I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
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I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  525 ratings  ·  73 reviews
I Love Dirt! presents 52 open-ended activities to help you engage your child in the outdoors. No matter what your location—from a small patch of green in the city to the wide-open meadows of the country—each activity is meant to promote exploration, stimulate imagination, and heighten a child's sense of wonder.

To learn more about the author, Jennifer Ward, visit her websi...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Trumpeter
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This is one odd little book. If I had bought this book I would have been so upset.

I'm not entirely clear on who the audience is. The subtitle says "your kids"--but the activities are for toddlers. At the end of each activity it tells you its supposed benefits--"Stimulates imagination and relaxation".

However, these activities are things kids do on their own. Looking for spiderwebs, counting ladybugs, watching the clouds, looking for bird nests. Kids don't need to be led to these activities. Kids...more
Many of these activities may seem obvious to science teachers and those who have spent a lot of time outdoors, but this book was really helpful to me as a mom who doesn't have much knowledge of such things myself but wants to encourage reverence/respect for nature in my kids. I thought the activities presented here were the best I have found - very simple and straight forward, requiring no outside materials, and many would be interesting to both my third grader and my preschooler. One example: g...more
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
As the title suggests, this books provides 52 project ideas to introduce children to nature.

The description does mention the projects are "open-ended", but to me, I found them too vague. The projects included things like searching for rocks of varying shapes and sizes; puddle splashing; and stargazing. These are all worthwhile activites, however I was expecting more detailed projects.

This would be a good book for families who don't get outside much, and want to start with basic activities. It wo...more
A must own for parents! This book is broken down, by season, into short activities with fun facts about animals/insects/weather with each activity. As I was reading I noticed how many things children just do naturally but that as an adult I forget or overlook. The book reminded me how simple it is to discover and observe nature and to appreciate all of the wonder that surrounds us each day! I will definitely keep this book on hand as a reminder that there never has to be a dull moment when you'r...more
"I Love Dirt" seems to have been written for parents who don't actually already love dirt... but want to. Reading the book, I got the impression that the author is assuming the reader hasn't spent much time outdoors, but is interested in exploring nature more closely with their children. If you're one of those parents, this book is for you! She asks "Have you ever looked at a tree? I mean, truly looked closely at a tree? Probably not." Well, actually, I have, and I am sure the average person wit...more
the only thing I don't like about this book is how it tells what specific skills your child is "supposed" to be learning with each activity, for example: "stimulates observation skills and awareness of and curiosity about the living world". it feels like this was added by an editor to satisfy all the baby einstein parents, when the whole message of the book is to allow your child to enjoy and discover nature in a joyful way, not to satisfy some lesson plan.
May 22, 2009 Susie added it  ·  (Review from the author)
The first of a series of books written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by me, aiming to inspire families to spend more time in nature & the outdoors. The second book (Let's Go Outside) is due out later this year.
I've always been interested in nature, environmental education, and place-based learning. I've even co-authored an article called Geocaching with Kids in Taproot: Journal for Education in the Outdoors, so I was thrilled to receive a LibraryThing Early Reviewer copy of "I Love Dirt: 42 activities to help you & your kids discover the wonders of nature". In her introduction, Jennifer Ward calls on parents, educators, and caregivers to spend time outdoors in nature.[return][return]When I was gro...more
Really really quick read. Picked it up from the library today and read through it in one sitting. It could be summed up by saying, "go outside. Look around you: what do you hear, smell, see. Okay now play." I'm thankful this is a library book because there was just nothing new or creative.

I'm surprised to say that I found this surprisingly depressing. We are so out of touch that parents need to read a book like this to know what to do with their children outside. We don't need to say, "what do y...more
another half price books find! I will keep it on my shelves for future unschooling reference. Some of the negative reviews are funny to me. You don't need structured step by step outdoor activities to achieve having a great time with your child outside in nature. The ideas are just that, creative ideas. Your kids might think of some of these on their own but if not, you can have this reference guide to guide them and to help them explore all the fun you can have outside year around. I disagree t...more
Just got this as an Early Reviewer (on a different site, ahem). I'm not sure if this was intentional, but the book was not the whole book, it only had 15 of the 52 outdoor activities to do with your kids. I can't say I was too excited about the ones that were included. My kids are 4 and 1, and we have managed to keep them, in large part, away from the TV, and so they already love to play outside. Yesterday it was rainy most of the day, so we put on the rainboots and headed out for some good pudd...more
Feb 29, 2012 Pam rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: science
I love dirt! I absolutely do so when I saw a book with that subject I decided to check it out. This book has many of the activities I loved to do as a child; finding four leaf clovers in the lawn (how many kids have those in their lawn today), looking at the clouds in the sky to see what they looked like. For a parent looking to instill love of the outdoors in their children or grandchildren, this book presents a variety of ideas involving weather, insects, rocks, water etc. But, that said, I fi...more
Nicely organized by seasons, with 52 total activities to try with your child.Most are really simple, and many you may already do with your child.Each is just a couple of pages long, so really accessible.Have fun playing in the dirt!
To me, the activities in this books seemed fairly obvious, but I can see how the parents of some of my students could really benefit from suggestions for open-ended activities to get their kids outside and active in nature.
I absolutely love this book! I have read many books about activities to do with your children and this one by far is the most unique and fun way to introduce your very littlest kids to nature and science. Some of the activities are simple enough that I could do them with my daughter when she was 18 months, others she is able to do now at 3.
I'm finally shelving this as Read because it's not a book that really can be read in a sitting. It's more of a reference, sorted by month, of activities to do with your kids outside.

I realize that most of them, as I've skimmed it multiple times by now, are obvious and things most people and kids do without prompting, but seeing as I live on the third floor of an apartment building in an area where there isn't much nature around I think it's pretty helpful when I'm feeling lazy about getting down...more
I loved the ideas this book gave for helping your kids explore nature. So many kids don't play enough outdoors and don't know very much about the natural world. This book gave easy and free or cheap ideas of things to do......even in your own backyard. We tried a few of the ideas with our son and he had fun. He loves nature already and we're excited to try even more of the ideas to expand upon his knowledge and love of the outdoors.
Very simple. Much simpler than I was expecting. Small format, lots of white space, short chapters. But once I got over that, I realized that these are simple suggestions because we don't think this way anymore. These are things we used to do when I was a kid, but our fast-paced, electronic-dominated lifestyle (even for "slow" folks like me) we just don't do anymore. I had forgotten. These are nice reminders.
There was nothing too revolutionary about this book. It was basically just a few ideas of how to slow down and smell the roses. How to teach kids to recognize the miracles in nature all around them. So while the ideas weren't anything new it was nice to just be reminded of some of the simple activities that we can do with kids to teach them (and ourselves) to appreciate the world we live in.
This turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It arrived yesterday and I quickly went through it. It is the perfect little book to stick in your backpack on vacation. I will definitely take it on the next trip to Mammoth. Yes, the ideas are simple. But there are lots of great ones, and I like that is is arranged by season. Perfect for little kids, probably not so much for older children.
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I thought it would be a lot of things that I already do with my kids, but it was better. I love the call to get back to nature and to make it a part of my children's lives because it is essential. I also love this books simplicity. Most ideas require only stepping outside, not much preparation is ever needed. I love that!
I liked this book a great deal for the nostalgia factor it provided -- remembering wonderful times outdoors with my kids when they were younger. Also like it for parents as I see a lot of parents in my urban library who really don't seem remotely familiar with the outdoors and why their kids should get off the computer and walk around the pond outside ...
What a wonderful book for Children and their parents! In a world such as ours where kids barely get outside and see nature and are stuck in horribly depressing schools with no Art or PE, this book reconnects children to the outside world with fun easy activities. This is guaranteed to keep your kids enchanted and engaged for hours and hours!
Great ideas to get out of the house and enjoy our world.
Mandy Sue
Sep 28, 2010 Mandy Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents
Shut off the tv and video games and head outside!! This book is a great resource for activities to do with your kids to help them explore nature. It's split up by season with about 13 activities each. Perfect for a parent who wants to teach there children more about the world around them but doesn't know where to begin.
Jan 31, 2011 Danna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Like I said before nothing mind blowing, but a good book that was really enjoyable to read. I enjoyed the notes at the end of each chapter telling us what traits we are encouraging with these outdoor activities. It helped me kind of rate what we do and see where we should do more. Great ideas and what parent can't use that!
Sep 29, 2008 Christy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sariah sunvison, danielle head, kristina crowder
this book has so many great ideas about how to enjoy nature. i often find myself remembering being young and how i enjoyed nature then. i also find myself looking at nature in new ways. the ideas in this book are so awesome i wish that i had all seasons right now so that i could do all the activities now. love this book!
I played outside a lot growing up, and now live in a rural area, so having my son play outside is an everyday occurrence. But if you live in a city and never were exposed to farms or dirt or forests, etc...then this is a great book. It has some good, basic ideas about how to respect and be involved with nature.
This is a great book to get ideas on taking your kids out in nature, which we all need to do more. The statistics in the foreward are amazing and helped me realize how important it is to have our son outdoors. I wish the activities could have been a touch more creative but they are a great base to start.
Couldn't decide between two and three stars for this one. I gave it two only because there aren't that many ideas I hadn't seen or heard before and because there aren't that many of them we can actually do in AZ, not that that's the authors problem, but that's why I rated it the way I did.
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