Common Core Standards

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Kool Pre-K to Kindergarten Book Kickstarter Kick-off!

I grew up in Clarkston, MI. The woods and pond were my playground. My siblings and I had an awesome gravel pit to jump and black muck pond to play in.
Later, as my kids grew up in Goodrich, we planted and played in the clay
Now my grandkids visit me in Pinckney. Here, we romp on five acres of sandy soil. 
Michigan has such diverse habitat! And if there is just one thing kids love--it's DIRT. The substrate of where they live and play. It becomes part of them--literally! I say this as I watched my youngest 2 1/2 half year-old granddaughter joyfully toss dirt into the air and have it rain down her shirt--before rolling in the grass.

Harkens to mine and my children's
childhood. Whether rural Clarkston
 or suburbs of Goodrich, kids
"dig treasure"--garbage!
Rocks, sticks, water. These are kid's first outdoor play things. It keeps them creative, healthy, and soaking up vitamin D. This is the focus of my new picture book, HOLLY WILD: The Young GeEK's Guide to Getting Outside. Get kids out and into the dirt and into the backyard for wild "kid time!"

The visible neighborhood in back
offers a safe feeling, yet wild enough
for play! (My brother and I had a
yellow tent growing up in Pontiac.)

"Kid time" is a time for kids to be themselves, a time for exploring with no "helicopter parents" hovering to direct or misdirect nature activities.

As the author of "How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature", Scott D. Sampson says, "let  them (kids) learn and engage like the playful scientists they were born to be...Throughout these early childhood years,  the primary goal is wonder, and more wonder." (A fabulous book BTW!)
In "The Young GeEK's Guide to Getting Outside", the book covers a day of unstructured, wandering play--which means learning through sensory investigation. The very things I present about in classroom visits.

How many of you growing up did this?
How many of you still do?
In the book, our young GeEKs (Geo-Explorer Kids) in training are being gently guided by Holly Wild and her Team on an Alphabet Adventure into the wild BACKYARD! Although not an adult, Holly has learned some things in her 10 1/2 years, and imparts cool stuff and smart stuff to kids. Things like: outdoor observation skills, what NOT to touch, and what to poke, and then ends the young cousins' day in a tent for a nap. (Looks like the energetic youngsters were keeping Holly and her Team, Tierra and Sierra, on the run).
Fun reader prompts and games inside.
Just like in the mid-grade Holly Wild
books. Sweet stuff for lil GeEKs to do!
Clarkston folk will
recognize this sign. Tee-hee!
When I began the book I figured it was an ABC of outdoor things Holly Wild would encourage. But as I began illustrating it the "story" unfolded quite magically( as usual)! My childhood popped up, my own children's "back forty" adventures squeaked out, and even my forays into our wild five- acre Pinckney yard here with my granddaughter oozed out between the cracks! 

Make time for Tent Time!
I began to research my memories and new discoveries (see Scott Sampson's book title above). Holly Wild has her adventures throughout "exotic" places and parks in Michigan. Beaver Island, Porcupine Mountains, Sleeping Bear Dunes (notice they are all animal names!), which I find is right on target for kids her age. But what kids the age of 2-6, the recipients of my new book, require is a more kinder, gentler landscape to roam. Of course! Their own backyard!

So the book became more personal as the cry for getting kids into the dirt and into nature becomes louder (I've long been a follower of Richard Louv). And for good reason. Dirt and nature time is vital--let me repeat--VITAL for kid's health, school work, happiness--their well-being! Check out the Children & Nature page on Facebook or hop over to their site for more info. Yay! I was on the right path.

This rhyming ABC book is full-color, hard cover, 36 page, 9 x 11" landscape book (the "original laptop!") is perfect for a quick nighttime or naptime read (PreK-Kindergarten ages). Of course, the prompts and games further the experience and keeps the book fresh each time it's read. 

We here at Bear Track Press are proud of this piece as it promotes the environmental and educational values that goes into all of our works. And even better, it will be printed right here in the USA! What better time to release this Kickstarter for this project during June, Great Outdoors Month.

And if you believe in all of this good outdoor stuff, just watch the video below and visit the Kickstarter site. You'll find all kinds of goodies and free things that go along with the book and awesome rewards to inspire you to inspire families and kids to GET UP and GET OUT! But you have to act soon because we have 28 more days in our campaign!

Let's all GROW great kids! Thanks!