Nature’s Playground is a beautiful book jam packed with well thought out ideas for encouraging children to enjoy the great outdoors.  Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield have combined their experiences giving their own children freedom to explore wild places with Fiona’s history in environmental education and Jo’s career as a professional photographer to produce a treasure of a book that is both stunning and inspiring.

The text is split into sections covering activities for the four seasons of the year, as well as a brilliant section on how to have fun ‘After Dark’ which includes games, the running of night walks, and the making of night light boats and illuminated sand castles on the beach at night.  Having young children myself, one of my favourite chapters is entitled ‘Encouraging children to walk’ – full of common sense and imaginative fun all aimed at getting the most reluctant of little legs to get to the end goal without tears and frustration!

Each activity, whether it be creative or experiential, includes a clear list of materials required and a highlighted section of safety tips if appropriate, as well as down to earth practical advice and spin-off suggestions from the main theme.

This is one of the most imaginative, comprehensive and visually appealing resources I have come across for equipping parents, forest school teachers, primary teachers, and indeed anyone desiring to get children outdoors and engaging playfully with their environment.

Philippa Riste

Nature’s Playground. Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield; ISBN: 0-7112-2491-9; Frances Lincoln, 2006; pp 192; £16.99.


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