Take the kids’ summer reading program up a notch by incorporating a book-inspired edventure! We’ve paired up a collection of children’s book titles with real-life, nearby adventures and themes that you and your family can embark on. The suggested activities will help bring the characters, setting and plot of your child’s latest book to life! Read on to discover our recommendations for a reading edventure this summer in Des Moines!
The National Park Service turns 100 years old this year. To celebrate the importance of America’s national parks, we put together a list of books aimed at different reading levels and activities that will bring the Parks to your kiddos this summer in Des Moines.
Picture Book: The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
A lesser-known story from American history, this kids’ book tells how President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir take a camping trip to Yosemite in 1903. The result of the trip was the creation of the National Parks system in America. A great book that explains how the National Parks were started and why we should appreciate the opportunities they offer all who visit.
Early Reader: Where is Mount Rushmore? By True Kelley
It was world-famous sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s dream to carve sixty-foot-high likenesses of four presidents on a granite cliff in South Dakota. Does that sound like a wacky idea? Many at the time thought so. Borglum faced a lot of opposition and problems at every turn; the blasting and carving carried out through the years of the Great Depression when funding for anything was hard to come by. Yet Mount Rushmore now draws almost three million visitors to the Black Hills every year. This is an entertaining chronicle of one man’s magnificent obsession, which even today sparks controversy.
Chapter Book: Wolf Stalker (Mysteries in Our National Parks #1)
Wolf Stalker is the first in the National Parks Mystery series published by the National Geographic Society. Yellowstone National Park buzzes with rumors about a wolf attack. Unaware that they are in danger, 12-year-old Jack Landon and his younger sister, Ashley, have their hands full dealing with rough and rebellious Troy Haverson– the teenage foster child who’s just come to live with the Landon family. From the opening moments at Old Faithful through the next 48 hours, the dramatic tension builds. Keen pacing allows for scenes of suspense, adventure, and tenderness as readers are caught up in the fate of three kids– and the wolf they’ve come too call Silver.
Then Do That
Whether you’re planning a family trip to a National Park or not this summer, there’s plenty to do around Des Moines to learn more about the Park System. Attend the Science Center of Iowa’s National Park Centennial Celebration on June 19th, 2016. They will be hosting workshops, activities, giveaways and more. You can also watch National Parks Adventure throughout the summer in the Blank IMAX Dome Theater. The documentary showcases the beauty and grandeur of the national parks—where some of America’s most incredibly diverse landscapes remain untouched as they were millions of years ago.
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are just a little over a month away! This year, the world will be watching all the activities in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Friday, August 5th through Sunday, August 21st. It’s a great opportunity to introduce something new to the kids — maybe a new summer sport or a quick tour of the globe to find the location of Rio.
Picture Book: G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet by Brad Herzog
From the first games held in ancient Greece to the cultural extravaganzas of recent years, there have been some incredible and amazing events and milestones in the world of Olympic sports. In G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet, writer Brad Herzog showcases those athletes and events that not only set sports records but also impacted history and world views.
Early Reader: Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House! No girls allowed at the Olympic Games! That’s the rule when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to ancient Greece. But when Annie tells jack to go to the games without her, he knows she’s up to something. Will Annie find a way to see the games? Or will she get herself—and Jack—into Olympic-size trouble? Find out in Hour of the Olympics.
Chapter Book: Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams by Shawn Johnson
At age 20, American gymnast Shawn Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold and silver medalist; a national- and world-champion athlete. Already a popular role model to all ages, in 2009 she captured the national spotlight again when she won the widely popular Dancing with the Stars. This is the amazing true journey of how the young woman who won an Olympic gold medal on the balance beam became even more balanced.
Then Do That
Try using some of these activities to engage kids to learn more about the sports of the summer Olympics, location and history of the Games. Kids will love learning more about Olympic Mascots, celebrate with a Brazilian Banquet for an Olympics Watch Party by Drake Magazine or the summer Olympics hosts 28 different sports like archery, canoeing and kayaking and track and field – head out with the family and try one out.
This theme focuses on those popular summer moments and traditions. We’ve hand-picked picture books, early readers and chapter books that all share the joy of summertime along with some fun activities and places to visit.
Picture Book: Jamberry by Bruce Degen
A family fav, this book is a celebration of berries. This exquisitely drawn tale follows a boy and a bear as they feast on freshly picked blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and more. The verse is often silly and almost nonsensical, with lots of rhyming and repetition. The illustrations are full of visual puns (flowers look suspiciously like jam-filled cookies, water lilies have pats of butter inside, etc.) Originally published in 1983, it is now available as a sturdy board book.
Early Reader: Summer by Alice Low and Roy McKie’s
Better than fireworks, this classic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss celebrates all the wonderful things that come with summer! From trips to the beach and eating watermelon to fireworks and fishing, Summer will have young readers eager for the kind of fun only warm breezes and sunny weather can bring.
Chapter Book: The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.
Then Do That
There’s so much fun to be had during the summer that the ideas for activities and field trips are almost endless! After reading Jamberry would be a perfect opportunity to visit a local farm to pick berries and then make something delicious with them. The book Summer can encourage kids to get outside and catch fireflies, visit the fair, enjoy cold treats on a hot day or spend a day near the water. And of course, Lemonade Wars should inspire entrepreneurial kiddos to have a lemonade stand.
Do you have any suggestions for other book-inspired local edventures? Tell us in the comments below!