Friday, February 19, 2010

Outdoor Fun With Children

Make It Wild! 101 Things To Make And Do Outdoors

By Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield

ISBN: 978-0-7112-2885-6

The title alone would invite the adventuresome to open the cover! There is a child pictured looking at a sailboat that we assume is self-constructed and the promise of more adventure to come scrolled across the bottom of the book. One knows from the touch that this book is meant to be an outside reference as it is coated for durability.

The authors are all about stimulating the imagination and restoring a sense of wonder in children. They are beckoning them to get up from the computer and television and release that sense of adventure. They use the category Ephemeral Art to encompass Beach Art, Woodland Art and Ice and Snow. All of these activities could be done with younger children with supervision. Older children would naturally enjoy these activities and add their own age appropriate creativity. The snow lanterns are beautiful, but would require an adult to light the candles.

The Outdoor Toys section is magical, offering explicit directions on how to make each one. I know how fascinated many children are with Go Carts and there are step-by-step directions for a successful execution of a simple rope steered go cart. The children go on to explore the beach finding pieces of driftwood to fashion cricket bats, type of baseball bat, small rafts and boats. The paper gliders and painted paper kites are ingenious incorporating many important educational skills, i.e. design, balance, fine motor, social and teamwork.

Clay, wood furniture, making paints from natural ingredients, handmade jewelry, leaf crafts and natural mobiles and wind chimes are only some of the activities out of 101. The authors have jam-packed this exciting book with things that most adults would enjoy doing. Many of the activities are geared to children ten and up with younger children included with modifications. This would be a great reference not only for parents but teachers, camp and scout leaders.

Many of the fire-based activities would be just as creative and educational without the element of danger. The authors make many disclaimers throughout the book regarding the use of dangerous materials such as the fire and sharp instruments. It will be up to those who take on the supervisory role for these activities to determine the appropriateness .

Highly recommended book for its creativeness and timeliness in regard to children being more active physically and creatively!

Eileen Hanley (Gatsbys Gardens) Reviewer for

Related article in Early Childhood News