Thursday, June 5, 2014

{Summer Reading} Books That Inspire Outdoor Play

Activities for underGROUND by Denise Fleming: Ways to Move, Eat, Draw, and Learn!

Inspired by the Virtual Book Club for Kids, we discovered Denise Fleming and, as is our tradition, found ways to Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with this fun non-fiction picture book. 

Move - To get moving, it made perfect sense to get outside and explore a bit. We did some digging to see what we could find underground -- mainly a few bugs and a tree root. 

Then, we decided to bury/hide some turtle eggs, since the book taught us that some turtles create underground "nests" of sorts for their eggs to keep the eggs safe. This was a fun way to reuse our plastic Easter eggs. 

Eat - Of course, we had to make "dirt" cake. Our variation including crushing up some chocolate cookies and mixing in some chocolate rice crisp cereal. We then adding some peanuts to represent rocks, larvae or eggs hiding underground. 

Wild Thing decided to add a fake flower growing from his!
Draw - We took this art activity outside using coffee grounds as our dirt and cupcake liners to create flowers. Add in a few herb sprigs and you are all set. (I just added a little water to my used coffee grounds to create dirt paint). The boys had so much fun!

Learn - This simple learning activity proves that you do not have to be a talented artist or crafter to engage learners. I certainly am not. Having read the book several times and noted what animals live underground and which live above ground but find their food underground or hide their food or eggs underground, I drew pictures of the different animals and items from the book. Then, I put a piece of cardboard in a box to divide the box into above ground and underground. Next, we added some coffee grounds for dirt (underground) and some green playdough for the grass. 

Then, Wild Thing (4.5) helped me cut out the different items and decide if they belong above ground or underground. (P.S. There's also more activities for this book on Denise Fleming's site.) 

Can you see our turtle eggs hiding back there? 

Now for some Outdoor Book-Play Inspirations from The Weekly Kid's Co-Op

This week I found some lovely gardening activities shared at the Kid's Co-Op, so I'm highlighting this post from KC Edventures featuring Gardening Books for Kids that you could pair with these gardening activities: Let's Play Garden from Such A Mama and Garden Markers using Painted Stones from Adventures In A Box.

And if your children get really excited about gardening/green outdoor activities, why not take on a family outing to help a chronically ill or elderly friend or neighbor by weeding their yard like Pennies of Time?

I also loved the very cool Upcycled Bug Hotel shared by Playful Learners. In fact, it's my Pick of the Week! 

This would pair so well with various books including your favorite bee books (we have a few), spider books, lady bug books or any fun book about bugs. One of our favorite bug books is The Icky Bug Counting Book, and we love all of Eric Carle's bug books, many of which which are included in No Time for Flashcards fabulous round-up of 19 Books About Bugs

Two more top picks from the Weekly Kid's Co-Op were June Books for 4 Year-Olds from Planet Smarty and 3 Boys and a Dog with her list of Good Beach Books for Kids

I'm also sharing this at Booknificent Thursday

Now it's time to link-up and play!


  1. Thank you so much for making us pick of the week :0)

  2. I really like the Move, Eat, Draw, and Learn model of learning. That would make a great curriculum title! We've been enjoying Denise Fleming's In the Tall, Tall Grass this week, but I've not seen this title before. Will have to keep my eyes out for it. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Always love having you there!