“Forest Club” by Kris Hirschmann and illustrated by Marta Antelo is a beautiful book meant to help “re-wild the child.”
This book is half activity guide – with instructions for activities and crafts, and half field guide – with plenty of information about trees, animals and ecosystems. The book is divided by seasons, with information and activities for different times of year.
The illustrations in Forest Club are absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed perusing it as much as my kids did.
They love non-fiction, and really enjoyed reading about ponds, “minibeasts” (aka bugs), and the forest at night. And I love encouraging my children to learn the names of animals and plants they come into contact. I believe that being able to recognize and understand what they see is an important step to connecting with the community they live in.
We tried out a few of the activities in the book, including making a pond viewer out of a 2 liter bottle. This ended up being one of my kids’ favorite activities that we’ve done all summer.
We also tried laying out a big sheet under some bushes. We shook the bushes and then observed any bugs that fell. This is something I never would have thought to do, and my kids enjoyed seeing all the “minibeasts.”
Does this picture make it look like we spend a lot of time peacefully observing nature in our backyard? Trust me, they were back to full on wrestling only minutes later.
The publisher recommends Forest Club for ages 7-11, but many of the activities would be appropriate for younger kids. Some of the activities (like twig racing) were things we had been doing for years. But others (like making mushroom prints) were not things I would have ever thought of doing.
Forest Club is a great book to bring with you on a camping trip, or to get ideas of things to do on your next nature walk together. I love what Anna Sharratt, the founder of Free Forest School says in the foreword, “This beautiful book reminds us that nature is everywhere: Plants can be grown on a doorstep; birds, insects, and small animals thrive in even the most urban setttings.” Hopefully it will inspire you to enjoy nature wherever you are!
Team Member Jackie is a coffee-lover, writer and a mom of three young children living in Helena, MT. She thought that hiking might help tame her children’s wild spirits, and co-leads a Hike it Baby branch. All that hiking only made her crew wilder, but in a good way. Before kids she enjoyed reading, knitting and baking, but now she enjoys making it to bedtime.
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