Illustrator: Emma AdBåge
Published by Kids Can Press on April 5, 2016
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.
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In this innovative book, Emma AdBåge encourages children to get outside, where they can have fun interacting with the natural world while learning math. AdBåge has created twenty-two outdoor activities, organized by season. Through play, children will learn about numeracy and arithmetic, as well as math concepts such as shapes, time, greater/less than, even and odd numbers, patterns and grids. The activities have simple-to-follow instructions and are accompanied by adorable illustrations that provide clear visual demonstrations. The natural materials required --- stones, pinecones, snowballs, worms --- are easy to find in many environments. Supplementary spreads introduce the numbers 1 to 10 and further explore addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, with simplified explanations and illustrated examples. Studies have shown that learning outdoors helps kids retain information and skills, and that physically active children perform better in a variety of subjects --- including math. This book could be used alongside other math coursework all school year, since the activities have direct curricular applications. While the thrust of the book is math, there are also science lessons here, particularly regarding the properties of nature and how things change during the four seasons. Many of the activities can be done in pairs or groups, promoting teamwork and cooperation. A list of activities in the back matter indexes the activities and categorizes them by the math skills they develop.
In Outdoor Math, Emma AdBåge suggests simple ways you can incorporate mathematical concepts into outdoor play via physical activity, art, science, reading, and writing. Simple counting, number sense, measuring, and even plotting simple coordinates are just some of the concepts involved in these activities, which include games kids can play with their friends, ideas for outdoor craft projects, and inspiration for nature study.
The book is organized by season. We live in Florida, but all of the winter ideas involved snow. However, most of them are either adaptable for the beach or inspire variations on the same theme. I felt my imagination churning when flipping through the book.
This has the look and feel of a picture book with sweet, inviting illustrations. All of these ideas are super easy to implement and most importantly, sound like a lot of fun. What kid doesn’t love finding treasures in the backyard or digging up earthworms? I’d recommend this title for the preschool years through 1st or 2nd grade.