Do you have a hard time getting your son or daughter to sit down and actually listen to you read a story? If you answered yes, then a story trail might just be what you need to inspire a new love for books.
On a story trail, you walk the trail to find pages of a book posted along the way. StoryWalk trails were created by Ann Ferguson, a specialist in chronic disease prevention, who was looking for fun ways to get families outside and moving.
In southeast Michigan, some libraries have teamed up with parks or cities to bring the trails to life. Some trails even plan activities for families to do along with reading the pages of the books.
Here’s a fun challenge: Make a plan to hit all of these trails this spring as a fun socially distant adventure for the family. Who knows, your child may even be inspired to create his or her own afterwards!
Auburn Hills Public Library Story Walk
Address: 3400 E. Seyburn Drive, Auburn Hills
The trail begins in the summer and remains in place into October. The story featured on the walk changes monthly, so be sure to visit often.
Baker Woods Preserve Storybook Trail
Address: 11914 Trinkle Road, Dexter
Because of the terrain, this trail is recommended for ages 2 and older walking on their own or using a baby carrier for kids that are younger. Cozy by Jan Brett is the featured book through the end of March. On deck is Chez Bob by Bob Shea, which will be featured in April and May.
Beverly Park Story Book Trail
Address: 300 W. Merrill St., Birmingham
Located in Beverly Park, families can read an entire book posted along the nearly half-mile trail. The story changes monthly.
Friendship Woods Story Trail
Address: 30300 Hales St., Madison Heights
This trail in the Red Oaks Nature Center is an award winner. As families read the permanent book – How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects, by Ruth Heller – they can play games and learn how bugs play hide-and-seek with Mother Nature. The 17 posts that hold the open-paged books were created with repurposed wood.
Heritage Park Story Trail
Address: 1150 S. Canton Center Road, Canton
Walk the trail around the large pond at Heritage Park and when you reach the last page, you’ll have clocked a half mile. The story changes monthly, upcoming stories include Trees Make Perfect Pets by Paul Czajak in April, Teeny Tiny Toady by Jill Esbaum in May, Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall in June and Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert in July.
Highland Township Library StoryWalk
Address: 444 Beach Farm Circle, Highland
The library tries to incorporate books that correlate with its special outdoor programs, such as its yearly Monarch Butterfly Festival. Each book new book starts in April and is removed by late November. The trail is open even when the library is closed.
Livonia Public Library StoryWalk
Address: 32777 Five Mile Road, Livonia
The Nature Nook at the library holds the StoryWalk, which includes a Braille overlay. The stories change frequently so be sure to visit often.
Springfield Township Library Storybook Trail
Address: 12000 Davisburg Road, Davisburg
The trail, which starts at the library parking lot, is available all year round and the stories change monthly. The 1/3-mile trail takes families through the Shiawassee Basin Preserve and features 18 stops along the way. It even ends near the playground, perfect for littles with more energy to burn.
Sterling Heights Library StoryWalks
These trails through the parks in Sterling Heights have featured classic books like Harry the Dirty Dog and Katy No-Pocket as well as newer books like Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. The books are changed throughout the year.
Tips to Get the Most out of Story Trails
- Use the bathroom beforehand. Most trails do not have a restroom along the way. You don’t want to be far into the story and have to turn back around.
- Dress for the adventure. Make sure to wear close-toed shoes and bring a jacket in case the weather turns cold. Also, remember to put on bug repellent if walking in the woods.
- Stay on the walking trail. You don’t want to veer off to get lost or get yourself into weeds or poison ivy.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure to bring a full water bottle. Some parks or libraries may have water fountains, while others may not.
This post was originally published in 2021 and is updated regularly.
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