BOOK REVIEW: Let’s Go Outside: Sticks and Stones – Nature Adventures, Games and Projects for Kids

A new book from across the pond might be of interest to nature play parents or environmental educators who work with kids in preschool or early elementary grades. While some of the language in the book is indeed specific to the UK – what the heck does “wonky” mean?  – the various activities within can surely be considered universal.

9781849942768

Steph Scott and Katie Akers, Let’s Go Outside: Sticks and Stones – Nature Adventures, Games and Projects for Kids (London: Batsford, 2015), 144 pp. With a Foreward by David Bond of the excellent film Project Wild Thing.

Publisher’s description A fun-packed outdoor adventure book for 3- to 7-year-olds. With just a few essentials – like string – in your backpack and little help from nature – such as leaves, acorns and sticks – you can make, do and play any of the activities in this book. Get the most from the outdoors whatever the weather – fly through the forest on enchanted wings crafted from willow, pay wobble catch with a grass ball, or perform astounding magic tricks with just a handful of sticks. With things to see and do in every season – from spotting bugs and butterflies, plants and clouds to learning woodland skills such as knots and den building – intrepid adventurers can unleash their imagination and have fun in the great outdoors.

Scott and Akers, who created the idea of The Out Pack on which this book is based, have organized their book into 5 sections. The introduction provides some basics to getting outside, such as how to forage and how to remember the seasons. In Nature Makes, readers are shown how to make various things from natural materials they can gather themselves, such as Enchanted Wings, a Memory Mobile, and two different types of Wonky Racers (there’s that word again, wonky). In all, there are about twenty different things one can choose from. The next section is all about ten or so different games to play in nature, all of which use equipment made from simple natural items. Outs and Abouts covers the more observational side of being outdoors – it shows what flora and fauna kids can expect to find outside at different seasons. And the final section offers instruction in a few basic skills, such as den-building and tree-climbing.

Let’s Go Outside by Steph Scott and Katie Akers is definitely a book that should be put in one’s backpack, I mean, Out Pack, along with a variety of materials that one can have on hand. All that’s then needed is collecting natural materials, the ability to follow some simple instructions, and an imagination!

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