A Summer ‘Booknic’

Engage, Inform, Inspire

With summer well underway (I know, hard to believe from the weather!), thoughts turn to things such as holidays, days out, picnics, time spent with friends and family, summer sports and ‘booknics’ . . .

But what is a booknic? Well, it is basically a reading picnic – a picnic with books (and magazines, of course) – and is an event that some reading organisations, such as OURfP, are suggesting as another way to encourage reading for pleasure. 

A booknic takes many forms. It can be a big event such as those undertaken by schools or libraries, or you can create a smaller event at home, be it in the back garden, the local park, or – to keep it weatherproof – in the living room! No matter how big or small the booknic is, allow reading to be at the centre of it – and to make the booknic fun!  

There are lots of ideas online as to how to have a great booknic, and although reading has to be central – otherwise it would just be a picnic (very nice of course, but not as much fun as a booknic) – it is really important to include other ideas too. Games, sing songs and – aside from books and magazines – the main ingredient – food! You could theme the food, getting ideas from favourite books – marmalade sandwiches from Paddington Bear, maybe a selection of food eaten by The Hungry Caterpillar, or possibly some ginger beer, always a key element of a picnic with The Famous Five who always had ‘lashings’ of it (most ginger beers are non-alcoholic, but it’s always best to check!). 

The games could also be book themed. Treasure hunts, hide and seek, Simon says, and tag can all be adapted to incorporate books characters or settings. Singing can also revolve around bookish ideas – how about a sing-along to ‘When I Grow Up’ from the smash-hit musical based on the Roald Dahl classic, Matilda? Or what about putting a melody to We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? Or making up an entirely new song featuring everyone’s favourite book characters? 

For younger participants at the booknic, you could suggest that everyone brings a teddy bear (although be aware that not everyone might have one), or you could bring a selection of teddy bears with you to the booknic so every child has a ‘friend’ to share with. 

In terms of reading at the booknic, there could be a group story telling session, or children could bring their own reading material, or there could be a selection of books and magazines for the children to choose from. There could be dedicated relaxed reading zones with picnic blankets and maybe a few cushions for the children to snuggle into and read. It’s also worth bringing some books for the adults involved or asking them to bring their own reading material. Remember, children seeing the adults in their life read for pleasure encourages them to read for pleasure too. 

So, if you’re interested in hosting your own booknic, why not head over to the OURfP website for more ideas – they have a great website about reading for pleasure so it’s worth checking out. 


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