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Jean Wheaton Buma
Don Mills (Ont.), Addison-Wesley, 1991. 94pp, paper, $11.95
ISBN 0-201-57915-4. CIP

Reviewed by Peter Croskery.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

As a parent of pre-schoolers and a field biologist, I am continually on the lookout for any materials that will help me share my interest in and love of the outdoors with my kids. Upon receiving Hands on Nature: Year-Round Activities for Kids, I immediately tested several of the activities on my at-home audience. The book's first activity was a big hit. As I bathed the children, we learned the ladybug nursery rhyme. After they climbed out of the tub, we made ladybug snacks with apples and marsh-mallows. Two days later, my "guys" still sing the Ladybug song and ask for ladybug treats. Moreover, I had a lot of fun playing (teaching) them a little about our backyard creepy crawlies.

Hands on Nature: "Year-Round Activities for Kids is an excellent small book full of good ideas and activities for children. The book contains forty-two different topics or themes. For each topic there is at least one craft activity, which includes a list of materials needed, pre-activity preparation suggestions, and a step-by-step guide for doing the craft. None of the craft activities requires expensive or hard-to-obtain materials. Also included in each theme are related activities such as song, nursery rhymes or games related to the topic or theme. Together the crafts and other ideas combine to form a nice, well-rounded unit for working (or playing) with children.

A minor flaw in the book might be that the activities are not keyed to children's ages. Reading various activities, I could see where some might not be suitable for a four-year-old but would work well with a nine-year-old. Had the author included an age recom­mendation with each activity it would have been a handy guide. Similarly, more care should have been taken in posting warning notices that not all crafts made from fruit can be eaten. Whereas the ladybug apple treat is edible and a fun conclusion to that activity, the apples used in the activity Starry Night shouldn't be eaten. (As a parent, 1 don't care that tempera paint is non-toxic, no painted food is to be eaten by my children!) Kids like to play with their food but they don't realize that not all food items they "play" with remain food.

I would recommend this book to parents, pre-school workers and Primary level educators. It's excellent!

Peter Croskery, Grimsby, Ont.
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