I love this book! It is loaded with practical information, projects, games, skills, recipes, songs, experiments, crafts and more to help kids make the most of all kinds of outdoor ventures.
The first chapter lets you know what kind of gear to take with you, and then progresses to how to set up camp; recipes to make (including not only obvious treats like those all-important s’mores, but even home-made ice cream, with a great explanation of how and why it works); camping skills: tying knots, navigating both with or without a compass, what to do if you are lost; how to interpret the clouds and other weather indicators; lots of fun projects; “outdoorsy arts and crafts”; fun and games; how to read animal tracks and scat; and last but not least: “The Singing Camper’s Book of Silly Songs” (only five of these; I would have loved more!).
The book also includes a number of “side bars” called “Learn the Lingo” that go into more depth about technical terms, like biodiversity, magnetic north, gravity, etc. There is plenty of safety information, too, like about how to purify water, what to do in case of a tornado, or what to do if you are lost.
The number of skills taught is remarkable. You will learn how to measure the height of a tree, how to mark a trail, how to identify common constellations, how to make a solar water heater, and how to identify what you might see on a rotting log. Ideas are provided for designing seed and petal pictures, making sand paintings, constructing rock sculptures, and making a bracelet out of grass.
This book is just chock-full of great stuff. The illustrations, most of which are by Brian Biggs (technical illustrations are by Elara Tanguy) are excellent; it is possible even I could learn how to tie one of the knots shown with step-by-step pictures, or manage to build a fire. The index is good as well.
Evaluation: Don’t let your kids leave home without this guide! In fact, get one for yourself too!
Published by Workman Publishing Company, 2007