No arm-twisting is necessary to get our kids out the door to the park or to pick up a book (and coincidentally, we’ve had a peaceful, satisfying summer!) So here’s what I find so cool about the StoryWalk program, which unites these classic indoor-outdoor summer activities: it turns us on to new (to us) authors and takes us to parks not normally on our radar.
Hidden Falls Regional Park, for instance, hosted the bilingual Perros! Perros! Dogs! Dogs! by Ginger Fogleson Guy several years ago. Colorful pages from the story were mounted along a path in the park. Kids are free to read along (or be read to) at their own pace. Because I knew our children would want plenty of time to romp around the park, we packed a picnic dinner and made an evening of it. We’ve discovered that this park’s namesake falls are a secret retreat that can lend the feeling of being far from the confines of the city.
Learn more about StoryWalk history here (PDF).
At Home or Neighborhood Family Fun StoryWalk Idea:
Although I like the idea of buying bookfair books to support schools, they are often cheaply made and fall apart easily. When this happens, instead of just recycling them, you could post your own StoryWalk around your own backyard or neighborhood (depending on your neighbors).
You’ll need a couple inexpensive things to get started. Once you have them, you can re-use them multiple times:
- A book that is falling apart (with pages small enough to fit in 8 1/2 x 11 sheet protectors).
- Plastic Sheet Protectors* – The kind that are meant to go in a three-ring binder.
- A cheap staple gun (or a good stapler)
- Wooden Garden Stakes.
Then, just follow these 4 Easy Steps:
- Carefully disassemble the book.
- Slip each page into a sheet protector
- Staple the sheet protector to the garden stake along the three-hole line so that the stake and page resemble a flag on a pole. This way you can easily read both sides without the need to tear apart two identical books.
- Choose a path for your StoryWalk and distribute the pages along the route.
You’ll want to do this on a day when the forecast is dry for a few days. However, if you mis-judge the weather, you are only really out a broken book, the rest of the items can be dried out and re-used.
Where to Find StoryWalk Events
Since Anne wrote this article in 2013, the StoryWalk idea has exploded (although sometimes they go by other names). These events are usually drop-in style and can be left in place for multiple days. This makes it difficult to add these events to our calendar. Instead, watch our Family Sports & Fitness Page for walks, strolls and hikes with stories.
- Summer of 2020. The St. Paul Library and St. Paul Parks Department are teaming up all summer to provide Story Strolls. Find current strolls here.
*This article contains affiliate links to Amazon. Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commissions for purchases through our site.
About the Author: Anne Kingston is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.