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This book has one goal- to inspire. The authors want people to have fun outdoors, "anywhere, anytime, whatever the age of the children, whatever the weather." They do understand that being outside isn't natural for everyone and that, "being indoors is safe, easy and comfortable."
As a mother of two sons (2.5 and 16 months), getting us all out the door is no small task. I pull crying kids into snow pants and repeatedly pour water out of rain boots because I feel it is important. Children (and adults) need to experience nature and pull themselves away from their iPadso (on which I am typing this and love) cell phones.
This book is bursting with ideas that will help even the most devout indoor lover want to play outside. The photography is bright and full of action. The descriptions of games and crafts, clear and easy to follow. They create much out of nature or recyclables keeping purchases to a minimum.
This first chapter was my favorite. The book explains parties including fairies, flour grenade, straw bales and camping parties. Kids of all ages can find ways to forgo the commercial bouncing house or arcade. No cartoon plates are necessary for a cooking out party and children can play for hours with straw bales.
Capture the flag is still one of my favorite games. This book shows similar games and some new ones such as Quoits, a sort of ring toss where you use sticks to make all the equipment. Stick towers, night games and bubble games also show fun ideas for outdoor entertainment.
Wild Stories and Wild Theatre
These chapters teach you the ins and outs of a campfire story time and performance to entrance an audience. Using art, story sticks, costumes from leaves, face painting and props (make your own wiggly snake and instruments from nature) budding performers can come out from the curtains and into the wild!
My son is obsessed with Bear Grylls and this chapter is perfect for him. It discusses mapping, tracking, treasure hunts, using a GPS and geocaching. Technologically minded kids can be lured into the forest with a text message hunt or photo trail map. While I love pure and natural outdoor play, the use of technology often gets more people involved, and that is the goal.
This last chapter encourages children to get involved in their natural spaces. They can learn dowsing (using a stick to find water), grow food, volunteer to make a difference, build a basha boat and create a living willow sculpture. It is nice way to tie up the book and motivate the reader.
I loved this book and feel inspired. I want to have a treasure hunt for my son's birthday, start a nature day at the elementary school and have a monthly picnic playmate with friends. This book is a reference book and starting point for many activities. Parents, teachers, camp counselors, therapists and more will find this book often on their desk.
This book gets my Alaskan Mom Approval for its inspiration, use of recyclables, readability, beauty (pictures) and the amount of activities to get families into nature!
Thank you for letting me review this amazing book!