This workbook is a great resource, full of ideas for activities to inspire kids to learn about the outdoors. The first section, “How To Be a Naturalist,” introduces kids to a wide range of ways to document their experience with the outdoors, including drawing, writing poetry, journaling, and tracking their observations. The second section, “Learning the Sky,” engages them in exploring the night, including encouraging a night hike, which can be intimidating for kids and parents, but teaches an essential aspect of exploring nature.
The third section brings it all together into a month-by-month guide that gets kids to engage with how wildlife and the environment change through the seasons. The seasons in the chapter correspond to the northern hemisphere (winter starts in December), so if you live in the southern hemisphere, you’d have to work around that. It has a bias towards seasonal climates (with leaves falling off in October), but I think it could still work, for example, in the San Francisco area or a desert climate. I also appreciate how each section has additional activities to try if you have extra time with the kids.
Getting kids to think and observe nature as we play in it can be very helpful in engaging them in the activity. It can help make hiking or biking less boring for them, and it can also encourage and inspire their love of nature. For these reasons, I love the idea of using this book and the activities in it on our trips. I also like how it introduces kids to different ways to document their experience, and then they can figure out the ones they like best.
Make sure your children are old enough before getting them this book - the recommended age range is 8-12 years. We got this book as a present many years ago but it was too hard for our oldest kid. We then never found the time to use it, because with two parents working full-time, there wasn’t a lot of free time. This year we have only one parent working, we are homeschooling the kids, and they are bigger so we are incorporating it into our homeschool plan. Here is a link to the week by week plan that we will be using to make nature education part of their regular school this year.
Two Silicon Valley engineers who have had a love of the outdoors since childhood. Parents of two small kids, spending our free time exploring the outdoors with them.