BOOK: The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning

Every time I share about a new book of nature activities, I wonder if there is the need for more books of this nature. And while it may seem that one book or a few might be enough for a parent or educator to have access to, personally I think the more variety of activities one can pull from, the better. And you can’t dismiss a nature connection book that has arguably one of the greatest naturalists of history on its cover, Mr. Charles Darwin (I studied Darwin for my degrees in history, if you didn’t know, and one of my favorite aspects of his life is how he involved some of his children in nature experiments around their home and gardens). This new title – The Big Book of Nature Activities – is jam-packed with activities that explore seasonal differences. But its strength is in the chapters and sections that explore larger scientific concepts that some books either don’t cover or gloss over too briefly, such as evolution, climate change, and big picture cosmology. The book’s two authors are a director of a summer camp and outdoor education center, and a naturalist and environmentalist. Their combined backgrounds make for a comprehensive guide to nature connection that will find a spot on home, classroom, or nature center bookshelves (the book is a bit too big for carrying around in a backpack).

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Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman, The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2016), 384 pp.

Publisher’s description The average child can identify over one thousand corporate logos, but only ten native plants or animals—a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from nature. Soaring levels of obesity, high rates of ADHD, feelings of stress and social awkwardness, and “Nature Deficit Disorder” are further unintended consequences of a childhood spent primarily indoors. The Big Book of Nature Activities is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features: Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling, and the judicious use of digital technology; Ideas, games, and activities grounded in what’s happening in nature each season; Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach; Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America. Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders , The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun.

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