With the promise of summer weather on the horizon, I’ve started to contemplate fun ways to bring our reading outdoors on warm, sunny days. Luckily with the world of Pinterest and creative blogs, I found a wealth of ideas for summer literacy activities.
Unfortunately, children that don’t read and write during the summer months experience learning loss. Thus, finding exciting ways to incorporate literacy into our children’s summer activities will help solidify what they’ve learned, keep their brains active, and hopefully inspire them to read and write even more.
There is a wide world of fantastic blogs teeming with ideas, and I had a lot of fun compiling the following ideas for those who read the CLiF blog. The credit for these creative activities goes to the authors of the various blogs I will link to below. Please explore, find ideas that spark your interest, try out some fun activities, and come back to let us know what your kids loved, what worked, what fell flat, and what you think we should try too.
Whether you are an uber-creative stay-at-home-mama or -papa who wants to design elaborate story walks and scavenger hunts or a somewhat less crafty parent who wants low-budget or low-energy ideas, there’s something here for all of you!
1. Sidewalk chalk: the possibilities with sidewalk chalk are virtually endless! Play hangman on your front walk, write poems on the sidewalk for your neighbors to read as they stroll by, make acrostics with your names on a wooden fence – get creative and have fun! I love this idea from Meaningful Mama – make a word search with chalk! Check out the Pin on our Pinterest Board.
2. Outdoor Letter Scavenger Hunt: Find letters in nature – Seek out an A among tree branches. Discover a Z in the dirt. Find all the letters of the alphabet or in each of your names. This can be a fun photography project where you snap photos of each letter you discover. Or try this scavenger hunt from I Am Momma – Hear Me Rear, where you write out each letter of the alphabet in sidewalk chalk and ask the kids to seek out something that starts with each letter (e.g. dirt for the letter “d”).
3. Outdoor Literacy Bag: Put together a bundle of books and activities to have whenever you’re on the go. Books about insects can be accompanied by a bug hut for observing little creatures, a coloring page and crayons, and even plastic insects for counting and playing. A book about birds can have binoculars and a bird identification book. Check out Famiglia and Seoul for great photos and ideas.
4. Reading and Writing Haven: Whether you have a quiet garden, a sprawling lawn, or a patch of grass, prepare yourself for opportune reading moments. I adore this reading and craft mat from Sewing Secrets. It’s simple, portable, and inviting. I hope to make one for my toddler before the summer arrives.
You could also build a simple writing station in your garden, yard, or even on a porch. Make a tent with an old bed sheet, add books, journals, pens, colored pencils, and any other inspiring accoutrement to see if you can spark your child’s inner author.
5. Read Nature-based Books: Quite simply, head to the library and ask the children’s librarian for suggestions on books that are based outside. Use them as inspiration for all kinds of adventures. When you finish Owl Moon, you can go owling on a moonlit night. Explore We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and then create a bear hunt of your own – even if it’s in your own backyard! Use books as inspiration for exploring and use exploration as inspiration for reading. If your child spots a butterfly cocoon, read A Very Hungry Caterpillar together to discuss the life cycle of a butterfly. Plant a garden and then read Growing Vegetable Soup.
Check out 52 New for a list of 10 books that link you and your child to nature and Mommy Poppins for a list of summer-related kids’ books.
The possibilities for outdoor literacy activities are truly endless. This list merely scratches the surface. We’d love to hear what inspires you, what you’ve tried in the past, what you want to try this year, and any other thoughts and suggestions.
And if you haven’t already, don’t forget that you can enter our Summertime Reading Contest for a chance to win 15 brand new books for your child this summer!