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Juliet Robertson "Creative STAR" (Inverurie, Scotland, UK)

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Go Wild!: 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up
Go Wild!: 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up
by Fiona Danks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.89

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild, Wonderful and Wicked, 5 April 2009
When I entered the bookshop, this book jumped off the shelf at me. It is a coffee table book full of beautiful photos of teenagers being outdoors building shelters, hanging around camp fires, making weapons and exploring the local areas. For any parents wanting to get their older children off the couch and away from a screen then this is an inspirational introduction.

However, this book really is only an introduction. If you have been a scout or girl guide then you may well be familiar with most of the activities covered here. Bushcraft experts and outdoor enthusiasts should stay with Ray Mears and Tom Brown's books. You may also argue some of the specifics of the advice given in some chapters.

I think if you are in the process of becoming a forest school leader or thinking about becoming one, then this book would be a useful starting point for ideas and activities. The safety aspects are discussed in a reassuring way which is helpful.

I hope this book will be the one of many more to come, which allow more young people to experience the joys of being outside in a natural environment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 9, 2009 5:43 PM BST


Everybody Needs a Rock (For the Junior Rockhound)
Everybody Needs a Rock (For the Junior Rockhound)
by Byrd Baylor
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book rocks like no other, 28 Mar 2009
This classic book gives you ten rules to help you find your perfect rock. The language is simple enough for young children but the idea is transferable for upper primary children as well.

I loved the gentle humour, the warm appreciation of the world around us and the way it set me on a personal quest for finding my perfect rock more than 12 years ago.

This book is essential to any nursery or primary teacher who wishes to undertake a rock project with their class. Enjoy, savour and re-read 1000 times!


Crash
Crash
by J.A. Henderson
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best teenage chiller thriller of 2008, 24 Jan 2009
This review is from: Crash (Paperback)
When the author runs a ghost tour company, you expect a creepy tale but not necessarily a decent plot. The book opens with a crash and confusion everywhere. A boy discovers that his dad is suddenly not the person he once was, meanwhile strange events are happening out at sea.

The Scottish setting and the very ordinariness of the characters makes a refreshing change from the glamorous destinations and heroes frequently depicted in many children's books. As events unravel, the multiple mini plots come together beautifully, making a very complete conclusion.

So don't wait. I would buy this book, set aside a few hours and enjoy a satisfying read.


Enid Blyton's Nature Lover's Book
Enid Blyton's Nature Lover's Book
by Enid Blyton
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get outside and enjoy nature, 21 Jan 2009
If you are an Enid Blyton fan, this book will take you back down memory lane as her unique style presents nature through stories and fascinating facts about trees, flowers and birds.

For teachers and those who work with children, this book is an accessible way into learning more about nature and some children might enjoy the stories as useful preparation to going outside. This is the book's value.

The book has some limitations. It was written in 1945 in the South of England and our natural areas have changed. For those who do not know much about nature this can be confusing as some plants which used to be common are becoming increasingly rare. Some of the references are to plants which are not found further north. Also there is a moral tweeness and stereo-typing to Enid Blyton's books which can be off-putting.

If you like Enid Blyton and you want to know a little more about nature from her, buy this book. If you don't like her style then avoid this book like the plague!


Face Dancing: The Rachel Farmer Trust
Face Dancing: The Rachel Farmer Trust
by Neil Gresham
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, inspirational book about a young climber, 3 Jan 2009
I have had this book on my shelf for more than 15 years. I use the quotes and thoroughly enjoy the passion which floods every page of this book.

If you like rock climbing, buy this book. If you want a great example of a female role model, buy this book. If you appreciate the life you have, buy this book.

It is a fine tribute to one of the greatest female rock climbers of early Nineties.


You Can Create an Outdoor Classroom
You Can Create an Outdoor Classroom
by Rosaleen Joyce
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jump the barriers to getting children outside the classroom, 28 Oct 2008
I purchased a copy of this book over a year ago and it's become well-thumbed. The book is unique both in its content and format for a book on outdoor learning because it is written in a way which educators can understand and apply to their own setting.

I find the "Thinking Points" on each page useful for developing reflective thought amongst staff. The ideas, suggestions and activities are helpful. For example there are pages covering:
- Close observation of children outside
- Teaching children how to look after themselves
- Teaching children how to accept boundaries
- Teaching children how to use the toilet independently
- Planning so that the indoor and outdoor areas complement each other.

This is just a fraction of the subjects!

The only negative part of owning this book is that when I lend it to people, they want to keep it too. So don't queue for my copy. Go and buy your own!


I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
by Jennifer Ward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simply - perhaps too simply - Good, 25 July 2008
This book is a curious mix of brilliance and boredom. I am writing this review from a teaching perspective, although in theory it is suitable for parents and anyone who wants to go outside with children. Here's my thoughts:

1) There are some really useful facts in here. It is an American book so, take heed and remember that hummingbirds don't exist in the wild here and we have different names for many creatures.

2) The open-ended ideas may take significant adaptation to work with a class...but the book is inspirational and I found myself thinking of numerous pre and post actvities to create lessons around the suggestions.

3) No special equipment is needed. Hurray! The activities are predominantly sensory, supplemented by suggestions for questions, etc.

4) Some of the suggestions are stating the obvious and are a bit dull for many children beyond 6 years old. I cannot imagine a class of ten year olds willingly engaging in some of the drama / movement based activities.

5) The ideas go beyond plants and animals and cover aspects of weather, seasons, astronomy which give the book a welcome breadth in terms of wider science concepts.

6) The book is a handy small size which means its portable. The layout is straightforward. The "Help me understand" boxes are definitely aimed towards the under-7's age. The tick boxes at the end of each section don't appear to relate to any specific curriculum or attainment target, so the purpose is unclear and unexplained.

Having said all of this, I know I will be referring to this book frequently. It is a memory jogger and great for emergency ideas when I'm out and about with children of all ages. It is definitely a useful addition to my bookshelf and backpack. This is why I'm giving it a 4 star rating.

It may be worthwhile looking at the range of reviews on Amazon.com if you remain unsure as to whether to buy this book.


Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids' Guide
Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids' Guide
by Lynn Brunelle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.72

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book makes you want to go camping!, 5 July 2008
This book is fun to read. As an adult I can get bored with child language in non-fiction books, but this book kept me riveted. I am fascinated by the sheer number of uses the author has found for duct tape on camping trips including wrapping a few strips around a water bottle for emergencies. It is one of the best introductions to the world outside our front door that I have come across. The illustrations are clear and humourous. The science in the chapters on astronomy, weather, and naturalist sections is straightforward. The only part which lacks a little imagination is the advice on keeping a field journal.

This book is ideal for any wannabe family campers, die-hard campers, scout and guide leaders, forest school leaders and teachers who want to do more outdoor activities with children. It is very good value for the cover price. It is aimed at children aged 7 years and upwards. A useful present if you are stuck for a gift.


Healthy, Active and Outside!: Running an Outdoors Programme in the Early Years
Healthy, Active and Outside!: Running an Outdoors Programme in the Early Years
by Janice Filer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Integrating Forest Schools into an Early Years Setting, 19 Jun 2008
If you are interested in finding out more about Forest Schools and how to integrate this approach into an early years setting, then this detailed book provides useful ideas, plans and suggestions. It is all based on the author's personal involvement in an action research study in a Bristol nursery in 1991. This grew into the HAO programme.

It begins with advice on developing the outdoor area within a setting, then takes this a step further and how to manage an outdoor programme in a woodland setting.

There are plenty of suggestions for activities, examples of sheets used for planning, assessing and recording impact and outcomes of the programme and how to share this with parents.

The only negative point, in my opinion, is the small size of the text and layout of the book. This makes it harder to read than many books. There are huge margins too, which I presume are for note taking. I would have prefered a larger font size! That's my reason for giving this book a 4 star rating.

The content, however, is excellent and I recommend this book to all forward thinking and progressive early years practitioners!


Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Childern from Nature-deficit Disorder
Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Childern from Nature-deficit Disorder
by Richard Louv
Edition: Paperback

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book which is Revolutionising Environmental America, 5 May 2008
This highly emotive and readable perspective of an American journalist is creating a huge movement of people and organisations who have said "Enough is enough" to litigation and other constraints on unstructured outdoor free play for children of all ages. The book cites the need for action to be taken by everyone to consider the environment in which we live and how it impacts on our health. For anyone interested in children, the outdoors, green spaces, wilderness areas, green design of urban places, etc. and who wants an introduction to a rapidly expanding movement in North America, then buy this book. The chapter which discusses spirituality and the nature is sensitively written and gives multi-faith examples of what religious groups are doing to address similar concerns. Be warned teachers! You may find yourself questioning the value of homework and after school activity clubs! Oooh! The up-dated edition has just been published. Buy a copy now or borrow from your local library!


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