Books Will Never Go Out of Print!

Grab a cup of coffee. Sit back. Check out meanderings about books I've loved.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Happens Then?

America's genius has been nurtured by nature-by space, both physical and mental. What happens to the nation's intrinsic creativity, and therefore the health of our economy, when future generations are so restricted that they no longer have room to stretch?...

Nature is imperfectly perfect, filled with loose parts and possibilities, with mud and dust, nettles and sky, transcendent hands-on moments and skinned knees. What happens when all the parts of childhood are soldered down, when the young no longer have the time or space to play in their family's garden, cycle home in the dark with the stars and moon illuminating their route, walk down through the woods to the river, lie on their backs on hot July days in the long grass, or watch cockleburs, lit by morning sun, like bumblebees quivering on harp wires? What then?

From Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv (p. 97)

What then?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More About Childhood and Nature

(Some children at heart claim the fort work of regular beach going children.)

Who can't remember spending hours, days even, outside running wild during summer vacation and on weekends, maybe even during after school hours? Who else besides me misses the unstructured, unscheduled, outdoorsy, free time of our childhood? I know I do, and I haven't been a child for many, many years (except in my mind).

Childhood and Nature, Design Principles for Educators by David Sobel hits all of those nails right on the proverbial head. For the health - mental, emotional, physical, spiritual - of each child, nature is the best medicine. Nature plus free time is even better.

See if you can think of a personal example for each of the following themes found in childhood play:

1. Adventure. I remember I was the horse AND rider on numerous robberies and explorations with my best friend. (She was also her own horse and rider.) We sometimes recruited our live horses to adopt a role and play along. I don't think they liked it.

2. Fantasy and Imagination. See number one. Since horses were of number one importance, they played dominant roles in our imaginary worlds. Depended on what color hat we each wore, but the color told the world who was the bad guy and who was the good guy.

3. Animal Allies. Either we were on a horse, pretending to ride a horse, or were a horse. How else could we know what a horse was unless we became a horse?

4. Maps and Paths. Maps? We created our own. It really helped when we found a REAL live Indian arrowhead. Our archeological discovery undergirded many subsequent adventures.

5. Special Places. Sometimes, horses were not involved. One particular fort was perfect. We carefully scraped it out from the center of an entire shrub system of crucifix thorns. Just try and break in, enemies. You will bleed!

6. Small Worlds. Barbies (accompanied by camper, horse, and tent) were custom made for small worlds. Or rocks became walls, twigs furniture, and miscellaneous bits and bobs transformed into miniature homes, complete with rules, regulations, and family members.

7. Hunting and Gathering. Girls need to eat, right? Or at least gather. We had to go out there and round 'em up. Mostly, I caught tadpoles. Didn't eat them. Did find out that they dry up in the hot desert sun and look like boogers stuck to the glass sides.

Now, who can't think of at least one nostalgic memory linked to any of the above principles?

Enjoy the little trip down nature's memory lane.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

London - 2011 International Mission Study

I adore London! The history, the Underground, tea and scones, jam and clotted cream, museums, shopping...the people!

I just received my copy of the new International Mission Study 2011 Teaching Guide for Preschoolers. Now, seriously, who else is going to enjoy learning about London and the culture of families that live there MORE than preschoolers? Well, maybe the teachers and helpers!

Check out this resource, by yours truly, for some great ideas on things to do with preschoolers while they learn about and experience different facets of life in London. ;0

Look for Mission Friends (preschoolers) resources at and

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Now I'm Reading...

Wow, life really happened since I decided to add a new blog! I'm still reading, but the in between times are crammed with excitement and happenings...almost a baby, ready to be un-pregnant daughter, wild talkin' grandson, new daughter-in-law and happily married son, friends and family and festivities...not to mention that school begins in less time than I need to prepare my room! Help!

But right now, I'm reading a great book (well several, but only one I'll mention now). Childhood and Nature, Design Principles for Educators by David Sobel (2008) is the primary book for a class I'm taking and hoped to finish before school starts (not going to happen).

I love this book! It takes me right back to my childhood experiences with free play and long summers and oodles of time spent outdoors exploring, creating, and enjoying nature. Although this is written for people who work with children, it really reminds me as a grandparent how much I need to make sure to have it happen for my grand babies. And I realize that I encouraged embracing the outdoors for my own children, allowing them to delve into the messy of outdoors.

IT is fun times in the great outdoors. Time and space and freedom to interact and learn and make connections with nature in an unstructured way.

So much so, as I reflect on my own childhood and how much we loved dirt (grass, trees, bugs, frogs, sticks, mud, ponds, flowers, horses, dogs, you get the picture) and constantly eroded Dad's sand pile (hauled in for a specific purpose), so much that he never was able to use it for the intended project. I thought about my carefully landscaped yard, where each section has a purpose.

And where is the free exploration place for my babies? I think I need to add another planter box and fill it with dirt. Nothing fancy. Just dirt. Rocks maybe. Add some spoons and containers. He (and soon she) will love it!

Back to the book. I've always loved nature. I feel so relaxed and the stress just drops off when I'm out in the forest and take deep breaths of the evergreen air. Or strolling on the beach and smelling the briny salty water and running my toes through the icy cold water and sand of the Pacific Northwest. That nature connection is very good for my health.

Rating: Great read. Relevant for NOW. Green. Back to the basics and what is really important for our younger generations. No electricity OR internet access required.

Go unplugged. Take this book outside and sprawl on the grass under a huge shady tree. Pretty soon the book will be laying by itself. You'll be daydreaming about days gone past or excursions soon to come.