Imagine walking through a trail at your local park and you come upon a page from a children’s book, as you walk further on the path there’s more fun and exciting pages to discover. One of the greatest trends in public libraries and parks today are StoryWalks.
StoryWalk is an innovative and fun way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. Laminated or displayed pages from a children’s book are attached to signage or display, which are installed along an outdoor path or trail. As you stroll down the path or trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story. StoryWalks are becoming quite a popular attraction amongst parks that they have been installed in all 50 states and 14 countries worldwide. The StoryWalk concept was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and has developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
The Plainfield-Guilford Township Library developed the StoryWalk in partnership with Guilford Township, The Duke Energy Foundation, The Hendricks County Community Foundation, and The Friends of the Library sponsored the project.
The displays include a complete picture book with literacy activities to enjoy together and at the end of the story a list of suggested books to read and activities to do outdoors. There are 18 displays at Hummel park, with each display featuring a page of the deconstructed book. The first featured book on display was Play This Book by Jessica Young and Daniel Wiseman. The story follows a rhythm and rhyme scheme, it engages children and their parent or caregiver in music and to use their bodies and imagination to dance, jump, tap and clap. Some of the displays include a hopscotch for children to enjoy, as well as other interactive games. The StoryWalk at Hummel park will feature a new book every month throughout the year, including interactive stories that connect with local and seasonal themes.
The StoryWalk at Hummel Park begins at the playground and follows the trail towards the Splash Pad and Restrooms. The trail is an easy to walk non-gravel trail for all walking abilities and accessible for adults and children in wheelchairs. There are plenty of picnic tables near the StoryWalk and a large shelter area. There are ample parking spaces near the playground, as well as, by the splash pad.
My boys and I had the opportunity to visit the StoryWalk trail and it was a fun and inviting experience. The pages were colorful and large and allowed my youngest son who is not yet a reader a chance to see what was happening in the story and to use his imagination to “play” an instrument.
The new StoryWalk offers families an opportunity to walk a trail, read a story, use their bodies and minds to connect with their surroundings. Parents, teachers, and caregivers can enjoy this unique opportunity to bring the joy of nature and the magic of reading together outdoors.