It isn’t all about the books: Activities that go beyond reading

Building reading habits is essential for students to gain knowledge and improve academic performance. But many kids already do a lot of reading at school, and some students can get turned off from it if it’s too forced.

…And once children lose their interest in reading, it can be hard to get them back.

Books are a great source of information, but sometimes a student’s motivation needs to come from something beyond reading. There are other ways your kids can relax and have fun, but they will still be using reading skills, such as critical thinking. 

Indoor Activities

When the weather is not favorable or you can’t go out, staying home can be just as much fun if you know the right things to do.

Play cards


Playing cards can be a real brain teaser and it’s something that the whole family can enjoy. Simple card games like Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish and War can improve memory because your student has to keep the rules in mind and remember what cards they have and which ones other people have played. Card games can help improve your child’s math and critical thinking abilities too. It can even help build confidence in your kids.

Do a puzzle


Crossword puzzles and games like Scrabble can help children enhance their vocabulary and spelling ability, which leads to boosted self esteem and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Sudoku can help develop your student’s logic, math and reasoning skills.

I remember having a great time solving newspaper crossword puzzles with my father, and gradually I developed the habit of reading the newspaper too.

Watch educational movies or shows


Watching educational movies and television with kids is also a great way to learn and have fun. They can enhance mental and social development of your children, and there are plenty of these available on the internet or movie apps. Some that might be worth checking out are Planet Earth, Mankind: The Story of All of Us or Sid the Science Kid. Check out Common Sense Media for other suggestions.

Create a quiz

This can be a great way to teach and entertain your kids. You can write your own quiz and make it interesting by including silly facts or riddles. You can also involve other children from your neighborhood, because for some kids a quiz might be considered boring but they may get interested when they see their friends playing it. You can also reward them with little gifts when they get answers correct to build their excitement.

Outdoor Activities

Summer is almost here (even if it doesn’t quite feel like it)! As the weather gets warmer take advantage of the nice weather with some fun outdoor activities. Outdoor activities are a great way for the kids to get out into nature and explore and are beneficial to their growth and well-being. There are many way to improve childhood education outside the classroom. It makes learning more interactive, and it’s important to introduce children to different places and people to broaden their horizon.


Take a day trip

You don’t have to venture far to expose your children to artistic, historical and social places. Visit museums, the zoo, historical sites or even cultural events with them. Visiting a zoo will encourage environmental awareness and increase your child’s knowledge about animals and their habitats. Museums offer dynamic opportunities to develop a connection to the past and explore new concepts, ideas and innovations. It will open the door for your child to imagine and think of possibilities that are beyond what they know.

Explore the world while traveling


Giving your child the opportunity to explore the world through travel has many great benefits in terms of life experience. When you travel with your kids they can learn so much about the world including history, geography, and diversity of cultures and customs. You can help foster a love for learning without them even knowing! Plus, they might end up developing lifelong interests, hobbies, and passions.

Attend local events

Traveling and trips are good for lots of things, but sometimes that is not always possible. There are lots of family events, classes, and children’s activities going on that you can take your children to. The best thing about local events is that they are loads of fun, unique and a dime a dozen. Here are some events happening in Omaha worth checking out:


UNO Public Planetarium Shows: April 6 – 21st

A great family event and opportunity to see the stars at the UNO Planetarium. $4 admission per person. Hosted by Omaha STEM Ecosystem

Lil’ Sprouts Yellow Blooms: April 4 and 10th, 10 – 11:30 AM

Classes are designed for children ages 3 to 5 and one accompanying adult. Adults and children will work together while learning about nature, shapes, colors, ABC’s and 123’s and will go on a journey during story time. Each participating child will create a craft, devour a snack and experience a short garden excursion. $8 for members, $14 for non-members. Hosted by Lauritzen Gardens.

Art Exhibit “Widespread Flowering”: April 12 – June 4th

By Ann Brugenhemke. Underlying concepts which have motivated creation of the work include beauty and the passage of time, space and geometry of the world of nature, illumination and a nucleus of importance. $10, free for children 12 year and younger. Hosted by Lauritzen Gardens.

Kids’ Mindful Yoga: April 15 – 22nd

Classes blend yoga and mindfulness to provide a whole-child program that cultivates present moment awareness and emotional balance. Lessons are fun and engaging to keep kids enthused about their learning and growth. $15 per class. Hosted by Omaha Power Yoga.

Earth Day Celebration: April 20, 9:30  – 10:15 AM

Join us at The Wonder Nook as we celebrate Earth Day! There will be crafts, songs, stories, and more! For ages 2 to 6. $10 per child. Hosted by The Wonder Nook Omaha.

Young Eagles April Flight: April 14, 9 – 12 PM 

There are thousands of EAA member volunteer pilots who would love to take you on a free Young Eagles flight. Hosted by EAA Chapter 80 and Oracle Aviation.

String Art Workshop: April 23, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

In this class you will choose a pattern, use a hammer to drive nails around the pattern, and then use embroidery floss to fill it in! It is much easier than it looks. No registration required for children, class fee is $34 each. Hosted by The Makery.

Heart Heroes Annual Children’s Museum Event: April 28, 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Friends and families of Heart Heroes, Inc. are invited to celebrate National Superhero Day with local heart families at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Hosted by Heart Heroes and Family First Chiropractic.

NE5 (5 mile run, kids’ 1 mile, kids’ dash): April 28, 5:30 to 8:30 PM

A scenic run starting in beautiful NP Dodge Park, age category awards & RRCA State. Championship! Fun & Food after the race! $10 for kids’ 1 mile, $5 for dash. Hosted by Omaha Running Club.

Metamorphosis, From Reclaimed Plastics to Works of Art: Ends May 3rd

From dolphins to penguins, a giant whale to a massive vortex, and other creatures of the sea and sky, Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson will show how beautiful reclaimed materials can be and change the way you see art, plastics and our environment. Free for members and children under 6, $10 for adult non-members, $5 for children 6 to 12 years. Hosted by Lauritzen Gardens.

2018 Young Artist Showcase: May 11, 6 – 8 PM

Help us celebrate the work of our young artists over the past year. See their work, hang out with your neighbors, enjoy live music and free food & beverages. Hosted by the Deer Park Neighborhood Association.

Bonsai Exhibition: May 4 to 6th

Members of the Nebraska Bonsai Society will share their passion for the art of styling trees, show spectacular specimens, and help you better understand both the art and the science of bonsai in Nebraska. Free for members and children under 6, $10 for adult non-members, $5 for children 6 to 12 years. Hosted by Lauritzen Gardens and Nebraska Bonsai Society.

Very Cherry Jubilee: June 11 and June 12th

Hay rack rides will take you to our cherry trees where you can Pick-Your-Own Cherries. There will be face painting, a balloon artist and airbrush tattoos for the kiddos as well! $2 per person. Hosted by Kimmel Orchard and Vineyard.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 4.51.09 PMHello! I am Ankita Parashar, a web developer and proud wife of a wonderful husband. Right now I am exploring myself, discovering new hobbies and enjoying life being queen of the house. I love swimming, traveling, photography and dancing. I’ve recently discovered my love for writing.

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