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I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature [NOOK Book]


I Love Dirt! presents 52 open-ended activities to help you engage your child in the outdoors. No matter what your location—from a small patch of green in the city to the wide-open meadows of the country—each activity is meant to promote exploration, stimulate imagination, and heighten a child's sense of wonder.

To learn more about the author, Jennifer Ward, visit her website at and to ...

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I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature

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I Love Dirt! presents 52 open-ended activities to help you engage your child in the outdoors. No matter what your location—from a small patch of green in the city to the wide-open meadows of the country—each activity is meant to promote exploration, stimulate imagination, and heighten a child's sense of wonder.

To learn more about the author, Jennifer Ward, visit her website at and to learn more about the illustrator, Susie Ghahremani, visit her website at

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Children's picture book author Ward (Because You Are My Baby) has compiled a slim book of activities designed to introduce to children ages four to nine the joys and mysteries of nature. Arranged by season, each activity is basically a variety of "stop, look, and listen," whether involving the birds, flowers, leaves, or snowflakes. With a few exceptions, the activities themselves are minor and are mostly discussion questions (e.g., Do puddles look like mirrors? Can you draw with mud?). Activities are accompanied by Q&A sidebars called "Help Me Understand" that answer a common question children will ask (e.g., Why does it rain?), and each ends with a checklist for desired outcomes, such as stimulating wonder or stewardship. While the importance of outdoor play is heavily documented, many kids today simply won't have the patience to stargaze with mom, and most parents won't have the time to sit quietly and reflect on what it might be like to be a butterfly. A book with more hands-on activities is likelier to connect. Not a necessary acquisition for libraries.
—Julianne J. Smith

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher
“Here is the potential for much fun, many meaningful experiences—and a trove of shared stories.”—Richard Louv, from the foreword

“There may be no better way to ensure the well-being of the natural world tomorrow than to introduce children to its many small wonders today. Through a series of accessible activities designed to engage young minds and all five senses, this book reminds us of—even celebrates—the magic to be found right outside our own back doors.”—Todd Christopher, cofounder of National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour

I Love Dirt! is a perfect book for parents, teachers, or anyone who cares about children and nature. A nature-lover herself, Jennifer Ward has done an excellent job creating a collection of fun, interactive ways for children everywhere to connect with nature and combat the growing negative impact of sedentary, indoor lifestyles on our youth.”—David Mizejewski, naturalist, National Wildlife Federation, and host of Animal Planet’s Backyard Habitat

“A perfect companion to your nature center and hiking trail excursions!”—Nashville Parent

“A wonderful resource for parents. This book could be the ticket to many wonderful memories for both parent and child.”—Portland Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834822399
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/17/2011
  • Series: Trumpeter
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 883,875
  • File size: 1,020 KB

Meet the Author

Jennifer Ward is the author of numerous children’s books, all of which present nature to kids. Her award-winning titles have been featured in magazines such as Ranger Rick, Your Big Backyard, Learning, and Foreword, and she has been interviewed and featured on national television and local radio. She is a regular speaker at conferences and schools across the country, where she instills the importance of literacy and the wonders waiting to be discovered in the natural world.

Susie Ghahremani is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her artwork, which combines her love of nature, animals, music and patterns, has appeared in the New York Times, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Martha Stewart Kids, and has received illustration awards from American Illustration, the Alternative Pick, and Giant Robot. Visit her on the web at

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Read an Excerpt


There is nothing more joyful and inspiring to watch than children discovering the world around them. Whether they’re collecting fallen leaves, rolling down grassy hills, or playing in the waves at the beach—seeing that wide-eyed wonder in our children is such a gift. Regardless of the joys that nature can bring, there has been much disturbing press about the lack of quality time that children today spend outdoors, along with startling research and statistics that point to the detrimental effects this “nature deficit” can cause. And we see it ourselves. Our children rush around with too little time, too many gadgets, and too many distractions, seeking a place to play that is closest to an electrical outlet. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

I Love Dirt! is a call to parents, educators, and caregivers to help recover one of the greatest joys in childhood: spending time outdoors in nature. In five minutes, you can take children outside and turn their world around. This book will help you to do that.

These fifty-two open-ended activities offer a wealth of creative ways to give the outdoors back to your children. Be it cloud racing, stargazing, making a playdate with a puddle, or building a bird feeder out of snow, I Love Dirt! will encourage your kids to explore, discover, giggle, exercise, wonder, and have a blast with nature. Sidebars and prompts are used throughout the book to help you explain basic science and nature concepts to children. All you need to get started is the desire to open the door to a healthy relationship with nature. Soon your little ones will also discover that spending time outdoors offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy relaxation, quiet time, reflection, and insight.

The outdoors is at your fingertips, be it a balcony, a backyard, a porch, or a playground. It is a place just waiting to be enjoyed and discovered. Time in nature is cost-free—as are the activities in this book—but the benefits will stay with your children for a lifetime. Together we can give the young minds of today—of our future—the greatest gift of all: an awakened awareness of the outdoor world.

Thank you for caring enough to pick up this book. It is the first step to opening the door of discovery just waiting for you and your children outside. Now get out there and get dirty!

Chapter excerpts from I Love Dirt! Click on a thumbnail to view these chapters in PDF format.

Chapter 8: Going on a Bird Hunt

Chapter 26: Moon Shadows

Chapter 29: Zoom In

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Richard Louv     ix
Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     xvii
Spring: Activities for Warm Days and Rainy Weather
Spring Into Spring     3
Bouquet of Color     5
Move Over, Clover     7
Hear, Here!     9
Wiggly for Worms     12
See That Tree?     15
Leaf Looking     18
Going On a Bird Hunt     21
Be Like Audubon     25
A Little Birdie Told Me     28
Up, Up, and Away     31
Build That Nest     33
Rain, Rain, Come Again     36
Puddle Jumpers     38
Summer: Activities for Hot Days and Warm Nights
Digging Dirt     43
Antics     46
Sun Fun     49
Butterfly Cafe     51
Ladybug, Ladybug     54
Handy Plants     56
Wow, Water!     58
Water-Hole Watching     61
Stone Age     64
Rock 'n' Roll     66
Backyard Lullaby     69
Moon Shadows     72
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star     75
Fall: Activities for Cool Days and Cloudy Weather
TimeOut     81
Zoom In     84
A Thinking Place     87
Wild Hide-and-Seek     89
Take a Walk on the Wild Side     91
Some Web!     94
Roly-Poly Races     96
Look Up, Look Down, Look All Around     98
Cloud Racing     101
Wandering Wind     103
Say, "Whoosh!"     105
What Goes Up Must Come Down     108
Groovy Gravity     111
Falling for Nature     113
Winter: Activities for Cold Days and Snowy Weather
Tweet Treat     119
Snow Me Some Fun     122
Fluffy Flakes     124
Cloud Breath     127
Dot-to-Dot Stars     129
Bare Naked Trees     131
Snow Tales     134
Feathers 'n' Fur     136
Slip, Slide, Wild Ride     138
Wild and Wintry     140
Winter Garden     143
Resources and Recommended Reading     147
About the Author     151
About the Illustrator     153
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    i love THIS BOOK!

    Being a single father of two young children, I struggled with ways to spend fun, quality, and constructive time with them. This book was exactly what I was looking for by offering many simple activities that have turned out to be loads of fun for all of us. Also a great way for us to get out of the house and spend some time with mother nature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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