School is out for the summer, and caregivers are always looking for fun activities to keep kids happy, busy–and learning. One suggestion from the Garden’s family education team: go on a StoryWalk®.
“In a StoryWalk, the pages of a book are placed along a pathway to propel the reader along,” says Early Childhood Program Manager Cheryl Potemkin. “It makes reading an active experience involving movement, attention and reflection.”
The Garden’s StoryWalk runs along the Pollinator Pathway, the strip of Garden that runs between the BRIT Building and the Garden Center. To read the story, begin at the Garden Center and head northeast. Since the Pathway is in the parking lot, the StoryWalk free to all guests–although of course we encourage you to keep going into the Garden.
The book currently on display is Señorita Mariposa written by Ben Gundersheimer and illustrated by Marcos Almada Rivero. “This one of our favorite nature books for young children,” says Potemkin.
In rhyming verse, the story tells the story of the epic migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) from Canada to Mexico every year. The book is written in both Spanish and English, making it both accessible to more children and a great learning experience.
Readers follow the journey of the monarchs at the same time they explore the Pollinator Pathway–and now is a great time to visit this area of the Garden. Dozens of summer-flowering plants are in full bloom, and butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are working from dawn to dusk collecting as much nectar as possible.
You likely won’t see monarch butterflies, who pass through North Texas first in fall and then in spring, but other butterflies are likely present–including Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus), which do a good job mimicking monarchs. Look out for queen butterflies (Danaue gilipps), black swallowtails (Papillio polyxenes) and painted ladies (Vanessa carduii), which all are found in Texas in the summer.
If you’re inspired by your walk, adults and older children can learn more in a newsletter story from this issue, “Bring on the Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds with these Plants for Pollinators.” Young children will enjoy the video “Plants and Pollinators with Bella.” Older elementary kids can watch a video of the Garden’s GROW Girl talk about pollinators and then check out this activity sheet.
StoryWalks® have been installed in 50 states and 13 countries including, Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea!StoryWalk® was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, formerly of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalks have been installed in 50 states and 13 countries including, Germany, Canada, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.
The Garden regularly updates its StoryWalk with new books, so check back in a few months for another adventure.
“We hope to see you on the Pollinator Pathway!” says Potemkin.