Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Celebrate Nature With Your Children: A Book Review

About The Book:

Create meaningful learning experiences for every season with Celebrate Nature!, an activity book designed to help children ages three to eight reconnect with nature and promote their creativity. Each season — fall, winter, spring, and summer — introduces new themes, such as pumpkins, animal tracks, seeds, and the sun. Each theme provides early childhood educators with ideas to integrate nature into the classroom through song, dramatic play, science discovery activities, language arts projects, and block building. Also included are sample letters to families to strengthen the home-school connection. Age focus: 3-8.

About The Author:

Angela grew up in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York. Her undergraduate work in Elementary Education was completed at Keuka College, a private liberal arts based school residing on one of the beautiful Finger Lakes. Angela's Master's thesis was on the topic of art therapy and her passion during her schooling became environmental art. She completed her Master's Degree in Education at Elmira College, in Elmira, NY. She is a certified Art K-12 teacher and an Elementary Education teacher as well. Angela has many years of experience in the field of psychodrama, therapeutic role-playing techniques for developing the true self. She is a Master level student of psychodrama and has been a participant in psychodrama training and education classes since the early 1990s. In 2006, she received her certification in experiential therapy. Angela is a Certified Experiential Therapist, CET II and a member of The American Society of Experiential Therapists (ASET). She has worked with the incarcerated population and various therapy groups. Her mission is to inspire others to honor their gifts! Angela's educational work has been at the foundation of learning with early primary children. It is her aim to inspire those in the educational world. She resides in her country home with her husband, son and daughter in upstate New York. Angela's website

My Review:

During the warmer months, I really enjoy being outdoors. Especially now, in the summer. However,  I am not one to purposely sit in the sun and tan though, there has to be a reason for me to be outdoors. I love taking my girls to check out different parks, play in the yard, hang out with friends and family having BBQ's and all the other fun things summer outdoor time brings. 

With my family child care program, I especially love summer because the children get so incredibly inventive with their play. But also, we can do almost all the indoor activities and take them outside!

Being in Canada, there are far more cooler months than warmer, it seems and so it can sometimes be more difficult to find ideas and activities to use for outdoor education with young children. That is until now. 

I recently had the opportunity to review Celebrate Nature!: Activities For Every Season, from Redleaf Press and I am so impressed.

I have been pouring over this book the last few days that I have had it, and the activities are phenomonal! Of course, being the summer season, I went right to that section which covers the following themes:

1. Summer's Insects
2. Ready For The Sun
3. Summer's Grass
4. Relaxing With The Sand
5. Busy Honeybees
6. Picnic Ants
7. Bloomin' Flowers

Don't these themes sound amazing, and they are the perfect ones to expand for child-directed learning (or Emergent Curriculum), which is how I love to run my programs. Each theme includes activities covering a variety of learning areas like science, math, drama, blocks and music (each has a few new songs based on the theme). There are great pictures throughout the book, although I wish they were full color versus black and white. 

Here is one activity I used yesterday with my children and they LOVED it! It was so much fun to see the role playing and imagination play that occured:

***Hang a handmade cardboard yellow sun in the dramatic play center to set the tone. Provide some fold-up lounge chairs, umbrellas, beach bags and towels, and a basket of sunglasses with some fun magazines and good books. Include an empty bottle of SPF sun lotion for the children to pretend to use. Show the children how to sit back and take it easy under the beach umbrella. They can relax and enjoy some recreational reading time in the sun*** (p. 197)

While I used this as a dramatic play area outside, it would be so much fun inside too, especially on a rainy day! 

Each season is loaded with a ton of activities and Celebrate Nature! would be a fantastic addition to any Early Childhood Education, Early Elementary Classroom, Family Child Care Program and Homeschool Program.

This is a book is one that I highly recommend and give a huge thumbs up to!

BUY IT: You can purchase Celebrate Nature!: Activities For Every Season online through Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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