Saturday, June 6, 2015

Outdoor MAGIC!

Hi! It's Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  As I was thinking about what to share with you today, and the sun was shining in my window, I knew exactly what it would be.

Let me add a disclaimer to this post. I do use and like technology. It's amazing and has changed our world. I've met some of the nicest people in the world, literally the WORLD, blogging and using technology.

However, I also feel like the push for more and more technology in schools and the availability of it constantly in homes makes it all the more important for us to remember that it is just one part of life that comes in the form of a screen. One small part. Yes, you can visit faraway places and look up anything you want, and that is truly amazing, but to me, there is nothing more amazing and magical than sharing the real, live world right where you live with children. Play in the dirt. Pick flowers. Roll down a hill in the grass. Find the most beautiful stones. Wade in a creek. Get tired and dirty because you've played outside all day. Drink lemonade, and talk about your day.

Today I am going to share some of my favorite summertime books that help you remember how to play. These books are tried and true. I have the best memories using them with my children as they grew up, and I cannot wait to share them with grandchildren when that time comes.

I could let the pictures speak for themselves- because they do. In fact, when my children were small, I would get my Chinaberry catalog and read it as they napped. The descriptions of the sweet books took me to such a wonderful, peaceful, happy world. Chinaberry is such a great company. The book reviews in their catalogs are fabulous- and they often offer books that you can't find anywhere else.

Here we go with my favorite books!

As I was looking through these books ready to write this post, my daughter Ellie, who will be 25 in July, picked up Mud Pies and Other Recipes, and said, "OH MY GOSH I loved this book!"

We had fun reliving all the delights that we made using this book. We used it all the time at my parents' house when we would go there to play.

In fact, my children and my nephews began digging in my parents' yard and made a "digging place." They loved that place- and spent hours digging. When my dad had some work done in another area of his yard, he actually had the backhoe driver scoop out some more dirt to make the digging place even more magical for the kids- even though it was right in the middle of his backyard. We will all remember that forever- way more than a perfect backyard. Thanks, dad!

These recipes are so much fun- and just so sweet. I've read reviews of this book that described it as delightful and charming- and that's exactly what this book is. I would also add magical.

I love flower fairies. I think of my grandmother, who loved them, too. When my kids at school ask me if zombies or monsters are real, I am so quick to say, "No." But... if they ask me if fairies are real, I always say, "Wow, I really hope they are!"

I sort of have proof that they are real. This is a picture of my kids and my nephews in 1999 inside a fairy ring at my parents' house. There you go!
Here is a description of fairy rings from Wikipedia (so you KNOW it's true... )
A fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle, elf ring[1] or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms.[2] The rings may grow to over 10 metres (33 ft) in diameter, and they become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands or rangelands. Fairy rings are detectable by sporocarps in rings or arcs, as well as by a necrotic zone (dead grass), or a ring of dark green grass. Fungus mycelium is present in the ring or arc underneath.
Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth worldwide—particularly in Western Europe. While they are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune.

They are very rare... and I believe the good fortune part. I love happy things that surprise me- and this was one of them!

This book is so sweet...

Don't you just want to peek inside?

Have some fun with this Fairy Dough from Laughing Kids Learn. I haven't made it, but it looks pretty magical to me!
Fairy Playdough using three ingredients

This is a great little wild flower guide book. We used this all the time when we took walks. I kept it right in the car with us, because you never know when you may need to identify a beautiful wild flower!

This book is full of fun experiments, activities, and fun facts to do with gardening.

This may be my all time favorite. Well, maybe tied with Mud Pies. I could read and reread this book. It's beautifully written and so sweet. Every time I read it, I found another little gem and detail in the book. It takes you to such a wonderful place.

I MAY have a thing for fairies...

We had the BEST time with Touch-Me-Nots- when you touch them and they POP and explode right in your hand. It truly is magic. The bush looks like this:

You look for the seed pods that look like this:
When they are fat and ready to pop- and you touch them just a little, they explode right in your hand. It's so much fun to go on a hunt for these late in the summer.

Back to the book...

Here are some sunflower house pictures from The Examiner. Making a sunflower house is fun every step of the way- from planting it to seeing those first sprouts, then playing in it, and finally watching the birds enjoy the seeds- and saving some of those seeds for another year!

This is another great book to read when you make your sunflower house!

Hollyhock Days is written by Sharon Lovejoy in the same style as Sunflower Houses, so you can spend hours enjoying every single detail.

I loved this saying so much, that I added it to one of my favorite pictures from school.

This is one of my favorite parts of this book- the Pizza Garden! What a fun idea and way to plant a garden.

Jack's Garden is a beautiful book to share with children. You can see some of the inside pictures in the Harper Collin's preview below.

I hope you found some special books to add to your summertime magic!
Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Oh, I just LOVE that quote by Plato! It's so sad to me when kids haven't experienced things that are right outside their window but yet they know the words to every song in a movie and are pros playing games on their parents' phones. Thanks for posting!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

    Learning at the Teacher Table

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Donna! I loved that quote, too- and so agree with you!

  2. I am definitely going to check out some of these books! They look amazing! And that fairy door? I just want to get right in there and peek inside! Lovely post with lots of fun ideas!!!

    PS--I HAVE made the fairy dough and it is a fabulous sensory experience for young and old!!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Carolyn!!! :)

    1. Thank you so much, Ayn! YES- I will peek right inside that fairy door with you. I can just imagine that it is perfect in there! :)


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