Friends can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be real or make-believe. Some of our favorite friends are found in books for kids. Frog and Toad, Elephant & Piggie and the list goes on and on.
How about combining great books and real-life friends? Create a small group of book friends!
Here are all the details to start a monthly book friends club for kids.
Starting a Book Friends Club
It’s never too early to introduce kids to book clubs. Enjoying and discussing books builds a love a reading.
It is also a great way for friends to get together or to meet new people with a common interest.
I prefer to keep the book friends club small. Have your child pick 3-4 friends near the same age to participate in the fun. If you are a classroom teacher, form small groups of the same size.
Yes, you can start a book friends club even with toddlers.
Plan to meet once a month for 30-90 minutes.
Decide if you will host the club in your home/classroom or rotate amongst the participants. You may also decide to have destination club meetings. If you are reading an apple related book, you might meet at the apple orchard for that month’s club. We also like to meet outdoors in the backyard, playground or park.
There are so many ways to set up your book friends meetings. Here is a suggested schedule.
1. Sing a song related to the theme of the book. JBrary has some great song to use.
2. Read the selected book. Make sure the kids are sitting close enough to see the pictures. And, read with lots of expression.
3. Do 1-3 activities related to the book.
4. Enjoy a snack and talk about the book and activities.
5. End with another themed song or a good-bye song. One of my favorite closing songs is “The More We Read Together” from Story Time Secrets.
6. Free play time for the kids gives the adults time to talk and brainstorm ideas books the kids might be interested.
Each meeting you will share a wonderful book and activities with the kids. There are so many great resources to help you with selecting books and planning the fun. But, I highly suggest asking the kids in the club which books they are interested in exploring.
I have our Story Time in the Park series which was set up for a large group, but you will find lots of great books and ideas to adapt for your book friends club.
There is also our Family Dinner Book Club series that would easily adapt for a book friends club date. You will probably want to stick to the picture books options on the list.
Virtual Book Club for Kids is a monthly book club that features a particular author or well-loved book. Several bloggers (including me) share a variety of activities inspired by the book. A few of my favorites have been Mo Willems and Eric Carle.
Preschool Book Club highlights a book accompanied by six amazing projects from a very talented group of bloggers including Homegrown Friends, Buggy & Buddy and Sugar Aunts. They even have a Pinterest board of all the posts they have shared.
Poppins Book Nook is another collaborative effort to bring you lots of book related ideas. Each month the team focuses on a particular topic or theme.
The Mommy and Me Book Club site is no longer active but it is packed with book club resources.
Baby Toddler Book Club is super helpful for the youngest book club members. Featured books have included Pete the Cat and The Snowy Day.
There are 12 story time books and activities sets available at My Joy Filled Life.
I also have a story time ideas Pinterest board full of ideas that you will want to follow.
- Choose books that have great dialogue and big bold pictures for a small group to see.
- Be clear about expectations with children and adults before you begin. If you expect caregivers to help out, make sure to tell them that so you aren’t disappointed.
- Check to see if kids have any food allergies or restrictions before planning snack time.
- Sometimes less is more. It’s really about friends enjoying good books. It doesn’t have to be a massive party.
So have fun creating your book friends club play dates!
For more friends ideas related to early childhood visit our #TeachECE co-hosts posts.
Role Playing How to Be a Good Friend by Mom Inspired Life
Songs About Friendship for Kinder and Pre-K by Capri +3
Teaching Kids About Friendship and Being a Good Friend by Raising Lifelong Learners
Making Friends: Teaching Kids to Learn and Respect Different Names by Munchkins and Moms
How to Play with Friends a Preschoolers Visual Guide and Game by Powerful Mothering
Helping Your Homeschooler Socialize by Still Playing School
Making Friends Even When You Are Homeschooled by Learning 2 Walk
Making Friends: Qualities We Look For in Friends by Tiny Tots Adventures
Tips for Helping Preschoolers BE a Good Friend! #TeachECE by The Preschool Toolbox BlogFree Friends Play Dough Printable by Life Over C’s
Working Together to Create a Classroom Community by Fun-A-Day!
Teaching Kids How to Make Friends by The Educators’ Spin On It