Jan White Natural Play

Natural Play, Natural Growth, in the Early Years


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Mudlark Finds * 14: The Promise

The Promise Nicola Davies

Mudlark Find Number 14 sits within a set of books I’m collecting that might help children to consider what it is they like about their world and generate a more conscious desire to care for and protect it.  We’ve had many years, as we oh so slowly wakened up to the state of our planet’s natural ‘assets’ and the treacherous ground we are treading by not slowing down our levels of consumption and degradation, of a ‘doom and gloom’ approach to conservation.  Happily, we are now moving out of that approach towards one that recognises that optimism and hope are much more productive ways of nurturing future guardians and stewards – who feel that they want to and CAN take care of and live gently in the world.

This book seems to follow the parable of The Man Who Planted Trees, where the small but continuous efforts of one person can, with drive and persistence, in the long run have a big impact – bringing others along too.  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” (attributed to Margaret Mead, source unknown).

For further inspiration, watch this incredible TED talk by Guerilla Gardener Ron Finley in South Central LA.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.

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Mudlark Finds *13: Rabbityness

Rabbityness

Mudlark Find Number 13 is the partner to Find Number 12, from the Child’s Play soft-back picture book line.  It’s author/illustrator Jo Empson’s debut picture book – I hope Child’s Play carry on discovering and publishing such excellent works.

Like all good children’s picture books, this one works on many levels, and much could be made of it by parents and educators.  The reason it’s got a place as one of my Mudlark treasures is its potential contribution to creative play outdoors, especially for unfettered music making and a liberated approach to paint and colour.  The page where you turn to “he liked painting’ just lifts your spirits and says “Yes! This is what’s special about taking learning outdoors!”  You’d want to have a huge plastic sheet and plenty of paint ready…

I’m just off to California to contribute to the Childplay Institute’s Children Learning with Nature 2014 Training Institute at the University of California Santa Cruz campus, with my friends Paul Roberts, Clare Warden, Erin Kenny and Sharon Danks. Have a fabulous Mud Day on Sunday – we will!

P.S. there’s still time to make use of Muddyfaces’ Mud Pack to help you make full use of this international event.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.


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Mudlark Finds *12: Harold Finds A Voice

Harold Finds a Voice

Mudlark Find Number 12 has a partner, which I’ll post in the next Mudlark Find. Both are part of publishers Child’s Play’s recent venture into soft-back picture books and I discovered them at the NAEYC conference I presented at in Washington DC last November.  The publishers very kindly mailed (free) copies of both books to me in the UK and my thank-you to them is to let you know about them.  I think Child’s Play should carry on with this line of delightful books.  This is apparently author/illustrator Courtney Dicmas’s first picture book – I do hope she makes some more…

This book is gorgeous, both visually and in the characters of the protagonist Harold (who lives in apartment 4B in Paris) and his new-found friends.  It’s great for supporting outdoor play through the storyline of Harold discovering and mimicking all the sounds in his world – I would want to use it to stimulate or focus interest in the outdoor soundscape and in the making of outdoor sounds, or in response to an interest shown by children.

Harold does of course discover his own voice – which makes him happiest of all.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.


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Mudlark Finds *10: When I Was Born

When I was born Isabel Minhos Martins & Madalena Matoso

Mudlark Find Number 10 is a really delightful book that needs to be shared outdoors whilst comfortably surrounded by nature, especially now that Spring is really here. This book nicely supports the National Children’s Day (11th May) campaign this year to swap screen-time for Wild Time.

“When I was born, I had never played with stones or got muddy hands.  I had never made tunnels in the sand.  My hands had never touched anything except each other.  When I was born I did not know there was a sky or that the sky could change or that clouds were so beautiful.  When I was born everything was new. Everything was about to start.”

What a way to trigger a discussion about children’s experiences and loves about being in their world, and also to consider what they would like to do next: “But one thing is certain. Each day I discover something new. And that is the most wonderful thing of all!”  A book with an amazing amount of potential for conversation, sharing, reminiscing and doing… and for deepening connections and a sense of belonging to the Earth.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.


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Mudlark Finds *9: The Foot Book

The Foot Book Dr Seuss

Mudlark Find Number 9 responds to my small personal campaignto allow young children to enrich their experience of their world by having direct contact with it through their feet – barefoot that is!  As Springtime is now with us again, perhaps you’d like to take a look at the post I wrote on this matter a couple of years ago.

I love the expressions on the protagonist’s face as he/she/it explores the world of feet and what they do in the day – and “how many, many feet you meet”.  I’d like to see children making their own versions of this book, by capturing images of each other: “slow feet, quick feet… up in the air feet, over a chair feet”.  A great way to indulge children’s desire to move – and perchance to grasp the vocabulary of prepositions along the way…?

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.


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Mudlark Finds *8: The Conductor

The Conductor Laetitia Devernay

I found Mudlark Find Number 8 in a small art shop in the village of Haworth (West Yorkshire – where the Bronte sisters lived) this summer, and to my delight it’s available to the rest of the world through Amazon (there are several other interesting looking books in the section ‘other customers who bought this item also bought…’).  The description given is a good representation of what I felt about this simple but deep publication:

“The Conductor” is a striking and award-winning illustrated volume, originally published in French, that tells the story (without words) of a symphony conductor who ventures into the forest and conducts a musical movement of trees that magically become birds in flight. Eloquently written and beautifully illustrated, readers are drawn to its pages spread after spread. As this charming tale unfolds, the reader explores colour, perspective and motion throughout an amazing musical transformation; readers can almost hear the score swelling off the pages…This picture book is hard to classify, but ultimately its distinctive vertical trim size and enchanting story line will draw in art and music lovers alike”.  

Children will also be drawn to it I’m sure, and it will be a really good book to accompany children’s pleasure in playing with falling and fallen leaves through the autumn and winter months, adding wonderfully to their imaginations while doing so.

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.


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Mudlark Finds *7: Green

Green Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Mudlark Find Number 7 is an award-winning book published by Roaring Brook Press that is great on many levels for supporting outdoor play and ecological connection.

The artist’s paintings are evocative, textured and beautiful, each page leads the looker-reader to anticipate the next, and it has a good environmental message – ending with the colour ‘forever green’.

Most of all, I like the attention it gives to the subtlety in colour and the names we give to all the different greens we can notice and enjoy.  The language used for this is also excellent: “jungle green, khaki green, fern green, wacky green; slow green, faded green, glow green, shaded green” – superb!  This should make children and educators and alike want to go searching and look much more closely at what we mean by green – and to give those greens their own names…

With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.

Mudlarking is the ancient practice of digging in the mud of the Thames to find treasures.  It still goes on today, uncovering and recovering some amazing artefacts from the life of London city through the centuries.  Click on this link for more information about mudlarking.