Spring is here! And while getting outside is a year-round goal, warmer weather and passable hiking trails encourage even more family outdoor discoveries. The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book from Falcon Guides is a wonderful guide to taking full advantage of the great outdoors throughout the year. With pages focusing on destinations, foods, projects, and games, the book allows children to take the lead in family time that enjoys each of the seasons.
The various activities and outdoor suggestions are age-accessible for most children. The book uses an “adventure scale” of 1 to 5 to rate the checklist items for each season. A 1 on the scale includes things like run barefoot on the beach and make a wish on a dandelion. Whereas 3s and 4s include more challenging adventures like start a compost pile, find snakes sunning, harvest pecans, and navigate with a map, and learn how to skip rocks. The top of the scale includes activities like creating a fort (snow and stick), mountain biking, riding a horse, and downhill skiing, and other activities for older kids.
Each of the four seasons has its own section filled with activities that include inventive ideas as well as throwback adventures that will allow adults to relive childhood memories. Make pinecone feeders, anyone? Or how about grow an avocado pit? Good times!
Authors Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer have compiled a varied and interesting collection of activities and projects so every child will be sure to find many items to connect to. The simple and fun illustrations by Rachel Riordan add to the outdoorsy and natural focus. The instructions and suggestions are easy to understand, and many of them are simply enough that kids can go off and complete several checklist challenges on their own.
caveat: One area of concern is that capturing various animals is included in the checklists. Catching dragonflies, crabs, and going fishing are all mentioned as “challenges.” Several challenges are about inspecting animals like lizards or fragile items like a chrysalis, and instructions about safe handling or encouraging children ONLY to observe, not to touch or move the animals, are not emphasized. One of the level 5 challenges is harvesting honey, for example, so not appropriate for vegan families.
With additional resources listed in the back and a comprehensive index to help kids find their interests, this kids’ adventure guide for elementary and middle grade readers is highly recommended.
Review by Kristin Wald