________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 37. . . .May 27, 2016

 Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season. Emma Adbåge. Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2016. 26 pp., hardcover, \$16.95. ISBN 978-1-77138-612-8. Subject Headings: Mathematics-Juvenile literature. Counting-Juvenile literature. Shapes-Juvenile literature. Nature-Juvenile literature. Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8. Review by Gail Hamilton. **½ /4

excerpt:

Cloud Count

Lie on your back in the grass and count the clouds in the sky. How many clouds can you see? On a hot summer day, you’ll notice that the clouds get smaller and smaller until they disappear. And some clouds change shape, combine with other clouds or divide into separate clouds. After a few minutes, count them again. Are there more clouds? Or fewer? How many more or fewer are there than before?

Encouraging outdoor play, Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season contains 24 seasonal activities related to math. Following a brief introduction, which is basically a list of the numbers zero through ten, the activities are divided according to season. Some activities, such as tracing shapes in the snow, are obviously restricted to winter months, but others, such as bouncing a ball for one minute, can be done in three seasons, not just during the summer. Most of the activities are meant for two or more children, and a few of them require a group. Some, such as measuring worms after a spring rain, can be solo activities. Math skills covered include basic operations, time, odd and even numbers, counting, shapes, categorizing, grids and patterns. Objects found in nature, such as rocks, acorns, seeds, sticks and pinecones, as well as items from home- dice, plastic drink bottles, markers, paint, balls, skipping ropes and a stopwatch- comprise the list of supplies needed. (The birdhouse might be trickier to find).

On the plus side, the activities cover a wide range of math topics, the supplies are fairly easily obtained, and kids will benefit from being outside in nature while getting fresh air and having fun participating in the activities. Pastel coloured cartoon illustrations are “cute” and juvenile, well-suited to the age range of the target audience. On the negative side, some of the activities are much better than others, some require prior knowledge on the part of the participant, and, in a few instances, younger kids will need an adult’s or an older child’s assistance. Generally, the premise of Outdoor Math is sound, but there could have been more thought applied to the kinds of activities that are included. This book could be beneficial for parents to use with their children at the cottage or campground, or for babysitters who are looking for activities to keep their charges occupied.

Recommended with Reservations.

Gail Hamilton is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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