I am raising serious bookworms in my house. For which I am eternally grateful. They would read all day, every day, if left to their own devices. We have a rolling cart for library trips, which are still frequent. The reality is, this leaves me longing for more connection. Don’t get me wrong, I love our quiet afternoons spent cozying up together to read books and listening to music. However, I miss the days when interactive play filled our hours, so I had to get creative!

Whether you are in the same boat with kids who love to read, or you are looking for ways to get a reluctant reader more excited about books, here is an idea anyone can enjoy.

Literary Theme Nights

It started with Harry Potter, which always gets my kids excited. We decided to have a birthday dinner for Harry Potter for his birthday on July 31st. So I asked my kids for ideas. And that led them to revisit the books to find a menu for our dinner. We ended up having a delicious meal and then watched our favorite of the movies: Prisoner of Azkaban. It was something I am sure we will be making an annual tradition.

Then I came across a cookbook I knew would interest my kids: Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. After receiving a boxed set of Dahl’s books last year, my son has declared that Roald Dahl is his favorite author. We perused the recipes in the book and I started to form another theme night in my head. Fantastic Mr Fox, if you aren’t familiar, features a fox who does battle with 3 farmers. These farmers and their wares led us to plan a menu. There is a movie that we could enjoy as a family. It was one of our favorite Literary Theme Nights!

Then as we were looking at a delicious chocolate cake recipe inspired by Matilda, my kids wondered aloud when Roald Dahl’s birthday was. For the record, it is September 13th. So off we went, planning our celebration. We went with a Matilda theme. This one was easy on me as we decided that TV dinners a la the Wormwoods would be fun. We ate in front of the TV watching the movie, and then we enjoyed chocolate “birthday” cake along with Bruce. It was something the kids looked forward to for weeks, and again, will end up on our calendar for next year!

Make It Your Own

My family has enjoyed these evenings and it has led to fun discussions. They have had to dig back into the books they have read to find ideas. They now let me know when a book they are reading would make a good Theme Night. It is fun if it has a movie attached, but maybe it’s a craft, or a picnic! Anything that gets the kids thinking about the book they read and excited to spend time together.

Try one of the above menus. Print out the planner and create your own fun night based on a family favorite story. This planner can be used in a few ways. Kids can write in their own planning on their own, with a parent’s help, or young kids can draw pictures of their plans.

However you do your Literary Theme Nights, enjoy celebrating together with stories you read!

Literary Theme Nights Planner

This post was originally published on October 10, 2019.
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Kristal is a native of California, lived in Utah, and now lovingly calls Colorado Springs home. She grew up in a household with four younger siblings and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz. She and her husband are raising their elementary school aged children in the Briargate area. With kids in school full time, Kristal is an active member of the PTA, and spends time working in local schools. She is passionate about connecting moms in our community. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks in the aisles of Target, dancing it out in Zumba classes, drinking copious amounts coffee, cooking dinner as a form of therapy, and last but certainly not least, spending time outdoors with her family.