Trail Tales Summer Reading – 9 Activity Ideas plus 2 Printables

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Trail Tales, Summer Reading Activities for Elementary School Children - Threaded Together*Trail Tales is a summer reading program that I created for a school project. I took the most important pieces and created a summer reading program to share with our readers. See an overview of the program. Be sure to check out the book recommendations (picture books and nonfiction and chapter books), a list of great activities to complete together during the summer and more.*

Welcome back! I have been sharing a summer reading program that I had to create for a school project. So far, I have shared a brief overview and a list of recommended picture books and nonfiction books as well as a list of chapter books. All of the books have something to do with nature. Some are guidebooks, others are stories about camping, and some are about adventures that you might like to have someday.

Learn more about Trail Tales!

Trail Tales Overview

Picture Book and Nonfiction Recommendations

Chapter Book Recommendations



Most of these activities can be completed in your own backyard but you can also take the activity to the hiking trail if you wish. 

Trail Tales, Summer Reading Activities for Elementary School Children - Threaded Together

Activity #1 – Nature Scavenger Hunt

On your next hike or outdoor adventure keep your eyes open for the following items:

Use this printable: Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable - Threaded Together

Activity #2 – Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Next time you are on a hike or playing outside, complete the Alphabet Scavenger Hunt.  Try to find one item for each letter of the alphabet.  For example, T=tree or R=river, robin.

Use this printable: Alphabet Nature Scavenger Hunt

Alphabet Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable - Threaded Together

Activity #3 – Nature Art

Gather items from your yard such as sticks, leaves, and more and create an art collage with them.  What you need: items from nature; paper; glue

Activity #4 – Keep a nature journal.

Grab a notebook and some colored pencils to bring along when you explore nature.  Take time to look at your surroundings.  Draw what you see, doodle, or write about it in your nature journal.

What you need: notebook; pencils

Activity #5 – Make a bird feeder.

Cover an empty toilet paper roll with peanut butter (or sun butter) and roll in bird seed.  Stick a tree branch through the toilet paper holder and watch the birds find dinner.

What you need:  toilet paper roll; peanut butter or sun butter; bird seed

Activity #6 – Go on a bird, bug, or animal track hunt.

Using some of the field guides listed in the Summer Reading List, get outside and hunt for birds, bugs, animal tracks and more.

Activity #7 – Rock Painting

Gather up some smooth rocks with surfaces big enough to paint.  Paint decorations on your rocks or create a pet rock or rock family.

What you need: rocks; paint

Activity #8 – Star Gazing

Nature isn’t seen just during the day.  Head outside in the evening and look at the stars.  Can you see pictures in the stars?  Use your imagination and draw what you see in your nature journal.  Sit quietly and listen to what you can hear, too.

Activity #9 – Nature Poems

Spend some time outside and find something that would make a great subject for a poem.  Maybe you see a bright purple flower or a bee buzzing around you.  Write a poem about your subject.


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