How to Have Fun and Games With Picture Books

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Most kids love hearing stories, and you likely aren’t getting any complaints about story time (though some kids like stories more than others). But no matter how much the kids like books, sometimes it’s just fun to shake things up a bit.

Story time can easily become a fun and interactive game if you know how, so for the first post in The Story Time Series, here are my three favourite ways to turn story time into fun and games:


Find pictures books where the words don’t make it exactly clear what’s happening in the illustrations, and get the kids to fill in the gaps. Here’s some examples so you know what I mean:

  • Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel (If you’re interested, I reviewed this book for Kid’s Book Review here). This book is about a pet show. The pets slither and squawk and nibble, but they are never named, so the kids can have fun telling you what the animals are and matching them to their actions.
  • Feathers and Hair What Animal Wear by Jennifer Ward and Jing Jing Tsong (Kids’ Book Review review here). This is another good book where the animals are not named in the story text. The kids can yell out the animals they see as you turn the pages (and the illustrations are simply stunning).


Find books with secret things hiding on the pages for the kids to point out. Lots of illustrators hide special reoccurring characters on each page, and your kids will LOVE looking for them. Some examples include:

  • Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts. In Tyrannosaurus Drip, a sneaky, blue dinosaur can be found on almost every page.
  • Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart and Marc Boutavant (Kids’ Book Review review here). In Never Tickle a Tiger, a cute hedgehog hides amongst the pages.


Let the kids choose a book and get them to read it! They likely won’t know the words, but get them to make up a story based on the pictures. Give them ideas if they get stuck, but let them go wild. I promise the results will be hilarious and the kids will enjoy being in control of story time.

And I promise you, you don’t have to research or buy new books to play these game. Check your collection at home, and I’ll bet you find books you can use to play with.

Next week we’ll look at How to Teach Maths With Picture Books, so make sure to check back next week for that one.