If my kids are cooped up in the house for too long, they start bouncing off the walls. I’m sure mine are the only children who do this. My sure-fire way to save my furnishings, and my sanity, is to go to the park. As long as the fall weather stays nice and warm, then the park is my go-to outside place. The toys are great, but my favorite activity to do at the park is a book-nic. Never heard of a Book-nic? This is a fantastic activity that encourages literacy as well as physical activities. Sometimes it’s helpful to theme a book-nic around a topic. Our latest book-nic was an animal themed book-nic.
Book-nics don’t need to be fancy to be tons of fun. The whole point is to show children how much fun reading can be. When we go on a book-nic, I bring snack-ish foods for my children to enjoy as their lunch. While they are busy eating, I read several books to them — some old favorites from my childhood, and some newer ones from my children’s childhood.
Kids love being outside, eating “snack” foods for lunch, and listening to books. Adding to the fun outing is all the play time at the park before and after the book-nic. I love being able to teach my children that books are amazing, and that adventures start when a book cover is opened. Besides, positive experiences with books at young ages lead to greater desires to read as children get older.
Here’s a ready made list for your next Animal Themed Book-nic.
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Look out, Bird! By Marilyn Janovitz – this is one of my absolute favorite picture books for two to four year olds. The pictures are bright and fabulous. The text is minimal, but still the book has an entertaining story. Young children connect to the situations in the book and understand the humor. I enjoy reading this to my children, over and over and over and over.
The Wheels on the Bus By Jenny Tulip and Katy Rhodes – in this iteration of the Wheels on the Bus nursery rhyme, there are animals on the bus doing some fun and interesting things. My children enjoy this book when I sing the song and include actions for different events. It’s a great wiggle book, and helps young children refocus for the next story.
Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle – this is a book full of colorful pictures of many wild animals. The last page is fun to read when the Mama Bear tells what she sees, too.
Katy No-Pocket By Emmy Payne and illustrated by H.A. Rey – this book is a classic book. Written in 1944, this book’s story is detailed and interesting. My preschooler gets caught up in Katy the Kangaroo’s search for a way to carry her baby, every time we read it. The story has more text than most picture books published now, but the story is well written and interesting.
Our final book at our animal themed book-nic was Curious George and the Firefighters By Margret and H.A. Rey. While not exactly about animals, who doesn’t love this curious (and not very well supervised) little monkey and his escapades captured in this book. This story was about George’s adventures when he visits a fire station on a field trip.
All in all, a book-nic is a fantastic way to create a love of reading and the outdoors in children. What are some of your favorite books to read with your children? I’d love to check out some new titles, please share them below in the comments.