Learning with Nature: A how-to guide to inspiring children through outdoor games and activities
"The book is fantastic - I spent last evening looking through it numerous times and am excited about using it practically asap!"
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Authors: Marina Robb; Anna Richardson; Victoria Mew
Learning with Nature is full of fun activities and games to get your children outdoors, to explore, have fun, make things and learn about nature and help them grow up happy and healthy.
Suitable for groups of children aged between 3 and 16, the graded activities help children develop:
• Key practical and social skills
• Awareness of their place in the world
• Respect for the natural world all while enjoying the great outdoors.
Written by experienced Nature educators and Forest School practitioners, using tried and tested games and activities, it provides comprehensive information for enriching childrens’ learning through nature. The games and activities are clearly categorized, with step-by-step instructions, age guide, a list of resources needed, and invisible learning points.
This book is a unique must-have resource for families, schools, youth groups and anyone working with children.
It includes sections on: caretaking, games, activities through the seasons, wild facts, tool safety, survival and wild foraging.
"This book offers a chance to the youth of today and the nature of tomorrow. It has a wealth of structured, tried and tested projects, ideas and games all designed to allow children to breathe fresh air and engage personally with a real world where their minds and bodies can develop and bloom, burst into life and inspire them to love life."
“Whether you are a parent or educator, Learning in Nature is full of ideas for fun in the great outdoors. It caters for children and young people of all ages and abilities – and comes with clear instructions and illustrations. So grab a copy, get your boots on, fill your backpack and head to your nearest wild (or not so wild) space for some playful adventures.” Tim Gill, Author of No Fear: Growing Up In A Risk Averse Society
Why is this book important? This book makes it possible for parents and teachers to get outdoors. It aims to capture the imagination of families and contribute to reversing the current ‘indoor’ trend. It provides a valuable resource for educators to deepen and expand what they already offer.
(Picture by Susan Kelly)
This year, for the first time I am meeting teachers who have themselves never played or enjoyed the outdoors during their childhood.They don’t know what to ‘do’, and place a low value on the outdoors as a learning environment. We know young people today are spending hours on video games, and that their roaming radius has reduced by about 70% since the 1950s with the consequent rise in levels of obesity, mental health issues and isolation.
Where does this book stem from?
Marina Robb is the founder of Circle of Life Rediscovery, a community interest company which aims to ‘put the world wide web generation back in touch with the whole wide world’. Since 2004 we have been delivering camps for teenagers, youth trainings, Forest Schools, woodland days, programmes and family days, funded successfully through grant applications that have enabled people to participate free of charge. Over the last three years we have reached over 2,000 young and disadvantaged people and families across our programmes. Our flagship projects, Call of the Wild and Earthwise, were funded under Natural England’s Access to Nature Grant and MIND’s Ecominds grant raising over £160,000 towards creating outdoor opportunities for the most disadvantaged groups in our society. Over and over again we have found that this kind of work leads to better health and wellbeing, more opportunities, a greater sense of community, respect and love for nature.
Marina Robb is founder and Managing Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, a leading outdoor learning organisation. Marina has been the recipient of funding from Natural England, Mind and The National Lottery, amongst other grant makers for her outdoor work with teenagers, families and young people with mental health issues. She provides residential camps in Sussex woodlands, Forest School and nature-based training for adults, outdoor learning days and youth training programmes.
Marina is a qualified teacher (PGCE), who has studied Environmental Education (MA), Environmental Management (BSc) and Social Research (MSc) since 1990. She is a leading Forest School trainer and practitioner (UK and International) and shares her knowledge and experience through training teachers and individuals who want to work outside the classroom. She is also Trustee of SPARK, a network for young people's organisations in East Sussex.
Marina has spent her lifetime supporting young people and adults to find new and old ways of connecting people with nature and reap the benefits of facilitated outdoor experiences. She is certified in Gestalt group facilitation, trained in wilderness skills, youth participation, managing challenging behaviour, non-directive play therapy and teenage psychology.
Marina’s approach brings together best practice from environmental education, Forest School, eco-psychology, indigenous wisdom and many years of working with young people of all ages and backgrounds, to create unique experiences. As a parent and workshop facilitator, she encourages young people to find their real voice, experience a sense of belonging and discover healthy pathways to adulthood.
Anna Richardson lives and works in East Sussex. She is a mother, a forest school facilitator and trainer, working with young people of all ages. She is enthusiastic about rediscovering the uses of wild plants and the indigenous approaches to sustainable harvesting for food, medicine and other practical crafts and teaches Foraging workshops.
Over the last 20 years her interest in plants and traditional skills has developed through training, teaching and practicing Bush Craft, Plant Spirit Medicine and invaluable time spent in the field with Gordon Hillman, Professor of Archeobotany. Anna has taught at Sussex University CCE in Wild Plants and their Ancient Uses (in connection with the Archeology department) and continues to develop her own knowledge and inspiring ways to teach plantlore alongside a deep love for the natural world.
Anna is passionate about new and indigenous ways to educate and co-creates local community projects which enable people to share and learn together to reconnect to nature. She also enjoys the creative arts, plays fiddle and is actively involved in running folk music sessions in the local area.
Victoria Mew has followed her love of nature and curiosity in indigenous cultures since she was 12 years old having been introduced to a wilderness family camp, sleeping out in a lean-to shelter with a fire for her first time. Throughout her teens she pursued this interest training with Trackways, Coyote Tracks and the Tracker School.
She developed her skills in nature and sensory awareness, primitive living skills and wilderness philosophy. She spent her gap year training with Wilderness Awareness School, WA, USA, building up experiences that would culminate in a week-long survival quest in the Cascade mountains; tracking coyotes until she caught up with them, learning what wild plants could be harvested for a meal, experimenting with different types of shelters and being mentored to bring these skills to children of all ages.
She gained a BScHons in Human Sciences at UCL, with her dissertation exploring: How does growing up separate from natural environments affect childhood development? She has since founded ‘Cultivating Curiosity’, an organisation that brings works with people of all ages outdoors facilitating deep nature connection. She is also a qualified forest school practitioner.
“This wonderful book aims to connect children with nature. Through a broad range of outdoor activities and games, young people are encouraged to engage their senses and interact with nature. This not only leads to a better understanding of the natural world but can also contribute to much broader agendas such as personal and social development. Most importantly, the activities are fun. It is through enjoyment and understanding that people will want to conserve and care for their environment and so I encourage everyone to give the book a try.” Andy Naylor, John Muir Award England Manager
"This is an excellent book for parents, teachers and youth leaders alike looking to inspire young people with nature. Get a copy and head outdoors!”
Graham Watson, John Muir Award Cumbria Manager
"The book has clearly been written by people who have their own clear, well developed and straightforward understanding of why challenging, fun and educational activities in the outdoors are not only good, they are essential, enjoyable and inspirational. The references to invisible learning ensure that no activity fails to hold its own and everything can contribute to effective teaching and learning."
Juno Hollyhock, Executive Director, Learning through Landscapes