1. Have kids read to you at bedtime

Turn bedtime into a chance for kids to take the lead—have them read you one of your favorite childhood books. For ideas, check out the list of every Caldecott winner since 1938:

http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecottwinners/caldecottmedal

The New York Public Library also has a list of the best 100 children’s books over the last century:

http://www.nypl.org/childrens100

2. Throw a book-themed party

With backyard BBQs in full-effect, why not have a party featuring their favorite books? Check out Pinterest for ideas:

https://www.pinterest.com/LaughingGBooks/book-themed-kid-s-parties/

And if you or a friend is expecting, check out these book themed baby shower ideas:

http://blog.hwtm.com/2013/05/10-childrens-book-themed-baby-shower-ideas-free-printables/

3. Create trading cards based on your favorite authors and characters

Check out readwritethink’s online card creator: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/student-interactives/trading-card-creator-30056.html

Or make your own!

4. Keep track of everyone’s reading online

With Reading Rewards—kids can log both their books and their time spent reading them. The free version allows parents to double check the time spent and kids earn Reading Reward credits for every minute spent reading.

http://www.reading-rewards.com/

Adults can keep track of their active reading list and wish lists via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/

5. Check out some of the best in nonfiction children’s writing

The National Council of Teachers of Teachers of English honor the best in nonfiction for kids with their Orbis Pictus Award. Recent winner and honorees, here: http://www.ncte.org/awards/orbispictus

6. Start a garden…and read about them, too!

If you little ones have little sprouts of their own, have them do some reading about the miracles happening underneath and above the soil:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/adventures-in-learning/2014/04/best-gardening-books-kids/

And for more ideas to get kids’ green thumbs’ busy, check out Kids Gardening: http://www.kidsgardening.org/garden-resources

7. If stargazing is part of your summer plans, engage your budding astronomers with web sites and books

NASA has a number of sites geared toward kids.

For a basic intro to the solar system, check out:
https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/kids/

NASA’s kids club:
https://www.nasa.gov/audience/forkids/kidsclub/flash/#.VX7UdRNVhBc

Get your kids interested in what’s happening aboard the International Space Station—NASA provides links about nutrition in space and how astronauts stay fit more than 250 miles above the Earth’s surface:
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/ops/research_student.html

8. Like a lot of families, your summer plans may include a trip to a Walt Disney park. As you put on your ears and head off, have kids read about the man behind the mouse:

“Who was Walt Disney,” by Whitney Stewart

http://www.amazon.com/Who-Walt-Disney-Whitney-Stewart/dp/0448450526

And for more biographies in the “Who Was” book series, check out: http://www.whowasbookseries.com/

9. If your family is planning a trip to one of America’s more than 50 National Parks, give them something to read during a long car ride:

National Parks: A Kid’s Guide to America’s Parks, Monuments and Landmarks”http://www.amazon.com/National-Parks-Americas-Monuments-Landmarks/dp/157912884X

And check out the National Parks’ site for kids with their WebRangers app:

http://www.nps.gov/kids/

10. Start your own free library!

Free community libraries are popping up everywhere…and you can make one, too! It’s a great way to connect with your community and have your kids share their love of reading with others.

For ideas, check out:

http://littlefreelibrary.org/

11. Pack a picnic

Everybody loves a picnic! Have kids make these easy-to-do recipes for healthy, portable outside snacks:

http://www.todaysparent.com/recipes/quick-and-easy-picnic-recipes/?gallery_page=2#gallery_top

Even cookbooks can tell a story…get kids interested in culinary journeys with these 10 cookbooks for kids:

http://www.grandparents.com/food-and-leisure/cooking-with-kids/best-cookbooks-for-kids

12. Learn about the creatures in your own backyard

Summer in the backyard can be an inspiring time, with everything from frogs and turtles to butterflies and praying mantis! Have kids read about these critters:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2013/02/19-books-about-bugs.html

And then have them write about it in their very own nature journal:

http://www.nwf.org/kids/family-fun/outdoor-activities/nature-notebook.aspx

13. Start a book club

Book clubs don’t have to just be for adults. Help your kids start their own book club with these handy tips from PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/kids-book-club-basics/

14. Learn about summer storms

Summer is all about the sun…but when the skies turn dark and stormy (which they’ve been doing a lot in the Midwest lately), it’s a good time to get kids reading about the wonders of meteorology. Here’s some titles to get them started:

http://www.powells.com/section/childrens/meteorology/

And when a big storm starts brewing, use these simple techniques to track how far away the storm is:

http://www.weatherwizkids.com/experiments-track-thunderstorm.htm

15. Get kids reading about the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July isn’t just about fireworks, parades and cookouts…kids can read about the history of America’s forefathers (and mothers!) in these great titles:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?category_id=404064