Children Wild Nature CoverThere is a growing realisation that children benefit by being involved in ‘wild’ spaces; that so many children today grow up in a city environment – far from any ‘natural encounter’ – with youngsters who simply do not know what ‘nature’ they are missing. These are the new generation of kids experiencing ‘nature deficit disorder’, coined by Richard Louv of the Children and Nature Network.

The authors argue: children need dynamic and complex outdoor environments and opportunities for risk and challenge, to play with abandon, to have first-hand experiments – places where there is adventure, laughter, daring and joy!  This reviewer agrees fully! Living in the city of Shanghai, I could not agree more! As a parent of a lively 3-year-old, it’s the biggest challenge we face – but books like this give me inspiration to face the same, head on.

This resource takes a practical approach to taking children aged 2 to 8 years into the outdoors, describing and exemplifying rich environments in which children will be nurtured and challenged. The book is great to scan, read a case study, take and apply the idea. But that’s also my biggest criticism of this, as a ‘resource’: the layout is not conducive to a teacher or parent who wants to search quickly – Chapter 4 is too far in for an ‘advocacy’ which should be Chapter 1 or 2. Also, dos and don’ts are scattered, rather than leaping off the page. There is no index of ‘the best examples’ and their country of origin.

All that said, here you will find: safety regulations, wonderful examples of nature-based modelling, boiling in a tin can, cooking using solar power, lighting a fire safely. So, get outside with your children to look for some not-too-pampered ‘wild nature’.

Anne Peters

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Children in Wild Nature. Niki Buchan & Clare Nugent Teaching Solutions, Australia. www.teachingsolutions.com.au