Skip to main content


Following careful consideration and Government guidance on Coronavirus, all Essex libraries and mobile libraries will be closed until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience and will let you know as soon as normal service resumes. Find out more in our news story.

Frequently asked questions.

Family reading activities

Sometimes a book can be a starting point for fun family activities and learning. Try some of these simple ideas to extend the fun of your child's favourite story:

  • Act out the story using props such as puppets and soft toys.
  • Visit somewhere the character in the story went (such as a park, shops, a library or a museum).
  • Expand your child's vocabulary by talking about what has happened in the story (for example, if the character was wearing a red jumper, say if it was soft or scratchy).
  • Help your child understand emotions by talking about things that happened in the story that made the characters happy, sad, angry, excited or scared.

Have fun reading online

While schools are shut, it's a great time to be exploring the world of children's books, with a range of online back-up activities.

Have fun reading outdoors

Children love to share books outdoors. Try one of these fantastic books, all with suggested activities you could try including picnic recipes, wild play in the rain, den building and crafts.

At Cressing temple and seven Country Parks in Essex - Belhus, Cudmore Grove, Danbury, Great Notley, Hadleigh, Thorndon and Weald - there are activity packs that families can borrow, free of charge, to use whilst in the park.  

The packs are available at the Visitor Centre or Ranger's Office and contain a book, activity sheet and den building kit.  

We also have read with me under a tree library bags in selected libraries, that can be borrowed to use in your own garden or local green space.

Alternatively borrow one of the books below from your local library, have a look at the activity page and share a story outdoors in your local green space.

Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic by Eva Katzler

I Love Bugs by Emma Dodd

Off to the Park by Stephen Cheetham

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Superworm by Julia Donaldson

Welly Walks by Hannah Ensor

Goat and Donkey in the Great Outdoors by Simon Puttock

Mad about Minibeasts! by Giles Andreae

Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

The Acorn by Edward Gibbs

What’s This? A Seed’s Story by Caroline Mockford

This Read With Me Under a Tree list was created in partnership with Essex Country Parks as part of the Talk, Listen, Cuddle campaign which aims to help parents support their children's language and communication skills. 

Was this page useful?

Give feedback about this page (opens in a new window)