As homeschooling moms we sometimes need a reason (or an excuse) to get out littles together with other kids. Starting a book club is a brilliant way to combine socialization and education without putting too much pressure on any one kid or family.
So how do you start a book club for kids?
First things first. Make sure your kids are interested in being involved in a book club. If they aren’t, this is never going to work. If they are interested, get them involved from the get-go. Let them pick the first book, create invitations to join, and be involved in the decision of when to hold meetings.
Once you’ve got your kids on board, talk to other parents and see if they would like to participate. A good number for a kids’ book club is 4-8 kids. That way there are plenty of opinions to toss about without having an overwhelming number of them. Be sure the children you invite are close enough in age to enjoy the same books.
Find out what be a good time to meet each month and set a date. First Monday or last Thursday, or whatever, but pick a date and stick to it. Once you start postponing or changing things up, it gets harder and harder to make it a regular meeting. That’s why you talk to the other parents Before You Start Planning.
Now is also the time to decide where to meet. Will you rotate houses among families? Or will you try to find a central meeting place? Many libraries have rooms available they will let you use for such meetings. Sometimes there’s a small fee, but sometimes they’ll let you use them for free. If you’re going to rotate among participating family homes, make up a schedule and share it with your co-parents so they can make changes if necessary.`
Planning a book club for kids
You can have a picture book club or a chapter book club, whichever suits your age group. The first thing you have to do (obviously) is pick a book.
- For a chapter book club, pick an age-appropriate book that the kiddos can read in a month. For a picture book club, pick a book that can be read aloud to the littles at the beginning of the meeting. Or you could pick a theme and have them read related picture books before they meet.
- It’s a good idea to have more than one parent in attendance (especially if you have 8 kids), so if all the parents can’t be there, try to have at least one adult helper for the hosting parent. Not only does it make activities and discussions easier to control, it gives mamas and dadas a bit of social time, too.
- Plan a discussion The hosting parent can come up with discussion questions, or you can pick one of the kids to lead the discussion each month. Kids tend to love being given responsibility for making the club work—it makes them feel grown up. And for some reason, no matter how us old people envy them their childhood, kids like feeling grown up best of all.
- Make theme-related snacks. Snacks don’t have to be complex. Cupcakes or a fun veggie tray or cookies will do. But it will be more fun for the littles if the snack relates to the book. And they don’t get wine with their book club, so that’s fair.
- If you want, you could come up with some book-related activities or crafts to go along with the discussion. Especially for younger kids, this would help fill the time while giving them something to do that helps them engage with the book. If you need activities for picture books, check out my Story Times. They have plenty of crafts and science activities that might work. For chapter books, novel studies and Pinterest are full of great ideas. But even better? Read the book yourself and have your littles help you come up with activities for the meeting.
- I recommend keeping the meeting to an hour for picture book clubs and 2 hours for chapter book clubs. There’s no reason you can’t hang out for longer than that and just have fun, but any longer for the book clubs and the kids may start to lose interest.
That’s it. Easy peasy. If you need ideas for books to read, check out Story Time, YA Book Reviews, or What to Read Wednesday. I’m a big fan of recommending books, so there are lots to choose from.