There’s something about spring temperatures and bright sunshine after a bitter chill winter that makes me want to do everything outside. I take my computer out on the front porch, my dinner out on the back patio, and my podcasts on a long walk through the neighborhood. My kids are much the same. In the past week of 60 (and even 70) degree weather, we’ve done homework in the playhouse and pizza on the lawn. We had read-aloud under a tree and opted for feet rather than wheels as often as possible.
Books and nature are such a perfect combination. The sunshine on crisp paper, the breeze ruffling pages gently, the implicit permission to ignore the trappings of indoor life – like phones, dishwashers and televisions. There’s a freedom to reading outdoors that you don’t get with anything else.
I encourage you to share this freedom with your children, and to gift that quiet time apart to yourself. Slow down, soak up the springtime, and get lost in a good book. Here’s a few of my favorite ways to take spring reading outdoors:
- Sunny moments can be capricious in spring. Toss a blanket in the back of your car or bottom of the stroller – it’ll be ready when you are!
- Pack a few indestructible books for little ones – board books, bath books, anything that will hold up to a bit of dirt – and take them everywhere.
- Check out books about spring from your library. A few of my fiction faves include and then it’s spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E Stead; When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; and Planting A Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.
- Get your hands on some field guides made just for kids and go on a nature explore! Peterson’s Guides for Young Naturalists are perfect for kids 8-12. The Take-Along Guides appeal to a broad age range with bright illustrations and lots of blank pages for observations, sketches and pictures.
- Read up on a a new outdoor activity – whether it be gardening, kayaking, or zip-lining!
- Read a cookbook and make some new treats for an outdoor picnic or after school snack.
- Build a tepee, tent, lean-to or blanket fort and cuddle inside with a good adventure.
- Pop on the PJ’s! Whether you bundle up in blankets or curl up by the fire pit, crowd onto a porch swing or climb a tree with a flashlight, bedtime stories outdoors can be a super-special treat.
What about you, readers? Do you like reading outdoors? Do you and your children have special places or favorite books that make you think of spring and nature? I’d love to hear from you!