With the challenges of the 2020-2021 school year coming to an end, parents and students can breathe a sigh of relief along with some of that fresh summer air. A relaxing break from school year schedules and commitments has never been so welcome.
Summer break brings a great opportunity to get the family outside to enjoy some of the many beautiful parks and hiking trails in our area. According to the Ingham County Parks website, more than 1,200 acres of outstanding Ingham County parkland are devoted to sports and recreation. That’s in addition to all the city parks, nature centers and outdoor community sites available to us.
A unique way to enjoy some of these sites is to participate in the StoryWalks hosted by Capital Area District Libraries. These are walking paths that feature the pages of a children’s picture book posted at intervals, so families can read a whole story as they walk along.
While the stories are lively and interesting on their own, that’s not the only benefit. The signs also encourage walkers to do fun activities as they move from station to station. Jumping, twirling, marching, singing — not only do these actions help make the story more exciting, they are a great way to get exercise while enjoying the outdoors together.
The concept originated in Vermont as a way to promote outdoor reading, health, exercise and movement. It was created by Anne Ferguson and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg Hubbard Library.
The first local StoryWalk debuted in 2016, opening in Meridian Township’s Orlando Park. The number has since grown to include 12 different locations across Ingham County, supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Library of Michigan. Check out the list at cadl.org/kids-parents/raising-readers/storywalks. Then lace up your shoes, grab the kids and get started on a well-deserved summer of fun.