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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Get Outside, written by Jane Drake and Ann Love with illustrations by Heather Collins. Kids Can Press, 2012. $17.95 ages

"Wari is an Egyptian board game that's more than a thousand years old. The game spread to Africa and then traveled with African slaves to America, and the West Indies. Wari boards have been dug in the soil or made from wood, stone or pottery. To have your own instant wari board..."
Even easier than a sandy beach for some children, an egg carton works as a permanent board for playing this ages-old counting game. On page 71 of this new nonfiction activity book by sisters Jane Drake and Ann Love, you can find all the information you need to get started at learning how to play it.

In their newest book, the authors have taken ideas from their earlier books to focus on the things you can do 'outside' throughout the seasons. It is arranged chronologically from spring through winter, with four identical sections for each season...nature lover, outdoor fun and games, snug inside and look to the sky. In each short section concerning games for inside when weather prevents outdoor exploration and fun, they suggest card games, crafts and other activities that may be familiar to parents. All encourage time away from electronic toys and such distractions. All other sections concern themselves with great variety in ways to entertain children and to enjoy what is right at hand.

Heather Collins has created detailed, useful illustrations to accompany many of the suggested activities. The captions help with understanding, the labels are clear and concise, and they add fun and learning to the many activities presented. I love the looks of wonder and joy on the children's faces as they work and play together.

Anyone who spends time with children at home, in day care,  at the beach, in the snow will find much to use to encourage creative and active play. It's so much fun for everyone involved. Now, get outside and have a blast!

Just as an aside, I was sitting at my dining room table having lunch when I looked out the front window to see a young man (early 20s) strolling slowly down the sidewalk, eyes on the sky and thoroughly enjoying the beautiful, big, feathery snowflakes falling all around him. It was pure delight to be an observer of his joy in the wonder of nature and his ability to take the time needed to bask in it!

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