Home / Books / Book Reviews / Book Review: The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie

Book Review: The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie

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The Nature Connection is a workbook devoted to teaching children about finding nature wherever they are. The introduction focuses on showing children how they can be naturalists. It talks about why they should study nature and what nature is from the birds and animals to the air, soil, water and space around them. The Introduction also includes an informative block on some famous naturalists readers can learn more about and includes people like Galileo, Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall.

Part one teaches your child how to be a naturalist. It starts by tell your child what they need to pack in their outdoor adventure kit and includes fun things like a magnifying glass, binoculars, field guides and pencils and paper to draw or write about their findings. This section will introduce your child to the concepts of observing and recording and how to keep good scientific records. It walks them through the process of setting up their nature journal and taking notes. There are a variety of fun activities and games throughout the section that your child can use including making a nature arrangement and writing a nature poem. It also gives your child plenty of room to draw or write about what they find and gives suggestions on how to draw different things.

Part two discusses learning about the sky and its cycles and seasons. It talks about learning to read clouds and how to learn what the weather will be like based on the different types of clouds. It also includes a weather watch worksheet for your child to fill out to track the weather and animal/plant activity. It answers questions like “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why is the sky red at dawn and dusk?” Part two explains why we have the different seasons and how the sun influences them. It includes fun activities like having fun with shadows and learning about eclipses. The chapter will also introduce your child to moon cycles, the tides, star-gazing and a wide variety of other interesting topics.

Part three is a month-by-month guide to exploring nature. Each month offers a nature note section where your child can record the date, time, place and temperature and also write about what the weather is like, what the phase of the moon is, the sunrise and sunset times and what the observe outside. It has suggestions for activities that can be done in each month and has a page your child can draw or photograph a picture of the month. It also has information on topics that fit with each month. As an example, January discusses warm-blooded winter survival and hibernation. It has activities like a snowflake study and great nature books to read.

Throughout the book are wonderful sketches that will appeal to adult and child alike. There’s plenty of room for your child to include their drawings and journal entries. There are also poems by Henry David Thoreau and other famous poets and writers to foster your child’s love and reading.

The book has a special appendix with a note to parents and teachers and how to mentor our children. It also discusses safety in nature and how to use nature journals in your teaching. It has a valuable section on how to use this book to meet state curriculum standards.

As a Mom who has homeschooled her children in the past, I found this book to be an amazing resource. I really wish it had been around when my kids were younger so I could have taken advantage of the fun way it presents nature. I highly recommend to it moms and teachers alike.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.