Those of a certain age will reminisce fondly about whole days spent outside as a child: learning to navigate the world ourselves, away from the watchful gaze of adults. Biking around the neighbourhood, making hideouts in the cutty grass, playing Long Ball on the school field, not coming back until it was dark. Outdoors, the possibilities for children to learn, discover, grow, get creative and have fun are infinite.
Today’s tamariki - allegedly a pack of screen addicts - might need a bit of a nudge, and Get Outdoors will help. It’s aimed at those who are a little more independent (eight- to 12-year-olds), so the activities don’t all necessarily require adult supervision.
The author, Paul Adamson - former principal and counsellor, current Head of Guidance at Wairarapa College, bonafide nature lover - wrote Beginners Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand, which my townie son is obsessed with, so he eagerly grabbed this book from my hands.
He pored over every word, which canvassed making a wooden pallet fort, taking a decent photo in nature, a recipe for seaweed fertiliser, tips on collecting rocks, and how to catch fish. There’s even a whole chapter dedicated to making things that fly.
My favourite chapter would have to be Make a Meal, because a) who doesn’t want someone else to make dinner and b) it’s great for kids to make that connection between garden (or sea) and table. Frankly, they had me at the recipe for S’mores.
Sure, this isn’t the only nature activity book for kids on the shelf (is everyone paranoid about that pack of screen addicts or what?), but it’s great to see a specifically Aotearoa outdoors book using words such as kaitiaki (nature guardian), manu aute (kites), kaimoana (seafood) and making the most of our natural flora and fauna (hello, pāua fritters and building a wētā hotel).
Get Outdoors’ design is excellent: it’s easy to read and navigate, and is colourful, crisp and clear, illustrated with stunning photos of the landscape we’re so blessed to live in. A perfect Christmas gift for the alleged screen addict in your life.
Reviewer: Stacey Anyan