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I Love Dirt: 52 Activities to Help You & Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature

Reviewed by Katy Killilea

ilovedirtI love I Love Dirt. This little guide offers an outdoor activity for every week of the year. Each activity takes up just two or three small pages–you won’t need to cram before setting out–and includes charming, interesting, and scientifically accurate information about things like: ladybugs, gravity, snowflakes, birds, wind, and spider webs. And forty-six other topics that are easy to investigate in locales as exotic as your own yard.

This book offers the oomph we need to get out and explore–especially on a frigid Saturday, when it can take a little kick in the pants to get outside.  The winter topics include not just the expected ice and snow, but also constellations, condensation, and how animals keep themselves warm. I love that the “equipment” needed for these explorations is mostly stuff like rocks and breath–no egg beaters need to be sacrificed, no obscure craft supplies need to be procured, and no paint brushes need to be washed afterward.

Another plus: the activities are open-ended and designed to stimulate a sense of wonder. And four out of five parents agree: sense of wonder + fresh air = the cure for an otherwise dismal day.

The details:
I Love Dirt
By Jennifer Ward
$12.95 Trumpeter (an imprint of Shambhala Publications)

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  • A good one for today (lifted from I LOVE DIRT) is looking closely–really up close– at trees. We did this while waiting for the bus today and saw lots of freaky (cool) things I’d never noticed–feathery moss, bugs crawling in and out of bark (maybe this is bad news for the tree?), different colors of bark, birds, fat squirrels, etc…

  • Thank you for such a thoughtful review.

    It’s very humbling to discover this book has been a fun and useful resource to folks who actual use it. So glad.

    Jen Ward

  • I love this book, too. I try to make a point of reading and following one activity per week, but I also find that flipping through gives me lots of ideas for those “in between” moments. So I’m not just prepared when we’re playing outside, but when we’re walking to the car, getting the mail, waiting on line, etc.