Stories for the outdoors

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One of the biggest problems we have when out on a walk with Toddler Mud Lark is getting him to keep going. Just walking is not enough distraction for him! Anybody else?

The things we find keep him moving (in generally the right direction) are songs and stories. Don’t worry, I’m not going to sing for you! So today, I thought I’d share with you some stories that we use and some others recommended by outdoor educators to entertain/inspire your Mud Larks.

Keeping Going

Our absolute favourite for this is an absolute classic by Michael Rosen (lovely man and educational campaigner – but that’s a future blog). We’re going on a Bear Hunt which is available as a board book, a paperback or an interactive sounds book a great one to add to your Christmas list if you don’t have a copy (and all at their lowest price for a while as I write this).

Another book about a journey that we sometimes act out as we walk is The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson (which would be amazing if we lived by the sea) and I’ve just discovered that there’s a special festive edition which would make an amazing Christmas present! There is, of course, a super edition with cuddly toy too if you are looking to treat your little one! And all of these are currently on special offer too.

My next suggestion is a classic that you probably know off by heart, so you won’t need the book (though this one’s less than £3 if you’d like a copy), and that’s the 3 little pigs – running from one house to the next gets them moving quickly and it’s a great warm up game if they’ve got a little chilly out in the winter. But you could mix it up by adding masks (which are easy to stuff in a bag/pocket) or hand puppets if you really want to splash out. (All these are on special offer as I write.)

If your Mud Larks are too old for these stories (they may say they are – but none of us is really too old!), then you can get them moving by making a journey stick. It’ll cost you nothing and keep them joining in and occupied (as well as teaching them – but keep that to yourself!). First thing to do is to find a stick – if it’s straight-ish and about walking staff length (elbow to shoulder height) that’s great, but any stick over about 12″ (30cm if you’re all modern) is great. Talk about how long your walk will be and divide the time into about 6 equal sections. Add elastic bands (I use the ones off spring onions and the ones the postman drops) to the stick to represent each time section (keep these short for younger children and longer for older children/adults). Your Mud Larks are responsible for keeping an eye on the time. When their time section is up, they have to find an object to represent that section of your walk and put it under the first elastic band and so on. It keeps them concentrating on what’s around them as well as time estimation skills. The whole family can join in this one – just remind younger children that “sticks need space” to be safe.

See the source image
(Journey sticks done with wool – I prefer bands but these are pretty!)

Nature Inspiration Books

Here are a few autumn books you might like…

Owl Babies (this is one of our favourites and works really well in Autumn/winter when the children notice darkness)

After the Storm

We adore the Percy the Park Keeper series by Nick Butterworth – worth a look if you’ve not come across them.

The Brambly Hedge Stories have been around for years, the old versions that I used to read to Shelley are now selling for stupid money, but luckily Collins has revised them, so they are still available at sensible prices.

I do like to add here that all these should be available in your local library – if you can’t find them ask if they can get them for you. The more people ask for nature books to be in the library – the more they will stock.

Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to source or find out about. See you soon.

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