Emily Leary is a Nottingham based writer, presenter and blogger. Here's her blog on how to celebrate World Book Day without a costume.
If you’re a parent, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that it’s World Book Day this week...
The letters have come home from school or nursery, the shops are full of character costumes, and you’re probably having a little bit of a panic about an outfit request so complex you’ll need a degree in dressmaking.
The kids, meanwhile, are most excited about the prospect of getting out of school uniform for the day.
Of course, World Book Day it isn’t just about the costumes, it's about celebrating and fostering a lifelong love of books and reading.
Here are some easy ideas for celebrating that go beyond the costume.
How about bringing a book to life by acting it out? This works best with books that your children know really well, because if they’re familiar with the story they can concentrate on having fun in character.
You’ll definitely be required on-stage too, so be prepared! If the weather is in your favour, this is a great one to do outside.
You don’t need to be super-skilled with the craft supplies to make simple finger puppets from felt or paper, and they’re perfect for supporting imaginative role play.
They’re also a great prop for exploring feelings and behaviour - have a chat with your children about how each character behaves, and why.
Creating a book-driven treasure hunt is a great way to play ‘guess the story’ with the kids. Raid the house for props associated with your chosen story (or simply draw a picture for trickier items), then set up a trail of clues for kids to follow. Once they’ve guessed the book, they get to tell you the story.
A mask is a fantastic way to dress up without a costume.
You can make your own from scratch with the most basic craft supplies and a bit of imagination, and the kids can get stuck in with the colouring, sticking and simple cutting.
Masks are also much less hassle when the inevitable costume-swapping happens!
It’s simple to make your own bookmark by cutting a rectangle of card and threading some string through the end, then decorating however you like. Children could draw their favourite character, copy a quote from their favourite book, or list what they love about reading.
As well as being an ideal World Book Day activity, this is a lovely way to create a snapshot of your kids’ literary passions at a particular age.
We all love a good sing-along, so why not try putting your favourite books to music? Books written in verse are probably the easiest place to start, as the words already lend themselves to a song format.
If you fancy a challenge, have a go with books written in prose. Help children to tell the story in short sentences, and then make up a tune to accompany them.
Bring your books to life by turning them into 3D scenes. There’s no need for sophisticated crafting here, just use modelling dough, paper, card or even toys you already have to hand to recreate a favourite scene.
Kids will love the combination of hands-on craft, creative thinking and small world play - and you’ll probably get rather carried-away too.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to provide your children with books that suit their age, interests and reading ability. You can borrow books from friends and family, or explore free eBooks on offer from online sites.
And of course, a visit to your local library is the perfect way to access a huge range of books with your children and encourage a lifelong love of reading – you might even find there are special event on this week to celebrate World Book Day.
Even if your children can’t read yet, you can let them take the lead and ‘read’ the story at bedtime. You’ll probably find they know their favourite book well enough to tell you the story pretty accurately as they turn the pages and you listen, and it can feel very empowering for them.
It's a fun, gentle way to end World Book Day, and the essence of what the day is all about: sharing books and having fun together.
If you have gone to the effort to make a costume - why not share it with us?
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