Start with a Book offers free, downloadable toolkits and guides to enrich summer and afterschool learning at home or through youth programs.
Explore music, nature and the environment, space, civics, multicultural stories, and more!
Our toolkits and guides:
Dive deep into weather! Make your own weather station, explore extreme weather, make weather-inspired art, celebrate weather and community! Understand how climate impacts your community and the world and make a plan to help. Weather Wonders is a 5-day program that connects books and writing with hands-on activities and other active learning opportunities. Join us ... to explore, read, write, play, invent, and learn — all about weather and climate.
Imagine making music with your body, inventing simple instruments with recycled materials, playing conductor, building community through call-and-response singing and group dances, creating a music time capsule, drawing to music, designing an album cover, exploring voices and songs of social change, and writing original jingles, parodies, and raps. Tune In is a 5-day program that connects books and writing with hands-on activities and other active learning opportunities. Tune In makes sure that summer is NOT a time when kids take a vacation from learning — instead, they read, explore, learn, and create!
Learn about the connection between birds and dinosaurs, fantastic feathers, finding food and hunting prey, bird brains, nest-building, bird songs, and how we can protect birds and their habitats. Take a daily bird walk, set up an observation station, and start a personal bird journal. Bird Buddies is a 5-day program that connects books and writing with hands-on activities and other active learning opportunities. Our downloadable toolkit has all the resources you need for your summer program or at-home learning.
Where do stars come from? Why does the moon change shape? What is the solar system and why is the sun at its center? How big are all the planets? What is gravity, and is there gravity on the moon and the planets? What’s it like for astronauts to live and work in space? Questions around space seem to be as infinite as the night sky itself. Our 5-day Space Rangers program includes dozens of carefully chosen fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, and educational media to deepen the learning.
River Rangers gives kids a chance to learn about the life and science above, under, and around rivers including topics around pollution, water conservation, and plant and animal life. River Rangers combines hands-on activities with great fiction, poetry, and picture book biographies, inspiring kids to learn all about the complex world of rivers. Our downloadable toolkit has all the resources you need for your summer program or at-home learning.
Meet the Trailblazers
Meet remarkable men and women of color who helped to shape our world. They pursued their passions despite racism, prejudice, poverty, and injustice. They were scientists, writers, poets, athletes, pilots, activists, dancers, musicians, inventors, astronauts, and more. Meet the Trailblazers offers a wonderful collection of picture book biographies, plus reflection questions, hands-on activities, and writing prompts — to jump-start conversations, curiosity, and exploration.
We Are Storytellers: Exploring Multicultural Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Myths
This story-lovers DIY summer camp is all about multicultural folktales, fairy tales, tall tales, and myths! Storytellers combines hands-on activities with great fiction, poetry, and picture books — inspiring kids to learn about oral and written storytelling, plots and characters from different cultures, and the power of writing, telling, creating, and sharing stories.
Our Democracy: Government, Voting, and Active Citizenship
This civics and social justice-related DIY summer camp is all about voting, voting rights, and active citizenship! With Our Democracy, kids will learn more about what our local, state, and federal governments do, how our elections work, and simple ways to get involved as an engaged citizen in your own communities. Books and activities also explore how social movements like the Voting Rights Movement produce change, and the leaders who pushed for those changes despite the odds.
DIY science camp: weeks of fun and learning!
Parents and youth program staff! Looking for ways to bring more science into your summer and afterschool learning activities? Choose a topic below, then explore the hands-on activities. You'll also find recommended fiction and nonfiction books plus theme-based apps and websites to deepen the learning. (Find lots more books and activities by browsing our complete library of Science, Nature, and Math themes.)