The only thing better than reading to children is sharing those books outdoors. That imaginative world becomes ever more sensory and visceral - connections can be made between the words and the world around us, stories come to life.
As well as the impact upon imaginations, time spent outdoors is wonderfully beneficial to children’s mental and physical health - even the natural light is better to read by.
For maximum enjoyment:
Get the timing right. This is a ‘down-time’ activity - perfect for after an energetic burst of play or before an afternoon nap. Nature is a calming influence and will help aid this relaxation process - but not if your child is full of beans!
Get comfy. Soggy bottoms and frozen hands are no fun at all. Some sort of waterproof seating is essential unless it’s really dry. Dress appropriately for the weather and find a spot out of the wind. Maybe a warm blanket to cwtch into.
Get prepared. Once you’ve sorted the basics above, think drink and snack. They can help motivate a younger child to listen for longer.
Get inspired. A pretty view, sound of water or birdsong, smell of the sea or meadow flowers - these are all great sensory backdrops to creative thought.
Get chilled. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t want to sit still and listen. Some children find that tricky - and just being present with them outdoors with the option to listen to a story is a wonderful thing. So they get up and start jumping about mid-story? They may still be listening but responding to the words/story physically.
With springtime just around the corner, we’re looking forward to more opportunities to get our noses into a great book, whilst basking in the glories of this most hopeful season.