10 Read Aloud Activities Your Kids Can Do While You Read

The ideal read aloud activities are things that will keep your children’s hands busy while their ears listen to you read. Over the years, I’ve found that some toys and/or activities work much better as read aloud activities than others. Here’s a quick list of 10 different things that always work for us.

10 Things Your Kids Can Do While You Read Aloud ThouShallNotWhine.com Homeschool | Read Aloud

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LEGOs and DUPLOs are daily go-to toys in our house. These are great read aloud toys because they’re relatively quiet and it keeps the kids’ hands busy and mouths shut.

Draw or color

This one is kind of a no-brainer. The kids can free draw or draw something specifically from the book you’re reading. Maybe their favorite part or character?

We have special read aloud time markers and paints that only come out when I’m reading. This way the kids are more likely to sit and be quiet because they get to use the special markers and paints!

Paint with water

My children absolutely love the paint with water books and the Water Wow books. I keep a stock of them because . . . hello . . . they only use water!

Melty Beads

Now these, admittedly, can make a mess if they get knocked over. But! They take so much concentration that usually the kids don’t knock them over and tend to remain really quiet while using them.

Snap Circuits

Snap Circuits are Maxwell’s favorite activity to do during read alouds. The instructions are visual, so they’re easily put together by non-readers too!

Play quiet games

The kids are free to play games with each other as long as they are quiet. Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of quiet games out there, but we have found a few. I store the games and the play dough together, so I’ll list that activity here, too.


Puzzles are always fun, especially the giant ones!

Play with pretend toys

We don’t keep a whole lot of toys in the house, but critters are among the few. The girls have accumulated many animal families and structures at birthdays and Christmas.These are always an option for read aloud play.

Eat a snack

If their mouths of full of food, then they’re (hopefully) not talking, right? When we first started reading aloud, this was my number one tactic to get them to sit still for a while.

I just used simple snacks like pretzels and cheese cubes, yogurt and granola, or popcorn. Sometimes hot chocolate and graham crackers. Anything cheap and yummy will do.

Play outside

Of course, you’d have to be outside too, but sometimes that’s what it takes! There’s nothing wrong with heading outside to read. Let them play in the dirt or sand while you read. They can blow bubbles, pick flowers, dig for worms, make flower necklaces. . .  there are many, many things kids can do outside while you read.

So, here are 10 things (actually, I think it’s more than 10, but who’s counting??) that have consistently worked as good read aloud activities. What would you add to the list?

12 thoughts on “10 Read Aloud Activities Your Kids Can Do While You Read”

  1. Great ideas! My kids played with Legos, drew pictures, or ate snacks during read aloud time. Or closed their eyes and looked like they were asleep – but they could tell me what I read afterwards, so they must have been listening! 😉

    • Isn’t it funny how they do that? Just when I’m about to give up because I don’t think they’re listening, they spout off exactly what had been read!

  2. Hi! I was wondering how long do you actually read aloud for? 20 minutes at a time? Or until you finish the book/section? Just curious as I make plans!

    • Hi Theresa! In the beginning, I only read 15 minutes or so, or about the amount of time it took to finish one chapter or a couple picture books. As time went on I was able to read longer and longer. Now, about six months later, we are able to read a good hour to hour and a half each day without fuss. It takes time to build up to it, just be consistent and you’ll get there! 🙂

  3. Thank you for these great ideas. We do a lot of reading, and I know sometimes it gets to be too much for the children. I always felt weird letting them do other things, thinking they won’t be paying attention. I have begun to realize I need to let them do something else. These are great suggestions.

    • Yeah, I always have the kids do something while I read. In general, if their hands are busy, their mouths are shut. 😉


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