Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful! Yes, the warmth of the indoors, especially curled up near a cozy fire, is so delightful when winter months creep in upon us. Daylight passes far too quickly, evenings are dark and chilly. Children are spending more time on the couch in the TV zone than they are out of doors or talking to family. What to do, what to do? Winters of yesteryear were spent doing handicrafts, reading novels, and writing and putting on skits to entertain each other. Why that alone makes me think of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Living in the 21st century with all the gadgets and gizmos, easy access to countless movies and TV episodes, doesn’t mean we have to shelf all the literary fun that comes from reading a good book or paying attention to the people in the house.
In fact, there is nothing more fantastic than curling up with a really good book on a dark and cold winter evening. Whatever your genre preference, there is an adventure waiting to take you far away. Fantasy stories take the reader to fantastic imaginative worlds bright with color, unique characters and creatures, and adventure that is beyond this world and this life. For example the Harry Potter and Fablehaven series are excellent fantasy novels to be enjoyed by advanced readers or family read alouds. Stories of romance may not be at the top of every boy’s list of stories to read, but a little love will warm any heart during chilly months. Younger kids would enjoy Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren and How Do I Love You? More advanced readers may enjoy Geek Charming, which is also a movie and could be fun to watch after the last page is read. Mystery novels with their puzzles and crimes to solve will distract the mind from the bitterness of the winter wind. Firing up your Sherlock Holmes brain thinking skills and trying to solve the mystery before the author reveals the truth may improve analytical thinking skills. The Geronimo Stilton series will engage readers 7 and up. How about one of the older series featuring young detectives such as The Boxcar Children or Nancy Drew, or grab the newer version of Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. Want to get some goosebumps that aren’t from being cold? Try a good horror or ghost story such as Coraline for ages 8 and up, the Goosebumps series for ages 8 and up, or Wait Till Helen Comes for ages 9 and up. Science Fiction books range in theme from other worlds, space travel, or even future dystopian societies right here on our own planet. Books to try are Star Wars and a series called The Shadow Children. Let’s not forget about the nonfiction genre where we get to read about real people, events, and subjects that will educate, inspire, motivate, and encourage us!
Although simply curling up with a book is quite inviting, there are other literacy activities that can distract children from boredom and electronics. Crossword puzzles will enhance vocabulary and playing word games such as twenty questions or I Spy as a family will certainly help pass the long evening hours. Electronics aren’t completely unnecessary in fending off winter blues, but in moderation, can enhance a literacy activity. For example, read Holes by Louis Sachar and then watch the movie and discuss the differences between the two or write your own movie script and then record the performance for future viewing.
So whichever activity hits your interest button, hop to it, get busy, pull a book off the shelf, give it a little dusting, and curl up with a healthy and cozy dose of literacy; fireplace optional.
Writen by: Suzanna Tolman