Thursday, 1 May 2014

The benefits of reading outdoors

                When we get a glimpse of that sunshine, reading outdoors is a must!!

My daughter loves being outside. This is evident from her discussions with me about her days at Preschool, when she has not been doing activities indoors because she loves being out in the fresh air! I try to get out as much as the weather allows (although being out in the rain too is just as fun, but not so much for the toys!!) and I try to offer as much outside as we have inside. As part of my posts over the next few weeks, I will be exploring taking the indoors outdoors and just how beneficial it can be.

One of the best outdoor activities is looking at books. Books should be offered in the outdoor area to allow children to explore them in a different environment. There is nothing nicer than looking at a book outside, especially if the sun is shining and the birds are singing! It is a great idea to create an outdoor reading area (especially in childcare settings) I simply used a picnic blanket and a few cushions in our garden, placing it in the shade. A shady place is the best idea, especially in the throws of Summer! We also use our daughters wigwam for more secluded reading!

My next aim is to create an outdoor reading box. At the moment, I just carry out one of her book boxes from indoors, but it is a great idea to have a box containing stories and factual books about outdoor themes, such as Minibeasts, the weather and outdoor trips. It is a good idea to have a box with a lid so that you can store them without them getting ravaged by the elements when stored in your shed!! More robust board books are also a good idea for the outdoors too!

Being outdoors with a book is a great way to extend your child's interest in reading, but even better is to have a story read to you! Children have to learn to concentrate much harder when hearing a story outside, as there are so many distractions around them to fuel their curiosity! It also makes a fantastic way to extend the stories you have read into other activities. Stories like the Bear Hunt or the Very Busy Spider can get children interested in pretending to go on great adventures using the outdoor space.

I personally love turning up at my daughter's preschool to hear a story being read to the children outside! It can be very tricky to get a child's attention, as I mentioned before, with all of the distractions around them outside, but by combining the books read to them with the outdoor environment, leads to a fantastic way to learn about the joy of books! After all, many authors (myself included!) are inspired by the outdoors, and if reading to our children outside can inspire their imaginations, surely it is worth the effort!!

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