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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Play Wild: Nature Craft Projects For Tamariki by Rachel Clare

Play Wild encourages tamariki to develop a foraging mindset by making use of what they can find. This gorgeous book is jam-packed full of activities that only require a few materials, such as nature wristbands in which you need double-sided tape and then whatever you can find outside in leaf, flower or pebble form.

From twig crowns to tiny gardens, Matariki lanterns to using flowers to send a secret message, this book has something for everyone.

With a good mix of projects for children of all ages and attention spans, tamariki will learn about many of Aotearoa's native plants along the way. 

Beautiful photography adds to the visual appeal and the book bursts with colour and energy. Illustrator Vasanti Unka designed the book and her artwork adds an extra pop of whimsy.

Simple instructions are provided with each project, giving readers the basics that they need for success. There's lots of room for expansion and extension, allowing almost every project to be something any age can do successfully. Clare also includes lots of little tidbits and facts about the flora used within the book.

This is going to be a resource to treasure, especially in the early childhood sector. Educators will be inspired and delighted by these projects. But this is more than a resource for the teaching profession.

Playing in nature has a range of developmental benefits beyond physical and social development. This book will help parents and caregivers who aren't so confident navigating this space the tools they need to provide more opportunities for nature play in the lives of the children they care about. Clare's book will help bridge the gap between structured and child-led play, benefiting everyone.  

The great thing about this book and its projects is that there isn't a need for a large garden or outdoor space, children are encouraged to forage, to use what they can find.

Time spent playing in nature is one of the most important parts of childhood development and education. Play Wild is a beautiful book that will encourage imagination and foster a connection to nature.



Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

Bateman Books


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