The Nature Activity Book by Rachel Haydon and illustrated by Pippa Keel is an activity book that all homes in NZ should have on the shelf. Not only is it the perfect activity book to engage all ages of kids when we all have to stay at home, it’s also the perfect book to get the whole family outside and exploring nature. Whether you are stuck in your own back yard or discovering part of the country you’ve never been to, this book helps you enjoy nature using all five senses. This book helps you become a waewae kai kapua- an adventurer.
There are 99 brilliant activities in this book that are fun, informative and reflective. The activities are split into sections, including Experiments and Inquiry, and Sense and Mindfulness. Activities range from collecting items such as leaves and feathers, listening out for the sounds around you, and making nature scavenger hunts, to making dyes from fruits and vegetables, making bird feeders, and observing clouds. Just flicking through the book makes me want to get outside and do the activities. I love that there are activities to keep kids busy but also activities to help kids slow down and be mindful. There are plenty of activities that involve you just sitting or lying on the grass, listening to and looking at what is happening around you. Some activities kids could do independently, while others would be more fun as a family. Each of the activities use materials that you have around home, like scissors, bamboo skewers, or a sponge. Rachel and Pippa give you a helpful list of materials at the start of the book but they suggest that you can improvise or find alternatives.
The Nature Activity Book is not one of those cheaply produced activity books that you’d find at Kmart. This is a beautiful book, with quality paper and it has been wonderfully designed. Pippa’s illustrations fill the book with flora, fauna and wildlife that gives it a very Kiwi feel. There is plenty of space to write, draw, colour and collect the things you find. There’s a great glossary and even suggested websites to visit to find more information about bees, day walks and native deciduous plants.
One of my favourite aspects of the book is that Rachel has seamlessly woven te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the activities. I learnt so many useful te reo words while reading through the activities, like mīharo (awe and wonder), kapua (clouds) and waewae kai kapua (adventurer). One of the sections of activities focuses on how kids can take action to look after our natural world and be a kaitiakitanga or guardian of the land.
Get a copy of The Nature Activity Book for the kids in your life now. It is an invaluable resource for all Kiwi families.