Healthy Reading: I Love Dirt! By Jennifer Ward
It is important that children experience nature, and learn to love the natural world around them. However, for many this is not an easy feat. Children nowadays are struggling with what is now known as “nature deficit.” The struggle is more difficult in this day and age, with constant screen based distractions, and academia being stressed from a very early age. I Love Dirt is a great resource for parents and educators to learn how to incorporate an appreciation for, and understanding of, nature and the natural world. In just 5 minutes you can take a child outside, and turn their world around. This book teaches us how to do just that!
I Love Dirt walks the reader step by step through various aspects of nature, and creates tools to use with children in helping them to understand some of these natural elements. This book contains 52 open-ended activities that lend the reader a wealth of creative ways to give the outdoors back to our children. I Love Dirt encourages children to explore, discover new elements of nature, get exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D! It teaches children how to have fun learning about nature.
The book is divided by seasons. It starts with Spring, then goes into Summer, Fall, and Winter. Each season covers all of the senses one would experience while being outdoors. For example,
Spring is soft. New grass, new buds, gentle breezes, gentle sun. Experience the softness of the season. Feel the breeze on your face. Gently brush the soles of your feet over the new blades of grass.”
This helps the reader walk children through experiencing with their own senses, and truly understanding what it is that they are feeling when being outside. After each page, there is a “Help Me Understand” section that lists activities to do with children to help them learn and understand various aspects of nature. I Love Dirt aims to stimulate an awareness of even the smallest things around, as well as invoke an appreciation of all the senses.
A favorite aspect of this book are the scavenger hunts! Scavenger hunts teach children to be thankful for all the different colors, shapes, textures, and even scents found in the natural world, and they are just good fun! Children also experience a sense of achievement and pride when a scavenger hunt is completed, teaching positive traits such as motivation and independence. There is no better way to learn about nature than this!
With all our advancement and technology, we have drifted so far away from the natural world. We now, for better or worse, need to make a concerted effort to include nature as a part of our lives, unlike those before us who experienced nature all around them every day. If you are looking to reconnect with nature and get dirty with your children, this is the book for you.
I Love Dirt gives children an amazing gift: an awareness of the outdoor world around them! In my opinion, this is the best gift of all. Happy exploring!
Author: Kathryn Kos
Kathryn is a functional nutritional therapist, author, editor, and mama of two boys. She enjoys spending her free time out in nature-hiking and fishing. You can find her at www.primalmusings.com and her book “Forties on Fire” can be found on Amazon.