A story is a great place to start on an outdoor learning journey, and with such a rich and diverse range of beautiful stories available we are delighted to share our favourites with you.
Books for Winter:
The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson
The perfect accompaniment to winter with the baby owl Plop’s introduction to the dark world and all its glories. The factual information about owls woven into the storyline inspires readers to find out more about these wonderful night creatures, while celebrating the events of winter.
Related activities: investigating owl pellets to find out what and how they eat is a fascinating activity for all ages.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Taking a sensory journey with older children will be enhanced by the sparky and absorbing wordplay throughout Milo’s travellings between Dictionopolis and Digitopolis. A book to savour for life, this will challenge and engage your most quick-witted readers.
Related activity: having conquered the Mountains of Ignorance and returned from a trip to Infinity, take a partner on a blindfold sound trail to open your ears to the natural world.
Otter Moon by Tudor Humphries
Beautiful illustrations bring to life the night time activities of young otter Flipperty, helped by his riverside friend the heron and the light of the silvery moon.
Related activity: take a look at animal tracks that may be left overnight in a sand pit, on the beach, in a muddy patch or by the river.
Books for Autumn:
My favourite and the most useful resource for Autumn in the woodland, available from The Tree Council, and perfect if you are planning to collect and plant tree seeds. Each page gives information about a different tree, offering a helpful identification tool, as well as tips for how to optimise success for each species.
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, and the next best time is today.”
Extracts from this beautiful tale by Jean Giono make a moving addition to a tree seed planting activity with a group of older children and demonstrates the many consequences of planting a forest. The timing, between the wars, adds a poignancy to the story, as do the simple, powerful illustrations.
Stories for younger children in autumn:
We all love Leaf Man and exploring north, south, east and west to collect leaves that catch our eye. The illstrations inspire us to look differently at the leaves we have found, spotting which pictures we can make with our natural treasures. The colours and shapes might become a chicken, a fish or a butterfly. But what are those creatures doing in the woodland on a chilly November morning? Sounds like there’s some story-telling about to happen …
The perfect accompaniment to autumn celebrations. Listen to the poetic exploits of cat, duck and squirrel while waiting for your campfire pumpkin pot to warm through for snack time.
Pumpkin pot recipe:
Cut off the lid and remove the pumpkin insides. Remember to allow the seeds to dry and store them for planting in the spring. Combine the pumpkin with other root vegetables (sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot, potato). Cook in vegetable stock and hot water, and add sweetcorn. Pour the mixture back into the pumpkin to cook on the campfire. Put foil under the pumpkin and warm the soup through. Delicious with warm bread, and a story.
No pumpkins for your pumpkin soup? Delicious by Helen Cooper offers plenty of alternatives, to keep even a very fussy duck happy … eventually.