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I didn’t grow up in the woods. Mari did. I didn’t grow up with sprawling mountain within a few hours distance. Mari did. I didn’t even grow up with hills, snow, or seasons (that’s half true). Yes, Mari did. I grew up with the occasional tent camping trip. Mari grew up spending more time in a tent than she did watching TV. So today, Mari loves to be outside at almost any time of the year. I enjoy hiking, and Norway is beautiful, but nature is so… boring. Or am I missing something?
Kim Andrews knows that nature is a wonderful thing, and it is something kids need to be let into early on. They will learn cause-and-effect, physics, weather, and healthy eating at the same time as they are sliding down dirt hills, climbing trees, watching cloud formations, swimming, and skinning their knees. All in good fun.
In her book, Kim has your kids (and you) making experiments, insect habitats, and observing animal poop to decipher which animal has been near your house. She’ll have them making sun catchers with frozen leaves, watching how the sun shines through the cracks and how it slowly melts the ice. She has them guess and reason the entire way how long they think it will take the water to freeze and to melt. They will write it down and see if they were correct. She has them making fish traps, weather vanes, and wind chimes.
Kim provides warnings throughout the book that children should not do certain activities without clearing it with their parents first. On her section about a moon walk, children are to make a candle to place into a glass jar to light their path under the full moon. She tells them they are ready for their full moon walk “with a parent’s company or permission” (42). When she describes evaporation and condensation, Kim writes that if there is thunder and lightning you shouldn’t play outside in the rain. So at least you can know your kids are being reminded not to do something foolish or without your permission.
There are five chapters on:
- The tools your child will need,
- the sky above,
- the earth below,
- wild creatures,
- things that grow.
Part 2 of this journal fills up most of the book. Here your kids can write about what they see on their adventures in the great outdoors. On the left page your child will fill in the date and time, where they are, the weather, and some field notes. Afterward, as they reflect on what they experienced, they can write down their thoughts under “Looking back.” They can write down any questions they had about what they saw or did. On the right page they can draw what they see under “Field sketches.”
Part 1 of this journal explains Part 2. How does one take good field notes? What do I write? “I saw a bird.” Kim encourages children to be descriptive. “I saw a small, red bird that made this kind of noise ___ while it sat on this kind of tree ____ eating this kind of worm ___.” Kim provides a website of more journal pages for when your kids run out of spaces and are still going on adventures.
I’m not very creative, so having an activity book like this to help me with crafts is great and will be a lot of fun to do with Micah and any other kids we have, along with any of their cousins and friends who come over. Whether you buy the journal is up to you and what your child is like. Perhaps all they need is to read Kim’s book and to go outside with a small notebook and a pencil, something that is smaller and easier to carry. Though the journal lends itself to the imagination more than a blank notebook does. And if that helps get your kids off the couch, then it’s worth considering.
- Author/Illustrator: Kim Andrews
- Age Range: 5 – 12 years
- Paperback (Activity Book): 134 pages
- Paperback (Journal): 100 pages
- Publisher: Rockridge Press (May 28, 2019)
Buy them on Amazon or Rockridge Press!
Disclosure: I received this book free from Rockridge Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.