Thursday, May 19, 2011

Small Fry Outdoors

I'm tired, and run out of ideas. My child needs time without constraints, doing something where his imagination, also, has no contstraints. We both need to breathe, and be ourselves. But the more stressed and tired I become, the more narrow my focus - the less creative I am to problem-solve in my household. The TV becomes one of the only things I can think of to get us both some breathing space.

Along comes Small Fry Outdoors. It's like Susie Cameron, Katrina Crook and writer Caroline Webster reached into my fried brain and pulled out all the things I love about childhood and outdoors and play - put them together in a cohesive, articulate, fried-brain-friendly and most beautiful book. Then added extra inspiration for good measure. Honestly, it doesn't take long before a child will reach out to Mother Nature with his senses and interact with her. I remember in our Barefoot Event on Boys Andrew Fuller and Maggie Hamilton exhorting us to take our kids on adventures, regularly. This books inspires those adventures, big and small. This book is a huge boost of motivation and inspiration to get us and our kids outside together.

Point form rundown of fantastic elements of Small Fry Outdoors: 
  • Visually beautiful and easy to follow. Even the photos awaken ideas.
  • Easy to read
  • A rarely seen description of what might one expect in needs, development, imagination, activities for different age groups (a toddler will play with seaweed very differently to a seven year old - Caroline helps the reader understand WHY)

    The book itself is structured in a most wonderful way, containing elements important to getting the most out of our time outside. My favorite are:

    Seasons - What to observe, activities to do, what to plant, what to eat (including yummy recipes)

    Senses - activities that involve touch, sight, smell, taste and sound

    Concepts - colours, shapes and all sorts in between.

    Also there are inspiring sections on imagination (well, the whole book contains this subject), activities for height (trees, clouds); up close (snail watching, rain catchers, studying decay); what to do if outdoors isn't feasible (family trees, seeds in egg cartons, cooking); combining chores with fun.

    I can't say much more because I really want you to get your hands on this book yourselves. As I mentioned, even the photos will awaken not only ideas but take you to wistful places in your own memories. In such a little book I didn't expect to find such big magic.

    The book is available through ABC shops and online at ABC:
    Or through Caroline's facebook page, Caro & C:

    All photos by Katrina Crook. Her website can be found here:

    Caro Webster is a freelance writer, author, fanatical gardener, foodie and a passionate believer in the magic of being outdoors & encouraging lots of unstructured play for children.
    She also writes a monthly column for Australian Country Style on all that nature and the outdoors has to offer and contributes to Home Beautiful.
    Caro has worked in a variety of industries including advertising, politics, the not-for-profit sector and publishing. She is currently working on a second book about the power of imagination and a third about a girl who loves dirt.
    She lives in Sydney with her husband and two young children.
    You can find her on twitter as @salisburydowns, on facebook at Caro & Co or check out her blog: 

    1 comment:

    1. Great blog love the post keep up the good work.... I'll be back....

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