Summer break has officially arrived and, with it, a long list of adventurous outings your kids have been waiting for all year. Reading and learning might not be at the top of every kid’s summer bucket list, but thanks to an awesome subscription box created by two LA moms, your little explorers will be clamoring to hit the books this summer. Read on to find your new favorite.

photo: Beijos Events

Learning Inside the Box
Bear & Bud Book Club, founded by Karen Nitzken and Junia Montano, is a subscription service that delivers curated boxes of books and crafts. Each month subscribers receive a new box filled the book of the month, an activity and discussion guide, two craft kits, one for before you read and one for after, and last (but not least) a snack recipe, because reading and learning works up an appetite.

photo: Bear & Bud Book Club

The idea behind Bear & Bud Book Club is that the activities help kids engage with the stories, and have meaningful discussions about the books, rather than simply reading and moving on. Instead of being a solitary experience, reading a book in the club becomes not only a way to learn, but also a way to connect with parents and siblings. The best part is, the activities and crafts are so much fun that kids won’t even realize they’re actually learning and growing as they play.

photo: Beijos Events

Making Summer Reading Exciting
We asked Bear & Bud Book Club Founder, Karen Nitzkin, who is also a certified reading specialist and English teacher, to give LA parents some tips on getting kids to not only read books over the summer, but love it. “Summer is the perfect time for kids to read! The trick is, summer reading has to be fun. Even if kids are reading because it’s a school requirement, there are easy ways to spice up the experience. Plus, you’re helping your kids establish reading as a habit,” Karen explained. Here are some of the tips she shared:

Have fun!
We include extension activities, crafts and conversation starters that accompany each month’s book. In our “For the Love of Books” boxes, we included design-your-own bookends, make-your-own library card holders, and origami mini-books to share with friends, just to name a few. The themes for our June and July book + craft boxes are connected to summer—think swimming pools and summer camping adventures and things kids are thinking about anyway.

Make it a game.
Read anywhere. I mean that quite literally. How many creative places can your kids find to read in? We created this super-fun Summer Reading Challenge checklist printable of places for young readers to check off as they read. Can your kids read on a swing?  Under the stars?  Because once they start reading, more often than not, they won’t want to stop.

If they’re not into a book, don’t force it.
Don’t make your kids commit to a book that drags. Reading a book they don’t like can make them ditch their reading habits altogether. Help out by doing some research and offering your kids books they’ll enjoy. Independent bookstores and local librarians can be a parent’s best resource for fantastic book recommendations. Children’s Book World in Rancho Park, Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, and the Beverly Hills Public Library are our favorite go-to spots to see what’s new on the shelves.  Find books about  your kids favorite subjects or activities and you won’t be able to pry the books out of their hands.

photo: Bear & Bud Book Club

Make It Social!
If your social butterfly doesn’t want to curl up at home alone with books, Bear & Bud is launching book + crafts meetups this summer. Bring the kids for story time, meet other readers, and get creative as a family with book-themed crafts to take home. The first event will be held at the new The Social Type shop in Echo Park on Saturday July 22. Follow @bearandbudbookclub on Instagram for more details on this meetup and future events.

How To Join The Club
Bear & Bud Book Club offers both a monthly subscription service, as well as stand alone boxes. They have three categories to choose from: picture books, growing readers, and tweens (which is perfect for independent readers). A subscription is $29.99 per month or you can purchase the current month’s box for the same price. You can also buy boxes from previous months for $19.99.

Online: bearandbud.com

Got a hot tip for the best book for kids this summer?  Let’s start a Red Tricycle Book Club in the comment section!

—Shahrzad Warkentin