Kids Can Take ‘Storybook Walks’ in Brooklyn Park
In Minnesota’s relatively short summers, people look for any excuse to get outside. Nice weather and beautiful scenery are usually the big draws, but this summer Sheri Gulenchyn is giving Brooklyn Park residents yet another reason to explore their neighborhood parks.
“Being outside and reading a book, what could be better,” said Gulenchyn, director of Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool.
Monday morning at the Oxbow Trail Loop, Gulenchyn put up a series of signs featuring pages from the children’s book, “One Green Apple.”
“It is about an immigrant who is on a field trip with her class, and she learns her first, ‘outside word’ as she calls it. So it’s a great little story,” Gulenchyn said.
Nine Stories at Five Parks
That ‘great little story’ is part of Brooklyn Park Nature Preschool’s new Storybook Walk program, where families can go to one of five city parks (Oxbow Trail Loop, Trinity Gardens, Central Park, Norwood Park and Hartkopf Park) and read a different book.
“We chose nine stories that are some of our favorite preschool read-alouds, or books we have in the classroom for the children to read,” Gulenchyn said. “And we also tried to pick books that were representative of people who lived in the Brooklyn Park community.”
This is the third week of the summer-long program. Visitors like Bridget Bennett have taken full advantage of the opportunity to get outside and read to her two kids.
“We are still practicing safe practices with COVID, so we’re not playing with friends and we’re not playing on playgrounds,” Bennett said. “So this gives us a way to get outside. Something different, since we’ve been doing the same thing for three months.”
In addition to getting families outside, the Storybook Walks help children expand their vocabulary and learn more about the world around them.
“It’s a good story to introduce kids to, you know, starting a new school and people who aren’t necessarily like you,” Bennett said, referring to “One Green Apple.”
Every Monday through Aug. 22, Gulenchyn will pull up the old story and put in a new one for families to enjoy.
“Maybe they aren’t books they would have read, but they’re some of our favorites,” she said.