Not every child lives in the countryside and so a book which opens up the wealth of nature-based activities that can be enjoyed in urban environments will be welcomed by families living in towns and cities. Like the other outdoor activity books by these authors, The Stick Book and The Wild Weather Book for example, this one is well organised and inviting. The seven sections show the scope clearly: Wildlife in the city; Wild creations; Imaginative play; Celebrations & festivals; Storytelling & music; Wild streets and Games & trails.
Although it is made clear that adult supervision is often needed, the text ‘speaks’ directly to young readers. Large print introduces each activity and then there are bullet pointed steps. Few of the activities take up more than a side of instructions but everything is well explained. There are some imaginative ideas : miniature wildlife world, chalk pictures and conker & pine cone creatures. There are also suggestions for ‘techno trails’ and many children will enjoy using smart phones and other hand-held devices for adventures outside; photography apps such as Snapchat could be used by a group if children and lead to a display. Many of the activities provide opportunities for learning by encouraging careful observation of natural phenomena and investigation of animal behaviour. Some of the art based ideas are imagination stretching. My favourite? I very much like the ‘pavement storyboards’ in which children work in teams, each group using loose natural materials assembled to illustrate a story, song or rhyme. In the example sticks, grass and leaves suggest ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. When each group has finished their creation they explain it to the others.
The book has some pleasing aesthetic qualities: the pages are smooth and easy to handle and are well designed with variations in print size that help make things clear. The illustrations are attractive photographs – of the youngsters enjoying the activities, of the wild parts of the urban environment and of the exciting finished creations – and these pictures add greatly to the attractiveness and interest of the book. More activities are suggested on the authors’ ‘going wild ‘ website: www.goingwild.net/