by Mindy Rhiger
As I write, it is a beautiful day here in Minnesota. I am reminded of of what Todd Christopher wrote in his book The Green Hour:
“. . . Interaction with nature affords children the pleasurable multisensory experiences that challenge their minds, invirgorate their bodies, restore their spirits and sharpen their focus. And . . . it is perhaps a parent’s first and best medicine for addressing that trio of decidedly modern maladies endemic to childhood today: obesity, attention deficit, and media addiction.”
The Green Hour is full of activities for parents to connect their kids to nature. One of the ideas Christopher gives is a Bug Safari. Here are some books to help get you started on your safari:
I’ll start with the obvious choice: Bug Safari by Bob Barner. This colorful picture book is a great way to get kids excited about adventures in their own backyard. There is more information about the various creepy-crawlies encountered in the story at the end of the book. Insect Detective by Steve Voake covers similar ground. It encourages children to “open the door and step outside.” Choose the one that suits your child’s taste, and read it in your backyard.
For preschoolers, you may want to start with a fun story. Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming is one of my daughter’s favorites. The bouncy rhymes and vibrant illustrations make this a great read-aloud for would-be entomologists or just any child who wonders about all the different bugs in their backyard.
If insect photography will be part of your bug safari, you may want to introduce your child to the nature photography of Nic Bishop. His photographs have illustrated many nature books for children. He has covered Frogs, Lizards, Spiders, Butterflies and Moths, and more. Each book inclues a note about how he was able to get some of the more tricky shots, like the one of the chameleon catching his dinner in Lizards. Young nature photographers may want to get their start by being part of the Lost Ladybug Project.
For many more outdoor activities for your family, check out this thread. Enjoy your summer!