Reading in the Great Outdoors
Reading doesn’t have to be just an indoor activity. We have an IKEA tent on our front deck that is the ‘Reading Tent’ and PudStar loves being locked in the tent. She loves to yell for all the neighbours to hear; “I want to be LOCKED in the tent mummy!”. At this point I will say that ‘locked’ means the Velcro tabs done up. At four, PudStar is loving spaces she can call her own and she will happily spend up to an hour reading the pictures in her books. The picture below is her at two and she still loves that tent. I think it’s her? It could also be ChickPea. It’s one of my children.
We also have a reading nook in the cubbyhouse; again a place that is perfect for children to read or cut up old magazines. In the cubbyhouse we tend to have op shop found books and old magazines so that a bit of water, sand, spider or Rex dog damage isn’t a concern. PudStar is a big fan of sorting through books at op shops, looking for the perfect ones for the cubbyhouse. The cubbyhouse is one big op shop really. The actual cubby is from a friend around the corner with now grown up children, and all the furniture and most accessories are op shop or kerbside collection (oh how I love a kerbside collection). Even the paint is secondhand…from the funny man at our local markets who sells wrongly tinted paints. I’ve grown to love the green.
We also often end up with op shop books in the much loved trolley, which PudStar drags to her fairy garden, her dinosaur sandpit or to the chook pen. There have been a few incidents with books and chooks…but when they cost 20 cents it’s all okay.Sometimes the trolley is a dolly trolley, but mostly a book trolley.
Speaking of incidents with books and chooks, I left ChickPea (AKA where did this child COME FROM) unattended for two minutes (well however long it took to make another coffee) and found her in the chook pen screaming at the chooks to stay away from her books. As you do.
Books might not seem the obvious choice for outside play, when surely the aim of outside play is to RUN AROUND and BURN OFF ENERGY, but I find if there are some books about the place, the outside play is extended. Boys and girls alike will run and run, chase chickens, water plants, and throw balls over the fence and smash ants and grasshoppers. Then they can catch their breath under a shady tree with a book, or read a book to a doll in PudStars case. Then off they go again with more running. I reckon that a balance of activity then quiet always keeps them outside longer…win all round.