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Book Roundup Wednesday: Family Eco-Activity Guides

Posted Jun 15 2011 5:50pm

Book review wed Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending nature-themed activity guides for parents and teachers.

Run Wild! Outdoor Games and Adventures (by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks, $25, Frances Lincoln, June 2011): Filled with gorgeous photos of children running through woods, tracking wild animals, building rafts, or wielding fairy wands, this book is a great reminder of nature's enchanting qualities. Filled with creative ideas for parties, games, and outdoor craft projects, a quick perusal will have you itching to head outside with kids.

Recycling Projects for the Evil Genius (by Russel J. Gehrke, $25, McGraw Hill, 2010): A handy DIY guide suited for parents or industrious teens, this book offers detailed instructions for a wide variety of home-improvement and maintenance projects. The utilitarian book's intriguing title and grainy black-and-white photos make activities like making your own organic bug repellent or constructing a solar composter seem like revolutionary acts.

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World (by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, $20, Rodale, 2011): This isn't your mother's home-ec book. Whether you're a family of homesteaders or just a newbie breaking into the urban gardening scene, this helpful guide will give you the tools for living sustainably. Basics are well-covered, and the book's more radical lessons include brewing beer and, yes, slaughtering a chicken.

The EverGreen Twins Activity Book: 40+ Eco-Activities, Games, and Outdoor Adventures (by Rick Reynolds, $22, Engaging Every Student, 2010): This wire-bound workbook is stocked with nature-themed crossword puzzles, word searches, and reading activities as well as wildlife-watching charts. Kids can tote it around on trips or work through in spurts with parents.

Art Education and Eco Awareness: A Teacher's Guide to Art and the Natural Environment (by Heather Anderson, $25, Heather Anderson Art, 2010): An art primer with an emphasis on eco-awareness, this book, also wire-bound, provides a creative curriculum for teachers or parents. Each lesson highlights a work by a renowned artist such as Grant Wood, Andy Warhol, or John James Audubon and provides resources for discussion, activity suggestions, and samples of student work. Well-organized and easy to use, this thorough and engaging text is a worthy resource for educators.

--Della Watson

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