Polar Vortex – Warm up with This Literacy Idea

polar vortex activityAccording to the weather map, many of us here in the States are feeling the effects of the Polar Vortex. Aside from the usual President’s Day shutdowns, things here in Mr. Jefferson’s city are at a standstill due to (yet another) winter storm.

We have just the thing to help you to push away that nasty polar vortex chill: a cocoa picnic. Back in the day, it was a favorite past-time in our house with a certain toddler/preschooler/Kindergartner/First Grader.

A Polar Vortex Cocoa Picnic

Truth be told, the weather was often just an *excuse* for a cocoa picnic. Sometimes we shared a cocoa picnic because we needed a quiet afternoon activity, maybe someone was feeling under the weather …. whatever the reason, its magic is in the spontaneity of enjoying time together reading.

What You’ll Need

  • Material that can be read aloud
  • Warm cocoa, or seasonal beverage of choice
  • Light, healthy snack (optional)
  • Blanket (optional)
  • Variety of pillows (optional but recommended)

Picnic Set-Up

Step 1. Find a great spot on the floor that isn’t your usual reading place. Maybe its the little-used living room, under the dining room table, or even the kitchen floor.

Step 2. Gather your books and set them in the center of your picnic area. Put snack in place, if desired.

Step 3. Invite your readers to join you at your picnic site. Once they’re situated, bring cocoa and share with each person.

Step 4. Start reading.

Recipe Variations

The key to a great cocoa picnic is that it fits your reading patterns, style, and goals. For example, when I wanted quiet reading time, I selected “quieter” books.

  • You can select all books or alternate picks with your fellow picnickers.
  • Include a toddler’s favorite book and ask them to *read* it to you.
  • Get elementary-aged students involved in setting up the picnic by letting them select books, pick the spot, etc.
  • Start or continue reading a chapter book.

Although our Polar Vortex cocoa picnic highlights books, don’t discount other literacy materials. Share and explore youth-oriented magazines (e.g., Highlights, Sports Illustrated for Kids, et al); play word games or work on puzzles together; incorporate crayons, coloring books, and/or drawing materials.

Got another idea on how to make the most of a stuck-inside kind of day? We’d love to hear about it!