Book Review: Go Wild! 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up

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As soon as I saw this book I knew it was something I’d have to read and share with you! And what better timing than Spring, when we’re all anxious to get outdoors.

Go Wild! 101 Things To Do Outdoors Before You Grow UP

Go Wild!: 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up, written by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks, was written to to inspire kids between the ages of 11-16 to explore and enjoy the wild, and to make it a part of every day life. The authors wrote it with an emphasis on fun, but also with a passion for making outdoor skills real and attainable. They noted that many kids are familiar with extreme survival shows. And while they may happily watch on them TV, they never realize they can attempt actual (though less dramatic) outdoor expeditions in real life.

While the book is geared toward tweens and teens, I found several activities that I could tailor to include Eli (6), such as making a one-person leaf hut, making a tepee, and knot tying. However the emphasis of the book is teaching outdoor survival skills to older kids with the idea that at some point you can turn them loose outdoors by themselves.

The book is divided into 8 sections: Shelter, Fire, Foraging, Cooking Outdoors, Tools & Weapons, Bushcraft (wilderness) Skills, Water & Keeping Clean, and Keeping Safe. It would serve as a valuable resource not only to adventurous kids, but to families or adults who want to learn more about outdoor camping and survival skills.

Go Wild! Shelter Building

image via gowild.net

A few activities we’ll be trying for sure? Crayfishing, for one! The authors describe how to build a simple crayfish trap, using a small,plastic basket with holes for the water to drain, some string, and raw bacon. While we probably won’t eat them, I know we’d enjoy trapping and observing them for a bit.

How about slingshot paintballing? Fill paper towels with flour, twist them up and tie or tape them shut. After you have enough ammo for a fight, use slingshots to launch them at each other. They’ll explode on impact! It’s totally unnecessary for outdoor survival, but sometimes you have to lure kids (especially older ones) away from screens with the promise of great fun first. From the weapons section I’d also love to make our own peashooters.

I particularly enjoyed how the authors used anecdotes of their own experiences and photographs of their own children. They acknowledge that with their own kids, they worried and wondered if they were irresponsible in the freedom they gave them. I appreciated their honesty. It makes me feel better to know that other parents struggle with the fine line between letting our children experience life, with all its inherent risks, and protecting them from harm. This quote from the authors helps to put it in perspective:

“Perhaps the biggest risk young people face is taking no risk at all.”

Indeed it is. Check out “Go Wild” and start taking some fun (yet valuable) outdoor risks! You can learn more about the authors and their other books at www.goingwild.net

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