So many people are enjoying nature study with their children these days. Creek Stompin’ and Gettin’ into Nature is a book that helps groups of children enjoy nature study together. If you have a large family, meet with a nature club, or teach science at a co-op, this book could be a valuable addition to your resources.
With more than 50 games and activities for groups of four to ten children, this book will be sure to stimulate an interest in nature! At the same time, the children will learn many scientific concepts about water, trees, animals, the earth, seasons, and using our senses. The games and activities also encourage cooperative learning, problem solving, trust, decision-making, and responsibility.
Although the activities are designed for ages six through ten, I believe most of the activities can be enjoyed by older children as well. The teaching is very hands-on and experience oriented. In other words, there isn’t a lot of information just handed to the children. They will be playing active games, making models, creating art, or doing an experiment to learn most of the concepts.
For the teacher, each lesson begins with a list of outcomes and objectives and a materials list. There really aren’t too many materials required for most lessons, and what is required is typically easy to find. There are also ideas for adapting lessons for older or younger children. Most lessons can easily be completed in an hour or less.
The lessons provide clear diagrams when necessary to help with understanding. Cute illustrations, fun facts, and jokes are scattered throughout. Step-by-step directions make it easy for the teacher, and an orange font highlights important parts. The lessons don’t require an abundance of preparation time, making the activities super easy to implement.
Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be outside to complete some of the activities. Of course, many of the lessons will take place in some sort of setting where the children can examine trees, find rocks, or explore a creek. But a few of the lessons are more or less background information and can be completed inside or out. Except for the day when you must examine a creek, most of the outdoor activities can take place in any outdoor setting--a back yard, a park or even a cemetery that has lots of plants, trees and wildlife.
Though the book is not specifically Christian in content, I found only two things about which to raise my eyebrows. There is one mention of “mother nature” and one mention of “ten thousand years ago.” Both could easily be left out of the teaching without damaging the lessons. The rest of the lessons are just nature learning and plain fun. This book has become a permanent fixture on my science shelf, and I plan to use many of the activities in our monthly nature club.