BOOK: Muddy Boots: Outdoor Activities for Children

There will never be enough books with ideas for connecting kids to nature – they are always welcome! I’ve accumulated quite a few over the last few years. I am enjoying flipping through the following offering which was released last summer:

Liza Gardner Walsh, Muddy Boots: Outdoor Activities for Children (Lanham, MD: Down East Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 136 pp.

Publisher’s description No child can walk through a puddle of mud without a gigantic smile, and while the stuff might be the spring-time bane of grownups, children just love mud. Muddy Boots targets kids and families who value outdoor exploration and grandparents who long for their grandchildren to have the same unfettered time in nature as they did. The book features a wide range of hands-on activities for kids, including mud play, forts, animal tracking and forest wisdom, foraging, insects and worms, bird watching and bird feeding, and many small things for kids to make. Although not primarily about mud, the activities do encourage all hands to get dirty as they explore the world around them. This delightful book features a wide range of hands-on activities for kids and many small things for kids to make.

This is a visually appealing book chock full of beautiful photography of kids at play in nature (much of it from the author herself). There is a note to parents at the beginning – and a note to kids, too! “The only thing you must have as you approach these ingredients [for activities] is curiosity. You don’t need fancy outdoor gear. You just need to ask why and what if. Those two questions will guarantee to make your life more interesting. Ask them often.” The book is then separated into five parts sharing a variety of simple but rewarding activities: Mud, Forts, Sticks and Stones, Water, and Explore, Create, Repeat. A parent or teacher will find Muddy Boots a useful reference, but I think a child – given the larger font size – would treasure the contents of its pages even more.

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