The great outdoors may beckon your young readers but that doesn’t mean they have to leave the books at home. Whether it’s the sun or the moon that’s shining brightly in the sky, the outdoors encourages all sorts of new places to kick back as a family and enjoy reading. Follow these 5 ideas for reading outdoors this summer:
1. Set the stage: Create a comfy reading nook outside wherever you are, whether it’s at the park, the beach, or your own back yard. Yoga mats add a bit of cushioning and protection if the grass is wet. Add pillows, towels or blankets to really make it cozy. Bring out a camping tent or even a toy tent to protect everyone from the sun and make it a special reading hideout.
2. Have an outdoor bag at the ready: You never know when the urge to explore outside will hit, so make sure you have a designated “outdoor bag” with all the essentials packed for a few hours of fresh-air fun. Make sure your outdoor bag is filled with snacks, a flashlight (for evening reading or reading inside the tent), suntan lotion, and sunglasses and hats, in addition to a stack of your kids’ favorite books, magazines, or graphic novels.
3. Encourage activities spurred by the books: Reluctant readers may need to find the right subject about the great outdoors to inspire them. Read books about gardening and put into practice what your kids learn by starting your own garden. Summertime brings with it plenty of bugs, which may thrill or scare your children. A book that tells them all about the different types of bugs and how they live and survive ties into the great outdoors nicely. The book A Stick Is an Excellent Thing, by Marilyn Singer, sets the tone for outdoor fun in poem form.
4. Invite the neighborhood kids: Nothing draws attention away from a book like another child playing in front of you. Invite the neighborhood kids to be part of an exclusive club…a book club. Organize a time with your neighbors for the kids to meet each day or a certain day of the week. You can have the kids take turns reading and/or suggesting books to read that week. You can even encourage a group outing to the library to create a summer reading list together before the outside book club begins.
5. Have a scavenger hunt: Suggest kids play this classic summer game with a twist. Have a themed scavenger hunt based on a favorite novel, but don’t reveal which book it is. Hide recognizable items from the novel in your backyard. Form teams and get kids to seek the hidden clues and cross them off a list. The winning team not only has to find the items, but tell you the name of the book they are from.