We all want to instill a love of books in our kids. After all, reading is an enjoyable, educational and – perhaps most importantly – quiet activity. And, as temperatures outside heat up and the prospect of dealing with little caged tigers indoors looms, 10 minutes happily immersed in a good picture book may, just possibly, avert a major mummy meltdown.
So the launch of the Young Magrudy’s Camel Club this month couldn’t come at a more opportune moment. The scheme, aimed at kids aged seven and under, is designed to encourage the whole family to pick up a book to share at home. Free to join, kids get a Camel Club card, which will be stamped every time they (or, more likely, we mums and dads) buy a new picture book. Collect four stamps, and the fifth book is absolutely free. There are plenty of best-selling children’s books to choose from, including top titles from popular authors such as Eric Carle, Lauren Child, Roald Dahl, Polly Dunbar, Oliver Jeffers and Korky Paul. Not only that, the card will also entitle the young holders to get stuck in to special Camel Club in-store events, including edutainment activities, storytelling and competitions.
The scheme launches on May 15 at the Jumeirah kids’ branch of Magrudy’s. Pop along at 3pm to see Elliott, the Time Out Kids bear, collect his card, meet the Magrudy’s camel (as yet, nameless – see right), fling yourself into a raft of art and craft activities and join in the storytelling sessions.
We at Time Out Kids reckon this is a fantastic idea, so we’re giving you a helping hand with a copy of the card, already stamped with not one but two of our special Time Out Kids tokens. There’ll be more tokens to spot in the June and Summer issues of the magazine, so keep your eyes peeled and collect them all to earn yourselves a free picture book.
Tell tale tips
Read aloud to your kids every day
Setting aside a special time – say just before bed – is a great idea, but don’t be afraid to vary the timing and location to make it more fun. Read on the loo, in the bath and in bed, or create a ‘reading tent’ with a blanket and a chair.
Use props and tricks
Flicking the light on and off to signal a storm, using a torch under the covers for a scary story, dressing up like your favourite characters – all these techniques help make the experience special.
Ham it up
Okay, you may feel a bit daft, but transform yourself into a theatrical performer and you’ll definitely grab your kids’ attention. Go faster or slower, louder or quieter as the plot dictates, and use dramatic pauses for effect.
Involve the kids
Encouraging questions or getting them to describe pictures, finish the rhyme or guess what will happen next. Dramatise their role in the story, or even just get them to hold the book and turn the pages.
Let them choose their own books
If you’re wading through Little Red Riding Hood for the 100th time, it may be time to try something new, but don’t force stories in which they have little interest.