I am delighted to see this book come to fruition. For perhaps a year now I have been following the authors’ blog, Twitter, and Facebook page/group Mud Puddles to Meteors, as well as one of the authors on her own Instagram. They sure do inspire everyday nature connection with their photographs and suggestions for things to do outside with kids. It only seemed natural that they’d publish a book such as Whatever the Weather.
Annie Riechmann and Dawn Suzette Smith, Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities that Explore the Wonders of Nature (Boulder, CO: Roost Books, 2016), 216 pp.
Publisher’s description The weather around us offers a perfect starting point for exploring nature: paint in the rain, send kites soaring in the wind, build ice orbs, and become a snowflake scientist. The engaging science experiments and open-ended art activities in this book provide a hands-on approach to exploring and understanding the weather we experience every day. This guide to weather science encourages creativity, questioning, and a spirit of curiosity; it will inspire a sense of wonder and adventure—no matter what the day brings.
Most nature activity books are organized by season, their authors suggesting particular activities for spring, summer, fall, and winter. And while Whatever the Weather is set up this way too, the emphasis is on the type of weather one is experiencing and how that can guide the choice of outdoor activity. So, chapters are defined by the type of weather: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (ice and snow); “Saving for a Rainy day;” “Let the Sun Shine In;” and “Where the Wind Blows.” But, while these follow a seasonal chronology, if one is experiencing a very windy and dry day in the spring, they can take a look at the fourth chapter; or, find an activity in the second chapter on a particular rainy fall day.
Each chapter contains between 6 and 8 activities, and for each activity the authors provide a list of needed materials, the steps for the activity, and suggestions for more things to do to explore the topic. But the best part of each activity, for me at least, is “The Science Behind the Scenes.” The authors give detailed information about the scientific processes at work – and the text in these bits show that they really know there stuff! The photography throughout the book is a delight, too. The book also includes over a dozen “Wondering About Our World,” where the authors delve a little deeper into topics related to the activities. And each chapter includes a suggestion for a discovery walk.
Overall, Whatever the Weather is a beautifully produced activity book that is a pleasure to simply flip through. The forecast here in Portland shows unseasonably high temperatures for this upcoming weekend. Although we are still in spring, I just might have to find an activity in “Let the Sun Shine In” to do with my kids on Saturday – making solar prints, perhaps.
Linda of Rain or Shine Mamma has a giveaway of this book on her website, open for just a few more days: http://rainorshinemamma.com/whatever-the-weather-review-giveaway/