Reviewed by Katy Killilea

green hourRegarding happy children, the evidence is clear: one requirement is time outside in unstructured activity., a website of the National Wildlife Foundation, encourages families to carve out one hour every day for outdoor exploration and play. It’s hard to imagine an argument against that. And it doesn’t sound hard to do . . . unless it’s raining. Or icy. Or too hot. Or you’re busy. Or you just got a new Lego set. Or you prefer reading to all of life’s other pleasures.

Todd Christopher, the creator of, gives us The Green Hour, a guide filled with simple ideas and activities that inspire outdoor creativity and discovery. One age-level leap above the beloved little I Love Dirt, the activities are simple, but the information goes deep enough for curious school-age minds. Wherever you are–your yard, in the woods, at the beach–this book has absorbing activities for all ages.

Digging into the earth that your very own home rests upon becomes an other-worldly adventure with this book as your guide. I love the way it offers both projects (make a worm jar; make a bagel bird feeder) and clear information (why there is wind; the courtship and mating of frogs) to help non-expert eyes see the natural world on a more intricate level.

Exploring nature doesn’t come naturally to all of us, and not every child gravitates to the study of leaves and bugs. But with The Green Hour, I Love Dirt, and in-person live inspiration from resources like Rhode Island Families in Nature, The Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and Norman Bird Sanctuary, all of us can learn enough to play along.

The details:

The Green Hour by Todd Christopher
$18 Trumpeter/Shambhala

Shambhala provided a review copy of this book. Kidoinfo does not have any undisclosed relationship with this publisher, and received no compensation for this review.