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Here's the short version of how this book came to be...
In 2016, Brooke Davis established a nature play program in Adelaide called Wild Imagination. She noticed the significant shift away from green time since her childhood a few 'short' decades ago and thought kids today could do with a little old school fun! Wild Imagination has since seen about 20,000 kids get stuck into nature play the Wild way. In 2018 it won the award for Best Program at the City of Adelaide's Sport and Recreation Awards.
In 2019, Brooke decided it was time to publish that book she'd been thinking about and enlisted the help of super talented photographer Megan Crabb. Together they asked the awesome nature loving community for help via Kickstarter and crowdfunded their way to success, surpassing their $30,000 goal! They were able to get the book printed and sent out to hundreds of people who supported the campaign, and subsequently are able to send it to you, dear reader, and spread the joy of nautre play to thousands more Nature Warriors around the world.
Photography by Megan Crabb
Printed locally by Openbook Howden using sustainably sourced paper
Packaged using 100% paper padded bags.
We are passionate about nature and living more sustainability. So you'll notice our book does not encourage (or require) you to go out an buy a bunch of materials. It's about using what you have. Firstly, this includes the physical items that are available to you. If you don’t have a pine cone - no problems - just use what you can find! Secondly, it is about using what is within you - your imagination. There can be no step-by-step instructions for your imagination! Instead these activities and images are meant to motivate you and your kids to just get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect or elaborate. In fact, the best things usually aren’t.
If you look closely at the photos, you'll agree that they are beautiful images (Oh so beautiful thanks to the amazing Megan Crabb). But the actual creations are simple. Real. Imperfect. Hand made by children who are super proud of what they created with their own hands and minds.
The beauty of nature play is that it meets you exactly where you are at that point in time. The materials are open ended and can be transformed by your unique creativity. That's why kids (and adults) of all ages would love this book. If you really want to put it in a box I'd say this book is mainly for kids aged 2-10 years. But it's also for anyone who wants to connect with nature and exercise their imagination.
Research shows that children learn best though play, and the benefits are even greater for child-led unstructured play. That is what this book is. You provide the materials and a general concept, and step back and see what they come up with. Sure there are some activities that need a little more guidance depending on the age of the child and if they are new to the experience. But in general, it's about expanding their imagination, developing a 'think outside the box' mentality, a growth mindset and having a whole lot of fun!
The benefits of nature play are well documented, here's a few ...
improves wellbeing and reduces anxiety
develops skills in calculated risk taking
improves problem solving
develops nature connection and a strong environmental conscience
develops physical strength, coordination and balance
encourages persistence and resilience
mastering new skills helps to improve confidence
And then there's that whole screen time versus green time thing... We're busier than ever before, so that means we need simple ways to swing that pendulum back in natures favour. *cough* You're welcome.