on his wolf suit and is ready to create some mischief until, of course, he is sent to bed without dinner. But while he is in his bedroom, a forest suddenly springs up around him, and Max is whisked into the kind of adventure that can only be conjured by a child’s vivid imagination. But what happens when Max misses home?
Don’t have the book? Where the Wild Things Are can be found right here on Vooks!
Your children will love the world Max creates, and they will be inspired to create their own wild things. We adore this wild things craft masks activity by Red Ted Art which is easy, creative, and oh so fun. Your kids will love creating their own masks out of grocery bags, and you will marvel at the imaginative play that ensues long after this craft is finished.