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  • Writer's pictureOur Playful Learning Journey

8 Tips For Growing Your Child's Love of Reading At Home + Unicorn Themed Bookish Play

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

Tips for how we inspire a love of reading in our home + some unicorn bookish themed playdough play using brightly coloured loose parts.

Unicorn themed books and bookish play for children. Playdough and loose parts with Thelma the Unicorn book for children
Adding in books to the play was a great way to encourage an interest in reading

Growing a Lifelong Love of Reading

Developing a love of reading in your child is something that will be of great benefit throughout their life. Not only will it help them when they start to read at school, but it will also allow them to learn new things, grow their imagination and have an enjoyable flow and relaxation activity as they grow up!

Let's talk about some of the ways that we can grow a love of reading at home.

Use books in an invitation to play

This week and last week, I added in some picture books as part of our invitation to play. Both weeks this has encouraged both girls to read more, with both engaging with the books on display.

I have read these books to the girls lots this week and the girls have also used the Chameleon Reader with the Thelma books. The Chameleon reader hadn't been used much in a while, so it was great to see it used again. Miss 2.5 especially likes using it to listen to the books.

Add books to their play space

I will be using this strategy of adding a few books to their space each week to encourage them to continue to read lots of books and grow their love for reading.

Make reading part of your routine

We are great at reading of a night before bedtime, and before nap time with Miss 2.5, because this is part of our routine. However, we haven't been reading as much as I would like during the daytime, so this has been helping. Thinking back, the girls both looked at books and got me to read to them a lot more when we had a small bookshelf that displayed books in our lounge room (we took it out because of lack of space).

If you have the space, this is a great way to encourage your child/ren to read more. Adding a few books to the play shelves/play space, might be another good option.

Rotate books to renew interest

Rotating books is another strategy to help to renew an interest in reading and make old books new again. Put some books away and bring out some other books.

Read to and with your child

Reading to and with your child is such an important thing that you can do to help them to become lifelong readers.

It helps to:

  • Grow their vocabulary

  • Develop their enjoyment for reading books

  • Develop an awareness of aspects of print as they grow - such as the title of the book, author and illustrator, blurb, spine, front cover, back cover etc.

  • Begin to understand that we read from left to right

  • Understand that print has meaning

  • Develop an awareness of rhyme (when reading rhyming texts)

  • Learn more about topics - e.g. non-fiction, or exploring feelings, such as when Thelma was sad etc.

  • Plus so much more.

Model being a reader yourself

I also make sure that the girls see me read my own books and enjoy reading myself. Modelling being a reader yourself, is also important for developing a love of reading in your children.

Visit the local library

Visiting and borrowing from the library is also a great way to check out new books and encourage more reading. Miss 6 brings home library books from school now, which she really enjoys doing! As a family we also enjoy buying new books that we like and want to enjoy again and again. I regularly buy new books for us to enjoy.

Set up a bookish themed invitation to play: A unicorn themed invitation to play.

Unicorns are such fun, magical little creatures to play with. Both my girls enjoy unicorn themed play, which is great because it suits children of a range of ages.

The other night Miss 2.5 found the little unicorn figurines and was interested in playing with them, so the next day I set up this unicorn themed invitation to play for both girls. I added in some of our brightly coloured loose parts and some unicorn themed books. Miss 6 helped to find the unicorn themed books and was excited about this.

Unicorn themed playdough play for kids. Bauspiel lucite cubes, Wild Republic unicorn nature tube and playdough stampers as an invitation to play for kids.
A variety of brightly coloured loose parts invite children to play imaginatively

Both girls have enjoyed playing here multiple times over the last few days. We reset the space after each play, so it can be used again in a different way.

The girls got a tub of Wild Dough playdough for Easter and both love the smell (the sparkles are extra special too). We usually use homemade playdough made in the Thermomix (with some eco glitter added in), which both girls enjoy too.

Here is what we used:

Unicorn bookish themed play for children with playdough and loose parts
Unicorn themed invitation to play
  • Divided tray - from Rata and Roo

  • Unicorn figurines - Wild Republic Unicorn Nature Tube

  • Coloured chickpeas (painted with metallic paint)

  • Let Them Play playdough stamps and rolling pins

  • Bauspiel lucite cubes

  • Playdough

  • Unicorn themed books

  • Kinfolk Pantry weather themed playdough cutters

  • Paper wing shapes

  • Extra - Chameleon Reader (from The Creative Toy Shop)

* Important - All play was supervised by an adult. Small parts are recommended for children ages 3+ as they are a choking hazard. Always supervise your child while playing.

Both of my kids enjoyed playing with this unicorn themed invitation to play. They stamped and played with the unicorns, cut the playdough with the scissors, make a unicorn land and made playdough dragonflies!

Unicorn themed playdough play for kids
Lots of fun was had with the playdough - cutting it, making dragonflies and little unicorn lands too.

In summary - some ways to grow a love of reading at home!

  • Enjoy reading a range of books to and with your child.

  • Make reading a part of your daily routine e.g. before naps, before bedtime.

  • Make books readily accessible.

  • Add books into your play space/play room or living area.

  • Add in some books as part of an invitation to play.

  • Visit the library, buy some new books to read, or rotate your books to make old ones new again.

  • Model being a reader yourself!

  • Set up an bookish themed invitation to play!

Loose parts play for children with playdough and Bauspiel lucite cubes, Wild Dough playdough and Let them play playdough stamps.
Little unicorns and loose parts led to some creative play.


Thank you for reading this week's blog post!

I hope you found some inspiration for setting up some bookish themed play for your child. If you have ways that you encourage more reading in your house (or classroom), I would love to know. Let me know in the comments below, or over on Instagram.

Happy reading and playing!

Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way!

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Free printable number leaves with playdough flowers as a counting activity for children
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Unicorn bookish play for children

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