The kind folks at Shambhala Publications sent me a book recently that they knew would be right up my alley. Despite the fact that I blog about a more natural family life, getting out in nature, homesteading, etc I do it from the viewpoint of someone who lives in the city. I can see the Columbus city skyline from the top floor of my house. I actually love city living but I I feel it is important to bring in those parts of rural life where we can. This is why we garden, make our own yogurt and kefir, drink out of Ball jars, and lead simple “country” lives whilst living in the city. Heck if we had a fenced yard we’d be raising chickens too. In both major cities I have lived in… Phoenix, Arizona, and now Columbus, Ohio I chose a home based upon its proximity to nature. You can have the best of both worlds.
I want my kids to enjoy nature and feel it is an important part of their lives. We are lucky enough to have access to beautiful and wild metro parks, creeks, ponds, and farmland all around the city. Getting out in nature is not hard if we get in the car and drive just a bit… or walk. The design and sprawl of some cities though might make this hard for other parents which is why I love the ideas in It’s a Jungle Out There!: 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids. It is written by the same gal, Jennifer Ward, that wrote the book I Love Dirt, which we also have in our personal library. It is full of good, useful ideas for helping city kids “connect” with nature. After that, all they need is an adventurous spirit and the will to get outdoors.
The book has a retro look and feel which I liked right off the bat. The illustrations (by Susie Ghahremani) remind me of something you see in Peter Rabbit. The adorable pictures just made it that more fun to read but the real gem is the content. It is organized by season, which I love. In the spring section is has ideas for creating a wild space for children, getting familiar with worms and seeds, playing nature observation games, and studying birds. In summer there are activities for sidewalk fun, bug watching at night, getting messy in ponds and puddles, and finding animal nests in the city. In Fall there were more crafty ideas mixed in among the games and activities. In winter there is lots of observation going on as well as snow play activities.
I had fun reading through it myself while the kids were outside playing and I know that we do not have much trouble finding fun nature activities but if we do this is a great resource. This book would serve very well as part of a larger homeschool curriculum too and perhaps it will since we will be donating our copy to the local library system.
It can be educational and just plain fun as you take full advantage of whatever green space your city offers. Nature can be found among the tall buildings, traffic, and general busyness of the city. All it takes is the will and a little creativity.
How do you get your city kids outside?
Thursday, July 14th, 2011