by Jennifer Ward

Trumpeter Books, $14.00, 153 pages

Sometimes, parents know what they want for their children, but aren’t sure how to get it. For example, recent studies have shown that children benefit greatly from time spent in nature, and many parents want those benefits for their children. However, after a few nature walks to look at pine cones and acorns, the novelty starts to wear off. At that moment, I Love Dirt! becomes a wonderful resource for parents of four- to eight-year-old children.

Small enough to fit  into a backpack, this slim volume is packed with fifty-two, open-ended ideas organized by season to help parents explore nature with their children. Activities include building a bird nest, watching butterflies and starting a butterfly garden in flower pots, and finding a thinking place in nature. Furthermore, each activity includes a sidebar to help the parent explain some aspect of science or nature related to the activity. Finally, this book embodies a terrific simplicity. As the foreword states, the activities are not complex and do not require special equipment or an exotic setting. Indeed, nature can found on an apartment balcony or backyard.

Best of all, this book could be the ticket to many wonderful memories for both parent and child.

Reviewed by Annie Peters