TRC Read to Kids

Welcome to The Reading Connection’s blog, where you’ll find the best guidance on reading aloud to kids. Whether you are a TRC Read-Aloud volunteer, parent or student, the book themes and crafts ideas, child development guidelines and recommended websites will expand your world. For 25 years, The Reading Connection has worked to improve the lives of at-risk kids by linking the magic of reading to fun experiences that inspire a passion for learning. Visit our website at

Monday, January 12, 2015

In praise of the toilet paper tube

The Real Face of Terror.

An empty toilet paper roll is usually a bad thing. The thought sends folks to stores whenever snow is in the weather forecast. Many a household argument has begun with "Who used up the toilet paper?!" bellowed from behind the bathroom door.

The lowly toilet paper roll is a workhorse as far as crafts, science experiments, musical instruments and imaginary play. And best of all, it's free and almost always readily available.  

The next time you are looking for a hands-on activity to do with at your Read-Aloud or with your kids, check out these TP roll ideas.


Read books about buildings like Let's Try It Out With Towers and Bridges by Seymour Simon or your favorite version of The Three Little Pigs. Then try this experiment to see how strong those tubes really are. 

    toilet paper roll skeleton
Read Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney and then make a skeleton of TP tubes. 

DIY Marble Run from Toilet RollsRead Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee and then build marble run.

seed starter pot 1
Find your favorite version of Jack and the Beanstalk or read Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert and then grow some seeds in a tube. 

Read Once Upon a Starry Night: A Book of Constellations by Jacqueline Mitton and then make a TP telescope and look at the stars.

Read about motion, vehicles or rockets and then make balloon-powered carsa rocket, or a ping pong ball launcher. Read Sheep Blast Off by Nancy Shaw, Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by Douglas Florian for inspiration.


Read about your favorite musicians or try the Happy Hedgehog Band by Martin Waddell or Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and then make your own TP roll band!
Exploring Sound with a Homemade Kazoo~ Buggy and BuddyKazoo 

Maracas  and shakers 


The internet had lots of ideas for animals and other toilet paper roll crafts. You'll find binoculars, superhero wrist cuffs, flowers, wreaths, games and lots of other ideas. Just pick a book related to your craft, or one that is about imagination (like Not a Box by Antoinette Portis) and dive right in.

   Paper Roll Flowers

If you're inspired to use toilet paper rolls at a Read-Aloud, check with The Reading Connection office.  We have a good supply.  

 To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.

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