Are you trying to build a homeschool reading culture in your home? This is definitely an area where homeschoolers have the opportunity to excel. Many homeschoolers already include reading aloud in their daily routine, use literature rich curriculum, and allow for a lot of free reading time. These are all great ways to communicate to our children the value we place on reading and books.
But when summer rolls around, and many of our daily routines are dropped in favour of free time and spontaneity, sometimes the reading gets dropped too.
I want to tell you about a much loved part of our summer routine. And while we homeschool year round, this would be a wonderful addition to your summer schedule whatever homeschool schedule you follow — as a matter of fact, this would be a great option for you if you are looking to maintain that reading culture during the summer while you’re taking a break from your usual homeschool schedule.
When the weather is inviting you outdoors and you’re looking for a change of pace or an easy summer activity, why not go on a book picnic? Book picnics have been a wonderful addition to our family’s reading culture over the years. They’re also a great way of bringing learning to life and life to learning.
Going on a book picnic can be as simple as taking lunch into the backyard with your current read aloud. Or you can pack a basket of books and a picnic to take to your local park and spread a feast of both ideas and food! Books can be read aloud or enjoyed independently — your choice!
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Our book picnics are usually pretty simple (books, food, and a nice big blanket), but the possibilities for more creative book picnics are pretty much endless. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
1. Choose a theme for your book picnic
Make your selection of books according to a particular theme. You can even prepare food to go along with your theme, or plan some outdoor activities that go well with it. For food/picnic themed books you could try these:
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Blueberries for Sal
- Bread and Jam for Frances
- The Seven Silly Eaters
- Teddy Bear’s Picnic
- Mother Bear’s Picnic
2. Have fun with friends!
Invite some friends to join you, and have everyone bring their own favourite picture book. Enjoy your books and lunch together as a group and then the kids can run off and play together.
3. Have a summer book club
This idea is a combination of the two previously mentioned. Form a book club where a couple of families agree to read the same book over a period of a month or so, and then meet together for a book picnic to chat about it. If any particular foods are featured in the book, you can bring them along to enjoy. Wear costumes if appropriate. Have fun with it!
4. Combine nature study with storybooks
Picture books can be a great way of inspiring a love of nature in your children. and there are some wonderful books out there that feature nature. Pack your book picnic with books suited to the current season or natural habitat of your area, and when lunch is over, investigate your surrounding with your children. The Burgess Bird Book (or his animal books) would be a good choice for this, as would many other classic children’s literature selections such as Make Way for Ducklings and Miss Rumphius.
This year, don’t limit your summer reading efforts to the summer reading program at your local library. Grab some books and pack your basket for a book picnic! Take some time this summer to nurture a culture of reading and maybe even start a new family tradition.