We found a new back to school tradition! Have you ever heard of a Books and Bites party? I hadn't, but it all started when I printed the free Summer Reading Chart from Everyday Reading. Hosting a Books and Bites party was one of the awesome activities on it. (By the way, that chart will be another summer tradition. So fun!)
My kids were all. about. it. They wanted to invite their cousins over and helped me plan it. They even wanted to make their own decorations. And me? You know I love any sort of swap/collaborative event!
Such a fabulous way to end summer, get geared up for school, and celebrate our love for books with friends and family!
I teamed up with Allison at Allison Carter Celebrates and created some awesome free resources to help you set up your own play date with friends. Even if you aren't starting school, it's always a good time for books and bites! Be sure to check those out below!
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So What is a Books and Bites Playdate?
I like to call it a play date instead of a party. You could always make it a theme for an upcoming birthday party, but play date makes it more casual and it is more of a potluck event.
Every person attending will pick one food item OR activity that pairs with a children's book to bring to share with everyone. They should also bring the book (or at least a printout of the cover) to set by their item. This book will go back home with them though!
If you want to host during a meal time, you can provide a taco bar paired with the book Dragons Love Tacos, sandwiches paired with the book The Sandwich Swap, or pizza paired with the book Secret Pizza Party.
If you want to make it more simple and just have snacks and meet at a park, you can do that too!
I am sharing my super handy Google Doc Sign Up Sheet below. You don't have to search Pinterest for hours. I've done that for you and it has over 25 snack/activity book pairings listed, with links to what you may need! You can send this to everyone who is coming so they can sign up for what they will bring, and everyone will know what is needed (you know, so you don't end up with 4 desserts and 1 activity).
And you know what? You don't even need to host a party to benefit from it. Use it for yourself to have a list of fun activities and snacks that pair with favorite books!
Make it a Book Exchange!
I wanted to add another fun reading element to our play date. This is a great opportunity to clear out your book shelves of the books that are no longer read much.
You can ask that everyone bring one (or a few) books they have at home to trade with someone else.
We drew names and let each child pick out a new-to-them book! If you have a lot of books, you can go through this a couple of times.
Don't Forget the Activities
Fun themed food items are great, but then it's over once it's eaten! Keep the book-loving theme going with a few crafts or activities. All of the links to what you need can be found in the Google Doc Play Date Sign Up Sheet. Get it below!
We did some goldfish graphing to go with One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
We made some pigeons to go with all the Mo Willems pigeon books.
And we made some Gruffalo character sticks! I think these were my favorite!
If you have toddlers or preschoolers, someone can set up a themed sensory bin, such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom with letters and kinetic sand or a Rainbow Fish play dough station. But really, these are fun for all ages! There are so many more ideas for you in the guide!
Our FREE Resources for You
I used Allison's Books and Bites Party Plan to help jazz up our play date. She makes it SO easy and has some great decoration ideas, a printable invitation, and the link to my Google Doc with SO many ideas.
Make sure that you make a copy of the Google Doc or else you will be planning a play date with many others on the Internet! Go to File > Make a Copy.
Then click the blue SHARE button in the upper right hand corner. Click get sharable link, and make sure you choose that "Anyone with the link can edit". Otherwise, no one will be able to type their name in.
Now you are ready to send it to all your guests and get the play date ideas going!
More From our Play Date!
I just have to show you the creativity that came out of this. The kids LOVED every minute of the planning and playing!
My nephew is a dino fanatic, so of course he brought these adorable watermelon dinosaurs.
We couldn't decide between healthy or a treat, so we did both! We Are the Gardners by Joanna Gaines is a beautiful book.
Couldn't help it! It was too easy, and goes perfectly together. We love Pete the Cat.
So beary cute and tasty! I never think to slice apples this way. It has sliced marshmallow, grapes, and bananas on top of the peanutbutter.
Did somebody say Gruffalo crumble?!
And we will end on this. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is just a classic!
If you'd like to pin this for later, use this image!