“It’s easiest to imagine outdoor play on a sunny, warm day, maybe even on a beach with waves crashing and warm sand between your toes, but outdoor play is important for kids year-round.” So says Asia Citro of the website Fun at Home with Kids. And with her new book A Little Bit of Dirt, parents, teachers, and caregivers can find inspiration for simple ways to engage their kid’s interest out the front door.
Asia Citro, A Little Bit of Dirt: 55+ Science and Art Activities to Reconnect Children with Nature (Woodinville, WA: The Innovation Press, 2016), 128 pp. Photography by Asia Centro. US $16.99.
Citro notes that these activities do not necessarily need to be done in a natural space. Gathering the materials necessary for the activity and bringing them inside to do still provides a sense of connection to nature – by observing, touching, and manipulating natural objects. And while she also notes that “unstructured play in nature is ideal” (the sort of nature connection that makes up 99% of the time my kids and I spend outside), sometimes parents will find that their kids need a little extra motivation for what to do.
So A Little Bit of Dirt might not be the book for every family, but for those who are constantly asking, “Well, what can we do outside?” it is perhaps the starting point and return-to guidance that is needed to make outside play a part of every day. The book consists of 52 activities – perfect for a year of nature fun! And the author’s wonderful photographs of her own kids along with some friends doing various activities are enjoyable to see.