Outdoor reading activities open up a range of learning opportunities, so we asked educational consultant Dani Mundy for some inspiration to help us get active while learning to read. Here are six of our favourites that will show young learners that books are so much more than just a rainy day activity…
1. A scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is a fun and energetic way to motivate children (and adults!) to get involved with book-related activities. Start by hiding items related to the book you’ve been reading around a park, green space, or garden. If it’s a rainy day, you can even have your scavenger hunt indoors! Let the children hunt for their items and challenge them to guess the story with as few items as possible.
Bonus idea: If you don’t have items to hand, you can play the same game using pictures instead. Print out some pictures from the book, hide them, and then see if your young learner can find them all. It might help if you put them into chronological order, and play out the story from the book.
2. The stone hunt
Step 1. Go outside and see how many stones you can collect (they need to be big enough to write on).
Step 2. Once the stones have been collected, use them as a story or word board.
Step 3. Draw pictures and write words from the book on the stones.
Step 4. Use the stones to recreate the story. The stones can be put into different orders to retell the story in different ways.
Top tip! The stones can also be used to focus on key words from the book in question. It’s a fun way to recycle and review vocabulary for younger learners.
3. Building a book den
Children love making dens and this is an ideal way to create a reading spot in a garden or other outdoor space. With a few household items, such as boxes or bedsheets, you can DIY an outdoor nook that’s perfect for storytime. Encourage your little one to use natural objects such as leaves, sticks, flowers and stones for decoration. Now gather a few of your favorite books and get reading!
(This activity can be used to accompany First Words with Peppa Pig: The Den)
4. Water bottle game
Find a small water bottle, ideally with a sports cap, and fill it up. On a space outside such as a grey patio or pavement, use the water bottle instead of a pen to draw characters from the book. The water bottle can also be used to focus on small key words from the book.
Writing can be tricky for younger learners and this is a useful way to practice motor skills in a fun and engaging manner. The water bottle idea can also be used to practice letter formation.
5. Nature object game
Ask the children to collect leaves, stones, pebbles and twigs from a garden or outdoor area. Next, ask them to try and make the name of their favourite character using the items they have collected. This is a tactile activity that can help motivate children to form letters and words.
Top tip! Use this game as a creative art task after reading the book together.
6. First words game: Paper planes
Step 1. Grab some scrap paper and go outside and make paper planes.
Step 2. Have a competition and see who can throw it the furthest.
Step 3. In a group of young learners, ask them to draw a picture of their favourite character from Peppa Pig on the wings of the paper plane.
Step 4. Now it’s time to throw them and find someone else’s paper plane. Can you guess the name of the character on the plane you pick up?
(This activity can be used to accompany First Words with Peppa Pig: Paper Planes)